Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Peter on the Water

Matthew 14:22 “And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.”

We know Peter. He is impetuous.
He leaps at the chance to do anything.
He is older than the other disciples. And he always wants to speak out, or do something first.

He was a fisherman, when Jesus called him and his brother, to follow Him. But they immediately did.

Now, they had just seen the feeding of the five thousand, and Jesus had told His disciples to go ahead of Him, in boats, to cross the Sea of Galilee.

Then Jesus went up into the mountain to pray.

Matthew 14:24 “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”

In Mark it says they were “toiling in rowing”. They had the sails down because the wind was so hard, and blowing in the wrong direction. They were rowing to get to the other side.

As Christians, we too, are often called to go out , not knowing what is ahead. It was probably smooth sailing for the first part of the trip, then suddenly a sea storm came up.
Yet they did not turn around; Jesus had told them to cross to the other side, and they were working to do that very thing!
This is obedience.

Now if I was with the disciples, I would have been thinking: “Boy! I wish Jesus was here to help us.”

And then He was!

Matthew 14:25-26 “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.”

The fourth watch is in the early morning. Jesus had been praying all night, and knew they were out in a storm, so He went out to them.
Sometimes the way the Lord delivers us out of trouble, is so unexpected, we too are often frightened.

But it is never too late.

But Jesus puts their fears to rest:

Matthew 14:27 “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid.”

We should not be surprised to see Jesus, the Son of God, using any part of His creation to help in delivering His own.

He is the Lord of Hosts…..any hosts. He used hornets, and hail in the Old Testament…..and He can use anything to see to the troubles of life we are in.

He commands and it is done. So walking on the waves of the storms of our lives, He comes to us; to deliver us in times of weariness and danger.

Then here comes Peter. Bold, and believing (for a while).

Matthew 14:28-29 “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.
And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”

Peter goes out of the ship, still believing……..and steps out onto the water, and starts walking on it to go to Jesus.
Now he wasn’t out there to walk with Jesus across the Sea of Galilee; no, he was walking to Jesus.
But….

Matthew 14:30-31 “But when he saw the wind boisterous he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Often what is happening around us, gets our eyes off the Lord. Once we really look at the trouble for ourselves,…..we sink!
Well, it was the same with Peter.

He was doing fine, till he saw how strong the wind was. How high it was pushing the waves.

Then he began to doubt Jesus strength for both of them. Silly Peter. The One who called him to come out, certainly can sustain him; even against the strongest wind that blows against him.

Peter probably prayed the shortest prayer he ever had prayed…..”Lord, save me.”
But it received a very quick answer: “immediately”.

Little faith doubts God, when it sees the frightening circumstances.
Large faith keeps looking to God, even in the frightening circumstances.

Matthew 14:32 “And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.”

Jesus lifted Peter from the waves, and into the ship.
And how many times has Jesus saved us in difficult circumstances?
Many, Many times.

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
And hasn’t the Lord said that to us many times……doubting Jesus is coming to the view that…..maybe He can not…..or will not save.

And doubting Him, cuts our lifeline to trust….which is holding on to Jesus and His Word.
Jesus said, “Come”. Would He then watch Peter drown?
O little faith that thinks these thoughts!

Matthew 14:33 “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

Jesus was the Son of God, come to save His people from their sins.

Sometimes it takes a storm in our lives to bring us, to see Him correctly.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I am going to start this by asking….

Is Paul’s testimony,….ours as well?

Through these last chapters in 2 Corinthians, Paul is leading them out of themselves and into complete dependence upon Christ….and so he gives an example.

(I say “complete dependence”….because Christians….if they would live for Christ….have a dependence upon Him….for He is there life.

But is it complete….or can we get along without Him,….sometimes?)

He tells of a “man in Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)……this is a blessed title, because he is not speaking as an apostle…..but just one in Christ.

He is stressing that God can give comfort and exhortation to each man in Christ. It is not office before God, but heart willingness.

