Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jesus Is Coming!


Today marks the beginning of my 23rd year as Pastor of GTCOTR. Thanks!
Matthew 25 NKJV
31 ¶ "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40 "And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
45 "Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
46 "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

The Past

When we began this journey together none of us imagined that we would one day be able to look back on 22 years of credible and productive ministry together. At that time we had but one goal and that was to make our church important to God. Our hope was that God would be pleased with our labor each day and that each night, when we laid our heads upon our pillows, that we had succeeded in putting a smile on the face of God that day.

We hoped and diligently prayed that God would give us a loud voice with which to proclaim the good news gospel. We declared that if we ever erred, that we would err on the side of mercy, grace, patience, and care. Our hope was that we could only be convicted of loving too much, forgiving too much, and/or giving too much.

The Present

Today we begin our 23rd year together as Pastor and Congregation. Many of you have been here for the whole time while others have come along during the years, some very recently. However, without regard as to how long you have been a part of this family of believers at Golden Triangle Church On The Rock, you are important to the overall plan of God for work to which our Church has been called.

• We operate a COTR Food Bank in Port Arthur – we need more workers, prayers, and supporters of that ministry.
• We are heavily vested in several weekly ministry opportunities in the local county jail, state prisons, juvenile detentions and federal correction facilities within our communities. We need more volunteer ministers, counselors, mentors, and supporter personnel.
o One of our current projects is to find 100 people who will each give a one time $80 gift which will go directly towards purchasing a tent to seat 300 inmates so that we can better accommodate those who wish to attend our church services at the State’s Gist Unit.
• On any given Sunday we need approximately 120 volunteers to completely outfit our Sunday morning service support team. These range from Sunday School teachers to greeters, ushers to singers, camera personnel to Children’s Church workers. In fact, just finding a volunteer who would pick donuts up for our CafĂ© Church and extra workers for the coffee bars we run before and between each service can be a weekly challenge.
• Currently we have approximately 200 producing water wells under our belt in Mexico alone. We need 300 and we hope to branch out to other areas of need around the world. Each year there are opportunities to get involved in our water well ministry from providing hard labor to becoming a member of the prayer and support home team.
• At Church Online dot TV we broadcast the gospel 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to the whole known world. Virtually anywhere in the world that has internet connection people can access the gospel of Jesus Christ through our Church’s internet broadcast ministry.
• The 13 additional churches which we have birthed from our congregation are weekly working in their communities and around the world fulfilling their own ministry and mission’s calls. Together we wrap the globe with the gospel each day.
• Through our several websites people from all around the world can access daily devotionals written in our church, and translated into Arabic, Swahili, Hindi, Nepalese, Russian, and Thai. Through these daily devotionals strength, wisdom and guidance from the scriptures is made available to millions worldwide.
• Our Television program, “Postcards from the Bible”, is broadcast over TBN’s worldwide satellite and cable network, The Church Channel, to a potential viewing audience of 2.3 billion people 3 times each week. We get response from people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and from those who wish to support through prayers, encouragement or finances, from literally all over the world.
• Our ministry training project in Nepal has just graduated the fourth class of pastors and ministers bringing our total number of certificated graduates to 51. These wonderful men and women from 18 to 65 have pledged their lives to spread the gospel in the Himalaya Mountains among the unreached people groups of that region.
• Also in Nepal, we give guidance, funding and support to our SARA COTR Orphanage in Katmandu. Without our help these outcast children would not know where their next meal was coming from or where they would spend this night trying to sleep. However, they are well protected, cared for and educated through your generous gifts.
• From working with the impoverished children in the city garbage dump of Iloilo Philippines to our outreach to the drug addicted youth in Russia, from planting our newest church in Pueblo West Colorado to feeding the victims of famine and tribal conflict in Nakuru Kenya, from our food bank in Port Arthur to feeding the thousands still displaced after the earthquake in Port Au Prince Haiti, from our prison ministries in Jefferson County to the new Christian radio station we are building in Thailand which will reach much of Southeast Asia, and on to the several other works which I have not mentioned this morning but who look to us for guidance, vision and support in cities literally all over the world,

Today we are making a difference – every day – in many ways … And – In as much as we are helping the least of those among us, we are ministering to Jesus! Our continued hope is to keep making our church important to God and His plan for mankind, and to keep God smiling on us.

The Future

I would not be too surprised if the Rapture of the Church occurred sometime within the next 2 weeks. Why? Well it is because of my belief that Jesus will come for His Bride during the fall of the year on a date which coincides with the Jewish New Year and the Jewish Feast of Rosh Hashanah.

The feasts of Rosh Hashanah will be celebrated on September 8th, 9th, and 10th. So, quite naturally each year I look for His coming around this time and specifically, due to all of the prophecies of late along with the current and impending world crisis, I consider this to be a good year for the rapture to occur. Most of us might already be gone in a couple of weeks.
Now, I don’t mean to scare you, but I believe He might come. And, even if He comes for no one else, He will certainly come for you in your lifetime!

