Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Psalm 136: A psalm of praise for the Lord’s Mercy

Psalm 136:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

In this Psalm, every verse ends with the phrase, “for His mercy endureth forever”.

“Endureth” means that it is established and stands fast. God’s mercy for us has been established in eternity past….and will stand fast….immovable for us throughout eternity future.

He is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, Who alone does great wonders.

Whose wisdom made the heavens, stretched out the earth above the waters.

Who made the sun to rule by day, and the moon and stars to rule by night.

Who redeemed Israel from Egypt,…protecting under Blood, their firstborn; while slaying the firstborn of Egypt.

Who brought them through, dry shod, the Red Sea.

Yet slew Pharaoh’s army when they followed, bringing the same Sea to drown them.

Who lead them through the wilderness, bringing them into the Promised land.

All these things are the marvelous works He has done….

….but then,…. the personal memory of God for “us”….the personal pronoun.

Who remembered, and remembers “us” now (for it is in a continuing sense)…..and here it takes a personal turn.

And “hath redeemed us”….

Psalm 136:23-24 “Who remembered us in our low estate: for His mercy endureth forever:

And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for His mercy endureth forever.”

It is good to see and acknowledge…to praise and extoll God for Who He is, and what He has done.

But it is better to know God’s mercy personally……that He remembers me, or us. And redeems us.

How often we are in need of His mercy.

Mercy is God’s kindness to sinners.

There is temporal mercy: He sends the rain on the just and unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

And there is Spiritual mercy, which is only found in Christ Jesus, for ”us”.

This redemption is personal Salvation, guidance, and victory.

Let us acknowledge Who God is, and praise Him for it.

But let us make sure we have a personal interest in Christ Jesus, that He is our Redeemer.

We are ever in His memory…ever before His eyes.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

This seal of mercy is set on all the circumstances, people, and paths that comes to “us”: “His mercy endureth forever.”

His mercy reaches us where we are.

His mercy leads us out of bondage.

His mercy delivers us and gives us the promises.

His mercy remembers us, and in Christ Jesus, our Lord, brings us before His throne to get what we need.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

How much He has for us, if we will but come to Him and get it, and then with the help of the Holy Spirit within, use it.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

He humbled Himself

Psalm 128:1 “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in His ways.”

1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.”

Jesus was the greatest teacher of how to humble ourselves.

(God calls us to “Humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God”

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the High and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”)

Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

When He came to earth….He humbled Himself….it was not a change of identity, but of fashion or form……..His deity was covered, for He was a “root out of a dry ground…He had no form nor comeliness….that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

He took on humanity. Christ emptied Christ…for God would exalt Him.

He came to earth as a babe….not a full grown man….but a babe who was humanly helpless….and always at risk.

And so it went on….by His permitting the world to first question His Person,….then become angry at His Person,….then reject His Person,….then spit upon His Person,….and finally crucify Him.

He submitted to the Father’s Will in everything….calling all “who will hear, to hear and believe Him”…..

The One who fed five thousand with two loves and five fishes……sat by a well, hungry, and waiting for His disciples to bring Him food.

The One who could walk on water….yet, who walked (not rode in grand style) all around Galilee and Judea, saying, “the kingdom of God is at hand”.

The One who spoke in the beginning, and their was light….who shone HIs light into the darkness of the sin of this world…..

……yet gave Israel the choice of receiving or rejection His light.

He humbled Himself….at His Father’s Will…

We see Him weary, and sad… the unmerciful actions of the people He had given His laws to….even when some needed to be healed. (Luke 13:15-17)

We see Him stripped of clothes and put naked upon a cross…..because the people wanted Him gone….dead….buried.

And even on the cross….He did not stop the degradation and shame…..

…..for He took every sin, every iniquity, every blasphemous thought and action onto Himself….

…He let all think the worst…..pouring out His blood and life…

…that we might be saved.

(I also want to mention here, He did not just humble Himself in outward circumstances…..but in attitude and word…

He spoke the truth….rebuking gently those that should have known and wanted to know….

…..and rebuking those sharply who should have known…..yet did not want to really know.

Yet He never defended Himself….only His actions, as they were the Will of His Father.

He never hid Who He was….but let each treat Him as they would….

….going through their midst….as the Son of God/the Son of Man….

….just doing the Will of Him Who sent Him. And we are called to do the same.)

