Saturday, June 24, 2023

Life is More Than Food


Luke 6:44  “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.”

·        Of course Jesus is not speaking about trees but rather about people.

·        Jesus loves you and He wants you to understand that:

o   Every person is designed to bear fruit just like a tree.

o   Every person reproduces …

§  One of the first laws of life is The Law of Reproduction from Genesis 1:11&12

§  Which includes producing fruit with “Seed in itself” to reproduce “after its kind”. This is a law of God.

o   Fruit cannot change the root …

o   Fruit reveals the root. It is as simple as it gets.

·        We cannot expect to gather anything from a tree except what it has historically produced. It would be unreasonable to expect otherwise.

·        What do your friends and family expect to get from you?

Are you a thorn in the side of your friends?

·        Grumbling; griping; complaining; sticking, prodding, poking them

·        Hurting; injuring

·        Causing pain; drawing blood

·        Insulting; offending; wounding; scarring

·        And, what do you expect to get from your friends?

Are you a bramble bush to your family?

·        Argumentative

·        A waste of time and energy

·        Are you hard on relationships

·        Impossible to please

·        Interrupting; dominating; wearing on the nerves

·        The ram on Mount Moriah, prophetic of Jesus, was caught in a thicket by His horns. Caught and held captive by a bramble bush

o   A quagmire of contention

o   Anger standing firm against truth and reason

·        What do you expect to get from your family members?

Once again, Jesus says:

Luke 12: 23  “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.”

·        Life is designed to be good.

o   Peaceful

o   Loving

o   Kind

o   Forgiving

o   Happy

o   Hopeful

o   Productive

o   Supportive

o   Encouraging

o   Safe and Secure

·        Life is a long game.

·        Life is a responsibility.

o   Your life is your responsibility.

o   No one else is responsible for your happiness or success.

o   Joy comes from pleasing God.

Back to Luke 6 as we read about how life works in the words of Jesus:

Luke 6

35  “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

36  “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

37  “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

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

43  “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

If you change the root of your life, it will change the fruit of your life. Life is more than food! Real life begins and becomes fruitful with Jesus.

Jesus is the only root that will produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit and give you eternal life.

Jesus is not trying to help bad people act like good people. The Bible points us to a New Life in Christ. We are grafted into Him and He becomes our root. Only then can we begin drawing our strength and hope through Him.

·        Jesus wants to save every soul and transform each life through the miracle of faith.

·        Jesus wants to sever the root and destroy the fruit of sin.

·        Jesus has given us the keys to His Kingdom. And He has told us how life works.

·        Life is more than food and clothing …

o   Life is love

o   Life is mercy

o   Life is kind

o   Life is thankful

o   Life is forgiveness

o   Life is giving to others who are in need

·        These are the spiritual fruits of life we find as we grow in Christ. 

If you have not been born again, allow Jesus to sever the root of sin in your life. Simply ask Him to save you. Accept Him by faith. And claim Him as your Lord and Savior. Then you will experience the grace of God to grow the fruits of a spiritual life pleasing to God. Remember, Life is more than food and clothes – meaning – life is not always all about you.

If you have been saved and you love Jesus, keep His commandments … (John 14:15) … you know what they are. In fact, you can start right now. Just ask the Holy Spirit to remind you, and He will.

And by the way – there will be a test! Lol.

Let’s pray … then it will be time for food!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Prison Prayers of the Apostle Paul Part I - Introduction



We are beginning a new series entitles ‘Prison Prayers of the Apostle Paul’ where we will be dissecting some of the prayers that Paul prayed over the believers he was writing to. I believe these prayers were written by extension to us to today as much as it was written for the believers of that day. I also believe that these prayers, if lived, will enhance our walk with Jesus and our relationships with others. Today we will be doing an overview of the prison epistles.

Introduction Outline:

1.     Paul’s Imprisonment

2.     Events leading up to the writing of the Prison Epistles

3.     Background of the Epistles

4.     Takeaways

Paul’s Imprisonment

In order to rightly discuss the imprisonment that led to the writing of the prison epistles, we must first identify which imprisonment we are referring to. Paul was recorded as being put in prison three separate times.

1.      Philippi ~ Acts 16 (AD 49)

2.     Jerusalem, Caesarea, Rome ~ Acts 21-28 (AD 57-62)

3.     Rome ~ 2 Timothy 4:6-7,16 (AD 66-68)

Events leading up to the writing of the Prison Epistles

Paul’s imprisonment began in Jerusalem. He was on his way to provide support for the church in Jerusalem. While there he was spotted by some Jews from Asia Minor who were enemies of Paul. They made a scene and accused him of defiling the temple. The angry Jewish mob were about to kill Paul but the Roman guard saves him. The guard allows Paul to address the temple, but it only makes them even angrier. The Bible says the mob was “ready to tear him to pieces” when the Roman guard stepped in to save him a second time.