However, providing Jesus tarries yet another year, then I have plans to continue the work of enhancing and advancing the Kingdom of God in the several communities we serve here in Southeast Texas and in communities like ours around the whole world.

We have but One Life and but one chance to make our greatest impact. Together we have spent years growing the team, creating the structure, forging the relationships, building a global network, and pursuing the vision of being a voice to our community and to our generation.

For the sake of planning and preparation, allow us to assume that Jesus is not going to come and rapture the Church in the next two weeks, or even if He does for that matter, … how ought we to live our lives to reflect His glory?

1. With respect for the Past; With respect for the Future; And with respect for the Present and the job which only we can do.

2. Each day, in some way:
a. Make a Living
b. Make a Life
c. Make a Difference

3. Remember:
a. God has a plan
b. He will succeed
c. You have a chance to participate

Three ways to immediately begin participating and start making a difference:

1. Salvation
2. Church Membership
3. Commitment to Service

In as much as you did it for the least of these … you did for to Me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Evil Mother Daughter Combos-Women Who Rule Their Men

Evil Mother Daughter Combos
Women Who Rule Their Men

Herodias and her daughter, Salome

Born about the same time as Jesus, Herodias was a woman possessed with a lust for power and position. She was the grand-daughter of Herod the Great, Emperor of the Roman Empire and as such enjoyed the finer things of life. As a young girl she worked her wiles and successfully married her uncle, Herod Philip who was slated to become the next emperor of Rome.

Philip and Herodias had one daughter born to them about AD 14; her name was Salome, named after her maternal grandmother. Soon it became clear that Philip would not be the choice to take the throne. Philip and Herodias were sent to live among the upper class citizens in one of the port cities in Palestine. This would never do for the ambitious Herodias. She soon began looking around for another ticket to the next higher step in life.

Philip, her husband, had a half brother, Herod Antipas, who was Tetrarch of Palestine. Tetrarch was a position equal to that of Governor over a Roman province, with complete authority over the people of that land. Herod Antipas actually held a stronger position because he had inherited the Galilee and other regions in Palestine after the death of his father, Herod the Great, in 4BC. Herod Antipas, short for Antipater, married the daughter of an Arab King for which an alliance was enjoyed with the neighboring countries along and on both sides of the Jordan River.

Herodias set her sights on winning the affection and devotion of her husband’s brother. When Philip and Herodias returned to Rome, Herod Antipas was already in love with her and followed her there. In Rome Herod Antipas convinced Herodias to leave her husband, become his mistress and return to Jerusalem with him. Herodias saw her chance to take a step up and become what amounted to queen of Palestine.

Herodias convinced Herod Antipas to dissolve his 30 year old marriage and divorce his Arab wife to be with her. Love struck and willing to give Herodias anything to please her, Herod Antipas agreed and the deal was struck. Later, war would break out between Herod and his ex father-in-law over the divorce of his daughter.

Antipas and Herodias enjoyed the high life, living in their palaces in Tiberias along the Sea of Galilee, in Jerusalem, Caesarea on the Mediterranean, and in Machaerus on the Eastern side of the Dead Sea across from Jericho and Engedi. It was most likely on their way to the latter palace, perhaps at the crossing of the Jordan River between Gilgal and Jericho, that Herod and Herodias encountered John the Baptist.

Herod respected John and often followed John’s counsel. However, after his own divorce and his subsequent marriage to his brother’s wife, whom he had enticed to leave her husband to become his mistress, Herod was not one of John’s favorite people. In fact, John railed on both Herod and Herodias publically for having committed this sin.

Herod may have feared John, but Herodias hated him!

Machiavelli wrote in his work, The Prince, that leaders should make their men fear them, but never make them hate them. Fear gives you respect from and power over your followers and among your enemies … hatred however, is unpredictable. People who hate you will at times be willing to destroy themselves in their attempts to destroy you.

At any rate, Herodias hated being publically judged, criticized, or ridiculed by those she considered her subjects. In fact, the Bible records that Herodias quarreled against John and if she could have killed him, she would have, but she lacked the official power … however – her husband did not!

Let’s read the Biblical account from:

Mark 6
14 ¶ And king Herod heard about Jesus; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.
15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold on John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.
18 For John had said to Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.
19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said to the damsel, Ask of me whatever you will, and I will give it you.
23 And he swore to her, Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give it you, to the half of my kingdom.
24 And she went forth, and said to her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25 And she came in straightway with haste to the king, and asked, saying, I will that you give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

Herodias was one evil woman bent only on what she wanted, completely disregarding what is right, committed only to her own lusts, greed and selfish desires. She even involved her young teenage daughter in what many believe was a pre-arranged, manipulative, lust-filled, enticing conspiracy to seduce her husband using her daughter’s charms and then force him to go against his wishes and murder the prophet of God.