This “man in Christ” had been caught up to the third heaven…to joy beyond expression—the value and power on his soul he could not even express to others….

….and yet, though he will glory in God’s power, he will not glory in himself because in himself, he was a weak and feeble creature…..who was simply in the hands of God Almighty.

Then he tells them that this revelation had gotten for him “a thorn in the flesh”.

(Some say it was the disease in his eyes, and others a deformity which made him little in the eyes of men. The tendency to pride is within each of us…and it takes but little to make it come out.)

Paul asked the Lord to remove this three times….and Paul received an answer…..yet not like we would expect…

….especially with more ministry and work for him to do.

“And He (the Lord) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…..”

“Paul, I want you to appear weak,….little in the eyes of others….that My power, which is in you and upon you for the work, will shine out.

What a testimony, Paul, to all who think they are too little for Me to use…..but do not worry, I am and will be sufficient for you.”

Here is the very basis of Spiritual Reality: Christ is sufficient for me.

Sufficient here means that God has placed a barrier around.

If God gave us power to do ourselves,….still that power is only blessed if we are dependent, or “leaning upon the Beloved” (Song of Solomon 8:5). If we act otherwise we run the risk of self-conceit.

Paul came to experience that the power of God is displayed more abundantly through his weakness, itself.

And then he gave this most blessed response…..may it be so with each of us…..

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “….Mostly gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessitates, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Most gladly…..not, “OK,…but it would be better if…”

…..not even simple resignation only….

….but, most gladly….

Paul saw…..God’s plan….God’s way….

Now he glories in the infirmities that he’d just asked to be taken away, realizing that they cause greater power to be given him….and through him.

Who would exchange the power of Christ for the “power of human eloquence”?

Who would want a grand appearance instead of the glory of God?

2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

But we have….every born again one has….(present tense)…has this treasure.

Yes, Paul says, we are earthen vessels…..nothing in ourselves….

…….but we have a treasure within us….which is the excellency of God’s power in us….and manifested through us.

We simply must recognize our weakness….and let the treasure shine forth.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Paul and Silas in Jail.

A little background:
Paul and Silas were on a missionary trip, when Paul received a vision.

Acts 16:9 “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.”

So they went “immediately”. Once there, they went to Philippi, which was the chief city.
There they stayed for several days, but on the Sabbath they went to the river side, and spoke to the women who had gathered to pray.

One woman was born again and baptized, and she opened her house to them, so they had a place to stay.

As we were going to prayer, a demon possessed girl, who could tell fortunes; began to follow Paul and Silas, crying out, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.”
This she did for several days.

Perhaps to some, this might seem good publicity.
But not to Paul, who was grieved that the gospel was shouted about like a piece of meat.

Also, that they were spoken about.
The gospel is about Christ.

Yes, there is a “way of salvation”, but cried out like that, made it seem cheap. “Give me a coin and I will show you what to do.”

That was her line.
Not God’s.

So…
Paul turned:
Acts 16:18 “And this she did many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

Her masters, who got money from her predictions, were furious.
They grabbed Paul and Silas, and brought them before the magistrates, in the market.

With a false accusation, and no chance of defense; Paul and Silas were given over to being beaten; and jailed.

Acts 16:23-24 “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:
Who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”

Not at all a good result, it would seem. They were beaten and put into a filthy, small space with their feet in wooden stocks.

But…
Paul and Silas, beaten and sore; were not going to stop seeking God’s Will.

They had been sent there, and so now they needed to know whether what Paul had done about this demonic girl, was the right thing to do.
Or just his idea, because he disliked what she said.

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

First they prayed. Maybe groaned more than prayed. Yet God heard them.

When they had heard that it was God’s Will, then they sang praises unto God.
There was no stifling the Holy Spirit, here. They prayed, then praised Him for these circumstances. Power, real power to praise rose within their hearts and spilled over into song.

