• With God's Help, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life? 
  • The Significance And The Importance Of Jesus Christ, His Person And His Ministry Of The Return Of Christ One Day   
  • You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Set You Free!                                          

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"Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is In Control!

01-01-2017 

The first day of the New Year being on a Sunday is very rare.  For the next time will not be until 2023, that the first day of the New Year, will be on a Sunday. 

Also, at the beginning of any New Year we probably all could use some encouragement.                           Maybe there were times in 2016, perhaps you and I felt like is God really in control here?                     Maybe, because so many things were happening at the same time.                                                                 Maybe because it seems like things were increasing, and we had more we had to deal with at one time.

Or, maybe because it seems like things were accelerating out of control, or happening so fast it was very difficult to keep up.

So, probably all of us could use some encouragement, a reminder that God is still in control. That God is in charge, that God is still on the throne.

In fact, I am reminded of a book publish back in 1987 called, a “View From The Zoo”, by a brother in Christ named, Gary Richmond, who was a former zookeeper at the Los Angeles Zoo.

And in one part of his book Brother Gary, describes the birth of a newborn giraffe, and the extreme measures it's mother must apply to help it to survive in the first 30 minutes of its life.                           Brother Gary said, "The first thing to emerge from the mother giraffe's birthing area is the baby giraffe’s front hooves and head. 

Several minutes later, the newborn calf is shot out of its mother's birthing area.  And then the newborn giraffe will fall 10 feet, about the height of a NBA basketball rim to the floor. 

The baby giraffe falls and lands usually on its back being stunned by the experience.  Within a few minutes, the baby giraffe will roll itself over into an upright position, with its legs tucked under i's body now sitting up right. 

From this position the baby giraffe will consider its world and its surroundings for the first time.  Now after a while, the mother giraffe lowers her long neck and head to observe what her baby is doing to get up, or is it comfortable just sitting there looking around. 

If so, the mother giraffe will position herself directly over her baby. Then she does the unthinkable. The mother giraffe will swing one of her long front legs outwardly, similar to a place kicker on a football team kicking a field goal. 

The mother giraffe can kick her baby so hard, the baby giraffe will scoot across the ground turning over and over several times head-over-heals. 

If the baby giraffe simply lies there and does nothing to get up on its feet, then the mother giraffe will repeat the process again to stimulate her baby's efforts to stand up on its feet.  In most cases, unless something is wrong with the baby giraffe, It will stand for the first time on its wobbly legs. 

Then, the mother giraffe does the unthinkable again!   The mother giraffe will knock her baby off its feet causing it to fall to the ground.

To us as humans, we would ask the question, why is this mother giraffe being so mean and cruel to her own baby?  Because out on the African plains, baby giraffes, after their birth must be able to get up as quickly as possible in order to stay with the giraffe herd where there is safety in numbers.  The mother giraffe was simply teaching her baby to remember how to get back up again!"

Now please listen to me, from the baby giraffe's point of view, it seems like everything is out of control, and no one is in control!

But that mother giraffe is not out of control, but actually she is in control.  She knows what it will take, and what is necessary to keep her baby alive.  Because there are many predators like lions, hyenas, leopards, or wild hunting dogs, who will attack her baby if it just sits there and will not get up and find safety within the herd.

Listen, there will be times throughout life when you and I may feel like that baby giraffe. 

From our point of view, it feels like we are being knocked down by the one whom we would assume who loves us and cares for us!

Just think of some of the things that happened to you during 2016, that may have knocked you down.

Also, another thing, from the baby giraffe's point of view it seems like everything is out of control, and no one is in control.

And maybe from our point of view at times, we can feel the same way like everything is out of control, and no one is in control.  Because we thought that troubles, and trials, and difficulties were to be rare, or a very unusual thing to happen in our lives.

Yet, what if God was using those troubles, and trials, and difficulties in our lives, like the mother giraffe who knows what it will take to stimulate her baby to arise because of predators, like lions.

(Quote) I Peter 5: 8.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

But what if God was using those troubles, and trials, and difficulties, in our lives, because He knows what it takes to stimulate us to trust in Him, who is in control!

St. John 16: 33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have Peace.  In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer or courage”.  For Jesus said, “I have overcome the world”.

Now with God's help on this first day of 2017, may I share with you from God's Word a subject matter that God can use to inspire you to encourage you, and to challenge you throughout this year, and in the years to come?

Our subject this morning will be, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is In Control!

Read again St. John 16: 33.  Jesus said, these things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world, you will have, not you might, or there is a remote possibility, but you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, or courageous, or confident, for Jesus said, I have overcome the world.

By the way, the word translated and most of our English Bible as (overcome) implies, the one who Has overcome is also the one is in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like!

Next, the word ‘tribulation’, means to be pressed or squeezed by, or to be under pressure by one's affliction, anguish, burdens, persecutions, trials, troubles, conditions, circumstances, or situations.

Yet, as far as we are concern, God the Son, or the Son of God is in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like!

So how is it, that the God we serve is in control?                                                                                      Listen, the God we serve is in control, He can turn our test into a testimony for His Glory and for our good.                                                                                                                                                              Listen, God can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.     

Because the God we serve is in control, He can turn our mess into a message for us to share to help somebody.                                                                                                                                                        God can turn our trials into triumphs, that brings Glory and Honor to His Holy Name!                                    God can turn our problems into possibilities for change and growth within us.                         

Let me go back and consider the first one just for a moment, as we close.

Listen, the God we serve is in control, because He can turn our test into a testimony for His Glory and for our good.   An example, the Apostle Paul!  Turn to II Corinthians 12: 7-10.

If you think about it, our English word ‘testimony’, the way you spell it lets you know that you have to have some kind of ‘test’ in order to have a testimony!

Read II Corinthians 12: 7-10.                                                                                                                                   Vs. 7.  And lest I should be exalted above measure because of the abundance of the revelations I received, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 8.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.                    Vs. 9.   And He said to me, My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast (or testify I'll give testimony) in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                                                                                                                      Vs. 10.  Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

01-08-2017   Part 2

Our subject this morning as we continue in this new year is, learning to trust in our God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and who is always in control!                                                                                           But, as far as you and I are concerned, do we truly believe and trust, that the God that we serve, is always in control?

For example, in Isaiah 14: 12-15, why was this allowed to happened a heavenly revolt by one of God's cherubim.                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 12.  How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!                                                                                                         Vs. 13.  For you have said in your heart:                                                                                                               I will ascend into heaven.                                                                                                                                       I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.                                                                                                       I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north.                                         Vs. 14.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.                                           Vs. 15.  Yet you, O Lucifer son of the morning, shall be brought down to Sheol or Hell, to the lowest depths of the Pit. 

Question, after reading this account from the Book of Isaiah, concerning Lucifer or Satan's rebellion against His Creator, was God really in control?                                                                                                   For most people, Christian or non-Christian, would probably acknowledge that it appears, that God was not in control of this situation!                                                                                                                             Because for most of us being in control really means, the containment or the prevention of anything bad, evil, sinful, tempting, or negative.                                                                                                                     For most of us being in control really means, the destruction, eradication, and if need be the total annihilation of anything bad, evil, of revelation, our God who is in control, promised that anything or anyone that is bad, evil, sinful, tempting, or negative will experience containment and will be prevented. For this is the main purpose for Hell, Hades, or Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire.

According to the Book of Revelation our God who is in control, promised that anything or anyone that is bad, evil, sinful, tempting, or negative will experience destruction and eradication.                                       For this is the main purpose for Hell, Hades, or Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire.

But listen, being in control can also mean, allowing or permitting, preserving or keeping, delivering or overcoming, anything, anyone, at any time, for a specific reason, and to fulfill a sovereign plan and purpose.                                                                                                                                                                 And so then as far as we are concern the God we serve is in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like!                                                                                                                                               For example, the God we serve is in control and therefore, He can turn our test into a testimony for His Glory and for our good. 

Listen, our God can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.

Because the God we serve is in control, He can turn our mess into a message for us to share to help somebody.                                                                                                                                                         God can turn our trials into triumphs that brings glory and honor to His Holy Name!                                       Finally, God can turn our problems into possibilities for change and growth within us.

Now, last Sunday we considered that the God we serve can turn our test into a testimony For His Glory and for our Good.  Our example was the Apostle Paul.                                                                                      

This morning, let’s focus on how the God we serve who is in control, can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.                                                                                                                     And our example this morning will be Gideon, a man who God turn his hurts and his hurdles, into that which made him heroic for God. 

First, let’s address the hurts.  And there were at least two of them that bothered him and made him to feel inferior.                                                                                                                                                             Something within his family origin.                                                                                                                       Something within his personal life.

First something within his family origin.                                                                                                               See Judges 6: 15.  So he said unto Him, O my Lord, how can I save, or be a deliver for Israel?  For indeed, my family is the weakest within Manasseh.                                                                                        By the way, in vs. 12, let us know who Gideon was talking with at this time, the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, Gideon the LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor, or one who will be heroic for God!                                                                                                                                               Now, notice back in vs. 15, the words translated the ‘weakest’, is from a Hebrew word, which can mean, weak, thin, lean, needy, poor, weaker.                                                                                                                   Something within Gideon family of origin bothered him, and made him to feel inferior. 

And perhaps, the same thing could be true for anyone of us, and that is something within our family origin that bothers us, and makes us feel inferior.                                                                                               Our family of origin maybe dysfunctional, scandalous, selfish, ruthless, non-supportive, Envious, unloving.

Next, something within his personal life.                                                                                                               Notice again, Judges 6: 15, so Gideon said to the Angel of the Lord, O my Lord, how can I save, or be a deliver for Israel?  For indeed my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.                                                                                                                                                                     The words translated the least is from a Hebrew word, which can mean little in number, or least in significance, or in importance.

Something within Gideon’s personal life bothered Him, and made Him to feel inadequate.

Perhaps, the same thing could be true for anyone of us, and that is something within our personal life, that bothers us, and makes us feel inadequate. 

Listen, are we holding on to things, that God has told you and me to let go of? 

For example, the shameful things from our past or from our present.                                                               Certain secrets.  Disappointments.                                                                                                                       Continuous Grief or sadness after a period of death or lost in our lives.                                                         Feeling defeated or beat-down.                                                                                                                           Struggles with low self-esteem.                                                                                                                 Overwhelm by loneliness or feeling alone.                                                                                              Feeling forgotten or expendable.                                                                                                                   Rejection.                                                                                                                                                                 Frustrated or upset.                                                                                                                                               Having failed or messed up.                                                                                                                                 Unhappy or joyless.                                                                                                                                               In bondage or trapped by something.                                                                                                         Angry or distrusting.  Unforgiveness or resentment.                                                                                       Or, feeling like I'm in the basement of my life, and not living in the upper rooms.

Are we holding on to things, that God has told you and me to let go of?                                                         Finally, lets address the hurdles.   And there were at least three of them that bothered Gideon and made him to feel uncertain. 

Now, the first hurdle for Gideon was overcoming the personal doubts that God would wanted to use him as a deliver for His people.  The fleece challenge that Gideon insisted upon in Judges 6: 36-40.

The second hurdle for Gideon was finding the right kind of men to fight in God's army in Judges 7: 2-7. 

The third hurdle for Gideon was the people God then struggled with being idolatrous during a time when Gideon was now a Judge unto them in Judges 8: 24-27.                                                                               Vs. 24.  Then Gideon said to them, I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.  For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.                 Vs. 25.  So, they answered, we will gladly give them.  And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder.                                                                                                           Vs. 26.  Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks.                                                         Vs. 27.  Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah.  But all Israel played the harlot with it there.   It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.

Yet Gideon, was that man whom the LORD turn his hurts and his hurdles, into that which made him heroic for God.

01-15-2017  Part 3

Our subject this morning as we continue into this new year is, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or sounds Like!” 

Isaiah 45: 5-7.                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 5.  I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me.                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 6.  That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me.  I am the LORD, and there is no other.                                                                                                                           Vs. 7.  I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil, or calamity; I the LORD, do all these things.                                                                                                                                                            One of the many things that Isaiah 45: 7 reveals to us, is that our God is in control.

But what does it mean, being ‘in control’?                                                                                                           For most people when it comes to God being in control, they think and believe that being in control means:                                                                                                                                                                     The absence of evil.                                                                                                                                               The absence of chaos.                                                                                                                                           The absence of rebellion & unrest.                                                                                                                       The absence of killing & hurting.                                                                                                                           The absence of any kind of disaster.                                                                                                                     The absence of suffering, sickness, and disease.                                                                                             

However, when it comes to God being in control, being in control can also mean,                                         Allowing or permitting.                                                                                                                                           Preserving or keeping,                                                                                                                                           Delivering or overcoming,                                                                                                                                   Anything, anyone, at any time, for a specific reason, and to fulfill a sovereign plan and purpose. 

So then, as far as we are concerned, the God we serve is in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like!

For example, the God we serve is in control and therefore, He can turn our test into a Testimony for His Glory and for our good.                                                                                                                                         •Listen, our God can Turn Our Hurts, Or Our Hurdles into that which can make us heroic.                            •Because the God we serve is in control, He can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to be a help to somebody.                                                                                                                                               God can turn our trials into triumphs, that brings Glory and Honor to His Holy Name!                      •Finally, God can turn our problems into possibilities for change and growth within us.

Now, last Sunday we considered how that the God that we serve is able to turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.                                                                                                                     Our example was Gideon, one of the Judges from the Old Testament Book of Judges.                                A man who God turned his hurts and his hurdles into that which made him heroic for God.

So, this morning, lets focus on how the God that we serve Who is in control, will turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody. 

Our example will be King David, a man whom God turned his mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto us!

But first, may I define the word ‘mess’, at least in the way most of us use it today?                                         Something that is out of order, something not under control, or not the way it should be.           Something that is repulsive, distasteful, unimaginable, or terrible.                                                                  A mess can be anything that is troublesome, problematic, or difficult.

Finally, a mess can be the result of, a bad decision.  A wrong choice.  Being fearful or worried.  Acting impulsively.  Being self-centered.  Feeling entitled or deserving.                                                                Our example will be King David, a man whom God turned his mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto others!

Let’s first, identify the mess David found himself a part of!

II Samuel 12: 9&10.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 9.  Nathan the prophet said, why have you (King David) despised the commandment of the LORD to do evil in His sight?                                                                                                                                                 You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword or in warfare; you have taken his wife to be your wife (in remarriage), and have killed Uriah the Hittite by the sword of the people of Ammon, in a battle.              Vs. 10.  Now therefore, the sword of judgment shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, saith the Lord, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 

May I explain what took place in II Samuel 11: 1-27, that made this a real ‘hot mess’?                                       Because, in II Samuel 11: 1-27, things were out of order.  Things were not under control, nor were they the way they should be.

Things in II Samuel 11: 1-27, were repulsive, distasteful, unimaginable, terrible, troublesome, problematic, and difficult.

Finally, things in II Samuel 11: 1-27, were the result of, a bad decision.  A wrong choice. Being fearful or worried.  Acting impulsively.                                                                                                                                   Being self-centered.  Feeling entitled or deserving.

Notice II Samuel 11:                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 1.  Is some background concerning David's possible state of mind.                                                             Vs. 2-4.  Is the temptation and the adultery that King David was involved in.                                              Vs. 5.  Is the unexpected pregnancy.                                                                                                                   Vs. 6-13.  Is King David's unsuccessful cover up by deceiving his lover's husband.                                     Vs. 14-25.  Is King David's successful murder plot against his lover's husband.                                               Vs. 26&27.  Is King David's success at playing the hypocrite.

Now, let’s focus on how that the God that we serve who is in control, turned David's mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto us!                                                                                      First and foremost, God induced in David the remorse, the repentance, and desire to confess his sins unto Him. 

II Samuel 12: 13.  So David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.  And Nathan said to David, the LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

See 2 Timothy 2: 25&26.                                                                                                                                  Vs. 25.  In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the Truth,                                                                                                                                Vs. 26.  and that they may come to their senses, and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

(Quote) Romans 2: 4.  Or, do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

1-22-2017   Part 4

This morning lets continue with our topic, "Learning To Trust In Our God Who Is Always In control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!” 

For example, the God that we serve because He is always in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like, He is the One who can turn our test into a testimony for His Glory and for our good. 

Listen, He is the One who can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.      The God we serve is in control, He can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody. God is the One who can turn our trials into triumphs, that brings Glory & Honor to His Holy Name!

Finally, our God can turn our problems into possibilities for change & growth within us.

Now, last Sunday we considered how the God that we serve and Who is in control, can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody. 

And our example was King David, a man whom God turned his mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto us!

So, last Sunday, we saw the kind of mess that King David was involved in.

In fact, later if you would like, you could read II Samuel 11: & II Samuel 12.  They could be very helpful in understanding, what kind of mess that King David was involved In.

However, this morning lets focus on how God turned David's mess into a message for Him to share and to be a help unto us today!

Now first and foremost, God, over a period of time was able to induced in David, repentance, remorse, and the desire to confess his sins.

Notice II Samuel 12: 13.  So, David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said to David, the LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

Question.  But what else did David say and do during his time of repentance?

Here in Psalm 51: 1-13, 16&17, God turns David's mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto us about confession, remorse, and brokenness before God and before others.

Notice at the very top were the words "Psalms 51".  There is an inscription or title. "To the Chief Musician a Psalm of David, when Nathan the Prophet went to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba.“

Read Psalm 51:                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.  Have mercy upon me, O God, How?  Well, according to Your loving kindness, according to the multitude of Your tender mercies and blot out my transgressions.                                                                 Vs. 2.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.                                                      Vs. 3.  For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.                                                Vs. 4.  Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight, that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.                                                                                             Vs. 5.  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, (and in, or with) sin, (or a sin nature) my mother conceived me.

Now skip to vs. 9.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 9.   Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.                                                                    Vs. 10.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                       Vs. 11.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take the Holy Spirit from me.                          Vs. 12.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.                              Vs. 13.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

Now skip to vs. 16.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 16.  For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.             Vs. 17.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart these, O God, You will not despise.

Now, here in Psalm 32: God turns David's mess into a message to us about learning to walk in the forgiveness and restoration that God graciously gives. 

Read Psalms 32: 1-7.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 1.  Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.                                          Vs. 2.  Blessed is the man or woman to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in their Spirit there is no deceit.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 3.  Because when I kept silent, my bones grew old by my groaning all the day long.                               Vs. 4.  For day and night Your hand, O LORD, was heavy upon me; Which caused my vitality to turn into a drought like in summer. Selah                                                                                                                               Vs. 5.  But I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, And You O LORD forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah                                  Vs. 6.  For this cause or reason everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near me.                                                            Vs. 7.  You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

As you may know the LORD lead David to write a few songs, or psalms of deliverance and change.      For example,                                                                                                                                                            Psalms 19.                                                                                                                                                               Psalms 25.                                                                                                                                                               Psalms 38.                                                                                                                                                               And Psalms 1, is a Psalm of deliverance and change. 

Psalms 1: 1-6.                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 1.  Blessed is the man or woman who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,  Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor, sits in the seat of the scornful;                                                                                                    Vs. 2.  But their delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law, they meditate day and night.                Vs. 3.  For the Bless man or woman shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever they do shall prosper.                              Vs. 4.  The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff, which the wind blows away.                                         Vs. 5.  Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 6.  Because the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Finally, in Psalm 103: 1-5, 8-14, God turns David's mess into a message to us that there will be Times that we can look forward to, in which we will be able to express our praise and gratitude unto the LORD, because His mercies endure forever.                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.  Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!                                          Vs. 2.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:                                                                    Vs. 3. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,                                                                  Vs. 4.  Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,                                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 5.  Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Now skip to vs. 8.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 8.  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.                                        Vs. 9.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.                                                    Vs. 10.  He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.            Vs. 11.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;      Vs. 12.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.                    Vs. 13.  As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.                                                Vs. 14.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust or dirt.

One day, perhaps in this new year, the God that we serve, Who is in control, will turn our mess into a message for us to share and to be a help to somebody.

02-05-2017   Part 5

This morning lets continue with our new topic that we started on January 1st of this new year, and that is, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In-Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!"

For example, the God that we serve because he is always in control no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like, can turn our test into a testimony for his Glory and for our good. 

Listen, our God can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.                            The God we serve is in control, He can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody.                                                                                                                                                               God can turn our trials into triumphs, that brings glory and honor to His Holy name!                               Finally, God can turn our problems into possibilities for change & growth within us.

Now, last time we considered how the God that we serve who is in control, can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody. 

And our example was King David, a man whom God turn his mess into a message for him to share and to be a help unto us!

This morning let’s consider how the God that we serve who is in control, can turn our trials into triumphs, that will bring glory and honor to His Holy name!

Notice I Peter 4: 12-14.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 12.  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is come to try you, as though it were some strange thing that has happened to you.                                                                                          Vs. 13.  But rejoice to this end,                                                                                                                              •that you are a partake of Christ’s sufferings,                                                                                                      •that when His glory is revealed, i.e., the Lord's 2nd coming and His kingdom rule, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 14.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, because the Spirit of Glory and of God, (another name for God the Holy Spirit), rests upon you.                                                                           On their part (He) God the Holy Spirit is blasphemed, but on your part (He) God the Holy Spirit is glorified.

Now, back to vs. 12.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 12.  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial (which is come to try you), as though it were some strange thing that has happened to you.                                             

By the way, what is a trial?                                                                                                                                     And, what is the difference between a trial and a test?                                                                       

First, what is a trial, or sometimes it is referred to as tribulations?                                                                     Listen, a trial can be the adversity that comes against one's faith, beliefs, or trust that God Is truly in control because of something, or because of someone.

Next, what is a trial, or sometimes it is referred to as tribulations?                                                                     A trial can be the challenge to endure a difficulty, a hardship, or a spiritual attack because of something, or because of someone.

Finally, what is a trial, or sometimes it is referred to as tribulations?                                                                 A trial can be the patience to allow God to work on our behalf, enabling you and me to overcome because of something, or because of someone.

So, what is the difference between a trial and a test?                                                                                         There are at least three things that can distinguish a trial from a test!

First, Duration.                                                                                                                                                     Usually a trial will last longer than a test.                                                                                                             For example: the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years.                                                                   Our Lord Jesus Christ, 40 days in the wilderness.

Next, Intensity.                                                                                                                                                        Usually a trial can be more intense than a test.                                                                                                    For example: The Prophet Jonah in the belly of the great fish.                                                                    The Prophet Daniel was in the lion's den.

Finally, Magnitude, or Size, or Scope.                                                                                                      Usually, the magnitude of a trial Is different than those of a test.                                                                      For example: The many different test of Abraham.                                                                                              The many different trials of Job.

An important sidebar to remember. Too many of God's people think they can deal with the what's of life, or the things that are happening to them in life, if they only knew the why?                                                    Why is this happening!                                                                                                                                          Or, why me!                                                                                                                                                         Or, why now!                                                                                                                                                          Or, why do I have to deal with so much!

But actually, it would be better to know the who, or the One that is in control of the what's of life, than to know the whys? 

Because the God who we serve is truly in control of the what's of life, and therefore to know Him and to trust in Him is far better than knowing why is this happening!                                                                            Or, why me!                                                                                                                                                             Or, why now!                                                                                                                                                            Or, why do I have to deal with so much!

So then, this morning with God's help let’s consider how the God that we serve Who is in control, can turn our trials into triumphs, that will bring Glory and honor to His Holy name! 

Our example will be three individuals and not just one this time.                                                                       These three individuals from the Old Testament you may not be familiar with their birth or Jewish names. The three individuals are;                                                                                                                                       Hananiah.                                                                                                                                                                 Mishael.                                                                                                                                                                   Azariah.                                                                                                                                                                   Anyone know who these three individuals are?

See Daniel 1: 7.  To them, the Chief of the Eunuchs gave names to their captives.                                         He gave to Daniel the name Belteshazzar;                                                                                                          to Hananiah, the name Shadrach;                                                                                                                        to Mishael, the name Meshach;                                                                                                                            and to Azariah, the name Abed-Nego.

So, let’s consider the trial that they were facing in Daniel chapter 3.                                                                 The adversity that came against their faith, their beliefs, that God was truly in control.                                  The challenge to endure difficulty, hardship, or a spiritual attack.                                                                      The patience to allow God to work on their behalf, enabling them to overcome.

See Daniel 3: 13-20.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 13. Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego unto him.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 14.  So they brought these men before the king.                                                                                          Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?                                                                        Vs. 15.  Now if you are ready to change your mind, at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, we're good! 

However, if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.  And, who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?

Vs. 16. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.                                                                                                              Vs. 17.  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.                                                                                                    Vs. 18, But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

Now again, back to vs. 13.                                                                                                                                      Then, Nebuchadnezzar, (in rage and fury), gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego unto him. 

But what made the king so angry?  See Daniel 3: 8–12 and Daniel 2: 48 & 49.

Vs. 14.  So they brought these men before the king.                                                                                          Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods, nor worship the gold image which I have set up?  Yes, it is true!

Notice Daniel 3: 7.                                                                                                                                                   So, at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, then all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, except three. 

By the way, we don't know where Daniel was at this time. Most likely away attending unto the King's business in some other area, or in another country, but this we know for sure, if Daniel had been there at this time there would have been four men that would not have worshipped the image that was commanded by the king.

Now, notice vs. 15, the king's ultimatum!                                                                                                               Now, if you are ready? Ready to do what?                                                                                                           To change your mind.                                                                                                                                             To compromise.                                                                                                                                                       To capitulate.

At the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, then we're good!                                However, if you do not worship,                                                                                                                           To give homage to.                                                                                                                                                To give allegiance to.                                                                                                                                              To give recognition to.                                                                                                                                          To give acceptance to.                                                                                                                                            Then you shall be cast (immediately) into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.                                                And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?                                 

By the way, it is amazing how quickly the attitude of the king had changed at this time from chapter 2, to what it is in chapter 3.

Notice Daniel 2: 47.                                                                                                                                                 The king answered Daniel, and said, truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.

Concluded by sharing the importance of being courageous, having convictions, and not willing to compromise your beliefs, your values, your standards, nor your position as a man or a woman of God.

02-12-2017   Part 6

This morning lets continue with our new subject, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!"

Now we have been considering how that the God we serve who is in control, can turn our trials into triumphs, that will bring glory & honor to His Holy Name!

And our example this time are three individuals and not just one.                                                                         But these three individuals act as one person here in the Book of Daniel.                                                               •Hananiah, better known as Shadrach.                                                                                                                         •Mishael, better known as Meshach.                                                                                                                             •and Azariah, better known as Abed-Nego.                                                                                                               For here in Daniel 3: 13-20, we have three individuals who are united.                                                                     We have three individuals who are willing to stand up and stand out for what they believe, and in whom they believe in.

Now, notice again the king's ultimatum.                                                                                                                       Vs. 15.  Now if you are ready,                                                                                                                                         To change your mind.                                                                                                                                                     To compromise.                                                                                                                                                               To capitulate.

At the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, we're good!                                                             However, if you do not worship, to give homage to.                                                                                                   To give allegiance to.                                                                                                                                                     To give recognition to.                                                                                                                                                   To give acceptance to.                                                                                                                                                   Then you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.                                                         And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?

Now, notice here in vs. 16-18, we have this response from this trio that was unforgettable, totally inspirational, and very revealing how God can change hearts to know Him, and to stand for Him.                                             Let me show you what I mean!

First in vs. 16, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.                                                                                               

Or, the K.J.V. says, "we are not careful to answer thee in this matter."                                                                       The word ‘careful’ would be better translated, ‘needful’ to answer you in this matter.                                             Strong's Definitions: the English word translated 'careful', is from the Hebrew verb חֲשַׁח chăshach, khash-akh'; H2363 to be necessary, the idea is to be needful or to have need of.

Listen, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were not trying to be disrespectful or arrogant with their comment.                                                                                                                                                                       For they were not saying, “We don’t have to tell you anything, we want a lawyer!”                                    Instead, they were admitting that the charges against them are true; and therefore, no defense, or an appeal would be needed. 

Now here in vs. 17, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego continue to exude a God-given confidence, listen to what they said.  If that is the case, our God whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king!  By the way, remember at the end of vs. 15, what the king said? "And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"

Notice again vs. 17, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego said, if that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king!  Wow! 

Say something about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego's relationship that they cultivated with the LORD that must have started years ago, which enabled them to stand in this situation.

Again vs. 17. They said our God whom we serve!                                                                                                         Two things are revealed by that statement.

First, they identified with the God of heaven, and not with the gods of their culture.                                           For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego they had a personal relationship with their God.                                   They had some biblical understanding about their God.                                                                                            And they had regular involvement with their God.

Next, they said, "whom we serve!"                                                                                                                                 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had a loyalty to their God.                                                                               Had a purpose because of their God.                                                                                                                     They had a focus on their God.

And could the same thing be said about each one of us?                                                                                           Are we identified with the God of heaven, and not with the gods of our culture.                                               The American culture.  The Popular culture.

For like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, do we have a personal relationship with our God?                       Do we have some biblical understanding about our God?                                                                                       And do we have regular involvement with our God?

And like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, the God whom they served, is the same God we serve!             Do we have the same loyalty unto our God?                                                                                                               Do we have the same purpose because of our God?                                                                                                 Do we have the same focus on our God?

Now let's notice vs. 18,                                                                                                                                               But if not, let it be known to you O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. Wow!                                                                                                                                     Notice their Decision.                                                                                                                                                     Notice their Dedication.                                                                                                                                                 Notice their Determination.

First, notice their decision in vs. 18, it was Unanimous, Unwavering, and United.                                                   Next, notice their dedication in vs. 18, it was straightforward, Strong, and selfless.                                                 Finally, notice their determination in vs. 18, it was Decisive, Dogmatic, and Dutiful. 

Now share your confession about your false conversion experience in 1974! 

Yet God was gracious & merciful to me over a period of time, because the LORD changed my heart, so that I wanted to know Him, so that I wanted to serve Him, so that I wanted to stand for Him. 

Please listen to this message on our church website, find Sermon Notes for 2-12-17 Part 6, to hear my confession about my false conversion experience in 1974.

02-19-2017   Part 7

This morning lets continue with our subject, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!"

For here in Daniel 3: 13-20, we have three individuals who are united.                                                                     We have three individuals who are willing to stand up & stand out for what they believe, and in whom they believe in.

Now, notice here in vs. 16-18, we have the response from this trio that is unforgettable, totally inspirational, and very revealing how God can change hearts to know Him, and to stand for Him.                                             Vs. 16.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need, or we are not careful to answer you in this matter.       

 In other words, the charges against us are true; and therefore, no defense or an appeal, will be needed. 

