Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Mystery of Leaven

            Thus says the Lord of hosts,Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.They are leading you into futility;They speak a vision of their own imagination,Not from the mouth of the Lord. “They keep saying to those who despise Me,‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”'; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say,'Calamity will not come upon you.'

                                                                                                  Jeremiah 23:16-17

        The Prophet Jeremiah, in this verse, is warning the people that the priests among them are giving people a message of peace, while they are walking in the stubbornness of their own hearts. It's amazing to me that over the years I have talked to people within the church who are literally practicing fornication or other immorality, who say to me, "I have peace."

Jeremiah was telling the people not to listen to people in leadership who say you can live immorally and have peace with God. He said, "Don't heed them," and "Don't give attention to them." Why would he say that? So many today are preaching sermons and messages by the thousands that tell us it's okay to live as we please, why listen to Jeremiah? It's simple friends....Jeremiah knew there is a judgement to come and every man will stand before God and give an account of his life. Stop and think about that for a moment. "Yeah, I have heard all that stuff Andy but how do we know that?" 


Ecclesiastes 11 says...

   Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 

Enjoy your life but keep in mind you will give an account to God.

Chapter twelve of the same book says;

be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, isfear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

    Believe me, i'm for you as you read this, when I tell you the truth, that every one of us will give account of their lives to God. In this day and age there are messages preached on every subject but many of them do not give attention to the state of your heart. The Bible says, "a little leaven will leaven the whole lump." Using the analogy of making bread, the word is telling us that a little sin can permeate our lives until it destroys us. 

   We can see this example clearly in the life of David the Psalmist, the man after God's own heart. In 2nd Samuel, chapter eleven, there came one moment in David's life where he decided not to go into battle with his armies. Then the next moment when he looked from the rooftop of his palace and saw a woman bathing. Then the next moment when he had her brought to his chambers. Then in the next moment he stepped across the line and accomplished his lust for her. 
      Then the next moment he had to find a way to hide that act so he brought her husband Uriah, a righteous and Godly man, to his palace. The next moment he decides he has to find a way to have Uriah killed. In the next moment, he kills the man by having him sent to the front lines of the battle, unprotected by the other soldiers. There came a moment in David's life where what seemed like the smallest thought, the smallest piece of leaven permeated his life and consumed him. All of a sudden, Nathan the prophet comes with a loud strong word to wake up David's dull conscience. 

    I want to encourage you today to examine your heart and be true to yourself. WAKE UP, and deal with the sin in your life before it takes over. Today, don't harden your heart, God wants to get your attention! It's not about who you are in the church service or Bible study it's about what you are when your guard is down and you are being who you really are. When you're at work or leisure time when the Pastor and your Christian friends aren't around. Jesus said to believers, it just takes a little leaven to affect your whole lives! You have to deal with it today or one day what's in your heart will come out and be exposed to the whole congregation. How do you deal with it? Repent. Cry out to God for help and take steps to protect your life from it. Eliminate habits and patterns from your life that bring compromise or expose you to areas of temptation. If David had been engaged in the battle with his armies he would not have been on that roof top and exposed himself to temptation. 
      I want to remind you when the Word is talking about leaven, it's talking about in the church. Our hearts are born with the nature of sin, no one had to teach us to lie, steal, take advantage or manipulate. Those things are natural to our hearts. When we become believers, when we surrender all to Him, God is bringing about change in our lives. He's trying to cut the umbilical cord that ties us to this world. You can't be changed as long as you entertain the leaven of this world in your heart. That's what God is bringing attention to. WE must purge wickedness and malice from our hearts by getting a hold of God's word and letting it bear good fruit in our lives.

 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.     
1st Corinthians 5:6-8

For further study today, consider listening to our podcast. You can stream it here:

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Friday, March 9, 2018

The Hem of His Garment

       I can't speak for everyone else but I can speak of this for me, I know that God is good. I'm convinced of it. When circumstances change in our lives many pray a prayer of spiritual warfare against the enemy. Over the years having read the book of Jeremiah many times, Jeremiah asserts that God is in control.

It is God who sent enemies because they are the servants of His indignation. So our problem is never with the enemy, oftentimes it's with God. The Lord is able to speak a word and change everything for the better in our situation. So the first thing we can do is examine our hearts to see if there is sin going on in our lives.

If in fact God is chastising us, repent. Cry out to God for forgiveness and to give you clean hands and a pure heart.

If not and you are experiencing a season of difficulty or sorrow, If you put your eyes upon Him you'll find in every tragedy, the fingerprint of God. The times when righteousness was perfected in my life was always in the time of tears. I've had to grab hold of the hem of His garment.

