Sunday, April 30, 2023

Family Sunday Lessons from My Father & God


Luke 15 NKJV

11 ¶  Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.

12  “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.

13  “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

14  “But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.”

1982 was a good year for me and my family.

·        We had been married a decade

·        I had completed 6 years active duty in the USAF

·        Our daughter was 5 and our son was 3

·        I was in the 3rd year as Pastor of a Church in my hometown

·        I was attending East Texas State University at night

·        The Church had about 35 or 40 wonderful people in attendance on any given Sunday and about half of those were related to me.

·        My mom and dad were in their early 50’s and I was their pastor. Without their support we would never have made it.

·        We lived on 5 acres where we ate eggs from own chickens, vegetables from our own garden, and the game I caught or killed.

·        I even raised peanuts, popcorn, and watermelons for the kids.

·        I sold plastic barrels out of my yard and rode other people’s horses to make a little extra money.

God used each day and every experience to grow me into a vessel He could use.

My dad who had always been a truck driver and diesel mechanic, recently changed his profession. He was an uneducated, hard-working man who always seemed to have a reason why he did something. If we were working or talking together and he made a comment, I wanted to listen. He had a way of encapsulating and communicating principles of life in such a way that they were easy to understand and hard to forget.

Not everything my dad told me is repeatable in some settings, however I can’t think of anything he said that wasn’t true. I think this is where I got my love for the plain truth and where I learned the value of being responsibly honest.

In 1982 my dad had a small business wholesaling willow furniture.

He employed a family who relocated without notice to another riverbank in Arkansas or Oklahoma, wherever the willow had regrown from their last cutting, and worked when they felt like it, hand-making different pieces of this furniture by the truckload. My dad bought everything they could make.

Sometimes when my dad was running low or had a big order he would get in the truck and drive all around those parts of the country to see if he could find where they had moved to. Other times they would just show up with a truck and trailer or two stacked as high as the law allowed and start unloading it knowing my dad would pay them in cash.

I recently saw two of the sons of the family who were just young teenagers back then. They were set up at Canton, Texas trade days wholesaling this same furniture close to the spot where my dad’s lot was for the last 10 years of his life. We reminisced about the good ole days and they told me how my dad convinced them to get into the sales end of the business which neither of them had ever considered. They said they never imagined they could do it, but my dad believed in them and encouraged them to try. My dad, who was their whole family’s main source of income, died in 1987, and they have been wholesaling and retailing ever since.

One day in 1982 we went to visit my mom and dad while they were set up at Canton Trade Days. My dad had a permanent lot there and he was the only vendor selling this furniture in those days. I was sitting on one of the chairs on the back of his trailer watching the people walk past and listening to my dad sell piece after piece, set after set, and take orders to be delivered during the next month. It was not unusual for us to visit on these weekends, but I remember this one day as plain as if it were yesterday.

My dad told me he was going to go get himself a cup of coffee and asked me to take care of the customers until he got back. I told him that I’d stay there and let people know he would be back soon but that I was not going to give anyone a price on the furniture. I just couldn’t. I knew what he paid for it and I just didn’t believe it was worth what he was asking. I said it with a chuckle, and it was all ok. I just couldn’t imagine myself asking what he was getting for these chairs and tables and baskets.

I had made some of the baskets and tables for him myself when he got into a bind for an event he was invited to and asked to supply the center pieces and tables for. He paid me $1 for each basket and $3 per table. All I had to do was to gather and cut the willow and make them. I actually made good money. He was selling them for $35 and $50. The chairs he paid $10 for he would retail for $200. I’m not complaining, the 3-piece set I just showed you … it now retails for between 1500 and 2000 dollars.

When I told my dad I was sorry, but I couldn’t ask someone to pay that much for something I didn’t think was worth that much, he just smiled like he always did when he knew he knew something I didn’t know. He said, son, “It’s not how much it cost, it’s how much it’s worth.”

My dad was a good and honest man; he believed what he was selling was worth more than he was asking. He later told me that “if something isn’t selling, go up on it.” If you don’t think it’s valuable no one else will either.

I have valued these truths ever since. Those of you who have known me for a while have probably heard them before and you know they work.

