Saturday, December 5, 2015

Renew Your Love – Strength Your Commitment

You may have noticed I’m sporting a new hair style. This morning I’m going to explain why. God desires our obedience and has always called upon His people to be peculiar. The Prophets of the Old Testament are shining examples. Don’t misunderstand, or jump ahead and think I’m asking us all to shave our heads. The message is: Be Obedient to God!

Ezekiel was told to lie in the street on his left side for 390 days. Then to turn onto his right side for another 40 days. One day for each year of sin in Israel and Judah. God said He would bind Ezekiel so he could not move until the days were completed.

Hosea was commanded to take a prostitute for a wife & every time she cheated on him Hosea had to forgive her and take her back.

Jeremiah had to buy a fine linen belt, put it on, and protect it from being ruined. Then go to a place, take off the belt, hide it in a crack in the rocks, wait several days, go back and get the belt.

We are called to a life of separation from the world. Dedication to God requires obedience. “So, why did you do that to your hair Pastor?”

Numbers 6:2 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk” (KJV)

All my life I’ve been told I have beautiful hair. My grandmother would say, “Wouldn’t he make a really pretty girl with this hair?” When I got older, hair stylists would say, as they ran their fingers through my hair, “You have such nice hair.” I would laugh and say, “Just cut it until the gray is gone.” NO! That is not what happened this time.

Many of you know I’ve been fasting and praying about the Church and asking God to direct our plans here. Thanksgiving and Black Friday I began to experience such horrible pain in my kidneys. The pain was excruciating and I told God, “Whatever You have to do to heal this pain – Just do it!”   Around here we always pray, “God touch them from the top of their head to the soles of their feet.” Well, my prayer went like this, “God, slap me from the dandruff to the toe fungus.”

I woke up Saturday still in pain. I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Shave your head!” I went to Sports Clips and told the stylist, “Take it ALL off.” She asked, “ALL of it?” I replied, “Yes, ALL.” The pain left my body the moment the hair started falling.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV)

The thought never crossed my mind that I was overly attached to my hair. I have never been a person who was consumed by my appearance, but in order to be obedient to God a sacrifice must be made. In my case it was a sacrifice of pride. God calls upon each of us to make a sacrifice. We must all give up something to serve Him.

Psalm 4:2-4 “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” (KJV)

We have all turned the glory of God into shame. The Old Testament says, “We have turned everyone to our own way” and the New Testament says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We need a Savior. We cannot be ashamed of Him or the testimony we have in Him. Our faith in Him brings life and healing.

2 Timothy 1:8-10 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” (KJV)

If we desire to experience a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit we first must re-establish a standard of holiness. Repentance and personal sacrifice will guide us along the path. We have been attempting to relive the “Glory Days” of the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit without the surrender of our hearts to the Holiness of God.

1 Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” (KJV)

God’s promise is to “pour out His Spirit on all flesh” but first there must be a return to God’s Word with complete resolution and overwhelming faith. If a Nazarite suddenly found themselves in the midst of a dead body. They were required to shave their head and renew their wow before God. The Jewish tradition was to tear your clothing to express the depth of your grief. We have all been touched by death, and we live among a culture that is lost and going to Hell.

Joel 2:13 “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” (KJV)

We must repent, or run the risk of becoming useless to God in the fulfillment of His plan. Make no mistake, God’s plan will be established! The question is: “Will we make ourselves available for His use through repentance and sacrifice; or, will our stubbornness, pride, and over inflated self-worth render us useless to His plan?”

Jeremiah 13:10 “This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.” (KJV)

Before we read the final Scripture for this message, I want to preface it by saying, “There has been too much Gong banging and cymbal crashing in the Church and far too little LOVE!” (I am not talking about the drums, or the drummer.) Really think about these next words.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with this tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (KJV)

I don’t have any idea how many have ever considered these words from 1 Corinthians, but I grew up in a Pentecostal household and Pentecostal Church. A “move of the Spirit” was always “with signs following” but not always in the overwhelming Spirit of LOVE.  Do we recognize the importance of LOVE, as we read the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 13? Examine the verses closely. We can demonstrate EVERY manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but without LOVE those gifts are useless. We according to those verses are ourselves NOTHING without LOVE.

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