Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Save Yourselves


On the day of Pentecost, God gave the Promise of the Holy Spirit to baptize 120 Believers who were praying together in the upper room. They were all filled with the fire of God’s passion for the lost and immediately went out into the streets of Jerusalem to be a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These 120 Born-Again Believers began witnessing to the lost by telling everyone about the wonderful works of God. When people asked for clarification, Peter began to preach his first sermon under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2, verse 40 gives us an account of Peter concluding his message with an altar call whereby he asked people to make a personal decision.

Acts 2:40  And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation.”

Save yourselves? Yes, save yourselves! Salvation is a choice … it’s a choice every person must make for themselves in life. A choice to run with the crowd and be just like everyone else in this world or to step out, choose Jesus and walk a different path.

“Save yourselves from this perverse generation.” Peter is pointing a finger at the world and encouraging those to whom he is preaching to realize where the world is going and what woes awaits people who do not have a Savior … people who reject God by refusing to accept His Son as their King.

The people Peter was addressing were good people … religious people … perhaps the best of the best in Judaism. These good people most likely did not lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery or covet. Most likely they lived holy lives, worshipped God in the Temple, kept the feasts and honored the Law of Moses. It’s not that they were bad people … it’s that they were lost people … people who needed to be saved:
·        Saved from religion
·        Saved from the world
·        Saved from sin’s eternal grip
·        Saved from themselves
·        Saved from their perverse generation … from having a form of godliness but denying Christ by the way they lived.

This was the generation that crucified Christ. What terrible judgment awaited that generation … and … indeed every generation who rejects and crucifies Christ, for Christ Jesus is crucified afresh in each generation.

Mark 8:38  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Save yourselves from this perverse generation.

Choosing Jesus always saves us in every situation …
·        Choosing Jesus for our family
·        Choosing Jesus in our finances
·        Choosing Jesus in our friendships

We deliver ourselves by deciding with whom we will align ourselves …
·        To think different than the world thinks
·        To believe different than the world believes
·        To act different than the world acts

Acts 2:41  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

5 Points to Ponder
1.   The Church grows in numbers when we witness.
2.   The Church grows in strength when we make disciples.

Acts 2:42  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

3.   The Church grows in power when we reverence God.

Acts 2:43  Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

4.   The Church grows in missions when we give.

Acts 2
44  Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
45  and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

5.   The Church grows in relationship and favor when they work and worship together.

Acts 2
46  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

What can you do to help Jesus with His message?
·        Be a witness to the lost
·        Invest time in a saved brother or sister
·        Give God the reverence and respect He deserves
·        Be a part of the local Church missions and outreach
·        Work together in one accord with a pure heart.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Memorial Day - Peace In Our Time


Tomorrow our nation will observe Memorial Day in remembrance of the more than 1,350,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have given their lives in defense of the freedoms we hold so dear. Memorial Day is focused on those members of our US military who died in war.

It is a rare God-like quality that convinces a person to love people who may not love them back. It humbles me to know that over a million people that never knew me gave their lives so that I might have the chance to live free and pursue the American dream. The America we know has continued to cost us an average of more than 15 of our finest, bravest and brightest sons and daughters each and every day for the past 243 years.

Just as we cannot have heaven without the sacrifice of Christ, we cannot have America without the sacrifice of soldiers. May God bless the memories of those who gave their all for us and may God bless the USA.

Bow with me as we pray for those who gave so much for us.

Without Jesus, nothing we do in this world will mean anything. If we do not make it to our eternal home with God, everything will have been for nothing. All of the leaders of this world and every war fought and won since time began cannot save one soul for eternity. Often, we place so much emphasis on the comforts of this life without fully considering the comforts and the costs of the next.

We truly thank God for every blessing we have received and pray God will grant us many more in the days to come. However, no blessing, no sacrifice and no fortune can compare with the glory which shall be revealed in those who follow Christ. Peace cannot be purchased; it must be won.

Life is not a lottery. It is a certainty.

1 John 5:12  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

If you believe and receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will live forever. And, it is certain that if you refuse to call upon the name of the Lord you will die an eternal death. We have no strength to save ourselves. Only Jesus can save your soul and then, only if you ask.

