Thought of the day – Conformity

“Character is always lost when a high ideal

is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.”

Charles Spurgeon

John 12:42 ( NKJV ) Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;

In the above scripture we see that many rulers believed in Yeshua/Jesus but because of their fear of being put out of the synagogue they did not confess that they believed in Him.  Their fear of man and man’s reaction to their choice kept them from being open about the faith.  They were conforming to the expected norms of their society instead of being open about their beliefs.  Over the last month this has been a topic of study.

What is conformity?

Conformity – behavior or thought that is socially acceptable or expected; agreement, correspondence, or similarity in structure, manner, or character.

In the Spurgeon quote we see what happens when we sacrifice our ideals for acceptance.  We lose our character and integrity.

Psalms 29:5 tells us that fearing people is a dangerous trap.  In the KJV and the NKJV the word for trap is “snare” which is a hook or a noose.  Generally it means something that is elevated off of the ground so that once the target is hooked it cannot get any footing to escape.  So, when we give into the fear of man, of what people think about us we lose our footing and cannot get away.  We cannot take a stand for the things we should.  We become powerless.

One of the best examples of this other then the above scripture and the story of Nicodemus coming to speak to Yeshua/Jesus at night so that no one could see him is the Apostle Peter after the Lord has been arrested in Luke 22:54-62.

We see in this part of scripture that as the Lord is being led to the house of the high priest Peter follows at a distance (verse 54).  He wanted to be with the Lord but his fear kept him in the courtyard with the crowds that had gathered.  In verse 56 we read where a servant girl recognized him as a follower of Yeshua/Jesus.  Because of fear he has lost his integrity and commitment to the Lord and denies he knows Him (verse 57).  He tried to fit in among them but once you know the Lord you cannot fit in no matter how hard you try. I wonder what was going on inside of Peter at that moment.  In a split second he denied he even knew Him.  Did he duck his head and try to hide?  Probably.  But when the enemy sees you compromise he smells blood, your blood, and the demonic sharks begin to circle you.

In verse 58 another person notices him and says “You also are one of them.”  Instead of proudly saying “Yes I am!”  he says “Man, I am not!”  It most likely got easier the second time.  Compromise always does.  For an hour no one said anything to him except his guilty conscience speaking inside his heart and the voice of condemnation in his ear.  By now Peter is probably bound up by fear.  Fear for the Lord’s well being, fear about what would happen to them and fear that he would be found in the courtyard and punished as well.  I will bet it was the longest hour of his life and just like the enemy to back off just enough to catch you off guard.  And then comes the final slip of the knot.  The final wrap of the snare around Peter’s ankle.

Luke 22:59-62 ( NKJV ) Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

In a split second Peter’s heart was broken because he knew that not only had he let the Lord down but he knew the Lord saw it.  When their eyes met no words needed to be spoken.  What did he see when he looked into the Lord’s eyes.  Sadness?  Sorrow?  Disappointment?  It’s not like the Lord didn’t know he was going to do it.  He had told Peter so only hours before.

Luke 22:31-34 ( NKJV ) And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

By these words He we know He knew Peter would fail the test –  and when you have returned to Me.

Verse 62 tells us so much more then our English language can say.  In the original Greek that was translated into the KJV in 1611 it says that Peter didn’t just weep.  The words used for “wept bitterly” means he sobbed and wailed violently.    You know what that is.  Gut wrenching, violent chest heaving sobs.  The kind of sobbing where you cannot catch your breath and it hurts so bad that death would be pleasant.  Peter had looked into the eyes of the Man who for three years had not only been his Master and Teacher but also his best friend and knew he had let him down.  How would you feel if you knew He was watching you at your moment of conformity?

Adding to that pain was the knowledge that John was inside with Yeshua/Jesus.  In John Chapter 18 we read that John had gone in with the Lord while Peter waited fearfully outside.  He was supposed to be the leader and the strong one and he was outdone by the youngest of the disciples.  This would be a sad ending if we didn’t already know that when the Lord rose from the dead an angel told the women who had come to dress the Lord’s body in Mark 16:7 to tell the disciples and Peter (bold letters mine) to meet the Lord in Galilee.  How cool is that?  The Lord wanted to make sure Peter knew he was welcome.

You see the Lord knows your failures.  He’s seen the end from the beginning and He knows where and when you will fail Him but He’s already making a way for you to return to Him.  He didn’t stay to Peter “if you return to Me” He said “when you have returned to Me.” He’s already made a way for you when you fail that test.  An angel is waiting to be dispatched to remind you where to meet Him.

