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Thoughts on Traditions - Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Hungry for Holiness Men's Fellowship - Fishers of Men
Written by Terry Tompkins   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 20:57

 

The Effects of Tradition on Our Motivations

We often cling to traditions that we have been taught or handed down by family, or even formed in our own lives as we find ourselves repeating activities or commemorating special events. Traditions have benefits that we’ll look at in a later entry, but there is also reason to individually examine our traditions from time to time. If you perform a word search of the New Testament for the word “tradition”, and look for those passages where Jesus discussed the topic, you will find that He had some concerns related to religious traditions in particular.

One reason to examine our individual traditions is the effect they can have on our motivation to do “the right thing”. Over time, traditions can be carried out almost mechanically. We will likely still recognize the reason we have adopted the activity, but the spirit of it is lost in the repetition. The following scenarios describe the repeated carrying out duties that aren’t actually traditions, but they should clearly illustrate a difference in motivation.

For the first situation, imagine that you are a prisoner in solitary confinement.  At the appointed times every day, a prison guard brings food to your door and without a word completes his assigned duty. It’s probably safe to say that the guard is providing this service not out of love, but because it’s his obligation to carry out this routine. As a prisoner, as much as you might not want to spend “quality time” with fellow inmates in the prison cafeteria, it’s likely that most would eventually prefer that activity over being fed through a slot in the door without a word being spoken. The need is met; the transaction has been completed; the guard has done what was expected, and you once again have sustenance. There is no illusion that the guard might have provided the food out of love for you, the prisoner.

Now imagine that you are a seriously ill patient in a hospital. Let’s further suppose that the hospital food isn’t much better than the prison food in the previous scenario. Because of this, the nursing staff takes pity on you and looks the other way every day when a caring spouse or child smuggles in a bit of “real food” for you. The hospital staff and you are both aware that this act of kindness isn’t done out of a sense of obligation. Your family member is concerned about you and wants to do something, anything, to provide relief to you and demonstrate his or her love.

In both scenarios a need is met – both giver and receiver have performed their respective roles. However, there is a difference that can have an eternal significance. In the hospital example, the visits to the captive audience (the patient) are not merely a repeated act or duty. After enough iterations the drive to and from the hospital might become routine, but the visit itself is motivated by something more than obligation.

These imagined situations should illustrate one potential hazard presented by the performing of activities or “duties” out of tradition or simply because “that’s what we were taught to do”. It is too easy for the motivation to slide from love and devotion into a sense of obligation. Even worse, a tradition can lead to a sense of self-righteousness. It’s possible to believe that because of faithfulness to a routine or duty that we have somehow “earned” our eternal reward. We’ll look at some biblical examples of this in a future post. The primary message to convey here is that we should examine our individual motives for carrying out various habits or traditions and pray that the love and devotion that we started with hasn’t subtly fallen by the wayside without our even recognizing it. Every act we do for God or family or neighbor should be driven by love, and we should never feel that mere consistency in carrying out a tradition in any way earns righteousness in God’s system of accounting. On a final note, 1st Corinthians chapter 13 clearly cautions that we should do the right things for the right reasons:

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 January 2012 12:13
 
BLIND FAITH PDF Print E-mail
Hungry for Holiness Men's Fellowship - Fishers of Men
Written by Mark Neddeau   
Sunday, 16 January 2011 22:48
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. 2 COR. 4:18
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(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 2 COR 5:7

Friends,

It is time to close our eyes and start walking. We have a blind lady in our building here and she has her apartment carefully mapped out. She knows how many steps it is to the sink, to the bedroom and to the commode. She can walk unhindered all the way to the door of her apartment. But once past there, she needs a hand to guide her and someone to tell her how many steps to take down and what obstacles are coming.

Our walk in God is a lot like that. We're fine in our comfort zones, walking within the confines of our church and our expected lives. But let a catastrophe strike, let us venture into unknown territory and we start to grope, hesitantly pushing along with our feelers out, striving for some sign that we are on track and not about to bump into anything. Many times we just sit down on God, feeling the journey is too uncertain, too frightful to continue. But we want to remind you today that God never called us to the comfortable. He called us to the CROSS. We must abandon our carefully ordered steps in lieu of HIS ORDER. We must begin to just trust our guide and know that if He goes before us ALL OBSTACLES WILL BE MOVED! We don't need to grope about in blind faith, we need just TRUST and walk forward in full assurance that Jesus goes before us and all things will work together for our good!

Be encouraged today. Lift up your eyes to Calvary, to the hills from whence cometh your help. Learn to just walk boldly in the knowledge that Jesus will not let you stub your toes, nor walk into the walls that would hinder, but will open all the pathways of your life to fulfill his purpose through you!

In Love,

Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 04:36
 
THE OPEN MAN PDF Print E-mail
Hungry for Holiness Men's Fellowship - Fishers of Men
Written by Mark Neddeau   
Monday, 06 December 2010 01:57

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. MATT. 6:6

-and-

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.  NUM. 32:23

Friends today we are thinking about the dual nature of man. You and I have a SECRET man and an OPEN man. The secret man is responsible for the dark and hidden things we do, as well as the things that we do not wish to share, the private moments and the behind-the-scenes works of our lives which may or may not be wrong or even sin. Some things are alms we should not reveal, some are private blessings meant only for us! The open man is that part which every one daily sees and recognizes and comes to know, the physical and emotional parts revealed with each passing day.

