Tuesday, September 18, 2012
God's ways are not our ways, but God's ways are perfect. Consider, Jesus had to be both from Galilee and Bethlehem. (Isaiah 9:1-7 and Micah 5:2) and so it was. The place where he was born was public and accessible to the shepherds to see Him when following the announcement of His birth to them. He brings peace on earth to those who follow Him, not the kind of peace that everyone normally wants, but that peace that surpasses understanding when you know reflexively that He is in control and all things are ordained acccording to His will for His purposes and His glory.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Rom 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Nine things that the Spirit does in the believer's life.
1. It imparts spiritual life, the real life that only comes from God. v. 2, 10
2. It dwells within you and makes you one of His children. v. 9
3. It assures you that you are a child of God. v. 15-17
4. It changes the way you think. v. 5-6
5. It dominates your choices when you follow the Spirit. v. 4-5
6. It leads you, not by force, but by suggestion, urging the believer constantly to become more. v. 14
7. It helps you pray and strengthens you. v. 26-27
8. It kills the power of the old life you lead and lets you become a child of God. v. 12-13
9. It teaches you that all things, even "bad" things by the world's measure, are for your good. v. 17-18
Notice that the rich man is not named, but the beggar is. In hell, there are no names, you have lost the respect and honor that go with having a name. Yes, this is generic parable, but, the naming of the beggar Lazarus points this out.
Everything you had will not help you in hell, the rich man, obviously a very rich man has nothing. See the parallel in Ezekiel 7, especially verse 19.
There is no comfort in hell, instead the burning goes on forever. Those that have children know when a baby wakes, it cries because it is alone and it is the most heart wrenching cry in its fear of abandonment. I see those in hell, crying like that baby, as a lost soul, abandoned, but burning with the knowledge that it is their own fault.
There are no exits, even those that may wish to comfort you because they knew and loved you in this life will be unable to reach you. Nobody can intercede for you and you can intercede for nobody else. You will be all alone in torment. You will be without excuse, because the evidence for God is all around in the creation and you have rejected Him. What will you do?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Here we see Christ vs. the wisdom of the world (wise). First we have the one who is sick, second his friends who would save him and third those who are surrounding and hiding Jesus under the pretext of listening to Him. For those who are seeking and those who desire what Christ can give, be ready for a struggle.
Now, obviously there the crowd in the place Christ is at (v. 1-2), but this man's need is so great and his friends have great faith that if they can just get their sick friend before Christ, he can be healed. How does one find Christ? By listening to second hand accounts from preachers, teachers and books? Those can all be useful things, but the best way is to get right to the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
These friends understood this and they fought to reach Christ, the Word of God (v. 3-4). They climbed on the roof, dragged the litter with their friend up with them, broke through the roof (which they would have to bear the burden to replace) and lowered their friend down into the presence of Christ. Nothing was going to stand in their way, they were going to Jesus. How hard are you willing to fight for Him? To the extent of reading a chapter or two of the Bible every day? To the extent of praying every day? What is your limit to seeking after God?
Jesus seeing their faith, gave the sick man not what he thought he wanted, but what He knew he needed. He forgave his sins (v. 5). Remember, God has a purpose for you, to mold you into something pleasing to Him, so you may not get what you want, but be assured that God will give you what you need for His glory.
Of course, there were those just listening in and murmuring against Jesus using their own reasoning and wisdom (v.6-7). Jesus was ready for them and answered them (v. 8-11), declaring His claim to be the Messiah, the Christ, before the people and followed it up with what the sick man wanted because it was to the glory of God.
The reaction of the people is interesting (v. 12). First they glorified God and then make a most interesting conclusion: "We never saw it on this fashion.", or we've never seen it this way before. Remember, God does things His way and by His timing. It may or may not be the way and timing you like, but rest in faith knowing that He will do it to His glory above all things.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Going over old sermon notes and seeing if the lesson still sticks.
