Lessons on Life & Business
Ezekiel 3:7-9 (11/24/21)
November 24, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Ezekiel 3:7–9
* Ephesians 6:12 - “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the Rulers …Authorities …Powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” * The battle is fought in the mind - it’s the war over ideas. * God loves all people but He does not love all ideas. * Bad Ideas infect good individuals - it’s like biological terrorism. * How do you treat someone who has an infection but wants to get better? You help them. * How do you treat someone who’s infected and they want to infect others? You fight them. * Under the criminal law, a person with HIV is criminally liable for prosecution if they have intentionally transmitted the virus to someone. * So what do we do? * We need to reach out to all individuals with compassion while resisting bad ideas with courage. * We’ll only do this if we have hard head and soft heart. * We should be hard-headed toward principle (unbending), and soft-hearted toward people. * We need to please God (soft heart), not man (hard head). * Vs 7-9 - Ezekiel needed this to go along with the call God had given him. * 1) Hard Head / Soft Heart: * You want to please God and not man. * You don’t bend on principle but you flex with people. * 2) Soft Head / Hard Heart: * You don't care about pleasing God and you want to please people. * You bend on principle but you don’t flex with people. * 3) Hard Head / Hard Heart: * You don't care about pleasing anyone, God or man. * You don’t bend on principle but you also don’t flex with people. * 4) Soft Head / Soft Hear: * You want to please everyone, God and man. * You bend on principle and flex with people. * BONUS - when you have a hard head and a soft heart you also need TOUGH SKIN (Brian Dixon). * Because the arrows will fly your way!
Ezekiel 40:46 (11/24/21)
November 24, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Ezekiel 40:44–46
* God is in the transfer business. * He shifts platforms and positions away from those who seek to build their own thing to those who seek to build His thing. * One day Christ is coming back to set up a kingdom that will last 1,000 years. * Our job is to get things ready for His return. * This is why we have to guard against any talk of “one world government” apart from Christ’s return. * That is a ripoff from Satan and we must resist that idea. * Ezekiel 40-48 gives us the best picture in Scripture of what that new kingdom will look like. * The Temple will be restored, a new order of worship that involves the Jews, King David will be back in a leadership position, the land divided amongst the people, etc. * The priestly rule will also be in effect once again. * After the Temple is restored, priests will come in to serve and they will have special rooms. * Vs 44-46 - the priests from the line of Zadok are the ones who will have authority at that time. * BACKSTORY - before Samuel was priest, Eli was in charge. * Bruce Wilkinson - “Eli represents a cursed priesthood, a priesthood of fat, self-centered servants of God. They are called priests, but lightly esteem the work of God. They do not like the ministry of correction. Their spiritual children become wicked because of their lazy life-styles and their refusal to cry out against sin. Eli saw iniquity in his sons who brought a curse on themselves, "and he did not rebuke them" (1 Samuel 3:13). For this God said, " I am about to judge his house forever." And his house was judged. * Eli was replaced by Samuel, who appointed David as king. * After Samuel, two priests arose - Abiathar and Zadok. * Bruce Wilkinson - “Abiathar had in him the seed of Eli! The lazy, indulgent, weak spirit of Eli laid dormant in his soul. It happened just as the man of God prophesied to Eli - that at the very peak of his usefulness, at the peak of Gods blessing, he would fall. His inner weakness would be exposed: he would go so far and then stop short of Gods glory. Abiathar's heart was not right with God.” * When David’s son, Adonijah, tried to take the kingdom from his father, Abiathar joined him. * David’s son, Solomon, knew all about the curse upon the house of Eli. And he recognized Abiathar as being of that kind of priesthood. * 1 Kings 2:27 - “So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the Lord, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.” * Bruce Wilkinson - "Why does God allow these corrupt ministries to go on? They seem to go on, flourishing, seducing the masses." At first I thought God would wipe them out - bring them down. Now I see it differently. Now I know what Ezekiel prophesied and it makes me weep. God is cursing a corrupt people with corrupt shepherds. He is appointing them shepherds after their own hearts. Idolatrous shepherds are being appointed to shepherd idol-loving sheep!” * What’s the difference between the Zadok spirit and the Abiathar spirit? * ABIATHRAR: * 1) Seeking to please people. * 2) Swayed by culture. * 3) Unwilling to make distinctions & stand for truth. * 4) Desires a great name - wants to build a brand. * ZADOK: * 1) Seek to please God alone. * 2) Not swayed by culture - immovable and unshakeable. * 3) Willing to make distinctions and stand for truth even when it’s unpopular. * 4) Desires a great name for God - all about God’s Kingdom.