Herodias got her way, at least for a while. Some time thereafter when she heard that her brother, Agrippa, had been exalted by Caligula and received the title of King over Philip’s former lands, in jealousy she coaxed her husband to travel to Rome and make his petition for title. When Herod Antipas arrived in Rome he was rather placed on trial for treason which resulted in him losing all claim to his governorship and his title which was turned over to Agrippa. He forfeited all his lands and palaces and was exiled to Lyon, France (Gaul), to live out his life with his wife Herodias apart from the pomp and position they had earlier enjoyed.

Some historians believe Herod Antipas was later executed by Caligula in fear of his threat to the throne. At any rate, Herodias is credited with the murder of John the Baptist, as well … she was also present when Herod stood in judgment over a Galilean named, Jesus.

Salome, the daughter of Herodias, was not without fault in the matter of John the Baptist’s death. She seems to be a willing participant and serves to epitomize the image of an evil and dangerous woman. History tells us that she continued in her mother’s footsteps, scandalously involving herself with men of rank and position, seductively wooing men and ultimately marrying three times into the power of her day. She evidently kept her luring charm and later in life convinced her husband to place her image on the coins of Chalcis, the country to which she was then queen.

Tell me: What makes a woman an evil, enticing, selfish, lust-filled, manipulating seductress?

Well, it might be easier and more beneficial to discover what makes a woman escape the temptations to use her fleshly charms to control and manipulate her world to her own advantage. What is it that keeps a woman from becoming evil and dangerous, a controlling, selfish, seductive, puppet master of men’s known carnal weaknesses?

Well, we will find out more about this next week when we continue our discussion on Evil Mother Daughter Combos, Women Who Rule Their Men!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ungodly Counsel


The Bible is The Word of God, Holy and incorruptible, inerrant in its original context, truth for all the ages of time, law to every generation, and final authority both in heaven and in earth for all eternity.

God directly and divinely handled each word and:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)

God not only gave His anointed Word to mankind in written form but He has also preserved it for every generation, divinely moving on the hearts of men who have treasured it, translated it into various languages, printed and distributed it to the masses, and preached it throughout the world in every age.

God has never had to revise His Word because truth does not change with the times. He said it right the first time and it will last for all time.

Not only did God divinely inspire each scripture but He also arranged the placement of the books of the Bible into their successive order, not a chronological order, but rather a divine order according to His multi-faceted purpose and will.

When we read the Bible, even though it may be broken down into book, chapter, and verse, we realize that many times God carries a thought on into the next section, beyond the bounds of what often seems natural to man’s normal reading habits. There is a definite overlapping of thought by divine order and placement.

Allow me to show you an example: You are most like familiar with the account of a man named Job, divinely recorded in a book of the Bible given that same name.
Even though most scholars agree that Job is likely to be the oldest book in the Bible, it finds its place in the middle of the canon of scriptures, well after much later written books like Joshua, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

Why? Who decided these things? --- God did by divine appointment and purpose.
Just because man had a hand in it does not mean that man was responsible for it.

Almost everything God wants done, He finds a man to do it.

Ok - remember --- we are talking about the divine inspiration and divine authority and divine order of God’s Word. Back to the example of Job:

This past week I had opportunity to read through the book of Job. It is a fascinating book filled with wonderful pictures of God and Sovereignty. It is an account which will definitely stretch one’s perspective of life and the trials which may be encountered.

For a number of reasons I have purposefully developed a habit of reading a little bit further than the end of a thought, chapter or book in the Bible. I tend to be an “extra mile” kind of guy who does more rather than less.

Well, when I finished the last verse of the book of Job, I continued reading on into the next book, which is the book of Psalms. This is not the first time I have done this and once again this past week I was reminded by God just how important it is to give God His final say.

(Production Notes: I will not read the following passage word for word but will skim through the verses to give context – I will endeavor to be clear enough for you to follow me from verse to verse)

Turn with me to:

Job 42
6 (And Job said to God) … I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
7 ¶ And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has.
8 Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
10 ¶ And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
11 Then came there to him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought on him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers.
16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.
17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

Reading out of the book of Job and into the book of Psalms we find that God confirms the conclusion of Job in Psalms 1 by immediately saying:

Psalms 1
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law does he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season; his leaf shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.

So … the whole conclusion of Job’s life, trials, and triumph, can be summed up in the first three verses of Psalms 1.

1. Do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly …

In this day and age people seek everywhere for answers to life’s desperate questions. They read self-help books, ask advice from friends, go online and take tests, consult with psychics, read horoscopes and get options from people they have never met in chat rooms and discussion forums --- however the answer they need is not going to be found among the ungodly or gotten from those who don’t even know you or care about but who only want to be your friend.