It was not just a choice He made in eternity past….to come and save us.

But it was a willed choice everyday He spent in this wicked world……among such ingratitude and plotting….

….that we might be saved from it.

Yet God exalted Him: He arose from the grave…..was given “all authority and power” over the church, the world, the devil, and death for us.

(He had all this before….without us. Now He has all this….with us. And He thought we were worth humbling Himself to acquire us! Hebrews 12:2)

He humbled Himself…..letting every dignity be stripped away…till He was naked on that cross….

…that we might be clothed with His righteousness….

…..and given the true honor of humbling ourselves for His Will.

Luke 14:11 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be ashamed, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

This is a rule of God…..for His own.

To exalt yourself… to end up ashamed before HIs throne.

To humble yourself….will allow God to exalt you, here and there.

James 4:6, 10 “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

1 Peter 5:5-6 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time:”

Twice it is mentioned that grace is given those that humble themselves.

Grace is the unmerited favor of power. It is given from God through His Holy Spirit to us everyday.

But how are we to humble ourselves…..

…..just as He did….allowing Him and circumstances to strip away all that does not serve God’s Purpose for us.

He might strip away the garment we put on, “to look good”.

He might strip away by circumstances, the garment of pride in ability.

He might strip away the way we are different….to different people.

One way to our friends…another to our family…another to our acquaintances…..

….being different persons….instead of just His obedient servants…..everywhere.

We are to yield….letting the process show us….us. And then we are to give ourselves to the Lord.

(Humble yourself…..

….it is opposite of what the world teaches….but God requires it.

The world would have you get all you can for yourself…..but that disregards and disobeys God’s two great commandments:

Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul…..and your neighbor as yourself.)

Christ Jesus humbled Himself…..

Philippians 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

He calls us to humble ourselves….and let Him exalt us!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

In the beginning….God

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Here we meet our Creator…The Trinity…..He was in eternity past….dwelling alone,…complete….

Yet He purposed to create: angels and the universe…and He began the creation by a Covenant:

A covenant is a binding agreement made by two or more persons or parties, where one is promised some particular reward….under obligation to the other of fulfilling some particular thing.

God’s Covenant is called the Everlasting Covenant…..for it was to concern all of creation, eternally.

God the Father agreed to draw to Christ, a people down through the ages……a people to love, serve and honor Him,…

….if Christ would become the Man, Christ Jesus, born, raised, sent forth with a message concerning His kingdom, and to die as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice to atone for the sins of these people….and raised the third day.

….and the Holy Spirit agreed to come and be with these people, forever.

(I stress this covenant a lot, because it is the sole reason for God’s dealing with mankind in mercy, after the fall.

God Purposed……an amazing statement….

….therefore He will have His Savior come….even though Israel, which was to be the nation by whom Christ came, failed.

….therefore the gospel will be preached throughout the whole world as a witness for those who are saved….and as a witness against those who refuse Christ.

….therefore He will, in mercy, send HIs Holy Spirit to dwell with us…and teach us His Way.

….therefore all that He Purposed will come to pass….up to, and including the Everlasting Kingdom of God….eternity.)

All that are ever saved were thought of in the Everlasting Covenant…..saw there and provided for….for time……and eternity.

2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own Purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;”

In the beginning God….Purposed His Will and Way for His creation….and “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Ephesians 1:9-12 “Having made known unto us the mystery of His Will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance being predestinated according to the Purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own Will:

That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Him.”

In the now,…..God is calling out this people by the Word (written, and preached, spoken by witness of life) and by His Holy Spirit….

….to be His people….subjects of His kingdom….sheep of His pasture.

1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praise of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

HIs call is still going forth….to all who will.

One day….in the future….all will be silent. There will be no excuses…all will be shown to be as God said it would….

Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what so things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Before the Judgement Seat of Christ….the born again ones will be judged according to “what sort”(1 Corinthians 3:13-15) of works we have done……

…..whether works of obedience out of love for Christ Jesus……or works we simply thought good.

Before the White Throne Judgement….the lost, down through the centuries will be brought before His Throne….made to bow before Jesus, Whom they could have received….and then judged by the works they have done….then sent into the Lake of Fire for eternity.

We are all guilty under the law. We have all broken His commandments. We have all sinned. We all will be judged according to the Purpose He had for us, in Christ Jesus….and whether we ran the race we were given….or ran away from Him.

