amberdover

The High King Lives

The Danger of Idolizing Celebrity Preachers July 24, 2015

“Not many [of you] should become teachers ([a]self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].”

James 3:1 Amp Version

“God still speaks through rocks and donkeys.” ~Paul Washer (Amen bro!)

I like to watch preaching but I’ve learned the hard way not to idolize preachers…just as I learned not to idolize “experts” in any field. Humans make mistakes. I may go to a doctor to consult about my health but that doesn’t mean that I should trust a doctor blindly. Preachers and pastors have a great calling to guide God’s people, but they are still human, and every follower of Christ has the same Holy Spirit. We all have access to God’s Word. And ultimately when we stand before God in Heaven we will take account for ourselves. “But the preacher said this…” won’t cut it. Do you know Jesus personally? That’s what matters. You won’t get to Heaven riding on someone’s coat tails.

I say this as a fellow student and a fellow traveler in life. We should test the spirits. We should search the scriptures for ourselves.

Paul speaks of the Bereans

“11 Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [[a]concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11 AMP

Now to bring balance, sometimes we won’t like a sermon because it doesn’t tickle our ears and our flesh hates it. We feel conviction and maybe we are fighting it. How do we know the difference? Well, what are we using as our standard? God’s Word in context? or our emotions and experiences? In the end it does not matter what we have experienced, what we feel, or what our culture says….all that matters is what God says. God’s truth will often bring conviction. It will bring the fruit of the Spirit. But if a sermon brings condemnation, pride, fear, or other ungodly attitudes then it is not of the Spirit.

Sometimes preachers give messages in the flesh. Again, they are human. I saw this in my Dad. He was a former drug dealer that turned preacher. I could tell when my Dad was preaching from pride and his flesh. I could also tell when my Dad was humble and it was God’s Spirit speaking through Him. I struggled to listen to his sermons done in pride. But when he spoke with humility, my heart opened.

Things to question when you hear a message

  • Does the Bible (in context) support this?
  • Does the speaker display Christ-like behavior?
  • Does it edify the body of Christ?
  • Does it make sense?

I pray that you will be strong in these last days. These are deceptive times. I try to teach Michael to read the Bible himself and not idolize me or his dad. I tell him that we are human and we will fail him at times, but Jesus is the perfect friend. The Heavenly Father is the perfect parent. God’s Word is perfect guidance (read in context). I hope to share helpful info on how to read the Bible, soon. I’m working on it.

I pray that you, dear one, won’t idolize me or any other blogger. We may look put together on the outside but I assure you that every one of us are just as human as you. We struggle with sin just as much. We are desperately hanging on to Jesus to help us through this mess of a world. The thought of someone putting me on a pedestal scares me. I don’t want that.

Anywho, so when you meet teachers, preachers, pastors, and any leaders in the church…remember they are human. They need friends. They need accountability. They need guidance. They need love. They bleed. They cry. They need prayer. Even the ones that are really off theologically. Even the corrupt ones. God’s grace is available to all. Any one can be changed by God if they repent. Don’t idolize them. Please pray for them. They’ve taken on a scary task.

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

 

Inspirational Wednesday: First Love August 21, 2013

Hello dear ones! Last time we talked about idolatry. Today we will look at the book of Hosea. Here’s a synopsis. Hosea is a prophet of God who is told to marry a harlot. The harlot  Gomer (I keep thinking of Gomer Pyle), leaves Hosea and goes back to playing the prostitute. Hosea actually goes and buys back his wife. Why would God tell His prophet to marry a whore? We see through out the book of Hosea that God uses Hosea’s marriage as an illustration of God’s dealings with Israel. God being the husband and His people Israel being the adulterous wife.  Wow, to be a prophet back then. Think that’s wild? You should read Ezekiel!
God is Love

By Wingchi Poon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • We see that God is a jealous God. He will do whatever it takes to bring back His own. In Israel’s case, God disciplines them by letting them go into captivity. God’s umbrella of protection is removed because of their habitual disobedience and idolatry.

1 REJOICE NOT, O Israel, with exultation as do the peoples, for you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved +[a harlot’s+] hire upon every threshing floor +[ascribing the harvest to the Baals instead of to God+].

2 The threshing floor and the winevat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.

3 They shall not remain in the Lord’s land, but Ephraim shall return to +[another+] Egypt and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.” Hosea 9:1-3 Amplified

  • We see that God is merciful over and over again. Just as Hosea buys back His wife, the Lord buys his people back. We ultimately see this in the New covenant when He buys us back with the blood of Jesus. The book of Hosea is directly to Israel but it is indirectly for all God’s people. The gentiles are brought in later under the blood of the new covenant. We  see that God will restore Israel to Him completely. I believe that will happen when the Lord returns in the last days and they realize Jesus is Messiah.

“16 And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi +[my Husband+], and you shall no more call Me Baali +[my Baal+].

17 For I will take away the names of Baalim +[the Baals+] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned {or} seriously remembered by their name.

18 And in that day will I make a covenant for Israel with the living creatures of the open country and with the birds of the heavens and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword and +[abolish battle equipment and+] conflict out of the land and will make you lie down safely.

