Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers – Part 3

By Patrick Hawthorne

salt shaker 3

For the past two articles, I have been addressing the attitude of the Church in which many have become ministers of the Word but have not been practitioners of the Word.  I had a message typed and was ready to submit.  However, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to stop and go a new direction.  So, here we go.

Let’s take a journey back to around 6000 years ago and take a look at Adam prior to the fall.  Adam, created in the image of Almighty God, operated on a plane known only as faith.  Sin and death had not yet entered the world; doubt and fear were non-existent. In truth, the earth that Adam and Eve lived was pure heaven come to earth.

Adam and Eve walked, talked and had fellowship with God.  No doubt, they enjoyed each other’s company.  Beyond the fellowship, Adam enjoyed the privilege of having dominion and authority over the earth.  It was his, given to him by God (Genesis 1:28-30).  He lived a perfect life.  And then something happened…Eve was deceived and Adam sinned.  (Genesis 3:6-7)

Immediately, with eyes opened wide to the knowledge of good and evil, their world was turned upside down.  The Law of life in the spirit had suddenly been flipped on its head revealing the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).  The authority and dominion Adam once held was stripped away from him, not by God but by satan, the new ruler of the kingdom of the earth. (Matthew 4:9).

March forward four-thousand years.  Long forgotten was the authority and dominion that Adam once held; the joy of living a life of heaven come to earth.  O’ it was talked about but beyond Adam it was nothing more than a distant memory.  That is until, one fateful night when a baby was born in a manger.  Suddenly, all heaven opened up and a chorus of angels cried, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men..;” God’s will towards mankind.  (Luke 2:14)

Jesus, the Word who was with God, the Word who IS God  (John 1:1), took on flesh and came to this earth with a radical message. He not only talked of love and of Kingdom authority, He operated in love and authority.  He became the second and final Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-47).

Jesus was perfect; He was sinless.  Not of the tainted blood of fallen man – for life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) – He willingly became the perfect sacrifice to atone for, once and for all, the sins of man.  It was through His shed blood that He was able to make right the wrong begun by Adam in the Garden of Eden. Through Jesus, all dominion, power, and authority held by satan was no more. (Colossians 2:15).

The Word of God, beginning in Ephesians 2:4 tells us that we, who were once dead in our sins but now have been made alive with Jesus, have been raised up with Him and have been seated in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  Why is this?  It is because “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).  He restored the authority and power which He in turn gave to His body, the Church. (Ephesians 1:19-23)

This is not some, “When I’m dead and gone,” word for us but a here and now message indicating that we have authority through Christ Jesus; authority in declaring to the rebellious and usurping powers of the devil the divine purposes of God.  This is part of those good works He has called us to walk in.

We have the authority through Christ Jesus to pray for the sick and expect them to be healed.  We have the authority to come against wickedness attempting to invade our homes and families and to pray for an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.  We have the authority to stand boldly in the face of uncertainty and say, “No, the Word says…”

As I write this I wonder how many holier-than-thou eyes are rolling.  “Why you are just another one of those blab it and grab it type believers.”  No sir or mam.  I am one of those, “God’s Word said it so I’m going to walk in it,” type believers. My question is, “Why aren’t you?”  Be blessed.

Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers – Part 2

Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers?

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Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers – Part 2

By Patrick Hawthorne

salt shaker 2

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should become-tasteless, with what will it be salted? It no longer has strength for anything except, having been thrown outside, to be trampled-underfoot by people. (Matthew 5:13 Disciples Literal New Testament).

In my last post,  Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers? I wrote, “Yes, we tout our conversions for Christ as some great achievement, but where is the discipleship?  Where are the “Doer’s of the Word and not hearers only?”  We have more biblical knowledge than any generation before us.  Yet, why is this world so dark? Is it because we are hiding our lights under the cover of our churches?  Are we so busy with our inward fighting of each other that we are failing in our good fight of faith?”

I received some wonderful comments, but two really stood out.  One came from Donald Norris who wrote, ” By being the salt of the earth, we are called to make others thirsty for the Word of God.”  (underline mine).  That really made me stop and think.

Do I live the Gospel?  Do I live my life in such a way that I make others thirsty for what I have as has been given to me through my Lord Jesus?  You see, it is one thing to speak the Gospel.  It is another thing to live the Gospel.  If we fail to live the Gospel, we become as tasteless salt having no value other than to be waste on the ground.  This leads to the other comment made by Pastor Mel Wild.

Pastor Mel wrote, “One thing about Jesus’ illustration here is that old salt was often pounded into the cracks in the Roman roads so that the soldiers could walk over it unhindered. So, when Jesus says it would be “trampled underfoot,” He was giving the picture of the enemy using our “un-saltiness” to fulfill his purposes unhindered by us! Pretty sad when you see it that way! But it’s true, the enemy often uses immature and carnal Christians to fulfill his agenda.” (underline mine).