(In Esther, there is a telling scene: Esther’s duty for her life and the life of her people [and yes, we all have a “duty” for our life and the lives we are responsible for]….

…..was to go before Ahasuerus, the king….and speak to him about a plot to kill all the Jews.

But she had not been called to see the king for thirty days! And no one could just walk in to see the king (even the queen)….unless they had been called….unless you wanted to die.

But she went….knowing that no one but the King could change the decree of death against herself and her people.

Then something remarkable happened….a miracle…yes….

…the king stretched forth the scepter in his hand….and she came and touched it….giving her clemency from getting her head chopped off…

….and giving her a way to have fellowship with him and get her petitions answered.

God has the scepter in His hand…..which is always stretched out for those who want to come into HIs presence in prayer….for fellowship and to get our petitions answered.

He is God, yet HIs Kingly scepter…….is stretched out for us….will we come?)

God was God in eternity past….

The centuries have not changed Him….He is God, now in eternity present….

…and He will be God….for ever.

Is He our God? Do we come to Him with our duty? Are we having fellowship with the KIng?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A New Thing

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness; and rivers in the desert.”

Of course these verses first apply to Israel; but the Lord gave these verses to me for our work, years ago.

He told me:

Remember not the former things….successes or failures; neither consider the things of old…they are back there in the past—forget them…

And get on with the Lord’s Will for your life now.

It is easy to get “stuck” in the past….thinking about what should have happened; or patting ourselves on the back for something that went right.

But it is spinning our tires, spiritually, when we do…just making a rut for ourselves.

We should commit each day into the Lord’s hand, asking His Will done in it.

Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

This “commit” is “Roll thy way, works, thoughts, upon the Lord”

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

We should live each day as if it were our most important time. The past we can do nothing about.

The future we do not have.

But we can live for Him, today.

We should seek His blessing, guidance and His supply for this day.

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

“Number” here means “to weigh out”. Each day has value, as if you were weighing silver. The Lord wants us to see this day, that way.

If we are to truly apply our hearts to wisdom, it will be on a daily basis; with the Lord.

Spiritual wisdom is really practical skill to make pointed decisions.

Jesus had this wisdom, so much so, that people wondered at it. (Matthew 13:54, Mark 6:2). And we should get it from Him

Luke 2:40 “And the child (Jesus) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

(Doesn’t this describe our Lord so well?!)

James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

The Lord will give us the practical skill for this day.

“Behold, I will do a new thing;”. Today is a new day,….and Jesus says,…..Come with Me in it.

“Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?” I will give the wisdom you need, it will “spring up” by My Holy Spirit within you….and make you to know My Will.

“I will even make a way in the wilderness; and rivers in the desert.”

He will make a way, today, for you…clearly marked with each step you take; and He will supply His Spirit as a river within you,…in whatever desert place you go.

We are in the world, but we are not of it….we are His, and He is ready to work within you in a new way, today.

A new thing…shall ye not know it?

He is asking you: will you know it?

If you will, it will come in constant fellowship, Divine companionship, and His overcoming wisdom in your life, as you yield to Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

I will follow Thee, but….

Luke 9:61 “And another also said, Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go and bid them farewell which are at home at my house.”

How many times has this happened to us? The Lord has spoken to us through His Word, a Message, or our devotions….and we say, “yes, that’s what I need to do. Thank you, Lord, for showing me this.”

We mean to see to this thing,…….but first we have to do this, or that, or something….and before you know it…….the Word has been laid aside or buried.

There is always something else first. Something that must be done before we can follow the Lord,…..into the next experience.

The story line here is interesting, because Jesus is calling men to discipleship.

(discipleship means to come under the discipline of someone or some philosophy. It means to follow it and be molded by it.

Of course, for us Christians, this someone is Christ Jesus. We come and follow Him; letting Him mold us.)

Luke 9:57-58 “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”

Jesus is setting forth very clearly that if they followed Him, there would be hardship.

Was He worth it?

He also set forth that discipleship means full surrender to Him.

There can be no conditions.

He must be first. Any consideration that places Him in second place, is wrong.

Luke 9:59-60 “And He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”

It was not a funeral, this young man was asking to see to;…..but as a son, he was asking to be excused from following Jesus, until his father was dead, and buried.

To a Jew, this would be a hard saying. Honor Me…above your father.