The Word of God is the one and the only source of truth and direction in life and all who would counsel you otherwise are ungodly.

Allow me to tell you the truth as God’s Word declares:

• Lying is sin
• Murder is sin
• Premarital sex is sin
• Extra-marital sex is sin
• Same gender sex is sin
• All sex outside of the covenant of marriage as God intended and attested to by the Holy Scriptures is sin
• Child abuse and child neglect is sin
• Greed and Covetousness is sin
• Disrespecting or dishonoring our parents (including God) is sin
• Putting anything before God in our life is sin
• Disobeying the Word of God is sin

Do not be lured into following anyone or anything who would tell you otherwise. There is only one way to recover from sin … Repent before God!

2. Make the Word of God your delight …

Once we have repented we can recover ourselves from the effects of sin by returning to the Word of God and making God’s Word our delight and our meditation, in the good times and in the bad. (Meditate day and night)

The more of God’s Word we ingest and digest, the greater His counsel will become in our hearts and minds. His Word will clean us, refresh us, strengthen us and help us recover ourselves from the effects of sin.

We must make God’s Word our daily bread and create a habit of need for His Word as food for our soul. We do this when we discipline ourselves to seek after and live by the Words of the Holy Bible. Only through the Word of God can we be set free and Recover from sin.

Once we Repent before God and Recover from sin, we will:

3. Be Restored by God

(v. 3 And he shall be like a tree …)

Only God can restore what life has taken, what others have robbed, or what the devil has destroyed. And God will restore to us … just as He did in the life of Job.
Job came to a new appreciation of God, His Word, His Power and His Goodness. Won’t you give God a chance to bless you …?

Don’t follow after ungodly counsel …

Commit your life to walking in the counsel of God’s Word, without regard as to the troubles you face, why they came or whose fault they seemingly are … stay right with God and let Him have His final say.

You can trust His Word and remember: If it’s bad, God’s not finished yet!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Managing Miracles


Luke 9 NKJV
1 ¶ Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.
2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

It was during this time that Herod beheaded John the Baptist.

10 ¶ And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Bethsaida is situated on the Northern shore of the Sea of Galilee along the Eastern bank of the Jordan River. The small fishing boats of that day made easy passage down the Jordan River and into the Sea of Galilee, which is but a large fresh water lake, 6 to 7 miles wide and 13 to 14 miles long, and not a salt sea as one might think. Bethsaida was a fishing village in that day and the fisherman often docked their fishing boats or other little boats along the Jordan.

Jesus did more miracles in and around Bethsaida than at any other place during His earthly life and ministry. Bethsaida was the home of at least 5 of the disciples: James, John, Andrew, Peter and Phillip. Although tour groups almost never visit the archeological ruins of Bethsaida, when you go with me … I’ll take you there, and for 45 of you, that trip will be this November.

Luke 9:10, Matthew 14:13 and Mark 6:32 all tell us that after hearing about the death of John the Baptist, Jesus gathered His disciples and went into a deserted place seeking some privacy and rest. Matthew tells us that Jesus went by ship while Luke reveals that the place Jesus chose to go belonged to the city of Bethsaida.

Multitudes saw Jesus depart and followed Him along the banks of the Jordan and found Him in the green grass fields with His disciples. There was a reported 5,000 men besides the women and children to make up a multitude of perhaps 10 to 15,000 people.

Luke 9
11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.
12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here."
13 But He said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people."
14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of fifty."

Mark adds to the account and shows the order with which Jesus administrated such a large group of people to insure the miracle hit its intended mark and every individual’s needs were met …

Mark 6
39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass.
40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.

I love the administrative forethought, the planning and the strategy Jesus teaches in this passage. Now back to:

Luke 9
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

The part of the story I want to focus on this morning is not the actual miracle of multiplying the fish and loaves, but rather the administration of that miracle and all the planning and work it takes to manage and conserve the purpose of a miracle.

Every miracle has a purpose.

Every opportunity God gives us has intended results.

Miracle opportunities can be wasted if not properly administrated.

When I read this story and other biblical accounts I am drawn to study and compare them closely in hopes to discover patterns and glean wisdom so that I can know how to manage, administrate, and conserve what God is doing in the earth today. God is always working miracles and the opportunities He gives us have an intended purpose. I don’t want to waste one miracle or one opportunity God gives or, leave one person out.

I am amazed at the multiplying of the fish and loaves and I realize that there is something God is willing to do through each one of us. However, what I am more interested in is how can we take what God is willing to multiply through and divide it up to insure that not one person of the thousands He wants to feed, goes without their portion of the miracle.

How do I make sure you do not go without getting your miracle? Every one of you! How can I make sure you get what God has for you … what God gives me to give to you? Where is the pattern? What is the strategy?

In 538BC God moved on the heart of King Cyrus of Persia to begin repopulating the city of Jerusalem and rebuilding the Temple. Approximately 50,000 people left Babylon and made their way to the Land of Israel. However, the Temple was not completed nor was the city walls of Jerusalem rebuilt during the lifetime of King Cyrus.

