Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dress for Success


Throughout the whole Bible God seems to be interested in what people wear.
·        Genesis 3 – God is not pleased with the clothes Adam and Eve had made for themselves so He made them some new clothes.
·        Psalms 45 – Speaks about the daughter of the King being clothed in garments woven with gold and her robe made by needlepoint in many colors.
·        Revelation 19 – The Bride of Christ clothed in fine linen clean and white, which linen is the righteousness of the saints.

God is definitely interested in what people wear – from the first, to the middle, to the end of the Bible, God has particular opinions concerning what He considers to be acceptable dress … and … if we want to be successful we must pay attention to our garments of choice.

Zephaniah 1
7  Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; For the day of the LORD is at hand, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.
8  And it shall be, In the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, That I will punish the princes and the king’s children, And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
9  In the same day I will punish All those who leap over the threshold, Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

This Old Testament prophet reveals the Eastern culture and customs of his day which required that guests be supplied with garments by the hosts of any great occasion. It was most often at great expense that special garments were designed, fashioned and offered to each person who was invited. For someone to refuse to wear such a gift was considered to be of the utmost insult and offense, as if to disrespect the host and say that the host’s best was inferior to their liking and merited no serious consideration. Basically this action would say: “I want to take part in the benefit but I choose to maintain my own identity.”

I refuse to be like anyone or everyone else – prideful – I’m not entering any way except my own way … those who leap over the threshold.

Jesus also had something to say about this matter and He explains it in:

Matthew 22
1  And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
2  "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
3  "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
4  "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ’Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."’
5  "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.
6  "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.
7  "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8  "Then he said to his servants, ’The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9  ’Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’
10  "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11  "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
12  "So he said to him, ’Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13  "Then the king said to the servants, ’Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14  "For many are called, but few are chosen."

The chosen, according to this passage, are those who show up on time dressed for success.

The insult of the guest in this parable might be viewed no different than if Adam and Eve were to have refused God’s clothing in the Garden of Eden choosing rather to enjoy their own creations which could never cover their sin. Such disrespect shown towards the King is inexcusable and intolerable.

Many of the great stories of the Bible include some reference or connection to clothing.
·        Joseph and
o   his coat of many colors
o   his change of apparel before being brought to Pharaoh
o   the 5 changes of garments he gave to Benjamin
·        The consecrated garments and accessories worn by the Levite Priests
·        Israel’s first defeat in Canaan was due in part to the wrongful hoarding of a Babylonish garment by an Israelite named Achan
·        Samson and the 30 changes of garments he lost to a wager in an act of betrayal by his wife
·        The daughters of King David were arrayed in special garments
·        The leprosy of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, was connected to the two changes of garments which he swindled from Naaman
·        When Haman was asked what should be done for the man in whom the King delighted – he responded to the King, let him wear a robe the King has worn
·        Even the sackcloth and ashes of Job were garments of holiness
·        On and on and on

Ezra talks about garments, Nehemiah, Ester, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and on and on and on all make reference to garments and their importance to some aspect of what God was doing.

I’m telling you … God is interested in what we put on and He wants us to be clothed in and covered by His righteousness.

Isaiah 61
10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself  with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Notice – “He has clothed, He has covered me …”

There are so many uniform requirements and dress codes in this life from schools to jobs to the military … and those who do not dress for success will not therefore be successful. God has a dress code for success …

Even in the resurrection …

2 Corinthians 5
2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
3  if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
4  For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

We must be born again and put on Messiah as a garment of salvation.

Ephesians 4:24  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Allow me to encourage everyone of us this morning to not “leap over the threshold” or take pride in doing our own thing our own way. In order for us to dress for success, every one of us need:

The Two Coverings God Provides Through Jesus the Messiah
1.   The Eternal Garment of Salvation
2.   The Daily Robe of Righteousness

We can’t get there on our own and even if we could, we would only be seen for who we are and get kicked out for being under dressed.
·        Get saved and
·        Get right with God

Stay dressed for success!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grace & Works


Ephesians 2
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

For by grace are you saved

The Bible teaches a “Grace Based” salvation message along with a “Works Based” life message.