Which is more important?

That you go and do what others can do for your father?

Or that, by the preaching of My kingdom, true life would be given to the people you would preach to?

“But go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” If you read into the next chapter:

Luke 10:1 “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.”

Jesus was about to expand His ministry into every city in Judea and Galilee. He wanted disciples that would preach the kingdom of God to them….to prepare them for His Word to these people and places…when He would come there.

He called this man to be part of this work…would he?

Luke 9:61-62 “And another also said, I will follow Thee; but let me first go and bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Again, any condition or reservation to obey Jesus’ call to follow Him…or which places Jesus second in our lives, is wrong.

And must be dealt with, before we can go on with Him.

(We think, “Before I answer You, Lord, I must study more, or I must be more spiritual.”

“No”, Jesus says, “Just follow Me, and I will tell you what to do, and give you the grace to do.”

Sometimes our reservation is: “If You will let me do this, or have this; I will do what You require.”

“No conditions; just follow Me”, is what He says.)

This “looking back” isn’t the wave of goodbye; but the longing look to be back where we were.

If you read further into the next chapter, it tells, when the seventy which followed Jesus into the work, returned:

Luke 10:17 “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name.”

Pretty exciting….

But Jesus points them to the real value of following Him:

Luke 10:20 “Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

How practical our God is!

We get caught up into so many “things”. But He cuts right through them, and gives us the meaning of true life.

He cautions all who will come after Him that there will be difficulties. Jesus Christ never sugar-coats anything.

1 Peter 4:13-14 “But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.”

He calls those who will come,……to tell of His Word and kingdom.

(1 Thessalonians 2:12) “That ye would walk worth of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.”

“Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2)

He tells all who would “look back”, that He will not take second place.

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

2 Timothy 1:7-8 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

The Lord has everything we need to walk the way He will lead us. He is still calling disciples to follow Him.

Will we follow Him?

Will we follow Him, now?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Do we have, what we seem to have?

Luke 8:18 “Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.”

“Which he seemeth to have”… outward appearance….he seems to have what he claims.

But by inward obedience….it is not his. He may agree with it, as doctrine….but does not obey it for his life.

The faith Christ places within us, demands certain things from us.

“…for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

That faith will never disappear….but it can be starved by lack of obedience …….becoming faithlessness……and the resulting actions be only outward show.

No amount of religious activity….will ever take the place of obedience.

Like Samuel told Saul….when he returned from the Amalekites:

(God had said to Saul, that these people were to be destroyed…completely.

God did not want “sacrifices” from the best of the spoil…..

……He wanted them completely destroyed because of the wicked way they fought against the march of Israel when they were coming to the Promised Land.

They would come up behind and kill the slowest and weakest of the people and children.)

1 Samuel 15:22-23 “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He has also rejected thee from being king.”

These verses used to bother me because of the lack of diligent obedience in my life, everyday……

……we are to be obedient….Christ said, “If ye love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Isn’t that the real reason we hesitate to do His Will, or disobey….because we do not love Him as we should….something else has taken His place in our hearts?

Then these verses bothered me….because of “stubbornness”….

This is to “peck at”….we refuse this command because of this reason….

…..Oh, we would do it (we tell ourselves) except for this person or that circumstance….

…when actually we are being stubborn about having “our own way”

[Praise God for His Word which “bothers us”!]

(My husband dealt with a man once who was having a great many problems….and he asked my husband to pray for him….

….So my husband said, “Yes, I will pray that the Lord’s Will will be done in your life.”

And the man said, “Ok”…..then after a moment asked…..”Can you pray that my will will be done a little bit, too?” )

We laugh at that…..but aren’t we the same way…….we want our will done….”a little bit, too”!

We think we can “give” God “something” to please Him….but He has plainly said…

Psalm 50:13-14 “Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High:”

No amount of religious activity will take the place of simple obedience.

What does God want from us? Us.

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.”

Samuel told Saul (it was not his first rebellion to God’s Word)………”because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”

But notice, it is from “being king”…..God, here, was giving Saul a chance to save his soul by repentance….not his kingship….that was to be turned over to David…

….but Saul could have repented from his rebellion and stubbornness….and turned to God.

1 Samuel 15:17 “Then Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?”

When Saul saw himself as a Israelite…..not king over them….God blessed him.

But kingship had changed his attitude about everything…..and he wanted all the praise, and honor that title held….