They had preached to many people. They had come to the place God sent them. They had preached and led some to Christ Jesus……
……..And they had done what they should, about this girl.
This was still God’s Will. Hallelujah!

Acts 16:26-27 “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundation of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.
And the keeper of the prison wakening out of his sleep, and seeing the doors open, drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.”

The glory of God, and His power came down to them in that prison.
They sang.
There was an earthquake. It opened all the doors.
When the doors opened, not one of the prisoners escaped! They were all there. A showing of power, to keep these men there.

But the real power for Paul and Silas, was in their praise.
It took beaten, sad men, and turned them into praising, joyful peacemakers.

Acts 16:28-30 “But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas.
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

God’s power was also there for the jailer.
He would have killed himself.
(If those in his charge were missing, Rome would have killed him. But if he killed himself, his family might be spared.)

Acts 16:32-33 “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, and all his, straightway.”

And the power of God continued to the saving of the jailer’s family.

When the Holy Spirit is not quenched; power is the result.
Power for you, and through you, to others.

Paul and Silas were badly treated, jailed.
But both praised God for the opportunity to suffer for Him……
….and by that praise, power was given to bring other souls to Christ.
(It is amazing how God works through our bad circumstances for good. But it was as they prayed and praised, that the circumstances changed)

The next day the magistrates sent a message to the keeper, to let them go.

(This seems like a good time for Paul and Silas, to get out of there quick!)

But Paul said, No, for they have beaten us publicly, and we are Romans, and now they want to let us go privately? No, let them come and let us out themselves.

(Romans had rights: they could not be accused without a hearing, or beaten, uncondemned.
Paul and Silas had been rushed into prison; and beaten at the whim of these magistrates.)

Now Paul speaks, not in anger, but for justice. He could have had these magistrates judged, as he had been…….but instead required them to simply,…..personally,…..see to their release.
And they feared, and came themselves,…..and let them out.

God’s Power, for the Christian, is first in us, working joy and peace, and guidance.
Then it is through us, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, to others.

It is always about Christ…..to manifest Christ.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Satisfaction

Jeremiah 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Nothing nor anyone, but God, can satisfy His people.

We have a spirit within each man. It is part of our first creation….and it is the reservoir for the knowledge and light of God.

For the lost, their spirit is lifeless….it has an impress of the light

(Like the impressions of a chair on a rug, which has set there for a while….yet now is gone. The indent is there….but the reality is not.

John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

God has set eternity in their hearts,….they know that there is more than this life, yet often will not come to the Light of God John 3:17-21)

For the Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells our spirit, making them the “candle of the Lord”….the place of the outflowing of grace and mercy into our lives.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

The Holy Ghost is the means for liveliness and peace.

We are to “hold fast”…..we are to “keep” what the Holy Spirit has given us, and shown us to be His Word and Will.

But this is a joyous thing….it like hugging God, to hold on to HIs Word in our lives…and the effect it has, is growing satisfaction.

If we let them “slide through our fingers”, so to speak….we are the losers.

Jeremiah 2:11 “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.”

“Changed” here, means to barter away….to dispose of. Israel was bartering away their glory…..being a nation under God….ruled by Him…

…to follow idols, of gold and wood…..

…for they thought that these idols would “profit” them…..because they would be like the other nations…they would “fit in”….and have respect from them.

But there was no profit.

The church also has been negligent in this respect…..

We have looked for “profit” like the world…..when the only real measure of abundance…is in following Christ. (John 10:10)

2 Corinthians 6:14,16 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

We are to walk with God….and not walk after the world.

Paul had started this chapter in Corinthians, with a picture of a victorious life, even in trials and persecutions.

(One which was so different than “going along” with the world.)

“In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in mobs, in labors,….watching and fasting,…

…whether honored or dishonored, whether slandered or sought out; spoken of as deceivers, but not…

…always sorrowing over the lost, yet rejoicing in Christ….as poor, yet showing the true riches of Christ…

….keeping my eye only on Christ, with the knowledge He gives by the Holy Spirit in love…speaking the word of God in the power of God, with HIs armor around us…

Giving no offense….but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God….