The Salvation of every Sinner is based on Grace


The Life of every Believer is based on Works

The aim of the Gospel and therefore my aim each time I have the opportunity to preach, teach, counsel or encourage someone, is twofold:

1.   Lead every lost soul to salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of the cross, without regard as to what they have done in their past.
2.   Motivate every Born Again Believer to do some work for Jesus, without regard as to who they are or who they may think they are.

Grace creates opportunity for everyone … so does work!

Faith alone won’t save anyone! It might only take faith on the part of the lost, but in order for anyone to receive salvation it took work on someone’s part. First, Jesus worked mighty hard to provide what Grace promises, then many saints work tirelessly around the globe to continue the offering of God’s Grace to every lost soul in every generation.

Salvation is given by grace … the good grace of someone at work!

Each person is saved by grace, which grace is a gift of God. Imagine with me just who and how many who’s God used to make your gift and bring it to you exactly when you were ready for it?

Somehow we imagine Christmas presents to be free gifts from Santa without ever considering how many Elves it took to make and test and wrap and deliver those billions of gifts. Unlike that image of Santa, God gives gifts on a daily basis – reckon how many workers He needs?

So, if you are not yet saved by this grace … get saved today! God has a lot of people working on your salvation who could be busy doing other things. Stop wasting God’s time and resources with your indecision and procrastination. Get saved today – it’s free for all sinners and there is nothing you can do to get it except simply receive it by believing in Jesus.

Sinner … Get saved and then get to work!

Believers … we have some work to do. God has made me your supervisor and I have a list of things He wants done.

I have received a big order from heaven this week to increase ‘God Awareness’ in the earth. God wants to get people’s attention and here is what we are going to do this week to help Him accomplish that goal.

1.   Right now I need you to Think about someone you know who is either lost or backslidden or in real need of God’s help.
2.   As soon you have that person’s name or their family in your mind I want you to stand up. (I’m not going to have you come down front or do anything that will embarrass you or ask you to tell who the person is – just get the name of a person who is lost or away from God or in real need firmly fixed in your head and then stand if you can)
3.   Ok – those of you listening to our broadcast – do the same thing … get a name or a family in your mind and stand right there where you are, unless you are driving or something like that … if you can’t, God will understand. --- Ok – got it?
4.   As we close this service this morning we are going to do two things –
a.   First we are going to pray for that person or family – out loud and right now. This is the work of God – God needs help to get His grace out to others. Our first work of God is to pray. This is one of the easiest jobs you will ever do for Jesus.
b.   Number two: This coming week we are going to do some more work for God in that each one of us is going to contact the person we have in our mind right now who is either lost or away from God or in need of God’s help, and we are going to say this or something like this to them:

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

That’s all … it’s that simple … you are working for God. With this we will assist God in reaching His goal of increasing “God Awareness” in the lives of others and let them know that He cares and that His grace is available.

We are going to pray now and don’t forget, follow up with a phone call, an email, a text, a FB post or private message, card, letter or a simple personal conversation with the person for whom you are praying.

This may not seem like much to ask but if we will all do it together, the results will be amazing and you will hear testimonies that the grace of God was sufficient to meet so many simple and desperate needs in the lives of people who right now may not think that anyone knows or cares where they are in life.

Are you ready? Do you have that individual or family in your mind? Let’s pray!

I have a printout of what you need to say to this person this week – it’s my job to make your job easier!

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”
“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

“This week God laid you on my heart and I prayed for you. If there is anything special you need, let me know and I will add it to my prayer time.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



Judges 5:24  Most blessed among women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Blessed is she among women in tents.

(The story of Jael … Share the history of Heber’s household and his wife Jael. Tell about the duties of a homemaker in that setting and how keeping the tent ropes tight and the tent pegs secure was Jael’s daily duty. Conclude with the fact that Jael was the perfect person to do this particular job since she had evidently become great in her ordinary, everyday, day in and day out duties. Her ordinary life of pounding tent stakes into the hard ground with “her” hammer prepared her right arm to strike with the confidence, accuracy and strength necessary to insure the kill. It was her hammer and her tent peg and her daily chores which gave Jael this opportunity to be great. Forever she will be remembered and blessed among women in tents!)

Judges 4:21  Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Greatness is seldom achieved because someone does many things well but rather because someone does one thing extremely well. And believe me – there is something which you were born to do extremely well.