No matter what you’ve done He’s letting you know you are welcome to come back.

If you understand what happened to Peter you can understand why he never backed down again.  He was bold for the Lord and set his heart to never let the Lord down again.  We see that in his answers every time he was arrested and told to stop preaching about the Messiah.  We see it in his boldness after the Upper Room.  He stood up the a public square filled with thousands of people, maybe millions of people, and preached the first sermon of the New Church.  That boldness was born from brokenness and sealed by love.

Where are you right now in your walk with the Lord?  If push came to shove would you stand up for Him and His Word or would the fear of man ensnare you?  How easily do you compromise or conform when the risk is your livelihood or acceptance from people who you want to impress?  Is there anything in this World that can keep you from boldly and publicly saying ‘YES!” when they ask “are you one of them”?  Or, will you drop your head, hide your eyes and deny Him by your words or your actions?  Just sitting in a pew isn’t enough.  We are called to live it for everyone to see.

Matthew 5:14-16 ( NKJV ) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

You might be saying “I want to be like this but I don’t know how!”  What is your fear?  What could it cost you to take a stance for the Lord?  Is that cost worth what it does to you inside?  Is it worth giving up your character for?  Is it worth losing your footing and being ensnared by that fear?  Only you can answer that question.  Personally, I don’t know any other way to live.  I have to live with that Light shining no matter what the cost.  I love Him so much for what He’s done for me and how much He has loved me that I believe I would have been like John.  I would have marched into Caiaphas’ house with Him and been standing at the foot of the Cross too.  He died for me.  Can I do any less then live for Him?!  But, even if I were like Peter I know that He will be waiting for me to return and embrace me with open arms as He did Peter in John Chapter 21.

Find out where your thoughts and decisions have led you to conform.  Ask the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit to change the way you think.  That’s what the Apostle Paul, who knew all to well the cost of following the Lord, meant in Romans 12:2.
Romans 12:2 ( NKJV ) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 ( NLT ) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

When you do you will feel that rope slip off of your ankle and you will be set free from the snare of this World and what people think about you.

You will never be the same!

Shalom & Blessings,

Richard J Grund
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And through the hands of the apostles

many signs and wonders were done among the people.

And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

(Acts 5:12 NKJV)

www.onsolomonsporch.org/theporch

P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713

Thought for The Day – Integrity

A free Christian should act from within
with a total disregard for the opinions of others.
If a course is right, he should take it because it is right,
not because he is afraid not to take it.
And if it is wrong, he should avoid it
though he lose every earthly treasure
and even his very life as a consequence.
A. W. Tozer

Integrity – noun
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.
In a day and age when anything goes and usually does, one of the first thing to go is personal integrity.  Doing what is right because it’s right at all cost is a lost aspect of personal character.  We are encouraged more to be a character then to have character.  I was raised in a day and age where you were taught to keep your word no matter what the cost. I’ve tried to inspire that in my sons.  However, what I’ve seen is a world that not only does not reciprocate it but resents it.

Your life may be the only Bible some people read.
~Author Unknown

In the Book of Acts there is a story about a married couple named Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).  During this time in the Early Church they took care of one another (what a concept!) by sharing in their wealth and possessions.  Ananias and Sapphira had land that they sold and instead of giving the entire amount as they had promised they kept part of it for themselves.  When Peter confronted them he didn’t rebuke the fact that they had kept the amount they were chastised for lying about it.  The end result was that both Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead at Peter’s feet when he exposed this lack of integrity.  It would seem from the description on Acts 5 their hearts simply stopped beating at that moment.  There was no integrity in their hearts and therefore it gave out when confronted by the Holy Spirit through Peter.  I love what verse 11 says happened after that – So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.  What a Church we would have today if this were still happening as evidenced later on in the Book of Acts where it says that the churches were multiplied and grew from this respect and fear of a Living God (Acts 9:31).

Proverbs 29:25 ( NKJV )
The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

The Early Church had to rely on one another because of the persecution they experienced.  If someone did not keep their word and their promises, like Ananias and Sapphira, it would affect everyone.  Fear can be healthy.  If we weren’t afraid to put our hands in the fire because of being burned we would continually harm ourselves.  How much more so do we harm our souls and relationship with God because we do not have a healthy fear.