Ezekiel 1:1 (11/17/21)
November 17, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Ezekiel 1:1
* The people had lost their freedom and were now subservient to Babylon. * When catastrophe happens, you have three choices. * The first two choices are Denial and Despair. * DENIAL refuses to see what’s right in front of you. * DESPAIR can only see what in front of you. * In Denial, you pretend it’s not there. * It thinks everything will be fine. * It takes refuge in fantasies and distractions. * It’s a refusal to come to grips with reality. * In Despair, you no longer have a vision for the future and the weight of your current situation is more than you can bear. * So you sit in it without any hope of getting out. * It is paralyzed by the catastrophe, unwilling to do anything. * It is void of hope. * Both denial and despair are sin. * So what do you do? * DECIDE to see what’s in front of you and project God’s power into the future. * Fear is about a past or present threat. * Anxiety is about a future threat - the threat of powerlessness. * We are commanded NOT to be anxious. * How? By seeing our current situation and projecting God’s power into the future.
Ezekiel 2:5-8 (11/17/21)
November 17, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Ezekiel 2:5–8
* John Quincy Adams fought to end slavery, be he was unsuccessful in his lifetime. * He famously said, “Duty is ours. Results are God’s.” * Our job is not to concern ourselves with the results, but simply our duty to be faithful to what God has told us to do. * Vs 4-6 - Ezekiel was given the command to go and speak, but the people wouldn’t listen. * Vs 7-8 - Live the message you speak (be holy). * If you focus on the results, you’ll operate strategically rather than spiritually. * Your effectiveness will be the barometer to your success, rather than your obedience. * EX: Small church pastors. * Vs 3:4-7 - He was given the command again, but they wouldn’t listen. * Vs 8-9 - God prepared Ezekiel to deliver the message. * Vs 26 - but He took his ability to speak away for SEVEN YEARS!!! * What would Ezekiel do? * He would continue to be faithful, even though he couldn’t do the very thing he was called to do! * Duty is ours. Results are God’s!
Jeremiah 36:27-28 (11/11/21)
November 17, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Jeremiah 36:27–28
* Peace comes when you find joy in the process, not the end product. * EX: Trae - can’t relax until 9pm at night. * EX: My book writing process - first book was awful cuz I couldn’t relax until I had the finished product. * The only way I was able to experience peace was to focus on the PROCESS, not the PRODUCT. * KEY - What we call the process, God calls the product. * Peace in the midst of the storm (Jesus asleep in the boat). * YOU are the product! God is working on you, shaping you into what He wants. * BACKSTORY - Israel had sinned and Jeremiah was the prophet to rebuke them. * He wrote out exactly what God told him to write, but the king tore it up. * Vs 27-28 - Jeremiah wrote it again out of obedience! * In 1970, Jilly Cooper took the only copy of the manuscript of her novel Riders with her when she went out to lunch and left it on a London bus. She never found it, and did not finish rewriting it until 1984. * Bestselling author James Michener claimed that he dreamed one night in 1960 of writing an epic novel about Mexico. He researched and wrote most of the novel, before he misplaced the manuscript. It turned up 30 years later and Michener completed and published the saga. * Dylan Thomas lost the manuscript of Under Milk Wood three times: first in London, then in America, and then again in London. The third time it was discovered, by his friend Doug Cleverdon, in a pub. Thomas had promised Cleverdon that if he could find the manuscript, he could keep it. Cleverdon died a few days later, prompting a court case over its ownership. * Ernest Hemingway - early in his life, his wife, Hadley, wanted to come visit him as he was away on a writing assignment. She grabbed all of his manuscripts and carbon copies and put into a suitcase. On her way, the suitcase was stolen at the train station. She cried the entire 8 hour trip to see him. When Hemingway was faced by Hadley, who was nervously about to admit having lost his manuscripts, seeing her unease, he leapt to a Hemingway-like inference. “You’ve slept with another man?” * Ultimately, Hemingway re-wrote most of them but in effort to save time he started writing more punchy short sentences, which became the secret to his success! * The influential American literary icon became known for his straightforward prose and use of understatement. * How do we focus on the process over the product? * 1) Keep the vision out front - it’s good to see where you want to be. * 2) Die to it in your heart - give God the result. * 3) Move toward it with your feet - practically do things you need to do. * 4) Define & celebrate little wins - (today I’ll write 100 words).
