Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Be ready to give an answer

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

In my ladies prayer meetings, we include this prayer….”That we might be given a word in due season, that we might know what to say…at any given time, to anyone…about Christ.”

How important our words are to the Lord:

Matthew 12:36-37 “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

First notice….that we are to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts….for out of the abundance of the heart,…the mouth speaketh. (Matthew 12:34-35)

If Jesus is sanctified in our hearts….then our mouths will gladly answer all who ask about Him in our lives.

Sanctified here, means venerated. Do we honor our Lord in our hearts….enough that it comes through in our speech?

We think we need a prepared testimony…..no, we simply need to answer the question asked…..from our own experience.

Be ready always….

Give a reason for the things you do, and don’t.

(We always bow our heads to pray over our food….and we have had some interesting remarks about it. But we always just say….”God is worthy. This is what we do at home in thanksgiving for our food and blessings….and we are just as grateful here.”)

Peace, kindness and gentleness (fruits of the Spirit within us)are great witnesses….bringing out many comments and questions.

How many witnesses are “stored” away by the Holy Spirit….until the right moment…..when they are remembered….and a difference made!

Give a reason why you expect Christ Jesus to return soon. “Surely, I come quickly…” (Rev. 22:20)

Ecclesiastes 12:11 “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.”

There are words which cannot be gotten around. They prod the hearers, until there is a decision made. God fastens them to the hearer’s hearts and minds.

Psalm 40:10 “I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation (those assembled).”

God is Sovereign…..man is responsible. Responsible to use the means God provides….to bring about the ends He sees and purposes.

Responsible. The root word is “response”. God expects us, as His servants……to respond to His love and commands. We respond in heart….then in word and deed.

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Our hearts and our mouths are always linked together.

What we love and honor, comes out.

Colossians 4:5-6 “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

But we are not left without help to speak, no…..

Matthew 10:19-20 “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

Proverbs 15:23 “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

A word spoken in due season…..how good is it!

It can bring life to the lost…..it can be just what the hearer needs to hear to return them to Christ.

And it begins in our hearts…..honor the Lord there….and the tongue will speak with grace…seasoned with salt….knowing how to answer every man.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Mountains we are Called To

Song of Solomon 4:8 “Come with Me from Lebanon, my spouse, with Me from Lebanon: Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions den, from the mountains of the leopards.”

Mountains in scripture speak of insurmountable problems….things we can never handle on our own.

But the scriptures also show that God’s people are people of the mountains. (Lot choosing the plain, but Abraham on the mountain. Genesis 13:10, 14-15)

And in this beautiful song, which speaks of the believer (in the maiden) being drawn to a personal relationship with Christ (the shepherd-king);….there are mountains….several mountains.

By the time this call comes to the believer, he has followed the Lord and learned to come out from the wall of our past experience, and go on. (Song of Solomon 2:8-10)

But, though hesitant at first, the believer has come….and found more of that relationship power…..for the believer has found more of Christ.

But now, the call comes to “come with Me” to the peaks of Lebanon. (“From” here, means to look from)

There are three peaks the Lord is calling us to experience with Him…always with Him….

Amana: means “confirmation”. It is a word related to “Amen”….”let it be done”

(Only He can say Amen to anything….for only He can speak, and it will be done.)

He is the Amen….and from this peak….as we follow Him….we can see His view point on the things below.

For God sees us in Christ, and as we are in Christ….all the things that come to us, are purposed….either for blessing or correction.

Trials are to be seen as from Christ’s hand. Christ as our Teacher leads us into lessons we could not learn in other circumstances.

Corrections are to seen as sent in love, to bring us back to Him.

These are high things….heady things, which we need His Arm to steady us, as we climb up.

As we climb up, we begin to put the things of our circumstances, into perspective…..His perspective.

Amen, Lord, this is Your will, so I will do it.

Shenir: means “pointed word or saying”; as in the Sword of the Spirit….our armor…(Ephesians 6:17)

This peak speaks about our warfare against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

But, as we climb this peak with the Lord Jesus, we begin to be given the “pointed word” which we can use against our adversary.

