The Evil “I”

By The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)Evil within

Many times I’ve felt much like the Apostle Paul. I’ve had my share of pain and rejection in my life and I’ve often had to face them without human comfort. Yet, hardships are just part of life. We all face struggles from time to time. None of us are immune. We have no choice over the cards that life deals us. However, we can choose how we play those cards. Do I sit in the corner, licking my wounds, buried in bitterness and self-pity, or do I adopt Paul’s attitude? For Paul went on to say:

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. (vs. 9-10)

It’s so easy for us to look at what we don’t have and let that overshadow the many ways God has so abundantly blessed us. He’s the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) He’s is the one who said, “I’ll never leave you are forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) God’s the one who said, “I’ll supply all of your needs.” (Philippians 4:19) He’s the one who has saved me completely. (Hebrews 7:25)

God has blessed us beyond measure. Everything else is icing on the cake. So, the choice is mine as to what to do when troubles beset me. Do I choose anger and bitterness or do I choose the hope and peace found in God’s Word? It’s not an easy choice and it costs you something, but anything worthwhile always cost us something. What is the price? Simple, it’s our pride. It’s the evil “I”.

Psychiatrists call it the ego. It’s that part of our psychological makeup that believes it must fight for itself in the world. Left unchecked by the Holy Spritual it devolops into a dog eat dog mentallity that leads to our distruction.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

The ego is the basis of pride. Pride, self-centeredness, is the basis of all sin. It’s the source of all negative human behavior. Not only is it the root of such things as arrogance, self-importance and religious bigotry, it also gives birth to things like fear, anger, self-debasement, self-pity and shame.

I spent most of my young life unaware of the fact that I was full of pride. It was a wicked mixture of religious arrogance and self-loathing. Thus, most of my life was spent lamenting over how cruel life had been to me. I was focused on the evil “I”. Then one day God exposed my pride to me in the form a woman in a church I use to attend.

This lady was in a terrible emotional condition. Nearly every worship service found her at the alter having one of the pastors pray with her over the same things. Then one night, after worship, I overheard her bellyaching to someone about her life. “I’m afraid of what my husband and children would think if I ….” “I’m afraid to try that because I might fail”, on and on she went voicing the same theme. As I listened the Lord revealed to me the true source of her problem.

In the past, everyone was trying to treat the symptoms–fear, self-pity, poor self-image, faithlessness, est., rather than treating the problem. “I know what your problem is.” I told her. “What?… What?!” she asked, eyes wide open and filling with tears. “It’s pride”, I answered. “PRIDE?!” she exclaimed, “PRIDE? Oh, no! What do you mean?!” “Well, it’s evident in the things you say. ‘I’m afraid of this.’ ‘I’m afraid of that.’ ‘I’m afraid of what my family will think.’ What is the middle letter in the word ‘sin’?” I asked. “‘I’”, she replied. “What’s the middle letter of the word ‘pride’?” I asked. “It’s ‘I’”, she responded. Her eyes were now fountains. Streaks of mascara were on her glistening cheeks.

“You see, all pride is self-centeredness.” I continued. “Your focus is on you and your feelings of inadequateness.” “Oh, no!” she cried. “What do I do?” “Recognize it as sin and, once for all, repent of it. Then study The Bible and see what God thinks of you as his child.” I prayed with her and walked her through as she asked for God’s forgiveness for her pride.

It’s pride, that evil “I”, that also makes us loose our cool with others ¾ be it at home or in traffic. It’s pride that makes us think that everything’s supposed to go or way. Then, it’s pride that gets us all bent out of shape when things don’t go our way. The choice is ours to make. I can’t blame anyone but myself for the bad choices I’ve made and the bitter aftermath that followed. My made my bed, I must now sleep in it. You reap what you sow and so forth.

I wasted so many years wallowing in bitterness and self-pity. I’m now choosing to do otherwise. Theses days I’m letting God’s Word be my mirror. With God’s help, I’m keeping my pride in check. Am I always successful at it? No. Do I still battle bitterness and feelings of inadequacies? Oh yes, often! However, as time goes by and my walk with God grows stronger, it becomes easier to defeat the evil “I”.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Recognize that self-debasing is pride and pride is sin.