In about 456BC, Ezra and Nehemiah take it upon themselves to accomplish these tasks. They were successful. When they had completed their work the temple was dedicated with great excitement and celebration. Multitudes came from all around and wept as they offered their praise and thanksgiving to God for this miracle. It had been decades since the Word of God had been heard this way in the Land of Israel. All who heard were excited however, not everyone who heard understood what was said.

Nehemiah 8
1 ¶ Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel.
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
4 So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

It was on the first day of the new year, called Rosh Hashanah, which is the first day of the seventh month according to the Jewish calendar, when all the people gathered together as one man on the broad street which is by the water gate while Ezra stood upon a pulpit made of wood, which they had made for this purpose. From that high place, Ezra read the Word of God like any preacher in his pulpit does to the congregation on a Sunday morning. He read it from morning until midday. (I guess they liked to get out of church at noon too!)

At any rate, Ezra the priest who was the preacher that day, preached the Word to the whole congregation and then other elders, deacons, teachers and leaders, (Levites), broke the congregation down into small groups and expounded unto them the Word of God more distinctly making sure that everyone got to hear and understand what the preacher said more clearly.
Herein is the principle and strategy of small groups, just like Jesus used when He fed all those thousands with the fish and loaves. However, this was not the first time God used this strategy with His people.

When the children of Israel came out of Egypt God instructed Moses to divide the whole congregation into groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens and set leaders over each successively smaller group so that all could be covered, counseled, corrected, and cared for. You can read about that in Exodus 18.

At any rate, it is a time honored and age old proven principle of the Word of God for each one of His children to belong to, benefit from, and participate in a small group, which is part of a larger group, which is part of a larger group, which is part of a larger group still. Group identity and group participation is important.

There are dynamics which we can benefit from and be of benefit to in each one of these groups which we cannot get or give belonging to only one of these several groups. Just being a part of a large crowd does not add to nor does it offer to others the individual contact and care of personal intimate relationships which a smaller group provides.

At the same time, only being part of a small intimate group does not afford the opportunities to participate in the greater purposes of God which can only be accomplished by the strength and multi faceted capacity of a larger group of people. Big churches do big things for God.

Miracle opportunities abound at every level of relationship within the Body of Christ. We are all joined together to make up the whole body and accomplish the full work of the Lord.

So, according to the pattern, the principle, and strategy of God as revealed through Moses, Ezra, and Jesus, consider taking advantage of your miracle opportunities and participate in the many successively smaller groups offered through our church.

We do what we do because we believe it is the God way of doing it. In order for every person to have their individual needs met it will take leaders and followers, everyone participating, in groups of thousands, groups of hundreds, groups of fifties and groups of tens.

Every miracle, every opportunity, has a purpose. What is the purpose, the strategy, the opportunity with various size groups? For Moses the purpose was structure and leadership; For Ezra the purpose to clarify the Word of God; For Jesus the purpose was to insure every person was fed; For us … our purpose is relationship, discipleship, personal growth & souls.
From our Sunday school classes to our Sunday morning worship services, from our monthly small group ministries in the homes to the combined Christian community celebrations, from our men’s skeet shoots and women’s Bible studies, to our Wednesday systematic education classes, whether children, youth, or adults, we are the family of God offering miracle opportunities on purpose for every person who will participate.

What have you been missing in church?
What is it that you would like to see?
Where do you fit?
What are you getting out of church?
What are you giving to the Body of Christ in the place God has set you?

Be blessed and be a blessing as you find your place and participate in God’s plan for the church and for your life. See what a dynamic difference it makes to you and those around you as we share our strengths, reach our communities, and impact the whole world, one soul at a time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Women of the Bible - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


Somewhere between 1100 and 1150 years before Jesus was born, during the period of history when the judges ruled in Israel, there was a great shortage of food in and around the land of Judah. Perhaps this famine was a result of invading armies from neighboring enemies who had a long history of raiding the fields of these crop rich lands.

It was much like the days of Gideon, recorded in Judges 6, when for 7 years the Midianites perpetrated these raids at every harvest season. So much so that Judges 6:6 says that during this time Israel was greatly impoverished. However Gideon, following the call of the Lord, fixed all of that and the land returned to its former prosperous state.

At any rate, it was during a time of great distress and shortage of food and supplies that a man living in Bethlehem, which belonged to the Tribe of Judah, moved his wife and two sons from Israel eastward to the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and his two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion.

*(Show the country of Moab in relation to Bethlehem on the whiteboard)

While in that country Mahlon and Chilion married Moabite women, presumably Mahlon married a woman named Ruth and Chilion married a woman whose name was Orpah. After approximately ten years had passed the Bible tells us that Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion died; from what we do not know. This left Naomi and her two daughters-in-law alone to fend for themselves.