Up on this peak, the Lord gives us a view of how the adversary is trying to trick us….we see more clearly the things which might trip us up.

Thank you Lord for this sight ahead…and for Your Word to use in the battles coming up.

Hermon: means “abrupt”….like a unseen cliff at the end of the way.

That is what our sin had brought us to: destruction;…….but remember, we are with Jesus, our Savior. We have come with Him.

And on this peak, we see the Victory of the Cross of Christ in a fuller way.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

His salvation is a complete one: over the curse of sin in every way…..sin, itself in us (power by His grace).

Death brought on by sin is separation from God for eternity….but we are not separated, but with Him.

And therefore the sting or terror of death is gone……..as Christians, we fall asleep (Acts 7:60),….we close our eyes here, and open them in heaven.

And in seeing these, we can enter into the joy of them.

But beside these wonderful peaks…..there is danger, for we are traveling through this world, still.

There are….”The lions dens, the mountains of the leopards”.

In our walk with Jesus, there are enemies, which we will have to meet for our work and walk.

Lions roar…..they frighten and terrify, to throw us off guard, and into panic.

Leopards are tremendously strong, carrying their prey, and devouring them.

And the closer you grow to the Lord,……the more the enemy will fight.

But the Lord is with us…..and He has brought us up on these peaks to give us His view point…..

….and with that view point, we become enabled:

With His Will…..Amen….only He can say, “Let it be done”, for the things ahead.

With His Word….the sword of the Spirit….to use against the tricks which come against us.

With His Victory….there is no destruction for us….death is to fall asleep. The body may be in a grave, but we are not. We will be with Christ in heaven.

These mountain peaks the Lord calls His believers to. They are high, and sometimes dangerous….but they are with Him.

“Come with Me.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Reality, is it for me?

Matthew 16:24-25 “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.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

This is the Path to Reality for everyone of us.

We will have spiritual reality, to the degree we walk in it.

Will you choose this path?

It must ultimately come down to “for His sake”.

God never alters our wills; our will must be exercised for Him.

We must choose to deny self, and follow Him.

We must choose to lose our self-life, to find our Christ life.

Our wills are not free, because they are influenced by our minds and hearts.

What or Who do you love?

What influences your thinking most; God’s Word, or the World’s opinions?

As you go along with Christ, you find out these things and….if you will….you deal with anything which comes between you and Jesus.

We are to go about our Father’s Will, by denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Christ.

But what is “my” cross?

Christ’s cross was the wooden one on which He sacrificed Himself, and shed His blood for my sins.

We can never “pick up” His cross. Nor are we called to.

We are called to pick up our cross:

Our cross is anything which God requires that cuts across our wills. It must be something you can refuse to do. Christ said, “If any man will”; therefore you may “will not.”

Sickness, your parents, or siblings (no matter how trying) are not your cross.

You can not refuse them.

(It can be something concerning them: taking care of your parents–you don’t have to, but God wants you to. That can be your cross.)

Your cross is anything which God requires that cuts across our wills; which is a matter of choice.

True Sanctification is the heart’s longing after the Lord, Himself.

Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

What Fruits do you bear?

Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Once we are born again, and are given a new nature….a battle begins within us:

The old nature (our self-life), and our new nature (the life of God within us); start to battle back and forth for control of our actions, our thoughts, our emotions…

….which involve our reactions (how easy it is to do the things we have always done).

Frankly, we have lived in the soul’s sphere all our lives…..

…we think things out….

…we react from our emotions…

…we will to do what we want, if we are not stopped by some outside force.

This has been our life.

And our self-life does not stop wanting to “tell us what to do”, after we are born again.

James 4:1 “From whence comes wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

(Lust is: I want this, and I want this now….whether in thought, or action.)

Ephesians 5:24 “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

“Crucified” has to do with the cross….our cross, which Jesus invites us to “deny ourselves, and pick up”. (Matthew 16:24)

Our souls must be brought into subjection to the new nature….which is from God…by our wills, willing with God.

