Why Take A Risk, When You Can Have A Rib? Gen. 2:18, 21-23

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Why Take A Risk, When You Can Have A Rib? Gen. 2:18, 21-23

Strange title, right? Let me explain….

Scripture reports to us Adam’s beginning “moments” on earth. (I say “moments” because technically time had not started in that the curse of death had not yet fallen. Anyway…) Notice, Adam was given responsibility – God put him to work; SISTERS, HE HAD A JOB FIRST. AND A HOME TOO, FOR THAT MATTER. Ok, I digress…

But as Adam is doing what he is supposed to do, God recognizes a need; He sees that Adam is alone. So, God prepares a helper, companion, and complimentary counterpart for him named Eve. How did God do this? He put Adam to SLEEP (there are times in choosing a mate, where you have to get out of the way and let God work…), doing surgery on him (while God is working for you, He is also working on and in you…) and took from him A RIB. God finished the surgery, closing the “hole” in Adam. Then He, God, brought to Adam, the one who represented a “whole” relationship, Eve. She was fashioned from A RIB, THEE RIB that God took from Adam. Dating and choosing a mate is often very ‘risky’ because of the multiplicity of unknowns involved. You really don’t know everything there is to know about the person whom, in the least you’re dating, and at most, whom you’re considering marrying. Even if you do ‘your’ due diligence, it is still very ‘risky’ business. But why take a risk, when you can have a rib? See, Eve wasn’t just any old kind of a mate. SHE WAS THEE ONE THAT GOD MADE FOR ADAM, FROM ADAM. She was ADAM’S RIB. She was fashioned out of a part from Adam – his rib. And God made her into the whole of what Adam needed. There were no options; there were no choices; this aspect of Adam’s (and Eve’s) life was not a multiple choice test. It was a finished essay, written by the God of Heaven. Adam and Eve did not have to wonder whether or not they were ‘doing the right thing’. They did not have to wonder whether or not ‘this is the right one.’ God removed all of the risk by providing THEE RIB.

When Adam saw Eve, he knew she was the one, because he was looking at HIS RIB. When Eve saw Adam, she knew he was the one, because she saw where she was THEE RIB he was missing. Brothers, why take a ‘risk’, when God has your rib? Sisters, why be a risk, when God has appointed you to be THEE RIB for YOUR Adam? If you keep God at the forefront of your dating and mating endeavors, you can eliminate the risk and have a rib.

Incidentally, the absolutely stunning and dazzling individual in the picture with me is MY RIB – Patricia K Butler

The Ministry of “Block” and “Delete”Beyond Social Media

The Ministry of Block & Delete Beyond Social Media – Isa. 43:18; Philips. 3:13; 4:6-7

To those of us who are active on Social Media, block and delete is familiar to us to say the least. And for some of us who are very active within Social Media, block and delete is an essential element of our activity on it. We block individuals for what we deem to be inappropriate behavior. And if the behavior is consistently objectionable, we delete them altogether.

But have you considered how “block and delete” works in your life beyond Social Media? This morning the Spirit of the Lord began to minister to me about blocking and deleting within the scope and context of LIFE. Specifically, He said to me, “Darren, you need to learn how to block some things in your life and delete some things in your life.” He brought the Scripture passages above to my consciousness. As I began to ponder them, I started to ‘see’ what He was saying and understand what He meant. When you study Philippians 4:6-7, especially verse 7, the assurance that Paul gives to the peace of God ‘guarding’ is akin to what we have in athletics in the way the officials manage a game. They manage, direct, control and adjudicate what is and is not allowed in the game. In other words, what is acceptable in the game, they allow – bless. That which is not acceptable in the game, they disallow – block. Through the peace of God, we bless and block, allow and disallow. Through the peace of God in our hearts, we decide what comes and goes, what leaves and stays. Specifically, this happens first and foremost in our minds and hearts, the control room within that determines everything we do, Provs. 4:23. In verses 6 and 8 of this passage, and other passages, such as Isa. 26:3-4, we are given the formula for how God’s peace comes – by keeping our minds focused on Him. So when you have God’s peace unconditionally and comprehensively at work in your life, you are able to block the things (and even some people) that want entrance into the space of your life that are not authorized to be in that space.

Then I saw the revelation behind delete. Some things (and perhaps people) need to be removed completely altogether. Isa. 43:18 and Philippians 3:13 opens this up to us. Some things happened in the past. But they are still imprinted in the recesses of your mind and spirit – harassing, troubling, tormenting, vexing, frustrating and hindering you – as you attempt to make progress and advance in life. God says DELETE THEM. Some things (and people) happened in your life. They were appropriate for the time. But their time to be in your life has expired. Now it is dead weight; old manna; old wine; meaningless rituals; sentimental allegiances; historical bondages; relationships that are based on retired obligations, but you’re holding on to them because of fear and low self-esteem. God says it’s time to DELETE THEM. Something things are not in and of themselves ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. As a matter of fact they were good. They served a purpose. They may have even been a blessing. God may have even been in it! However, God has put His finger on them and for reasons within the realm of His sovereignty and providence, He has said they must go, their time is up. But you’re whining, lamenting, bemoaning, rationalizing and justifying holding on because, in this instance the truth is, it’s more about God’s Hand and not His Face. God says it’s time to HIT THE DELETE BUTTON.