·        It’s not how much it cost, it’s how much it’s worth. And: You need to believe what you’re selling is worth what you’re asking.

A few years ago I bought an airplane, sight unseen, from Atlanta, Georgia. I sent a friend to pick it up and he wasn’t sure it was worth what I paid. Pastor Ken and I flew it down to Mexico to check on an orphanage we were helping out and when we got back, I decided to sell it. I put a good price on it hoping to move it along quickly and I could make a little money in the process. I ran a for sale ad with a picture in Trade-a-Plane and this cute little Mooney sat at the airport here for a couple of months without so much as one phone call. Then, when it came time to renew my ad for the third month, I was a bit concerned. I had a really cheap price on this plane. I thought about lowering the price just to recover my investment but then I remembered what my dad said.

So, I doubled my asking price and ran the ad. Guess what? It sold in the first week and I had calls from people wanting to buy it for another month.

People need to believe what they’re buying is worth what they’re paying.

How does this figure into our message today?

Two things I have learned from my father and God.

1.  Jesus is what I’m selling, and He is worth what I’m asking.

Even at double the price, Jesus is worth it. If you don’t value Jesus, don’t expect anyone else to.

The devil tries to convince Born-Again Believers that witnessing to people about the love of Jesus is in some way bothering them and not worth their time. That’s just not the truth.

Salvation is free to all and everyone needs the life change and the peace offered by God through Jesus. Pulling someone out of a fire is not bothering them and it is worth well worth the effort.

2.  Family matters.

From the dawn of human creation, the devil has pursued one goal - The separation of man from God. He wants to make God dislike you, not bless you, curse you, and live without you. If the devil can’t do that then his next best is to get you to not like God, not worship Him, even curse Him, and live your life without Him. We see it all around us. The devil’s strategy has worked from the Garden to the Cross and all the way to 2023, and it’s even working in families right now. However:

God is our father. We need to do our best to be more like Him.

Parents, give your children a good experience with repentance. This is one of the lessons taught by the father of the prodigal son.

Even God showed us what to do when we have a child who won’t talk to us, won’t listen to us, or separates themselves from us.

God, like the prodigal son’s father, prepared for our return. He created and maintained a safe place for us. He didn’t nurse His hurt, anger, or disappointments. He watched and waited. He hoped and He prayed. He was prepared for the return. He knew his child would be hurting, and wanted them to have a good experience when they came home.

Luke 15 NKJV

20  “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

21  “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

23  ‘And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;

24  ‘for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Give your child a good experience when they repent. Don’t ever say “I told you so.” Teach them family is a safe place and family matters.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

COTR Family Bible Study Series Balaam – Plausible Deniability


The Story of Balaam

Somewhere around 1450 years before Jesus was born, Moses led the Children of Israel on one of their last journeys in the wilderness. Well over a million people had wandered in the wilderness until all of those who were 20 years old and upwards when they came out of Egypt had died. The new generation, the oldest of which were now 59, set up their camp in the plains of Moab, just across the Jordan River from Jericho.

The King of Moab, King Balak, became very anxious at the site of more than a million people, 600,000 of them armed, trained, and experienced in battle, taking up residence on the border of his country. On top of all of that, these Israelites were fed daily with manna from heaven and drank from an inexhaustible supply of fresh water from a Rock that followed them everywhere they went.

King Balak needed help. Where did he turn? He turned to the God. Not one of his gods, but to the God of the Israelites. Basically he said, “Get me somebody who knows God!”

Ecclesiastes says that there is nothing new under the sun. The devil’s tactics have not changed. Either he is trying to get you to not like God or trying to get God to not like you. The devil’s greatest hope is that you will curse God or that God will curse you. It worked in the garden and on the cross and it is still his primary go to.

Seeing this huge number of Israelites and having heard about the victory they had over the Amorites, King Balak sent for a well-known prophet of God named Balaam. Balaam has a reputation. Whoever he blessed ended up being blessed, and whoever he cursed, ended up being cursed. As well, Balaam also had a reputation that he loved money, and the king of Moab knew Balaam could be bought.