As born again Christ-In children of our Heavenly Father, we must move beyond merely speaking the Word; we must live the Word.  Yes, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), but unless we live what we profess, we are no better than the Scribes and the Pharisees.  If you recall, Jesus called them hypocrites.  Be blessed.

 

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Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers?

By Patrick Hawthorne

salt

 

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should become-tasteless, with what will it be salted? It no longer has strength for anything except, having been thrown outside, to be trampled-underfoot by people. (Matthew 5:13 Disciples Literal New Testament).

Jesus had just begun His teaching in what we have come to know as the Beatitudes.  In carrying on the thought of, “Blessed are..,” He interjects – to those who are present for the message – that they are the salt of the earth; that WE are the salt of the earth.  He then tells them that they are lights meant to shine for all to see.

Of late, my thoughts have been toward the Body of Christ and how we have failed in so many ways.  As I read this particular verse, I could not help but think, “Have we become an army of empty salt shakers?”

Yes, we tout our conversions for Christ as some great achievement, but where is the discipleship?  Where are the “Doer’s of the Word and not hearers only?”  We have more biblical knowledge than any generation before us.  Yet, why is this world so dark? Is it because we are hiding our lights under the cover of our churches?  Are we so busy with our inward fighting of each other that we are failing in our good fight of faith?

Believe me, as I am pointing my finger at you I am just as much turning it back on me.  Jesus came to this world, not just to die, but to show us how to live.  He came to this earth to right the wrong brought about in the Garden of Eden.  Jesus came to reestablish heaven on earth so that we could once again walk in the cool of the evening with our Heavenly Father.  He came to restore the authority and the power that was stolen by the father of lies.  He came so that we could show a lost and dying world that there is freedom.

Yet, have we become as a lamp, empty of any oil in which to light a flame; salt which has lost all flavor?  No, I don’t think so.  I think we have merely lost our way but for a moment.  We will once again find our way once we stop talking the talk and begin walking the talk.  Be blessed.

 

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“Freedom From Sin…” A $19.95 value (free today for the first one gazillion readers)

By Patrick Hawthorne

hitting head

Would you like to know the secret of how to be delivered from sin – at no cost?   As in, for free?  The answer is so simple, yet so profound.  Are you ready?  Here we go…

“Replace your thoughts…”

“Well, duh…why didn’t I think of that?”  You say with fire in your eyes and fists raised.

Now, hold on a second before you throw “Duh” stones.  I’m for real.  Romans 8:5 (DLN version) says, “For the ones being in accordance with the flesh are thinking the things of the flesh, but the ones being in accordance with the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Read all of Romans 8.  You will see that the reason the righteous and perfect Law failed is because the people trying to follow it are anything but righteous and perfect.  The more the Law told man not to sin, the more the sinful flesh pestered them to sin.  In other words, the focus of the people was constantly on the sin and not on the solution to the sin.

Now that we have, “Christ in us,” the righteousness of the Law has been placed within us through the Holy Spirit.  This is why Paul could boldly declare, “There is NOW no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).

So, to put it very simple, if you want to be free of a sin that has been pestering you for so many years, replace your thoughts.  Immediately, when the compulsion to act stirs within you, instead of trying to resist in your strength and will power, ask the Holy Spirit to replace that thought with His thoughts.  Eventually, as you operate in faith, you will begin to see the strangle hold of your sin begin to loosen its grip. Be blessed.

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A Pig is a Pig is a Pig

By Patrick Hawthorne

pig

As the Church, we sometimes fall into the trap of wanting our government officials to legislate morality.   We fuss and fume because of the seemingly lack of common sense among those who do not walk according to the Holy Spirit but according to the flesh.  We forget that, apart from Jesus Christ in our lives, we would be no better than those whom we complain about.

If I take a mud wallowing, garbage eating, bad smelling pig and gave it a bath, it would still be a pig.  If I soaked it for hours in the finest bubble bath, cleaned its teeth, and tied a pretty bow around its porky neck, it would not make it any less of a pig.  It is because it is still a pig on the outside as much as it is a pig on the inside.

When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, what we once were on the inside is forever changed into the new man.  “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We cannot not expect the same life changing result from those not born again because they have not been recreated – regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

To attempt to force the government to legislate morality is essentially the same as taking a pig to the car wash.  Yes, the pig may be clean on the outside but it is still a pig on the inside.  The law may force them to act one way on the outside but will do nothing to change the true root of the problem on the inside…the heart.  Think about that the next time you are tempted to whine or complain instead of pray.  I have to constantly remind myself as well.  Be blessed.