Naomi heard that things in Israel had gotten better and she decided to return to her homeland to live out the rest of her years. Believing it to be best, Naomi encouraged both Ruth and Orpah to remain in there in the country of Moab. After some discussion along the way, Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her family while Ruth made a covenant with Naomi declaring that she would never leave her alone.

I have heard several sermons through the years from teachers who shine a dim light on Orpah as a bad, and even as a wicked woman for leaving Naomi while Ruth is seen as one who followed the will of God. Let’s read a few verses from the book of Ruth to see for ourselves.

Now remember, we have nothing to prove and we start with no pre-conceptions … rather we have much to discover from the pages of the most accurate recorded history known to man, the infallible Bible.

Ruth 1
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.
7 Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons,
13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me!”
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
16 But Ruth said:

“ Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.

The difference between Ruth and Orpah is not, “Good Girl – Bad Girl”, but rather a difference in calling.

Let’s look again:

8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons,
13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me!”
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

This was not an easy decision for either of them; they were already on their way to go to Bethlehem; three times Naomi tried to reason with the girls; however one of them had a calling on her life to go with Naomi but for the other one, I believe it was most likely not the will of God.

The will of God is not the same for every person. Destiny has to draw us along individually and what is right for one person may not be best for another. Not everyone has the same calling or the same duty of life.

Both Ruth and Orpah made a very difficult decision in life. One made the decision to stay and one made the decision to go – but neither decision was bad or made from a bad or purely selfish heart. Rather I believe that both of them made their choice to do the will of God as best they understood it at the time.

And, even if their decision was a bad decision, it does not make them bad and it does not mean that God has forsaken them or will not use them in the future to accomplish His plan. This is not justification for sin!

God does not make every decision for us but when we give Him our life and do what we believe is right based on the Word and will of God as we understand it out of a good and submissive heart, He works with every decision we make, even the bad ones, to benefit us and the part He has for us to play in His Kingdom plan. I am not talking about sin, stubbornness or rebellion to the known will of God – but rather a bad decision or wrong choice or costly mistake.

Was Orpah good, bad, or ugly? I am convinced that Orpah was a good woman who made the best decision for her life in accordance with the will and plan of God for her and for others around her. There is no Biblical indication or evidence otherwise. I hope, as did Naomi, that Orpah lived a long and prosperous life with her next husband I the land of Moab.

How about Ruth … was Ruth good, bad, or wicked and evil? She was a good woman. Even though many scholars agree, as do I, that Ruth went against all known laws, ethics, culture, customs and that modesty which even nature upholds as divinely ordered, to place herself in bed of Boaz in the cover of darkness and there to offer herself to him in the nighttime … Ruth still had no evil, rebellious or sinful intent and the Lord worked, despite her risky and perhaps, poor choice, to further the work of His plan.

From the marriage of Ruth and Boaz came a son, Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David the King who was one of the paternal progenitors of Joseph, the carpenter, and of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Ruth is in the lineage of Jesus as one of His great, great grandmothers.

Sometimes people make bad decisions, alarmingly bad decisions, which none of us could ever imagine making ourselves. However, unless and until we have been faced with the same situation which others were faced with, we cannot tell what we might decide in that isolated moment of life.

One of the seemingly worst decisions ever made in an isolated moment of life was based on the best information available at the time. It is truly alarming what a person is capable of when they are recovering from a tragedy, are surrounded by fear and isolation, and possess a strong desire to do something to help. It is alarming what we can sometimes embrace as a best choice in life. Bad choices costs, and even good people make bad choices.

Such was the case with Ruth’s ancestors. Ruth would not have ever existed if it was not for the fact that God works with people and their choices far beyond their bad decisions and their worst mistakes.

So often we see people who make bad decisions and costly mistakes as just bad people … especially if it affects or offends us … God does not. God looks on the heart. Just because someone made a bad decision does not mean they have a bad, wicked, evil or rebellious heart.

The Book of Genesis gives the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. You are probably familiar with the story, or portions thereof.

*(Show the location of Sodom and Gomorrah on the whiteboard)

What a terrible tragedy to behold: the destruction of the cities in that lower plain of the Jordan River Valley below the Dead Sea. And then, to witness your wife or your mother turn into a pillar of salt right before your eyes and then to be forced to quickly move on forward for safety’s sake. For the two daughters of Lot these events came the day after they had both been offered by their father to a mob of sex craved maniacs as ransom for a couple of strangers who had just hit town. This had to be a terribly frightening and traumatic experience for both of these young women.

They first escaped with only their lives to the nearby city of Zoar and then, in fear, further alarmed by their father’s frantic delusions, they find themselves living in isolation in a cave tucked in seclusion high in the mountains on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. These two young ladies had been through a lot … what were they to believe?