I encourage you to read the whole account beginning in the book of Numbers. Then do a simple search of the name Balaam in the Bible and read all of the other passages that talk about him, how he felt, his character, conduct, and eventually what happened to him. You will find Balaam’s name written 59 times and in both the Old and the New Testaments, and even in the book of Revelation.

But for our purposes tonight, let’s focus on the account left us in Numbers 22. Remember, every word and each story of the Bible is a gift from God aimed at impacting our lives and making us more like Jesus today. 

King Balak sent messengers to the prophet Balaam and asked him to come to Moab and curse the Israelites. Balaam checked in with God and knew God did not want him to go … so Balaam said no.

Next King Balak sent more messengers. They were more in number and were more honorable, more important, higher ranking, and more impressive than the first messengers … and he evidently offered more money to Balaam as well. The Bible calls the messengers Princes. They were Princes of both Moab and Midian along which borders the Israelites were camped. Even though Balaam knew it was not the will of God last time, he nonetheless asked God again.

God said, go for it! But do not say anything except what I say.

Just because God will allow it, doesn’t mean He approves of it.

This is one of the reasons why Jesus prayed, “not My will but Thine.”

With permission to go and instructions to keep quiet, Balaam saddled his donkey and left with the rich guys, heading for Moab. Yet there was one big problem … the Angel of the Lord knew Balaam was only looking at what he wanted and not at what God wanted. The Angel saw beyond Balaam’s promises and into Balaam’s heart. Balaam was a greedy man capable of doing anything to get what he wanted.

Numbers 22:22  Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

There are just some things we should not have to ask God about … we should know better. God got angry because Balaam went when Balaam was not committed to obeying Him. We need to listen to and agree with the whole set of instructions before we run off half-cocked.

So, the Angel of the Lord stood on the road in front of Balaam with the intention of cutting Balaam’s head off. Balaam’s donkey saw the angel and turned into a field. Balaam struck the donkey and got him back up on the road.

Next the Angel took up a more strategic position where the road narrowed between two vineyards with walls on both sides of the road and raised his sword to kill Balaam once again. However the donkey pushed up against the wall on one side to slide past the attack and in doing so scrapped Balaam’s foot against the wall. Balaam struck the donkey once again.

Finally the angel chose a place on the road where there was no way for the donkey to get past and readied himself to cut off the head of Balaam and be done with this. When the donkey saw there were no other options, he simply laid down flat on the ground. You can guess what happened … Balaam was so angry at the donkey and struck him again.

Seeing Balaam’s abuse of this kind, loyal, considerate donkey, the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey.

Numbers 22

28  Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

29  And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

Abusers often feel like they are the ones being abused. People who get mad when they don’t get their way … angry to the point they want to harm others, even destroy or kill them … they have a problem and often they are the problem.

If you have anger, hatred, bitterness, or revenge in your heart, take a minute and consider if you are doing God’s will or if you are being tolerated by God because He loves you. Don’t mistake toleration for appreciation.

When considering Balaam I have often thought how sad it is that your best friend is a jackass … and he is the one who’s right!

The donkey defended himself by asking Balaam to recall how much he had helped Balaam in the past and how loyal he had been all of his life. About that time the Lord opened Balaam’s spiritual eyes and he saw the Angel standing in front of him with a sword in his hand.

The Angel of the Lord said to Balaam: What’s your problem with the donkey? If it had not have been for this donkey, I would have killed you these three times. This donkey is the only thing keeping you alive.  

Numbers 22:34  And Balaam said to the Angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

“I have sinned because I did not know!” I don’t know if Balaam knew or not. I don’t know how he could not have known some things. Perhaps his was a simple claim of plausible deniability which he set up in the first place. But either way, we know:

Balaam sinned because:

1.   He misjudged the donkey.

o   In Matthew 7 and in Luke 6, Jesus warns us about judging others. You never know what God may be requiring of or inspiring others to do.

o   1 Timothy 6:4 says it is ungodly to hold evil suspicions concerning others.

o   Proverbs 18:13 tells us it is a shame to think you know the answer before you hear the matter. Only a fool does this.

o   And there are some things we just don’t know … we can only surmise or assume. Don’t do that and judge others when they may be doing God’s will, hurting your feelings, and saving your life in the process.

o   But Balaam could not claim he didn’t know it was basically wrong to beat his donkey when the donkey had been so loyal all of its life. Balaam was simply aggravated …

2.   He was focused only on what he wanted.

o   Jude 1:11 tells us Balaam was greedy of gain.

o   2 Peter 2:15 shows us that Balaam was willing to compromise his integrity to get what he wanted.