Both these "men" have one thing in common. At some point the SECRET MAN and the OPEN MAN will be revealed and be shown in unity to the public. The problem for you and I arises when the SECRET man does not line up with the OPEN MAN. That is to say that those with a good reputation, those with the acceptable spirit are those whose secret man and open man combine and do not collide. When the secret man does not line up with the open man, and it is revealed, the open man is brought to shame; the reputation is ruined, families are destroyed, ministries crippled. Today we urge you to enter you prayer closet and make sure your secret man lines up. Make sure that what people see and know of you is in line with what they DON'T KNOW and vice versa. If you will not do so you have sinned against the Lord: and you will be found out! Do not let your OPEN MAN fall victim to secrets you don't want revealed. Make sure that when the secrets are revealed, the OPEN MAN has already dealt with them, and that the impact of the secret things will either ENHANCE THE OPEN MAN, or support what people already know of you.

It is no embarrassment or shame to have sins in your life over which you have gained victory. But for sure it is the secret things you think are hidden and safe that will weaken your reputation and cause others to view your open man in a whole new way. Jesus died to deal with those things and you have a way to victory! YOU CAN OVERCOME AND PLACE THE SECRET THINGS IN ORDER SO THAT THEY LINE UP WITH AND COMPLETELY SUPPORT THE OPEN MAN. Blessings flow that way and we pray for your victory this week.

In Love,

Elder Mark and Sister Dana

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 23:14
 
SAGAB - INACCESSIBLY HIGH! PDF Print E-mail
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Hungry for Holiness Men's Fellowship - Fishers of Men
Written by Mark Neddeau   
Friday, 10 September 2010 03:00
[[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Psalm 20:1

Friends, the word DEFEND in the above scripture means more than just a defense against attack. Sagab (Hebrew for defend in this case) means to be INACCESSIBLY HIGH, TOO HIGH FOR CAPTURE. God is our High tower and he is the MOST HIGH God. Nothing is above him, and he is always bringing us up.

Don't think it is a coincidence that Hell is below us. That our enemy is UNDER our foot. A low self-esteem, a low blow, a low down liar, everything negative is down, everything positive is UP... God is forever lifting us up into himself. He is a refuge, a mighty fortress and not just a rock to stand on. When God defends you, when God hears you, he lifts you up and into an INACCESSIBLE HEIGHT, a place where the devil cannot claim you, a place where the pressures of life cannot break through. You are TOO HIGH FOR CAPTURE when you stay in the Lord, resting in the wings of his sheltering spirit. Isaiah 31:5 talks of God's defense being as BIRDS FLYING! His defense is our deliverence...his deliverence is our defense! He will rise up on wings of strength, you on wings of Eagles when you rely on God and hide amongst the great speckled bird. Let God DEFEND YOU. Let God set you UP ON HIGH. Higher than the devil can reach, beyond the challenges of your circumstance, your mind, your life. God is MOST HIGH, AND HE WANTS TO PLACE YOU TOO HIGH FOR CAPTURE BY THE ENEMY.

In Love,

Elder Mark and Sister Dana
Last Updated on Monday, 20 September 2010 21:19
 
The Resistance Movement PDF Print E-mail
Hungry for Holiness Men's Fellowship - Fishers of Men
Written by Mark Neddeau   
Monday, 30 August 2010 22:17

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. 1 Cor. 11:28
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And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? Gen. 3:9

Friends, during most wars there is what is known as a Resistance Movement. A group of saboteurs bent on keeping the occupying force from gaining victory through little attacks, damaging assaults done "under the radar". Today God is asking you..."DO YOU HAVE A RESISTANCE MOVEMENT IN YOUR SPIRIT TODAY?" Is God the occupying force in your life? If so then sin is trying to gain a toe hold against him again. The devil loves to tempt, test, and try your faith in every way possible, setting off little spiritual bombs to keep you off-balance. Things in your heart spring up when you least expect it and send you reeling from the altar, covered in shame and embarrassment.

The only true way to victory is SELF-EXAMINATION. A pop-quiz aimed at your own heart, honestly evaluating your spiritual condition so that you can crush the enemy once and for all. When God asked Adam "Where art thou?" he wanted Adam to ADMIT HIS OWN CONDITION; to be honest enough that he could see where his spirit was and what the enemy might have planted there to destroy or uproot him. Take a moment today to examine yourself. Are there any SLEEPER CELLS in your spirit? Are there any spiritual bombs waiting, little sins you have not repented of, little attitudes that could become BIG problems? IF SO, do what God commanded the jews to do in the old testament and KILL THEM ALL. Repent, and forcibly drive those imperfections out. God is good and can bring you victory, but it all starts with your honest self-examination, and the understanding that nothing can be left within you that is not of him.

In Love,

 

Elder Mark Neddeau

Last Updated on Friday, 10 September 2010 03:01
 
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