….as having nothing, sharing everything….yet in Christ we possess all we need.”

Paul’s life was one of trials and troubles…..yet grace abounded to him. He lived day by day in the light and grace of God.

And he exhorted the church to have the true satisfaction of life…..Christ Jesus the Lord….with an amazing promise:

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

First, “come out”…..which suggests that the entanglement has already been thought of.

Second, “be separate”….which means that our attitudes, as well as our actions are to be as unto the Lord….and not unto men.

Third, “touch not the unclean thing”…..this is leprosy.

(It is not as the Pharisees, which would consider the shadow of a gentile crossing them as unclean.)

But leprosy in the Bible always was a type of sin….eating and destroying us. In other words….do not even touch sin….think of it as leprosy….and stay as far away from it as possible.

“And I will receive you”…the Greek “receive” is only used here….and means a special blessing.

“And I will be a Father unto you”….For a Father takes responsibility for their children, and leads and guides them into good.

“And ye shall be My sons and daughters” There are only two places that speak of God having “sons and daughters”. Here, and…

….Isaiah 43:6-7 “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

“Saith the Lord Almighty.” Almighty means all-ruling, sovereign. And the Lord promises to rule within us….guiding and protecting…

……but also to overrule for us…in circumstances and with enemies.

This is an amazing promise….to all who will come out from the world and begin to find their satisfaction in Christ.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Battle of Ai, and Achan

Joshua 7:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan the son of Carmi,….of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”

They had just come through the Jordan River at flood time, on dry ground; by a miracle of God.

They had their first convert to the God of Israel, in Rahab.

Then they fought their first battle at Jericho. By faith the walls came down, and they went in and won.

Now, a little proud, and self-confident, Joshua sends men to Ai, a small city close to Jericho, to spy it out. But he does not ask God what to do next. (Big mistake!)

They were to possess the land God had given them, so his thinking was right; but there was a problem within the ranks of Israel, which stopped all blessings to them, till it was dealt with.

Which he would have known, if he had asked.

When we begin to lean on our own understanding; then we are lighting our path with our own spark, expecting God to honor our own plans.

Joshua 7:5-6 “And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them before the gate…, wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel, put dust upon their heads.”

All of a sudden, coming before the Lord was very important!

But notice that the Lord makes Joshua wait. It was not till eventide, the time of the evening sacrifice, that Joshua’s prayer was answered.

Joshua 7:7-9 “And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!

O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!

For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt Thou do unto Thy great name?”

Here is Joshua, before the Lord,…..complaining.

Why had He had brought them over Jordan?

Should they have been content to stay out of the Promised Land?

Did the Lord mean to kill them?

What would happen when the other cities that they were suppose to conquer hear about this defeat? Oh no, Oh no!

Joshua 7:10-12 “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou upon thy face?

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I have commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you anymore, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”

(Joshua could have seen to this before going against Ai, if he had simply asked the Lord for guidance.

How often, our own self-confidence gets us into difficulties we never should have been in….but we did not wait for God’s direction.)

But the Lord paid no attention to Joshua’s whining.

No, He got right to the point: Get up off your face Joshua, and see to the problem.

I have brought you here, but I will not be with you in battle, till you see to the person who stole from the treasury devoted to My Tabernacle.

He stole it, and hid it in his stuff.

His family saw him, hiding it; yet said nothing.

Deal with it.

So he did as the Lord said:

Tribe by tribe came before the Tabernacle and the Lord showed the tribe of Judah.

Family by family of Judah came before the Lord, till at last Achan was shown to be the thief, his family knowing it.

Joshua 7:19-21 “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.

And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:

When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonian garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and behold they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

Confession was made, but sadly it did no good. Men had died for his sin.