Lamentations 1:9 (11/11/21)
November 17, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Lamentations 1:9
* Those who only consider the short-term consequences of their decisions may experience temporary comfort but will end up with permanent chaos. * But those who consider the long-term consequences of their decisions may experience temporary pain but will end up with permanent gain. * EX: Eat one dessert a day with no workout for 180 days. * EX: Workout once a day for 180 days w/no dessert. * EX: Would you take $1 million today or 1 penny a day for 31 days if it doubles? (Over $10 million) * This is from compound interest - Ben Franklin tried it. * In 1790 he left $4,000 to each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia when he died in 1790. * For the first 100 years they were to invest that money at 5% interest and loan it to fund entrepreneurs starting out in business. * At 100 years they could pull out 75% and spend on public works (biz first, then roads!). * For the next 100 years they were to invest it, and at the 200 year mark they could take the money and use it for whatever they wanted. * In 1990 both cities received their money - Boston got $5.5 million and Philly got $2.5 million. * Compound Interest - Principle Amount + Interest = Ending Amount * a physical manifestation of a spiritual truth. * When you’re faithful, God compounds it! * Matthew 25 parable of talents - Faithfulness = MULTIPLICATION. * You won’t multiply unless you have a long-term vision for your life that is the filter for your decisions. * Kingdom Agenda book - what we do today determines our position in Christ’s millennial kingdom. * BACKSTORY - Israel fell prey to the danger of not considering her future, and it cost her dearly. * Now they had been taken away to Babylon. * Jeremiah wrote a book of lamentations, weeping over her demise. * It’s a book of reflection. * Vs 1 - God punishes nations! * Vs 5a - people who hate her rule over her. * Vs 5b - the Lord is the one who did it. * Vs 9 - she was near-sighted, not far-sighted. * Hebrews 12:2 - “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross …” * And we today are still reaping the rewards from that decision!
Ezekiel 8:1 (11/4/21)
November 4, 2021 • Ezekiel 8:1
* God is in the transfer business. * He transfers the wealth of the wicked to the righteous. * He also transfers positions of power, influence, and authority from whom and to whom He wishes. * He did it with Eliakim replacing Shebna in Isaiah 22. * He did it with Zadok replacing Abiathar in 1 Kings 2. * He did it with Ezekiel as well. * These men exhibited a “father’s heart.” * In an age of “platform lust,” we get a great lesson from the prophet Ezekiel. * Ezekiel 1:1 - “In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” * Where was he? Among the people - one of the group. He didn’t stand out. * But then God gave him some crazy commands and a really difficult message to deliver. * Out of a spirit of honor, Ezekiel followed those to the “T,” even though he looked like an absolute moron. * The spiritual leaders hated him and made fun of him. * But then the situation changed and Ezekiels’ words turned out to be true. * Now, a full 14 months later, God’s word came to him again. * Ezekiel 8:1 - “In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord came on me there.” * God transferred the mantle of leadership from these men to Ezekiel. * Why? Because of his reverence, not his relevance. * When chaos comes, the person who knows what to do will emerge the leader. * EX: Custodian at the World Trade Center. * Noah was faithful for 120 years to build an ark - and he was the most irrelevant man on the planet. * Hebrews 11:7 - in reverence he built the ark. * His reverence led to his relevance. * The influence transfer is taking place - it always does in times of battle. * The question is, will you be the one it’s transfer to or from?