….forgetting it was just a title….without God’s blessing.

But to Saul…..if he could not be king….then, Forget it!

Saul then said all the right words….”I have sinned”…..but he blames the people…

“…because I feared the people.”

When God would not accept such a confession….then Saul showed his true desire…

1 Samuel 15:30 “Then he (Saul) said, I have sinned: yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.”

The Lord “thy God”…..not my God….for to reject God’s Word and authority in our lives, is to reject Him.

Matthew 21:44 “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

Here is the answer for stubborn hearts….for hesitate hearts….for double-minded hearts….

Our Rock.

We can “fall” on it…..leaving the broken pieces of our plans, failures and successes,…leaving our lives….by faith…falling into the arms of God and become broken to the world…..which is our spiritual enemy….

….and letting Him heal us, spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Or we can in the day of judgement see our lives be ground up as nothing.

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

Are we loving God….our Eternal God….and being obedient to His Word to us?

“Come, and fall on Me,” Christ says,….”into My Arms…and I will heal you.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Jesus and the Children.

Matthew 18:12-14 “How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which has gone astray?

And if so be that He find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoicieth more of that sheep, then of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

Jesus thinks children are very important. The training and guiding them to come to Him, is vital.

Jesus would have them all come to Him and be saved.

“ is not the will of your Father in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

And in order for that to happen, He will go out and search for them.

In Mark it says:

Mark 10:13-14 “And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them; and His disciples rebuked those that brought them.

But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.”

He was displeased that the disciples wanted to keep the children away. He took them up in His arms and blessed them.

Children who are brought up to love the Lord, and know His love for them personally,……may stray far, when they grow older. (My son was one of these.)

But they will be brought back, for He is always their Shepherd.

Matthew 18:12-13 “How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

And why does He rejoice so, over that one?

Because, they are always in His plans and purposes.

Matthew 18:10-11 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.

For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.”

The children are especially mentioned when He comes into Jerusalem. He is praised by the multitude; but they fade away.

But the children come into the Temple with the blind and the lame, after Jesus drives out the moneychangers. And they keep on praising Him.

When they are complained about, Jesus says God has ordained them for praise.

Matthew 21:15-16 “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,

And said unto Him, Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus said unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?”

Psalm 8:2 “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”

After Christ arose, and Peter is forgiven his denials of Jesus, and given his ministry for the rest of his life; he was told first:

John 21:15 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”

Sometimes I feel that we are like the Israelites in Egypt under the Pharaoh which killed so many children. (Exodus 1:22)

Our Adversary, the devil, is seeking to limit the influence of Christ Jesus,……… to destroy our children.

Pharaoh drowned them in the Nile, and how many children are being “drowned” in things of this world: the internet, peer pressure, violence……

….there are many others,……but all are choking the knowledge and true “life” in Christ, out of our children.

It does not matter whether they are rich or poor, the answer is as Jesus said, “Bring them unto me.”

(Many say that a whole generation is already gone: Maybe so, and maybe not. But, and let us all pray for those we know, the Shepherd is going out now to rescue these lost ones.)

Proverbs 2:1-2, 9 “My son, if thou wilt receive My words, and hide My commandments with thee;

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understand;

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgement, and equity; yea, every good path.”

That is what we want for our children, the “good path”, wherein is righteousness and peace.

Matthew 18:12-13 “…If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

And if it so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

The Lord Jesus loves our children,…..let us love them also,…..with our prayers for their salvation,….and our witness of all the good God has done for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lord’s Personal Voice to His Sheep

John 10:1-5 “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door of the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.”

Here is a lovely picture of the personal care and guidance of Christ Jesus our Lord…..who is our Good Shepherd.

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of mine.”

In the days of Christ, there would be one sheep fold for many flocks. The Shepherd would come to the door: state his name, so the porter or watchman from the night before, would let him in to get his sheep.

Then the Shepherd would go to the door, and call his sheep. (There is always a few older sheep which would follow quite close to the Shepherd, and they would be first to come.) “Come on Nathan, come on Levi, come on Gershom, come on Sarah”

And out they would come, behind him.

The other sheep of his flock would then follow, too.

It was their name that brought them out to follow the Shepherd; and so Jesus teaches here, that He calls us by our name, when He calls us to follow Him.