He had not confessed because of love to God, but because he was already found out.

Achan and the gold and the Babylonian garment, and the silver, and all that he had was to be killed. Notice, The Lord did not take back the gold, silver or garment…it was destroyed with the thief.

(I believe, if Achan had just repented sooner, taking the stolen stuff to Joshua, and the priest; he could have saved his family.

Lust of this world is a terrible thing.

Lust is: I want this, and I want it now. What ever “it” is.)

The wedge of gold represents opulent wealth.

The Babylonian garment represents vanity: how we look before others.

The silver represents spending money.

Each was a temptation.

And Achan found himself overcome by greed, and pride; instead of being in his place in the battle, and overcoming in faith.

After Joshua and Israel remove the accursed thing; They went on to win at Ai.

Joshua did not rely on his own judgement, but only did what the Lord said, and won.

Joshua 8:1-2 “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given unto thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:

And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto to Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves:…”

The spoil from Jericho, their first battle, was to be given to the Lord completely.

(We should always put the Lord first)

But the spoil from the second battle: gold, cattle, silver, etc. was to be divided up between all Israel.

If Achan had only trusted God and waited; all that he stole, he could have had with blessing.

When we mistrust God, and begin to think that He is not giving us what we want; we need to remember:

He should always be first, for He loved us first (1 John 4:19)

And that when it is time, He will see to giving us everything, He has for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Greatest Need for our day is a return to First Principles

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

The very first principle for all who would follow Jesus, is the message of the cross—your personal cross.

Luke 9:23 “And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

We will never have what Christ Jesus has for us in reality, unless we will deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him….
Bearing our cross to the place where we no longer resist His Will in anything….(This is not sinless perfection, but it is final obedience….you will obey what He wills.)
And He sits enthroned in our hearts, and lives.

What is our personal cross? This deals with our wills.

First, it is something you can say “no” to; for it is “whosoever will”, “ if any man will”.

Second, it is personal. My cross is not your cross, and visa-versa.

Third, it is any thing in God’s Will that crosses our wills; or brings up resentment and a feeling of wanting to run away from it.

[I usually feel a bristling in me. And as soon as I do, I know I need to talk to the Lord about this….
“I am not liking Your Will, for whatever reason, but I surrender right now, and ask that Your blessed Holy Spirit will help me, not just do this for Your sake, but change my attitude about it.”]

When we come to the willed decision that Christ is going to rule our lives; then Jesus calls us on to a more intimate calling:

Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: And whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

This deals with our personality: that which is truly us.

You see, from children to grown-ups, we take on the mannerisms and habits and attitudes of the world around us.

What this call deals with is: Jesus freeing us from these entanglements; and giving us liberty to be us….the true us, He created.
He redeemed and saved us…not someone we think we would like to be like.
This is to “lose our lives in ourselves”.

We believe, our souls are the seat of our personality. We are unique, no two are exactly alike.
We believe also, that our souls are the most precious thing to God in all of His Creation….for Christ Jesus paid the Atonement price to save them.

When we are freed and under the liberty of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18), only then do we find our life in Christ.
As we continue to deny our self-life (our attitudes, our way of thinking things out, our affections, our reactions),…..so we may find our life in Christ.
Christ deals with us in His own way.

(I knew a child, that every time he became scared…..he would get angry. This was a “mechanism” he used, to cover his fear.
He would yell, he would stomp,….not for the reasons his parents thought, but because he was really scared.

Once they saw that, they were able to deal with him…..not as a brat, having a fit….but as a scared kid……trying to act tough. And that changed everything.)

You see it is only as we get past the “covers” of our attitudes,……that we can deal with the real issues.

Then our attitudes change.
We walk by faith and not by sight.
We “learn, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). We learn discernment…what is good for us, and what is not.

And we gain confidence in our walk with God. We know…

Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (complete), be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

It is ever an onward walk with Christ….more and more of Him in us, freeing us from every sin and iniquity (anything unequal to your high calling in Christ Jesus)….
….till we are complete: there are no half measures with God.