Now, vs. 17.  Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego said, if that is the case, our God whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king!                         Vs. 18.  But if not, let it be known to you O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. Wow! 

Now, there are at least three things that I learn from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego out of vs. 16, 17, &18. The first thing, I learn with God's help is, be courageous!

Listen, this virtue called, "courage," or "courageous," must be a daily prayer request from us to God.         LORD, that You would infuse me to have courage, to be courageous, in every situation, And in every circumstance, at any time, at any place, with any one, for Your honor, and for Your glory, Amen!

See Joshua 1: 6&7, 9.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 6.  God speaking to His servant Joshua, "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.                                                     Vs. 7.  Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand, nor to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 9.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

The next thing, that I learned from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego is, with God's help don't ever compromise!

Listen, now this next virtue in which we are called unto, and that is to be uncompromising, is a daily commitment we must be committed unto.                                                                                                                   •Therefore, being uncompromising means, I might go through times of suffering.                                                 •Being uncompromising means, I might face times of persecution.                                                                           •Listen, being uncompromising means, I am ready to lay down my Life because of my allegiance unto the Lord and His people.

See Luke 9: 23-26.                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 23.  Then He said to them all, if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 24.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.         Vs. 25.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?                     Vs. 26.  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words of that One, the Son of Man will be ashamed, when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s glory, and of or with the Holy Angels.

See Revelation 13: 11-18.                                                                                                                                                 There is coming a time in the future where another human leader will rise up and make an image of himself to be worshiped.  Then he will threaten the people of that time and if they do not comply, they will be put to death.                                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 11.  Then I saw another beast, (the false prophet in Revelation 19:20), coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.                                                                                                   Vs. 12.  And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, the antichrist whose deadly wound was healed.                                     Vs. 13.  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.                                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 14.  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 15.  He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.                                     Vs. 16.  He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 17.  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 18.  Here is wisdom.  Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: his number is 666.

See I Peter 3: 13-17.                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 13.  And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?                                             Vs. 14.  But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed.  And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 15.  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;                                                                             Vs. 16.  having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.                                                                                                                               Vs. 17.  For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Finally, the thing that I learn from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego is with God's help, maintain your biblical convictions no matter what!  

This last virtue, maintaining your biblical convictions no matter what must be a part of our daily lives!

Therefore, by the renewing of your mind through regular reading and studying of God's Word, along with the help of God the Holy Spirit you can develop within you, heart-felt convictions.  Such as biblical beliefs, Godly values, holy standards, and a correct understanding of who you really are as a man or a woman of God.

See Romans 12: 1&2.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 1.  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.                                                                       Vs. 2.  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.

Let me close with this Declaration, it is entitled,  "The Fellowship of The Unashamed!"                                       The author of this work is in dispute.  Some say the author of this work is Anonymous. Others claim the author of this work is by Dr. Bob Moorehead.

"I am part of the fellowship of the Unashamed.                                                                                                        The die has been cast.                                                                                                                                                    I have stepped over the line.                                                                                                                                      The decision has been made.                                                                                                                                       I am 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, and my future is secure.                                                             I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.                                                                                                                               I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.                                  I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.                              My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.                                                                                                                    I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.                              I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.                                                 I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.        My colors will be clear."

03-05-2017   Part 8

This morning lets continue with our subject, "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!"

And once again here in Daniel 3: we have three individuals who are united.                                                           We have three individuals who are willing to stand up and stand out for what they believe, and in whom, they believe in.

Now notice here in vs. 16-18, we have the response of these three men that is unforgettable, totally inspirational, and very revealing how God can change hearts to know him, and to stand for him.                         Vs. 16.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need, or we are not careful to answer you in this matter. 

 *In other words, the charges against us are true; and therefore no defense or an appeal, will be needed. 

Now, vs. 17.  Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego said, if that is the case, our God whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king!                           Vs. 18.  But if not, let it be known to you O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. 

This morning we want to address a very important matter that every child of God needs to understand. 

Even though you and I may do the right thing, there may be times when doing the right thing turns out wrong for us. 

There may be times when doing the right thing will end up going in a different direction than you planned or expected.

Listen, there may be times when doing the right thing God does not choose to deliver us from a situation, a circumstance, a problem or a trial, but may choose to deliver us while we are in it.

Think about it, in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego they did the right thing as representatives of God.

*And therefore, we may have thought that God should have struck down King Nebuchadnezzar like he did in the Book of Acts 12: 21-24, when dealing with King Herod Agrippa I.

Listen, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego stood up for God and did not compromise.                                       *Therefore, we may have believed that God would have cause the burning fiery furnace to break down, or malfunction. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego showed such unwavering faith in God that their God was able to deliver them.                                                                                                                                                                               *And therefore, we may have hoped that God could have kept them out of this life-threatening situation.

See Psalms 23: 3&4.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 3.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the path(s) of righteousness for His name’s sake, i.e based on His reputation.                                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 4.  Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for or because, You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

(For more inside concerning this passage in vs. 3&4, please see our Church website and click the section that says, Sermon Notes.   Find the Sermon Notes for Wednesday Evening Bible Study that dates back to June and July of 2016).

Now see Isaiah 43: 1-3.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.  But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you O Israel.  Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name and You are Mine.                                                     Vs. 2.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.                             Vs. 3.   For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

03-12-2017   Part 9

This morning let's continue with our subject "Learning To Trust In Our God, Who Is Always In Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!"

And here in Daniel 3: 19-29, there are at least three things that stand out for me.

First, this King Nebuchadnezzar shows or acts out in great anger because of the decision made by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in (vs. 16-18).

Again, King Nebuchadnezzar, shows or acts out in sadistic anger (vs. 19-23).                                                         Vs. 19.  Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  Then the King spoke and commanded that they should heat up the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 

•Say something about "The Burning Fiery Furnace!"                                                                                                   •It that was used as a form of capital punishment.                                                                                                       •It had only one main entrance.                                                                                                                                     •It was large enough that it could hold or accommodate several people at one time.                                             •It had some kind of porthole, so that from a safe distance you could look into the furnace while it was burning.

•I don't believe that this was the first time that this burning fiery furnace had been used!  For this might explain why the people who lived in the region were so quick to comply with the King's command to worship the image, for they saw what could happen to anyone who resisted the king's edict.  Notice vs. 7.

Lastly, I believe that King Nebuchadnezzar and a few of his select leaders and certain citizens were present at these executions to watch them as they took place.  Notice vs. 24.

Now vs. 20.  And King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that certain mighty men of valor who were in his army, they were to tie-up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and throw them alive into the burning fiery furnace. Vs. 21.  And so then, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were tied up in their coats, in their trousers, in their turbans, and in their other garments.  Then were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 

But notice vs. 22.  However, because the king’s command was so urgent, no time to take proper safety precautions.  And that the furnace exceedingly hot, like even times more than it was usually heated!                 Vs. 22 says, that the flames of the fire killed those men who placed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in there. What men?

Remember vs. 20.  And King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that certain mighty men of valor who were in his army, were to tie-up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and throw them alive into the burning fiery furnace. 

Lastly, notice vs. 23.  And so, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego fell down all tied up, into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 

Things looked pretty bleak!                                                                                                                                           Yet, our God is always in control, no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like! 

For we see in vs. 24&25, that the King of kings shows up to protect and to deliver! 

Notice vs. 24.  Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and the king rose in haste and then spoke saying to his counselors,                                                                                                                                                           "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?"                                                                               And they answered and said to the king, true, O king.

Notice vs. 25, King Nebuchadnezzar observes four things that astonished him.                                                     Vs. 25.  King Nebuchadnezzar said, look! 

1st.  I see four men loose, not just three, but four men loose, un-tied, free!                                                           2nd. The four men are walking in and around the fiery flames which has no heat to burn them, nor to consume whatever comes in contact with it.                                                                                                               3rd. The four men are not hurt, nor injured. They are not being burned alive.                                                         They have not disintegrated into a heap of ashes.                                                                                                     4th.  And the form of the fourth man, is like the Son of God.                                                                                     Son of God was a term for a Deity, or for God.                                                                                                           Son of God is a term that is given to Jesus Christ.

See I John 5: 20.  And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, that is in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God and Eternal Life. 

Lastly, how long has the Son of God Jesus, been around?  Did His existence start with His birth in Bethlehem, or before then?

See St. John 1: 1, 2, & 14.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 1.  In the Beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God.                         Vs. 2.  He (The Word) was in the Beginning with God.                                                                                             Vs. 14.  And (The Word) that was in the Beginning with God, and was God.  Also, became flesh, or human, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, The Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth.

See I John 5: 7 says, for there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, The Word, Who is Jesus, God the Son, and The Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

Now let's finish up with Daniel 3: 26-39.  For I would like us to consider that it is a strong possibility because King Nebuchadnezzar had witnessed a mighty miracle, and perhaps, had a close encounter with the Son of God, maybe it was similar to that of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).

It appears that King Nebuchadnezzar is showing remorse and repentance.                                                   Notice vs. 26.  Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the main entrance of the burning fiery furnace, and said Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!             Because, all the fire and the flames were still going on, nothing was turned off, as the King kept his distance.

Notice Vs. 27, Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire, and the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw (these three men), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, on whose bodies the fire had no power to harm them, neither was the hair of their head was singed, nor were their garments affected, with the smell of fire or smoke was not on them. 

Lastly, notice vs. 28, King Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him. 

Listen, in reality according to the Bible, the Son Of God Jesus is also the Angel or the Messenger of the LORD of the Old Testament, He is also known as the Angel of God, or His Angel.

See St. John 8: 56, and Jesus said, your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and Abraham saw it and was glad.

Now, see Genesis 22: 10-12.                                                                                                                                           Vs 10.  And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.                                                     Vs 11.  But the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”  So, Abraham said, I am Here!                                                                                                                                               Vs 12.  Then, the Angel of the LORD said, do not lay your hand on the young man, or do anything to Isaac.  For now, I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.                     St. John 8: 56.  And Jesus said, your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and Abraham saw it and was glad!

So, Daniel 3: 28.  King Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him. and they have frustrated the king’s word, and were willing to sacrifice their bodies, so that they should not serve, nor worship any god except their own God!                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 29.  Therefore, the king said, I make a decree that any people, nation, or language that would speak anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego must be cut in pieces.                                     Apparently, no more burning fiery furnace as a form of capital punishment.

Again vs. 29.  And their homes shall be made an ash heap.                                                                                       Because there is no other God who can deliver like this.                                                                                   Wow!

Again, King Nebuchadnezzar had witnessed a mighty miracle, and perhaps, he had a close encounter with the Son of God, maybe it was similar to that of Saul of Tarsus.                                                                                   For it appears that King Nebuchadnezzar is showing remorse and repentance. 

Close with Isaiah 43: 2.                                                                                                                                                   When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;                                                                                               And through the rivers they shall not overflow you.                                                                                                     When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. 

05-07-2017    Part 10

This morning lets return back to a topic that we started back In January 2017, to begin a new year.

Our topic from the LORD has been, "Learning to trust In Our God Who Is Always In Control, No matter what It Looks Like, feels Like, Or Sounds Like!" 

For example, we have learned, the God that we serve, because He is always in control, He is the one who can turn our test into a testimony for His glory and for our good. 

Next, we learned that the God that we serve can turn our hurts, or our hurdles into that which can make us heroic.                                                                                                                                                                               Next, we learned that the God that we serve can turn our mess into a message for us to share and to help somebody.

And last time during February and March of 2017, we considered how that the God that we serve can turn our trials into triumphs, that brings glory and honor to His Holy Name! 

Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego before King Nebuchadnezzar and the Fiery Furnace.

Now, this morning we come to our final reminder as we continue to learn to trust in our God who is always in control, no matter what it looks like, feels like, or sounds like.

Listen, our God can turn our problems into possibilities for growth and change within ourselves. 

You probably noticed by now from the Bible, as well as in your life personally, that our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are totally committed to your spiritual growth, and to bring about change in every part of your life, by any means necessary!

There is a sister in Christ, Joni Eareckson Tada, who said this, "It's God allowing those things that He hates, to accomplish those things that He loves."

And one of the primary ways the LORD can bring about spiritual growth and change in every part of our lives, is when we see the problems of life, or the problems in life, as possibilities that the LORD can use to bring about growth and change within ourselves. 

For example, God can use for our growth and change such things as, financial problems, unemployment problems, housing problems, personal safety problems, marital problems. problems with your ex, parental problems, problems with your parents, your siblings, your in-laws or other relatives.

Again, God can use for our growth and change such things as, relational problems,   personal problems, health problems, problems on the job, problems at school, spiritual problems, congregational problems, neighborhood problems, community problems, governmental problems, global problems.

The late Pastor, songwriter, musician and singer, Andrae Crouch wrote a song, years ago called, "Through It All!"  And at the very last verse of this song, the LORD lead him to write this about problems.

Listen, "I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys.  I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.  For if I never had a problem, I would not know God could solve them.  I never would know what faith in God could do.

Through it all,                                                                                                                                                                   Through it all,                                                                                                                                                                 I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,                                                                                                                                         I’ve learned to trust in God.                                                                                                                                           Through it all,                                                                                                                                                                 Through it all,                                                                                                                                                                   I’ve learned to depend upon His Word."

Listen, our God can turn our problems into possibilities for growth and change, even within ourselves.  Show you what I mean!

See Romans 8:28 (NKJV).

And we know, that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose.

Now, here is a person who knows what they are talking about.  Here is a man that has had his share of problems in life.   (Quote II Corinthians 11: 23-28).                                                                                                       Vs. 23.  Are they ministers of Christ?  I speak as a fool for I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.                                                                                     Vs. 24.  From the Jews five times I received 40 stripes minus one.                                                                           Vs. 25.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep sea;                                                                                                                               Vs. 26.  in journeys, often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;   Vs. 27.  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.                                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 28.  And besides all these other things what comes upon me daily, is my deep concern for all the churches.

Romans 8:28 (NLT).                                                                                                                                                       And we know that God causes, everything to work together for the good of those, who love God and are called, according to His purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NASB),                                                                                                                                                   And we know that God causes, all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called, according to His purpose.                                                                                                                                 The Confidence.  "And we know!"                                                                                                                                 The Source.  "That God Causes!"                                                                                                                                   The Reality.  "All things."                                                                                                                                                 The Method.  "To work together!"                                                                                                                               The Purpose.  "For good!"                                                                                                                                             The Recipients.  "To those who love God, to those who are called!"                                                                       The Objective.  "According to His purpose!"

05-14-17   Part 11

And let's return back to our topic from the LORD, "Learning To Trust In Our God Who Is Always In-Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!" 

And over the last few months we have consider five helpful reminders that will help us in learning to trust in God who is always in control.

And last Sunday, we began to consider the 5th.   And final reminder, and that is our God who is always in control can turn, our problems, that is, the problems of life, or the problems in life, yet our God can turn them into possibilities for growth and change within ourselves, and within our circumstances.

And last Sunday, we considered a man who had his share of problems in life.  Here is a person who knows what he is talking about concerning our God, who can turn our problems into possibilities for growth and change within ourselves, and within our circumstances.

Remember this very important verse from the Bible from last Sunday.                                                                     Romans 8:28.  The Lord used the Apostle Paul to remind us that God is always in control.

May I Quote to you from the NASB,                                                                                                                               "And we know that God causes, all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called, according to His purpose." Amen!

So then, this morning, on this very special Sunday, Mother's Day 2017.   Let's consider another example, someone who can help us in learning to trust in God who can turn our problems into possibilities for growth and change within ourselves, and within our circumstances.

Therefore, this morning our example for this Mother's Day Sunday will be an Egyptian young mother named Hagar.                                                                                                                                                                               Listen, because of Hagar's situation, we will see how God turned her problems into possibilities for growth and change within herself, and within her circumstances.

Now see Genesis 16:                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 1.   Now, Sarai, Abram's wife, was unable to conceive children.  But Sarai had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 2.   So then, Sarai said to Abram, see now the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.  Please go unto my maidservant Hagar; perhaps I shall obtain children by her for us.  So, Abram listen to the voice of Sarai.                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 3.   Then Sarai Abram's wife, brought Hagar her maidservant the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his conjugal wife.   And all this happened after Abram had dwelt 10 years in the land of Canaan.

Now, before we start to understand Hagar's situation, we need to first consider this couple Abraham and Sarah's selfish path of disobedience.

For example, Abraham and Sarah let the issue of a limited time, or, a pressing deadline, or, the idea that there is only a brief window of opportunity available, you must do something now.   For all of this robbed Abraham and Sarah of their peace, and their confidence in God's timing and will for their situation.                                   Vs. 1a.  Now Sarai Abram's wife, was unable to conceive children.                                                                       Vs. 2.   So then, Sarai said to Abram, see now the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.  Please go unto my maidservant Hagar; perhaps I shall obtain children by her for us.                         
Vs. 3.  Then Sarai Abram's wife, brought Hagar her maidservant and gave her to her husband Abram to be His conjugal wife.                                                                                                                                                                    Listen, Abraham and Sarah let the issue of a limited time, or, a pressing deadline, or, the idea that there is only a brief window of opportunity available, you must do something now.  Robbed them of their peace, and their confidence in God's timing and will for their situation.

Question, is limited time, or time is limited, or, a pressing deadline is approaching, or, the idea that there is only a brief window of opportunity available, you must do something now, robbing you of your peace, and your confidence in God's timing and will for your situation?

Next, Abraham and Sarah thought they needed to help God out.   In other words, God helps those that help themselves!                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 2.  So, then Sarai said to Abram, see now the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.  Please go unto my maid servant Hagar; perhaps I shall obtain children by her for us.                                                         Listen, Abraham and Sarah thought they needed to help God out.   In other words, God helps those that help themselves!

Question.  Have you tried to help God out?   Do you believe God helps those that help themselves?

Finally, Abraham and Sarah caused another person to sin against God, they caused them to compromise their values, their beliefs, and their integrity, so they could get what they wanted.                                                           Vs. 3.  Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his conjugal wife.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 4a.  So, Abram went into Hagar, and she conceived.                                                                                           Listen, Abraham and Sarah caused another person to sin against God, they caused them to compromise their values, their beliefs, and their integrity, so they could get what they wanted.

Question.  Have you caused another person to sin against God, they caused them to compromise their values, their beliefs, and their integrity, so they could get what they wanted.

Now, let's look at Hagar's situation, and how that God would turn her problems into possibilities for growth and change within herself, and within her circumstances.

First, Hagar allowed herself to be manipulative to compromise, her values, her believes, her integrity.               Vs. 2.  So, then Sarai said to Abram, see now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.  Please go unto my maidservant Hagar; perhaps I shall obtain children by her for us.                                                               Vs. 3.  Then, Sarai Abram's wife, brought Hagar her maidservant and gave her to her husband Abram to be his conjugal wife.                                                                                                                                                           Listen, Hagar allowed herself to be manipulative to compromise, her values, her believes, her integrity.

Question.  Have you allowed herself to be manipulative to compromise, your values, your believes, your integrity?

Next, Hagar allowed herself to think more highly of herself than she ought to have.                                           Vs. 4.   So, Abram went into Hagar, and she conceived.  So, when Hagar saw that she had conceived, Sarai her mistress became despised, or was seen as inferior, or was thought to be inadequate in the eyes of Hagar. Vs. 5.  Then, Sarai said to Abram, my wrong be upon you!  I gave my maidservant into your embrace; and when Hagar saw that she had conceived, I became despised, seen as inferior, thought as inadequate in her eyes.                                                                                                                                                                      Listen, Hagar allowed herself to think more highly of herself than she ought to have.

Question.  Have you thought of yourself more highly than you ought to have? 

Have you despised others?  Do you see other people as inferior, or inadequate to yourself because you are able by the Grace of God, to do something, or to have some things, that they do not have?

Finally, Hagar found herself in a position that she had to humble herself, repent, and return.                           Vs. 6.  So, Abram said to Sarai, indeed your maidservant is in your hand; do to her as you please.  And when Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar, so then Hagar fled from Sarai presence.                                                                   Vs. 8.  And (He) the Angel of the Lord said, Hagar, Sarai's maidservant, where have you come from, and where are you going?  Hagar said, I am running away from the presence of my mistress Sarai.                                       Vs. 9.  Then the Angel of the Lord said to Hagar, return to your mistress Sarai, and submit yourself under her hand.                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 11.  And the Angel of the Lord said to Hagar: Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction.                                                                   Vs. 13.  Then Hagar called the name of the LORD who spoke to Her, you are the God who sees; for Hagar said, have I also have seen Him, who sees me?                                                                                                           Vs. 15.  So, Hagar return and gave birth to Abram first born son; and Abram named his son whom Hagar gave birth to, he named him Ishmael, which means "God will hear!"                                                                                   Listen, Hagar found herself in a position that she had to humble herself, repent, and return.

Question, have you ever had to humble yourself, repent, and return?

05-21-2017    Part 12

And, let's return back and finish up our topic from the LORD, "Learning To Trust In (Our God) Who Is Always In-Control, No Matter What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Or Sounds Like!

Remember, we have considered five helpful reminders and examples that will help us in learning to trust in God who is always in control.

And, for the last two Sundays we have been considering this 5th and final reminder, how our God can turn, our problems that is, the problems of life, or the problems in life, yet, our God can turn them into possibilities for growth & change within ourselves, and within our circumstances.

And last Sunday, we considered three people, Hagar, a young Egyptian maidservant, and Abraham and Sarah, who by the way wanted Hagar to be a surrogate mother for them.

In fact, according to Genesis 16: 2, it was Sarah's idea because of an infertility condition she had throughout her adult life.  Sarah suggested and gave permission to this culturally excepted method for having children.

Notice Genesis 16:2, so then Sarai said to Abram, see now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.  Please go unto my maidservant Hagar; and perhaps I shall obtain children by her for us.  So, Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

By the way, did you notice something very important that Sarah said?                                                                     See vs. 2.   So, then Sarai said to Abram, see now the LORD has restrained me from bearing children.

Our English word that is translated ‘restrained’, comes from a Hebrew word.                                                         A Strong's Definition:  The Hebrew word is עָצָר ʻâtsâr; this verb is Qal which can mean, to hold back; to close up, to stop, to withhold. 

It appears that Sarah was convinced and believed that God in some way and for some reason, was working against her. 

Perhaps, in Sarah's heart she was disappointed with God about her problem, or she blamed God for her infertility problem!

See vs. 2.  See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children!  Therefore, there is a very important lesson that we need to remind ourselves and one another of.

Listen, when we are disappointed with God about a problem we are facing or we blame God for the problems we are going through.  Then we will always seek a solution that will causes more problems, and more pain! 

In fact, when we have an attitude with God about something that He has said in His Word for us to obey.       Or, I see God as the problem, the one who is hindering me!                                                                                     Or, I see God as unfair, unloving or uncaring about my situation, my circumstance, or my issues.                         Then, usually being influenced by the devil, we will seek a solution, or an answer that causes more problems and heartaches!

Now, let’s finish up our subject how our God who is always in control, can turn our problems, into possibilities for growth and change within ourselves, and within our circumstances.

Our final example will be Joseph whom God turned his problems into possibilities for growth and change within himself and within his circumstances.

So, let’s consider briefly, the many problems of Joseph.                                                                                             First, the problem of being misunderstood.  Genesis 37: 10.                                                                                       So, Joseph told the dream to his father and his brothers;                                                                                     But his father rebuked him and said to him, what is this dream that you have dreamed?                                       Shall your mother and I and your brothers truly come to bow down to the ground before you?                             But in time, God would turn Joseph's problem of being misunderstood, into possibilities for growth and change within Joseph.

Next, Joseph had problems within his family.  Genesis 37:4.                                                                                     But, when his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than all his brothers, they hated Joseph and could not speak peaceably to him.                                                                                                                               Yet, in time God would turn Joseph's problems within the family, into possibilities for growth and change within that family.  

Next, Joseph had the problem that he must now adapt to a new environment and culture. Genesis 39:1.       Now, Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.  And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, purchase Joseph from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down to Egypt.                                             And in time, God would turn Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change, helping Him to adapt to his new environment and culture.

Next, Joseph faced the problem of sexual harassment.  Genesis 39:7.                                                                     And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast lustful eyes on Joseph, and she said, lie with me!                                                                                                                                                                               Yet, God turn Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change, helping him to remain sexually pure, even when being sexually harassed or pursued by another.

Next, Joseph faced the problem of being falsely accused.  Genesis 39:17.   Then, Potiphar's wife spoke to her husband these words, saying, the Hebrew servant whom you brought to us, came in to me to rape me;             Vs. 18.  So it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.     So again, God turned Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change, within Joseph, as he learns to trust in the LORD even when being falsely accused.

Next, Joseph faced the problem of being arrested and imprisoned unjustly.                                                           Genesis 39:20.   Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were kept, and Joseph was there in the prison.                                                                                         Yet, God turned Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change within Joseph, as he learns to trust in the LORD even when being falsely accused.

Next, Joseph faced the problem of being forgotten or abandon.  Genesis 40:23.                                                   But the Chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.                                                                                 Again, God turned Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change within Joseph, as he learns to wait on the LORD even when being forgotten or abandoned by others.

Next, Joseph faced the problem of feeling resentful.  Genesis 42:7.                                                                         Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, and he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them.                                                                                                                                                                                 Then Joseph said to them, where do you come from?                                                                                               And they said, from the land of Canaan, and we are here to buy food.                                                                     Vs. 8.   So, Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.                                                           Vs. 17.  So, Joseph put them all together in prison for three days.

And again, God turned Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change within Joseph, as he learns to wait on the LORD even when feeling resentful.

Finally, God turned Joseph's problem into possibilities for growth and change within Joseph, as Joseph learned never to take the credit, or the praise, nor receive the Glory that belongs to God alone.

Genesis 45:7.   And Joseph said, God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for us in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.                                                                                                                         Vs. 8.  So now, it was not you who sent me to Egypt, but God; for God has made me a father, figuratively an advisor unto Pharaoh. and lord, or a governor, of all his house, and a ruler or Prime Minister throughout all the land of Egypt.

Genesis 50:19.  Joseph said to them, do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?                                               Vs. 20.  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day to save many people alive.                                                                                                                               For, Joseph had learn to never take the credit, or the praise, nor to receive the Glory, that belongs to God alone.

Close with a story of two ducks and a prideful frog.                                                                                                   A local pond was beginning to dry up because of the hot summer months.                                                           But this was no problem for the two ducks who could easily fly to another pond.                                                 But for the frog, he would be stranded!                                                                                                                         So, the ingenious amphibian convinced the ducks to put a part of a stick in the bill of each duck so that the frog could hang on to it with his mouth as they flew to another pond.                                                                       The plan worked well.  In fact, as they were flying along, a farmer looked up and admired this amazing sight saying, I wonder who thought of this great idea?                                                                                             Quickly, as they were flying, the frog said out loud, I did!  And immediately he fell hundreds of feet to his death.

                                                                 ++++++++++++++++++++ 

“What Does The Bible Teach Concerning A Believer Who Is Truly Saved, About Their Need For Discipleship And Submission Unto The Lordship of Jesus Christ”. 

01-29-2017     Part 1

This morning, as we continue in this new year of 2017, let's return back to our ongoing series we called, "What We Believe And Why."

Remember we said this series is a close-up look at some of the "Foundational Beliefs And Practices For Being A Believer and A Committed Follower Of Jesus Christ."

So, beginning this morning we want to look at a new subject from the Bible, and that is, “What Does The Bible Teach Concerning A Believer Who Is Truly Saved, About Their Need For Discipleship And Submission Unto The Lordship of Jesus Christ”. 

In other words, what does the Bible have to say about a believer being in submission unto the Lordship of Jesus Christ?                                                                                                                                                 What does the Bible have to say about a believer being under the discipleship of Jesus Christ?

Now, say something about autonomous cars, or self-driving cars that are being designed and tested today.                                                                                                                                                                  No human driver is needed in making any driving decisions.                                                                           The human driver now becomes a passenger, only deciding the destination and that's it.                           •The speed.                                                                                                                                                            •What direction to travel.                                                                                                                                       •Being more law-abiding concerning the rules of the road.                                                                               •And able to respond more quickly to potential accidents or dangerous situations.  Makes autonomous cars, or self-driving cars more likely to happen soon.

To me it is very interesting, that many of the machines that man has made or created, are now more and more autonomous.  For they don't need human influence, or human decision!                                           They don't need human control, or guidance!

And likewise, human beings, we who were created in the image and likeness of God, in most cases prefer to be autonomous from the one who made us and created us.

A brief review of in Genesis 1: 26&27 for God makes mankind, human beings in His own likeness, in his own image.

Next, in Genesis 2: God makes a physical paradise,                                                                                           a physical body for the man,                                                                                                                                a physical companion who is the opposite, but equal to the man. 

And finally, God has created and makes two trees in this physical paradise, as a physical reminder of mankind's dependency and His zero autonomy from the One who created Him.

In fact, autonomy means, the right to self-govern.                                                                                               Autonomy means, the freedom from external controls or influences.                                                              Synonyms: self-determination, self-ruled, independence, freedom.

Now, in Genesis 3, God permits and allows a test.                                                                                             A temptation by the devil about becoming autonomous from the God who made them.

See Genesis 3: 1-7.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 1.  Now, the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.  And he, (the devil) said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 2.  And, the woman said to the serpent, “we may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden”;                 Vs. 3.  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”                                                                                                                       Vs. 4.  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.                                                                Vs. 5.  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”                                                                                                                                         Vs. 6.  So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 7.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Listen, therefore, as a result of the fall and the failure of both Adam and Eve,                                                •Sin entered into the world.                                                                                                                                   •Sin became a part of our very nature.                                                                                                                 •And at the very heart of sin itself, is the continuous desire for autonomy from the God Who made us.

Even after one has been truly saved and are now walking with the Lord, yet because of the sin nature that indwells us, we still struggle, we still have moments where we want to be autonomous from the God Who made us. 

Finally, notice Romans 7: 17-25.                                                                                                                             This paraphrase of Romans 7: 17-25, I believe it is extremely insightful and very helpful.                               Vs. 17.  But now it is no longer I who does such things, but sin, (original sin) that dwells in me and you.        Vs. 18.   For I know that in me that is, in my flesh, (my falling nature) nothing good dwells.                         For, to will, or to do what is right is present with me, but how to perform what is good or godly I do not find simple or easy.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 19.   Because what is good or godly that I will or want to do, I do not; but the evil or the ungodly I should not to do, that I practice often.                                                                                                                  Vs. 20.   Now, if I do what I should not do, know that it is no longer I who does it, but sin, (original sin) that dwells in me and you.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 21.   Therefore, I find then a law, or this principle, that evil is present with me, even though I will or want to do good, or what is right.                                                                                                                         Vs. 22.   For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man, my spirit.                                          Vs. 23.   But I see another law or principle in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.                                                                Vs. 24.   O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?                                          Vs. 25.   I thank God - through or because of Jesus Christ our Lord! 

