Posts tagged ‘king’

January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

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April 13, 2012

Is It War?

by pastortimfowler

When I was in the Navy, we got to hang around with Marines quite a bit. The Marines have an amazing way of taking something as stressful as what they are called to do and making it look easy and some of the strangest comments about war that I have heard have come from a Marine. I don’t think that anyone really likes war, and some would say that there is never a time for war, but the fact of the matter is that there are wars and they are not pretty.
One Marine friend of mine said that he was taught in boot camp that war was about killing people and breaking things and that is why God created Marines. That may sound overly simplistic, but in reality it is very true. Somehow we have gotten this idea that wars can be fought with minimum of either one of those things happening. If we only had a smarter bomb or better intelligence, we could not kill as many people and break fewer things. But that will only lengthen the time it takes for the ones that you are fighting to give up and surrender. Remember that old saying, “all’s fair in love and war”? There was a reason behind that saying and it wasn’t so that fewer people would die and less buildings explode. As long as we try to make a war a good one and a cleaner and safer war, we are going to be terribly disappointed. Wars are not meant to go on forever and are not meant to be political. They are about killing people and breaking things and whoever kills the most and breaks the most usually wins.
The other day my blog was about words and their meanings. War is one of those words that we have used to the point of not really understanding what it is. When I was a teen, the USA started the war on drugs. Now we have marijuana just about legalized and more people than ever addicted to prescription drugs, not to mention the most addictive street drugs that have ever existed. We have a war on poverty that has only resulted in more people on food stamps than ever before.  What we in the USA consider poverty would be considered middle class in most other countries. The latest “war” that everyone is hearing about is a war against women. Supposedly, if you don’t believe the same way about birth control as someone else, that makes you at war against half of the people on the planet. Come on people, these things are not wars.
There is one war that few recognize, but it is about killing people and breaking things. It is a spiritual war for your soul. Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to deceive and lead souls to an eternal death. Satan wants to destroy marriages, and the lives of our children by fooling them into thinking that they are just some sort of mistake that resulted in our existence. He wants to destroy your reality by getting you addicted to drugs and alcohol. He wants people to think that the most important thing in life is the fun that you can have and that the thought of a God that is the ultimate King of the universe is only for people who are weak-minded and uneducated.
God has given us victory over all of this, but He is not drafting people to fight on His side. He is accepting volunteers and is willing to equip those who join the fight with everything needed to defeat the enemy. The Bible describes the final battle in this war as one where Satan and his followers are destroyed and their kingdoms wiped out. Those who are on the winning side will take part in a Kingdom that on this earth is only a fantasy. The Kingdom of God, where there is finally peace and war no longer exists, because the real war was fought and the enemy and his stuff was destroyed.
God knows how to win a war.

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”

June 3, 2011

Follow the King

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I finished reading 1 Samuel and it deals mostly with the reign of king Saul and the beginning years of the man who will be king, David. There is a lot to gain from these two men and from this book of the Bible. I am always amazed at how God allows us to learn from His word and how often the lessons can challenge us to rethink our view of life’s challenges.
Saul was anointed king because Israel wanted a king like everyone else had. They already had a king, God but they saw how other nations had a king that would cave into the pressures of the people and God doesn’t do that. But God gave them what they wanted to show them how foolish it is to follow man and not God.
Now Saul was not an evil man from the start. In fact God sent His spirit to come upon Saul and guide him. For a while, Saul followed that leadership and things went well, but somewhere along the way the power went to his head and he made a mistake that cost him God’s favor. After that, God allowed an evil spirit to rule Saul’s life and chose another to be the King of Israel, a young boy named David.
The priest Samuel, went to David and anointed him to be the next king. The anointing did not mean the immediate removal of the old king, but rather that David would be the next king after Saul. Several years past before David actually took the kingdom. He became a great warrior, a great friend, and, get this, a great servant of the one who he would follow, Saul.
David did not follow the evil desires of Saul, but he did not subvert the authority of the king that God had appointed. David was a faithful soldier under the king and followed the laws of the king to the fullest. I think we can all learn from this. Even though we may not like and or even agree morally with our leaders, we have an obligation to be good citizens. We do not have to follow anything immoral but we do need to follow the law.
David had several instances where Saul tried to kill him. Using wisdom and understanding from God, David was able to see that evil was responsible for the wrongful acts and that honor was still required for God’s appointed king. David in return had several chances to kill Saul. But at every chance he chose to use it as an opportunity to show the king loyalty rather than defy his authority. You see, God will never allow another man to subvert the authority of the one that He has put in place. Even if that man is wrong, and even if we have a chance to remove him. God puts leaders in their places and it is often because God is giving us just what we deserve.
At the end of 1 Samuel, many are celebrating the death of king Saul. Both Israel and her enemies were singing and shouting in celebration of his death. But David did not. In fact, he cried. In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, David receives the news that Saul and the army of Israel had been defeated. Immediately he tears his clothes and cried aloud and does not eat. The men who followed David did the same because David had taught them well.
David was sad for several reasons. First, when the king is defeated, the nation is defeated and David loved his country. Second, David respect the positional authority and Saul was his king, good bad or ugly. Third, Saul’s son Jonathon was killed too. Jonathon and David had a special friendship. We are told that they loved each other as they loved themselves.
But I wonder if David was not sad because he knew the he was about to have to fill the seat of the king. He had seen how leaders are often ridiculed and how many will come looking for your head on a platter at the first mistake. He knew that even though he was faithful, many were not. Leadership can be a lonely place and David was about to enter into a place that few will ever understand.
I pray that I will be faithful to my leaders, whether I agree with them or not. I pray that God will allow a servant’s heart to fill my heart. I pray that in my own role as a leader that God will allow me to only lead where He leads and that my desires are only His desires. I pray that those whom God has blessed me to lead will understand the solitude of leadership and understand that every leader must often make decisions that are difficult and not always pleasing to the majority.
I am not a king, nor do I want to be. God has appointed me the position that David started out in, a shepherd. But David also knew that shepherds must love their flock and lead them into a safe and healthy life so that they may reproduce more sheep. I am not sure if it is easier to be the king or to be the shepherd, but either way, God shows us how it is to be done.
May we all follow THE KING.