Our scripture reading this morning will come from the New Testament book of:

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

Can you imagine being an enemy of God? Well you were … but praise the Lord, God is now at peace with mankind. God still hates sin and He is still at war with the devil and God is still an enemy of this world’s system and all its idolatry. Mankind however was reconciled by the death of Christ and can now be saved by His life. What does this mean in common terms?
·        Jesus paid the debt for the sins of all mankind
·        Every person can now be saved
o   Reconciliation happened on a mass scale
§  Jesus died once for all sin
§  One sacrifice for all sin forever
o   Salvation however is a personal matter and must occur on an individual basis
§  You must believe in your heart
§  You must confess with your mouth

So basically, we are at peace with God for now. We have peace with God in our time. If we accept Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will gain eternal peace with God for all time throughout eternity.

2 Thessalonians 3:16  Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Peace always in every way? The Apostle Paul is hoping that we gain:

1.  Peace with God … always.
a.   We do this by accepting His Son as our Lord and Savior.
b.   Peace with God comes only through Jesus Christ
2.  Peace with others … forever.
a.   Often the reason why we do not live in peace with others is because we do not worship the same God.
b.   Paul wrote to this account when referencing the difference between the Jews and Gentiles and their ongoing struggles and separation.

Ephesians 2:14  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.

c.   When both we and our enemies come to Christ, we should find peace with each other.
d.   The hope God has for us is that our enemies will get saved.
e.   We should also have this hope and be willing to work for it.

3.  Peace within ourselves … both now and forever more.

Philippians 4
7  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
6  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength …

Even if you are without strength today … Especially if you are without strength today … Jesus wants to become your Prince of Peace.
·        You can be saved today …
o   call on the name of Jesus to save you
·        There is hope for your enemies to come to know Christ …
o   Pray for the walls to come down in the name of Jesus
·        You can stop the worry and give it all to Jesus … He will help …
o   You can have peace in our time

Sunday, May 19, 2019

42 Times

42 Times

Many of the accounts of Old Testament were recorded to show us the way God interacted with the Children of Israel to bring them into the land and the blessings He had promised them. These stories provide us with principles we can use to better understand how God works with us today. We believe God has a plan but sometimes it can be difficult to understand if the things happening in our lives are getting us closer or farther away from God’s best for us. When we face uncertain moments, it can be helpful to remember the life and times of those God led through a different wilderness under the guidance of a man named Moses.

About 1500 years before Christ, God delivered the Israelites from bondage to Pharaoh and Egypt and led them to cross the Red Sea and journey out into the Sinai dessert. They were happy to be free and on their way to a land flowing with milk and honey however, the barren wilderness was a surprise and not their definition of a blessing. Instead of a promotion, it seemed more like a hardship to them. Even though they caused it, 2 million people wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years was far less than anyone expected. There were plenty of complaints and a few wars … people died.

As well, it took a lot for God to feedwater and lodge 2,000,000 stubborn and rebellious people in the Sinai dessert, not to mention their livestock. On top of that, can you imagine getting these complaining people up, on board, dressed, packed and out on the road on time for moving day? In addition, they had to move their houses, well their tents, their trades and even their great big church. It was no small task. Plus, many of the Israelites made it a whole lot harder than it had to be because they kept on accusing God and Moses of bringing them out into the wilderness to kill them. Life wasn’t always filled with joy for the journey.

Nonetheless, God continued to provide and performed the occasional miracle when needed to remind them Who it wasthey were following or to make up anything they lacked. God was good and gracious, forgiving and kind. He had a master plan.

Near the end of the 40 years God commanded Moses to make a record of all of times the Children of Israel moved from one place to another since coming out of Egypt. You can read that full account in Numbers 33. Let’s look at just a few:

Numbers 33 NKJV
1 ¶  These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.
2  Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD. And these are their journeys according to their starting points:
3  They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians.
4  For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had killed among them. Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments.
5  Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth.
6  They departed from Succoth and camped at Etham, which ison the edge of the wilderness.
7  They moved from Etham and turned back to Pi Hahiroth, which is east of Baal Zephon; and they camped near Migdol.
8  They departed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah.
9  They moved from Marah and came to Elim. At Elim weretwelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there.
10  They moved from Elim and camped by the Red Sea.
11  They moved from the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin.
12  They journeyed from the Wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah.
13  They departed from Dophkah and camped at Alush.
14  They moved from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

Exodus 17:4  So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!”