Jeremiah 35:18-19 (11/4/21)
November 4, 2021 • Benham brothe • Jeremiah 35:18–19
* “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” -John Maxwell. * Influence - “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.” * God made us to be influencers - that’s why He calls us salt. * But we can grow in influence, not just the number of people we influence, but the depth of that influence. * If you want to fgrow in influence, it starts with HONOR - honoring God and the authority He places in your life. * Difference between honor and obedience. * Honor includes obedience but goes even further. * You can teach an animal to obey, but not to honor. * DEFINITIONS: * Obedience - “to conform or comply with; to follow the commands or guidance of.” * It’s about placing yourself under the jurisdiction of another so that individual now takes responsibility for you. * Obedience shifts the responsibility from us to the one we obey. * Honor - “showing esteem and respect to a person of superior standing.” * It’s about placing the opinion of an authority on a balancing scale with your own or others and giving them more weight. * We honor God when we put more weight on His opinion than that of people. * Obedience is right behavior based on healthy fear - it comes from the outside-in. * A command is issued and you obey so you don’t get the punishment attached. * Obedience is compulsory. * Honor is right behavior based on respect and reverence - it springs from the inside-out. * You don’t need a command because you already know what your authority wants and likes. * Honor is voluntary. * KEY - when you obey out of honor you have God’s blessing. * EX: My dad asks me to do something - I don’t have to obey (he can’t punish me because he doesn’t have that authority). * But if I do obey I do it out of respect for him - this is honor. * When you honor your parents, God blesses it (Exodus 20:12). * When you honor God, He honors you (1 Samuel 2:30 - “…he who honors me, him will I honor …” * How? Lots of ways - one of them is by becoming a greater influence than you are today. * To show us what honor looks like, God used the RECHABITES. * Backstory - the Israelites treated God’s commands like they were optional. * They dishonored God in many different ways - all sorts of bad stuff. * God gives a word picture - he sent Jeremiah to tempt the Rechabites to drink alcohol. * 250 years prior, their great great granddad Jonadab told them no to drink wine - he wanted them to be set apart even from the Israelites. * He did this out of a spirit of honor to God - and his kids throughout the centuries obeyed. * So Jonah makes the offer, and they * Vs 6 - Jonadab no longer had authority to punish them, but they honored him by their obedience. * Vs 12-14 - God’s response. * Vs 18-19 - the reward - INFLUENCE! * They weren’t priests or levites, but they would hold a position of influence for God in Israel. * Do you want to grow your influence? Then honor God out of reverence for Him and let Him build you as He sees fit.
Jeremiah 26:13 (10/28/21)
October 28, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Jeremiah 26:13
* Did you know that you can “provoke” God? (Psalms 106:29) * Provoking involves emotion. * Emotion presupposes power - that other people have the power to make us feel something we can’t feel on our own. * God has emotion - this means we can make Him feel things that He wouldn’t have felt if we didn’t do something. * He gave us this power because we are made in His image! * We can change God’s emotional state by our actions. * EX: A person from Russia who hates me and spews venom at me because of my stand for truth does not affect me at all. * But if my wife did that to me it would rip my heart out. Why? * Because I’ve given myself to her. * God has given His Son for us, paid the ultimate price, so how we treat Him can truly hurt Him. * BACKSTORY - God was provoked to anger by the Israelites, so He delivered a tough message through Jeremiah. * Vs 7-8 - Jeremiah provoked the people! * Vs 12-13 - Jeremiah reminded them that they can change God’s mind by their actions! * When they repented, God would repent. * Repent means “to change your mind” which causes a change of direction. * Exodus 32:14 - “God ‘repented’ from the disaster that He had spoken of bringing on His people.” * How good is God that He gives us the ability to change His mind??