Repent of it!

Renounce it!

Reprogram your thinking with God’s Word.

One of the worse form of pride is to to say that your openion of yourself is more important than God’s opinion of you.

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“All I need is a King James Bible and a dictionary.”

[A] variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures.” — The KJV Translators

Someone once told me, “All I need is a King James Bible and a dictionary.” As I left I was thinking about what he said and an image came to me. There were Jesus and the Apostles sitting around a big fire. Jesus was teaching and there were the Apostles passing a dictionary back and forth trying to understand what Jesus was saying!

In 2003, Merriam-Webster updated its collegiate dictionary. The dictionary’s lexicographers made more than 100,000 changes and added more than 10,000 new words and phrases that did not appear in 1993.

We don’t use Elizabethan English in 21st century America. God’s Word is much too important to leave it in antiquated terms that are no longer in use, or words that have a totally different meaning today than they did in 1611. The writers wrote the words down in the language of the day. Shouldn’t we have Gods WORD in the language of our day? We must update the language and keep God’s Word fresh and readable. We must make sure that the message remains clear. The translators of the KJV understood this. That’s why the KJV went through many revisions before we got the one we all know and love today.

 

Three Words of Freedom

   —The Hard Copy—

By Rod Davis

Do you need a miracle in you life? Do you need one in your home? Is a relationship with someone you love slowly degenerating and facing eventual destruction and only a miracle from God can turn it around? Well, I’m going to tell you how to get a miracle.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts…” (Psalm 51:6) [I]

He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. (1 Kings 18:33)

We’ve got to “come clean” with one another. We must, if you’ll excuse the expression, cut the bull! David understood the importance of honesty in relationships. He knew that the lines of communication could be severely hampered if he let an offence remain unsettled. The same holds true for us. Every interpersonal relationship you have (including the one you have with God) demands honesty.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Ephesians 4:25)

If you tie a tourniquet on one of your limbs and leave it there indefinitely something terrible will happen. That part of your body will no longer receive anything from the rest of your body. It will soon begin to whither and die. If you allow unresolved issues to cut you off from a family member or friend your relationship with them will begin to whither and die.

Do you have a relationship that is withering and dying? Maybe you feel like it’s already dead. Have you been hurt and angered by a loved one or perhaps a loved one is hurt with angry with you? You see no resolution to this painful situation? You need a miracle, right? Well, I’ve got one for you.

I have three words for you that will bring about amazing miracles in you life and bring healing to your interpersonal relationships!

We all blow it from time to time and even hurt someone we love. We’ve even searched for ways to make up for it. However, the three words I’m going to give you will help you do more to set things right than the most expensive gifts or most meaningful cards could you can offer.

No, it’s not the words “I love you” or “I am sorry” It’s not even the words “Please forgive me.” These expressions of remorse and affection may be good but nothing will break down walls and usher in healing like these three little words… “I WAS WRONG.”

“If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

It’s that simple. If we confess our sins God will forgive our sins. In other words, call a spade a spade. Admit you were wrong. Don’t make excuses. Just “fess up.” Rather than trying to explain yourself, rather than trying to excuse your behavior, just say these three words. “I was wrong.” Don’t try to justify your actions or even your reactions. Just say, “I was wrong.” Do that first. Then you can add other words like, “Please forgive me.” But first you must admit your own wrongdoing in the matter.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” —Jesus (Luke 6:27-31)

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

It doesn’t matter to God who started the squabble. He doesn’t care who said what or did what to whom. Each of us are accountable to Almighty God for our actions and our reactions; that’s right—your reactions. “Don’t return wrong for wrong.” “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” I am not accountable for what others do to me. However, I am accountable for how I react to them.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

“In your anger do not sin Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians4:26)

In the eyes of God I am personally accountable for everything I do—everything! I can’t expect to go before God with excuses for disobeying Him, “You just don’t know what that person did to me! I was so hurt. How can I ever forgive them for what they did.” If that’s your attitude God wants to ask you a question. “How about you? How did you react to what they did? Did you get angry and say hurtful things to them?”