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Ibuprofen and Sin

By Patrick Hawthorne

Pills 2

 

I am, at the time of writing this post, two months and one week post-surgery for a torn rotator cuff.  For anyone who has experienced a shoulder surgery, you will definitely identify with what I am about to write.

It was the second full day following surgery when the pain hit.  It was so intense that I was struggling to hold back the tears.  I had learned, to my dismay, that narcotic type pain killers do nothing for me.  When I say nothing, I mean that they do not make me sleepy, dopey, sick, or anything else.  Well, I guess that is not quite true.  They make me hungry and slightly unsteady on my feet but do not really touch the pain.

As I sat upright on the bed, clutching my arm and rocking back and forth, my wife, in desperation to help me, brought me an 800mg ibuprofen.  Within hours the pain began to subside to a point where it was nothing more than a tolerable ache.   The next morning, I was feeling about as good as a person could feel following surgery.  I continued my ibuprofen regimen faithfully and got to the point where I shoved all other pain pills to the side.  It was me and my good buddy ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen accompanied me everywhere I went.  It was such a good friend to me that I was able to return to light duty work ten days following the surgery.  Ibuprofen went with me to physical therapy and to church; to restaurants and on little road trips.  Ibuprofen was my pal…until…

A couple of days ago, at the time of the writing of this post, I was playing around with an automated blood pressure monitor and decided to take my blood pressure.  To my horror, my pressure had jumped to a level that, for me, was extremely high.  After praying about it, I felt led to look into the side effects of ibuprofen.  To my discovery, ibuprofen in large quantities can cause the kidney’s – among other things – to work overtime, thereby causing the blood pressure to rise.  My friend, I learned, had just become my enemy.

Immediately I said “adios,” to ibuprofen and began to flush my kidneys with copious amounts of water.  It took three days but eventually my blood pressure returned to normal.  What else returned was a low steady dull ache from a surgically repaired rotator cuff.  But, that is alright.  I know that it is well on its way to full recovery.

So, what is the relationship of ibuprofen to sin?  That is simple.  Sin, like the ibuprofen (for me,) brings joy for a season.  What we don’t realize, while in the midst of our sins, is that it is silently killing us.  As the Proverbs says, sin appears beautiful for the moment but hides behind its beauty a veil of death and destruction (Proverbs 9:13-18).

It may be difficult, but we have to treat sin as the killer that it is.  We must cut it off at its source.  Yes, there may be a bit of pain involved but that is alright.  With the pain comes the knowledge that we are well on our way to a full recovery.  Be blessed.

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor and am not advising anyone to get off ibuprofen if your doctor has prescribed it to you.  Medications react with different people in different ways.  Talk to your doctor before deciding to change any medications.

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Wilderness Survival Training

By Patrick Hawthorne

wilderness

 

 

Sometimes, Jesus wants to minister to what’s in us before He releases us to someone else.”                             Mel Wild

 

 

My last two posts have been focused on moving into the plans and the purposes the Lord has called us to.  As I wrote in Preparing to be Prepared, sometimes we may not be seeing open doors because we are not prepared for when that door does open.  In I Want it Now, I addressed our sometimes bratty attitude of wanting things now and wanting it done our way.  It is in those moments we must learn to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)

In this post I would like to cover another facet of why we might not be immediately moving into the plans and purposes we know the Lord has called us to.  I like to call this facet, “Wilderness Survival Training.” Each born again child of God must undergo this training at least once in their lives if they want to grow in the things of the Lord.  To circumvent this training is to set oneself up for certain failure.

It is in the wilderness that we learn to trust in the Lord will all our heart.  It is where we learn to cast aside doubt and fear and to walk by faith.  Most of all, it is where we learn to totally expose our hearts before the Lord and to allow Him to work a work in us that will forever change our lives.  One might consider it as a “Train the Trainer,” type program.  Once again, to circumvent such training is to set oneself up for certain failure.

Consider the words of Mel Wild.

“I think part of the problem with our preparations is that we do the “activity” stuff (read the Bible, praying, seeking…) but we’re not actually opening our hearts to what’s going on inside of us.  That’s part of humility too…being vulnerable to His penetrating but loving gaze.  Are we letting Him deal with our anger, fears, wounds, disappointments, ambitions, etc.?  This “Word” searches the inner thoughts and motives of our hearts (Hebrew 4:12).  The Word is Jesus Himself.  Sometimes, Jesus wants to minister to what’s in us before He releases us to someone else.” (Underline mine)

Let that last sentence burrow down deep within your heart.  When was the last time you allowed Jesus to minister to you?  When was the last time you totally opened up to the Lord and said, “Here I am, mess and all.”  By freely submitting to the wilderness training, you are putting yourself in a position to where you will be a valuable witness for the Lord and to His goodness.  Be blessed.

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