Proverbs 11:3 ( NKJV )
The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

At the end of the movie Watchmen there is a voice-over narration where the narrator says that the whole world was acting right and getting along because of the fear that the all-powerful all-knowing omnipotent Dr. Manhattan might be watching them.  Just think if after a devastating act of God the entire world acted right and did what was right because of the fear someone greater than them was watching.  Taking the definition of the word integrity we would see an adherence to a moral code and ethical principles that would preserve our lives as being whole and undiminished in a sound, unimpaired, perfect condition.

Proverbs 10:9 ( NLT )
People with integrity walk safely,
but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.

But, we as Believers do know that Someone is watching us.  Unfortunately many no longer believe that there is a price for their actions.  It’s not taught from the pulpit anymore that there is a time coming when we will all stand before the Great White Throne and give an account for every word and action in our lives.  Over and over again The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Later on the Lord teaches His disciples to be obedient out of love (John 14:15, 21, 15:10). If we love Him we will do what He says.  Such a simple concept is so difficult for so many to do.

Character is higher than intellect.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ask yourself this question – do you have integrity?  Is your word worth more than gold or is it worthless?  Would you keep your promise even if it hurt to do it? What do would you if thought one was watching?  And, then remind yourself that Someone is watching and making note of those choices and the answers to those questions.

2 Chronicles 16:9 ( NKJV )
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro
throughout the whole earth,
to show Himself strong
on behalf of those
whose heart is loyal to Him.

Shalom & Blessings,
Richard J Grund

And through the hands of the apostles
many signs and wonders were done among the people.
And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
(Acts 5:12 NKJV)
P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713

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The Price of Compromise

I had to follow up what I shared with you about compromise.  It made me think of the price of compromise.

When we compromise on God’s Word we compromise our own integrity.

When we compromise we settle for less then intended for us by our Heavenly Father.

I could list the many Biblical examples of compromise but there is one that hits closer to home for me.

In the summer of 1993 we tired of traditional religion and denominational thinking.  We wanted to worship the Father in Spirit and Truth and to experience the freedom of the Book of Acts Church.  So, after much prayer, we started a Home Fellowship that started with 12 people and one year later had grown to over 40 people filling our family room.  From the moment it began we saw signs and wonders and a free flow of the Spirit that is etched on our minds even today.  We were bringing the homeless into our home for fellowship and food.  Many got saved, got off the streets and were healed of their addictions.  One man, on the verge of alcohol poisoning from a three day Vodka bender, ran out of our home just before a service.  We chased him outside to see what was wrong.  Through his blue lips and violent tremors he said he could feel his body shutting down and didn’t want to die in our family room.  From the looks of his hands and what I saw on his face I knew he was telling us the truth.  I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and said “You not only won’t die but the Lord is going to heal you!” and physically dragged him back inside.  As we continued on with praise and worship I suddenly saw a commotion in the kitchen.  I turned to see this man jumping up and down, stone cold sober, and screaming “I’m healed!  I’m healed!”.  When word of the healings and move of the Spirit spread we grew quickly.  It was an exciting time.

In the summer of 1994, almost a year to the day the Fellowship began, as I stepped into the family room to start things I heard the Lord say to me, “The season is over.  Shut it down”.  In the seconds it took me to get from the kitchen to the pulpit in the family room I began negotiating with the Lord.  “Is that really you Lord?”  You see, I had just left a job with State Government and gone full time in ministry two months prior.  “What will I do for income? If this is you Lord I will let You shut it down”.  In mere seconds I had gone from Isaac (God’s perfect will) to Ishmael (God’s permissive will).  I know the Lord’s Voice.  He and I have had a conversational relationship from the day I got saved.  Instead of trusting Him as we did when we started the Home Fellowship I began to negotitate with God as Abraham did in regards to Ishmael.  Fear of the unknown kept me from being obedient and in a split second I went from His perfect will to His permissive will.  I have no idea what blessings I missed out on because I did not obey.

He did shut it down.  He let it die over the next 6-months until there was just one or two other people fellowshipping with my family and I.  No more miracle signs and wonders.  The move of the Spirit stopped coming and so did the people.  I felt it die and I knew that I had missed God.   That failure to trust Him and follow His will for me is something I will never forget and never let happen again.  Over the next few months He ministered Grace to my broken heart for failing Him and taught me that it’s out of love we should obey Him and His Word.  If we love Him we will do what He says because we know it’s His best for us.