God wants to do something NEW in, with, through and for you THIS YEAR and beyond. But you are not going to see it, experience it and get it, unless you are fully prepared and committed to His will to “BLOCK AND DELETE” as He leads. Don’t make the mistake of “Blocking and Deleting” the Move of God in your life because you would not “block and delete” that which is no longer conducive to the life and life more abundantly that He wants to give you.
SO, who and/or what do you have to “BLOCK AND DELETE”????

Are You Humble Enough To Be Blessed?

“And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.” – Hebs. 7:7, NLT

Last Friday evening, Nov. 4, 2016, I was graced with a surprise Pastoral Anniversary Celebration by the Covenant Disciples of The International Good News Fellowship, Inc – the church I have been granted the honor of planting and subsequently shepherding along with my wife, Pastor Patricia K Butler. This was the first time in the 16 year history of our church that this kind of celebration took place. Let me cut to the chase. The reason it took so long was because primarily I was standing in the way. There had been times before when the saints attempted to be a blessing to me in this fashion, but I would always shut it down. I would shut it down because 1) I have convictions about the attention being on the Person of Jesus and NOT the personality of the pastor(s), 2) I did not want to jeopardize our commitment to do the best that we can to practice good stewardship and 3) growing up in church I have been exposed to these events and seen how all too often they can present some interesting challenges. Hence, I did not want anyone subjected to that because they were trying to be a blessing to me. And quite frankly, had I known what the people of God were up to, again, I would have shut it down. However, God had something else in mind. Therefore, He empowered the saints to pull off this surprise without a hitch. I WAS GENUINELY SHOCKED WHEN I WALKED IN THAT ROOM LAST FRIDAY! It was an incredibly blessed event, and I will always be ever so grateful to The International Good News Fellowship, my wife and children and our family and friends that came to celebrate with me.

As the week following the event began to progress, God began to deal with me. He showed me the event had to take place for two reasons. First, the people of God needed to be given the chance to minister to me in a way that would bless them. Often times as leaders in the Kingdom, we have convictions about abusing the people. These convictions are good and noble and appropriate when they do not interfere with Kingdom dynamics of reciprocity. Sometimes, the people you give to must be afforded the opportunity to give back to you, especially when you are their ministry leader. This brings us to the second reason. God used this event to confront, challenge and correct a deep-seated spirit of pride I had, which was religious, self-righteousness that prevented me from humbling myself enough to receive from others. He spoke this to my heart this past Monday. The next day I came across the verse above in my daily reading and that clinched it. I was blocking people from blessing me and subsequently being blessed because I WAS TOO PROUD to make myself vulnerable enough to receive from them.

I learned (and I’m learning) a few things from this. First, pride is a spirit with multiple personalities. We have to be ever vigilant in prayer, reading God’s Word, and obedient to the spiritual disciplines that are Biblically-based and directed so that we will not be influenced and controlled by it. IT IS A DANGEROUS SPIRIT. If you don’t believe it, ask Lucifer! You could be influenced by it with your wonderful, spiritual self and not even know it!! Second, there are certain levels of blessing we hinder God from bringing us to because we are TOO PROUD to receive. Deep down, subconsciously, we don’t want to let the giver have the power by receiving from them. This is so anti-God. If you think about it, you can’t even have a relationship with God without initially covering this base. You have to be humble enough to accept God’s GIFT of Jesus Christ GIVEN to us as THEE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION AND SUBSEQUENTLY RELATING TO GOD. And that principle of humbly receiving continues throughout the rest of our walk with Him.

So, examine yourself. And let me ask you, are you HUMBLE enough to make yourself vulnerable to whomever and whatever God wants to use to bless you? If not, you could be hindering one of the greatest blessings you’ve ever seen in your life.

Humbly Submitted With Love,
Pastor Darren E Butler, Sr

Revisit the Manufacturer’s Manual

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Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8, NLT

I just had an interesting experience – brief but profound. I was preparing to go do my morning workout routine. I recalled what happened as I was out yesterday with my bluetooth headphones. I didn’t like the equalizer settings and subsequently the sound quality was not to my personal liking. I tried adjusting the settings on my own from what I remembered but nothing worked. I continued my workout with some frustration, deciding to concentrate on just getting it done. But it just wasn’t the same.