Free from the bondage and influences of the world, and sin;
Obedient—having our obediences up-to-date;
Surrounded by His peace (Philippians 4:7), practically…..we are at peace with God, with the circumstances….and even, at peace with ourselves.
Rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:17).

He wants us to be fully free, and fully His.

Will we begin to “follow Him”, by denying ourselves and picking up our cross (those things of His Will that cross what we want,….how we think…..how we feel)…….till we no longer resist His Will in anything.

Then going on to lose “our life”, that we might truly be who He has created us to be….finding our life and purpose….in Christ Jesus.

The Way of the Righteous

Psalm 1:6 “. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly will perish.”

What is the way of the righteous?

Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

This is the way of the righteous…and we should all walk in it.

Our lives are witness to the way we believe…..

…..our walk is witness to Who we believe….

…..our words should witness to what we have experienced, in our belief.

Hebrews 4:13 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

If we would come to God with the full realization that this is true….we would all acquire the faculty of honesty with Him….

…for we would certainly know….He knows us inside and out.

In our souls, God sees all. He knows our thoughts….and our intents.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

“Intents” means our moral understanding.

The Word of God divides our soul (reasons, affections, will) and our spirit (where the Holy Spirit dwells).

It shows us what God says…..and shows us where we stand.

It shows us our real thoughts and emotions about things….and shows us our moral compass….the Word of God gives real understanding to all situations as we yield to it.

This matter of our being righteous….and walking in the way of the righteous….is a matter of the heart.

We must know our true thoughts and intents of our heart….we must be honest….and we are helped by His wonderful Word.

It is not so much our failures…..but our attitude….to them. To see them in the light of HIs sacrifice…..to see them in the light of HIs Word….

….if we would see them as they are….and ourselves as we are….we would get a better look at the attitude of our hearts.

Are we diligent? Are we being careless? Are we telling Him all…or just part of all the truth….our side of it?

I believe it takes the power of the Holy Spirit for us to get honest….for we are not able…..of ourselves to get honest with God.

Why? Is not He our greatest Help? Our Savior from sin and failure?

Of course, that is why we need to come to Him and cry:

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Righteous means “right wise”….”cleansed”.

It is walking in the light of His love and in the way of His commandments to us.

Jude 21 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for that mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

(I love this verse…..in others words….”Walk on the sunny side of the street….stay out of clouds and darkness….looking and reaching out always for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus….for He will lead us in life—eternally.”)

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Fellowship

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”

The Amen God stands at the door of Laodicea….and to all who hear His Voice…and answers His knock, He offers fellowship.

It is the maintaining of this, I wish to speak.

(Now I want to speak of fellowship. We sometimes get to thinking….

….”I pray,…surely I have fellowship with the Lord.”

Maybe, I do not know what you pray about….and even if I did, I might not know whether it is just asking to receive….

….or coming to Christ to hear Him. [Mark 9:2-7]

For “fellowship” here, is the conversation of God and you.

Pretty amazing, really.

He wants to show you things…..and discuss His plans (John 15:15)…and have you talk to Him about your life….the problems and the blessings.

Fellowship means partnership, social interaction and participation together.)

To maintain this….we will go back to the Brazen Laver….which was a picture of this.

When the Brazen Laver was made….it was placed beyond the Altar of Sacrifice….right next to the door where the priests entered to minister at the Holy things.

(the altar of incense—prayer; the table of shewbread—partaking of Christ as the bread of life; the M’nourah—the light of the Holy Spirit for our lives since Christ is in heaven)

The Brazen Laver was set out in the sunlight of the outer court of the Tabernacle.

It was for cleansing. The first time it was used….Aaron and his sons were given a complete bath….not to be done again!

This is a picture of our regeneration….once done….cleansed and able to minister. (Exodus 29:4)

After that it was for continual cleansing….