That’s the thing about compromise and the fear that inspires it.  It has a price.  Settling for less then His best is costly.  That price is both external and internal.  Abraham understood that when he could not wait for the promise of Isaac to be fulfilled and gave birth to Ishmael.  When the promise of Isaac was fulfilled the two sons could not coexist.  Obedience and compromise cannot coexist.  And, was there ever a price for this compromise.  The conflict between the perfect will of God and the permissive will of God continues to this day in the Middle East.

When you compromise you concede to do less then the Word and accept that worldly decision as the right one for you.  That’s like being drinking a diet soda with a candy bar and claiming to be on a diet.  The two cannot coexist together and the outcome is less then intended.  Having one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the World is like have one foot in one boat and the other foot in another boat.  It’s impossible to sustain.  Sooner or later they will drift apart and you will fall.

Fear will keep us from doing what God wants us to do.  Fear of the unknown and fear of failure will cause us to settle for less.  At those moments we don’t trust God to honor our choice to be obedient.  The fact is when we honor God He honor us.  When we do not honor Him we dishonor ourselves.

Some of you know what I mean.  You live with that feeling right now.  It eats away at you and the price of it confronts you every time you wake up.  If you want release from it simply repent, put it under the Blood and get right with the Lord.  If there’s something you were supposed to do, do it.  Resolve to never compromise on the Word or His will for you again.  When something is compromised it is exposed to danger and disgrace.  Why risk that?

What areas of your life are compromised right now?  Find them and fix them.  Don’t settle for less then His best for you.

Accept it, embrace it and receive it.  You’ll be glad you did and so will He!
Shalom & Blessings,
Richard J Grund

The Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hoshanah begings Sundown Friday September 18th and ends sundown Sunday September 20th.

The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot begins sundown October 2, 2009 to sundown October 9, 2009

And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.
And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  (Acts 5:12 NKJV)
www.onsolomonsporch.org/theporch
P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713
Copyrighted material.  all rights reserved.  no duplication without permission

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Thought for the Day – Compromise

Acts 4:18-22 ( NLT ) So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him?  We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot.For everyone was praising God  for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

That’s a tough place to be in.  Caught in between a Rock and the hard place of the World.  Do you compromise and side with the World or do you take a bold stance for what is right in accordance with the Word?

We see it happening every day.  We currently live in a World that does not reinforce nor reward the boldness seen by the apostles in the scripture above.  However, they lived in a world where that kind of boldness cost them physical punishment and possibly even their lives.  The apostles did not hesitate to draw a spiritual line in the sand.

Recently we’ve seen thousands take public stances for their political beliefs.  How many of those same people would be so bold for their spiritual beliefs?
Proverbs 29:25 ( NKJV ) The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
Proverbs 29:25 ( NLT ) Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.

In many places in today’s World even believing in the Lord can cost someone their life.  Here in America we don’t see that yet but that does not mean there isn’t a price.  The whispers of the enemy in our ears warns us that if we stand with God we fall in the World.  Those whispers tell us we will lose our jobs, our friends, our familes or worldly respect and acceptance. The Spirit tells us there is a price too – integrity with God.

Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Confession is not just by our words but also by our actions.  Our actions can inspire someone else to make their own choices on a topic or sitiation.  What will your actions inspire them to do?  What do your actions say about you?

I cannot tell anyone what to do when that get caught in between the Rock and the hard place of the World.  I can only tell you what I would do.
Joshua 24:15 ( NKJV ) Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

You cannot be a friend of God and a friend of the World.  I refuse to compromise no matter what the cost.  He’s done too much for me to even consider not standing for and with Him.

It’s your choice.  Obey God or obey man.  The apostles made theirs.  I’ve made mine. What about you?

Shalom & Blessings,
Richard J Grund

The Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hoshanah begins Sundown Friday September 18, 2009 and ends sundown Sunday September 20th.

The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot begins sundown October 2, 2009 to sundown October 9, 2009

And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.
And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  (Acts 5:12 NKJV)
www.onsolomonsporch.org/theporch
P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713

Copyrighted material.  all rights reserved.  no duplication without permission

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Hello world!

We just wanted to say “Hello” and how excited we are to have a centralized place to share with you on various topics from natural to supernatural, spiritual to social and everything in between.

We will have guest blogs as well as from our regular writers.  Feel free to comment but keep the comments free of profane or abusive language.  We reserve the right to edit or delte inappropriate comments.  Otherwise, share with us and with other readers.