You may respond, “Well yes, but I was so hurt! They made me angry. What they did was wrong!”

To which God replies, “Yes, maybe so. I will hold them accountable for what they did. It was wrong and they need to apologize to you and repent before me as well. However, (and this is the part we don’t want to hear!) What about you? It takes two to tango. The way that you reacted to the offence is equally wrong. Right??

“Well… “

“Did I not say, ‘Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong…’? Did I not say ‘forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’?

“Well… yes, but…”

“There’s no buts about it. Are you reacting in a Christlike way to insults?”

“Well,… no Lord. I have not.”

“Then… say it.”

“OK, I will. I was wrong; wrong to react in anger and bitterness to them and wrong to disobey your word.”

“Good. Now, what are you going to do?”

“Go to the one who offended me and tell him I was wrong to snap back at him and to act so un-Christlike.”

  “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”—Jesus             (John 13:15)

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

“I was wrong.” What a powerful phrase! What a liberating thing to admit! “I was wrong. It doesn’t matter what you did to me, I was wrong to react the way I did! I’ve asked God to forgive me and now I’m asking you to forgive me.” Wow! That will set you free and set them free.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” — Jesus (Matthew 5:23-24)

It’s the formula for the healing of relationships with God and with others. “I was wrong.” Try it sometime. You’ll be amazed at what these three little words will do.

[I] If otherwise posted all scripture come from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Wrong Skirt original preface

Hello, friend.

This was the original preface that was to go into the front of my book The Wrong Shirt. https://www.amazon.com/WRONG-SKIRT-Quest-Avoid-Choices/dp/1935434551 My publisher thought it was not needed so we lift it out. I believe this will tell a lot about where I come from spiritually and what inspired me to write this book.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (Psalm 14:2)

Since the days of Adam, God has always had a people. Examine The Bible or study Church experience. You’ll soon discover that a royal lineage of faithfuls can be traced throughout the pages of history. God has always had a remnant consisting of those who dared to forsake the norm––a people who were dissatisfied with the ordinary. There’s a breed of disenchanted saints who were fed up with the mind-numbing boredom of lifeless religion.

God has always had a band of radicals: those who have left the rank and file; a refined remnant who are no longer impressed by the world’s goods; those who resist being lured by the glitter of toys and refuse to be lulled into the common place; extremists who push beyond man-made boundaries, then press on and go for God. He has always had a crew who possessed a holy boldness in witnessing to the lost and a passion for one another.

God has always had a people who would dare to defy the traditions of men and speak the truth in spite of the cost. These are a people with-in his people––a core of sold out saints who are ready to toss aside everything for the sake of seeking their God. It is through such as these that he demonstrates his greatest works.

God is on a world wide quest. He constantly looks for that nucleus of believers within the Church that has concluded there has got to be something more to the Christian experience. His search is not limited by man’s finite grasp of truth either. It spans across denominational lines and movements. He knows that there is a caliber of people that stand head and shoulders above the rest––not so much in the eyes of their contemporaries, but in his eyes. Those who have got to know truth regardless of the price; those who want to know God at any cost. These are the ones he seeks. You know hungry people just like you!

It is to you seekers that this book addresses itself. It is for those of you who are completely dissatisfied with your spiritual walk and desperately want more. It was written to those of you who don’t want to miss what God is doing in these last days. Is this you? Then read on.

This book should have something of a Gideon effect on its readers. It was designed much like a funnel. The first two chapters are like the wide mouth of the funnel––big enough to accommodate pretty much any casual reader. However, chapters three through five begins to separate the men from the boys (so to speak). The funnel neck gets even smaller in chapter six. I start by taking my life into my own hands when I step right into the middle of a family feud––tongues and the gifts. It’s my humble attempt at peacemaking? Then after hopping up and down in that frying pan for a while, I leap into the fire in chapter seven with an appeal to my fellow so those who call themselves “Charismatics” to come back to the basics. Then the neck of the funnel narrows down to its smallest size in the remaining two chapters, as I discuss what it means to run with the big dogs.