He goeth before them. Christ Jesus always leads us on. So that He meets any obstacle first. He has prepared our way, and He leads us in it.

As a Christian, you should experience this.

His call to follow Him in your everyday experiences. He leads, we follow; it is that simple.

There are enemies. There are dangers. There are also warm days of feeding and following, and resting with Christ.

He leads us through them all; and protects us in these events, as we follow Him.

It is our life here in this world of strife, which is pictured.

He has encamped about us; keeping us in His fold, and calling us forth for each days events.

And saving us from enemies, sliding rocks, steep mountain terrain, swift waters which would carry us away. (The dangers of which we are often not aware, but our Shepherd sees, and leads us around, or protects us from.)

Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

And it is always His Voice which is calling us onward. Have you responded to HIs call to follow Him?

It is an amazing thing, when we as sheep, learn to make each day an adventure with Christ. (And sheep can be pretty stubborn)

Today is a new day.

Yesterday’s failures have been confessed.

Yesterday’s successes have been brought to Christ in thanksgiving, and laid aside.

Now, it is today.

And today is the time for more going on with Jesus. We can hear His voice today, and follow into the place He has for us.

Maybe the same people we see everyday, but with new conversations.

Maybe new people. Enemies, or friends, we will let our Shepherd decide. (He only can see their hearts, and intentions.)

John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

And I give unto them eternal life, (eternal life is a condition of life now, and throughout eternity) and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

He has made all the provision for our lives. He has saved us. He now calls us to follow Him, today, and the next and the next, as His sheep. Following His Voice, and His leading through all our circumstances.

Are we ready to hear?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Achan’s Folly

Israel has come into the land to inherit God’s Promise to them….and the first obstacle was the fortress city of Jericho.

This was an impossibility! Yet God gave them a miraculous victory.

This was the first battle….therefore the Lord gave certain requirements concerning the things found in the city….

Joshua 6:17-19 “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord:….

And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.

But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”

Joshua 7:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing:…”

First, I want to explain “foolishness”… means to be perverse, to act in silliness or to choose to let our emotions rule, when we know better.

Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God, they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”

(Most believe that it says in the original…”The fool hath said in his heart, No, God,..”)

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

(We often are unaware of the definitions of God’s Word. We think their meaning is the way we use them now.

The way we think of “fool” now is that they are stupid, or that they blindly follow their idea….which could be good…

But “fool” in the Bible, means one who has despised God’s character and law….and acts from that motive.)

Achan was an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah. He had a family, and cattle, and goods.

He has seen the bondage of Egypt as a child,….

…the wilderness wanderings and the Lord dealing with His people,…

….and was among those that crossed the Jordan,……dry shod.

He had heard the instructions of Joshua to the people as how they were to see the fortress of Jericho destroyed….

….and the warnings of what to stay away from.

He walked around Jericho for seven days, till they shouted on the last day, when the walls fell down flat.

He had witnessed, for himself, a lot of miracles….yet…

…..with all that knowledge of God, and His power for His people….

…..still he gave into his lust, when he was tempted…(James 1:14-15)

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

But it is not the affect that Achan’s sin had on Israel that I want to speak of….but the damage that it caused his own soul….and the damage to his family.

So let us look at what tempted him:

Joshua 7:21 “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish 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.”

A Babylonian garment….luxurious and grand….something to make him look like “Somebody”.

(To be able to walk around feeling as good, or better than others.)

A bag of silver….here is the spending money he has always wanted! He could take a little of it and buy anything he wanted.

(To be able to gratify his desire….now.)

A wedge of gold….wealth. It was not something he could carry in his pocket to use for buying and selling….but it was something to be put up….for prestige and collateral.

(To be able to rest content…thinking he was “kept” by it, for years to come.)

All of these have to do with Achan’s personality….as all our temptations come from what we “lust” after.

Achan is unsatisfied with the way things are going….

Perhaps he is unhappy about waiting to get “what is mine”…..his inheritance.

Perhaps it is just a “sample” of his inheritance that he wants….

Perhaps it is desire for prestige and importance…..

…..for the Babylonian garment is named first….

“Boy, wouldn’t I look grand in that….just like the landowner I will be soon!”

(And how often are we concerned with what the world values?

1 John 2:16-17 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”)

Achan is unhappy with God’s Will….for all the first battles’s goods will go to the Lord. (Like the tithe and offerings we give…..Him first.)