Whether you like it or not, it is through suffering that we learn righteousness! Our prayer in those times is for God to be gracious to us. Years ago I was was talking with a good friend whose wife was stricken with cancer and I'll never forget he said to me, "Andy, I know that God is able to heal my wife, But whether he does or not, we still belong to Him."

That reminded me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were to be cast into the fiery furnace. They acknowledged that God was able to deliver them but even if He did not, they still belonged to Him. They would not bow to the king's golden statue. If you find yourself today in a difficult place and it seems like God has forgotten you, know that He hasn't. Put your eyes upon Him like a servant with their eyes upon their master. In the place of prayer, take hold of the hem of His garment and trust in Him.

The LORD is Good, A strong hold in the day of trouble; And He knoweth them that trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (KJV)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Fallen Tree

A dear friend of mine, Ron Walker, who passed away years ago, was one of the men of God that the Lord put in my life. I remember he was a vibrant part of my journey, growing up as a young christian. One day we were walking in a forest and there was a tree that had fallen over nearby. Ron paused and looked at me and said, "Andy, what do you see when you look at this fallen tree? What is God showing you about it?"

   I looked at it and replied, "It's just a tree that's fallen over." He shook his head and said, "No, I mean, what is God teaching you about it and what do you see beyond the obvious?"

Looking more carefully this time I said, "It appears to have died and fallen over." He smiled and said, "Andy, there was a time when this tree stood upright, tall and proud. Maybe families would come and have a picnic under it's shade. Children would find joy climbing in it's branches. All along though, there was a disease inside it. It was slowly rotting away from within, day by day being consumed until one day it snapped. People probably talked about how the tree they had once enjoyed had fallen. Then as they began to look inside, they could see it had been rotting away for a long time."

As I look back at that talk we had, I can't help but reflect upon the reality of truth in that analogy that I have seen in so many peoples lives. Oftentimes in our journey the danger is in the little things that consume us from within over time. Small compromises with sin and darkness until before we know it, we are being destroyed from within. The destruction that seems to come suddenly in peoples lives had been working in them already for a long time.

    If you find yourself in such a place, begin to cry out to the Lord with a simple prayer of repentance. Begin to take thoughts captive and ask the Lord to help you as make better choices for your spiritual well being.

   Do all you can to safeguard your life from compromise and to encourage yourself in the Lord and in His word.

     As you agree with God and keep coming to the light, God will bless your efforts because He is for you in this journey. Even the simplest prayer and smallest steps in the right direction can keep your feet on the path of a healthy walk with Christ.

Watch over your heart with all diligence,For from it flow the springs of life.Proverbs 4:23 NASB

For further study, consider my podcast, you can stream it or download it here:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Look at Your Way in the Valley

Know thy way in the valley.
Jeremiah 2:23

The Prophet, the mouthpiece of God was speaking to the children of Israel with a solemn message. “You’ve lost your way,” and he encouraged them to , “Look at your way in the valley!”

The Valley was the place of squeezing, the place of trial and difficulty. The Prophet was asking them to examine their hearts in the midst of their trial. You can take an orange and squeeze it and get fresh, sweet, orange juice. Everyone you give it to will be refreshed and enjoy it. Then you could take a lemon and paint it orange and give it the same look but when you squeeze it, you definitely won’t get any orange juice. 

We can say what we want but it’s in the valleys that we get squeezed. You find out quickly what’s inside your heart. I want you to know something it took me twenty years to figure out. When God shows us something in our hearts that is not like him, He is never saying, “Shame on you.”

Sometimes you examine difficult scriptures and it’s hard to receive because you receive them as rejection. When you realize that God already knows what’s in your heart and is not threatened by it, you can agree with God and He can bring about a change in you.

 The end result of this journey is becoming convinced of His love for us. Our being conformed to the nature and character of Jesus Christ is accomplished as we journey through those valley places always choosing to, “come to the light.”

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
2 Corinthians 4:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For further study, you can stream my podcast here:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

We Are Not a People Without Hope

Today I stopped to visit an old friend who shared with me how a co-worker of his is going through some cancer issues. He had never experienced being close to someone who was going through such a difficult trial.

Having driven this friend to the hospital to get Cancer treatments and watching her go through so much, he admitted that he was feeling depressed.

I sat down beside him and explained that as a minister, I find myself surrounded by the reality of dying and death all the time.

I told him that these things are reminders that we are not here on this earth forever. It’s only depressing to us when we can’t embrace that.

The amazing truth is that as believers in Christ, we are being prepared to step out of this world and into eternity. This is our great hope that one day we will be free of the constraints of this earthen shell. When we leave this world we will be suddenly immersed in the height, width, length and depth of the love of God. 