Are you a bored believer? Are you a dissatisfied saint? Then this book is for you. However, before you begin, bear in mind that this treasure came from an earthen jar. There are controversial issues that I’ve attempted to address and chances are some may disagree or even be offended at me. It’s to you that I say please receive what you read in the spirit that it was given––in much love.

I want something to be clearly understood before you read any further. My prayer is that I will not be perceived as one who thinks he has arrived at some lofty spiritual plateau which overlooks the rest of The Church. I’m not The Bible Answer Man by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do believe I have discovered a few. These I wish to submit for your consideration. So please, if you will, prayerfully reflect on what answers this book may have to offer. I present them to you in the same way that I received them––in much fear and trembling.

Finally, consider this quote from Another Wave of Revival by Frank Bartleman, one of the fathers of the Azuza Street Revival. Think of it as an appetizer.

“In the various crises that have occurred in the history of the church, men have come to the front who have manifested a holy recklessness that astonished their fellows. When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the cathedral at Whittenberg, cautious men were astonished at his audacity. When John Wesley ignored all church restrictions and religious propriety and preached in the fields and byways, men declared his reputation was ruined. So it has been in all ages. When the religious condition of the times called for men [and women] who were willing to sacrifice all for Christ, the demand created the supply, and there have always been found a few who were willing to be regarded reckless for the Lord. An utter recklessness concerning men’s opinions and other consequences is the only attitude that can meet the needs of the present times.” *

Rod Davis– Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

Published October 1st 1985 by Whitaker Distribution (first published 1982) Another Wave of Revival by Frank Bartleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fellowship of the unashamed

In 1980 a young man from Rwanda was forced by his tribe to either renounce Christ or face certain death. He refused to renounce Christ, and he was killed on the spot. The night before he had written the following commitment which was found in his room:

il_570xN_592450702_ced5“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed, the die has been cast, I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made— I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed vision, worldly talking, cheap giving & dwarfed goals.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I won’t give up, shut up, let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up for the cause of Jesus Christ.

I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till he stops me & when he comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner will have been clear. ”

 

Help for Those Suffering from the Dreaded “D”

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

Are you being beaten over the head because of a divorce? I want to offer a note of encouragement for those who have been pressed into a divorce. I intentionally use the divorce-photography-capturing-final-memories-of-the-one-you-hateword “pressed” because no one in his or her right mind wants a divorce. However, many of us find ourselves with no other option. I have gone through that heart-wrenching experience and have learned a few things that I would like to pass on.

I’ve discovered over the years that many who call themselves “Christians” are more tolerant of a murderer, prostitute or drug pusher, who came to Christ, than they are with a believer who has been divorced. This is especially true if you’re called to the pulpit ministry.

However, the divorce rate for Christians is now matching that of the rest of America (50%). Unfortunately, the ranks of those in the church that have experienced divorce are swelling. Fortunately though, the tolerance of many churches is growing as well. It’s sad to admit that for many, even in Christian homes, marriage has become a battlefield. It doesn’t make it right but that’s just the way it is. Nevertheless, I have good news for those of us who are survivors of the dreaded “D.”

Let me begin with a statement that may startle you. Did you know that God is divorced? It’s true! “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.” (Jeremiah 3:8a) Yet someone might say, “How can this be? Didn’t God say in Malachi 2:16, ‘I hate divorce.’”? You’re absolutely right. God does hate divorce.

I believe that the main reason for his disdain for divorce is more personal than theological. Let me explain.