Genesis 19:31 says that the girls believed they were the only people left alive on planet earth. What did they know about God? The probably knew the stories told them how that twice earlier, once in the Garden of Eden and once after the flood, when after evident chaos and destruction, God’s plan was to replenish and repopulate the earth from one family.

They knew their father to be old, as the account describes, and therefore time offered its added pressures to make a hurried decision. What did they do about what they believed was right?

It is not unreasonable to imagine that Lot was not in his right mind and therefore more subject to the scheme of his daughters as they conspired to get him drunk so that subsequently both sisters could become pregnant and begin what they imagined was their duty to repopulate the world.

Well, they were wrong and what they did was wrong … but I do not believe that these two young girls did what they did from a bad, rebellious or evil heart. For goodness sake … they were alone, surrounded by fear, recoiling from tragedy, isolated from truth, living in shock, the weight of the world on their shoulders, overwhelmed by youthful imaginations, subject to false conclusions, living in a cave with a frightened old man, a man they believed to be the last man on planet earth.

How could anyone fault either of these two women for what they did? They were strong, courageous, decisive, committed, brave and determined women. I can’t imagine the heart it must have taken to do what they did and they did it all for the right reasons based on all they knew to be true. You may say that you would never do anything like that but don’t be too quick to judge others until you have actually walked a mile in their shoes.

Genesis 19
36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

God evidently sees things different than does man, for He looks on the heart. In fact the oldest daughter of Lot bore a son named Moab … that’s right … the progenitor of the Moabites and the grandfather of Ruth. He, by the way, was one of the great, great grandfathers of David the King and of Jesus our Lord! (and so was Lot) Not to mention that Lot’s oldest daughter is Ruth’s great, great grandmother and one of the great grandmothers of Jesus as well.

All in all, God often sees things a bit different than do we. God is able to separate the bad decisions we make from the person we are. Not that He gives licenses to make bad decisions or in any way agrees with our sin. However, God is bigger than your sin and bigger than your last worst mistake.

Now if you have a heart problem, are stubborn or rebellious to God’s known will … that’s different. There are bad people and there are wicked and evil people.

In a couple of weeks we are going to take a look at a woman in the Bible who was truly wicked – and evil woman bent on pleasing only herself.

Conclusion and life application: What have we discovered tonight?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Women of the Bible - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


From the dawn of mankind, women have exercised their God given abilities to influence the course of history. At every critical juncture, be it internal family affairs or a world at war, you will most often find a woman behind the scenes using her powers of persuasion to affect the outcome.

It is certain that women have more influence than do men. Who do you look at in the commercials on television; who do you believe when you hear a husband and a wife differ in their recollection of a story; who do you dress for – to win the approval, acceptance and respect of men or women? (most likely a woman, unless you specifically want to influence a man, then you dress perhaps a bit more provocative)

Women know what attracts men while men have no idea what is attractive to a woman. Women know what it takes to keep a man happy while men are often clueless. Men for the most part are simple creatures in comparison to the complex creature we call woman. It is impossible to win an argument with a woman – oh, you may think you have won, but just wait, it’s not over yet! (She may soften you up a bit more before the next round, but believe me, there will be another round.)

From time to time I pick up a little consulting work. Last year I was asked to help develop a marketing strategy aimed at increasing sales of a certain product to the religious groups within the US. At the center of my proposal was the crucial element of securing an appointment and developing a relationship with the CEO’s presumably female secretary or female executive assistant. I submitted that only after gaining her confidence should the pitch be made to the CEO.

I further proposed than any failure at the CEO level should be followed up by a continued relationship with the secretary and reassess the pitch potential each quarter thereafter. It seems that sales people always want to have an appointment with the decision maker of a company. Where they often miss the mark is knowing who the decision maker relies on to help them make their decision. That person is often much more accessible and much more vulnerable to a good sales pitch. Women are influencers but they are also susceptible to being influenced themselves.

The story of the Bible and indeed the whole world would not be complete, as was creation not completed, without the woman and her God given gifts of persuasion. Tonight we begin a new Wednesday evening series entitled:
Women Of The Bible
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

We have nothing to prove but a whole lot to understand as we survey the lives and affects of several women whom God chose to include in His Story – history. So, let’s begin at the beginning and take a look at the prototype for all womanhood – Eve. Was she good, bad, or just plain ugly?

You probably know the story from the last few verses of Genesis 2 where in verse 21 God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and removed a rib from his side from which He created woman. You know men are still unconscious of how women are made.

Anyway, as the story continues when Adam saw this woman he was hooked, (no ‘hooker’ pun intended – however, remember the children’s song: “Oh be careful little eyes what you see …”? – The fact is, even Adam fell in love with the first naked woman he saw! --- So young men, and old men alike – don’t get hooked by the wrong woman!). At any rate, Adam was smitten by the woman’s beauty and charm, on top of that he was lonely, (watch yourselves when you’re lonely), and Adam desired to be one with her. His first words were:

Genesis 2
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 This is the reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

There was presumably some amount of time between the end of Genesis 2 and the account which takes place in the first few verses of Genesis 3.

Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
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.
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
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.”
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.

With this we are able to draw some conclusions as to Eve’s place on our list.

Was Eve good, bad, or just plain ugly? When I use the word ugly, I’m not talking about what some “shallow Hal’s” might see in the physical appearance but rather those truly wicked and evil women in history who full well knew the destruction they were using their craft to accommodate. There are women who are purely evil and intend wickedness without remorse. However, Eve was not one of those women.

Eve was good. She was not a bad, nor was she a wicked or evil woman, as some would make her out to be. Eve was not bad, she was tricked.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

As I said, Eve was tricked. She was sold a bill of goods by the first slick ad campaign and believed the salesman had her best interest at heart. She made a decision based upon what was staring her right in the face. She heard a voice telling her to do it, it made sense to her and she went for it.

Her husband, Adam, was right there with her. Whether or not he heard that “snake in the grass” who was attempting to convince his wife to buy the apple story, we don’t know. But, most likely if Adam was hunting, fishing, gardening, dinosaur watching or watching the turtle races on TV, he was completely disconnected from the conversations his wife was having around the garden anyway. But, that’s a subject for a later series. For now, let’s stick with Eve.

1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

As I said, Eve was not bad and not rebellious, she was tricked, deceived, influenced if you will, by what she heard and what she saw and what she wanted, and subsequently she exerted her influence on Adam. Eve was a good woman, a Godly woman, a great grandmother of Jesus, the woman God chose to be the mother of all living. I believe Eve is in heaven.

However, Eve, and many other ladies in the Bible, throughout modern history and even women today, perhaps even you, may underestimate the influence and the real impact you have on others in your life, especially the men to whom you relate.

You don’t have to be bad and you don’t have to be rebellious to be wrong. Women have influence, but what influences women?

What influences women to be good?
What influences women to be bad?
What influences women to be truly ugly?

Well, that’s a question which requires a little more research before we determine the answer. So, next week we will pick up on this same theme as we take a candid look at the women in the Bible, the good, the bad and even the ugly. See you next Wednesday!

Monday, August 2, 2010



God gives every bird his food, but doesn’t throw it in the nest.

Rarely does God work by Himself.

God usually demands that we participate in our miracles.

With that in mind our text for today will be found in 1 Kings 17

The year is about 910 BC
Ahab, the 7th King of the Northern 10 Tribes of Israel, is reigning
Ahab had married Jezebel who was exerting evil influence over Israel
1 Kings 16:33 says that Ahab did more to provoke the Lord than all …
1 Kings 17 God sent the Prophet Elijah to Ahab to prophesy “no rain” …

In order to protect and preserve the Prophet Elijah, God directed him:

1 Kings 17 (NKJV)
3 "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

We gain some points to ponder from this passage:
1. “Drink from the brook” (this represented a natural supply)
2. “Commanded the ravens to feed” (the supernatural supply)
3. God expects the natural and supernatural to work together
4. Sometimes the natural supply becomes insufficient or dries up
5. Without the natural supply, God may not choose to continue the supernatural … God does not seem to like working all by Himself.
God often marries the natural and the supernatural; the practical and the spiritual to accomplish His purposes.

Anyway, after the brook dried up, God gave new orders to Elijah:

1 Kings 17
8 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."

There must have been something in Zarephath that was not available in Cherith. Most likely there was a well which would provide a natural supply. And, there was also a widow in Zarephath whom God wanted to use to be the supernatural supply.

If I had have been Elijah and was told that I was being sent to be the guest of a widow who was going to be my supply during the time of famine, I imagine I would have expected God to have chosen a rich widow, someone of means. After all, don’t you have to have resources to be a resource for others?

Nope, the truth is: You don’t need resources to be a resource - To be a resource what you need is a source.

And evidently God was planning to be the widow’s source. Let’s see what God did.

1 Kings 17
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."

Notice here that God chose a woman doing all she could, where she was, with what she had.

When God wants to bless someone He often chooses someone who needs a blessing to be the blessing.

* She was limited by what she saw
* She was limited by what she expected
* She was limited by what she planned to do with what she had.
* She had an ‘eat what I have and die’ mentality

1 Kings 17
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
14 "For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’"

Fear was limiting this widow … she was limited by:
• Her past and all she had ever known
• Her present and what she saw all around her
• Her future and what she expected would happen

But her fear gave way to faith when she heard the Word of the Lord. And, when she acted on the Word everything changed.

1 Kings 17:16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

When this poor woman put her faith in action, God became her source and she became His resource.

When you make God your source, He will make you His resource.

Make Life Application: God wants you to be His supernatural partner, His resource. Don’t let fear limit you. Hear the Word of the Lord today!