There is something you can naturally do better, without much effort, than most of the people around you can do with all their might. God creates each person with purpose and He especially endows each one with natural abilities to complete their purpose.

However, just because you have been given a range of natural abilities which can be sharpened into great abilities does not guarantee you success. God gives us potential but we must prepare ourselves so that we are ready for use in the day of God’s choosing.

Many are called but few are chosen – Matthew 22:14 – why? This is mostly due to the fact that out of the many to whom God has given potential, only a few actually work to reach their God given potential. Others, the many, are either lazily coasting along in the middle of the crowd on their natural abilities or else investing themselves in areas to which they are neither called to nor gifted in.

God gives potential but potential is just potential … potential only guarantees opportunity to excel … however, that opportunity often goes unnoticed because it comes to us in such ordinary ways. Such was the case with Jael …

This truth was also exemplified in the life of David who as a young shepherd boy, doing his daily chores tending the sheep of his father. David testified how he protected them by killing a bear, then a lion, and when given the chance, was prepared to kill Goliath with that same sling.

David was great in his ordinary which prepared him for the extraordinary.

On January 15, 2009, a US Airways Airbus 320 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City on a schedule routine flight bound for Charlotte, North Carolina. During the initial climb the Airbus encountered a flock of Canadian geese which upon striking the plane disabled both engines.

Captain Sullenberger quickly decided his best option was to ditch his plane with its 155 passengers and crew, in the Hudson River. With his decision made he informed the Air Traffic Controller and told his passengers to “brace for impact”.

At 3:31pm, this 57 year old airline seasoned pilot from Denison, Texas, performed what has been determined to be the perfect emergency ditching of a plane, landing so smoothly that many onboard felt it to be a better landing than they had previously experienced in planes under normal conditions. All 155 people survived and the plane remained intact.

After every passenger and crew member had exited and was safely away from the plane, Captain Sully walked back through the compartments twice to make sure no one was left behind before leaving himself.

What made this man perform so extraordinarily in such a critical time? When asked that question by CBS News, Captain Sullenberger said:

"One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience: education and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal."

In other words, he was prepared. What prepared Captain Sully … it was his everyday, day in and day out, hum drum routine of life – just doing the basics over and over again, becoming great in his ordinary … this qualified him to perform when the extraordinary was required.

Years before this incident Captain Sullenberger founded a consulting group aimed at teaching and coaching others to focus on safety, performance and reliability issues. Consistency with respect to daily management is a critical key to long term success and will serve to stabilize during crisis.

There are no shortcuts to success and the person who hopes to be prepared for the truly critical moments we all face in life must recognize the necessity of becoming great in the ordinary. In all of Elijah’s life and ministry there are only yet 7 miracles recorded in the Bible done by Elijah, the great prophet. Even Jesus, though He was the Son of God, lived a regular routine of life which included such repetitive things regularly 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.

There are three things I am going to ask you to do on a consistent basis that will help you to become great in your ordinary.

1.   Be content with the ordinary.
2.   Develop a dependable routine of life.
3.   Serve God by helping others.

Saturday, June 9, 2012



About 1000 years before Jesus was born, King David reigned in Jerusalem. He had several wives and he had children by those several wives so that many of his children were half brothers and sisters. Even though they were all David’s children, many were born to different mothers.

One of the virgin daughters of King David was named Tamar. It came about one day that her half brother, Amnon, became obsessed with her beauty and kindness. Tamar was all that Amnon could think about. He thought about her so much in fact that he became depressed because he felt there was no way he could ever fulfill his desire to be with her.

One of Amnon’s closest friends noticed his depression and questioned him to find the reason. Upon hearing the cause, Amnon’s friend devised a plan for Amnon to be alone with Tamar. He told Amnon to fake sickness and request of the King that Tamar be called to his home to prepare food for him during his sickness. The plan worked … King David sent Tamar to Amnon’s house.

When Tamar finished preparing food in Amnon’s kitchen, he commanded everyone else to leave his home and then told her to bring the food into his bedroom so he could rest while eating from her hand. When she came close to feed him, Amnon took hold of Tamar and despite her pleading, he forced himself upon her.

The story takes a more terrible turn here. You see, Amnon did not truly love Tamar, he had allowed lusts to masquerade as love, but now the mask was off.