19 And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.

20 I will even betroth you to Me in stability {and} in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord.

21 And in that day I will respond, says the Lord; I will respond to the heavens +[which ask for rain to pour on the earth+], and they shall respond to the earth +[which begs for the rain it needs+],

22 And the earth shall respond to the grain and the wine and the oil +[which beseech it to bring them forth+], and these shall respond to Jezreel +[restored Israel, who prays for a supply of them+].

23 And I will sow her for Myself anew in the land, and I will have love, pity, {and} mercy for her who had not obtained love, pity, {and} mercy; and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people, and they shall say, You are my God!

Hosea 2:16 -23
Bride and groom cropped

By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

  • We’ve seen that sometimes God will remove His hand of blessing in order to bring us back to Him when we stray.
  • I want to take a detour real quick and say that God wants to be pursued and loved as number one. Humans are made in the image of God. We have a bit of his essence and character in us. All of creation points to who God is. Like an artist who leaves his mark, we can see God’s fingerprints all over us.
  • Women show a special part of God. Science proves that men and women are different especially in the way we think. We can see different sides of God by looking at the needs and characteristics of each gender. We can also learn about God by how the curse left us empty. Men and women were affected differently by the curse. Men were cursed to failure and women to loneliness. The books “Captivated” and “Wild at Heart” have a good bit to say on this subject. Praise God, Jesus came to break the curse!
  • The curse is interesting because it was caused by idolatry. Adam and Eve trusted in themselves instead of God. They wanted to be gods. By rebelling against God they were cursed with an emptiness that can only be filled by God himself. Think about how Men desperately need respect and women desperately need love.
  • Before you start thinking this is a dictatorship I want you to consider the quote below. My friend, the Bible is a love story. We’re living the greatest love story ever!

“What a comfort to know that this universe we live in is relational at it’s core, that our God is a tenderhearted God who yearns for relationship with us. If you have any doubt about that , simply look at the message he sent is in Woman. Amazing. Not only does God long for us, but he longs to be loved by us.” ~ Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

“God wants to be loved. He wants to be a priority to someone. How could we have missed this? From cover to cover, from beginning to end, the cry of God’s heart is, ‘Why won’t you choose me?‘ It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point. ‘You will find me,’ says the Lord, ‘when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:13). In other words, ‘Look for me, pursue me–I want you to pursue me.’ Amazing. As Tozer says, ‘God waits to be wanted’.”

~Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Sépulcre Arc-en-Barrois 111008 09

By Vassil (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The story of Hosea is beautiful. In it we realize that God isn’t a dictator. God is a lover who simply wants us to be faithful in our love to Him.
  • In this twisted modern culture, adultery is celebrated. Selfishness is celebrated. It shouldn’t be so. Maybe you can understand why a spouse would commit adultery when their spouse is severely flawed. That’s not quite as bad you may say.
  • But think about this: Our God made every part of us. Every good thing comes from God. We would not have brains to think, mouths to speak, and eyes to see with out Jesus. We would not have coffee to drink, clouds to watch, and emotions to feel if God had not made them.  Our Creator is a faithful and good “husband”. He takes care of all our needs. He shed His own blood to buy us back from sin. If anyone deserves faithfulness it is Jesus Christ.
  • Think about your own relationships. How do you feel when you are neglected? Ignored? Cheated on? Put on the back burner? Don’t you want to be someone’s soul mate? Don’t you want them to have eyes just for you? God’s feelings are so much stronger and He deserves that kind of affection more than we ever could.

So when you are hurt by a friend or spouse, think about how Jesus feels when we treat Him the same.  Human beings can’t satisfy your soul. They will fail and you will fail. Why not give your life to Jesus, the only one who can satisfy? He will be there when every one else leaves you lonely. He wants your faithful friendship. He loves you.

  • When we are judged, it is those that know  Jesus that will enter into God’s kingdom. Notice in Matthew 7: 21-23 that these people had done great works in God’s name but  Jesus didn’t know them. (Amplified version)

“21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.

22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?

23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly +[disregarding My commands+].”


Efesolibreria

By Domènec Leal (Fotografia propia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Lastly, I leave you with the letter to the Church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation 2:2-5 Amplified version.

2 I know your industry {and} activities, laborious toil {and} trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked +[men+] and have tested {and} critically appraised those who call +[themselves+] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors {and} liars.

3 I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted {or} become exhausted {or} grown weary.

4 But I have this +[one charge to make+] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first +[you have deserted Me, your first love+].

5 Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously +[when first you knew the Lord+], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind {and} repent.”

  • Keep in mind that this was written to a real church in Asia minor. The church at Ephesus was great at works and apologetics but they were missing something. They had forgotten what it mean’t to know the Lord. They were so busy working for God that they didn’t spend time with God.
  • Some say the lampstand is the Holy Spirit and salvation itself but lets take this in context. As I said, Ephesus (and the other six churches mentioned in Revelation) was a real church in Asia Minor. We see in verse 1 of the second chapter in the Amplified version of the Bible that the church itself was the lamp stand.