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

 02-26-2017   Part 2

This morning let's return back to our ongoing series called, "What We Believe And Why."

This series is a close-up look at some of the "Foundational Beliefs And Practices For Being A Believer and A Committed Follower Of Jesus Christ."

Now, let us come back to our new topic, “What Does the Bible Have to Say About the Necessity and the Reality for Every Believer, (Being in Submission to) the Lordship of Jesus Christ?”

Now last month, we began to address what the Bible has to say about the necessity and the reality for every Believer, being In Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.                                                                                   And this morning, let's continue to address what the Bible has to say about the necessity and the reality for every Believer, being in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

But in order to address what the Bible has to says about being in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I have a question for us to consider.                                                                                             

"Was man made for God, or was God made for man? 

Now the answer is seen in Genesis 1: Who came first, God or man?                                                                         Vs. 1. In the beginning (man)!                                                                                                                                      No. In the beginning God, created the heavens, and the earth.

Next, was man made or created for God? or was God made or created for man?                                                   Vs. 26.  Then God said, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness: would be referring to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. and let man have dominion, over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing, that creeps on the earth.

Was man made or created for God?  Or was God made or created for man?                                                           Vs. 27.  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

So, then what happened?                                                                                                                                               Why do most of us as human beings acted like God, was made or created for man?                                             Answer, "The Autonomy Deception!"

By the way, ‘Autonomy’ means, the right to self-govern.                                                                                             Autonomy means, the freedom from external controls, or influences.  Synonyms for autonomy are, self-determination, self-ruled, independence, freedom.                                                                                                     Therefore, the Autonomy Deception is to believe and practice that God was made or created for man!

Now, see Genesis 3: 4-6.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 4.  Then the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die.                                                                         Vs. 5.  "The Autonomy Deception!" 

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil, (Autonomy)!                                                                                                                                                       Autonomy means, the right to self-govern.                                                                                                                   Autonomy means, the freedom from external controls, or influences.                                                                       Autonomy means, self-determination, self-ruled, independence, freedom.

Vs. 6.  So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Remember our question, was man made for God, or was God made for man?                                                       Listen, man, or mankind was not made to be autonomous!

Man, or mankind was made to always be governed and ruled by God Himself!                                                       However, when man is deceived, and then decides to disobey and rebel against God's authority and rule over him, God graciously chooses to rescue mankind, and then if we are willing, He will also restore the need we have to be governed, and rule by Him and not by ourselves.

First, God has so graciously chosen save us!

See I Timothy 1: 15.  This is a faithful saying, and is worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save or rescue sinners, of whom the apostle Paul said concerning himself, I am chief, or the most notorious of them all.

Next, Listen, if we are willing God will restore the need we have to be govern, and rule by Him and not by ourselves.

Notice Romans 10: 9.                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 9.  That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus,                                                                                       Or, Jesus is Lord,                                                                                                                                                             Or, Jesus is my Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 

The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ who is God, is to be both Lord and Savior, and not just Savior only, but Lord and Savior!                                                                                                                                                               That is Lord and Savior of your life, over your decisions and choices.                                                                       Over your possessions and earnings.                                                                                                                           Over everything that concerns you, Jesus is Your Lord!                                                                                           And, that is why each one of us who are truly Saved, need to be committed to the necessity and the reality that every Believer is to be in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Amen!

But, what does that mean?                                                                                                                                             And What does that look like?                                                                                                                                       What does it mean, what does it look like to be in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?                             Obedience.                                                                                                                                                                See Luke 6: 46.                                                                                                                                                             But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?

Finally, What does it mean, what does it look like to be in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?     Submissiveness.                                                                                                                                                             See Matthew 11:28-30.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 28.  Come to Me, all you who labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.                                           Vs. 29.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and so you will find rest for your souls.                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 30.  Because My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

3-19-2017   Part 3

This morning let's return back to our ongoing series called, "What We Believe And Why."

This series is a close-up look at some of  “The Foundational Beliefs And Practices For Being A Believer And A Committed Follower Of Jesus Christ.”

Read "Romans 10: 9&10."                                                                                                                                               Vs. 9.  That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, or Jesus is my Lord, and believe in your heart, that God has raised or resurrected Him from the dead, you will be saved.                                                                   Vs. 10.  Because with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.                                                                                                                                                                         Now look at the very end of vs. 9.  It says, "you will be saved."

Did you not know, that we are saved from something!                                                                                               And that we are saved unto something?                                                             

There are at least two primary areas we are saved unto!                                                                                           1.       Being in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.                                                                                         2.      Being open to the Discipleship Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in one's life?

And back in January and February, of 2017, we address with God's help, what the Bible has to say about the necessity and the reality for every believer, being in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

Now, this morning let's consider a different area, but still just as important, and that is what does the Bible have to say about the necessity and the reality for every believer, to be open to the discipleship of Jesus Christ in one's life?                                                                                                                                                         However, what does that mean?                                                                                                                                   What does that look like?

The word ‘disciple’ or ‘discipleship’ in New Testament times among the people of Israel meant; someone who was a learner and a devoted follower of a spiritual teacher. 

Example, Saul of Tarsus of the Book of Acts admitted that he was at one time taught and discipled by Rabbi Gamaliel in Acts 22:3.

The word ‘disciple’ or ‘discipleship’ in New Testament times among the Jewish people meant; being in relationship with someone in whom you believed in and trusted in, which would cause you to be fully committed unto them. 

For example, the men who were the disciples of John the Baptist. St. John. 1: 35-40.  The 12 men who were disciples of Jesus Christ.

So, what does the Bible have to say about the necessity and the reality for every believer to be open to the discipleship of Jesus Christ in their life?

First, would the Lord Jesus Christ still be discipling in our time, each and every one of us who are truly saved? The answer, absolutely yes!

Next, who would qualify to be discipled by Jesus Christ today?

Again, see Romans 10:9.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 9.  That if you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus                                                                                       Or, Jesus is my Lord, and believe in your heart, that God has raised or resurrected Him from the dead, you will be saved. 

Lastly, but what is the difference between a Christian and a Disciple of Jesus Christ?                                           In other words, what is the difference between a Christian that is our modern or popular understanding of this word ‘Christian’, between that of being a Disciple of Jesus Christ? 

First, a Christian that is according to our modern or popular understanding of this word would mean, to be affiliated with and associated with Christianity.

A Christian that is according to our modern or popular understanding of this word would mean, identifying with a certain denomination, with certain religious practices, with certain theological ideals. 

But, remember, a Disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is a learner and a devoted follower of Christ. 

A Disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is in relationship with Christ in whom they believe and trust in, which would cause them to be fully committed unto Him.

Now, let's see something very interesting Acts 11: 26.                                                                                                 And when Barnabas had found Saul, he brought him unto Antioch.                                                                         And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with that church, and taught much people. And, the disciples were called Christians, first in Antioch.

Now, with the time that we have left, let's take some time and focus on what would it mean, and what would it look like having the discipleship ministry of Jesus Christ as a part of our lives? 

Now, let's see Luke 14: 25-27.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 25.  Now, great multitudes went with Him.  But Jesus turned and said to them,                                                 Vs. 26.  If anyone comes to Me and does not hate,                                                                                                  his father and mother,                                                                                                                                                   his wife and children,                                                                                                                                                     his brothers and sisters,                                                                                                                                                 yes, and hate his own life also,                                                                                                                                     he cannot be My disciple.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 27.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. 

Now, see Matthew 10: 37&38.                                                                                                                                   Vs. 37.  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.                                                               And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.                                                                     Vs. 38.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Now, here is a perfect illustration in Luke 9: 57-62.                                                                                                   Vs. 57.  Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 58.   And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 59.   Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”            Vs. 60.  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  Vs. 61.   And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.                                                                                                                                                                            Vs. 62.  But Jesus said to him, no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

3-26-2017   Part 4

Let's return back to our subject as we consider “What The Bible Has To say, About The Necessity and The Reality For Every Believer To Be Open To The Discipleship Ministry Of The Lord Jesus Christ as a Regular Part Of One's Life?” 

Listen, our Lord Jesus is still making disciples today from among us who are truly saved, and who truly desire and request this kind of unique and committed relationship with the Lord, Himself.

However, there are serious and extreme, uncompromising demands from the Lord, that must be considered first before excepting the Discipleship Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as a regular part of one's life? 

For example, here in Luke 14: 25-33, we have Jesus being very straightforward, sharing His absolute and conditional expectations, that He has for us.

And last Sunday, we looked at one of those absolute and conditional expectations that the LORD has for us (from vs. 25-27). 

This morning, let's finish up by considering this two-part illustration, that has a very shocking conclusion in vs. 30.                                                                                                                                                                                 For we see two different situations, yet they have one thing in common.

Now, the first illustration or situation can be seen beginning at (vs. 28-30).                                                         Vs. 28.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first, and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 29.  Lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see the unfinished tower begin to mock or make fun of him,                                                                                                                                      Vs. 30.  Saying, this man began to build, but was not able to finish? 

Now, the first situation is dealing with the necessity of counting the cost, and being committed to finishing what you started.

For example, counting the cost concerning the materials for the tower like certain tools, wood, rope or twine, manpower, finances or money.

Lastly, a commitment to finish what you started.                                                                                                         Notice vs. 29.  Lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see the unfinished tower begin to mock or make fun of him.

Next, the second illustration, or situation can be seen in vs. 31&32.                                                                         Vs. 31.  Or, what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down (first, counting the cost), and then consider whether he is able with ten thousand, to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand – two to one.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 32.  Or else, while the other king is still a great way off, the other king can send a delegation, and asks for conditions of peace. 

Now, this the second situation or illustration is dealing with the commitment to do what is best, and not what is prideful or foolish.

For example: going to make war against another king when you only have ten thousand, and they have twenty thousand, it is two to one.

Sit down first, and count the cost!                                                                                                                                 •Take a census about the number of fighting men you have available.                                                                     •Take an inventory of your supplies and equipment, and their condition.                                                                 •Talk with your generals, and those who will be involved with this conflict, about the chances of achieving victory or defeat!

Now finally, the shocking conclusion, concerning this matter.

See vs. 33.  And Jesus says, so likewise, whoever of you, does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple.                                                                                                                                                                           This is shocking, this is a hard saying for most people.

For example: in Luke 18: 22, so when Jesus heard these things, He said to the rich young ruler, you still lack one thing!  Sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.                                                                                                                                                                         This is shocking, this is a hard saying for most people.

See St. John 6: 60.  Therefore, many of His disciples when they heard this said by Jesus (in vs. 51-56).         And, they said this, this is a hard saying; who can understand it?

Vs. 61.  When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, does this offend you?                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 66.  From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked with Him no more.                                       Vs. 67.  Then Jesus said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away?                                                                 Vs. 68.  But Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.       Vs. 69.  Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Now in Luke 14: 33, and Jesus says, So, likewise, whoever of you, does not forsake, all that he has, cannot be My disciple. 

But what does it mean to forsake all that you have?                                                                                                   The word ‘forsake’ used here is the Greek word Apotássomai, in the middle voice, which can mean, to renounce.

Say something about our English word, ‘renounce’, to give up or put aside voluntarily.                                       To abandon one's right's or claims to position, possessions, synonyms: forsake, reject, disavow, resign.

By the way, denounce vs. renounce.                                                                                                                             Renounce means to give up or relinquish or declare your ending support.                                                             Denounce means to condemn openly, accuse publicly, or formally end a treaty.

Now, see Matthew 6: 24.                                                                                                                                               No one can serve two masters;                                                                                                                                     for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

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4-9-2017

As you know during this special season we are focusing on The Significance and The Importance Of The Teaching Ministry Of Jesus Christ.

At this time, we are looking at how our Lord's used the unique method of teaching prophetically, that is He could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened. 

For example, Jesus taught prophetically about;                                                                                                       •His own betrayal.                                                                                                                                                       •His unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                           •His unfair punishment by death.                                                                                                                                 •And His third day Resurrection in which He was in control of, and in which He predicted would happen.

Notice in Matthew 20: 17-19.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 17.  Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,       Vs. 18.  Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes;                                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 19.  And they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles, to be mock, and to be scourged, and to be crucified, but the third day He will rise again.

Question.  But did any of these things come to pass, or did they actually happen?                                                 Is there proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted did occur, and actually happened?  Yes!                         Is there proof outside the Bible that what Jesus predicted can be substantiated, by the unbiased historical records of the first century?  Yes!

By the way, there is one good reliable resource to consider.                                                                                     A 1st-century Jewish historian by the name of Flavius Josephus, who wrote about the Rabbi Jesus, about the origins of Christianity, and about many other things pertaining to the Book of Acts.  The book is called, The works of Josephus: Updated Edition, Complete and Unabridged, Edited By: William Whiston.

Now, last Sunday we saw in Matthew 20: 18, that there is proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted did occur, and actually happened!

Listen, Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples, and then He was publicly rejected by another disciple.

This morning, let's see again how our Lord taught prophetically, that is He could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened. 

This morning let's focus on our Lord's                                                                                                                           •Unjust mistreatment,                                                                                                                                                     •And His unfair punishment by death. 

First, our Lord taught prophetically before it happened, concerning His own unjust mistreatment surprisingly by His own countrymen.

Notice in Matthew 20:                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 18.  Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests, and to the scribes.

Now, see Matthew 26:                                                                                                                                               The unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 63.  But Jesus kept silent.                                                                                                                                         And the high priest answered and said to Him, I put You under oath by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ or Messiah, the Son of God!                                                                                                                             Vs. 64.   Jesus said to the high priest, it is as you said!  For, I say to you one day you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.                                                             Vs. 65.   Then the high priest tore his clothes, and said, He has spoken blasphemy!                                               What further need do we have of witnesses?  Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!                                     Vs. 66.   What do you think?                                          

The unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 67.  They answered and said, He is deserving of death!                                                                                       Then they spat in His face and beat Him; then others struck Him with the palms of their hands,                           Vs. 68.  saying, prophesy to us, Christ!  Who is the one that who struck You?  

Now, our Lord taught prophetically before it happened, concerning His own unjust mistreatment, and this time by the hands foreigners or gentiles!

Now again in Matthew 20:                                                                                                                                          Vs. 18.  Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes;                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 19.  and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles, to be mock, and to be scourged.

Is there proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted did occur, and actually happened?

See St. John 19:  The unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.   So then, Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.                                                                                                 Vs. 2.   Afterward, the Roman soldiers twisted a crown of thorns, and put it on Jesus head, and they put on Him a purple robe.                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 3.   The unjust mistreatment, then they said, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they struck Him with their hands.

Now See Isaiah 53: 3-5.  The unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                     Vs. 3.  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And we hid as it were, our faces from Him.  For He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.                                                     Vs. 4.   Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 

The unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 5.   But no, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him.   And by His stripes we are healed.

Finally, our Lord taught prophetically before it happened, concerning His unfair punishment by death.

Notice in Matthew 20: 18&19.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 18.   Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes;                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 19.   and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles,                                                       •to be mocked,                                                                                                                                                               •and to be scourged,                                                                                                                                                       •and to be crucified.

Is there proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted did actually happened?

See Matthew 27: 38-44;                                                                                                                                               Vs. 38.   Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right, and another on the left.                         Vs. 39.   And those who were passing by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads saying,                                     Vs. 40.  You who destroy the temple and build it back in three days, so then, save Yourself!   If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.                                                                                                                               Vs. 41.   Likewise, the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders said,                                                 Vs. 42.   He saved others, can He not save Himself.   If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.                                                                                                                               Vs. 43.   He trusted in God, let God deliver Him now, if God will have Him, for He said, I am the Son of God. 

Psalms 22: 1, 7&8, 14-18.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 1.   My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?                                                                                                 Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My Groaning?                                                             Vs. 7.   All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,                           Vs. 8.   He trusted in the LORD, let God rescue Him; let God deliver Him, since He delights in Him!                     Vs. 14.   I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.                                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 15.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, or like broken pieces of pottery.  And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me unto the dust of death.                                                                                                     Vs. 16.   For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed or cornered Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet.                                                                                                                                     Vs. 17.  I can count all My bones.  They look and stare at Me.                                                                                   Vs. 18.   They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast in lots.

04-15-2017   Part 3

On this special day, we want to continue to focus on The Significance and The Importance of The Teaching Ministry of Jesus Christ.

And we are considering our Lord's use of the unique method of teaching prophetically, that is Jesus could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened. 

For example, here in Matthew 20: 17-19, Jesus taught prophetically about;                                                             •His own betrayal.                                                                                                                                                           •His unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                         •His unfair punishment by death,                                                                                                                                 •And His third day bodily Resurrection, in which He was in control of, and in which He predicted would happen.

Notice Matthew 20: 17-19.                                                                                                                                          Vs. 17.  Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,     Vs. 18.  Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes;                                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 19.  And they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, and to be scourged, and to be crucified, but the third day He will rise again.                                                                 Question.  But did any of these things actually happen?  Is there proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted did occur, and actually happened?  Yes!

Now, last Sunday we saw in Matthew 20: 19.  Jesus taught prophetically about His;                                         •Unjust mistreatment.                                                                                                                                               •And His unfair punishment by death.                                                                                                                   •This morning on this Resurrection Sunday, let's see again how our Lord taught prophetically, that is, He could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened.                                               For Jesus taught that He would rise, or b resurrected from the dead on the third day!

Notice Matthew 20: 19.                                                                                                                                              Vs. 19.  And they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, and to be scourged, and to be crucified, but the third day He will rise again.                                                                      But is there proof from the Bible that what Jesus predicted actually occurred, and that it really happened?   See Mark 15: 37-39, that briefly describes the physical death of Jesus upon the cross.

But allow me just to focus only on vs. 37&39 to make a point.                                                                         Because you cannot have a miraculous physical bodily resurrection from the dead, unless you have a literal physical death upon the cross.

Notice vs. 37.  And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last, that is He physically died!         Now see vs. 39.  So, when the Centurion, who stood opposite of Jesus, and saw that Jesus cried out like this, and that He breathed His last, the Centurion said, truly this man was the Son of God!

In fact, in St. John 19: 34 it says, that in order to prove that Jesus Christ was actually dead already.                 Vs. 34 says, but one of the soldiers pierced Jesus in His side with a spear, or a javelin, and immediately blood and water came out from the side of Jesus.  St. John 19: 34.

Now, see Mark 15: 42-45 that briefly describes the negotiation for the body of Jesus. But allow me just to focus only on vs. 42 to make a point.

How should we count three days leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus?  For Jesus said that He would be crucified, "But the third day He will rise again."

Notice vs. 42.  Now when evening had come, that is, it was in the late afternoon, between 3pm & 6pm.         Vs. 42 continues; because it was the Preparation Day, that is the day before the Sabbath, or Saturday as we know it today.                                                                                                                                                               By the way, the Preparation Day, that is the day before the Sabbath must be Friday as we know it today, Or the Six day of the Week as it was known among the Jews of Jesus's Day.

See Mark 15: 46&47, that briefly describes the burial of the body of Jesus.  But allow me just to focus only on vs. 46, to make a point.

And that is how should we count the three days leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus?  For Jesus said that He would be crucified, "But the third day He will rise again."

See vs. 46.  Then he, Joseph of Arimathea, (by the way, this was on the same day, the Preparation Day, that is the day before the Sabbath).                                                                                                                                     Vs. 46 continues; he bought fine linen, and Joseph took the body of Jesus down, and wrapped the body of Jesus in the linen.   Joseph laid the body of Jesus in a tomb which had been dug out of a rocky hillside, and then rolled a stone against the door way of the tomb, his tomb! 

Listen, so far, we have;                                                                                                                                             •The crucifixion,                                                                                                                                                       •The physical death,                                                                                                                                                       •And the burial of the body of Jesus Christ,                                                                                                                 •Before sundown,                                                                                                                                                           •All on the same day, that is, the ‘Preparation Day’, the day before the Sabbath.

Now, see Matthew 27: 62-66.                                                                                                                                     That briefly describes the fear the Jewish leaders were concerned about an elaborate hoax involving the body of Jesus.  But allow me just to focus only on vs. 62 & 63 to make a point.

Again, how should we count the three days leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus?                                           For Jesus said that He would be crucified, "But the third day He will rise again."

Notice vs. 62.  On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the Sabbath, or Saturday as we know it today.                                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 62.  Continues, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together unto Pilate,                                      Vs. 63.  And they saying, Sir, we remember while Jesus was still alive, how that deceiver said, after three days I will rise!                                                                                                                                                                   Listen, so far, we have on the next day that followed the Day of Preparation, that is the Sabbath.  Or, Saturday as we know it today.  Or, the seventh day of the week as it was known among the Jews of Jesus’ day.

Remember, we have here a description of the fear that the Jewish leaders had concerning an elaborate hoax involving the body of Jesus.

Now, in Mark 16: 1-6, briefly describes the proof of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

But how should we count the three days leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus?  For Jesus said that He would be crucified, "but the third day He will rise again."

See vs. 1.  Now, when the Sabbath was past, or Saturday as we know it today.                                                   Vs. 1 says, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and another woman named Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint the body of Jesus. 

Notice Vs. 2.  And they came very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, or Sunday, as we know it today.                                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 2 continues.  And they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.                                                                 Vs. 3.  And the women said among themselves, who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? Vs. 4.  But when they looked ahead they saw that the stone had been rolled away for it was a very large stone.                                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 5.  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and the women were alarmed.                                                                                                                                   Vs. 6.  But the angel said to them, do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.   He is risen!  He is not here!  See the place where they laid Him.

Listen, so far, we have on another day that followed the Sabbath.  Or, Saturday as we know it today.  Or, the seventh day of the week as it was known among the Jews of Jesus' day.

For vs. 1 said, now when the Sabbath was past, or Saturday as we know it today.                                             Now, notice vs. 2.  And they came very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, or Sunday, as we know it today.                                                                                                                                                               For Jesus said that He will rise again on the third day!

Listen, day one involved;                                                                                                                                           •The crucifixion,                                                                                                                                                         •The physical death,                                                                                                                                                       •And the burial of the body of Jesus Christ,                                                                                                         •Before sundown,                                                                                                                                                      •All on the same day, that is, the ‘Preparation Day’, the day before the Sabbath.                                                    Must be Friday as we know it today.

Day two, according to Matthew 27: 62-66, involved a description of the fear that the Jewish leaders had concerning an elaborate hoax involving the body of Jesus.

Lastly, day three or the third day, according to Mark 16: 1-8, describes the proof of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Also, see St. John 11: 25&26.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 25.  Jesus said to Martha, I am the Resurrection and the Life.  The one who believes in Me, though they may die, they shall live on.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 26.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die or perish.  Do you believe this?

Now, see again Mark 16: 14.                                                                                                                                         This reveals the main cause why someone would disbelieve the proof, or the evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.                                                                                                                                       Vs. 14.  Later Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe the women who had seen Him after He had been risen.

Finally, in Romans 10: 9, is the only way to appropriate, or benefit from, or access the purpose of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Vs. 9.  That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, or that Jesus is my Lord, my Master, whose commands I am committed to obey and practice, or live by.                                                                                     Vs. 9 continues; and believe in your heart, that God has raised, or Resurrected Him from the dead.

Listen, to believe in your heart can only be made possible by God the Holy Spirit and by the word of God the Bible, that changes, enlightens, and transforms our hearts.                                                                                       Now, vs. 9 concludes by saying, you will be saved!

Listen, one of the purposes of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, is that we would be saved!               And everybody needs a Savior!                                                                                                                                   A Savior that can save you from evil and evil-doers!                                                                                                 A Savior that can save you into His presence!

(Note) Say something about the San Bernardino Elementary School Shooting on last Monday April 10, 2017.    If you know something, say something!                                                                                                                     Be very cautious with whom, you involve your life with!

Closing in prayer.

04-23-2017    Part 4

Again, during this special month during this special season, one week after Resurrection Sunday, we want to continue to focus on The Significance and The Importance of The Teaching Ministry of Jesus Christ.

Remember, we are considering our Lord's use of the unique method of teaching prophetically, that is Jesus could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened. (Repeat) 

For example, here in Luke 17: 24&25, Jesus taught prophetically about that;                                                       He must suffer many things.                                                                                                                                           He will be rejected by this generation, that is the generation of His time.

See Luke 17: 24&25.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 24.  For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven, then shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.                                                                                                       Vs. 25.  But first, before He returns, He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation. 

And with God's help, for the last three Sundays of this month, we have focused our attention on what Jesus taught prophetically about the things He must suffer, and the rejection by the generation of His time.

However, in vs. 24, our Lord said this, for as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven, then shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day, that is when He returns.

Matthew 24: 27 says, for as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

So again, we have Jesus foretelling or predicting that certain things will occur in the future concerning His literal, physical return before it happens.

And here in Luke 17: 26-30 & 34-36, our Lord taught prophetically about the similarities of the past being as reminders, that His future return is imminent.

For example, here in Luke 17: 26&27, this is the first similarity from the past that will be a reminder, that Jesus's future return is imminent.                                                                                                                                               See vs. 26.  And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:                         Vs. 27.  They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 

Now, notice Genesis 6:                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 5.  Then the Lord saw that the wickedess of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.                                                                                                         Vs. 6.   And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.             Vs. 7.  So, the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.                                                 Vs. 8.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.                                                                                               Vs. 9.  This is the genealogy of Noah.  Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 10.  And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.                                                                               *Vs. 11.  The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.                                       Vs. 12.   So, God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.                                                                                                                                                                             *Vs. 13.  And God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 

Perhaps you heard about the violent execution shooting on Easter Sunday.  Just a week ago, April 16.  A Mr. Robert Godwin Sr. age 74, from Cleveland, Ohio, was confronted and shot dead while walking home.   Then the killer uploaded his attack upon Mr. Godwin onto Facebook as a video for anyone to watch.

And remember in that same week, the elementary school in San Bernardino, and the shooting of a teacher and a student who were murdered.

Next, vs. 28-30 is the second similarity from the past that will be a reminder, that Jesus's future return is imminent.                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 28.  Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: the nephew of Abraham, the people in that region they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;                                                                               Vs. 29.  But on the day that Lot went out or was forcibly removed out of Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.                                                                                                          Vs. 30.  Even so, will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Now, see Genesis 18:                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 20.  And the Lord said unto Abraham, because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, or grievous.                                                                                                                 Vs. 21.  I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.

Now, remember vs. 20.   The Lord said unto Abraham, the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was great, and their sin was very grave or grievous. 

So, what were the people doing in these two urban cities?                                                                                       And, why was their particular sin very grave or grievous unto the Lord?

See Genesis 19:                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 4.  Now before they (the family & the guests of Lot) lay down, or retired for that evening,                               the men of the city,                                                                                                                                                   the men of Sodom,                                                                                                                                                         both the old men and the young men,                                                                                                                         all the people from every quarter of the city,                                                                                                               surrounded the house of Lot.                                                                                                                                     Vs. 5.  And they called to Lot and said to him, where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may know them sexually!                                                                                                                             Vs. 6.  So, Lot, went out to them through the doorway, and shut the door behind him.                                           *Vs. 7.  and said, please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!                                                                                    Vs. 8.  See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man, (they were virgins).  Please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish! Only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof for protection.

What were the people doing in these two urban cities?                                                                                             And why was their particular sin very grave or grievous unto the Lord?

Now, see Romans 1:                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 26.  For this reason, God gave them up unto vile passions.  For even their women exchanged the natural use, for something against nature, or what was natural sexually.                                                                               Vs. 27.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman sexually, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and as result receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due, earned.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 28.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, so God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting, proper, or normal.

What have we  from  the prophetic teaching of Jesus, concerning the things that will occur before His literal, and physical return?

In Luke 17: 26&27, is an important similarity from the past, that is a reminder, "that Jesus's future return is imminent.                                                                                                                                                                   See vs. 26.  And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the day of the Son of Man:                           Vs. 27.  They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 

Next, again in Luke 17: 28-30 is another similarity from the past that is a reminder, that Jesus's future return is imminent.                                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 28.  Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: the nephew of Abraham, the People in that region they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;                                                                           Vs. 29.  But on the day that Lot went out (or was forcibly removed out of Sodom), God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.                                                                                                     Vs. 30.  Even so, will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

04-30-2017   Part 5

On this last Day.   On this last Sunday of this month of April.  As you know, during this special month, we have been focusing on the significance and the importance of the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ.    

For we have been considering our Lord's use of the unique method of teaching prophetically, that is, Jesus could foretell, or predict that something would occur in the future before it happened. 

For example, here in Luke 17: 24&25, Jesus taught prophetically and said,                                                         Vs. 24.  For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven, then shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.                                                                                                       Vs. 25.  But before He returns, He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation. 

But notice again vs. 24.   Our Lord said, for as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven, then shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day, that is when He returns.

Quote Matthew 24: 27.                                                                                                                                                   For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.                                                                                                                                                                                     So again, we have Jesus foretelling or predicting that certain things will occur In the future before they happen.

In fact, in Luke 17: Our Lord taught prophetically about the similarities of the past will be reminders, that His future return is imminent.

For example, in vs. 26&27, the days of Noah is a similarity from the past that will be a reminder that Jesus's future Return is imminent.

Now here in vs. 28-30, the days of Lot is the second similarity from the past that will be a reminder, that Jesus's future return is imminent.

However, here in Luke 17: 34-36, our Lord's prophetic teaching moves in another direction in which He describes one of the effects of His future return will have.

See Luke 17: 34, Jesus is speaking, I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken, and the other will be left, left behind!

Vs. 35.  Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken, and the other left, left behind!                Vs. 36.  Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken, and the other left, left behind!

Question, could our Lord be describing one of the effects of His future return will have, as known as the resurrection and the rapture?

See I Thessalonians 4: 16&17.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 16.   For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.   This is the first resurrection!                                           Next in vs. 17.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up, raptured, or divinely evacuated.  How?

Quote I Corinthians 15: 51&52.                                                                                                                                       Vs. 51.  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed.                                             Vs. 52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.   Afterwards the trumpet will sound, then the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Again, I Thessalonians 4: 17 says, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up, together with them, the dead in Christ who were resurrected!  In the clouds, this is not on earth!   To meet the Lord, a reunion that is literally, physically, bodily.  In the air.   This is not on earth!  And thus, or finally we shall always be with the Lord.

Quote St. John 14: 2&3.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 2.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.                                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 3.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.                                                                                                                                           So, how can you be sure that where He is, there you will be also? 

See 2 Corinthians 13:                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 5.  Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves. 

Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you are disqualified?  Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves. 

Listen, we must be spiritually objective, and not just personally subjective base on my feelings, my understanding, my sincerity, my personal efforts or involvement.     We must be spiritually objective, and not just personally subjective.

For example, if God were to asked you this question, what would be your answer?                                               Has God, the Holy Spirit enabled you, quicken you, convicted you, to understand your spiritual condition.   *That you are sinful,                                                                                                                                                         *That you are lost,                                                                                                                                                     *And unfortunately, that you are on your way to a place that the Bible calls Hell? 

Romans 3: 23.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Ephesians 2: 1-3.                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 1.  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,                                                                     Vs. 2.  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,                                                                               Vs. 3   among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Matthew 10: 28.  Jesus is speaking, and do not fear those who kill only the body, but cannot kill the soul.   But rather fear Him, God who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell. 

Again, 2 Corinthians 13: 5 says to you & I, examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you are disqualified?

Next, if God were to ask you this question, what would be your answer?                                                                 Again, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, My Word, saith the LORD.

Have you come to trust in, believe on, and except that Jesus Christ alone, based on what the Bible says who He is, and what He has done?  He is God's answer to your spiritual condition, and your only hope and solution for salvation.

I Corinthians 15:22.  For as in Adam, all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

II Corinthians 5:21.  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

St. John 14: 6. Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me. 

Again, 2 Corinthians 13: 5 says to you and I.   Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you are disqualified?

Finally, if God were to asked you this question, what would be your answer? 

Again, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, and the Bible My Word, saith the LORD.  Have you come to saving faith in Jesus Christ based on Who He is, and what He has done?  Is He both Lord and Savior of your everyday life, and of your eternal destiny?  

Psalm 32: 5.  I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 

Romans 10: 9.  That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.                                                                                                               Vs. 13.  For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

St. John 1: 12.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

Romans 8:16. The Spirit, Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Ephesians 2: 8.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 9.  not of works, lest anyone should boast.                                                                                                             Vs. 2.  Timothy 2: 19.  Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal:  The Lord knows those who are His, and let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

In fact, here is a prayer to pray when you're ready to surrender and to receive God's salvation, and desirous of a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

O God in heaven, I come to you in Jesus name.                                                                                                         For the Bible says, that Jesus came into the world, to save sinners.                                                                   Lord Jesus, come into my life, and save me.                                                                                                         Please grant me according to Your Grace, Mercy, and Love.                                                                                     Eternal life and forgiveness for all my sins.                                                                                                                   Lord, please grant me true repentance, and help me to turn away from all that is sinful in my life, as I follow You.                                                                                                                                                                             For I confess with my mouth, and I believe with my heart, that You died for my sins.                                             And that You were resurrected from the dead.                                                                                                           That You are alive forever more, and that You will return one day.                                                                       Therefore, I am putting my faith, and trust, in who You are, and in all that You have done, so that I may have a personal relationship with You.                                                                                                                                     Holy Spirit, please baptize and fill me in the name of Jesus. Control me, teach me, empower me, and use me, for Your service, to do Your work, and to do Your will.                                                                                 Heavenly Father, thank you for excepting me, and receiving me, into Your family.                                               For I pray this prayer, in the strong name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen!

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What We Believe And Why - What The Bible Says And Teaches About The Gospel.

4th/5th Sunday topical series

05-28-2017   Part 1

Let's return back to our 4th Sunday topical series called, "What We Believe And Why?"

Usually, once a month we want to consider what the Bible says and teaches on, the fundamentals, the basics, the core truths for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, one who is truly saved, because they have been born again.

This morning let’s begin to consider and understand what the Bible Says and teaches about the Gospel?

Romans 1:16 says, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.   

So, what is the Gospel?                                                                                                                                                 Not the Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

But what is the Gospel (singular)?                                                                                                                               You see, the Word that is translated in most of our English Bible as ‘Gospel’, was not a Christian word as we know it today. 

But the word Gospel in the 1st century simply meant, ‘good news’, or ‘good information’ about things you should know about.                                                                                                                                                  The word Gospel also meant, ‘good tidings’, or an ‘uplifting insight’ about things you should know about.       For example, Luke 2: 10.  And the angel said unto the shepherds, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

So again, the word Gospel meant, good news, or good information about things you should know about. 

But notice carefully Romans 1: 16,                                                                                                                                 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Gospel of Christ, is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek or Gentiles. 

But think about it, in order for anyone to receive or believe the Gospel, this good news, one must understand the bad news!

Listen, the Gospel is the good news having understood the bad news! you see what makes the Gospel such great news is with God's help, I'm first enabled by God so I can understand the bad news.

So then, what bad news are we talking about, that needs to be understood?

Well, believe it or not the Bible is the only reliable source for understanding the bad news, not only the good news, but also the bad news.

Listen, did anyone tell you about the bad news so that the good news could make sense?  For if we only tell people the good news without the bad news from the Bible, then the good news will not make any sense!

For example, vs. 16, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Gospel of Christ, is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek or Gentiles. 

Listen, this is good news, this Is great news!  But think about it, it really doesn't make any sense, you really can't appreciate, you really can't understand, until God makes us aware of why Christ did what He did for us.

You see, something catastrophic had happened!  Something terrible has occurred!  Something transferable has affected everyone throughout human history even until now!

See Romans 5:12.                                                                                                                                                           Therefore, just as through one man Adam, sin entered the world, and death, that is, spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death, or eternal Hell, the Lake of Fire, and through or because of sin (death), spiritual death, physical death and eternal death, spread to all human beings, because all sinned.

So then, did anyone tell you about the bad news so that the good news could make sense? 

Did you know that we all came into this world when we were born, we were all spiritually dead, or spiritually separated from God, a sinner and sinful from birth?

See Ephesians 2: 5.                                                                                                                                                         Even when we were dead also, means separation or separated in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

And notice vs. 1.  As well, and you He made alive who were dead, remember the word death or dead can mean separation or separated from, in trespasses and sins. 

But how bad is this?                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 2.   In which you and I once walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit (Satan) who now works in the sons of disobedience,                                                     Vs. 3.   Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature, children of wrath just as others.

Listen, did you know that we all came into this world when we were born, we were all spiritually dead, or spiritually separated from God, a sinner and sinful from birth?

The point is, we did not become sinners after we were born, and then later, we learned how to sin, how to disobey, how to do things wrong.

No, it is because we were born sinners, and therefore very early in life, in our early development, we already know how to sin, how to disobey, how to do things wrong.

See Psalms 51: 5 says, behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in, or because of sin in me, my mother conceived me (all this begins at conception).

See Psalms 58: 3 says, the wicked, or the sinner are estranged (alienated spiritually) from the womb; the wicked or the sinner (go astray) as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

See Psalms 14:                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 1.  The fool or the sinner has said in their heart, "there is no God!"  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.                                                                                                     Vs. 2.  The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, (the human race) to see if there are any who understand, or who seek God.  And the answer?                                                                                               Vs. 3.  They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. 

So, did you know that we all came into this world when we were born, we were all spiritually dead, or, spiritually separated from God, a sinner and sinful from birth?

Let's consider one more area.                                                                                                                                       Did anyone tell you about the bad news so that the good news could make sense?                                             Did you know that because of sin and our sinfulness, we are personally responsible, and we are accountable unto God, and His laws, and His commandments, that we have broken, that we have violated?                           That we have disobeyed.                                                                                                                                               That we have transgressed.                                                                                                        

We are personally responsible, and we are all accountable unto a Holy and Righteous God Who will judge the living and the dead!

See Romans 14:                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 11.  For it is written: As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.                                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 12.  So, then each of us shall give account of themselves unto God. 

See Romans 3: 23 says, for all have sinned, and comes short of the Glory of God.

See Romans 6: 23.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

See Romans 5:                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 18.  Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.                         Vs. 19.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. 

Again Romans 5: 18a.  Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation.

Finally, See Revelation 20: 11.                                                                                                                                         Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.  For there was found no place for them.                                                                                                                       Vs. 12.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing resurrected before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened which is the Book of Life.                                                                                                 And the resurrected dead were judged according to their works, and by the things which were written in the books.                                                                                                                                                                           Vs. 13.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, also death and Hades delivered up the dead, that were in them.  And they were judged, each person according to their works.                                                                       Vs. 14.  Afterward, death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire.  This is the second death.                             Vs. 15.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.

But again Romans 5:18 says, therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 

06-25-2017  Part 2  

Let's return back to our 4th Sunday topical series called, "What We believe And Why?"

Usually, once a month we want to consider what the Bible says and teaches on, the fundamentals, the basics, the core truths for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, one who is truly saved, because they have been born again.

And this morning let's continue to understand what the Bible says and teaches about the Gospel?

Read Romans 1: 16.                                                                                                                                                         For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.

Do you really believe that?                                                                                                                                             Do I really believe that?                                                                                                                                                 Do we, as God's people really believe that?

May I say something about how timely and necessary it is that we hear from the Lord about this area, so that we might be better equipped for evangelism, discipleship, and involving others with in a church ministry and the body of Christ. 

Now, let's remember, that the Gospel is the good news, having understood the bad news! And believe it or not, the Bible is the only reliable source for understanding the bad news, so that the good news can make sense.

Now, turn to Romans 5.

Last month, we saw together what the Bible said about the bad news.                                                                   For example, this was not everything we saw last time, but this will help anyone to understand the bad news you may be facing.

See Romans 5:                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 19a.  For as by one man's (Adam) disobedience (Genesis 3), many were made sinners, that is the bad news many are facing.                                                                                                                                               Also, vs.18a, therefore as through one man's (Adam) offense, (Genesis 3), judgment came to all men (Genesis 3).  For that is, also the bad news many are facing as well.

However, the Gospel is the good news having understood the bad news!                                                       Notice Again Romans 5.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 19b.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.  Remember, that is the bad news!       But notice the good news;                                                                                                                                       "So, also by one man's (Jesus Christ) obedience many will be made righteous."                                                   But notice the good news;

Even so through one man's (Jesus Christ) righteous act, the free gift came unto all men, resulting in justification of life.                                                                                                                                                           So, what Is this good news all about? It's all about a Person. Who He is! What He Has done! and what He will do!

Now, in I Corinthians 15: We will see that the good news is all about a person.  Who He is! What He has done! and what He will do!  "But who is this person?"

I Corinthians 15: 1.  Moreover brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand.                                                                                                                             Vs. 2.  By which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached unto you unless you believed in vain. 

Now, notice vs. 3 carefully, for Paul said; I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:                           *That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.                                                                                         •This is also known as the sacrificial, substitutional physical death of Jesus Christ.

Now, vs. 4 continues.                                                                                                                                               *and that He was buried.                                                                                                                                               •This is also known as the temporary burial of the body of Jesus Christ that proved that His death had truly occurred.

And also in vs. 4.                                                                                                                                                             *and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.                                                                           •This is also known as the predicted third day bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Now, see St. John 1: 1&14.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 1.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.                               Vs.14.  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Also, see Isaiah 7: 14.  Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Listen, these passages from St. John 1: 1&14, and Isaiah 7: 14, together will help us to understand this area known as the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. 

See Revelation 1: 7&8.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 7.  Behold, He (Jesus) is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him (or crucified Him), also, all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.  Even so, Amen.  Why?                   Vs. 8.  Jesus says about Himself, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.                                                                                     •This is also known as the soon second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

07-30-2017   Part 3  

Let's return back to our 4th or 5th Sunday topical series called, "What We Believe And Why?" usually, once a month we want to consider what the Bible says and teaches on the fundamentals, the basics, on the core truths for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, one who is truly saved, because they have been born-again.

And this morning let's continue to understand what the Bible says and teaches about the Gospel?

Read Romans 1: 16.  For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.

Do you really believe that?                                                                                                                                         Do I really believe that?                                                                                                                                                 Do we as God's people really believe that?

May I say something about how timely and necessary it is that we hear from the Lord about this area.  So that we might be better equipped for evangelism, mission outreach, and in discipling new believers to be involved in church ministry and to the Body of Christ as a whole.  

Now, let's remember, that the Gospel is the Good News having understood the bad news!

And believe it or not, the Bible is the only reliable source for understanding the bad news, so that the Good News can make sense.                                                                                                                                             And back in May 2017, with God's help, we considered this area in much detail.

However, in June 2017, we began not only to focus on the bad news so that the Good News can make  sense. But from last month into this month we are now considering the Good News part of the Gospel Message.

For remember, the Good News part of the Gospel message is all about a person!                                                 Who He is!                                                                                                                                                                       What He has done!                                                                                                                                                         And what He will do!                                                                                                                                                 And that person is the Lord Jesus Christ!

And there are five major points about the Good News part of the Gospel message that we should know, and with God's help be able to express and explain to another person, when sharing about the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Therefore, this morning let's consider the first major point that we should know, and be able to express and explain to another person, when sharing about the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is, His Incarnation and His Virgin Birth.

See St. John 1: 1&14.                                                                                                                                                       A Christmas message in July that is needed all year round!  May I show you why!

There are two essential areas about this first major point, and they are the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth.

This morning lets focus on our Lord's Incarnation, and next month we will focus on our LORD's Virgin Birth.

Just think about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ!                                                                                                         Not the Coronation of Jesus Christ, for that will happen in the future.                                                                       And not the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, for that is totally unbiblical, and a lie of the Devil.

No, we are talking about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ!                                                                                       The word "incarnation" when used in a biblical or spiritual way means, when Deity becomes "embodied."     Or, when Deity becomes "flesh," and at the same time has a physical body and is fully human.

Notice here in St. John 1: 1.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 1.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

The words "the Word," is from the Greek word Logos.  The Greek word Logos can mean that which is spoken audibly or that is written visually, to express feelings, thoughts, ideas, plans, or a much-needed message that should be received.

Listen, when Jesus is being referred to as "the Word," here in St. John 1: 1, this is a term that refers to the fact that Jesus is the personification of that which was written and spoken by the Prophets during the Old Testament times.                                                                                                                                                             For, He is the only one who can correctly express a much-needed message from God to this world, and even to us as God's people in this world. 

But how do we know that Jesus Christ is the Word?                                                                                                   See I John 5: 6&7 in the King James Version or, New King James Version.                                                             Vs. 6.  This is He who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who bears witness, who was there on both occasions, for or because, the Spirit is Truth, or, is about the Truth.                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 7.  For or because, there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are One.

Listen, according to I John 5: 6, the One who came by water and blood Jesus Christ;                                           And according to I John 5: 7, Jesus Christ is one of the three witnesses in heaven!                                               For He is not the Father.   He is not the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, He must be the Word!                                           I John 5: 6b says, it is the Spirit who bears witness, for or because, the Spirit is Truth, or is about the Truth.       Listen, Jesus Christ is the Word here in I John 5: 7 and in St. John 1: 1.

Back to St. John 1:                                                                                                                                                           Now notice vs.14.  And the Word became flesh Incarnation and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Remember the word "Incarnation" can mean, when Deity becomes "embodied,"  or when Deity becomes "flesh," and at the same time has a physical body and is fully human.

But does this mean that Jesus Christ was only half-man and half-god, just like the other demigods of mythology?                                                                                                                                                                     Like Hercules or Perseus, the one who beheaded Medusa?                                                                                     Or, is Jesus Christ fully man and fully God?

Listen, according to the Bible Jesus Christ was not a half-man and a half-god.  But He was and is fully man and fully God, the God-man!                                                                                                                                           There is a theological term that explain how Jesus Christ was not a half-man and a half- god.  But He was fully man and fully God, the God-man!                                                                                                                                 This term is called, the Hypostasis Union of Jesus Christ. 

The Hypostasis Union of Jesus Christ simply put, is about the two natures residing in one person.  His undiminished Deity and His genuine humanity, or being a human being. Listen, both natures are coexisting at the same time, and yet they remain separate and unmingled in this one person.                                                   Therefore, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ was not a half-man and a half-god.                                               But, He was and is, fully man and fully God, the God-man!

See Philippians 2: 5-8.                                                                                                                                                    Vs.5.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,                                                                                   Vs.6.  Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,                                   Vs.7.  but made Himself of no reputation, which means to empty oneself!                                               •Philippians 2:7, from the NASB says, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.                                                                                                                                                   •Philippians 2:7, from the ESV says, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.                                                                                                                                             •Philippians 2:7, from the NLT says, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form.

Here is some good insight about the doctrine of the kenosis of Jesus Christ.                                                         The term Kenosis, comes from the Greek word Kenos, to empty oneself.  Therefore, from Philippians 2: 7&8 we are given the doctrine of Christ’s self-emptying at His incarnation.                                                               The doctrine of the kenosis, Jesus Christ is better understood as a self-renunciation, not an emptying Himself of deity, nor an exchange of deity for humanity.

Philippians 2: 7, tells us that Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men."                                                                                                                                                             Yet, Jesus did not cease to be God during His earthly ministry.  He did temporarily set aside His heavenly face-to-face relationship with God.  He also set aside His independent authority as God the Son.  During His earthly ministry, Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of God the Father.

As part of the kenosis, Jesus sometimes operated with the limitations of humanity (St. John 4:6;  19:28).  God does not get tired or thirsty.  Matthew 24:36 tells us, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” 

We might wonder if Jesus was God, how could He not know everything, as God does (Psalm 139: 1-6)?  It seems that while Jesus was on earth, He surrendered the use of some of His divine attributes.  Jesus was still perfectly Holy, just, merciful, gracious, righteous, and loving, but to varying degrees Jesus was not fully omniscient or omnipotent.

However, when it comes to the kenosis, we often focus too much on what Jesus gave up. The kenosis also deals with what Christ took on.  Jesus added to Himself a human nature and humbled Himself.  Jesus went from being the glory of glories in Heaven to being a human being who was put to death on the cross. 

Philippians 2: 7-8 declares, "taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!" In the ultimate act of humility, the God of the universe became a human being and died for His creation.  The kenosis, therefore, is Christ taking on a human nature with all of its limitations, except with no sin.

Philippians 2:7 continues,                                                                                                                                               Vs. 7.  taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.                                                           Vs. 8.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 

Back to St. John 1: 14.                                                                                                                                                     May I share this illustration so that you and I might appreciate, be thankful, and imagine what it might have been like for Jesus Christ to have made this most important decision.                                                                     Let’s say, that there is an ant colony around your home and instead of having them exterminated, you are willing to save or rescue by becoming their savior!

Remember St. John 1: 14a, it says, and the Word became flesh incarnation and dwelt among us.  Simply put, you would keep your undiminished humanity, but now you will have for ever an insect ant nature, along with an ant's anatomy.                                                                                                                                                             Listen, and both natures are to coexist at the same time, and yet they remain separate and unmingled (in you) forever. 

But here comes the most challenging part of all, in St. John 1: 10 says, concerning Jesus.                                     "Jesus was in the world, and the world was made because of Him, but the world did not know Him."   In fact, vs. 11, Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

Listen, as the ant savior, you too are willing to save or rescue the ant colony from destruction.                       You are willing to change your life forever, and receive another nature, an insect nature, have an ant's body. But, there is one major problem!  The ants and the ant colony, are in rebellion against you for some time now.  They don't know you.   They don't trust you.                                                                                                               Even though you have become one of them.                                                                                                        And you look like them.  Talk like them.  Walk like them.                                                                                           Yet, most of them will not receive you even though you have done so much with them.                                       Listen, knowing all this, would you still want to be the ant savior?

Again. Philippians 2: 5-8.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 5.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,                                                                                   Vs. 6.  Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,                                       Vs. 7.  but made Himself of no reputation, which means to empty oneself!  Taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.                                                                                                   Vs. 8.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 

08-27-2017     Part 4   

Let's return back to our 4th Sunday topical series called, "What We Believe And Why?"                            Usually, once a month we want to consider what the Bible says and teaches on, the fundamentals, the basics, the core truths for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or you would like to be.                       That is one who is truly saved, born again, and transformed by the grace and mercy of God.

Therefore, each month, we focus on a certain topic and then we consider what the Bible says and teaches about It.                                                                                                                                                                           And this morning let's continue to understand what the Bible says and teaches about the Gospel?

Read Romans 1: 16.                                                                                                                                                       For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.

Do you really believe that?                                                                                                                                             Do I really believe that?                                                                                                                                                 Do we, as God's people really believe that?

May I say something about how timely and Necessary it is that we hear from the Lord about this area. So that we might be better equipped for evangelism, mission outreach, and in disciplining new believers to be involved in church ministry and for the body of Christ as a whole.  

Remember, we are focusing on the Good News part of the Gospel message which is all about a Person!         Who He is!                                                                                                                                                               What He has done!                                                                                                                                                         And what He will do!                                                                                                                                                 And that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, there are five major points about the Good News part of the Gospel message that we should know.  And with God's help be able to express and explain to another person, when sharing about the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This morning let's consider again the first major point that has two essential parts to it, that we should know and be able to express and to explain to another person. 

And last month in July, we considered the first part, the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

This morning let's consider the second part and that is, the miraculous conception and the predicted Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.

I know we are at the end of August, and not December.  But this Christmas message about Jesus Christ we need all year round!   For it is a good reminder of what He did, and why He came to Save Us!

First, let’s consider our Lord's miraculous conception that was predicted before it happened.

See Isaiah 7: 14.                                                                                                                                                               Therefore, the Lord, Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear or carry a Son who will be fully human, the gender has been also predetermined!                                                                         Vs. 14 continues.  And shall call His name "Immanuel."                                                                                               Immanuel was not to be a proper name, or His birth name.

But the word "Immanuel," as a Hebrew word, will be a title for the Redeemer, the Savior!                                     By the way, in Hebrew the word "Immanuel," means, God with us" or, "with us is God!"

Turn to Luke 1:                                                                                                                                                           Here is another example of our Lord's miraculous conception that was predicted before it happened.

See Luke 1:                                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 26.  Now in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,       Vs. 27.  To a virgin who was betrothed or engaged to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.   Remember, Isaiah 7: 14a.                                                                                             Therefore, the Lord, Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear or carry a Son. Vs. 30.  Then the Angel Gabriel said to Mary, do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.        Vs. 31.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb or uterus, and you shall give birth to a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.                                                                                                                                                             This will be His proper name, this will be His birth name.  But also, the name "Jesus" as a Hebrew name will be a title for the Redeemer, the Savior!                                                                                                                         By the way, in Hebrew the name "Jesus," means, "Jehovah Saves!"  "Jehovah Is Salvation!"                                   Vs. 32.  And He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest.   Also, this will be another title for the Redeemer, the Savior!                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 32 continues, and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father or ancestor David.                         Vs. 33. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.              Vs. 34.  Then Mary said to the Angel Gabriel, How can this be, since I have not known a man sexually? Remember vs. 27.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 35.  And the angel Gabriel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.  Therefore, that Holy One who is to be born, He will be called the Son of God.”   Again, another title for the Redeemer, the Savior!                                                                                                                   Vs. 36.  The Angel Gabriel continues, Now, indeed, Elizabeth your only relative, she has also conceived a son in her old age; for now this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.                                                   Later see vs. 7-17.                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 37.  And the Angel Gabriel said, For with God nothing will be impossible!                                                         Vs. 38.  Then Mary said, Behold, I am the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be done unto me, according to your words.  And the Angel Gabriel departed from her.                                                                                                       Again, our Lord's miraculous conception that was predicted before it happened.

Next let's notice, our Lord's miraculous conception being fulfilled along with His virgin birth.                               Now, see Luke 2:                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 1.  And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 2. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.                                                                   Vs. 3.  So, everyone went to be registered, each one to his own city.                                                                       Vs. 4.  Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of King David.                                                       Vs. 5.  Joseph brought with him to registered Mary, his betrothed wife who was with child, but he was not the biological father. 

Remember Luke 1:37, the Angel Gabriel said, For with God nothing will be impossible!                                        

Later, also see Matthew 1: 18-25.                                                                                                                               Vs. 6.  And so, it was, while Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time was come for her to delivered her baby.                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 7.  And Mary brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.  Notice it doesn't say in a stable!                                                                                                                Vs. 7 continues.  There was no room for them in the inns around Bethlehem, because of the mandatory census registration.                                                                                                                                                     By the way, the inns of that day were like some of our rundown motels, or like some of our urban homeless shelters.                                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 8.  Now there were in the same country, Judea, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 9.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shined around them, and they were greatly afraid.                                                                                                                          Vs. 10.  Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 11.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David (Bethlehem), the Savior, who is Christ the Lord.     Vs. 12.  And this will be a sign to you: You will find a newborn wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. Vs. 13.  And then suddenly there was with that angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, other angels praising God and saying:                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 14.  Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!                                                     Again, our Lord's miraculous conception (being fulfilled) along with His virgin birth.

Finally, see Hebrews 10:                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 5.  Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 6.  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.                                                                       Vs. 7.  Then I said, 'Behold, I have come in the volume of the Book that is written of Me, to do Your will, O God.  Vs. 8.  Previously saying, Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin, You did not desire, nor, had pleasure in them, (which were offered according to the law of Moses).                                                             Vs. 9.  Then He said, That is the Lord Jesus Christ, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second.                                                                                                      Vs. 10.  By that will, (mentioned in vs. 9), now we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. 

Notice again vs. 10, "We have been sanctified."                                                                                                           •Question.  What does sanctified mean?                                                                                                                 •Question.  Have you been sanctified?                                                                                                               •Question.  And by Whom have you been sanctified by?

Through, or by, or because of, the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ, once one time only.                               For All.  Anyone.  Everyone. 

And next month, let’s consider the second major point about the Good News part of the Gospel message concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Because, according to I Corinthians 15: 3, Paul said, I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

Listen, this is also known as the sacrificial, substitutional, physical death, of Jesus Christ.                                     And this will be the second major point about the Good News part of the Gospel message concerning the Lord Jesus Christ next time.

Pastor J. Warner about Forensic Faith:

J. Warner Wallace was an atheist and a police detective in Southern California, a homicide detective working cold cases, and was in law enforcement for more than two decades.                                                                       When he was confronted with the claims of Christianity, he decided to put those claims to the test, and he found that the evidence supported what he read.                                                                                                       He is the author of the book, Cold-Case Christianity, and has been in youth work for a half dozen years, he shares an interesting true story.

"I remember leading a group to the University of California at Berkeley with Susie. We had probably about 30 high schoolers in that particular group.  The first day we sat down we invited atheists to come in to talk to our kids to tell us why they believed atheism was true.  Now, we had trained for eight weeks before we went, so our kids were well prepared to ask good questions and they were grounded in what they believed as Christians.                                                                                                                                                                       But the first guy got up and he said this.                                                                                                                     He said, “Students, let me run this deity by you and you tell me who you think it is.                                               Born of a virgin, in a manger—attended by angels—announced by a star—visited by a wise man—had 12 disciples—called the way, the truth, the life—died to save the world—rose again in three days.                         His followers for years afterwards celebrated a Lord’s supper every Sunday in which they drank his blood and ate his body—they called it the Lord’s Supper.                                                                                                           Who am I describing here?” 

Now, most of our kids stayed silent but one who was not as well prepared as the others, unfortunately, raised her hand and said it was Jesus.  Doesn’t that sound like Jesus? 

He said, “No; no. That’s not Jesus, that’s "Mithras.”  That’s a Persian deity about 400 years prior to Jesus.  In fact, it’s that deity that the Jesus story was borrowed from. And for that girl who had never heard that objection before—she was shaken that night.   We’re on a four or five-day trip to Berkeley. 

She came to us that night, “I’m not even sure I can pray tonight.  I’m not even sure there is a god to pray to.”   We had to kind of help walk through that objection.  

I’ll just tell you up front that those claims I just offered are not actually even true about Mithras—the Persian deity of Mithras that occurred 400 years before Jesus, but unless you had done your homework, you wouldn’t know that.                                                                                                                                                   And trust me—what has happened with Generation Z—this young generation of kids that now about the oldest is about 18 or 19 years old—they have accepted what they find on the internet without much distinction about authority.                                                                                                                                                               For example—if someone’s got a nice-looking website that seems authoritative—that is given as much weight in the mind of some of these kids who read it as the sight that actually has an authoritative background—that actually has footnotes—that’s actually grounded in something evidential.                                                             In other words—they’ve got access to all kinds of information—and that claim about Mithras is all over the internet.  The question is, “Are you discerning enough to know if that is actually true?”  A generation has been raised with the internet. They’ve got access to all of it—but they’ve got no way to discern which sites are accurately telling them the truth." 

He is right, I found this on Wikipedia's website.                                                                                                           "Thus, the following list represents not a solidified mythos or narrative of one particular Mithra or form of the god as developed in one particular culture and era but, rather, a combination of them all for ease of reference as to any possible influences upon Christianity under the name of Mitra/Mithra/Mithras."

Mithra has the following in common with the Jesus character:                                                                                   · Mithra was born on December 25th of the virgin Anahita.                                                                                       · The babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and attended by shepherds.                         · He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.                                                                                       · He had 12 companions or "disciples."                                                                                                                         · He performed miracles.                                                                                                                                               · As the "great bull of the sun," Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.                                                               · He ascended to heaven.                                                                                                                                               · Mithra was viewed as the Good Shepherd, the "Way, the Truth and the Light," the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.                                                                                                                                                                           · Mithra is omniscient, as he "hears all, sees all, knows all: none can deceive him."                                                 · He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.                                                                                                 · His sacred day was Sunday, "the Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.                    · His religion had a eucharist or "Lord's Supper."                                                                                                         · Mithra "sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers."                                                                                           · Mithraism also emphasized water baptism.

10-29-2017  Part 5

Let's return back to our topical series called, "What We Believe And Why?"

Usually, once a month, either on the 5th Sunday or the 4th Sunday, we want to consider what the Bible says and teaches on, the fundamentals, the basics, the core truths for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or you would Like to be.

Because a committed follower of Jesus Christ is one that is truly saved, has been Born Again, as well as being transformed by the Holy Spirit each and every day.

Therefore, each month, we focus on a certain topic to help us be a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or you would like to be.

And this morning let's continue to understand, What The Bible Says And Teaches About The Gospel?

Read Romans 1: 16                                                                                                                                                          For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.                                                                                    Do you really believe that?                                                                                                                                        Do I really believe that?                                                                                                                                                  Do we as God's people really believe that?

May I say something about how timely and necessary it is that we hear from the Lord about this area.  So that we might be better equipped for evangelism, mission outreach, and in discipling new believers to be involved in local church ministry and to be involved in the body of Christ as a whole.

Now remember, we are focusing on the good news part of the gospel message which is all about a person!  Who He is!                                                                                                                                                               What He has done!                                                                                                                                                        And what He will do!                                                                                                                                                      And that person Is the Lord Jesus Christ!

And from the Bible we have learned that there are five major points about the good news part of the gospel message that we should know.

So that, with God's help we would be able to express and explain to another person the good news concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now this morning let's consider the second major point about the good news part of the gospel message that we should know, and be able to express and explain to another person the good news concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

See I Corinthians 15:                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand.                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 2.  By which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached unto you unless you believed in vain.

Now notice vs. 3.  Carefully, for Paul said I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.  This is also known as the sacrificial substitutional atonement by the physical death of Jesus Christ.

So, this morning let's consider this second major point about the good news part of the gospel message.

Because according to I Corinthians 15: 3, Paul said, I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

Again, this is also known as the sacrificial substitutional atonement by the physical death of Jesus Christ.

Now two important questions we must answer!                                                                                                          Is this true?  Did this really happen according to the scriptures?

And according to the scriptures was the physical death of Jesus Christ a sacrificial substitutional atonement for His sins or for our sins?

First, is this true, did this really according to I Corinthians 15: 3, that Christ physically died being unjustly executed.

See Acts 2: 22.                                                                                                                                                              Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know.                                                        Vs. 23.  And Him, Jesus of Nazareth, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified Him, and put to Him to death.

Secondly, according to the scriptures was the physical death of Jesus Christ a sacrificial substitutional atonement for His sins or for our sins?

See II Corinthians 6: 21.                                                                                                                                                  For He, God the Father, made Him, God the son, who knew no sin to be sin for us.                                                The New Living translation says, to be the offering for our sin.  That we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now, according to the scriptures, was the physical death of Jesus Christ a sacrificial substitutional atonement for our sins?

See Hebrews 10:                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 5.  Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 6.  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.                                                                          Vs. 7.  Then I said, behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, O God.                                                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 8.  Previously saying, sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them which are offered according to the law.

See Hebrews 9: 12.                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 12.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered them Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Back to Hebrews 10.                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 10.  Continues, and because of that, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 11.  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins hand of God.

Not only did Jesus Christ offered one sacrifice for sins forever, but He, Himself was the sacrifice!

See St. John 1: 29.                                                                                                                                                          The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and John said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

See Isaiah 53: 4&5.                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 4.  Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and.                                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 12.  But this one, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right afflicted.           Vs. 5.  But, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Listen, according to the scriptures, was the physical death of Jesus Christ a sacrificial substitutional atonement for our sins?

See Romans 5: 6-9.                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 6.  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.                                        Vs. 7.   For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.                                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 8.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.                                                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 9.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

See I Peter 3: 18.                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 18.  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

See Galatians 1: 3&4.                                                                                                                                                      Vs. 3.  Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.                                                      Vs. 4.  Who gave Himself for our sins, so that He might deliver us from this present evil age or world.  How?  According to the will of our God and Father.

See St. John 3: 16&17.                                                                                                                                                      Vs. 16.  For God, God the Father, so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, God the Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.                                                                        Vs. 17.  For God, God the Father did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Are You Saved?          

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by or because of the Word of God, according to the scriptures, the physical death of Jesus Christ was the sacrificial substitutional atonement for our sins!

11-26-2017     Part 6     

Let's return back to our topical series called, "What We Believe And Why?"

Usually, once a month either on the 5th Sunday or the 4th Sunday, We Want To Consider What The Bible Says And Teaches On, The Fundamentals, The Basics, The Core Truths For Being A Committed Follower Of Jesus Christ, Or You Would Like To Be.

Because a committed follower of Jesus Christ is one that is truly saved, has been born again, as well as being transformed by the Holy Spirit each and every day.

Therefore, each month, we focus on a certain topic to help us be a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or you would like to be.

And this morning let's continue to understand What The Bible Says And Teaches About The Gospel?

Read Romans1: 16.  For I am not ashamed (of the Gospel) of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or Gentiles.

Do you really believe that? Do I really believe that?  Do we as God's people really believe that?

May I say something about how timely and necessary it is that we hear from the Lord about this area.  So that we might be better equipped for evangelism, mission outreach, and in discipling new believers to be involved in local church ministry and to be involved in the body of Christ as a whole.

Now remember, we are focusing on the Good News part of the Gospel message which is all about a person!  •Who He is!                                                                                                                                                                      •What He has done!                                                                                                                                                    •And what He will do!                                                                                                                                                And that person is the Lord Jesus Christ!

And from the Bible we have learned that there are five major points about the Good News part of the Gospel message that we should know.

So that with God's help we would be able to express and explain to another person the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

This morning let's consider both, the 3rd & 4th major points about the Good News part of the Gospel message that we should know, and be able to express and explain to another person concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice I Corinthians 15:                                                                                                                                              Vs. 1.  Moreover, brethren I declare to you (the Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also you received, and in which you stand.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 2.  By which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached unto you unless you believed in vain.                                                                                                                                                                        Now notice vs. 3 carefully.  For Paul said, I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.                                                                                                          Now vs. 4 continues, and that He, (Jesus) was buried. (Let’s stop there!)

This is also known as the temporary burial of the body of Jesus Christ to fulfill Scripture and to prove that His death had truly occurred.

So, let’s consider this third major point about the Good News part of the Gospel message and that is, the body of Jesus was buried!

Why?                                                                                                                                                                                1. To fulfill Scripture.                                                                                                                                                      2. To prove that His physical death truly had occurred.

First, the body of Jesus was buried to fulfill Scripture!

See Isaiah 53: 9.  KJV says, and (He) made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death.              Isaiah 53: 9.  NKJV says, and (they) made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death.                  Isaiah 53:9.  NASB; His grave was (assigned)with wicked men. Yet, He was with a rich man in His death. Because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Now remember, Isaiah 53: 9 (KJV) says, but with the rich at His death.                                                            Isaiah 53:9 (NASB) says, yet He was with a rich man in His death.

See Matthew 27:                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 57.  Now when evening had come, (the late afternoon) there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.                                                                                      Vs. 58.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.

By the way, there are two different men named Joseph who play a significant role in Jesus Life.  One at His birth and now this one at his death and burial!

Now, remember our third major point about the Good News part of the Gospel message, is that the body of Jesus was buried!

Why is that so important and significant?                                                                                                                    Vs. 1.   To fulfill Scripture.                                                                                                                                              Vs. 2.   To prove that His physical death truly had occurred.                                                                                Now notice again, Matthew 27:                                                                                                                                      Vs. 59.  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,                                                      Vs. 60.  and laid it in his new tomb which he had dugged out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.                                                                                                                            Vs. 61.  And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

This was proof that Jesus’ physical death had truly happen!  Because you don’t bury someone unless they are Truly dead!

Now, let’s finish up our subject this morning by considering the fourth major point about the Good News part of the Gospel message that we should know, and be able to express and explain to another person about the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, I Corinthians 15: 4) says, that Jesus was buried!

But also vs. 4 says, that (He) Jesus rose, or was resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures.

This is also known as the predicted third day bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death.                        Now notice the third day prediction from Jesus Himself, about His own bodily resurrection from the death.

See Matthew 16:                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 21.  From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, but be raised the third day.

Now see Matthew 20:                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 18.  Jesus said, behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,                                                                                Vs. 19.   and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. But, the third Day He will rise again.

And let us see the scriptural confirmation concerning the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death.

See Matthew 28:                                                                                                                                                            Vs. 1. Now, after the Sabbath (Saturday), as the first day of the week began at dawn (Sunday).  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb (to complete what they had started two days ago).  Vs. 2.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; Because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came to the tomb and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

And the Roman guards’ bodies shook for fear because of the Angel.  And became like dead men, petrified.

Vs. 5.  But the angel answered and said to the women, do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 6.  He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.  Come, see the place where the LORD laid.

Now, notice with me the many reliable eyewitnesses about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death.

See I Corinthians 15:                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 5.  And the Lord Jesus was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.                                                                      After that, Jesus was seen by over five hundred brethren at one time, of whom many of them are alive now, but some have passed away.

James, then by all the apostles.                                                                                                                                Vs. 8.  Then last of all, Jesus was seen by me Paul, as by one born out of due time.

Notice another reliable eyewitness, about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the death.                 See Revelation 1:                                                                                                                                                            Vs. 17.  And when I (John, the Apostle) saw Him I fell at His feet as dead.  But He laid His right hand on me saying to me, do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.                                                                                        Vs. 18.  I am He who is alive and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of death.

Finally, does what a person believe about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead really matters?

See Romans 10: 9, That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, or Jesus is my Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised (resurrected) Him from the dead (based on the scriptural evidence and the many reliable eyewitness), you will be saved!

++++++++++++++++++++ 

With God's Help, How Can We Prosper Or Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?

06-04-2017   Part 1  

 As some of you may know, the NBA Finals have begun.   In fact, there is a game later on this afternoon that will be played.

And in some team sports like, basketball and American football, from start to finish, within that competition, there is a period of time known as halftime!

Question: Does anyone know what the halftime is for if you are a player?  If you are on a team?                         •To make adjustments.                                                                                                                                                   •To rest, to regroup, if need be deal with minor injuries.                                                                                             •To be determined as a team and as a player to finish strong, to end well, to succeed, to gain the victory.

Listen, I believe every year especially during the month of June, in those 30 days,  you and I have an opportunity to have our own personal and spiritual halftime before we move into the second part of the year which begins in July.

For we may need to make some major or minor adjustments at this point!                                                               We may need to enter into God's rest and peace that we have probably over looked.                                       We may need to be more determined in this second half of the year with God's help, to finish strong, to end well, to succeed, to gain the victory.                                                                                                                         No more excuses!                                                                                                                                                       No more complaining!

Therefore, in order to help us during our personal and spiritual halftime, our new topic from the Lord will be, "With God's help, How Can We Prosper Or Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of life?" 

And again, like in most team sports, most players know they will go through various changes within a season. 

Listen most players know that they will go through various changes within the franchise, or, on the team, or, even as a teammate.                                                                                                                                                     They know they will go through various changes.  

And likewise, you and I will go through various changes, different seasons and times in our lives.

So then, with God's help, how can you and I prosper or persevere during the changing seasons of life?        Let me define a couple of words from our title that are familiar to most of us.

Remember our subject title, with God's help, How can We Prosper Or Persevere During The changing seasons Of life?

The two words are ‘prosper’ and ‘persevere’.                                                                                                             Prosper: can mean to succeed in a matter or endeavor.                                                                                   Prosper: can mean to overcome a situation or a challenge.                                                                         Prosper: can mean to flourish or thrive.                                                                                                                         Prosper: can mean to be mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.

III John 1: 1 & 2 says,                                                                                                                                                   The Elder, to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:  Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Now the word persevere, can mean to continue even when face with difficulty, or with little or no prospect of success.                                                                                                                                                                         The word persevere can mean to be persistent, be determined, be tenacious.

James 1: 12 from the NIV.                                                                                                                                               Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life, that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Now let me direct our attention to Ecclesiastes 3: As we understand the concept behind seasons and times.

Remember our subject title, with God's help, How can We Prosper Or Persevere During The changing seasons Of life?

Vs. 1.  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven, or in this life.                               By the way, in verses 1-8, this is not a completed list.                                                                                           This is not everything in every season of life!

For example, if you notice nothing is mention about marriage or divorce, or, raising a family.

Because this is only a summary of some of the positive seasons or times as well as, some of the negative seasons or times on earth or in this life. 

For example:  See vs. 2.                                                                                                                                                 A time to be born. A positive season or time.                                                                                                               And a time to die.  A negative season or time.                                                                                                             A time to plant.  A positive season or time.                                                                                                             And a time to pluck what is planted.  A negative season or time.

See vs. 4.                                                                                                                                                                         A time to weep.  A negative season or time.                                                                                                               And a time to laugh.  A positive season or time.                                                                                                         A time to mourn.  A negative season or time.                                                                                                               And a time to dance.  A positive season or time.

See vs. 6.                                                                                                                                                                         A time to gain.  A positive season or time.                                                                                                               And a time to lose.  A negative season or time.                                                                                                           A time to keep.  A positive season or time.                                                                                                                   And a time to throw away.  A negative season or time.

And again, this is only a summary of some of the positive seasons or times as well as, some of the negative seasons or times on earth, or in this life. 

But did you notice how transient, and how shifting are these times and seasons mention in vs. 1-8 can be for us?

See vs. 4 again.                                                                                                                                                               A time to weep. A time to mourn.  This is a negative season or time.  Then it changes for a while!                   And a time to laugh. And a time to dance.  This is a positive season or time. 

Question?                                                                                                                                                                         In times and in seasons that will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.                   Who or, what do you turn to?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you trust in?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you find security in? 

See Psalm 31:                                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 14, But as for me, I trust in You O LORD; for I say You are my God!

Listen, in times and in seasons that will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.             Who or, what do you turn to?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you trust in?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you find security in? 

Notice vs. 15.  For my times or, seasons are in your hand.
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

Listen, in times and in seasons that will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.             Who or, what do you turn to?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you trust in?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you find security in? 

Vs. 23.  Oh, love the LORD all of you His Saints!   For the LORD preserves the faithful, but fully repays the proud person.                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 24.  Be of good courage, and the LORD shall strengthen your heart all you who hope in the LORD.     Listen, in times and in seasons that will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.

Who or, what do you turn to?                                                                                                                                         Who or, what do you trust in?                                                                                                                                   Who or, what do you find security in?

Now notice again vs. 15a.  For my times or seasons are in Your hand.
Listen, although my times and seasons will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.       Will turn to You!                                                                                                                                                               Will trust in You!                                                                                                                                                               Will find security in You!

Habakkuk 3: 17-19.                                                                                                                                                           Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls.             Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength;  He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. 

06-11-2017   Part 2  

Our new topic from the Lord is, "With God's Help, How Can We Prosper Or Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?" 

By the way, when I use the words prosper, or persevere, this is what I'm referring to.                                             Prosper can mean, to succeed in a matter or an endeavor.                                                                                       Prosper can mean, to overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                   Prosper can mean, to flourish or thrive.                                                                                                                     Prosper can mean, to grow and develop.                                                                                                                     Prosper can mean, to become mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.

III John 1: 2 says,                                                                                                                                                             Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things, and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Now, when I use the word persevere this is what I'm referring to.  The willingness to continue even when face with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                                                                   The word persevere can mean, to be persistent, to be determined, to be tenacious.

James 1:12 from the NIV.                                                                                                                                                 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life, that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Remember Ecclesiastes 3: 1 says, to everything, there is a season, there is a time, for every purpose, under heaven, or in this life.

And vs. 2 said,                                                                                                                                                                 A time to be born. a positive season or time.                                                                                                               And a time to die. a negative season or time.                                                                                                               A time to plant. a positive season or time.                                                                                                             And a time to pluck what is planted. a negative season or time.

This is only a summary of some of the positive seasons, or times as well as, some of the negative seasons or times on earth or in this life. 

Question.  In times and in seasons that will change from positive to negative,                                                     or, from negative to positive,                                                                                                                                         Who or what do you turn to?                                                                                                                                         Who or what do you trust in?                                                                                                                                         Who or what do you find security in?

And last Sunday we learned from King David in Psalm 31: 14 & 15a.                                                                           Vs. 14.   But, as for me, David said, I trust in You O LORD; For I say You are my God!                                           Vs. 15a.  For my times, or seasons are in Your hand.

This was our first principal or, guideline from the LORD, that can help us to know how to prosper or persevere during the changing seasons of life?

This morning with God's help, let's learn from another Saint of God, the Apostle Paul.  And here in Philippians 4, let's consider another principal or guideline from the LORD, that can help us to know how to prosper or persevere during the changing seasons of life?

See Philippians 4: 13.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Again, this will be an important principal or guideline from the LORD, that can help us to know how to prosper or persevere during the changing seasons of life?

But look carefully at Philippians 4: 13, because there are some critical things you and I must understand in order for us to benefit from this verse.

And there are at least three questions that must be answered and understood correctly.                                     •To whom Is this verse referring to here in Philippians 4:13?                                                                             •What are the all things referring to here in Philippians 4:13?                                                                                     •And where does real strength come from here in Philippians 4:13? 

First, to whom is this verse referring to here in Philippians 4:13?

Question.  Is vs. 13, referring to you and me or, is this making reference to someone else?                               See vs. 13.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Listen, who was the human writer?  Who is the one who wrote this?                                                                       The answer, the Apostle Paul!  In fact, in this section of Philippians chapter 4, Paul is sharing a personal testimony with this group of Believers in Philippi, about God's faithfulness in his situation.

So , what does the Apostle Paul really mean here when he says concerning himself, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?"

For some have suggested that this really means, "nothing shall be impossible for you!"                                         •"If you can conceive It, you can achieve It!"                                                                                                             •"I can do anything that I put my mind and my heart into!"

Question, but is the Apostle Paul teaching us here in Philippians 4: 13, to have self-confidence?  Or, to think positive?  Is Paul simply telling us to be more self-reliant and self-focus?

In other words, like you hear some people saying today, "I got this!"                                                                    Or, "you got this!"  For you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  

Listen, the most important thing to understand and to admit to if you are a true believer and a committed follower of Jesus Christ. 

Listen, it is not I who can do it, but it is because of Christ within me, in accordance to His will, plan, and purpose for me that I may do thus and so.  Amen!

Some English translations of the Bible concerning Philippians 4:13 says it this way.                                               Instead of saying, "I can do!" 

This translation says it this way, "I have strength for all things in Him that gives me power."                                   And still another translation instead of saying, "I can do!"                                                                                           Says it this way, "I have strength for all things in the One strengthening me."

Now, concerning Philippians 4:13, there are three questions that must be answered and understood correctly.

Our 1st question, to whom is this verse referring to here in Philippians 4:13?  The Apostle Paul.                           However, the principals and guidelines that God the Holy Spirit is revealing here in vs. 13, is for every true believer and committed follower of Jesus Christ.

The next question, what are the all things referring to here in Philippians 4:13?  For Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Question, does all things in Philippians 4:13 mean anything or, everything?

Actually, when Paul gave his testimony he told us exactly what the all things are referring to?                             But we must go back to vs. 11 & 12 in order to identify each one of them.                                                                 First in vs. 11, Paul is sharing his testimony.  Listen, "not that I speak to you in regard to being in need." 

By the way notice vs. 15.                                                                                                                                         Now you Philippians knew also, that at the very beginning me sharing the Gospel with you, and when I departed from Macedonia, there was no church supporting me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

Now back to vs. 11.  Not that I speak to you in regard to being in need.                                                                   And then Paul says, I have learned, you and I might admit that we are still learning!                                               For Paul says, I have learned in whatever state, or we might say season or time that we may be dealing with, or that we are involved in, that will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.

Now look at the end of vs. 11, Paul said, I have learned to be content! Wow!

Again, what are the all things referring to here in Philippians 4:13?                                                                           Answer, I have learned to be content!                                                                                                                           Can you and I truly say that I have learned to be content?

Now, for some people the English word content conveys the idea of being lazy, indifferent, apathetic, unmotivated, not willing to try.

However, this word content here in Philippians 4:11 is not suggesting, nor does it mean that with God's help I am not to seek to make things better, or to improve my situation.                                                                         The word content here in Philippians 4:11 means, to be free from, or to be freed up from something or someone.

For example, to be free from the expectations or the opinions of others of what I have, or don't have.              In other words, Paul is saying God has taught him how to be freed up from the expectations, or the opinions of others, of what he had, or what he did not have.                                                                                       •Financial security.                                                                                                                                                           •Position.                                                                                                                                                                         •Status.                                                                                                                                                                             •Material things.                                                                                                                                                               •Relationships.                                                                                                                                                                 •Effectiveness.                                                                                                                                                     •Importance.                                                                                                                                                                    

Also, this word content here in Philippians 4:11, can mean to be free from.  My own pursuits of external things that I think would bring me satisfaction, fulfillment, or a sense of self-importance, or security.                           •A seven-figure income.                                                                                                                                                 •Owning my own business.                                                                                                                                           •Owning my own home.                                                                                                                                          •Owning certain car or truck.                                                                                                                                         •Able to purchase anything I want.                                                                                                                                •Getting a graduate degree.                                                                                                                                         •Living in a certain part of town, or in another part of the country.                                                                              •To be able to live off my pension or social security without running out of money.

But (content) here in Philippians 4:11, means to be free from my own pursuits of external things that I think would bring me satisfaction, fulfillment, or a sense of self-importance, or security.

Jesus said from St. John 8: 36.  "Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."                     Are you free this morning?                                                                                                                                       Are you truly freed up?

Now, remember we said that with God's help there is nothing wrong in seeking to make things better, or to improve your situation.

However, when I become a slave to my own pursuits of external things that I think would bring me satisfaction, fulfillment, or a sense of self-importance, or security.                                                                             Or, when I am in bondage to the expectations or the opinions of others of what I have, or don't have.          And therefore, I am not content and I am not free, and I am not freed up!

But Paul says here in Philippians 4:11, I have learned in whatever state, or we might say season or time that I am dealing with that will change, from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.                               Paul said, I have learned to be content! 

By the way, remember Paul said, I have learned!                                                                                                         •Who are the ones that are involved in disciplining you?                                                                                           •Who are the spiritual mentors you have in your life?                                                                                                 •Are you still teachable?                                                                                                                                             •Are you taking time regularly to learn how to study God's Word the Bible, and then learning how to apply, or to live by it in dealing with the everyday circumstances, and situations of life?

Now notice vs. 12.  Here are some more of the all things that Paul said that he was able to do in Philippians 4:13 because Christ who strengthens him!

Vs. 12.  For Paul says, I now know how to be abased.                                                                                                 •That is to go without if I need to.                                                                                                                             •To be sacrificial so that others can benefit.                                                                                                         Then Paul says, I now know how to abound.                                                                                                           •To have more than enough, without being greedy or prideful.                                                                             •To have more than enough without being wasteful, or self-indulging.

Question.  Paul how can you do all these things?                                                                                               Notice vs. 13.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Remember, there are three questions that must be answered and understood correctly.                                     To whom is this verse referring to here in Philippians 4:13?                                                                                       What are the all things referring to here in Philippians 4:13?                                                                                     And finally, where does real strength come from here in Philippians 4:13? 

Notice Philippians 4:13 again, I can do all things through or, in Christ who strengthens me.                   Question.  Do you truly believe that Christ is more capable than you?

St. John 15: 5 Jesus said.                                                                                                                                               I am the vine, you are the branches. The One who abides in Me, and I in them, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Finally, I can do all things through or, in Christ who strengthens me.

This word in Philippians 4:13 strengthens means, to receive a strength that is apart from yourself or to be strengthen by another.

Do you request that the Lord Jesus strengthen you every day when the times and the season change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.

Lord Jesus strengthen me today! 

Close with II Corinthians 12: 8-10.                                                                                                                                   Vs. 8.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.                         Vs. 9.   But the Lord said to me, My Grace is sufficient or is enough for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  And Paul said and then he understood!                                                                                                   Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast or to be not ashamed in my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 10.  Therefore, I can take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. 

Why Paul?  For when I am weak, then I am strong or, strengthen by the LORD!

07-02-2017    Part 3   

This morning with God's help, let's return back to a new topic we started last month called, "How Can We Bring Glory To God In the Way We Either Prosper, Or Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of life? 

And remember we said, based on Ecclesiastes 3: 1 which says in, vs. 1.                                                                   To everything, there is a season, there is a time, for every purpose, under heaven, or in this life.                         Then vs. 2 says,                                                                                                                                                               *A time to be born.  That would be a positive season or time.                                                                                 *And a time to die.   That would be a negative season or time.                                                                                 *A time to plant.   That would be a positive season or time.                                                                                       And a time to pluck what is planted.  And that would be a negative season or time.

So then, from vs. 1-8 is a summary of some of the positive seasons, or times, as well as, some of the negative seasons or times on earth or in this life. 

In order to show us that times and seasons will change, sometimes from positive to negative!                             Sometimes from negative to positive!                                                                                                                         Now, this morning let's begin to look at specifically.  How can we bring Glory to God in the way we prosper, during the changing seasons of life? 

Because times and seasons will change from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.

But how do we glorify God in the way we prosper when faced with either a negative season or time?             Or, when we are blessed to begin a new and positive season or time?

By the way, when I use the word prosper, this is what I'm referring to.                                                                     Prosper can mean, to succeed in a matter or an endeavor.                                                                                       Prosper can mean, to overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                   Prosper can mean, to grow & develop.                                                                                                                         Prosper can mean, to become mature, to have balance, to say grounded.

III John 1: 2 says, Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things, and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

In other words, with God's help, may you prosper that is, succeed in a matter, or an endeavor.                             Or, a challenge.                                                                                                                                                               Or, grow and develop.                                                                                                                                                     Or, become mature, or have balance, or stay grounded?

Now, see Joshua 1: 7&8.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 7.  God is speaking to Joshua, only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the Law which Moses my servant commanded you, do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.                                                                                                                       Vs. 8.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it (the Book of the Law), day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

So, how do we prosper that is, succeed in a matter or, an endeavor?                                                                       Overcome in a situation or a challenge?  Grow and develop?                                                                                   Or, become mature, or have balance, or stay grounded?

And here in Joshua 1: We have an example, a man of God who was facing both a negative season or time, in which Moses, his friend, mentor, and the one that he had committed himself to assist was now dead.

But also, for Joshua, he was being blessed to begin a new and positive season or time as well!

So, how would Joshua glorify God, how could he prosper when faced with either a negative season or time, or when blessed to begin a new and positive season or time?

Well, notice again Joshua 1: 7, which reveals to us the method and the means.                                                       Vs. 7.  God is speaking to Joshua,                                                                                                                                 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to ALL the Law which Moses, my servant commanded you, do not turn from it the Law to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 

Listen in order for you or I, to be able to prosper that is, succeed in a matter, or an endeavor.                               Overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                                                       Grow and develop.                                                                                                                                                         Or, become mature, or have balance, or stay grounded.

We must be totally committed to knowing, learning, and doing what the Bible says no matter what.

Even though, to us sometimes the Bible doesn't make sense.                                                                                   Even though, the Bible convicts and exposes our shortcomings, our sinful attitudes, or our disobedience.

We must be totally committed to knowing, learning, and doing what the Bible says no matter what.

Notice again In Joshua 1: 7, The words (the Law).                                                                                                         Notice again In Joshua 1: 8, The words (the Book of the Law).                                                                                   These two phrases (the Law) (the Book of the Law) describes God's entire written Word at that time. 

But today, we would say all of Scripture.  Not just the 10 Commandments.  Nor, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible.                                                                                                                                                       But God's entire written Word.  All of Scripture.  From Genesis to Revelation.

Now See Psalms 1: 2.                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 2.   But he or she delight is in the Law of the LORD, and in His Law they meditate day and night.

In the Old Testament, usually the words, "Law" or "The Law", or "The Law of God," is referring to the Hebrew word, "Torah."                                                                                                                                                                   The Hebrew word, Torah means, divine instruction, or direction, or a legal directive.

Listen, the Law is divine instruction, or direction.  An example this might help us who are non-Jewish.               Every manufacturer of something, will usually provide in some way, a written user or instruction manual.       For a user or instruction manual, is intended to give the user instruction, or direction, on how to use, or better understand, or fully benefit from this product. 

And that is a good way to understand and appreciate God's entire written Word.  All of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

For it was intended to give the user instruction or direction, on how to know the manufacturer (God).             To better understand His principles and precepts, His ways, character, and attributes.   And to fully benefit from being in a relationship with the one who is in control of all things.

The Bible is to become our user or instruction manual for life, during life, and for preparation for the next life!

Remember, God said to Joshua, "Only be strong and very courageous."  Now, that makes sense!

In other words, Joshua don't be misled by others who don't believe, practice, or highly esteem, the Scriptures. Joshua, be strong and very courageous!                                                                                                                     Child of God!  Likewise, be strong and very courageous!                                                                                           Don't be deceived, thinking there's got to be more than just the Bible!                                                                     Don't deviate, thinking you can find something better than the Bible!                                                                       Stay on track!                                                                                                                                                                   Don't turn from it, to the right hand or to the left!                                                                                                         Stay focus!

Now again, how would Joshua glorify God, how could he prosper when faced with either a negative season or time, or when blessed to begin a new and positive season or time?

Notice in Joshua 1: 8.  For it also reveals to us the method and the means.                                                             Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 8.  The LORD tells Joshua this, (Book of the Law) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it (the Book of the Law), day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.     For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

Now, because of time, and the fact we want to share Communion together, and that later on this afternoon, we will be fellowshipping with Community Bible Church of Palmdale on their anniversary Celebration.                                                                                                                                                                 Let me conclude. We will pick up here next time, but let me share with you an important illustration.

Ever wonder what it would be like if God's people treated their Bibles like they treat their mobile devices?       Their smart phones, their tablets, their smart watches, or fitness watches, etc.

Wonder what it would be like if God's people treated their Bibles like they treat these things?                       What if we treated our Bibles like we could not live without them? 

For example, what if we saw our Bibles as being more important to have with you, in case of an emergency like we do our cell phones?                                                                                                                                           What if we carried our Bibles around everywhere we go, like we do with our cell phones?                                   What if on our way to somewhere we forgot our Bibles, that we would turned back to go get them just like we do with our mobile devices?                                                                                                                                           What if we search through our Bibles several times a day, like we do with our mobile devices?                           Checking for this!                                                                                                                                                   Looking for that!                                                                                                                                                               Talking or responding to someone!

What if we who send text messages to one another, were to remind one another about God?                             For example:                                                                                                                                                                   In a happy moment, PRAISE GOD!                                                                                                                                 In a difficult moment, SEEK GOD!                                                                                                                                 In a quiet moment, WORSHIP GOD!                                                                                                                             In a painful moment, TRUST GOD!                                                                                                                               In every moment, THANK GOD!

What if we gave the Bible to all of the young people in our lives as gifts, the way we do cell phones?                 What if we search the Bible in the same way we use our cell phones when we are traveling, to make sure where we are going, so that we wouldn't be lost?

Finally, unlike our cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, etc.,                               Listen, we never have to worry about our Bibles being terminated,                                                                         Or, a drop call when you are praying,                                                                                                                           Or, an outrages cell phone bill you cannot afford.                                                                                                     Because Jesus has already paid our bill in full on the cross.                                                                                     Thank you, Jesus!

07-09-2017    Part 4   

This morning with God's help, let's continue with our current topic, "How Can We Bring Glory To God In The Way We Either Prosper, Or Persevere, During The Changing Seasons Of Life? 

For one thing is for sure, times and seasons will change going from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive.                                                                                                                                                                           And again, this morning let's look specifically how we can bring glory to God in the way we prosper during the changing seasons of life? 

Listen, when faced with either a negative season or time, or, when blessed to begin a new and positive season or time, how do we glorify God in the way we prosper?

By the way, when I use the word ‘prosper’, this is what I'm referring to.                                                                   Prosper can mean, to succeed in a matter or an endeavor.                                                                                       Prosper can mean, to overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                 Prosper can mean, to grow and develop.                                                                                                                     Prosper can mean, to become mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.

In other words, with God's help, how do we prosper that is, succeed in a matter, or an endeavor?  Overcome in a situation or a challenge?  Grow and develop?  Or, become mature, or have balance, or stay grounded?

See Joshua 1: 7&8.                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 7.  God is speaking to Joshua, only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the Law which Moses, My servant commanded you, do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.                                                                                                                       Vs. 8.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it, the Book of the Law, day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

Now, last Sunday, we considered verse. 7.

This morning let's focus on vs. 8, to understand how Joshua was able to glorify God, how Joshua was able to, when faced with both a negative season or time, and the blessing to begin a new and positive season or time?

Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                                   There are three simple truths to understand and to follow, and one conditional promise to receive which enabled Joshua to glorify God. , and which, enabled Joshua to prosper when faced with both a negative season or time, and when he was blessed to begin a new and positive season or time.

See vs. 8.                                                                                                                                                                         1.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth.                                                                                       2.  But you shall meditate in it, the Book of the Law, day and night,                                                                           3.  That you may observe to do according to ALL that is written in it, the Book of the Law.

And lastly, the one conditional promise to be receive by faith in God.                                                                       "God is speaking to Joshua, “For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Let's consider the first simple truth to understand and to follow.                                                                               Now, notice vs. 8a, this Book of the Law, stop there!

Remember, we said last time, usually in the Bible the words, "Law," "The Law," "The Law of God," "The Book of the Law," comes from the Hebrew word, "Torah."                                                                                                         And the Hebrew word ‘Torah’ can mean, “Divine Instruction” or “Direction”. 

Listen therefore, the words, "The Law," "The Law of God," "The Book of The Law," were to be seen as divine instruction or direction from God, and not from a group of men, or from some religious place!

In other words, "The Law of God," "The Book of The Law." was to be seen as divine instruction or direction from God, and was supposed to be understood as something to be helpful, insightful, beneficial, and not obsolete, oppressive, and restrictive.

Listen, "The Law of God," "The Book of The Law," would be equivalent to what we would call today, "a user or instruction manual." 

That which is intended to give the user instruction or direction, on how to use the product correctly.  To better understand the product's features and options. Or, to fully benefit from the product's performance. 

However, today because we have the completed Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and not just the 10 Commandments, nor, only the Old Testament.

Today, we would say about Joshua 1:8a, "this Book of the Law," we could say today, all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.

Now, notice vs. 8a, this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth!                                                           Notice, the words, "shall not depart!" means to be withdrawn or taken away.  Or, to cease or, to stop something. Therefore, "shall not depart," is a divine command to Joshua for him to be responsible and intentional.  Joshua, don't let the Book of the Law, be stopped, or to cease!                                                           Child of God, this is a divine command unto us as well to be responsible and intentional.                               Don't let the Book of the Law, or we would say today, all of Scripture, not just the 10 Commandments.  Nor, the Old Testament.  But all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. We never stop, nor cease from, the Scriptures coming forth from our mouths! 

Now, notice vs. 8a, God doesn't say, "shall not depart from your eyes!"                                                                   But God said, it shall not depart from your MOUTH!                                                                                                   This fact will be very important in just a moment, so keep this in mind.

Now again in vs. 8, there are three simple truths to understand and to follow.                                                         Let's consider the second simple truth to understand and to follow.

Notice vs. 8, but you shall meditate in it (the Book of the Law) day and night.                                                         •Do you meditate?                                                                                                                                                            What is meditation?                                                                                                                                                       •And more importantly, what is the Biblical view of meditation?

Now see Psalms 1: 2.  But he or she delights in the Law of the LORD, and in His Law they meditate, day and night.                                                                                                                                                                          See Psalms 119: 15&16.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 15.  I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.                                                                   Vs. 16.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Back to Joshua 1: 8.                                                                                                                                                         So then, the word ‘meditate’ in Psalms 1: 2, Psalms 119: 15, and here in Joshua 1: 8, means, to quietly utter, or to speak to oneself the Scriptures. 

And remember in Joshua 1:8, when God said, "This Book of the Law, it shall not depart from your MOUTH, but you shall meditate in it!                                                                                                                                                   Now, that makes sense!

Also, the word meditate can mean to ponder, to reflect upon, to dwell on, to contemplate this Book of the Law, all of Scripture, so as to renew or reset your mind, your thinking, or your attitude, with the truth of Scripture. 

Listen, to quietly utter, or to speak to oneself the Scriptures. To ponder, to reflect upon, to dwell on, to contemplate this Book of the Law, or all of Scripture, so as to renew or reset your mind, your thinking, or your attitude, with the truth of Scripture, is the Biblical view and method of meditation. 

However, this would imply that Biblical meditation, not worldly, or cultural, or secular meditation. But, Biblical meditation would require the need to read the Bible to know what the Scriptures have to say about a particular need or concern one might have, in order to quietly utter, or to speak to oneself the Scriptures, or, to ponder, to dwell on, all of Scripture, so as to renew or reset your mind, your thinking, or your attitude, with the truth of Scripture. 

Listen, Biblical meditation would require the need to study and understand what the Bible is truly saying, in order to quietly utter, or to speak to oneself the Scriptures, or to ponder, to dwell on, all of Scripture, so as to renew or reset your mind, your thinking, or your attitude, with the truth of Scripture. 

Lastly, Biblical meditation would require the need to memorize certain verses or parts of the Bible, so that you are able to recall to yourself the things you have read, the things you now better understand because you have studied, in order to quietly utter, or to speak to oneself the Scriptures, or, to ponder, to dwell on, all of Scripture, so as to renew or reset your mind, your thinking, or your attitude, with the truth of Scripture. 

Also, there is the non-Biblical View of Meditation.                                                                                                       And there is the Biblical View of Meditation.

The non-biblical view of meditation basically calls for the individual or the person to empty or clear the mind. or, to focus one’s thoughts,                                                                                                                                           or, to reflect on some truth,                                                                                                                                           or, focus on an object, or goal.                                                                                                                                       The non-biblical view of meditation believes, control your mind, you control your destiny.  Control your mind, you control yourself.  Control your mind, and you can do anything.                                                                           The non-biblical view of meditation calls for the person to empty or clear the mind.

However, the biblical view of meditation is completely different.                                                                               The biblical view of meditation, calls for the filling of one's mind with God's word.                                                 The biblical view of meditation is to quietly utter, or to speak softly to oneself the Scriptures.                               The biblical view of meditation is to renew, or reset your mind, or your thinking or your attitude with the truth of Scripture.                                                                                                                                                                     The biblical view of meditation is to dwell on, or to think over.  In the same manner, in which a person may worries over something or someone.                                                                                                                         The biblical view of meditation is learning to bring every thought into captivity, and in subjection to the Word of God.                                                                                                                                                                             The biblical view of meditation is to help you and I, to win the battle, or the warfare that is raging in our minds and in our thoughts, during times of testing and temptation.

In Psalms 1: 2, and here in Joshua 1:8, the phrase, day and night is used.

Now (vs. 8), but you shall meditate in it the Book of the Law God's user or instruction manual to us, you shall meditate day and night.

Both in Psalms 1: 2, and here in Joshua 1:8, the phrase, day and night is used.

This is a Hebrew euphemism that refers to doing something regularly, constantly, consistently.

Now, in vs. 8, there are three simple truths to understand and to follow.                                                                 Let's consider the third simple truth to understand and to follow.

Notice vs. 8.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do, according to all that is written in it. 

Observe, is from a Hebrew verb is (Qal) which means, to perform or to observe, like the keeping of the Sabbath, or a covenant, or commands.                                                                                                                         Listen, that you may observe to do, according to all that is written in it, today we would say, the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.                                                                                                                                                   James 1: 22.  But you be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 

Back to Joshua 1: 8. 

Finally, in vs. 8, there are three simple truths to understand and to follow and one conditional promise to be receive by faith in God.

Let's consider the one conditional promise.                                                                                                                 In vs. 8, for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

Remember, prosper can mean, to succeed in a matter or an endeavor.                                                                   Prosper can mean, to overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                       Prosper can mean, to grow and develop.                                                                                                                     Prosper can mean, to become mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.

This is very different from the world's view of prosperity, or being prosperous, or to prosper. 

You see, with God's help, the LORD can enable you to succeed in a matter, or an endeavor.                                 The LORD can enable you to overcome in a situation, or a challenge.                                                                     The LORD can enable you to grow and develop.                                                                                                         Lastly, the LORD can enable you to be mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.

The world's view of prosperity, or being prosperous, or to prosper, the focus is mostly on  size.  Quantity.   Increase.   Accumulating.  Appearance.   Affluence.  Luxury.  Opulence.  Style.  Famous Name Brands.

However, God's view of prosperity, or being prosperous, or to prosper, is that we would thrive and flourish in our walk and relationship with God Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.                                                                 That we would be a Godly influence among others. And that as His faithful and wise stewards, we are ready at all times to give of our time, talent, or treasure, as He sees fit!

Also, in this conditional promise to be receive by faith in God, (vs. 8), "You will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.                                                                                                                                 This means, to have insight.  To act circumspectly, prudently, or wisely.

Listen, the world's view of successful, or success, is about having wealth.  Possessions.  Property.  Prestige.  Attractiveness or good looks. Intelligence (a high IQ).  Fame.  Status.  Power.  Popularity.  Control.  Position. 

However, God's view of success or being successful is about being or becoming and not about having!       For example, God's view of success or being successful is, being or becoming rightly related with your Creator, your Maker.                                                                                                                                               Being or becoming sacrificial, caring or helpful to others.                                                                                     Being or becoming a person of character, an example to follow, above reproach, upright,  having self-control and discipline.                                                                                                                                                             Being or becoming obedient, wise or prudent, teachable.                                                                                         Being or becoming one who does their best, who is determined to succeed, who wants to do well, who strives to advance with God's help.

Close with Genesis 39:                                                                                                                                                 There are two different men of authority - one named, and the other unnamed, who over a period of time observed and watch Joseph prosper.                                                                                                                       See vs. 2.   The Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph was a prosperous or successful man; For Joseph was in the house of his master Potiphar the Egyptian.                                                                                                           Vs. 3.  And his master saw that the Lord was with Joseph, and that the Lord made all that Joseph did to prosper in his hand.                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 22.  But the keeper of the prison, committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever they did there-in, it was Joseph doing or decision.                                                            Vs. 23.  The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with Joseph; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

Listen, two different men of authority - one named, and the other unnamed, who over a period of time observed and watch Joseph prosper.  How?                                                                                                       They saw Joseph rightly related with his Creator, his Maker.                                                                               They saw Joseph as sacrificial, caring, and helpful to others.                                                                                     They saw Joseph, a person of character, an example to follow, above reproach, upright, having self-control and discipline.                                                                                                                                                           They saw Joseph as obedient, wise and prudent and teachable.                                                                             They saw Joseph as one who does their best, who is determined to succeed, who wants to do well, who strives to advance with God's help.

Next time, I want us to come back and look at this situation with Joseph.  Let's pray!

07-16-2017    Part 5   

Listen, when faced with the changing seasons of life, whether it is a negative season or time. Or, it is a new and positive season or time, how do we glorify God in the way we prosper?

And over the last few Sundays with God's help and understanding our Bibles, we are learning what it means, to truly and biblically prosper.                                                                                                                                   For to prosper can mean,                                                                                                                                               •To succeed in a matter, or an endeavor.                                                                                                                     •To overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                                                 •Or, to grow and develop.                                                                                                                                               •Or, become mature, or to have balance, or stay grounded.

And here in Joshua 1: 7&8,                                                                                                                                             The LORD tells Joshua, how the LORD Himself would enable him to prosper as he faced a negative season or time that is, his mentor and friend Moses was dead.                                                                                                   But the LORD Himself, would also enable him to prosper as he faced a new and positive season or time, as the successor and the new leader of God's people.

Last Sunday, we considered In Joshua 1: 8, three simple truths to understand and to follow, and one conditional promise to receive by faith in God. 

And last Sunday, we finished up Joshua 1: 8, considering this conditional promise that is to be receive by faith in God.                                                                                                                                                                             Remember at the end of vs. 8, God's Word says, "Joshua you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

And the true and biblical understanding in the way we are to prosper can mean,                                                   •To succeed in a matter, or an endeavor.                                                                                                                     •To overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                                                 •Or to grow and develop.                                                                                                                                           •Or become mature, or to have balance, or stay grounded.

But in Joshua 1: 8, this word at the end of vs. 8, ‘success’ that is used here means,                                               To have insight.                                                                                                                                                            To act circumspectly. prudently, or wisely.

Listen, this is not the world's view or meaning of success or being successful!                                                       The world's view or meaning of success or being successful is about having, and having it all!                             Whether it be wealth.                                                                                                                                           Possessions.                                                                                                                                                                   Property.                                                                                                                                                                       Prestige.                                                                                                                                                                         Attractiveness or good looks.                                                                                                                                       Intelligence, a high IQ.                                                                                                                                                   Fame.                                                                                                                                                                               Family.                                                                                                                                                                             Status.                                                                                                                                                                               Power.                                                                                                                                                                               Popularity.                                                                                                                                                                       Control.                                                                                                                                                                 Position.                                                                                                                                                                           Happiness.                                                                                                                                                                       However, God's view of success or being successful is about being or becoming and not just about having! 

Listen, there is nothing wrong or sinful with having the things that were just mentioned.                                       Wealth.                                                                                                                                                                       Possessions.                                                                                                                                                                   Property.                                                                                                                                                                       Prestige.                                                                                                                                                                         Attractiveness or good looks.                                                                                                                                       Intelligence, a high IQ.                                                                                                                                                   Fame.                                                                                                                                                                               Family.                                                                                                                                                                             Status.                                                                                                                                                                               Power.                                                                                                                                                                               Popularity.                                                                                                                                                                       Control.                                                                                                                                                                 Position.                                                                                                                                                                           Happiness.

The real problem,                                                                                                                                                         The thing that makes all of this potentially wrong, is when we take on the world's view and attitude, by denouncing or devaluing God's view of success or being successful, which is more about being or becoming. 

For Example:                                                                                                                                                                   •Being or becoming rightly related with your Creator, your Maker through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  That's God's view of success or being successful!                                                                                                       •Being or becoming sacrificial, caring or helpful to others. That's God's view of success or being successful! •Being or becoming a person of character, an example to follow, above reproach, upright, having self-control and discipline.  That's God's view of success or being successful!                                                                             •Being or becoming obedient, wise or prudent, teachable. That's God's view of success or being successful! •Being or becoming one who does their best, who is determined to succeed, who wants to do well, who strives to advance with God's help. That's God's view of success or being successful!                                           Therefore, God's view of success or being successful, is very different from the world's view.

See Genesis 39.   Let's consider another example,                                                                                                     A different example of how God Himself could enable His servant to prosper and to have God's view of success when faced with a negative season or time.                                                                                             And here in Genesis 39, there are two different men of authority, one who is named, and the other who is unnamed.  Yet these two men have an opportunity over a period of time to observe and watch Joseph prosper and to have God's view of success, even though Joseph was faced with a negative season or time in his life.                                                                                                                                                                             Now, the first man of authority who is name is Potiphar the Egyptian.  He is identified for us here in Genesis 39: 1.                                                                                                                                                                                 But let me pick up the reading here in vs. 2&3.                                                                                                           Vs. 2.  The Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph was a prosperous or successful man; For Joseph was in the house of his master Potiphar the Egyptian.                                                                                                                   Vs. 3.  And his master saw that the Lord was with Joseph, and that the Lord made all that Joseph did to prosper in his hand.                                                                                                                                                         Remember, this man Potiphar had the opportunity over a period of time to observe and watch Joseph, prosper and to have God's view of success, even though Joseph was faced with a negative season or time in his life.

Now let's considered the second man in authority who is unnamed.  He is mentioned to us in vs. 22 &23.     Vs. 22.  But the keeper of the prison, committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever the prisoners did there in, it was Joseph doing or responsibility or decision.                                   Vs. 23.  The keeper of the prison, did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with Joseph; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

Listen, both of these men of authority had the opportunity over a period of time to observe and watch Joseph, prosper and to have God's view of success, even though Joseph was faced with a negative season or time in his life.

So, what do you think both men saw concerning Joseph?                                                                                         What kind a witness was Joseph for the Lord?                                                                                                         •They saw Joseph rightly related with his Creator, his Maker.                                                                                     •They saw Joseph as sacrificial, caring, and helpful to others.                                                                                   •They saw Joseph as a person of character, an example to follow, above reproach, upright, having self-control and discipline.                                                                                                                                                             •They saw Joseph as obedient, wise & prudent & teachable.                                                                                   •They saw Joseph as one who does their best, who is determined to succeed, who wants to do well, who strives to advance with God's help.

But also, the LORD Himself enabled Joseph to prosper and have good success when He allowed him to begin a new and positive season or time in his life.  For God gave to Joseph, and I believe that this is also available to any of us as God's people.                                                                                                                         For, God can give to the one that requests, a desire and understanding of God's view of success or being successful, so that you can handle worldly success.                                                                                     However, this insight from God about handling worldly success will not come by listening to someone talk about success or being successful.  Or, reading a book on the subject of success or being successful.         But, this insight from God about how to handle worldly success, will come to the person who wants to glorify God in the way they have handled the changing seasons of life.                                                                               Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                                   There are several areas that are mentioned in Genesis 41: about some of the worldly successes that Joseph experienced, but by having God's view of success or being successful this prepared him to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

First, Joseph having God's view of success or being successful is prepared to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.                                                                                                                                                     Like self-promotion, prideful-ness, trying to impress, or make an impression!

See Genesis 41:                                                                                                                                                               Vs. 14.  Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon or inner prison; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came unto Pharaoh.                                                               Vs. 15.  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it.  But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream to interpret it.                                                                         Vs. 16.  So Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, it is not in myself to be able to do this; But God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.                                                                                                                                         Vs. 33.  And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.                                                                                                                                           Vs. 34.  Let Pharaoh do this, and let this man appoint officers to help over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. Wow!

Listen, Joseph having God's view of success or being successful is prepared to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

Now, there are several areas that are mentioned in Genesis 41: About worldly success that Joseph experienced, but by having God's view of success or being successful this prepared Joseph to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

Like prestige, position, power and having control.                                                                                                   Vs. 38.  And Pharaoh said to his servants, can we find such a one as this a man, in whom is the spirit of God?   Vs. 39.  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.                                                                                                                                                             Vs. 40.  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.                                                                                                                   Vs. 41.  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, see, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.

Listen, Joseph having God's view of success or being successful is prepared to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

Now, there are several areas that are mentioned In Genesis 41: About worldly success that Joseph experienced, but by having God's view of success or being successful this prepared Joseph to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.                                                                                                     Like, wealth; possessions; property; prestige; status.                                                                                                 Vs. 42.  Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.                                                                                     Vs. 43.  And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, bow the knee! So, he set him over all the land of Egypt.                                                                                                           Vs. 46.  Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt.  And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

Listen, Joseph having God's view of success or being successful is prepared to handle worldly success and It's Many temptations.

Now, there are several areas that are mentioned In Genesis 41: About worldly success that Joseph experienced, but by having God's view of success or being successful this prepared Joseph to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.                                                                                                     Like, a family and a sense of happiness or fulfillment. 

First Pharaoh gives Joseph an Egyptian name.                                                                                                           Vs. 45.  And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-Paaneah.                                                                               Vs. 45.  And Pharaoh gave him as a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On.                           Vs. 50.  And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him.                                                                                                                       Vs.   51.  Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: "For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 52.  And the name of the second, he called Ephraim: For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Listen, Joseph having God's view of success or being successful is prepared to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

07-23-2017    Part 6  

When faced with the changing seasons of life, whether it is a negative season or time.  Or it is a new and positive season or time, how do we glorify God in the way we prosper?

And over the last few Sundays with God's help and understanding our Bibles better, we are learning what it means to truly and biblically to prosper. 

For remember to prosper can mean, to succeed in a matter, or an endeavor. To overcome in a situation or a challenge. Or to grow and develop. Or become mature, or to have balance, or stay grounded.

But from Joshua 1: 8, remember at the end of vs.8, God says to Joshua, "you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."

Which raises the question, what is success?                                                                                                               For the word, success that is used in Joshua 1: 8, meant, to have insight.  To act circumspectly, prudently, or wisely.

Obviously, this is not the world's view or meaning of success or being successful!                                                 The world's view or meaning of success or being successful is about having, and having it all! Whether it be wealth.                                                                                                                                                                     Possessions.                                                                                                                                                                   Property.                                                                                                                                                               Prestige.                                                                                                                                                                           Attractiveness or good looks.                                                                                                                                         Intelligence (a high IQ)).                                                                                                                                                 Fame.                                                                                                                                                                               Family.                                                                                                                                                                             Status.                                                                                                                                                                               Power.                                                                                                                                                                               Popularity.                                                                                                                                                                       Control.                                                                                                                                                                             Position.                                                                                                                                                                           Happiness.

However, God's view of success or being successful is about being or becoming and not just about having! 

There is nothing wrong or sinful with having the things that were just mentioned.  But the real problem, the thing that makes all of this potentially wrong, is when we take on the world's view and attitude, by denouncing or devaluing God's view of success or being successful, which is more about being or becoming. 

For example: being or becoming rightly related with your Creator, your Maker.  That's God's view of success or being successful!

Being or becoming sacrificial, caring or helpful to others.  That's God's view of success or being successful!

Being or becoming a person of character, an example to follow, above reproach, upright, having self-control and discipline.   That's God's view of success or being successful!

Being or becoming obedient, wise or prudent, teachable.   That's God's view of success or being successful!

Being or becoming one who does their best, who is determined to succeed, who wants to do well, who strives to advance with God's help.  That's God's view of success or being successful!

Therefore, God's view of success or being successful, is very different from the world's view.

Now, here in Genesis 41: The LORD, Himself enabled Joseph to prosper and have good success as well, when the LORD allowed Joseph to begin a new and positive season, or time in his life.

For God gave to Joseph, and I believe that this is also available to any of us as God's people.  For God can give to the one that requests, a desire and understanding of God's view of success or being successful, so that you can handle worldly success with its many temptations.                                                                               Whether it be wealth.                                                                                                                                                     Possessions.                                                                                                                                                                   Property.                                                                                                                                                               Prestige.                                                                                                                                                                           Attractiveness or good looks.                                                                                                                                         Intelligence (a high IQ)).                                                                                                                                                 Fame.                                                                                                                                                                               Family.                                                                                                                                                                             Status.                                                                                                                                                                               Power.                                                                                                                                                                               Popularity.                                                                                                                                                                       Control.                                                                                                                                                                             Position.                                                                                                                                                                           Happiness.

However, this from God about handling worldly success will not come by listening to someone talk about success or being successful.                                                                                                                                       Or, reading a book on the subject of success or being successful. 

Also, there are some areas concerning worldly success and it's many temptations that you and I may not experience!                                                                                                                                                                     Whether it be wealth.                                                                                                                                                     Possessions.                                                                                                                                                                   Property.                                                                                                                                                               Prestige.                                                                                                                                                                           Attractiveness or good looks.                                                                                                                                         Intelligence (a high IQ)).                                                                                                                                                 Fame.                                                                                                                                                                               Family.                                                                                                                                                                             Status.                                                                                                                                                                               Power.                                                                                                                                                                               Popularity.                                                                                                                                                                       Control.                                                                                                                                                                             Position.                                                                                                                                                                           Happiness.

For if you are God's child, the Lord will be the one to determine not you or I, but the Lord will be the one to determine the area, the abundance, or the amount of worldly success we are to glorify Him in with its many temptations.

Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                           Now there are a few areas we looked at last Sunday that are mention here in Genesis 41: about worldly success that Joseph experienced.                                                                                                                           But, Joseph by having God's view of success or being successful was prepared to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.                                                                                                                                             Like, wealth; possessions; property; prestige; status.

Vs. 42. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and Pharaoh clothed Joseph in garments of fine linen; and put a gold chain around Joseph's neck.                                                   Vs. 43. And Pharaoh had Joseph to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before Joseph, bow the knee!                                                                                                                                                   So, Pharaoh set Joseph over all the land of Egypt. 

The worldly success that Joseph was experiencing was only possible because Joseph had God's view of success or being successful, and that prepared Joseph to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations.

Like wealth; possessions; property; prestige; status.                                                                                                   But listen, Joseph never compromised who he was as a man of God, nor his values.  Joseph still saw himself as a servant!                                                                                                                                                                   A servant of God!                                                                                                                                                             A servant of Pharaoh.                                                                                                                                                     A servant of Egypt.                                                                                                                                                         Most importantly, Joseph had embraced God's view of success or being successful, and not the world, nor society, or the culture's view. Joseph had embraced God's view of success or being successful, which is more about being or becoming.

Now, see Daniel 1.                                                                                                                                                           Let's consider one more example of how God, himself can enable His servant to prosper and to have God's view of success when faced with either a negative season or time, or when bless to begin a new and positive season or time.

But first, like Joseph, God enabled Daniel to prosper, and to have God's view of success when faced with a negative season or time.

Notice, here in Daniel 1: 1-7, the young man Daniel, along with many others are taken into captivity and enslaved, thrust into a different culture and society than what they were use too.  And in this group of slaves and captives, are four individuals you probably may remember.

Notice Daniel 1: 6&7  (NKJV).                                                                                                                                         Vs. 6.  Now from among those of the sons of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  For these were their birth names!                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 7. But, to them the chief of the eunuchs, gave them different names.                                                             For example, the chief of the eunuchs, gave to Daniel the name Belteshazzar;                                                       To Hananiah, the name Shadrach;                                                                                                                                 To Mishael, the name Meshach;                                                                                                                                     And to Azariah, the name Abed-Nego.

Now, turn to Daniel 2.

Now, beginning with chapter 2 of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has a series of dreams that disturbed him, and no one can tell him the dream or its meaning.  Therefore, then King Nebuchadnezzar threatens to kill all his wise men if they do not give him the dream and its interpretation.

But, Daniel and his companions prayed and ask God to reveal the king's dream that the king had and to know it's interpretation.

Notice Daniel 2: 26. The king answered and said to Daniel whose was also named Belteshazzar, are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?                                                         Vs. 27.  Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, this secret which the king has demanded, from the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.                           Vs. 28.  But, there is a God in heaven, who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these.

With God's help, Daniel accurately reveals and explains the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had in great detail.  King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and surprised to know the meaning of the dream and therefore his heart was touched and humbled by God temporarily.

And therefore, King Nebuchadnezzar rewarded Daniel in a special way.

Notice Daniel 2: 48.  Then King Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and King Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and to be the chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.                                                                                                                                  Vs. 49.   Also, Daniel petitioned King Nebuchadnezzar, and the king set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in authority at the gate of the king.

The LORD Himself enabled Daniel to prosper and have good success as well, when the LORD allowed Daniel to begin a new and positive season or time in his life.

The worldly success that Daniel was experiencing was only possible because Daniel had God's view of success or being successful.                                                                                                                                   And that prepared Daniel to be able to handle worldly success and it's many temptations

Finally, in Daniel 6: much time has passed, Babylon has fallen, and there has been different rulers, and different people that Daniel has been under as a much older man now.

And here in Daniel 6: 1-17, because of jealousy and envy against Daniel who was highly favored by the King at that time.  Daniel's enemies plotted against him to accuse him and destroy him.

But in a supernatural way, the LORD preserves and keeps Daniel who was sentenced to death and cast into a lion's den, and yet, Daniel was never hurt, nor harmed.

In fact, because Daniel did not compromise under the King's edict about to whom one must pray to, King Darius gives testimony about the God of Daniel, and blesses Daniel in many ways during his reign as King. And even another King comes to power after King Darius, and Daniel serves and is blessed under this King as well. 

See Daniel 6: 28.  So, this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel never compromised who he was as a man of God, nor his values.                                                               Daniel saw himself as a servant!                                                                                                                                   A servant of God!  A servant unto the many rulers, he was under their kingdoms.                                                 Most importantly, Daniel had embraced God's view of success or being successful, and not the world, nor society, or the culture's view.                                                                                                                                         Daniel had embraced God's view of success or being successful, which is more about being or becoming. 

++++++++++++++++++++ 

With God's Help, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life? 

08-06-2017    Part 1    

Let's return back to our topic from the LORD, "How Can We Prosper Or Persevere During the Changing Seasons Of Life?"

And back in June and July 2017 with God's help we looked at this first area in some detail, that is How Could You & I Prosper During The Changing Seasons Of Life?

And remember the word ‘prosper’, meant, to succeed in a matter or an endeavor.                                                 Prosper can mean, to overcome in a situation or a challenge.                                                                                   Prosper can mean, to flourish or thrive.                                                                                                                 Prosper can mean, to grow and develop.                                                                                                                     Prosper can mean, to become mature, to have balance, to stay grounded.                                                           III John 1: 2.  The Apostle John said to his friend Gaius, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things, and be in health, just as your soul prospers."

Listen, we can glorify God in the way we prosper when faced with a negative season or time. Or, when we are blessed to begin a new and positive season or time.                                                                                                 Now, this morning, let's begin to look at the other side of the coin.  And here is what I mean.                             With God's Help, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life? 

Now, in Ephesians 6: 18 says, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Now, the word ‘perseverance’ or, persevere is referring to, a willingness to continue even when face with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                                                                                 The word perseverance, or persevere can mean;                                                                                                       A willingness to be persistent.  To be determined. To be tenacious.  And that's the key!  A willingness to do something difficult, hard, unlikely, or impossible.

In fact, in the word ‘willingness’ is the word ‘will’!  Listen, willingness implies your will must be involved.  My human will versus God's will!  My will versus God's purposes!

Listen in those times, or seasons when I need a serious, and a major attitude adjustment.                                   For my attitude is bad.                                                                                                                                                   My thinking is wrong.                                                                                                                                                     My emotions are in charge and not God!                                                                                                                     And my will is not willing.

In other words, with God's help, having a willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved even when faced with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success. 

Listen, to be enabled by God to be persistent, determined, and tenacious.

But how do I get there?  For I need a serious, and a major attitude adjustment.                                                       For my attitude is bad.                                                                                                                                                   My thinking is wrong.                                                                                                                                                     My emotions are in charge and not God!                                                                                                                     And my will is not willing.

You and I need something from God that only the LORD can give us.                                                                       See 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10.                                                                                                                                       Now, notice it appears that the Apostle Paul was not willing to persevere at first.                                                   Being faced with a difficult season or time, maybe his attitude was bad at the time.                                               Maybe his thinking was wrong.  Perhaps, he allowed his emotions to be in charge and not God!  And therefore, Paul's will was not so willing!

See vs. 8.  For this thing I besought, or requested of the LORD three times, that it and vs. 7 describes the problem that he wanted to depart from Him. 

Now, notice carefully vs. 9.                                                                                                                                             And Paul said that the Lord said unto him two important things.                                                                               •My Grace is sufficient for you:                                                                                                                                       •For or, because My strength is made perfect in weakness. 

And, notice how Paul's willingness changes.                                                                                                           Vs. 10.  Most gladly therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, Why?  That the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Now, notice again vs. 9a, And, the Lord said unto Paul two important things.                                                         First, My Grace is sufficient, (or unfailing or more than enough), for you!

Say something about biblical Grace.  In the New Testament, the word "Grace" is always a translation of the New Testament Greek word ‘Charis’, a word that occurs in the Greek text something over 170 times.  Both in biblical and secular Greek it was used to describe a favor or help that was needed, requested, or bestowed. The favor or the help was beyond one's own means, resources, and ability.  That is why ‘mercy’ and ‘love’ usually proceeds Grace.  Which makes it impossible to earn, merit, or gain it.  Therefore, Grace is more about the benefactor who shows or gives it, and not the recipient who receives it.

Now, notice again vs. 9b,  And, the Lord said unto Paul, two important things.                                                     Secondly, for or, because My strength is made perfect in weakness.                                                                   Say something about divine strength.  A Strong's Definition: δύναμις dýnamis, from G1410; (literally or figuratively); That spiritual power, ability, and enablement,  or, a toughness, firmness, or, stableness that one needs.

Noticed carefully vs. 9.  The LORD said unto Paul, My Grace is sufficient for you: for or, because My strength is made perfect in weakness. 

Listen, all of this was enough to change Paul's willingness.  Although faced with a difficult season or time.  His attitude may not have been so good at the time.                                                                                             •Maybe his thinking was wrong.                                                                                                                                 •Perhaps he allowed his emotions to be in charge and not God!                                                                       •And therefore, Paul's will was not so willing! 

Yet, the Apostle Paul was changed!                                                                                                                           He asked for one thing, and received something better!

God's Grace and God's strength which gave Paul the willingness to do something difficult, hard, highly unlikely, or that seemed impossible.

Close with Matthew 26: 36-45.                                                                                                                                 Vs. 36. Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, sit here while I go and pray over there.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 37.  But Jesus took with him, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and Jesus began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 38.  Then Jesus said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.  Stay here and watch with Me.                                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 39.  He went a little farther and fell on Jesus face, and prayed, saying, O, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.                                                                                   Vs. 40.  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?                                                                                                                                               Vs. 41.  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.           Vs. 42.  Again, a second time, Jesus went away and prayed, saying, O, My Father,  f this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.                                                                                                       Vs. 43.  And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.                                                     Vs. 44.  So, Jesus left them and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.

08-13-2017    Part 2    

Let's return back to our topic from the LORD, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?"

Because we know that times and seasons will change, from positive to negative, or, from negative to positive. Yet, how do we glorify God in the way we persevere when faced with a negative season or time?  Or, when we are blessed to begin a new and positive season or time?  By the way, when I use the word perseverance or to persevere this is what I'm referring to.                                                                                                               A willingness to continue even when face with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.

The word perseverance or persevere can mean, a willingness to be persistent.  To be determined.  To be tenacious. 

An illustration of what happens sometimes in professional team sports that is called a blowout of another team that is competing.  Somehow, players of the team that is being blown out, are able to stay focus and play the game.   Some of the players have a willingness to continue even when face with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                                                                                                       They have a willingness to be persistent. To be determined. To be tenacious. 

Now, notice Ephesians 6: 18 says, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

So, then, let us first, understand how do we Glorify God in the way we persevere when faced with a negative season or time?

In other words, with God's help having the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved even when faced with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                           Or, what do we do in those times or seasons, when God does not fix it right away, or He does not fix it at all according to our expectations? What do we do? Just give up?

Listen, what do we do in those times or seasons, when God does not respond to our request in a way that we expected Him to? What do we do? Just walk away?

What do we do in those times or seasons, when our emotions and feelings get the best of us?  For example: •Feeling disappointed.                                                                                                                                      •Feeling distracted unable to focus or concentrate.                                                                                                   •Feeling discourage.                                                                                                                                                       •Feeling disillusion.                                                                                                                                               •Feeling depressed.                                                                                                                                           •Feeling defeated.                                                                                                                                                            What do we do, just quit?

Psalms 103: Is a precious Psalm from King David, that with God's help there are many important divine principles and guidelines, to know and to follow, that can help you and I to persevere when faced with a negative season or time in life.

For it appears that internally for David, he was conflicted by his past failures, and his past sins.                     King David was in a negative season, or time in life!                                                                                                   Because, before this negative season, or time, David could praise and worship God effortlessly, naturally, consistently.

For example; Psalms 145:                                                                                                                                               Vs. 1.  A praise of David.  I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.           Vs. 3.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.                                    Vs. 4.  One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

But now things had greatly changed for David!                                                                                                           For it is possible that his emotions and feelings may have gotten the best of him.                                               For example: David may have felt disappointed.  He perhaps felt discouraged, disillusion, depressed, and defeated.

However, David refused to allow self-pity, self-doubt, and self-condemnation, to control him.                       David had to encourage himself!                                                                                                                           David had to speak, or sing to himself!                                                                                                                         David had to command himself.

Because in Psalm 103: 1&2, King David reveals, that for him, the source, the reason, the issue for him, of why he struggled so much when faced with a negative season or time.

Notice Vs. 1. Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!                                         Vs. 2.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.

Question.  So, what is the source, the reason, the issue for King David?  For he mentions it twice!                       Notice vs. 1.  His soul.                                                                                                                                                     Vs. 2.  His soul.

Listen, his own soul betrayed him, becoming the very source, the main reason why he struggled so much during this negative season or time he was in.

But what is the soul?                                                                                                                                                       And, what happened to David concerning his soul?                                                                                                   Could this happen to me and you?

Could my own soul betray me, becoming the source, the main reason why I am struggling so much in this negative season or time that I'm in?  And the answer is yes!

But first, what is the soul?                                                                                                                                               Now, see 1 Thessalonians 5: 23.  Now may the God of peace, Himself, sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Our Body.  The body is corporeal, physical and tangible.                                                                                           It is by our bodies that we are able to function in this physical three-dimensional world that God created.  Our bodies are comprised of organs and cells and other complex bodily systems such as our nervous system and the brain.  It’s through our bodies that we operate within the physical world with our five senses.                   But since the fall of man our bodies have been corrupted and are now subject to physical death, the separation of the spirit and soul from the body.

Next, Our Soul.  The soul is eternal and incorporeal, but since the fall of man it has been corrupted and is now subject to Eternal Death, the separation of the spirit and the soul unto an eternal Hell, until Salvation and the Holy Spirit and the word of God begins to redeem and restores the soul.                                                         The soul is that part of us that gives us our personality, and it’s through our soul that we live out our relationship with God and with other people and within ourselves.   Our soul has several major components, our mind, our will, our emotions, feelings and desires. 

For example; The mind has a conscious part and a subconscious part. The conscious mind is where we do our thinking and reasoning.                                                                                                                                     The sub-conscious mind is where we hold our deep beliefs and our attitudes, and is where our memories are retained.                                                                                                                                                                     Our feelings, emotions, and desires, is that part of us that causes us to act, or overreact to our external situations or circumstances.  Or, to internal hurts, unresolved issues, or conflict with someone from our pass or someone of our present.

Finally, Our Will is what gives us the ability to make choices and decisions.   Also, at this deepest level the heart resides as well.                                                                                                                                                     So, in a very complex way our minds, our will, our emotions and our heart, are all inter-connected with our spirit and our bodies.

Lastly, Our Spirit.  The spirit like the soul is also eternal and incorporeal, but since the fall of man it has been corrupted and is now subject to eternal death, the separation of the spirit and the soul unto an eternal Hell, until Salvation and the Holy Spirit and the Word of God brings life and transformation to our spirit man.        For the spirit is that part of us that can commune and fellowship and have a relationship with God both now and in eternity. 

The inter-connection between the spirit, the soul, the body and our hearts, is very complex and difficult to explain and to decipher.                                                                                                                                             How it is, that all four of these areas can work together to make us who we are as human beings, created in the image and likeness of God is a great mystery.

See Luke 16: 19-31.                                                                                                                                                           Jesus reveals the lives of two men before and after their deaths!                                                                             And how, that one was prepared, and the other was not!

Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                                   Vs. 19.  There was a certain rich man (unnamed) who was clothed in purple and fine linen and had the best of everything, every day.                                                                                                                                               Now, vs. 20.  Jesus reveals also.  There was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at the rich man gate where the trash was thrown out.                                                                                                Vs. 21.  desiring to be fed with the crumbs which came from the rich man's table and then it was thrown into the trash.  And moreover, dogs came and licked the sores of Lazarus.                                                                 Vs. 22.  So, it was, that the beggar Lazarus died, this is not surprising, based on the life Lazarus was living as a homeless beggar.                                                                                                                                                         No burial is mentioned because he probably didn't have one, for he was only a beggar in the eyes of most people.

Now vs. 22 continues.  The bible says, Lazarus the beggar, his spirit and soul, not his body!  But the spirit and soul of Lazarus, was carried by the angels of God unto Abraham's Bosom, or into Paradise.                            For Lazarus received an angelic escort to his place of rest.  Wow!

Now vs. 22 continues.  Now, the rich man also died, and was buried.  I suppose that at the funeral, or at the memorial service, it was said of the rich man, "he is in a better place now!"                                                         But unfortunately, the rich man was not in a better place now!  Because he was totally unprepared, he was not ready for life after death!

For vs. 23 says, But the rich man his spirit and soul was now being in torment in Hell or Hades, and he lifted up his eyes and could see Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in the presence of Abraham.                                         Vs. 24.  Then the rich man cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me!  And send Lazarus unto me, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; because I am in torment in these flames.   Vs. 25.  But Abraham said, 'son', speaking from an ethnic standpoint and not a spiritual standpoint, for the man was probably Jewish.    Abraham said unto him, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things.  But Lazarus, evil things.  And now he is comforted, and you are tormented.                                           Vs. 26.  And besides all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed, a great chasm.  So that those who want to pass from here to you cannot.  Nor, can those from where you are cannot pass unto us!                 Vs. 27.  So, then the rich man said, I beg you therefore, father Abraham; that you would send Lazarus to my father's house,                                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 28.  because I have five brothers, then Lazarus can testify or warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.                                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 29.  Abraham said to the rich man, they have the writings of Moses and the prophets; let them hear them! Vs. 30.  But the rich man said, No, father Abraham; but if one could go to them, back from the dead, they will repent or have a change in mind.                                                                                                                               Vs. 31.  But Abraham said to the rich man, unfortunately if they do not listen to and believe the writings of Moses and the prophets, they will never be persuaded or believe, though one came back from the dead!

09-04-2017   Part 3  

Let's return back to our topic from the LORD, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons of Life?"

Because we know that times and seasons will change.  From positive to negative, or from negative to positive.                                                                                                                                                                       Yet how do we glorify God in the way we persevere when faced with a negative season or time?

By the way, when I use the word perseverance or to persevere this is what I’m am referring to.                         A willingness to continue even when face with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success. The word perseverance or persevere can mean, a willingness to be persistent.  To be determined.  To be tenacious. 

Now notice, Ephesians 6: 18 says, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

So then, let’s understand how we may glorify God in the way we persevere when faced with a negative season or time?

In other words, with God's help, having the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved, even when faced with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.

Or, when God does not fix it right away.  Or, He does not fix it at all according to our expectations?  What do we do?  Just give up?

Listen, what do we do in those times or seasons, when God does not respond to our request in a way that we expected Him to?  What do we do?  Just walk away?

What do we do in those times or seasons when our emotions and feelings get the best of us over a long period of time?                                                                                                                                                           For example:                                                                                                                                                                   Feeling disappointed.  Feeling distracted unable to focus or concentrate.                                                   Feeling discouraged.  Feeling disillusion.                                                                                                           Feeling depress feeling defeated.  Feeling suicidal.                                                                                           What do we do when our emotions and feelings get the best of us over a long period of time?  Just quit or give up on life?

Psalms 103: Is a precious Psalm from King David, as he reveals how the LORD helped him to overcome the internal conflict within his soul because of past failures, and because of his past sins.

Psalms 103: Was written by King David during or coming out of a negative season in his life!                           One thing is for sure his emotions and feelings may have gotten the best of him.   For example: David may have felt disappointed.  He, perhaps felt discouraged, disillusioned, depressed, and defeated.                         However, with God's help, David refused to allow his emotions and feelings to continue to get the best of him and to control him.

Listen, David had to encourage himself!  David had to speak or sing to   himself!  David had to command his soul.                                                                                                                                                                            For David reveals in Psalms 103: 1&2, that for him, the source, the reason, the issue for him, of why he struggled so much was his soul!

Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                           Notice Vs.  1.  Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!                                       Vs. 2.   Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget not all His benefits.                                                                       Listen, David reveals that his own soul betrayed him.  That part in all of us where the heart, feelings, emotions, the mind attitudes, good and bad.                                                                                                               Our will, our motives, all resides in the soul part of man.                                                                                             And David reveals that his own soul became the very source, the main reason why he struggled so much.   Yet, David had to encourage himself!  David had to speak or sing to himself!  David had to command his soul.

Also, Mary, the mother of our Lord was faced with a negative season in her Life.                                             Mary left home for a few months to visit her cousin Elizabeth, to get away from the gossip and backbiting from family and friends.                                                                                                                                          Also, Joseph her fiancé has now broken up with her, believing that the child she bore was not his.               Yet, Mary had to encourage herself!    Mary had to command her soul and spirit to magnify the Lord and to rejoice in God her Savior.

Notice Luke 1: 46, Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord,                                                                                           Vs. 47.   And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.                                                                                             Vs. 49.  For He who is mighty, has done great things for me, and holy is His name.

Also, here is another Psalm of David that he encouraged himself with!  In which David had to command his soul.

Notice Psalm 42:                                                                                                                                                             Vs.  2.   My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and appear before God?                       Vs.  5.   Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?    Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.                                                                                                         Vs.  6.   O my God my soul is cast down within me.  Therefore, I will remember You from the land of the Jordan.  And, from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar.                                                                                   Vs.  11.  Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

And now see Psalm 43: 5.                                                                                                                                         Vs.  5.  Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Listen, David had to command his soul to cooperate and not let his soul control him.                                   David had to encouraged himself, even though his soul was discouraged, or cast down within him.

Question: Biblically would you know how to encourage yourself, and someone else? 

David had to encouraged himself even though his soul was discouraged, or cast down within him.                 Do you and I really know and understand what the Bible says and teaches about how to encourage yourself? Now, so, we have a reminder and an example from David of what he had to do.                                                     For here in 1 Samuel 30: 6b, himself, after a very negative situation, arose in his life again!                                 But notice 1 Samuel 30: 6b," But David encouraged or strengthen himself, in the LORD his God."                         Notice, "David encouraged himself."

The English words depending on your translation, encouraged or strengthen, comes from the Hebrew, a verb that means, to be strengthen.  To be courageous.  To be firm.  To be resolute.                                                   Listen, David was strengthened, and became courageous, firm, and resolute about his circumstances.     David was not dependent on someone else to encourage or strengthen him during this negative situation that arose in his life again!

Question: Do you know how to Biblically, encourage yourself, and someone else? 

Let me share a list that some within the Body of Christ will do, to encourage themselves when faced with trouble or a negative season in life.                                                                                                                         •Fast and pray.                                                                                                                                                  •Contact certain people and asked them to pray for them.                                                                                   •Rebuke or bind the devil or demons.                                                                                                                           •Confess or speak the Word over their situation.                                                                                                         •Enter into praise and worship.                                                                                                                             •Read the Word, the Bible.                                                                                                                                             •Memorize and quote scripture to themselves.                                                                                                           •Read a Christian biography about someone's life.                                                                                                     •Listen to Christian music.                                                                                                                                             •Go for a walk, or for a drive, or on a spiritual retreat.                                                                                      •Think, speak, and stay positive.

Listen, none of these things mentioned, or even a combination of those things is the Biblical way that you are to do to encourage yourself, or someone else!

So, what is the Biblical way we are to encourage ourselves, and someone else? 

Now, notice carefully 1 Samuel 30: 6b, "But David encouraged himself, how?  In the LORD his God."

See the word ‘in’, it is one of the many preposition words we use in English.                                                           The word ‘in’ is a functional word use to indicate,                                                                                                       •Inclusion,                                                                                                                                                                         •Location,                                                                                                                                                                     •Or, one's source or position that they may have.                                                                                                       For example. "I'm in this building, I'm in this church!"                                                                                                   That's Location!                                                                                                                                                             "I'm a member in this church!"  That's inclusion.                                                                                                         "But I'm in Christ Jesus!"                                                                                                                                           That Is my source or position that I have because of Christ alone.                                                                        Listen, 1 Samuel 30: 6b, "But David encouraged himself.  How?  In the LORD, his God."                                       Listen, that tells me like David, that my focus is not on what I do! (My List)!                                                             •Fast and pray.                                                                                                                                                             •Contact certain people and asked them to pray for them.                                                                                         •Rebuke or bind the devil or demons.                                                                                                                           •Confess or speak the Word over their situation.                                                                                                         •Enter into praise and Worship.                                                                                                                                     •Read the Word, the Bible.                                                                                                                               •Memorize and quote scripture to themselves.                                                                                                           •Read a Christian biography about someone's life.                                                                                                     •Listen to Christian music.                                                                                                                                             •Go for a walk, or for a drive, or on a spiritual retreat.                                                                                                 •Think, speak, and stay positive.

But my focus is to be in the close and abiding relationship that I'm to have with the LORD positionally, and as my source, that has been developed over time. 

Listen, if you have been truly Born-Again, you have a relationship with God through and because of Jesus Christ alone! 

The question is, how close is your relationship with God?                                                                                     •Extremely close.                                                                                                                                                    •Very close.                                                                                                                                                                     •Sort of close.                                                                                                                                                                   •Kind of close.                                                                                                                                                                 •Not really close at all.

Do I have a close and abiding relationship with God?                                                                                            Or, just a relationship with God?                                                                                                                             Give an example of family relationships you have on your father's side of your family, that are close and not so close.                                                                                                                                                                       Listen, my focus is to be in the close and abiding relationship that I'm to have with the LORD positionally, and as my source, that has been developed over time.                                                                                                 And not on what I can do to encouraged or strengthen myself!  My List! 

Listen, it is in the Lord his God, that David was able to be encourage, strengthen, and to become resolute.       It is in the Lord his God, David was able to encourage others to have courage and to have hope.                 And it is because, and in the Lord your God that you can overcome, stand, and glorify God during the negative season of life.

In Psalm 23: David describes that for himself a close and abiding relationship that He has with the LORD positionally, and as his source, is helpful and is hope-filled. 

Show you what I mean!                                                                                                                                              Vs.  1.  The Lord is my Shepherd; Describes a close and abiding relationship.                                                         Vs.  1b.   I shall not want.                                                                                                                                            Vs.  2.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.                                     Vs.  3.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.                           Vs.  4.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.                                                                                                                 Vs.  5.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.                                                                                                                                                                         Vs.  6.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Do you have a relationship with God?

If you have been truly Born-again, you have a relationship with God through and because of Jesus Christ alone!                                                                                                                                                                               And not by your works, deeds, and efforts.   Nor, by observing or keeping, the Law, the Sacraments, the traditions, the rituals, the sacrifices, the philosophy, or the beliefs of an individual or a group.                               But through and because of Jesus Christ alone, we can be Born-Again, and have a relationship With God. 

Question.  Do you want a relationship with God through and because of Jesus Christ alone?                          Do you want a close and abiding relationship with God, by which you are able to encourage yourself, or someone else, during the negative seasons of life?

09-10-2017   Part 4   

Our topic from the LORD has been, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?"  Especially, How Do We Glorify God In The Way We Persevere When Faced With A Negative Season Or Time?

In other words, having the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved.             Even when faced with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                                      Or, when God does not fix it right away. Or, He does not fix it at all according to our expectations.                 Or, when God does not respond to our request in a way that we expected Him to.                                                 Or, when our emotions and feelings get the best of us over a long period of time.                                             For example: feelings of disappointment.  Feelings of discouragement.  Feelings of depression.  Feelings of being defeated.  Feelings of suicide.                                                                                                                             Yet, when our emotions and feelings get the best of us we still have the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved.

Last Sunday evening, I watched off and on, a rare Sunday evening televised college football game.                 A local college football team UCLA was playing at the Rose Bowl.  And for most of the game UCLA was losing.                                                                                                                                                                               In fact, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the final quarter of the game. UCLA was losing 44 to 17.  And to my amazement, I watched this football team persevere.                                                                                             They still had the willingness to continue, even though there was very little or no prospect of success or of winning this game.  Yet, they remained steadfast, fully committed, and totally involved.                                   And you know what?  They came back to win that game.  The final score was 45 to 44.

I don't know about you, but I'm totally convinced, that in a similar way that is what the LORD wants us to be like.                                                                                                                                                                                   A willingness to continue even when faced with difficulty, we persevere.                                                            Or, a willingness to be persistent.  To be determined.  To be tenacious. 

Listen, remember that college football game I was talking about!  I'm sure the head coach and the defense and offense of coaches, along with certain players had to encourage themselves and someone else when things look so bleak!                                                                                                                                                       Question.  Biblically, would you know how to encourage yourself, and someone else? 

Remember last Sunday, we saw that David had to encouraged himself even though his soul was discouraged, or was cast down within him.

David had to command his soul both in Psalms 103 & Psalms 42 to cooperate, and not let his soul control him.

Do you and I really know and understand what the Bible says and teaches about how to encourage yourself?

Now, here in 1 Samuel 30: 6b.                                                                                                                                     "But David encouraged or strengthen himself, in the LORD his God."

The English words depending on your translation, encouraged, or strengthen, come from the Hebrew, a verb that means, to be strengthen, to become courageous, to be firm, to be resolute.

Listen, David was strengthened, and became courageous, firm, and resolute about his circumstance, but how?

Now, notice carefully 1 Samuel 30: 6b, "But David encouraged himself, how?  In the LORD, his God."               The word ‘in’, is a preposition word that can mean a few things based on the context of the sentence.  

And in the context of 1 Samuel 30: 6b, David encouraged or strengthen himself, in the LORD his God.         And there in Vs. 6b, the word ‘in’ is referring to one's source or a position that they may have with another.

And over time, David had developed a close and abiding relationship with the LORD his God.

Do you and I have a close and abiding relationship with God?                                                                                 Or, just a relationship with God?

Remember last Sunday we said, if you have been truly born-again, you have a relationship with God through and because of Jesus Christ alone! 

But do you have a close and abiding relationship with God? 

And therefore, with the time we have left and with God's help, let's discover, or remind ourselves of what the Bible says and teaches about Having and Maintaining a close and abiding relationship With God.

See 2 Chronicles 7: 14.   If my people which are called by My Name,                                                                       •shall humble themselves,                                                                                                                                             •and pray,                                                                                                                                                                         •and seek my face,                                                                                                                                                         •and turn from their wicked ways;                                                                                                                                 then God says, I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

See also Psalms 46: 10&11.                                                                                                                                             Vs. 10.  Be still, and know that I am God: For God says, I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.                                                                                                                                                                         Vs. 11.  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah.                                                         By the way, Selah is to be, like a pause, to think about what was said.

Now back to 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                                                                                                     Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God will require from you and I, a regular commitment and application of five basic principles and precepts to live by.                                                           Now, the first principle and precept to live by that God requires from you and I that we should be committed to and apply, comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                                                                             Notice vs. 14, if my people which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves!

Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God means I must walk humbly with my God.                                                                                                                                                                                 •To humble oneself is the opposite of pride, self-reliance, and self-centerness.                                                       •To humble oneself is to be vulnerable and transparent.                                                                                           •Able to admit to God when wrong.                                                                                                                               •Able to acknowledge or confess your own sins, limitations, and wrongdoing unto God.                                       •Able to accept help, or guidance, or correction from God.

For Example, Psalms 32:                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 5.  I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.  Selah                                                             Vs. 6.  For this, everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time, when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him.                                                                                                                 Vs. 7.  You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.  Selah                                                                                                                                                       Vs. 8.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.                           Vs. 9.  Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.

09-17-2017   Part 5   

Our topic from the LORD has been, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?"

So far, we have learned together that like David who had to command his soul both in Psalms 103: 1&2 and Psalms 42:5&11 to cooperate, and not let his soul control him.  and so, we to must do likewise!

Also, we have learned from 1 Samuel 30: 6b, that just like David who had to encourage himself, in the LORD his God.   So, we too must do likewise!

And we discovered that David over time not only had a relationship with God, but David chose to developed a close and abiding relationship with the LORD his God.

Do you and I have a close and abiding relationship with God?                                                                                 Or, just a relationship with God?                                                                                                                                   Remember, the last couple of Sunday's we have said, that if you have been truly born-again, you have a relationship with God through and because of Jesus Christ!

But, do you have a close and abiding relationship with God?  Or, have you settled on just being religious, or just doing churchy stuff?                                                                                                                                                 For example, just being religious.  Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, trying to keep all the rules, the traditions, the Sacraments, or the Doctrines of men.  Notice, I did not say the Doctrines of God, for there is a big difference!  But many are trying to keep the Doctrines of men in order to be acceptable unto God.

Or, many are doing churchy stuff!  For example, music ministry, choir ministry, dance ministry, food ministry, youth ministry, outreach ministry, or ushering etc.                                                                                         Being busy for the LORD in order to find fulfillment, meaning, or purpose.

Yet, do you have a close and abiding relationship with God? 

See Philippians 3: 10 & 11.                                                                                                                                               Vs. 10.   that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 11.   if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Question:  Ever since you've been born again, however long that's been!                                                             Do you know if you and the LORD have bonded relationally? 

Explain.  Is there a closeness, true spiritual intimacy, a real, not imaginary, but a real connection or bond that exist between you and God?

Again, are you sure that you and the LORD have bonded relationally? 

For example: Between God the Father and yourself is there a parental closeness, connection, or bond that you have been developing over time between you and your Heavenly Father?

Listen, between God the Son, Jesus Christ and yourself is there a shepherd-like closeness, connection, or bond that you have been developing over time between you and your Lord and Savior?

Lastly, between God the Holy Spirit and yourself is there a helper-like, not a butler!  But a helper-like closeness, connection, or bond that you have been developing over time between you and the Holy Spirit?

In fact, here are a few things to considered that over a period of time, that should happen between you and God in order for a relational bond to occur.

•For a relational bond to occur between you and God, it is essential to have undistracted time together.     •For a relational bond to occur between you and God, it is essential to know and understand who God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who they really are based on the Scriptures from the Bible. •Lastly, for a relational bond to occur between you and God, it is essential for you to become more open and honest.  More vulnerable and transparent. willing and able to admit or disclose anything and everything unto the LORD, no secrets, no hiding, no more pretending!           

Now this morning now with God's help, I have been proposing that having and maintaining a close and abiding relations five basic principles and precepts to live by. 

Let's continue to discover and remind ourselves, of what the Bible says and teaches about having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God.

And last Sunday, we considered the first principle and precept to live by, that God requires from you and I that we should be committed to and apply which comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                         Notice Vs. 14.   If my people which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves!

Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God means I must walk humbly with my God.                                                                                                                                                                                 In other words, it's not about me, it's all about Him!                                                                                                     No more prideful-ness, self-reliance and self-centeredness.                                                                                     No more pretending with God, that I got it all together!                                                                                             But instead I can be vulnerable and transparent.                                                                                                         I can admit to God when I'm wrong.                                                                                                                             I can acknowledge, or confess my sins, limitations, and wrongdoing unto God.                                                       I can accept help, or guidance, or correction from God.

Now the second principle and precept to live by that God requires from you and I that we should be committed to and apply, comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                                                             Notice vs. 14.  If my people which are called by My Name, would pray!

Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God means I must commune or fellowship, or spend time with my God.

By the way, to commune means, to share one's personal or intimate thoughts, feelings, or ideas with someone, especially when the exchange is on a spiritual level.

Now, if you don't mind I would like to save this particular principle and precept about prayer.                           For I would like to save it for next Sunday.                                                                                                                   I am being led of the Lord to come back to this area next Sunday, because we need to see this area in a very special way by means of a Power Point presentation.

So the third principle and precept to live by that God requires from you and I that we should be committed to and apply, comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                                                                                   Notice vs. 14.  If my people which are called by My name, would seek My face!

Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God means I must have the right priorities with my God.

Question:  So, what is your highest priority in life?                                                                                                       What would be the most important thing for you to know and achieve?

See, I Chronicles 16: 10&11.                                                                                                                                        Vs. 10.  Glory in His Holy Name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!                                             Vs. 11.  Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!

See Psalms 27: 8.                                                                                                                                                   When You said “seek you My face” my heart said unto You, “Your face LORD will I seek”.   

And one writer, Brother Marcio Sierra Jr. was very helpful to me in understanding what it means to seek God's face!

"The face of someone is like an open window that allows you to see inside of that person; their thoughts, their concerns, their heart.                                                                                                                                                     By looking at a person’s face you can tell if the person is angry, happy, sad, tired, worried, hurt, excited.       The face of a person reveals a lot about that person.                                                                                                 When we look at a person’s face, we are looking at a lot more than just a face.                                                     When God asks us to seek His face He is inviting us, to take time, to slowdown, to draw near.                             Too often we go to God to seek His hands!  Hands that give.                                                                                 Hands that help. Hands that bless.  Hands that protect.  Hands that heal.                                                               There is nothing wrong with that, actually God tells us in His Word to come to Him with our requests, and that we do not have because we do not ask.                                                                                                                       There is nothing wrong with seeking God’s hands.                                                                                                     But the problem becomes that we spend a lot more time seeking God’s hands so that He would bless us, and forget our need to spend time seeking His face!                                                                                                         For the Bible is the only reliable means by which we seek the face of God.                                                         For the Bible reveals God unto us, His heart, His thoughts, His will, His ways, His purposes.                                 In fact, when we read the Gospels and we see God the Son, Jesus Christ, we see what our invisible God is truly like. His character, His works, His words.                                                                                                             To seek the face of God means, I want to know You!                                                                                                   I want a closer relationship with you! I enjoyed being in your presence!  Dear God, you are enough!  Think about all the unmet, unfulfilled needs and desires in your life right Now!  But can you still say regardless, Dear God you are more than enough for me!"  