3.   He did not cover God’s chosen.

o   Revelation 2:14 tells us that Balaam helped King Balak to discover Israel’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

o   Balaam did not technically disobey God, but God counted it as sin … and Balaam knew he was causing harm.

o   Don’t consort with the enemies … you know who they are … they will use what you say to hurt the plan, the purpose, and the people of God.

o   Ham uncovered the nakedness and drunkenness of Noah and God cursed him and his descendants.

Remember, it is the number one goal of the devil to get you to curse God or to get God to curse you. Don’t walk in the ways of Balaam. And don’t claim you didn’t know!

There is a sin of not knowing! There is no plausible deniability with God.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

He Leads Me


Romans 8 NLT

14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

16  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

This past week I was talking with one of my granddaughters about how many of the principles of God work for the children of this world just like they work for the children of God. God has established rules which govern life. We often see this in the natural realm without realizing that the laws of nature work in the spiritual realm as well.

For example: We easily understand that if you hit your thumb with a hammer it will hurt, no matter if you’re saved by the blood of Jesus or lost as a goose. Both the Born-again Believer and the atheist need a parachute before jumping out of a plane. As well:

·        Generous people tend to prosper … it is a law of God. (Proverbs 11:25)

·        People who show mercy, receive mercy in their times of need … (Psalms 18:25)

·        People who don’t work, don’t eat … it is a law of God. (2Thessalonians 3:10)

·        It rains on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

·        Time and chance happen to all men. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

·        Good people end up doing better than liars, cheats, and thieves.

Most people spend a reasonable amount of time trying to do better and get better. We all grow from season to season, often trying not to repeat the failures we encountered or the trouble we experienced in our past. This is the normal goal of people from every walk of life, saved or lost. And thankfully … it works … that’s a good thing!

However, becoming a better person is not all there is to life. Jesus told Nicodemus, who was a very good moral and religious man, that he must be born again. More than being good, Jesus said you must be re-born.

Even though there are many laws God established to govern mankind, nothing takes the place of being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. To have Him living inside of you beats trying to be good. Everyone receives the Holy Spirit when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Something supernatural happens. The old nature with which we were born into this world dies and a new nature, the nature of God, is born and regenerates our soul with the spark of God. Life becomes spiritual instead of natural. This is what the Apostle John said:

1 John 5:12  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

Some of the laws of God which govern life only work for those who have invited Jesus into their heart. Of course the most important law is the law of life. Meaning: If you have been Born-again, you will never die. You will merely step from this earth and straight into the presence of Jesus.

Other benefits of believing in and receiving Jesus Christ into your life include:

·        Knowing what God thinks.

o   1 Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

o   v.16 “We have the mind of Christ.”

·        True worship

o   John 4:24  “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

o   Worship is a spiritual expression and not a carnal experience.

·        Being led by the Spirit

o   Matthew 6:13  And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

o   John 16:13  “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

o   This is one of the greatest benefits belonging to Believers.

o   The Lord is my Shepherd, He leads me … (Psalm 23)

God went to great lengths to show us His leadership in our lives. One picture God painted on a daily basis for more than 40 years reveals His commitment to lead His children in the daytime and in the nighttime, whether on a road or in times of rest, through battles and to victories, both the young and the older always knew with turn to take and how far to go. This was seen in the Exodus and is a reminder how God intends to guide, guard, direct, and protect us as we journey through the wilderness of this world.

Allow me to read a representation of scriptures on the subject of the leadership of God in the lives of His children.

Exodus 13:21  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.

Exodus 23:20 ¶  “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

Exodus 14

19  And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

20  So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

·        Leadership and Protection for the children of God

·        Darkness and Confusion for the children of this world

Psalms 105:39  He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

It can be difficult to see the fire in the daytime and hard to see the smoke at night … but easy to see a flame.

Deuteronomy 1:33  God went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.