God gives all of us a chance to meet Him in our lives. He gives us opportunities to serve in His will, but we must learn to recognize and take them. We have to learn to listen for Him to know to invite Him in. "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalms 46:10
When we do go to meet with Him and do His work, the cares of this world will try to distract us, even from among well meaning fellow believers who are very "reasonable" about their advice. Demands for workers to work at what is needed: to be "proper" (Mary should have been assisting as hostess), to be "fair" (why should Martha have to do all that alone), to be "polite" (why was Mary monopolizing that spot by Jesus), etc. Many, many distractions in this world to take us away from laboring for the harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)
We must learn to focus on where God is taking us to attain the best for us. We must learn to spend time sitting at the Master's feet, no matter what the distractions to grow. Reading the Bible, praying, meditating on His Word, praising, all are good. Serving as hostess for Jesus and the apostles was good and honorable, but do we want to hang on desperately to what is merely good or do we want to strive for what God knows is best?
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The story of the parents of John the Baptist. They were barren, but remained faithful to God and each other, despite Zacharias being able to put Elisabeth aside for not being able to have children and that barrenness was a curse from God. As the Scripture says: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” By this time they were “well stricken in years” so there was no hope of having a child either.
The description of Zacharias and Elisabeth are two people who are “waiting on the Lord”, not for any hope of specific temporal blessings, but in His will. They are serving Him and ready to serve Him more. Then He gives the signs for those who will see, the old lady past menopause and her old husband, both of them nice enough people, working about the Temple, but cursed by God without children. How many gossips ran their mouths about the “secret sin” of this couple? However, God was ready to move in a mighty way with this willing couple, both blessing them and making Himself known by marking out this child as something special.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Taken, rather loosely from a sermon preached by my pastor on 9 December 2007.
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:1-7)
This begins with a continuation from the end of chapter 8 where it describes what is coming upon Syria and Israel, the Assyrians. There are many plots and plans going on in this time with the Syrians and Northern Kingdom of Israel attempting to subjugate Judah or force it to join with them against Assyria. Also, Ahaz, king of Judah, wanted to to call down the Assyrians, allying himself to them as a vassal to save him from this war instead of trusting in God.
In response the Lord prophesies through Isaiah that all of the counsels and plans of men would come to nothing and God would break the alliance against Judah, in fact, using Assyria to do so. Isaiah predicts that even though the darkness will come, those that pass through it remaining faithful to God through holding onto Him and the Scriptures would see a great light. In fact, those who don't have the Scriptures, and by implication faith in God, have no truth in them.
However, God not only promises that Judah will remain, but that there will come one day from the house of David One Who will be His salvation. It will break the yoke, stave and rod off oppression (sin) from His people. It will not come in confusions and blood as a war with a warrior, but it will come with fire and burning. The Child will be born and give Himself for us.
His character can be determined by His titles, the government will be on His shoulder, signifying that He alone is responsible and His Kingdom and Peace will expand without decrease. This is what God wills and plans.
Contrast this with the actions of the men in this. They are constantly making up “plan B” to deal with their problems. Israel could have returned to God, but instead chose to pursue military alliances for security. They fail because they set themselves against the will of God. They try to gain security and peace by their own actions and fail to do so, then don't know why.
Christ came because He knew He would have to. There isn't any need for a “plan B” with Him, the Fall was no surprise to Him. The failures of the Jews were known to Him, just as those who will seek His face are known to him. There is nothing impossible with God, although the actions of many prove their doubts about this when they take up “fall back” positions, just to “help God out”. Search for what He wants for you and while you search; work hard, dream big and then make due with what God gives you and to Him be the glory.
Are you doing all you do for His glory in whatever situation you find yourself?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I've finally finished the notebook I keep sermon and study notes in. Since we are talking something I use once or twice a week, it is time to do something with these. So, I'm going to go through it page by page and on the weekdays start putting in the Scripture that came with each message and from my notes either teach the same lesson or review it the Scripture and create my own lesson from it.
For several reasons, I'm not going to list the names of the men who taught these, most importantly because there are still some antimasons who want to try to find my pastor and harass him. So, if you do read this and it looks like your stuff, all copyrights will still apply to the original author.
I'll start this up in the morning.