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:”

And in this, God requires us to submit to the inworking of the Holy Spirit…..Who guides us into righteousness, and works within us to will after God’s good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

It is yielding, again and again….to the Holy Spirit….till it becomes the heart-beat of our lives, to yield.

For it starts as a matter of the will, willing….and becomes a matter of the whole being….mind, heart and will…giving place to the blessed Holy Spirit.

This yielding, works new characteristics within us, to replace the old attitudes and actions which we set aside.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Now these set forth what the Holy Spirit will work within us….

…and He begins with love.

I think this is most blessed, because in ourselves, we love the wrong things.

But in Christ, we are taught the important things of life….and learn to will to love them.

(I have said this before, that “agape”, or Christian love is not emotion…although certainly we feel it.

But it is the willed tendency of the heart to devote ourselves to Christ Jesus.

Jesus Christ always forces a choice of the will….

…..never does He say, “Well, if you feel like it….you should follow Me.” Or. “If you think this is a good idea, then follow Me.”

No, it is…..”If any man, woman, boy, or girl will,…then follow Me.”)

So, when we are born again, the Holy Spirit shows us the beauty of Christ, and says, “Will you love Him?”

When we will, then the Holy Spirit opens up our hearts to receive….and to give love…”agape”….both to Christ and to our fellow Christians.

He places it within us, and says….”work it out”….obey Him.

Then there is joy: joy is the felt presence of God in my life….it comes in any circumstances…and lifts us up, to the fullness of life, in Him…at that time.

Then there is peace. Peace gives rest….and rest of soul (mind, heart, and will) is strength, for it gives us knowledge that God is our Fortress….now. (Philippians 4:7, Psalm 18:1-2)

Then there is long-suffering…waiting for others, remembering how God has waited for us.

gentleness,….being kind.

goodness,…acting right toward others.

faith,…keeping God in front of us in all circumstances.

temperance,….even tempered.

meekness….seeing ourselves the way we are before God.

…all of these characteristics of Christ are worked within our personalities by us yielding to the Holy Spirit within.

They build on one another….each supplying in our personalities a strength….so that we can use all the grace God gives.

Are we bearing these fruits?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God is our refuge and strength

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

The testimony of the Lord’s people is wonderful. In the chaos of our day, we can be lights to the stability and help of our God.

It is not that we are not troubled….we are often. It is not that the world does not seem to fall in around us….it does.

But it is that we have an Anchor…..a Captain of our Salvation….a King, who still rules….and over rules for us.

Peter, when he was writing the dispersed Jewish church….spoke plainly of “manifold temptations…and trials of faith”….

…yet he spoke also of….”wherein we greatly rejoice”!

2 Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried in fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

How can this be…in the midst of change and troubles….we can rejoice?

Because, like the psalmist…..Peter looked to the Lord….our refuge and strength.

In this epistle he speaks of the three-fold work of the Godhead.

1 Peter 1:2-3 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

God the Father saw us in Christ Jesus….before times eternal. (2 Timothy 1:9)…and prepared a purpose for us.

God the Son, by HIs precious blood and resurrection gives us forgiveness and life….a life of hope and obedience.

God the Spirit leads us into sanctification….being set aside in spirit, soul, and body to God.

This is why….

….even though the “heaviness” of many kinds of temptations are thrown at us….to trip us up….

….(the devil would use them to get us to distrust God’s wisdom or love….to get us to fix our eyes on ourselves…)

….yet through the sanctification of the Spirit….He leads us to look to Jesus, and obey from the heart the Will of God…and receive that joy….which should be the end of our trials…

1 Peter 1:8-9 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

Our faith is tried again and again….to strengthen it. For our faith must be constantly active in this world.

“Yet believing”….is a present-tense word…..for again….it anchors our hearts and minds and wills to Christ….

….and He is our salvation….here and now….and for eternity.

God is our refuge and strength…..a very present help in time of trouble.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Justification and Sanctification.

Justification deals with our guilt as sinners by birth and choice.

And Sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives, as Christians.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Romans 6:12-13 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

We are justified when we are born again. Justified is a legal term, and means to be made: not guilty before God.

