Psalm 46:10 (NIV) Be still, and know that I am God.
If God were to tell you that something was going to happen to you in the future, then what questions or emotions would you have?
And what would be your mindset as you enter into the scenario to come?
Will I have to go through this alone?
Will I be afraid?
Will making it through this really be possible?
Can I take His word for it?
Oftentimes, by means of others, God answers your questions before you even knew you’d have any…and He knows just how to ease your mind.
Keep in mind that the name Gabriel means God is my strength…something that God knew Mary would need to keep at the forefront of her mind as she received this news.
Luke 1:26-38 (NKJV) 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel [God is my strength] was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
In Luke 1:26-38, God already knew that Mary would feel…
So, to put her mind at ease, by means of using the angel Gabriel, He goes ahead and addresses the questions He knew Mary would have…
By God meeting Mary where she was and answering her immediate / most important questions, she was able to respond in the moment…
Limited and at time Denied Access
The Bible offers each person a Total Access Package.
What are some package benefits if your names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Total Access to Christ.
Remembering what is left behind? Or Looking forward?
1 Thessalonians 1:3
3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
2 Peter 3:14
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Have you ever been in a group setting outside of church, maybe at work or a school, and heard someone come up with and or use a biblical principle…convincing themselves that they came up with it on their own, but in all reality it coming directly from God’s Word? For instance…The Golden Rule, Serve Others, Love Others, Respect Others, etc.
Today’s concept / principle is just that…a term or phrase that the military forces take pride in maybe without even knowing that it originated in scripture.
Today’s Title: Biblical/Spiritual Actionable Intelligence
Imagine with me that you are in Bogota, Columbia. While there, you’re a mission commander as part of a counter-narcotics operation for the US government…you're fighting the war on drugs…each day attempting to put bad people out of business. You take a plane ride to get to your next destination, but while on your way there something goes wrong with the plane…your pilot does his best to land the plane…you land and realize you’re alive and have some broken ribs…you look up and see that the pilots have died in the accident, and as you’re helping a few others get to their feet, you hear gunshots…just then you realize that the plane has crashed deep in the Columbian jungle and you’re surrounded by the communist FARC guerrillas…some of the very people you’ve been trying to put behind bars. What do you do? Do you fire back with very little ammunition available to you? Or do you surrender and face the unknowns?
This is exactly the situation former Marine, Keith Stansell, found himself in. At that moment, he said that all of his actionable intelligence couldn’t have prepared him for what he was about to face. After being used as currency and held hostage for over 5 years…he was finally rescued by his own people.
Today I’d like to share with you the concept of Actionable Intelligence…more specifically Biblical/Spiritual Actionable Intelligence.
First of all, from a military point of view, what is Actionable Intelligence?
“Broadly defined, actionable intelligence is all about having the necessary information immediately available in order to deal with the situation at hand.”
- From the Article...Actionable Intelligence: How U.S. Forces can Stay One Step Ahead
For followers of Christ…Biblical/Spiritual Actionable Intelligence, then, is “actionable faith – the act of doing what you see God do, and Intelligence is the understanding of what’s placed before you to do. Using as your guide, the Word of God and His Holy Spirit. I am calling the Word application actionable intelligence because spiritual power can only be obtained by means of expecting, believing, understanding and obeying the Word heard, and then receiving it’s benefits by faith in God. Faith is acting on the Word of God to effect change in the world. When you believe and understand the Word heard, you then take action on it by DOING SOMETHING.”
In other words…DOING is the same as APPLICATION. There are some who are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good…and there are others who have no godly knowledge but do good. Where’s the balance? Where are those who do good because of their godly knowledge?
Three truths to take into consideration when discussing Biblical/Spiritual Actionable Intelligence.
First of all, Trust your God-given Arsenal.
Secondly, Never cease Preparing.
Lastly, Take Action.
Pursue Holiness, To Be Found Spotless / Blameless, and the Finishing Well, Conclusion.
PURSUE three more virtues/characteristics…
HOLINESS / TO BE FOUND SPOTLESS AND BLAMELESS / FINISHING WELL
Motives to keep in mind:
Why choose holiness?