   Rejoice today because this is what we were created for before the foundation of the world!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For deeper study, consider our podcast, you can stream it here:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Parting Words

It good for me to be afflicted that I may learn your statutes. Psalm 119:71

Eighteen years ago I was asked to go see a death row inmate nicknamed, “Gus”, who had just received his execution date. A Christian family that knew him before he went to prison asked me to go see him and share the gospel with him. 

So the day came and I met Gus and for an hour and a half I did the best I could to 

share the Gospel with him. 
He conveyed to me that he had already accepted Christ as his Savior and that he was a believer. We had a good, cordial conversation and I said to him, “I’ve done most of the talking in our visit and I just want to ask if there is anything you’d like to convey to me. Seeing as we might never speak to each other again in this life, is there something you’ve learned that you want to share or for me to consider as I leave here?

He paused for a moment perhaps having never been asked this question and then he replied....

“When I was given my execution date, one of the things that happened is I started going through my stuff. Someone in another cell might not have a radio so you give them your radio. Another prisoner might not have a set of colored pencils, so you give them away. Each prisoner has a box of belongings and keepsakes and you start to go through it. 

In the process, I began to see some things I had held onto for 16 years or 14 years....and In light of my coming execution, I began to wonder why I held on to these things. What value did they really have that I held onto them for so long?”

As I said goodbye to Gus and left the prison unit I thought about what he had to say. I’ve never forgotten that meeting and what I had learned from it. 

The scriptures say that these momentary light afflictions we are experiencing are working for us! Sometimes it’s pain that is the very thing that causes us to humble ourselves and accept change. Pause and think about that for a moment. Therefore pain is not working against me but is in fact accomplishing God’s purpose.

...before I was afflicted I went astray But now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67

For further study, consider my podcast; you can stream it here:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Lowest Place

Phillipians 2:5-8
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

I don't know how to be a servant. We may think we do but a lot of times even our servanthood has selfish motives. 

The mystery of the gospel is Christ in you.

As the grace of God is working in our heart the end result is,
 that expression of Christ will be seen in us. 

James chapter 3 speaks about circumcising ambition from our hearts. 

We always want to be the leader, at the head of the table instead of at the lowest place. This usually happens through trials that bring us to a place of humiliation. It is there that we learn to appreciate the approval of God more than the need to be noticed.

In John chapter 13, Jesus, knowing who He is and not needing the acceptance of others, laid aside His role as leader and embraced the role of servanthood. He washed the feet of his disciples rather than demanding to be served himself. The greater serving the lesser because his identity was already validated by the Father.

 He didn't need to prove himself to anyone. In the same way God desires to create this same mind in us which is in Christ Jesus. 

The Water Song
Come, oh come! let us away...
Lower, lower every day, 
Oh, what joy it is to race
Down to find the lowest place. 
This the dearest law we know...
"It is happy to go low."
Sweetest urge and sweetest will,
Let us go down lower still.
Hear the summons night and day
Calling us to come away.
From the heights we leap and flow
To the valleys down below.
Always answering to the call,
To the lowest place of all.
Sweetest urge and sweetest pain,
To go low and rise again.
Hannah Hurbard, Hinds feet on high places

For further study, consider our latest podcast, how God comes into our lives as a refiner's fire until all that can be seen is a reflection of Christ. You can stream or download it here:

Friday, January 12, 2018

What is Impossible with Man

Charles Spurgeon once said, "The only way to awake a sleeping church is with a loud shout." It's so easy within Christendom to become desensitized to what's going on around us.

  I recall an old book written years ago, the story of a man called, "Rip Van Winkle." In the story the main character goes up onto a hillside and goes to sleep and sleeps for one hundred years! When he wakes up he begins to climb down the mountain and notices what used to be a picture of King George has been replaced with a picture of George Washington. So many people remember that story because it's amazing that the man would sleep for such a long time. The real power of the story wasn't that he slept for a hundred years but that he slept through a revolution. He fell asleep at a time when he should have been engaged and aware of what was going on around him. I believe that this morning God wants to awaken us, revive us, cause us to come alive once again.

   Now listen, the first thing we need to do is take heed of the Word of God in Hebrews 6
 which says,

"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.  And this we will do, if God permits.  For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,  and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.  For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;  but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

This is a challenging word that God is speaking to the church, those once enlightened, those who understood at one time what God was saying. The enemy oftentimes will use the word to bring condemnation and discouragement. In many of your lives, the enemy may have used this passage to say that because you've experienced God and now may have come to a place of darkness, that there is no hope of coming back to God. That there is no hope for the presence of God in your lives.