After this, Paul was transferred into the custody of Governor Felix in Caesarea. The court hears his case and yet no fault was found against Paul. You would think Paul would be set free, correct? Unfortunately, Governor Felix was a corrupt politician and kept Paul detained with the hope of Paul paying him some money for his freedom. Ultimately, Paul remains imprisoned in Caesarea for another 2 years. It was about that time when Governor Felix was replaced by Governor Festus. Festus considers having Paul retried back in Jerusalem, but Paul knew this was an idea that was brought up from his enemies who were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Therefore, Paul declines and appeals to Caesar instead.

    Acts 23:11 - “Have courage! For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so it is necessary for you to testify in Rome.”

After appearing before King Agrippa, Paul is placed in the custody of the Roman officer Julius and set sail from Caesarea, toward Rome. On their journey they made stops along the way. Leaving Israel, they made stops in:

    Syria (Sidon)

    Turkey (Myra, Cnidus)

    Crete (island)


    Sicily (island)


Many things happen along he way, along with a two week long storm that leads to them shipwrecking on the coast of Malta. After eventually landing in Italy, they arrive in Somewhere Paul was received by the Praetorian Guard. He was then placed him on house arrest where he would be able to have people visit him and was able to preach the gospel freely. He shared the good news with Jews, gentiles, and even Roman soldiers. He penetrated the walls of the Imperial Roman Empire and boldly proclaimed the good news, and no one tried to stop him. It was here that Paul, while on house arrest, wrote the letters of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Background of the Prison Epistles

Themes of Epistles:

Ephesians - Unity

    The Body of Christ

Philippians - Encouragement

    Joy in Christ (18x)

    The gospel (9x)

Colossians - In Christ

    Lordship of Christ

Philemon - Reconciliation

    Brotherhood of believers

Delivery of Epistles:

Ephesians - Tychicus, Onesimus

Philippians - Epaphroditus (Got sick while in Rome, which delayed it’s delivery)

Colossians - Tychicus, Onesimus

Philemon - Tychicus, Onesimus

Takeaways from the Prison Epistles:

1.     Paul’s commitment to prayer

i.  Paul began all of his letters from prison in prayer

ii.He mentions how often he remembers them in prayer; Paul was always in prayer for them

2.     Paul’s commitment to the Church

3.     Paul’s commitment to the Gospel

i.  Each letter was written from the confinement of prison

ii.Each letter was written out of love for the church

iii.    Each letter was written to defend & preserve the Gospel

4.     Paul’s commitment to God’s plan

i.  Paul embraced God’s plan for his life

a)     Although it led him to be imprisoned

ii.Let us embrace God’s plan for our life

a)     God’s ultimate plan

b)     God’s plan for your life

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Angels on Assignment ​Part 2 – Testimony Time



Revelation 12 NKJV

7  And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,

8  but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

9  So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

11  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

12 ¶  “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”


We concluded Part 1 last week with these 4 Points to Ponder:


1. Hebrews 1:14  Angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.
2. Matthew 18:10  Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
3. Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.
4. Psalms 34:7  The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.


Each of us were encouraged last week to speak God’s Word over our lives, families, and future. Because heaven is listening … and heaven will help.


This evening in Part 2, we will focus on the power of our testimony to help us overcome the devil and his angels who are waging war on mankind in the earth today. Paul told us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with the devil and his angels. Jesus told His disciples that He saw satan fall from heaven like lightening and that they had been given authority over all of the devil’s abilities. 


The preponderance of scriptures concerning the spiritual warfare we wage against the devil and his angels point us to the power we have been given as sons and daughters of the most high God. God has given us a:

• Voice of prayer
This of course concerns the prayers we pray to God.
• Voice of confession
This is a declaration of faith we make to ourselves and others.
Angels of God listen for the Word of God to be spoken …
Angels of the devil hate when the word is spoken …
• Voice of command
We have been told to command mountains and demonic angelic beings.
This is how we cast out devils and use our God-given authority.


There is also power in our testimony as it supports the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our testimony is not the Gospel, but when our prayers, our confessions, and our commands, as well as our testimonies, line up with and support the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they carry the power of God to defeat the enemy and destroy the work of the devil.


1 John 3:8b  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.


Revelation 12:11 makes a God point and gives us a powerful principle to use in our war against the devil on the earth.


Revelation 12:11  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.


So without further ado, allow me to give a testimony or two which I know for certain were more than mere hallucinations or wishful thinking. And while I share my spiritual experiences, consider sharing yours with someone else this week. 