As lost sinners, we are only justified when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We have come to believe in Him, Whom to know aright is to have Eternal Life (Romans 6:23).

As saved sinners, we are sanctified, or set aside for God’s use; as He has more and more of us.

It is not: “How much of God do I have in my life?”

It is: “How much does He have of me, or how much have I lost of my self-life?

You see the Holy Spirit indwells believers at new birth. (Hallelujah)

But, after that, He empowers us,…..only as much as we let Him,…in all the areas of our life.

To do this, we need to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24-25 “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.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

Our “cross” is anything which goes against “our” will; that we have a choice in: it is not illness, or our relatives, or our looks; it is what we can say “no” to.

For it is “if any man will”.

It is different for each of us: what God requires at my hand, He might not do to you. (And visa versa)

But the method is the same: we need to say “no” to ourselves (that is denying yourself); and do the thing required of us, giving the Holy Spirit access to teach us, implant within us, or remove from us, what He will.

As we do this, the “power” of our will, is made more and more joyfully willing to do His Will; and we are little by little sanctified (made a force for God to use in our circumstances).

Justification is just the first part of our life in Christ, for He wants us to go on from strength to strength in Him, in our lives.

And that requires us to be sanctified. Setting ourselves aside to God…in all things.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Have faith in God

Mark 11:22-23 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

And the mountain. I want to see cast into the sea?

Is that mountain that hinders me from seeing done what I’ve been called to do.

I want that mountain removed!

But perhaps all I need to do, is join hands with Jesus, and leap that mountain.

Song of Solomon 2:8 “The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.”

I believe that for every Christian….there is a “mountain” which will show up in their path from here to heaven.

Mountains in scripture are the high, impossible things which we can do nothing about. They are to be scaled….hand in hand with God (leaped upon)….or removed.

These “mountains” are different for each of us…..what I would consider impossible…..might be easy for someone else….and visa versa.

But to each of His children…..the Lord says….”have faith in God.”

It is to God we should look….for what we need.

But then…..and this is often the catch….

“…and shall not doubt in his heart,….but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

We think of doubt as a very small sin…..a little wavering of our thoughts and belief….it might grow into unbelief….but surely doubt is a little hesitation.

But the Lord says that doubt will keep us from great blessings in our prayers and actions.

Doubt here (and in Matt.21:21)….means to “separate throughly”.

That does not sound like some small thing….rather it is the sin which keeps us from having the victory…..for our hearts are “separated” from faith.

We have forfeited the Victory….for all our Victory is by faith.

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

Notice the doubt is in the heart…..not the mind.

It is in our affections that we are separated throughly…..

……for we begin to pull away from our devotion and love to the Lord….

……..and look to….or look for….another way.

Doubt does this…..and therefore we are warned against it.

Mountains can be leaped with the Lord…..and can be removed….by faith in God….

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

For our ladies prayer meeting…one of the things we do is have a memory verse. One verse we try and memorize for a couple of weeks….

…and this is the one we are on now..

Perfect, in every application means “to complete”.

But it depends on the context.

For Noah, who was “perfect in his generations”…..it meant he was complete in moral integrity.

It means undefiled with the world around, it means peaceable….it means to stop the failures (Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me…”)…

…it means to repair, to finish without wavering.

John 17:23 “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”

To have “perfect peace” we must “stay our mind” on Christ…..we must trust Him.

Often our peace wavers….it is good, one moment….and shaky the next.

(I want to give an example here….Abraham, whose son Isaac was a young man now…is told to go and sacrifice him to the Lord.

In this day, we might think that Abraham could have set in his tent, and “by faith” thought about going to Mt. Moriah and sacrificing Isaac there.

After all, God doesn’t really want to have Isaac killed….for in Isaac, the promises given Abraham…will be carried on.

But Abraham believes God….and knows that faith does not sit still, but does what it is told…it trusts and obeys.

A three day journey would have added anxiety to fear….but we only read of the obedience of this old man, and his son.