Numbers 9 NKJV

16  So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

17  Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.

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.

22  Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey.

23  At the command of the LORD they remained encamped, and at the command of the LORD they journeyed; they kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses.


1.   When we do not know:

a.   Who?

b.   What?

c.    When?

d.   Where?

e.   Why?

f.    How?

g.   If?

… continue to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

h.   Whether it’s an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year.

i.     Trust the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

2.   How can you know you are following the leadership of God?

a.   First: “You must be Born-Again!”

b.   Next: The Holy Spirit will never violate the Word of God.

c.    Then: Walk in peace.

                                         i.    There is a peace that comes with Light.

                                        ii.    Even when it looks like darkness and confusion to the world and their way of thinking.

                                      iii.    The leadership of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

                                      iv.    God will not lead you by fear, anger, resentment, or revenge.

                                       v.    When you are walking with God there will be a peace in your heart which surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Hounds of Hell


The Story … Approximately 1000 years before Christ, there came a time in King David’s older life when his son Absalom attempted to coup. Absalom wanted to be king. He worked behind the scenes for years flattering people and building himself up in the eyes of others all the while living off of his father’s goodness. He ate the king’s meat and was given respect as the king’s son, but he felt undervalued, overlooked, and somewhat mistreated. Insecurities can drive a person to think and do stupid things.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this Bible story since God saw fit to include it for our benefit. Every story has something to teach us.

One of the signs on the road to defeat reads: “It can’t happen to me.”

Basically Absalom had earlier killed one of his half-brothers, Amnon, because Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister, Tamar. Absalom was not punished for killing Amnon, and I can’t say that under those circumstances and in those times, he should have been punished. But the story today is not about Absalom killing Amnon.

Perhaps Absalom disliked David, his father, because David did not take immediate action to punish Amnon for the rape of Tamar. Or maybe Absalom felt mistreated and unsupported for years and harbored bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness towards his father David. Whatever the reason, Absalom plotted the overthrow of his father right under the nose of the King. But the story today is not about Absalom stealing the hearts of the people through flattery.

In the process of time, Absalom gathered enough support from key people in David’s court and declared himself King. All Jerusalem was in an uproar. But the story today is not about Absalom forcibly taking the throne of David.

Even after everything that had happened, David did not want to fight his son Absalom. God had made David a man of war, but he had no heart to harm his son in battle. Rather, David quickly left Jerusalem with a few loyal soldiers along with some other family members and friends. As David was crossing the Kidron valley and on through the passage between the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus, heading east, down the slope and into the Judean Dessert towards the Jordan River, a man who did not like David began to follow and berate him. This man’s name was Shimei which means: Famous; renowned; hear me! (Basically – I’m important; I’m right; I know what I’m talking about; I’m better than you; smarter than you; wiser than you; so listen to me; hear me!)

Well, you know how some people feel justified when they think they are right, and you are wrong, and you are getting what you deserve? This is how Shimei felt. He did not consider David his king, he was a supporter of King Saul, and he believed David was an illegitimate King. It made him so happy to see what he considered justice finally being delivered to this dirty dog David. But the story today is not about Shimei.

The Bible relates the account much better than I can tell it so let’s read it from 2 Samuel 16. Now remember, David is running for his life from his son Absalom who is determined to remove him from the throne given to him by God and sit there himself. David is leaving because he sees no future in fighting his son. David loves Absalom and David also knows no one is perfect, especially not himself.

2 Samuel 16 NLT

5 ¶  As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family.

6  He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him.

7  “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David.

8  “The LORD is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”

9  “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”

10  “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”

11  Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it.

12  And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

13  So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing as he went and throwing stones at David and tossing dust into the air.

14  The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River.

“Perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

·        David was the first one to realize he wasn’t perfect.

·        David didn’t even try to argue with Shimei or try and defend himself.

·        David wasn’t the best father, the best husband, the best captain, or the best king. He wasn’t even the best son or the best friend.

·        Life is tough and David had made plenty of mistakes; he had regrets; no doubt he lived every day of his life thinking of how he could have done things better.

·        He knew God had plenty of reasons why to replace him if He wanted.

·        No doubt the enemies in his mind told him that every day.