2 Samuel 13:15  Then Amnon hated Tamar exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!"

Lust is the only love the world has to offer. Lust is a fleeting, unfulfilling, poor imitation of God’s love. To get a better understanding of the difference between the world’s love and God’s love, turn with me to:

1 John 3 NKJV
1 ¶  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Let’s hold right here for a moment and “look at”, or rather as the scripture says - “behold”, - just what kind of love the Father has given us. What manner of love is this? What makes Godly love different from some other types of love we may be more familiar with?

1 John 3:1 says that God has given us a special kind of love so that we might love like He loves and therefore be recognized as His children. This truth is confirmed throughout scripture.

John 13:35  "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

The love with which God’s children love is something the world cannot figure out –  they don’t understand this kind of love, because they don’t know God – that is why they don’t understand us –

We love things others don’t love in ways they can’t love.

In fact – not only do those who are baptized in and driven by the spirit of this world not understand Christians but, because we are not like them – they don’t like us.

John 15:19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

While we may be hated, we are commanded to love – even love those who hate us, love our enemies … bless and do good to them out of a pure heart of love … not because they love us back, but because God loves them.

John 15
17  These things I command you, that you love one another.
25  … They hated Me without a cause.

Sounds a little strong doesn’t it … Nonetheless …  John 15:17 commands us to love one another and verse 25 gives us to understand that if the world hates us, we should make sure that like Christ, they hate us without a cause. How can anyone love someone who hates them??? That’s the kind of love God is talking about, this love which He has bestowed on His children.

Let’s briefly look at Three Attributes of Love
        *There are of course, many more …

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.”

1.  Love is everlasting
           Lust is fleeting
           The world does not know everlasting love – lust is the world’s love
           God’s love is meant to last … God intended it to be that way
       God does not want us to love what will not last.

1 John 2
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God will endure forever.

God wants us to love that which will last with an everlasting love.

1 Timothy 6:17 encourages us to not love or place our trust in or be obsessed with money and other fleeting things in this world, things which are here today and gone tomorrow – rather this verse directs us to trust God who richly gives us all those things to enjoy, not to love and chase after, but to enjoy.

God wants us to enjoy our life and have things but He does not want things to have us. God wants us to save our love for things which last – we’ll see why in a moment.

2.  Love covers
                Imperfections and Transgressions

Proverbs 10:12  Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

Love covers – but love does not really care what it covers … it just covers. Love covers things which should be covered and at times things which should not be covered. Such as the case with a man we read about in:

Judges 16:4 ¶  And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

If we read the story of Samson we find that his love for Delilah blinded him. Certainly he did end up having his eyes put out with a hot iron rod, but I submit to you that he was blind long before the Philistines destroyed his physical eyesight … Samson was blinded by love.

Samson’s love covered all of Delilah’s imperfections and transgressions … and … By The Way – Delilah’s love for herself also covered Delilah’s imperfections and transgressions! Why? Because, love is designed with a single purpose – to cover … it will even cover us when we love ourselves.

Thank God it covers – without that ability, God might see me how I really am instead of how He sees me through the loving eye of a merciful Father.

However, God knows what to love and what not to love … I on the other hand, have to trust Him to tell me how to do the same. If not, I could begin to love something or someone I should not … and how would I know??? Love is so good at covering, it might be hard to know the difference on my own. Well, thank God we are not on our own – but – more about that later!

So, Love is everlasting and Love covers … the third attribute of love which we will discover today is:

3.  Love gives

Love is measured by what is given, not by what is received. The world measures love by what is received – God measures love by what is given … and love gives – first, last and always - In fact, love will require a gift, the greatest gift, yourself. As a minimum, love demands you give yourself.

John 3:16 God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

I realize I have had us on hold at 1 John 3:1 for a while … now let’s get back there and pick up where we left off …

2  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

God’s love is a pure love … as well, we can love with a purified love, a love which the Father has given us so that we might appear like Him.

How can you know if you are loving or if you are being loved with the Love of God … or is it the Lusts of this world?

Three Simple Tests
1.   The Spirit
2.   The Word
3.   The Counsel of Godly Friends

Love reveals nothing about the person who is loved but much about the person who is loving.

Thou shalt not sin, not even in the name of Love!