Leaving the men that they bought with them at the foot of the mountain, Isaac and Abraham climb the mountain….and Abraham binds Isaac with cords and places him on the wood for sacrifice.

Hebrews 11:17,19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Ready to slay his son, God stops him,…

….”Lay not thine hand upon the lad,….for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Genesis 22:12)

Abraham had perfect peace….for he placed his hand in the hand of God.

He placed his son, his promises, his life to come, on the Word of Him Who can not fail.

Abraham called the place Jehovah-jireh….which means the Lord will see to it.)

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

To be “stayed” means that the Lord and you work together…

….to keep our minds from wandering into….imaginations.

…to keep the reasons which attack us…about why we should not do the Lord’s Will…away from holding our minds captive.

….to keep our minds from being swayed by the emotions which flow over us….fear, inordinate affections, pride….

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Our duty is to trust….to hold on to the Lord.

Sometimes that hold is for dear life….sometimes it is an arm in arm hold when we are walking together…

…but it is always “holding on” to Christ Jesus our Lord, trusting that He knows best….and that He will see to us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The refining fires of our lives

Song of Solomon 3:6 “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?”

This is a picture of the Spirit-filled walk.(Joel 2:28-30).

Smoke, which is weak and easily blown around is strong….a pillar….holding truth and moving with the Lord…out of the wilderness of wandering experience…and into usefulness and witness.

Smoke is a by-product of fire. To have a fire….and smoke,…..something must burn.

Fire in scripture is pictured many ways….. but the ones we will deal with are the refining fires…..which produce spiritual change within us.

There is the fire of the Holy Spirit within us….giving us zeal and reverence for the Lord….as the Lord was said to be clad with zeal as a cloak.

Isaiah 59:17 “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.”

This is an interesting description of “zeal”…which is to be “burning hot” for God.

He is “clad” with it….surrounded like a cloak. It covered and protected Him.

It kept Him focused on the Father’s plan for now….and purpose for all. With that kind of focus….He could see clearly anything that was out of order….and “cleanse” it….speak to it…..and set it right or purify it.

(Matthew 21:12-14 Mark 11:11, 15-17 Luke 19:45-46 John 2:13-17

These are the verses for cleansing the temple. It is interesting to note that all four gospels give an account of Jesus doing this.

John gives the account of Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry….a relative unknown….making a scourge of small cords, and driving out the animals and money changers.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke give the account of Jesus cleansing it at the end of His ministry.

And it is interesting to see….that Jesus declares His Father’s house….a house of prayer…..He did not mention sacrifice (for the Great Sacrifice was standing there…..

….and it is not to be a place of merchandise.)

With the fire of the Holy Spirit within us, too…..we become boiling hot for Christ and His kingdom. He enflames us with love for the Lord. (Jude 20-21)

We begin to see all that is out of order, with us….and set it right…

….and help what is out of order around us…..by giving His Word, to draw them to Christ….and give comfort.

“The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong” – He is with us to make us strong. Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.” – Amy Carmichael

Then there is the fire of affliction….sent by the Lord’s hand,…whether through troubles,….or enemies…..so we will leave off the world and it’s influences….and turn again to seek the Lord….(Isaiah 55:6-7)

….burning up all the dross….making us pure….

Psalm 66:10, 12 “For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

……we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed is the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Revelation 3:18 “…gold tried in the fire…”. With all the impurities burnt out….so it is pure gold.

(In scripture, silver is a type of salvation…..gold is a type of God in our lives)

Dross is the impurities which are in the metal…..making it less valuable to the owner.

If you have ten pounds of what you think is silver or gold…..and you put it through refining….and only nine pounds come out…..one pound was dross….worthless….and burnt up.

We think of purity as a picky thing….not letting the hem of our garment even touch the ground….

….but God sees purity as the faithful seeking….and diligent staying after ourselves to keep ourselves unspotted in the world (James 1:27)……because of devotion and love to the Lord.

It is the gentle force of the Holy Spirit within us….keeping us, and cleansing us from the defilement of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27)…..even as we walk in it.