Jeremiah 33:3 (10/28/21)
October 28, 2021 • Jeremiah 33:3
* No matter where you are or what you’re going through, God wants to reveal Himself to you. * Why? Because He wants to walk through it with us! * As parents we get this instinctively. * When our older kids go through tough times we want them to call us so we can walk through it with them. * EX: Me with Trae - told him about how hard LU was my freshman year. * As business owners this is so important. * God wants to be in partnership with you, but you have to bring Him in! * EX: Listening Prayer. * BACKSTORY - Jeremiah prophesied captivity for the Israelites. * It would be a really tough time. * So chap 33 pivots the narrative to words of comfort from God. * Vs 3 - the root word for “Call” is “Q’ara.” * It is associated with sovereignty - means “to establish a relationship of ranked order.” * To call on God is to recognized Him as the authority and acknowledges my commitment to carry out His plan. * When you call to God like that, He reveals Himself to you! * He will tell you things you didn’t know - things that will keep you going! * How do you call to God? * 1) Acknowledge His authority. * 2) Declare your dependency. * 3) Surrender your will. * His response? He tells you things you didn’t know. * But He does it in time!!! Doesn’t always happen at once. * EX: Shreveport - Jason broke his leg …
Jeremiah 17:11 (10/21/21)
October 21, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Jeremiah 17:11
* God is rebuking the Israelites for their lack of faith along with their deliberate disobedience. * Vs 5 - You’re “cursed” if you trust in yourself or others and not God. * Vs 7-8 - You’re “blessed” if you trust in God - like a “tree planted by a stream,” constantly nourished, lacking nothing. * Vs 9 - You can’t trust your own heart. * Vs 10 - You can trust God to search your heart and mind. How? By listening to Him! * Then God turns His rebuke toward their pursuit of money. * Money represents security, so God talks about it a lot! * Money is a magnifier - it magnifies who you are. * If you’re a giver, you’ll give more. * If you’re selfish, you’ll hoard more. * If you find your identity in it, you’ll wear it as a badge of honor. * If you’re stingy, you’ll become even more stingy (Todd Tucker). * Vs 11a - Those who go after riches are like a bird that sits on top of eggs it didn’t lay, only to be exposed as a fraud when the new bird hatches. * A partridge (brown bird) can sit on top of a dove egg (white bird) and the common passerby sees a loving mother protecting her young. * Until the egg hatches, at which point the partridge is revealed a fraud. * Those who pursue riches look great …for a while. * But there comes a time when they’ll be revealed for the frauds they are. * Vs 11b - God lets them build and grow half their lives until it comes crashing down. * EX: Tower of Babel * So what do we do? * Don’t focus on money, focus on value. * Monetary value follows tangible value. * When you bring value to others then money will chase you down. * Money then becomes: * A carrot that gets you moving in the right direction. * A measuring stick that keeps you moving in the right direction. * And your work will be worship.