To possess a “Holier than thou” mindset? A Pharisee/Hypocrite approach.
Done for the Lord and His glory?
Facts about holy living:
Definition: To be holy means to be set apart for special use or purpose/different from the world…Holiness…hagiosmas: (BAGD p. 10) “personal dedication to the interests of the deity, holiness, consecration, sanctification; the use in a moral sense for a process or, more often, its result (the state of being made holy).”
Holy Living is commanded and attainable.
- We’re made in His image.
- Be holy for I AM holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Holy Living Takes Effort and is a Testimony to the World.
- It’s not something innate or given.
- Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) Make every effort [(PURSUE)] to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Resembles the Nazarite Vow in Numbers 6:1-21.
- The Nazirite/Nazarite vow is taken by individuals who have voluntarily dedicated themselves to God. The vow is a decision, action, and desire on the part of people whose desire is to yield themselves to God completely. By definition, the Hebrew word nazir, simply means “to be separated or consecrated.” The Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, has five features. It is voluntary, can be done by either men or women, has a specific time frame, has specific requirements and restrictions, and at its conclusion a sacrifice is offered. First, the individual enters into this vow voluntarily. The Bible says, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite’” (Numbers 6:2). This shows that it is individuals who take the initiative to consecrate themselves to the Lord. There is no divine command involved. While generally done by the individual by his own choice, two individuals in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament, were presented to God by their parents. Samuel and Samson in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 2:8-28; Judges 13:1-5), and John the Baptist in the New Testament received the Nazirite vow from birth (Luke 1:13-17). https://www.gotquestions.org/Nazirite-vow.html
Illustration: Sometimes we pull out the paper plates for a meal, and other times it’s the fine china that gets used. God doesn’t want to leave us on the shelf…He wants to use us.
Beautiful collision: When God-centered motives and holy living collide.
Hymn: Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.
Pursue to be found Spotless / Blameless.
- Spotless…aspilos (BAGD p. 114) – pertaining to being of untainted character, pure, without fault of inward condition as of character.
- Blameless…amomatos: (BAGD p. 56) – blameless, unblemished of Christians.
- John 19:4 (NKJV) Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”
- 1 Peter 1:19 (NASB) but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
- 2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (NIV).
- Philippians 2:14-15 (NASB) 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
Illustration: We have a daughter who can’t be trusted with buying white clothing…she’s always spilling something on her clothes. Recently I caved and got her a white sweatshirt…a few hours down the road we hear “Oh no”…sure enough, her sandwich kicked out all the honey mustard onto her brand-new sweatshirt.
Beautiful Collision: When our proven character and the world’s judgments collide.
Pursue Finishing Well
I started off this series with a quote…I’ll include the ending of that quote for you today…
“When the world trade center was bombed in 2001 President Bush used a phrase that is commonly used by politicians, ‘stay the course.’ He said we would ‘stay the course’ in our fight against terror. To stay the course is ‘to stand firm in pursuing a goal or course of action, to persevere in the face of whatever challenges or obstacles one may encounter.’ I was curious as to the origin of this term so I looked it up on the internet. The first use of the phrase in print, in 1885, comes from another sort of ‘course,’ the racetrack. ‘To stay the course’ in this sense referred to the ability of a horse to endure the race and reach the finish line, preferably in a winning position. Politicians have adopted this phrase and often use it to encourage their constituents.” From Sermon Central
This week on ESPN’s website, there was, “An Instagram post by Venus Williams reflecting on the 28th anniversary of her professional tennis debut [which] raised speculation that her legendary career could be nearing an end. ‘On this day 28 years ago I made my debut to professional tennis,’ [Venus] Williams wrote in the caption alongside two photos of her as a 14-year-old at the 1994 Bank of the West Classic, the site of her first WTA match. ‘I never imagined 28 years later what [Serena Williams] and I would experience in this sport. I can recount the wins and the losses, but in the end it was always about the pursuit of my best self. Every day, win lose or draw. I can look back with no regrets. It's all been worth it.’"
Beautiful Collision: When our walk / the race we’ve run, and God’s Finish Line collide.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter