Monday, April 23, 2018

Our God



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What do you do:
·        When the future scares you
·        When others are in danger
·        When you just don’t know what to do

Hebrews 11 NKJV
1 ¶  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4 ¶  By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5  By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
7  By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
10  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Verse 8“By faith Abraham, when he was called, he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

This passage points to the Old Testament story of Abraham as being a glimpse of a New Testament reality. All of the accounts we read in the Bible are meant to be more than history lessons about the Patriarchs of our faith, these testimonies were written, preserved and given to us as a spiritual guide for our lives. This passage is all about you and God today.

Hebrews 11 details the unfolding of the Gospel through the lives of men and women chosen by God to be the forerunners of our faith in God and in His Son, Jesus the Christ. We call it the faith chapter …

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is our …
1.   Substance of the hope we have in Christ
2.   Evidence of the unseen eternal realm of God
3.   Good testimony we have obtained
4.   Confidence of things we cannot humanly understand

Those things which are impossible with man are possible with God.

Let’s take a look at the first 7 things the writer of Hebrews wants us to know about God and the unfolding Gospel in this chapter on faith.
1.  God is the God of creation v. 3
2.  God is an accepting and a forgiving God v.4
3.  God is a friendly God Who enjoys relationship with us v.5
4.  God is a God who rewards those who seek Him v.6
5.  God is a redemptive God Who saves the righteous from destruction v.7
6.  God is God of the unknown v.8
o   He is God in life
o   He is God in death
o   He is God in sickness
o   He is God in health
o   He is God in prosperity
o   He is God in need
o   He is God in the beginning
o   He is God in the end
o   He is the God of all we know
o   He is the God of all we cannot understand
7.   God is the God of your future vs. 9&10

He is not only the God of the Future, He is the God of my future and He is the God of your future.

·        What do we do when the future scares us?
·        What do we do when others we care about are in danger?
·        What do we do when we just don’t know what to do?

We trust God … He is still God in the unknown …

Close:

Perhaps you are in a place where your faith has been tested. Maybe you have unanswered questions or future uncertainties … what will you do?

·        Who will you marry?
·        Where will you live?
·        What job will you get?
·        When will help arrive?
·        Why are things so hard?

Hebrews 11 contains testimonies of men and women just like you. Ordinary, everyday people who were begin tested by life. These decided to trust God in trying times … even with the unknown.

God created the whole universe and then He created you …

He accepts us and forgives us even when we aren’t perfect …

He wants to have a relationship with you …

He will answer and guide you if you will get serious and seek Him with all your heart.

He is a God Who saves, and He will save you from destruction …

He has your unknown concerns already worked out for your good …

He is the God of your future and your greatest day is yet ahead!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Home Improvement Series – Part 3 Building Better Marriages



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We simply do not know how God feels about some things. For example: Is God pro Dallas Cowboys or does He prefer Pepsi to Coca-Cola or any number of opinion driven concerns.

We don’t know what we don’t know but we do know what we do know. God has not left us without witness or without instructions for the greater things of life. And, when it comes to building better marriages, God’s Word is the most valuable instruction book in the universe.

God knows marriage. He invented it; created it; instigated it; formed it; sanctioned it; thought it up; or whatever you wish to call it, first. Marriage only exist because God saw it was best from the beginning. The original marriage is a pattern God intended to give us to follow.

Marriage cannot be relegated to the political or opinion driven arenas. We see a lot of opinions dominating the news from time to time which oppose the original pattern of marriage however, God has not given us any indication that He has changed His mind about this union. Without getting bogged down in the defense of marriage, allow me to set the stage concerning this covenant as we see and understand it through the eyes of God.

First and foremost, we understand that God is pro-marriage. The Bible is clear that not every person will or should be married. However, God’s general intent for man and woman is that they be married, have children, teach them to follow the Lord and continue to populate the earth.

God hates when a marriage ends in divorce. He hates to see a covenant destroyed and relationships end because of the hurt and pain it adds to so many lives. God knows how it feels since He has been divorced twice Himself. God counts Himself as a divorcee Who had to put His wife away because of her adulterous affairs. He can empathize with anyone who has experienced failed covenants.

Perhaps this is the main reason why God has given so much attention to and such clear instructions to help His children build better marriages.

Let’s look at the top 7 pillars from God’s Word which will provide strength for your marriage. Remember, these are things you can use to work on yourself or things which you and your spouse can work on together. These are not things which solely apply to your spouse or things about which you are supposed to judge or criticize your spouse.

1.  A Personal Commitment to God and His Word.
a.   God’s Word should always have final say in your life.
b.   Always listen to, support and submit to the whole counsel of the Bible.

Joshua 1:8  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. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

c.   We all need someone in our marriage who can correct us when we need it. With no one to straighten us out, we often fall prey to emotional issues, opinion driven arguments, fears & feelings.

2.  A Personal Commitment to Covenant
a.   God puts people together in a relationship first for what they can give, not for what they can get.
b.   Covenant means “your good at my expense”.
c.   You can’t stop obeying the Word of God just because someone else does.

Matthew 19:6  “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

3.  A Personal Commitment to the Roles, Rules, Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage.

Ephesians 5
32  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

a.   Roles – We are different … Ephesians 5:22-33
b.   Rules – 1 Peter 3:1-7
                                         i.    Won without the Word – beholding the attitude and behavior (of the spouse)
                                        ii.    Dwell with understanding as heirs together …
c.   Rights – 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
                                         i.    Over her/his body
                                        ii.    Inheritance/Assets (God is a common law God …)
d.   Responsibilities – Primary God-given …
                                         i.    Provider – 1 Timothy 5:8
                                        ii.    Homemaker – Titus 2:3-5

4.  Communication – The message sent is the message received.

a.   Seek to understand before you seek to be understood …

James 1:19  So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry.

5.  Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

6.  Money 
a.   It’s not how much you make but how you spend what you make that matters.
b.   Disagreements can divide and destroy relationships
c.   Discuss and Decide on a Spending Plan

Proverbs 3:9  Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;

7.  Family and Friends
a.   Leave and cleave – Genesis 2:24
b.   Honor and respect – Ephesians 6:2
c.   Establish friendship boundaries – 1 Corinthians 15:33
d.   Protect family time

Proverbs 27:17  As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Home Improvement Series Building Better … Introduction


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Spring has officially begun, and we are now in one of the most exciting times of the year for the Child of God. The most important spring feast of the Jews is almost at hand. This year the Feast of Passover will coincide with the western calendar and the celebration of Easter.

Passover begins this year on Friday evening, March 30th, at sundown. Without regard as to your particular beliefs about Jesus being crucified on a Thursday or a Friday, everyone agrees that He was raised from the dead on Sunday. Sunday, April 1st, is Resurrection Day!

Almost 2000 years ago this week, Jesus took His disciples and they went to Jerusalem to attend Passover. It was during the first year of Jesus’ earthly ministry and still 2 more years until He would be crucified. Jesus had a short time to teach the people and to proclaim His Kingdom. Let’s read:

John 2 NKJV
13  Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business.
15  When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.
16  And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
17  Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
18  So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
19  Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20  Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21  But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
22  Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

There is no denying Jesus was consumed with zeal for the House of God. In fact, Jesus clearly pointed to the fact that His very own body was the true House of God. Even if men tear it down, Jesus will restore it and raise it up.

The Apostle Paul confirms that the physical body of every Believer in Jesus is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
·        1 Corinthians 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Jesus continued to reveal this truth through His earthly ministry and just days before His crucifixion:
·        John 14:23  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

Jesus is compelled and consumed with zeal to see God’s house, your life, clean and in order so ,that God can live in you in the most dynamic way. And, it is evident from scripture that Jesus is willing to die for it.

Perhaps then, we should pay more attention to improving God’s home in our heart, mind and body. To help provide motivation, supply materials, and learn to use the right tools so that we can do some Home Improvement, we are going to be studying the scriptures on building and maintaining our hearts, minds and bodies over the next few weeks. This 7-week Home Improvement series will begin on Wednesday, April the 11th.

Let’s read our key scripture to set the tone for this upcoming series.

Proverbs 9:1  Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars.

Each week this series will provide 7 foundation stones from God’s Word which He intended we use to build and maintain His House in a clean, orderly and productive manner. You will learn and be refreshed in the knowledge, wisdom and power to Build Better Lives and Homes for Christ. Here are the topics we will cover in this series.

Home Improvement Series
1.   Building Better Habits
2.   Building Better Marriages
3.   Building Better Finances
4.   Building Better Health
5.   Building Better Leaders
6.   Building Better Dreams
7.   Building Better Families

Why wait until April 11th?
·        Next Wednesday is March 28th and we considered beginning then but
·        On the following week, Wednesday, April 4th, we are having our first quarterly Youth Led Mid-Week Service. The youth will be taking charge of that service with everything from greeting to ushering to singing to preaching. It’s going to be an exciting and encouraging service.
·        Not wishing to interrupt the series in the third week, our staff worked hard to choose meaningful topics, get the information ready and find the times to best serve our congregation. So, April 11th is the day!

Ephesians 2:22  In Christ you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Let’s all get ready for some Home Improvement this spring. You have a few days to invite people who might benefit from some improvement. This is going to help all of us build better lives in Christ.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Home Improvement Series – Part 1 Building Better Habits


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Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars.

The next few weeks we are going to work on building a pleasant and productive life. We are God’s home in the earth and it is important that we pay some attention to making a few self-improvements. Things left to themselves don’t get better, they get worse. This evening we will begin our Home Improvement Series by searching the Word of God to find strong supporting scriptures that will help us Build Better Habits.

A habit is something we tend to do without thinking – because we have done it so many times before. Habits are formed by repetitive actions. Many habits, especially the bad ones, were unintentionally created. Our habits are reflected in our routine and while they are little more than unconscious reactions to us, they can become irritations and even be offensive to others, especially when others are following our example.

In 1982 a preacher named Jim Boswell challenged me to build better habits in my life on purpose. He taught me that habits are one of the most underutilized and yet, one of the most powerful personal assets we can possess. He told me that I had both the opportunity and the ability to shape my life in any way I wished by making and maintaining good, godly habits. I took his challenge and began forming habits on purpose.

He was right. It took me about six weeks of purpose-filled attention to break one habit and form another in its place. Then I found that maintaining the desired new habit for only six months made it my habit. After almost 40 years many of those habits which I first formed on purpose continue to serve me and benefit others. Our habits make us either more pleasing or less pleasing to God and others.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our search of God’s Word to find strong supporting scriptures upon which we can Build Better Habits.   

1.  The Habit of Listening to Others

James 1:19  So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

2.  The Habit of Watching What We Say

Titus 3:2  Speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

3.  The Habit of Humility

Matthew 23:12  “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

1 Peter 5
5  Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

4.  The Habit of Giving

Proverbs 19:17  He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given.

Luke 6:38  “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

5.  The Habit of Prayer

John 14:14  “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Genesis 19:27  And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.

Mark 1:35  Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

6.  The Habit of Attending Church

Luke 4:16  So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

Hebrews 10:25  Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

7.  The Habit of Being A Witness

Proverbs 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

Matthew 5:16  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

It takes six weeks to break a habit and begin a new one in its place. Then, if purposefully continued for six months, the new habit will become your habit and you will be prompted by the nature of your life to follow that established routine. However, if you neglect a good habit for several weeks, you will develop and be left with a new habit.

Build Better Habits by paying closer attention to what you say, how you listen, what you give, how you react, what you pray about, how often you attend Church and your daily witness for Christ.

If one of these areas speaks to your heart, decide right now and take action to find seven pillars of truth from God’s Word that you can hold on to and build a better home for Christ in your life.

You will have to be active and participate in the process of creating good, godly habits. Make a commitment to identify those habits that you need to change and then pray and ask God to remind you each time that opportunity presents itself and make the conscious effort to replace it with a good, godly habit. Need some suggestions on habits that might to change? Here are some considerations …

Facebook – Family – Twitter– Bible – Snapchat – Prayer – Texts – TV???

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Please God …



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My hope today is to encourage you to make God happy. How can a person make God happy? Here are ten things from Exodus 20:2-17, that God says makes Him happy. (With commentary)

1
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. (verses 2&3)
2
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments. (verses 4-6)
3
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (verse 7)
4
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (verses 8-11)
5
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (verse 12)
6
“You shall not murder. (verse 13)
7
“You shall not commit adultery. (verse 14)
8
“You shall not steal. (verse 15)
9
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (verse 16)
10
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.” (verse 17)

Verses used in Commentary:

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.

Matthew 5 NKJV
20  “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 ¶  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
22  “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. …
27 ¶  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28  “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
31  “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32  “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
33 ¶  “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’
34  “But I say to you, do not swear at all: …
37  “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
38 ¶  “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39  “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40  “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
41  “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
42  “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
43 ¶  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44  “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45  “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
48  “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Luke 6:31  “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Matthew 22 NKJV
35  Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37  Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38  “This is the first and great commandment.
39  “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40  “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.