So this morning as I am preparing to go out again, I reach for my bluetooth headphones, remembering yesterday’s experience. I look at the headphones and then it dawns on me; why don’t you search the manufacturer’s manual to refresh yourself on how to adjust the settings. That’s what I did. Within minutes, I had the setting I wanted and I was able to move forward without yesterday’s frustration. Then, I had a revelatory moment from the Spirit of God. He said, “that is exactly what happens as you try to make progress on your walk with God. You encounter some challenges, frustrations, difficulties, discomfort, obstacles, etc., and you try to adjust them yourself based on your past experiences. However, you must constantly revisit the Manufacturer’s (God’s) Manual (The Bible) and refresh yourself with what are the proper settings for you to move forward – successfully, confidently and correctly – in your journey with the Lord.” Lesson learned! Our verse for today resonates like a beacon on the sea of life, the signal that reminds us to daily revisit the Manufacturer’s Manual, The Bible given to us by God, so that we can make steady progress on this journey of being followers-of-Christ. Inevitably, we will run into problems as we traverse life. Our first instinct may be to see if we can solve them on our own. That effort is almost always an exercise in futility. But if you and I have disciplined ourselves to daily visit and revisit the Manufacturer’s Manual, regardless of what we encounter in life that wants to impede our journey of going forward, we will always have the answer that provides the solution to life dilemmas. And when those answers are obtained and the solutions applied, we will always win, overcome and prevail!

DID YOU VISIT AND REVIST THE MANUFACTURER’S MANUAL TODAY?

Undesirable Methods, Divine Results…

His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. – Judges 14:4, NLT 

Samson is one of the most recognizable Biblical Judges to any student of the Bible. His exploits as recorded in Scripture mirror nothing less than an incredible novel and blockbuster movie script, although it is far, very far, from fiction. From the very beginning of Samson’s story in the Scriptures, the narrative of his life is filled with everything that is a page-turner, throat-lumper and heart thumper. There are multiple facets to Samson’s experience. They are incredible while intriguing; exciting while enigmatic. Samson is the quintessential prototype of contradictions for those looking at his life from a godly perspective. On one hand, he has these incredible instances where he is the incomparable expression of the Strength of the Lord at its best. Then on the other hand, he has these awful instances of ungodliness at its worst. Yet, in the Bible’s “Believers Hall of Faith” Samson is prominently listed as one of its inductees! (Hebs. 11:32-34) Why would God include this man of “questionable” character and spiritual extremes in his record? I submit to you the answer is given to us in the verse of Scripture referenced in the heading of this writing. God wants us to have a startling example of how He is willing and able to accomplish His purposes in the most seemingly ungodly circumstances for His glory and inevitably our benefit. He will use undesirable methods to bring about divine results.

Samson saw this young woman who was outside of the Jewish Community of Faith. And, HE…..WANTED…..HER. His parents had received explicit divine instructions about the way his life was to progress, particularly the code of conduct he was to always follow as a man dedicated to God for God’s purposes. So this desire was NOT in line with that code of conduct as far as Samson’s parents were concerned. And, our verse of Scripture implies that they were justified in their objections and misgivings. HOWEVER, there was something else going on that they did not see – GOD WAS ACTUALLY AT WORK IN THIS, USING THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO AFTER THE OPPRESSORS OF HIS PEOPLE. WOW! Just imagine; the very thing you have been taught and trained to regard as unholy and unrighteous, is the very thing our Holy and Righteous God uses for His purposes!  Here is the takeaway. When you and I are in situations where things appear to be the opposite of what God wants or what He would do, we are to be carefully prayerful. God could be using these undesirable methods, to bring about divine results. He could be taking what we deem to be bad things and making good things happen. He could be subjecting us to negative circumstances to bring about positive consequences. When we complain, lament, bewail and rue things that seem to be going wrong in our lives, it is a dangerous place. Because it is out of that place that we are liable to panic and subsequently make poor choices and decisions, cancelling our participation in something wonderful that God is doing. One of the reasons God does this is because nothing gets our attention like difficulty does. But once the difficulty gets our attention, GOD HAS TO BE OUR FOCUS!

If you are in a challenging situation that appears to be completely negative, highly undesirable and just downright ungodly, use this occasion to focus on God and keep your eyes on Him, so that you will not do something foolish that you will regret later. Rather, watch Him work – He could be using undesirable methods to bring about divine results.

Do You Feel God Has Brought You To This Emptiness?

2239441799_2e1a790a17_bDo you feel as if God has brought you to a place of emptiness?
 
More than likely that’s exactly what He’s doing. However, look at it like this; He took all of the stuff on the inside that should not have been there, that you apparently lacked the ability and/or discipline to discard, so that you could have a fresh start. Now that you are in this place of ’emptiness’, here is a critical factor to consider: you have the power to decide Who and What you will be full of. If you make the decision that He, and what He wants is going to be your daily choice, more than likely, you’ll never come to this place of ’emptiness’ again. Matt. 5:6; Ephs. 3:19; 5:18.
The hymn writer put it like this:
Fill my cup Lord
I lift it up Lord
Come and quench
This thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven feed me
‘Til I want no more
Fill my cup
Fill it up
And make me whole