God desires that marriage be a perfect picture of the marriage-like relationship that he wants with us. The church is even called the bride of Christ. (Revelations 21:9) So, God meant marriage to be a beautiful earthly representation of a Heavenly covenant. When both parties in a marriage walk in obedience to God’s Word concerning the rolls of husband and wife, the relationship that they enjoy correctly represents the relationship between God and the believer. So, for that reason divorce goes against God’s grain in the worst possible way.

He [Jesus] was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. (Isaiah 53:3) [1]

However, there is another reason why God hates divorce, and this reason is purely on a personal basis. (Note: It’s amazing how many have missed this elemental truth.) You see, no one hates divorce more than one who has experienced divorce. God has been there, done that. He may not have a T-shirt, but he certainly has the scars! Like us, our LORD has experienced rejection. He said in Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” He’s acquainted with the grief divorce brings, for he has personally suffered sorrow and heartbreak. Furthermore, God knows what it’s like to be treated with disrespect and unkindness by someone he gave his love to. (Isaiah 53:3) And friend, God hates it!!! In fact, he loathes divorce!

Finally, I want to hopefully clear up a common error that many Christians make about adultery. Many have gone through divorces for reasons other than marital infidelity. Nevertheless, they have had to lug around much of the same baggage that the victims of an unfaithful spouse have had to carry. They also experienced the same sensation of personal loss and separation. They’ve had to deal with the same feelings of guilt and a sense of displacement as well as a kaleidoscope of other dark emotions.

Maybe the divorce wasn’t over one of the spouses committing adultery through a sexual encounter with someone other than their marriage partner. However, one can still be guilty of unfaithfulness even without a sexual encounter. You see, there are other ways of dishonoring your marriage vows. Many have suffered physical, mental, and emotional abuse in their marriage. One can dishonor one’s marriage vows with emotional and verbal abuse as well and do so to a point that is beyond toleration. This is another form of unfaithfulness.

I’ve been there. I know the damage that someone you love can do to your heart and mind. In addition, I’ve found that too often the emotional damage remains long after the physical scars have faded. When you open your arms to someone you expose your heart. Jesus opened his arms, exposing his heart and what did the people that Jesus loved do? They took his open arms and nailed them to a cross. Then they pierced Jesus’ loving heart with a spear.

My point is simple. You may have been divorced. As a result, you have been singled out and, at times, face ridicule. Perhaps you’ve been rebuked by some well-meaning-but-misinformed church leader or church member because your divorce wasn’t on the grounds of what they considered adultery. But bear this in mind, my friend, adultery takes many forms. One is not only unfaithful sexually; one can also be unfaithful emotionally and spiritually. One can break one’s marriage vows in ways other than through a sexual betrayal.

God sees unfaithfulness differently from you and me. The Bible makes it clear that we can sin in our hearts and mind as well as physically. For to God, be it in the mind or in the bed, it’s all the same. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So, a spouse can be unfaithful to you by abusing the vows you each made before God, the minister, and the witnesses. You can be abused by a spouse mentally or emotionally, as well as physically. In God’s eyes, it’s all the same.

Romans 8:1 says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” So, don’t give into condemnation from those who don’t really know what they’re talking about. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback. It’s simple to sit in judgment of someone and to do so purely on an academic basis. If on occasion someone does point a finger at you simply say this to them, “If you haven’t walked in my shoes, don’t tell me how to wear them. Furthermore, if you think my shoes are dirty, well consider this. You don’t know how messy the path was that I was forced to tread. What’s more, don’t act so self-righteous because life is such that you too may one day be forced to walk that same path.”

I wouldn’t wish divorce on anyone. It’s a raging beast that maims people and devours homes. Divorce is a bloody battle where everyone involved becomes a casualty of war. No one wins in a divorce. Plus, keep in mind that the dreaded “D” can happen to the best of us. That’s just life!

Life can be a cowardly dog. When you least expect, it can sneak up behind you and take a huge hunk out of you, leaving you hurt and scarred. So, in the words of the Apostle Peter, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1Peter 5:8) Paul also warns 1Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”

Be of good cheer my friend, and don’t give in to the emotional bondage that divorce can bring. Remember these wonderful words of Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

[1] Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.