Exodus 30:18-19, 21 “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass,…to wash withal:…

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:

So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.”

This they had to do themselves…every time they went from the Brazen altar where they had sacrifices….into the Holy Place.

They ministered in the sacrifices…..and their hands might be bloody and their feet dusty on the earthen floor.

So before they entered into all that spoke of fellowship with God….they washed their hands and feet.

This shows us the need for our daily cleansing.

What we need to do when we are conscious of any failures of our service (our hands)…or our failings in our walk (our feet)….

….is to go to Christ and get cleansed.

Christ is seen in the Brazen Laver….and His Word in the water that cleanses (Ephesians 5:26).

Cleansed not from the guilt of sin, but from the defilements of our way.

We walk everyday through a world that loves not God….we deal with those who are dead in trespasses and sins….and with the influence of a world which “lieth in the wicked one”….we need to be cleansed from them, or our walk becomes hindered.

After the last supper, when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples….He came to Peter…

John 13:8 “Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.”

Notice that the Lord did not say Peter would have no part “in Me”…..but “with Me”.

“In Christ” refers to our standing before God….which is perfect in Christ (Hebrews 10:14)

But “with Christ” has to do with fellowship and communion with the Lord, and for this….

……there must be a cleansing of all that hinders or offends Him…..

…but we must also remember that He supplies all that is needed to do that….”the washing of water by the Word”

When my husband would have Awakening Meetings….we would begin with a moment of silence….

….Confession of sin (1 John 1:9)…and casting of burdens (1 Peter 5:7)…that everything would be put away…..that nothing would block the message the Lord wanted to give anyone there.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Our daily walk…..in fellowship with the Lord.

It is to seek grace to do His Word, knowing deliverance from the influence of this world through it!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Children of Wrath.

Ephesians 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

I have been exercised a great deal lately about anger. It is not just other people’s anger…..although there seems to be so much of that….but it is my anger.

How easily I can begin to be angry! Silly things, which are trivial, should never make me frustrated or angry.

Praying about this, I was struck by this verse….and how much it says!

“We all had our conversation (our walk) in times past….and were by nature the children of wrath..”

Anger is a natural part of our being….it came with the nature of sin from our first parents: Adam and Eve, and their disobedience.

(Cain, the first born son of Adam and Eve, became angry….refusing God’s warning about this sin (Genesis 4:5-7)……he became the first murderer.)

Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”

But, as Christians,…..far from excusing us,….this merely shows us the extent of the lust of the flesh….for anger has to do with “me”, or “mine”….and how things affect me.

As Christians, we have a new nature….received when we were born again.

It is Christ’s nature, implanted within us by the Holy Spirit.

(I am going to share a verse with you, that the Lord showed me a long time ago. I have preached on it many times since….for it is an amazing revelation!)

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord:

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

How can we “fail of the grace of God”? By not using it. The Holy Spirit supplies it,…..but when we refuse to use it, and side with ourselves against God’s Way…..we “fail” of it.

We think of God’s power ripping through things, changing things….this way and that;….and it has….and does…….but God often limits His power (grace) to…..how much we receive it at His hands.

Example:

Mark 6:5-6 “And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

And He marveled because of their unbelief, and He went around about the villages, teaching.”

Jesus had come back into the country of Nazareth, and when it was the Sabbath….He came to the synagogue and taught.

You would think that they would be excited to hear Him, (a hometown boy made good)……since He had performed miracles and healed many, in other places.

And they acknowledged His works…..it was Who He was, that offended them.

It was His authority……He was the Messiah…the Son of God…..and He was telling them how God is.

And they refused to receive this grace offered them in this synagogue……and by doing so….refused Him.

(And how many times have we heard people say Jesus was a “good person”….but when it came to acknowledging Him as the Son of God….they refuse.

And what of us…..do we refuse to submit to His authority? Are we amazed at His miracles….and….are we submitting to His authority, as well?)