15  They departed from Rephidim and camped in the Wilderness of Sinai.
16  They moved from the Wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah.
17  They departed from Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.
18  They departed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.
19  They departed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez.
20  They departed from Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah.
21  They moved from Libnah and camped at Rissah.
22  They journeyed from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.
23  They went from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.
24  They moved from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.
25  They moved from Haradah and camped at Makheloth.
26  They moved from Makheloth and camped at Tahath.
27  They departed from Tahath and camped at Terah.
28  They moved from Terah and camped at Mithkah.
29  They went from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.
30  They departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.
31  They departed from Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan.
32  They moved from Bene Jaakan and camped at HorHagidgad.
33  They went from Hor Hagidgad and camped at Jotbathah.
34  They moved from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.
35  They departed from Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber.
36  They moved from Ezion Geber and camped in the Wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
37  They moved from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom.
38  Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the LORD, and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.
39  Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.
40  Now the king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
41  So they departed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.
42  They departed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon.
43  They departed from Punon and camped at Oboth.
44  They departed from Oboth and camped at Ije Abarim, at the border of Moab.
45  They departed from Ijim and camped at Dibon Gad.
46  They moved from Dibon Gad and camped at AlmonDiblathaim.
47  They moved from Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48  They departed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.
49  They camped by the Jordan, from Beth Jesimoth as far as the Abel Acacia Grove in the plains of Moab.
50 ¶  Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying,
51  “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
52  ‘then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places;
53  ‘you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.
54  ‘And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers.
55  ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.
56  ‘Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’ ”

The stories of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy overlay each other to paint an amazing picture of God’s divine intervention in the lives of His chosen people. During the 40 years in which the Children of Israel were in the wilderness, they moved 42 TimesWhat made them move so much? Now, for the rest of the story …

Exodus 9 NKJV
18  At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped.
19  Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey.
20  So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey.
21  So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey.

Today I want to share 5 Truths About a Move of God  God wrote this to teach us
1. Every move we make in this world is only from one part of a desert to another.
a. At times it can seem to us as if life is just going in circles …
b. There is no greener grass on planet earth – and no lasting future for anyone here … If you live a long life you will watch 3 generations die in this wilderness we call life. Yet our hope is eternal … 
c. Without God’s guidance we may as well be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
d. Life is meaningless if we don’t make it to our final destination. 
e. Everything is for nothing if we don’t make it to heaven
f. God does not always move us for us sometimes He moves us for others.
g. Sometimes it’s to get us out of the way and at other times it is to get us in the way … Only God has the master plan.
2. God’s way is the best way even when it’s not the quickest way or the shortest way.
a. God may not be finished with you where you are.
b. God may know something needs to change before you ever feel it.
c. Our lives in God’s hands is a walk of faith.
d. His time; His way; Our walk – it’s our journey to eternity.
3. There are benefits to being under the cloud.
a. Shelter and ShadeWarmth and LightProtection and ProvisionHealth and Wealth were all under the cloud and under the fire.
b. Divine Leadership – God is either with you in this place or He is not …
4. Every journey comes to an end. 
a. It is our hope to remember how the Lord led us every step of the way. 
b. We do not wish to revisit each place we passed unless we could hope to avoid the sins we committed and embrace the opportunities we let slip by.
c. We are headed to a land wherein there will be no more sorrow, worry, pain, or sin. This world is not our home and we have no future here.
d. We are always and ever so close to home … we are waiting on God … God is waiting on us.
5. Without regard as to how long our wanderings in this wilderness lasts, our time here is short by any reckoning.
a. Stay under the cloud – Keep the dream alive … God’s promises will come to pass …
b. Make the most of every opportunity - bring others to Christ along the way.
c. God will lead us, feed us and at times, He will meet our needs in a miraculous way.