Purity comes from love…..not the law. It comes as we yield to the fire of the Holy Spirit within.

It is the refining fires of our everyday lives….through our obedience and devotedness to Christ…..that we will attain the pure silver and gold, as all the dross is burnt out of our lives.

In this Laodicean age, we will either be burnt out for Jesus…

…or spued out by Jesus! (Revelation 3:16)

For He calls us to “Be zealous therefore and repent” (Rev. 3:19)

And in this age…as when Jesus cleansed the temple….we need to be zealous….to repent.

To be clothed with zeal as a cloak.

What will you have of Him?

Will we yield to the purifying fires the Lord will send upon us?

Will we yield to the purifying fires of the Holy Spirit within….and become pillars of smoke….filled with the Spirit….a manifestation of the grace of God…..in us and through us?

Give me the Love that leads the way

The Faith that nothing can dismay

The Hope no disappointments tire

The Passion that’ll burn like fire

Let me not sink to be a clod

Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

– Amy Carmichael

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A Battle won by Prayer and Sword

Israel, had come to a place where there were no streams or rivers. No springs or wells, in their crossing the wilderness to go to the Promised land.

And they were two million strong, and thirsty.

So God told Moses to:

Exodus 17:6 “Behold, I will stand before thee upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

God gave them water from the rock; and all were supplied! All the people, cattle, sheep; all were supplied.

Exodus 17:8 “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”

But then came Amalek. Amalek was a wandering people. Fighters, which took anything they could take.

And when they heard of water at a place where no water was; they decided to come and destroy the Israelites (after all they were mostly women and children), and take it for themselves.

So suddenly Israel was being attacked! They had fought back as best they could, but they were not doing well.

Exodus 17:9 “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.”

Here was the plan. Joshua, who was the fighting leader, chose out the best men to fight.

Moses and Aaron, and his son, Hur, would go to the top of the hill by the battlefield, and raise the rod of God.

(This rod was the shepherd’s rod which God told Moses to take into Pharaoh. Remember it changed into a snake. It was the rod he raised over the Red Sea. It was the symbol of God’s call to him; and when Moses raised it, it was a symbol of prayer.)

Exodus 17:10-11 “So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”

Raising and holding up this rod, which God had told him to take, showed his diligent prayer.

And when it was held up, Israel was winning the battle against Amalek.

But when he let it come down, they started to lose the battle.

Moses kept holding up as long as he could, but he grew tired from holding it up by himself, so it would come down, and Israel would start to lose. So:

Exodus 17:12-13 “But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon, and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady till the going down of the sun.

And Joshua discomforted Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”

As long as Moses hands held the rod up toward heaven, Joshua and his men were winning.

And when Aaron and Hur helped Moses, the battle was in their favor till there was no more sunlight to fight. (This is a picture of corporate prayer….the church praying together.)

This is a great lesson for us. For it shows how important our prayer is.

Moses did not act alone. Joshua and his men needed to fight as best they could.

And Aaron and Hur needed to help strengthen Moses arms.

But the blessing was from the Lord.

Exodus 17:15 “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi”

Jehovah-nissi means The Lord my banner.

When we fight our battles against our sin, the world’s attitudes, and the tricks of the devil: we fight under the Banner of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is our protection.

Do we need to pray as Moses did?

Of course we need to keep in constant touch with the One who guides and helps us.

And the Lord gives us help, by the Holy Spirit strengthening our efforts. And sometimes through others praying with us.

What do we pray? For God’s will done.

How do we pray? Using His promises to us. (I’m sure that is what Moses was claiming, there.

“God, You promised to get this people to Canaan. Thank You for giving us this water, now hold on to it for us; And hold on to us for Your Word’s sake.”

Do we need to use our sword, as Joshua did?

Of course we need to hold onto His Word, and keep the enemy at our sword’s point, or away from harming us, and taking what God has given us.

Both need to be used, but the blessing is by the Lord to us.

He is our banner over us in every battle we have.

Trust Him.

Hope (which is the confident expectation that He will do what He said) in His Word.

And He will give the Victory.