But no, they became “offended”……not because of His works….but because of Who He was, to them……so they refused His words, and His works, as well.

Mark 6:2-3 “And when the Sabbath day was come, He began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing Him were astonished saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this that is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands?

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him.”

They saw His Wisdom……they knew His hands worked the miracles they’d heard about…..

…….but they refused His grace to believe what all these things showed: that He was the Messiah, the Christ of God…….

….they refused to believe it……and in anger, set about to kill Him.

In Luke, it says about the same visit to Nazareth:

Luke 4:28-30 “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

And rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong.

But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.”

And He, Jesus, the Son of God, could do no mighty work there,…..And He marveled at their unbelief.

Jesus limited Himself to their receiving Him….

And Jesus often limits the grace given….to how much we receive it at His hand.

How much of our anger as Christians is because we refuse to receive His Word,…..His Way,……which leads us to refuse Him, and His grace offered to us?

Let us stop getting angry at God….

Let us receive and keep receiving what the Holy Spirit wants to work within us…..

Let us open up our hearts everyday to Him, His Word, His Way, and His grace by His Holy Spirit…..putting away anger, bitterness, wrath, etc.

And taking all the grace we can…….to stay close to Him.

Oh Lord, Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

When we think of this prayer the Lord taught his disciples,…..are we thinking of the many times we repeat it….

…..without thinking of the tremendous power we are asking for…first, in ourselves….and then through us?

If we pray this prayer, we should surely have our armor on, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, for there will be a battle…..

….no one stands with Christ Jesus in this world, without opposition from the world, the flesh and the devil.

How does His kingdom come?

His kingdom comes to me when I bow to His rule over me….when I make it my principle aim to do His Will….as I know His Will.

When He shows us His Word, or what we should do…..we should immediately submit to it…..not debate it; then do it, as soon as we can.

There is always a battle for our minds.

“Why?” Is always one of the first thoughts that pops into our heads….

…..if we continue along that line (and yes, I have, often…), it leads us down a path of discouragement….where we drop the courage we have in the dust….and begin to look for “an easier way,….or some other way”.

If we settle right away that we will do His Will……then the Holy Spirit blesses our diligence with a sense of rightness, of peace, and of courage to do.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Now, when we pray this prayer, than we should,…..with the best of our ability,…..set about to do just that….

….to have His kingdom come in our life, today….

….diligently seeking enabling grace to see His Will done more in us…….for that is where His kingdom comes on earth….in the lives of His people, first.

(If we are not being obedient to Him….we can not show to others the goodness and kindness of God….for we are resisting Him, ourselves.)

We are given the use the means of grace….Bible study, prayer, attending the services in fellowship with the saints….all the things that encourage, and enlighten us, by the Holy Spirit…..

…..and faith.

1 John 5:4 “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

But how do you use faith?

By being obedient….for faith and obedience are never separate things.

Abraham could not have offered Isaac, by faith…..sitting down in his tent….in his mind and imagination, going to Mt. Moriah….

….no, he had to go….take Isaac,…..and be obedient.

Joshua could not have made the walls of Jericho fall…..but he, and Israel could be obedient and walk around the wall, day by day….by faith, till the Lord made them fall down.

David could not have saved Israel from Goliath, by faith….standing in the camp of Israel….

….no, he had to take the weapon he knew how to use….believing God would deliver Goliath to him…….and go, and be obedient.

By faith, I should ask for help (Hebrews 4:16)…..by faith, I should use that help when it comes.

To know His power flowing through, as you receive the knowledge of His Will…..and go and accomplish His Will.

Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

It is in our everyday circumstances that we acquire this “perfection”……for when it speaks of perfection….it means “being complete”.

And we can not be complete without passing through the daily trials that His Will leads us through.

All our perfection consists in this: entire conformity to Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)….and Jesus came to do all….and only….His Father’s Will….

….so we must diligently use the grace given to seek to know….and then to do His Will.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”