Flickr - eflon - Father and Son

By Alex from Ithaca (Father and Son) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Is Jesus your first love? Are you spending time with him or have idols become your heart’s desire? Today I pray that we will all return to our first love, Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

 

Inspirational Wednesday: Idols July 31, 2013

“13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29:13 KJV

(Father God speaking directly to the Israelites and indirectly to all His children)

“37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

~Matthew 23: 37 KJV (Jesus speaking to the Jews)

“20 Neither for these alone do I pray +[it is not for their sake only that I make this request+], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word {and} teaching,

21 That they all may be one, +[just+] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe {and} be convinced that You have sent Me.”  ~John 17:20-21 Amplified (Jesus’ prayer for his disciples)

  • Through out time God has reached out to those who seek Him. God loves us and wants us to love Him. Sadly, like Eve turning to the forbidden fruit, we choose to turn to idols to satisfy us.  We believe Satan’s lie that God is not enough and that he’s holding out on us. Sure we may profess faithfulness but because we still live in a fallen world and dwell in curse ridden flesh we often play the harlot. Paul described it this way:

“22 For I endorse {and} delight in the Law of God in my inmost self +[with my new nature+].

23 But I discern in my bodily members +[in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh+] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs +[in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh+].

24 O unhappy {and} pitiable {and} wretched man that I am! Who will release {and} deliver me from +[the shackles of+] this body of death?

25 O thank God! +[He will!+] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind {and} heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”  Romans 7:23-25 Amplified (emphasis mine)

  • If you’re new to the faith then you’re probably wondering what playing the harlot means etc. Spiritually we are one with the Lord when we become God’s children. The Bible uses the relationship of a husband and wife to describe the closeness we now have with Jesus (God) and that barely scratches the service of what we have. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us.  When we seek idols it’s like playing the harlot and committing adultery. I’m not talking about idols like statues though that can happen too. These days idols take other forms.
  • Here’s a good quote by Richard Keyes in Kelly Minter’s devotional “No Other Gods”

An idol is something within creation that is inflated to function as a substitute for God. All sorts of things are potential idols, depending only on our attitudes and actions towards them…Idolatry may not involve explicit denials of God’s existence or character. It may well come in the form of an over-attachment to something that is, in itself,  perfectly good…An idol can be a physcial object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero–anything that can substitute for God.

  • A couple more quotes from the same devotional and this time in Kelly Minter’s words.

“…a professed god is who or what we say our god is; a functional god is who or what actually operates as our god.”

“Whatever we fear is our god. Fear itself is not the god; the object of our fear is the god.”

  • This was interesting. When God led the Israelites out of Egypt they were blessed with the riches of Egypt. The Israelites later turned around and used that same gold to make an idol.

“The Israelites turned God’s gifts into gods.” ~Kelly Minter

  • How often do we do this too? God blesses us with a job or a house and we begin to worship it instead. It can even be family or a talent. But if tragedy happens and that thing gets taken away we get mad at God. Here’s a great video that shows when we worship God’s gifts instead of God.

Email subscribers please come to my blog to see this video and the one at the beginning of this post ;).

  •         I really like the lyrics of the music video at the beginning. You can scroll down and read them at the bottom of this post. I hope you were able to listen to the song by Tenth Avenue North. It talks about how we look for love as if God isn’t enough. It talks about how we run to other things when God is right there with arms open. He wants us to come to Him to meet our needs. We were created by God to have relationship with Him…to be completely fulfilled in Him.  Sadly, the fall back with Adam and Eve messed us up.

Like I said in the beginning, we run to idols and so many times we don’t understand why we keep distancing ourselves from Jesus. He never leaves us but we can tune the Spirit out to the point that we are numb. When we grieve the Spirit that way we can’t hear God’s voice clearly and often our prayers go unanswered. Think about it. If you were ignored by someone and pushed away would you just take it? God is so much greater than us and He is full of mercy. He will go as far as it takes to bring His own back when we stray. His love and mercy cover us no matter what but the blessing of intimacy with God requires that we seek Him.  When He calls us back we must go to Him.  Sometimes people stray and sin away their testimony until God takes them out physically. I’ve seen it happen and it’s sad.

  • My Dad often said “God always brings back His own, either on their knees or in a box.” That’s not Bible but the truth of the statement is supported Biblically.  I would much rather come back on my knees.
  • When I was a young believer, I prayed that God would do whatever it took to keep me close to Him. That is one prayer that I know He said yes to and I’ve seen it answered time and time again. Often hardship has brought me back when I stray. There’s this desperation when I stray to a certain point. It’s like a thirsty man in a desert. Every time I get to that point I know why….I’ve neglected the Lord. My need for Him is so apparent. Depression sets in so quick.  The only salvation for my soul (my emotions not my Spirit) is to spend time with Jesus. Then the peace comes.

There’s so much I want to say and other Bible verses/stories to go into but this is getting long. So I’m going to split this up into a series.  Below are the lyrics from the song for you to look at. I can’t guarantee that I’ll post on this every week but it is in the process ;).

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

By Your Side

By Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh…
Lyrics from <a href=”http://www.elyrics.net”>eLyrics.net</a&gt;