Now, the fourth principle and precept to live by that God requires from you and I that we should be committed to and apply, comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14.                                                                                             Notice vs. 14, if my people which are called by My Name, would turn from their wicked ways!

Listen, having and maintaining a close and abiding relationship with God means there will be times of repentance before my God.                                                                                                                                         By the way, what is the Biblical understanding of true repentance?

True Biblical repentance is produced by God within a heart that is willing, and not by a person's effort to reform themselves!

True Biblical repentance is not just being sorry only!

True Biblical repentance is when God the Holy Spirit brings conviction and Grace to want to change, and be changed in my heart and in the very soulish parts of my being.

True Biblical repentance is being enabled by God to regularly turn away from all that is sinful, disobedient, and rebellious, in my life, or in my lifestyle.

True Biblical repentance is God's work of transformation upon my mind, my attitude,                                             My conduct and behavior,                                                                                                                                             My choices and decisions,                                                                                                                                       And upon my desire to please God and not myself!

See Ezekiel 18: 30.                                                                                                                                                         Therefore, I will judge you O house of Israel, every one according to their ways says the Lord GOD.  Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

Lamentations 3: 40 & 41.                                                                                                                                                 Vs. 40.  Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD;                                                       Vs. 41.  Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in Heaven.

09-24-2017   Part 6

Our topic from the LORD has been, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?  Answer.  Learn to encourage yourself in the LORD Your God, like David did based on a close and abiding relationship that has been developed overtime. 

And this morning let's finish up, the five basic principles and precepts to live by, that can help you and I to have, and to maintain a close and abiding relationship with God.

Now let's consider this fifth principle and precept that you and I should live by and be committed to, which comes from Psalms 46: 10a.

Notice vs. 10a.  Be still, and know that I am God!

Listen, having and maintaining a close abiding relationship with God means, there must be undistracted times with my God.   

Notice vs. 10a.  Be still, and know that I am God!

To be ‘still’ means, to be quiet or in quietness. To refrain from a work, or ministry, or an activity. To relax, or rest, or to be rejuvenated or refreshed.

Listen, in order for you and I to know, or to have confidence that the LORD, He is God.

I must have undistracted times with my God so that I can better know Him having taken time to read and study His Word, the Bible for myself. 

I must have undistracted times with my God so that I can receive His direction and guidance in matters that I am facing.

Therefore, being busy.  Being overly committed.  Being constantly distracted with my electronic devices.

Or, being unwilling or unable to slow down enough to hear from the LORD before making an important decision.

Then please know that Psalms 46: 10a, that says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" You must know, that there will always be something missing, or something lacking in your relationship with God.

Now Notice Luke 10:

Vs. 38.  Now it happened as they went, that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 

Vs. 39.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.

Vs. 40.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.

Vs. 41.  And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 

Vs. 42.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

Now back to 2 Chronicles 7: 14.  For with God's help we were able to use these four basic principles and precepts that are mentioned here, to help You and I to have and to maintain a close and abiding relationship with God.

And remember last Sunday, I wanted to wait until this Sunday, to better address this second principle and precept that You and I should live by and be committed to, which comes from 2 Chronicles 7: 14. 

Notice vs. 14, if my people which are called by My name, would pray!

Listen, praying by means of using certain areas or, chapters from your Bible, or by using certain prayers that are in the Bible, either in the Old Testament, or in the New Testament.  Can help bring about authentic communication between You and God.

For example, when praying to God the Father, you could utilize Matthew 6: 9-13.

See vs. 9 that says, "Our Father in Heaven."  Perhaps you can say something like this when you pray to God the Father:                                                                                                                                                                        Because of Jesus Christ, I thank You that I have a relationship with You as my Heavenly Father.  I Praise You for receiving me, and accepting me into Your precious family.

Heavenly Father, thank you for each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ, both far and near. Thank you for those in Heaven who have made it home into Your presence.  Please help and comfort we who are still on this earth awaiting our turn, for our times are in Your hands.

Therefore, may I continue to set my affections, on things above, and not on the things of this earth.

Vs. 9 continues, may I hallow Your name this day and always.  For holy and honorable are You.  That is, Your presence, Your position, and Your place in my life.                                                                                                      Vs. 10.  My Heavenly Father, thank You for the kingdom that is, and is to come.  For I give my allegiance and my service unto the King of Your kingdom, who is my King and Savior, Jesus Christ.                                              For He is the King of Glory of Psalms 24: 7-10.                                                                                                        He is the King of kings in Revelation 19: 11-16.                                                                                                              And He is the One who's kingdom is not of this world.  St. John 18: 36&37.                                                              And therefore, I am an ambassador for my King, the Lord Jesus Christ according to II Corinthians 5:20.

Vs. 10.  Heavenly Father, Your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven, and let it first start within me.  Not my will, but Your will be done, by me, through me, and within me according to Philippians 3: 10&11; 13&14; 20&21.                                                                                                                                                                            Vs. 11.  Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us this day, our daily bread.  For as You provided for Your people in the wilderness for 40 years.  May You continue to provide all my needs, and the needs of Your people both far and near, according to Your riches in Glory, that are both spiritual and physical, everything we need pertaining to life and Godliness according to II Peter 1:3; Matthew 6: 31-34.                                                            Vs. 12.  Heavenly Father, thank you for Your forgiveness of my sins, past, present, and Future.  May I come to You no matter how big or small the sin I have done against You, according to Psalms 51: 1-13,

And therefore, may I always be willing to forgive anyone of anything, no matter how big or small.  For I want to be like You in this area, according to Luke 6: 35-37.

Vs. 13.  Heavenly Father, thank you for Your parental protection. I am grateful to You, that You would never lead me into a test or a trial, to be abandoned or forsaken, according to I Corinthians 10: 13.  But Heavenly Father, thank you always for being my deliverer, my refuge, my fortress, from evil, and the evil one, and from all the demonic host.  Please give Your holy angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways, according to Psalms 91: 9-16.                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 13 continues, Heavenly Father, Yours is the kingdom that I am focused upon. Yours is the power that I am dependent upon. Yours is the Glory, that I will give You, for it is not about me, it is all about You.  And this will be both now, and forever and forever. Amen!

Next, when praying to God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, You could utilize Psalms 23: 1–6.

Vs. 1. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.  Perhaps You can say something like this when You pray to God the Son.

LORD Jesus, I'm so grateful to have You as my shepherd.

For You are the Good Shepherd of St. John 10:11,14.

You are the Great Shepherd of Hebrews 13: 20&21.

And therefore, LORD Jesus, as my shepherd I shall not want. You are my provider, for in You I live, I move, I have my being, according to Acts 17: 28a. 

Vs. 2.  Lord Jesus as my Shepherd, You make me to lie down in green pastures. You leave me beside the still waters.

For You are helpful to me in so many ways. When I need rest and rejuvenation, LORD You help me to have sense enough to trust in You, and to follow You wherever You may lead me. 

Like unto the greenish fields, or beside the quiet of still waters.  Such a beautiful reminder of Your caring love for ne. 

Vs. 3.  LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, You restore my soul.  For when I am wayward, going astray, or disobedient, thank You for seeking me out to rescue and restore my soul, my life.  As a testimony of Your unfailing love and faithfulness according to Luke 15:   4-7.

Vs. 3 continues, LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, You lead me in the paths that are right for me, that have been ordained for me, those paths You have chosen for me, so that Your reputation, Your name might be praised and magnified.

Vs. 4.  For example, LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death from time to time. 

Times of heartache or hardship.

Times of difficulty or danger. 

Times of sadness or sorrow. 

Times of health problems or illness.

Times of bereavement and grief.

Or, times of hopelessness or despair.

Vs. 4 continues, Yet LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, because of You, I will fear none of these things, nor evil or bad tidings.  For You are with me, Your rod and Your staff they comfort me, because You are my protector, my healer, my help, and my strength.

Vs. 5.  Likewise, LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, You can prepare a table for me even in the presence of my enemies, and nothing would happen to me, because great is thy faithfulness.

Vs. 5 continues, LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, because You care for me in such a special way, You anoint my head with oil to protect and repel anything that would hurt or harm me. 

LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, because of You, my cup runs over, for Your generosity, and Your abundant grace is sufficient, it is more than enough, more than I deserve.

Vs. 6.  LORD Jesus as my Shepherd, because of You, Your goodness and Your mercy shall follow me, pursue me, and overtake me, every day of my life, thank you my Lord.  LORD Jesus, as my Shepherd because of you, I will dwell, remain, abide as a final destination, in the house of the LORD, in the Father’s house of St. John 14: 2&3, and in the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21&22.

LORD Jesus, as my Shepherd because of You, this will be my permanent and lasting dwelling place forever.  Amen.

Finally, when praying to God the Holy Spirit, you could utilize Romans 12: 1-21.  Perhaps you can say something like this when you pray to God the Holy Spirit.

Vs. 1.  Holy Spirit, I beseech You by the mercies of God, as I present myself unto You, my spirit, soul, and body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto You, which is my reasonable service.                                                Vs. 2.  Holy Spirit, help me not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.                                                          Vs. 3.  Holy Spirit, through the Grace given unto me, and to everyone else, help me not to think of myself more highly than I ought to think, but to think soberly, for as you O God, has dealt to each one, a measure of faith.                                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 4.  Holy Spirit, as we are many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. Vs. 5. yet we being many, are one body in Christ, and as individuals, we are still members of one another.    Vs. 6. Therefore, Holy Spirit, because of You we have different gifts that You have given to us, according to the Grace that is needed to function within, may I be used and useful at this time in my life.  For example, if prophecy, let me prophesy in proportion to the faith that You have given.                                                           Vs. 7. When I minister or serve, let me glorify You in ministry.  If called upon to teach, let me glorify You in teaching.                                                                                                                                                                      Vs. 8.  If I may exhort, help me to glorify You, in exhortation. When giving, help me to glorify You, showing liberality or generosity. If I am to lead, help me to glorify You, and do it with all diligence. When showing mercy to others, help me to glorify You, by doing it cheerfully and lovingly.                                                                        Vs. 9.  Holy Spirit, let me show God's love without being a hypocrite or a phony.  Holy Spirit, help me to abhor what is evil, and cling to what is good.                                                                                                                        Vs. 10.  Holy Spirit, help me to be kindly affectionate with the Saints, showing brotherly love.  Holy Spirit, will you show me how to give honor and give preference to another above myself, not being self-centered or selfish.                                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 11.  Holy Spirit, help me not to be lagging, slothful, lazy, or indifferent, in my diligence concerning those things that You have called or gifted me to do.  But please help me, that I maybe at all times fervent in spirit, serving my Lord.                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 12.  Holy Spirit, teach me at this time or season that I'm in, to rejoice in hope, to be patient in tribulation, to be continuing steadfastly in praying to You and with You.                                                                                        Vs. 13.  Holy Spirit, show me how I can be involved in distributing to the needs of the Saints near and far, even being open too providing hospitality when needed.                                                                                                    Vs. 14.  Holy Spirit, with Your help may I be able to, bless those who persecute me.  Holy Spirit, with Your help may I be able to, bless and do not curse.                                                                                                                      Vs. 15.  Holy Spirit, also with Your help, may I be able to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.                                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 16.  Holy Spirit, also with Your help, may I be of the same mind, in unity toward others.  Help me not to set my mind on the pride-fulness that comes from this world.  But enable me to associate and help with the humble, the lowly whoever they maybe.  Holy Spirit, never allow me to be wise in my own opinions that I am no longer teachable.                                                                                                                                                  Vs. 17.  Holy Spirit, never allow me to repay no one evil for evil.  Holy Spirit, with your help, may I have regard for the good things, for the right things in the sight of all men.                                                                                  Vs. 18.  Holy Spirit, make it possible for me to depend on You, so that I might live peaceably with anybody.    Vs. 19.  Holy Spirit, never allow me to avenge myself, but rather give place to God's wrath if He so chooses. For it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.                                                                                  Vs. 20.  Holy Spirit, with Your help, may I be able to help in various ways, that person that is in opposition with me.  For in so doing, may You bring about a change in their attitude towards me.                                                  Vs. 21.  Holy Spirit, never allow me to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good that comes from You. 

Amen!

10-01-2017   Part 7   

Our topic from the LORD has been, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life?" 

Especially, when faced with a negative season or time.  How do we glorify God in the way we persevere?  In other words, having the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved, in our relationship with God, and actively serving the LORD, and His people.

Even when faced with difficulty, or when there is very little or no prospect of success.                                          Or, when God does not fix it right away or, He does not fix it at all according to our expectations.                        Or, when God does not respond to our request in a way that we expect Him to.                                                    Or, when our emotions and feelings get the best of us over a long period of time.

For example: Feelings of disappointment.  Feelings of discouragement. Feelings of depression.  Feelings of being defeated.  Feelings of suicide.

Yet, with God's help, we still have the willingness to continue, to be steadfast, fully committed, totally involved.

Question, how do we persevere during the changing seasons of life?  And the answer from God is very obvious, allow me now, saith the LORD, to spiritually equip you before the changing seasons of life occur, and not during the changing seasons of life!”

For example, with all the natural disasters that took place last month! Question, when do you think was the time to get ready for those disasters, either before or during?   Answer, before those disasters hit, and not during the disaster!  So again, how do we persevere during the changing seasons of life?  Answer, allow me now, saith the LORD, to spiritually equip you before the changing seasons of life, and not during the changing seasons of life!

Because now is the time to get ready before we are faced with a negative season or time that we were not expecting, Amen!

Therefore, this morning we want to let the LORD speak to us by His Word and by the Holy Spirit, equipping us with the understanding that that in those negative times the only way we are going to be able to persevere, we must “Walk by Faith, and not by sight!”

See II Corinthians 5: 7, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.”    A very familiar Bible verse for most of you.    It is often quoted, but not lived by.                                                                                                                                And unfortunately, it has become another Christian cliché that we say!

But what does it mean? For we walk by faith, not by sight!                                                                                        And what does it look like when lived out every day?                                                                                                And can this divine principle from God, really make a difference in me, and in my situation Absolutely!    And with the time we have this morning, may I show you a few important things to know about this verse, that will help you to know what it means, and what it looks Like when lived out every day!

First, always remember that each verse in the Bible is part of a context within that chapter that you just read.

So, when the Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to say and to write these words in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” this verse is part of a contexts within this chapter.

Always read the verses that come before, and the verses that come after and therefore, in most cases, take time to read the entire chapter to better understand what’s going on.

For example, here in II Corinthians chapter 5, it is God the Holy Spirit, who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning the significant and lofty divine truths that are found in this chapter.

Notice II Corinthians 5: 1, For we know, that if our earthly house, or our human bodies were to killed or destroyed.’  We have a building from God, a house, or a place that is not made with hands, but it is eternal in the heavens, Jesus called it in St. John 14: 2, “The Father’s House!” 

Yet, none of us in this room has been there, nor have seen it with our own eyes, and yet we believe.  And we are looking forward to that day!

Because God the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.

Notice vs. 8.  We are confident, yes and well pleased, to rather be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.   For Jesus also said in St. John 14: 3, “That where I am you may be also!”  And where is Jesus abiding right now?

Yet, none of us in this room have physically die, nor have seen with our own eyes what happened spiritually when you die, and yet we believe.  And we are looking forward to that time when we shall crossover, transitioning from this world and life to the next.

Because it is God the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.

Notice vs. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what they have done, whether good or bad.

Yet, none of us in this room have been to this Tribunal Room in heaven, nor have seen with our own eyes what happens to every believer when they stand before Christ, and yet we believe.

Because God the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.

Notice vs. 17.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Yet, none of us in this room fully understands what it is to be spiritually a new creation, nor have seen with our own eyes, how this happens to us, and yet we Believe.

Because God the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.

Notice vs. 20a.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ.

Yet, none of us in this room have fully accepted what it means to sacrifice and to be full time an ambassador for Christ.                                                                                                                                                                          And yet we believe and we strive each day, to fulfill this high calling!

Because God the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.   And finally notice vs. 21.  For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Yet, none of us in this room were there to see this happened.                                                                            And yet, we believe and are grateful to God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ for His substitution and His sacrifice for us all! 

Because it is God, the Holy Spirit who has already enabled you to walk by faith and not by sight, concerning such a significant and lofty truth.

10-08-2017   Part 8   

Our topic from the LORD has been, "How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life," especially, when faced with a negative season or time?

And the way we are going to be able to persevere in those times, we must walk by faith, not by sight!

See II Corinthians 5: 7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The Bible recognizes and acknowledges two kinds of faith by which mankind can operate in and be subjected unto.

A natural, earthly, human faith, that is totally dependent on our five senses and on our own understanding, which we can trust in, or rely on someone or something to be our help, or our source, or our deliverer.

Or, there is a supernatural, unearthly, divine faith, that is totally dependent on God, and not our senses, and not according to our own understanding.  But trusting in, and relying on the LORD to be our help, or our source, or our deliverer.

Therefore, every day, and in every situation or circumstance, we have to make a choice which one we will embrace, or walk in.

Now notice again, II Corinthians 5: 7,  the phrase, for we walk by faith!   See the word, ‘walk’!  Circle the word ‘walk’.  Highlight the word ‘walk’.  Underline the word ‘walk’.

The word ‘walk’ in the Bible can imply a common activity, motion or action within life to regulate one's life, or to conduct one's self by.

But also, figuratively speaking, the word ‘walk’ in the Bible can imply a choice, or the choosing of a direction, or a path to move in, or to follow, or to go by.

Listen, therefore every day, and in every situation or circumstance, we are choosing either to walk by faith and not by sight!                                                                                                                                                              Or, to walk by sight and not by faith!  And, whichever one you choose, one will cancel out the other.

In other words, you cannot do both at the same time when you are following and obeying God!

Now, notice again II Corinthians 5: 7.  For we walk by faith and not by sight!  See the word ‘sight’!  Circle the word ‘sight’.  Highlight the word ‘sight’.  Underline the word ‘sight’.

So, the word ‘sight’ that is used here means more than seeing with our eyes although that’s included.

But figuratively speaking here in II Corinthians 5: 7, the word ‘sight’ refers to the external or outward appearance of a situation or circumstance.

The word ‘sight’, can refer to a particular matter that has our focus and attention.

For example, see II Corinthians 4:                                                                                                                             Vs. 16.  Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, Yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.                                                                                                                                            Vs. 17.  For or because our light affliction which is but for a moment, it is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, blessing, and honor.                                                                                                        Vs. 18.  while we do not look at the things which are seen.  Remember vs. 16a?  That the outward man is perishing!                                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 18 continues, But at the things which are not seen.  Remember vs. 16b?                                                            That the inward man is being renewed day by day!                                                                                                    Vs. 18 continues, For the things which are seen are temporary.  Remember vs. 17a?  That is our light affliction which are for but a moment!                                                                                                                                          Vs. 18 continues, But the things which are not seen are eternal.  Remember vs. 17b? They are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, or blessing, or honor.

Lastly, notice II Corinthians 5: 7, which says, For we walk by faith and not by sight!                                                See the word ‘faith’!  Circle the word ‘faith’.  Highlight the word ‘faith’.  Underline the word ‘faith’.                   

But what is ‘faith’?

First, what true Biblical faith is not!                                                                                                                                Faith is not some kind of supernatural force, power, or energy that even God uses to get things done, and that we can use even as His people so that we can determine our own purposes, or what we will, or what we desire, or even determine our own destiny.

But what is true Biblical faith all about?                                                                                                                        The word ‘faith’, both in English and in the original language of the New Testament can mean, a dependency on someone or something.  The word ‘faith’ refers to a looking to, or trusting in, or the relying on someone or something to be your help, or your source, or your deliverer.

But, when it comes to God as the object and source of our faith, we must develop an understanding about the character of God, that is God is faithful, God is just or righteous, God is holy, or God is love. 

Also, we must develop an understanding about the attributes of God, that God is omnipotent, God is in control, God is all-knowing.

Because, you cannot trust and have faith in someone that you don’t know nor understand!

And therefore, having this kind of insight and understanding about God that comes from the Bible, will cause our faith in the LORD to increase and be strengthen.

Listen, the way we learn to trust in people, is the same way we are to trust in God. observing and being informed about the character of God by His Word, the Bible.

Here are a few character traits concerning God.                                                                                                          1.  God's character traits are such that He is, Righteous.  See Psalm 145: 17.                                                            2.  God's character traits are such that He is, Loving.  See Jeremiah 31:3.                                                                3.  God's character traits are such that He is, Good.  See Nahum 1: 7.                                                                      4.  God's character traits are such that He is, Faithful.  See Psalms 9:10.                                                                5.  God's character traits are such that He is, Longsuffering.  See 2 Peter 3: 9.                                                        6.  God's character traits are such that He is, Gracious.  See Psalm 84: 11.                                                                7.  God's character traits are such that He is, Merciful.  See Lamentations 3: 22.

And what are some of the abilities and the attributes of God that would help you to know God, so that you could trust and have faith? 

Here are a few;                                                                                                                                                                1.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, Sovereign.                                                                                  See Daniel. 4: 34&35; Isaiah 46: 9&10.                                                                                                                          2.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He has a will, purpose, and plan, in what He does and what He allows, and what He does not do, or what He does not allow.                                                                                    See Genesis 45: 5&7; Genesis 50: 19&20.                                                                                                                    3.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, able to cause everything, to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.                                                                                  See Romans. 8: 28.                                                                                                                                                      4.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, in charge and in control.                                                            See Revelation 1: 17&18.   For in Revelation 1: 18, keys are a symbol of being in charge and in control.                  5.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, almighty or omnipotent.                                                            See Revelation 1: 8; Jeremiah 32: 17.                                                                                                                            6.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, all-knowing or omniscient.                                                        See Romans 11: 33 & 34.                                                                                                                                                7.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, all-seeing or omnipresent.                                                        See Proverbs 15: 3; II Chronicles 16: 9.                                                                                                                          8.  God's abilities or attributes are such, that He is, upholding all things together.                                                  See Colossians 1: 16 & 17.                                                                                                                                                9.  God's abilities or attributes allows Him to show, His shepherd-like care for you and I.   See Psalm 23: 1-6.

10-15-2017   Part 9

Our topic from the LORD Has Been, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life, Especially, When Faced With A Negative Season Or Time?

And the way we are going to be able to persevere in those times, we must walk by faith, not by sight!

See II Corinthians 5: 7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”                                                                                        But what is ‘faith’?                                                                                                                                                            And what is true biblical faith all about?

Do a brief review of last Sunday.                                                                                                                                    •Beware of the attempts to revise and redefine the meaning of faith.                                                                      •Be better Informed about the original & biblical meaning of faith.

Now, this morning with God’s help let’s consider a very important insight that Jesus taught about faith.

Mark 11: 22 says, so Jesus answered and said to them His disciples, have faith in God!

Therefore, Jesus is saying to them, and to us in Mark 11: 22 is, let God be your source!  Let God be the object that you are looking to, or trusting in, or relying upon to be your help, or your source, or your Deliverer.

Then, I believe that our Lord Jesus illustrates what he means in verse 23.

Now notice carefully Mark 11: 23.  For most assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Listen, the main point that our Lord is making is, if you could do this should you? Would it be for the glory of God?  Would it be done for the right reasons?  Would it be in the will of God?

Remember that is why Jesus said (in vs. 22), have faith in God.

Listen, having faith in God gives me and you the courage and the confidence to speak what we believe about God in our situations, and therefore, leaving the outcome up to Him!

Therefore, Mark 11: 23, must be a divine illustration and not a principal to practice or perform!

See Luke 17: 6, And the Lord said, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

And again Luke 17: 6, must be a divine illustration and not a principal to practice or perform!

And some would agree that Mark 11: 23 and Luke 17: 6, are a divine illustration, But, they will insist that it is also a principal to practice or perform!  And some will use Romans 4: 16&17, to prove their point!

Romans 4:                                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 16.  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.  Vs.17.  As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickened the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.

And some will say that in vs.17, God is using His faith-filled words to produce the results He wants. even though they have not happened yet.  And therefore, as His people, we are to do the same!

But carefully look at vs. 16&17, because it is Abraham who has faith in God, and this is not about God using faith-filled words to produce the results He wants, even though they have not happened yet.

For nowhere in the Bible does it teach that God uses faith-filled words and therefore, we should use faith-filled words to produce the results we want even though they have not happened yet.

Our God does not need faith-filled words because our God is omnipotent, and therefore He doesn’t need faith to do anything.

For He is able to say a word according to His will and can bring anything to pass.

Notice again vs. 17b, (even God), who quickened or makes alive the dead, and calls or says those things which be not as though they were.

And by the way, only God is able to do this, and we are not, that is to quickened or makes alive the dead, and calls or says those things which be not as though they were.

Therefore, it is Abraham who has faith in God to fulfill His promise, regardless of Abraham’s age, condition, and situation.

See vs. 16.  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed or descendants; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

Now, back to Mark 11: 24.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, (believe) that you receive them, and you will have them.

Interesting that the word ‘believe’, could be translated to place confidence in, or to trust, to rely upon. Remember, that is why Jesus said (in vs. 22), have faith in God.

Listen, again the point that our Lord is making is, if you could do this, should you?  Would it be for the glory of God?  Would it be done for the right reasons? Would it be in the will of God?

Listen, having faith in God gives me and you the courage and the confidence to pray and believe God in our situations, and therefore leaving the outcome up to Him!

See I John 5: 14&15.                                                                                                                                                        Vs. 14.  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.                                                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 15.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

0-22-2017   Part 10   

Our topic from the LORD Has Been, How Can We Persevere During The Changing Seasons Of Life, Especially, When Faced With A Negative Season Or Time?

And the way we are going to be able to persevere in those times, we must walk by faith, not by sight!

See II Corinthians 5: 7,                                                                                                                                                    “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

But how do you walk by faith and not by sight, especially when faced with a negative season or time in Your Life?

In both the Old & New Testaments there are several passages that will help us to walk by faith and not by sight.

And our first example will come From the Old Testament, Proverbs 3: 5&6.

See Proverbs 3:                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 5.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;                                          Vs. 6.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Now, here is a passage from the Bible when understood and applied correctly will help us to walk by faith and not by sight, especially when faced with a negative season or, time in your life.

Now, see the phrase in Proverbs 3: 5a, “Trust in the LORD!”  Wow!

But what does it really mean to trust in the LORD?                                                                                                      It sounds easy.                                                                                                                                                               It sounds reasonable.                                                                                                                                                    It sounds encouraging.

I believe that we were designed by God to be able to trust or have faith in someone or something other than ourselves.

From our birth to our death, we were designed by God to be able to trust or have faith in someone to care for us, to protect us, to support us, to help us in various ways.

And therefore, this subject about trusting God.  Maybe, one of the most important subjects to know, study and practice in all the Bible.

Because trust and faith are the foundation for everything when it comes to being in a relationship with God.

Although trust and faith are different and yet they are similar.                                                                                    Like a coin that has two sides, heads and tails.                                                                                                            Yet it is one coin, but it has two sides to it.   And usually the two sides are different one from the other.

And, so it is concerning trust and faith, there is a difference between the two, And, yet there are some similarities.

Also, trust and faith are the first steps that we make in our walk with the Lord. And, your trust and faith will sustain you for the rest of your days.

But what does it really mean to trust in the LORD?                                                                                                      Well first, what it doesn’t mean!

Trusting in the LORD does not mean being spiritually passive, or idle, or Inactive when God has called you, or has spoken to you by His Word, or He has directed you to move, to speak, to stand, or to be involved.

But trusting in the LORD is Really a proactive response and not a reactive response, to obstacles, opportunities, challenges, hindrances, disappointments, setbacks.

Trusting in the LORD is learning to wait patiently on the Lord to bring about His plan will and purpose in a matter, or situation or circumstance.

Trusting in the LORD reminds me that no matter what life may bring, to trust God in those times, puts you and I in a position to be led directly by the LORD to an outcome that God has ordained, and that He will see us through.

Now notice in Proverbs 3: 5a, the first word in this phrase is the word "trust."  But, what is "trust?"  Well, our English meaning of the word “trust”, generally speaking, is a firm reliance on.  Trust is to place confidence in, or to be depended on a person or a thing.

However, when it comes to trusting God, it Is believing and knowing based upon one’s relationship and experience with God, that He is totally upright in character. He possesses the ability and power to bring to pass whatever is needed.  Yet He has the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to know what is best, as well as having the integrity to do what is right.

Genesis 18: 23-25.                                                                                                                                                          Vs. 23.  And Abraham came near and said, would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked?                    Vs. 24.  Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would you also destroy the place and not spare it because of the fifty righteous that were in it?                                                                                                              Vs. 25.  Far be it from you to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You!  Shall not the judge of all the earth, do right?

Listen, Abraham believed and knew based upon His relationship and experience with God, that God’s character was totally upright.

He possessed the ability and power to bring to pass whatever is needed.  Yet, He had the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to know what is best, as well as having the integrity to do what is right.

Let me see if I can make a point that might be helpful at this time.                                                                            Other than God, think of one person that you truly trust, and why is that?

And I think for most of us that one person that we truly trust, it’s probably because of these three factors.          Vs. 1.  An ongoing relationship with the one in whom you trust.                                                                                Vs. 2.  Then over a period of time you have observe the character of that person in whom you trust.                  Vs. 3.  Then over a period of time you have been affected positively by the ability or capability of that person in whom you trust.

Yet, there is one major problem when it comes to putting your trust in someone.

For we place ourselves into a vulnerable position having to rely on someone other than relying on God.

And this can be a problem, to trust in a person or in people, will often lead to disappointment and frustration because no one is perfect, and everybody has limitations.  And that is why the Bible admonishes all of us,

To be careful in putting your trust in a person and not in God.  Or, putting your trust in people and not in God.

For example, Psalm 118: 8&9.                                                                                                                                        Vs. 8.  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.                                                                          Vs. 9.  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.    

Psalm 146: 3-6.                                                                                                                                                                Vs. 3.  Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.                                            Vs. 4.  His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.                                                  Vs. 5.  Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God,                            Vs. 6.  Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,

Jeremiah 17: 5-8.                                                                                                                                                              Vs. 5.  Thus, says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.                                                                                                                                                    Vs. 6.  For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.                                                                    Vs. 7.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.                                                        Vs. 8.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. 

Nevertheless, we were designed by God to be able to trust or have faith in someone or something other than ourselves.

And remember the way we learn to trust someone usually, will be based upon,                                                      •An ongoing relationship with the one in whom you trust.                                                                                •Then over a period of time you have observe the character of that person in whom you trust.                            •Then over a period of time you