I once faced such a place where I cried out to God and said "There's no place to run back to....If you don't save me, your my only hope! I began to read the word and read and the word and suddenly all of the pieces started coming together. All of a sudden God began to illuminate my heart and I became aware that the enemy was trying to keep me from the word of God.

 Listen, I want you know that If we continually walk in sin there is a place you can come to where your heart is so hardened that it can no longer be reached by the preaching of man. (see Ezekiel 33:32). Your heart becomes dull of hearing and you exchange passion for Christ for religious rituals and your conscience no longer speaks to you.

There is a difference between falling and falling away. The scriptures say a righteous man falls seven times, but he gets back up. He doesn't make friends with that with the sin that caused him to stumble.
There is going to be struggles, even failures in your walk with God. When I first came to know Christ I was delivered from some things but other things I continued to struggle with. I remember getting down on my knees about one such struggle and crying out, "God save me....please!...change me from the inside!!" As I look back upon my life God could have changed me immediately and some things did change right away. Other things did not change when I wanted them to and I remember asking the Lord, "Why?" He replied, "Andy, you would have never learned to use the shield of Faith and the sword of the Spirit. You would have never learned to take thoughts captive."

Falling away is when we make friends with compromise and hold hands with it. You harden your heart against the counsel of God and you begin to excuse that which is in you and make place for it.

I knew a man who believed God could use him to help others but did not believe that God could forgive him for what he had done. He felt that he had brought shame upon God's name.

I'm here to tell you that God is not threatened by the shame we bring on His name. He has provided a place called, "the sacrifice" and when the Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world, he made a place for us.

I shared with that man that he could either be a Peter who weeps bitterly over his transgressions....and yet when he sees Jesus he dives into the water and comes to Him because he knows his only hope is that redemption. Then one day Jesus raises him up at Pentecost to speak the word of God and brings salvation to thousands.

Or he could be a Judas who returns back that which he has done and openly confesses, "I've shed innocent blood!"...But in despair is unwilling to look at the cross and receive forgiveness.

God says, "That which is impossible with man is possible with God."

For further study, consider our latest podcast, you can stream or download it here;

Monday, January 1, 2018

I Hope in thy Word

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

My favorite definition of hope, is, "the expectation of future good." It's looking at my circumstances with the viewpoint that God is working out all things for my good. 

We can look at our situation from this perspective because we love God and we are "called," according to His purpose. 

There are three truths we must reflect upon in our trials that we can bank our lives on.

The first truth is that we know that God is sovereign
therefore he is in control. 

Even chaos and tragedy serve His eternal purpose.

               Secondly we must become convinced of His wisdom . 

The trials He allows are necessary to bring us to the place he desires to lead us to. 

              Lastly we must become convinced of His love

Nothing can come into our lives that has not been first filtered through the hands of a God who loves us.

In this coming New Year, though we may not know what awaits our lives, these three truths are the one constant. 

They are anchors of hope in life’s troubled sea.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure 
and steadfast and one which enters within the veil
Hebrews 6:19

For further reflections; consider my podcast from July of 2017, you can stream it here:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The God who hides himself

A lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence. 

Proverbs 12:27 

         One of the definitions of Diligence is painstaking moment forward. We cannot be passive in our relationship with the Lord.

God hides himself from the casual seeker.
There is a story about a student who went to a great teacher seeking to know God in a very personal and intimate friendship.

The teacher asked the student, "Do you trust me?" and he said, "Yes teacher, of course I trust you."

 So the teacher led him to a lake and they proceeded to wade out to where the water was waist deep. “What are we doing out here teacher?” asked the student reluctantly.

Once again the teacher looked into his eyes and asked, “Do you trust me?” 
The student eagerly replied, “Yes Teacher, I am ready to learn.”

The wise man placed one hand over the student’s nose and the other behind his head and lowered him backwards under the water. 

At first the student thought the wise man was baptizing him or performing some sort of ceremony so he held his breath and waited. 

It wasn’t very long and he needed air and he began to grip the teacher’s hands to try and get his attention. The teacher remained persistently still, holding the student under the water. 

The student began to struggle, desperate for air and finally breaking free of the teacher’s grip, he burst up out of the water.

Panting and exhausted the student asked, “What do you think you're doing? I couldn’t breathe?”

The teacher replied, "When you seek after God like you sought that breath, you will find Him.

Friends, our walk is a fight of faith, an internal battle to draw near to the Lord. If you've become disengaged in your relationship with God, focus on the discipline of daily quiet time with Him.
Be still and consider God in your thoughts and renew your mind with His Word. 

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 

Matthew 11:12

For further study, consider our podcast from June 2017
You can stream it here:

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