My personal testimonies:


• July 4, 1982  … 


• Reubel and the Suzuki – Summer 1983


• Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, Israel – Ramadan ’91 or ‘92


• Driving with my family between Calais and Paris, winter of 1996


• My garage in Nederland, 2015 or 2016


Don’t forget, don’t discount, and don’t be ashamed to share the times God has intervened in your life with angels on assignment. Never let the devil rob you of the power of a testimony.


Give God glory and give Him the credit due His name. You’ll be in good company. Men like John, and Peter, and Paul, and Mary, and Joseph, and even Jesus Himself.



Saturday, June 17, 2023

Father’s Day


Today is a special day in the USA. It is the day we have set aside to remember and pay respect to our Fathers. Perhaps you have been listening to me preach here at Church On The Rock for the past 35 years, and have heard me say:

·        The one thing God wants to be is your Father.

·        When He could have introduced Himself as anything whatsoever, fire; lightening; Santa Clause; a dragon; or the sun … He chose us to know Him as our heavenly Father.

·        God has designed life so that it is passed on by a father.

·        If there is one thing the devil could do away with, it would be the father.

·        Hoards of hell are assigned to minimize the role, the relationship, and the responsibilities of fatherhood by lying to fathers and to families alike.

·        Being a good father is the most like God any man will ever get the chance to be this side of heaven.

·        The sad thing is that many fathers and many families aren’t living according to God’s perfect plan.

·        There is no doubt that this one problem is the whole problem with everything in the world.

·        And the truth is, the fix can only begin with you.

Today is Father’s Day in America.

I have a Father’s Day pop quiz for us this morning. 200 questions. Lol, no, just kidding. There are only 5. The first 4 are easy true/false questions and the last question will be a simple yes or no answer. Are you ready?

1.   In the middle of the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20:12 says:  “Correct your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”

                                       a.    True

                                       b.    False


2.   Proverbs 23:22 helps us to realize it is normal to stop listening to your father and to be aggravated at your mother when they get old.

                                       a.    True

                                       b.    False


Proverbs 23:22  Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

·        The Hebrew word translated “despise” = “booz”

·        So I guess we shouldn’t despise them even if they drink too much.


3.   Proverbs 20:20 says: “If you insult your father when he deserves it, you will be saving your family from great despair.”

                                       a.    True

                                       b.    False


4.   Ephesians 6:2&3 says:  “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

                                       a.    True

                                       b.    False


5.   Are you honoring your father in a way that pleases God?

                                       a.    Yes

                                       b.    No

Before we answer that last question, I suppose it might be fair to see an example of what it means to honor someone. First let me say that honor does not mean to agree with or to support someone’s decision, lifestyle, or opinions. Honor is, however, a show of respect that will not allow us to embarrass, belittle, insult, or despise someone worthy of honor.

The honor given to a father by God is exactly like the righteousness given to a born-again Believer. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  It is a gift of God and not earned as wages. We all agree it is a much better scenario when a Christian actually acts like one. We are told to honor our father without consideration as to whether or not anyone else thinks he is worth it. We cannot honor God without honoring those whom He has chosen to honor.

In order to get a biblical handle on this principle, let’s read an account from the book of Esther, chapter 6. (King Xerxes reigned 486-465BC; He was 33 when he began to reign; He married Esther when he was about 40; His palace was in Shushan, Iran; He ruled over the Persian Empire which included 127 provinces, about 60 nations, from India to Ethiopia; His most famous battle was in 480BC at Thermopylae against the 300 Spartans.)

(A quick review of the story of Esther leading up to chapter 6.)

Esther 6 NKJV

6  So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”

·        That’s a great question … “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?”

·        Haman represents so many of us who have operated in the flesh at times and allowed our disagreements and disappointments and even our disgusts to become our guiding light and justification.

·        Haman felt justified in believing people would be better off without Mordecai. He believed he was right, and Mordecai was wrong. But the king didn’t feel that way.

·        The question was ultimately, was Haman a servant of his own desires or was he a servant of the king?

·        So Haman answered, imagining the king was talking about honoring him.

·        Haman told the king all the things he wanted for himself in life.

7  And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor,

8  “let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head.

9  “Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ”

·        This is where it takes a turn …

·        God has a way of turning things around – talk about a paradigm shift.

10  Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”

11  So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

This story punctuates the Golden Rule spoken of by Jesus in:

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

So, back to the last question:

Are you honoring your father in a way that pleases God?

Yes, or No? If the answer is yes … great! Keep up the God work. If the answer is no, you can change that right now by repenting and asking God to forgive you. Then you can simply begin treating your father, or the memory of your father in a way that pleases God. Give him the same honor you hope to be given by the King. After all, honor is a gift from God.

And every gift from God has supernatural power - it is given for a purpose. A God gift has a God goal. It’s a promise. And … don’t go home hating your life after you feel forced to do God’s will. Haman never repented. Get with God’s program.  (Reference to the rest of the story in Esther 6)

Happy Father’s Day to every Father and every Family!