Achan is someone who feels that God’s requirements are too harsh…….God should not demand “so much”.

(Have not we felt the same way, at times?)

Yet, had he ever been without supplies….for him, his family, or animals?….no.

Has he been promised a place, an inheritance,….for him and his family?….yes.

Hadn’t God fought for them against the greatest nation of the world…Egypt; and against the Amalekites….and even now, makes the walls of this huge city fall down?…..yes.

What did he lack?

(This is a question we should all ask ourselves….when we are tempted.)

Now when Achan looked down as he was fighting in Jericho….and saw the Babylonian garment, the silver, and the gold….

….it was not just these things…….but what he imagined for himself, with them.

Then, he said, “No, God.”

And his folly led him to take what was to be hallowed to the Lord….for himself.

Worse,…..he drew his family into his folly, when he came back to camp….and hid these things in his tent….under the blankets there…

….because they would have known….so he made them guilty with him.

(They could have come and told the leaders….or priests, to get forgiveness and guidance….yet they kept silence.

Their silence to his guilt….made them guilty, too.)

Sin begets sin.

For this folly, Achan…..and his family…..and all that he had was destroyed…..for he had made them a curse. (Joshua 7:24-26)

Now, let’s look at God’s provision for His people….His general way of dealing with us.

Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they that wait for Him.”

(As we have mentioned before “judgement” means He weighs the righteous and obedient….and the wicked and disobedient)

The Lord’s Word is a place of shelter, a place of comfort, a place of joy….and yes, a place of judgement.

For it shows us…

What we do with that knowledge makes all the difference.

What we do after that, makes all the difference!

Will we obey His Will?

What do we think of our Lord?

Achan should have waited on the Lord.

He should have reasoned with his lust and said….”No, Achan. (Instead of No God)….I do not know what God will give me….but I will trust Him to do the right thing.”

If he had, he would have had a whole lot more than what he foolishly took….and be blessed in having it!

For God had the spoil of the next city and all the rest of the places to be divided among the people.

(Joshua 8:2, 27. It is recorded twice that we should not miss the significance of it.)

Joshua 8:27 “Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves according unto the word of the Lord which He commanded Joshua.”

God had plenty for Achan….and for all Israel….but they were to honor Him first….while trusting in Him for the rest.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Luke 21:19 “In your patience possess ye your souls”

This sounds odd: surely, we have our souls, don’t we?

But do you?

Are you a person who has an uncontrollable temper?

Do you have a habit you can not give up?

Do you let your feelings “get the better of you”?

Anytime we, as Christians, let something else but God rule in our hearts, minds and wills; we do not “possess” our souls,…….they are being influenced by the World, our old nature which still wants it’s way, or the Devil.

Our souls are our personality: our mind, heart, and will, are it’s faculties.

What we think, influences our personality. (And how often our way of thinking is shaped by what is around us: at home, at work, or school?)

What we feel, influences our personality. (Hurt feelings, unforgiving anger, or inappropriate affections; often get into our hearts and want to stay)

What we will, really influences our personality; for our wills, are the whole of us active.

From an early age, we decide what we will, whether we can carry out our decisions, or not.

How many times have we thought:

“I will do this, no matter what you think.”

“I won’t, even if you want me to.”

How many children (and some adults, too) have indulged in these thoughts; only to find out that they turn into attitudes, when they don’t even want them to.

Rebellion is really in our make-up (from our first parents: Adam and Eve)

We often choose it, instead of yielding to authority.

And yes, this includes God’s Authority.

But when we are born again, then our wills begin to be trained to yield to God, by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, helping us to yield.

This is when we can truly “possess” our souls, with the freedom which comes from the guidance, peace and power of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:17-19 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,”

Ephesians 5:17-18 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine (don’t place yourself under the influence of wine), wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.(place yourself under the influence of the Holy Spirit)”

1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirt of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

Communion means fellowship here. His Presence with us is the help we need at every time.

And as He “helps”, we become more and more able to know, see, act and react in freedom…we can be the personalities we truly are…..freed from the restraints of habits, attitudes we don’t even want, and all that hinders us from coming close to Jesus.

We can possess our own souls, for we will know who we are, and where we are going, with the Lord.

The Lord wants us to “possess” our souls; to be free from the influences of the world, the flesh, and the Devil; and be who He has created us to be.