·        All David could do was place his trust in God.

However, the story today is not about David.

·        If it’s not about Amnon, Absalom, Shimei, or David … Who is the story about?

·        The story today is about you.

·        You are supposed to find yourself in every Bible story and strive to be the one God is pleased with. (find yourself … not other people!)

David wrote to all of us in Psalms 56:

Psalms 56

1 Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me.

2  My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.

3  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

1000 years later the Apostle Paul confirmed:

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

Once you have given your heart to Jesus, life is no longer limited by what you have done, but rather by what He has done. In time, just like David and just like Paul, if you place your trust in God, He will silence the enemies of your soul.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

COTR Family Bible Study Series The Rock


Deuteronomy 32:31  For our enemy’s rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies know this.

God sent Moses to Egypt for a purpose. God wanted to deliver the Children of Israel from slavery and set them free. God had a plan to take them from bondage in Egypt to abundance in Promised Land. The Israelites had always served Pharoah in Egypt but in the Promised Land they and their children would serve God. First however, they must be led across a wilderness and through hardships … the journey would not always be easy.

Moses told Pharoah to let the God’s Children go but Pharoah refused and instead, made it harder on them. The Israelites began to complain to Moses and about Moses. Their initial expectations did not include enduring hardships. They blamed Moses for their trouble. Instead of seeing the plan of God for their future, they were only focused on their moment. This is the same mistake people have made throughout history.

Finally, after 10 plagues, Pharoah released the Children of Israel, and they left Egypt on their way to the land God promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Israelites had barely got on the road before they encountered their first trouble. Pharoah decided to pursue them and bring them back into bondage to their old ways of life. God dealt swiftly with that situation, as He would do with each of their enemies all along the way. However, it was not before they all began to cry and complain and threaten to go back to their old ways.

This pattern of complaint over every hardship and hurtle became more than Moses could endure. God always came through for His Children, but the incessant selfishness and constant murmuring was something even God got tired of before it was over. In fact, the distrust and complaints finally caused them to have to spend an extra 40 years living outside of the Promise Land. God allowed all of the complainers to die in the wilderness.

Often the enemies of God had a greater respect of God than did His Children. God never failed His Children, and with every hardship He continued to show them how much He cared.

Exodus 17

1 ¶  Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Zin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.

2  Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?”

3  And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

5  And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.

6  “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7  So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Massah = Trial; Temptation … on the rock in Horeb, the Mount of God.

Meribah = Quarrel; Strife …

Some years later the Children of Israel were still wandering in the wilderness, and they came once again to Kadesh. Guess what … there was no sign of water, and the people were afraid they would die of thirst.

Numbers 20 NKJV

4  “Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?

5  “And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”

6  So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them.

7  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

8  “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”

9  So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him.

10  And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”

11  Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

12  Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13  This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the LORD, and He was hallowed among them.

·        Meribah = Quarrel; Strife … in Kadesh

Strike the Rock – Speak to the Rock … Moses struck the Rock twice.

1 Corinthians 10:4  And (our fathers) all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

·        Jesus Christ was smitten once for the sins of all mankind.

·        He will not be struck a second time.

·        Water came out of the Rock to quench the thirst of God’s children because of God’s goodness, not because of the strike.

·        Living water is intended to pour forth from Jesus merely for the asking.

·        At one time harsh sacrifice moved the hand of God … not anymore.

·        Now … Prayer moves the hand of God.

Psalms 78

19  Yes, they spoke against God: They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

20  Behold, He struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, And the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?”

32  In spite of this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wondrous works.

35  Then they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.

38  And He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them

My Take-Aways

1.   Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the God’s grace. (Romans 3:23)

2.   We all deserve to go to hell and pay for our sins, but we don’t have to because Jesus did it for us. (Romans 6:23)

3.   Anyone who asks Jesus to be the Lord of their life will be forgiven and saved for all eternity. (Romans 10:13)

Is there any reason in your wildest imagination why you would want to spend an eternity in hell? Then pray with me now … now!

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him shall never perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

I would like to encourage you to consider the Rock of your salvation. How is your Rock different from the other rocks people depend on? What is better about your Rock than the rock the world serves?