Jeremiah 6:16-17 (10/14/21)
October 14, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Jeremiah 6:16–17
* When you’ve lost your way, God has a plan to get you back on track. * Backstory - God had just rebuked Israel for her sins and said His wrath was coming. * Vs 13-14 - Their spiritual leaders couldn’t be trusted. * They were “greedy for “gain.” * This isn’t just money - it’s a thirst for influence and powerful positions. * They “dressed the wound” - they recognized a problem but gave the wrong prescription. Why? * Because ambition blinds you - you focus on what you don’t want to lose in the physical rather than what you will gain in the spiritual. * So what were they supposed to do? * Vs 16 - 17 - Five components to getting back on track: * 1) Stand at the Crossroads and look - the crossroads represent a time when you have to make a decision. * Don’t blindly move forward - stop and consider where you are and where you’re going (which path will get you where you want to be?). * Look at those on both paths - who do you want to join? * 2) Ask - this puts you in the place of humility and aligns you in proper authority. * Asking implies you need something and don’t have it - this keeps you humble. * When you “ask God” it aligns you under His authority because it presupposes He is your superior. * 3) Ask where the “ancient” path is - the path that’s proven over and over to work. * It’s the “well worn” path. * EX: all fad diets bow to the ancient path - eat fewer calories than you burn. * God’s path - trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey! * The Bible gives us the ancient path. * 4) Walk in it - don’t just ask, DO! Follow the advice you asked for. * Action precedes motivation. * The ancient path has fewer people walking on it. * Principle - do the harder thing. * RESULT - you will find rest for your soul! * Mind, Will, Emotions will line up with God and you’ll experience peace. * FACT - you won’t do it (none of these steps are natural). * So what does God do? He appoints “watchmen!” * vs 17 - Those who see what’s going on in culture and are willing to blow the trumpet to warn you. * They were commanded to “listen” because it would be natural for them to tune it out. * What does a watchman do? (Spot, startle, stop, shift) * Spot the enemy - they watch while you work. * Startle you to attention - blowing a trumpet will tap into your brain power and produce adrenaline and cortisol. * Stop your normal routine - they get you outside yourself. * Shift your perspective - they give you a glimpse of what the enemy is up to and show you how to respond.
Jeremiah 12:1-6 (10/14/21)
October 14, 2021 • Benham Brothers • Jeremiah 12:1–6
* Jeremiah had grown really discouraged. * He had been faithful to do all God wanted him to do yet nobody listened. * And his friends and family abandoned him. * So he took his plea to God. * Vs 1-4 - It’s ok to question God in private - don’t do it in public. * When we go through hardships, the proper question is not “HOW” can I get out of this, but “WHAT” can I get out of this? * God’s answer (vs 5) - “I’m training you!” * Three truths about your Christian life: * 1) It’s not supposed to be easy - it’s hard work to stay on the narrow path. * Running a race is always hard. * 2) It gradually gets harder - your convictions go deeper the more mature you are in your faith. * 3) It gradually gets better - we experience peace and rest in the middle of trials and tribulations. * EX: Getting in shape - it’s hard, and it gets harder the longer you go, but life gets way better! * TRUTH - If you’re faithful in little, you’ll be faithful in much. * That’s how we know if we’ll stand strong when the going gets tough.
Isaiah 40:31 (9/30/21)
October 7, 2021 • Isaiah 40:31
* God had delivered some hard words to His people. * They would be punished for their sins. * This would cause discouragement. * So God gave them words of “encouragement.” * Courage means “to make courageous.” * Vs 27 - they felt alone. * Vs 28 - don’t focus on your problem, focus on PERSON. * Focus magnetizes and intensifies. * Vs 29 - He gives “strength” to the weary. How? * Vs 30-31 - by waiting on God! * Waiting is “hoping.” * You won’t wait if you don’t have hope. * Waiting on a person for dinner (if they don’t show you give up hope and leave). * You get their presence when you wait! * When you put your hope is God He “renews” your strength. * You already have strength in you, it just needs to be reignited! * Two facets of waiting: * The state of waiting - your disposition of patience in the midst of problems. * The service of waiting - watching and listening for God in all things while you’re busy about your work. * The result of waiting? Soar, run, walk - there’s a time for all three! * Soar like an eagle (not like a hummingbird). * Run and not grow weary (like Elijah in 1 Kings 18 - he outran a chariot 14 miles). * Walk and not be faint - you just don’t wear out. * God reminded them in Exodus 19:4 - “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” * It took 430 years for God to get the people out of Egypt - but when He did it was INCREDIBLE! * The ultimate result of waiting - you get God’s presence! * And when you have His presence you have His power!