Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are we Spiritually “Real”?

If Christianity is only a religion to you….I would ask you….

….Have you ever met the True and Living God….have you every come to a personal relationship with Christ Jesus….do you know the interference of the Holy Spirit in your day to day life?

(Interference, I believe, is a good word….because the Holy Spirit is a check in our spirits….a voice within….He gives joy and peace….and correction.

He interferes with the way we would go….and says, “Follow Christ”.

Certainly He guides, instructs, empowers, for He is the Person of God in our lives… you have this reality?)

Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

I am no Theologian or Philosopher…..but I believe our souls are our personalities.

They are that which makes us unique… two are exactly the same.

They are that which the Bible calls…”the heart” (Proverbs 23:26)

They are the seat of our personality….all that makes us, us!

This I believe is the most precious thing to God in all of His Creation.

The human soul….having lost it through the Fall.

He bought it back again at such a high price.

And what good would gaining the whole world do,…..if we had to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire?

Or what should a man give in exchange for his soul?

What of all Creation could possibly be of more value than his eternal soul?

We are saved….body, soul, and spirit…

…or we are damned….body, soul, and spirit.

We are an eternal being. We will exist for eternity, in one of two places.

We will come to Christ and save our soul….and live for eternity with God in bliss!

Or we will lose our soul….and spend eternity with Satan in torment.

And what will we have to do, to lose our soul?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

We are all born under a curse….until we come to Christ….Who bore all the curse of our sin….on Himself.

We are all lost….wandering in a world which is also lost. One among many souls which do not realize the value of ourselves….

….seeking, instead, to find our value in things, or people, or ideas.

We do not have to do anything to get lost…..we are.

Only One….Christ Jesus….knows our true value….which is found in His love, His purpose, and His provision for us….in His sacrificial death.

Only One….Christ Jesus….can save us.

So….what will we give in exchange for our soul?

To answer the call of Christ in this Laodicean Age….calls for an answer, not of words….but an answer of a life open to, and receptive to Him.

Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Let me ask you… what have you been “profited” (profited here means: made useful. Simply how is it useful to you….to gain even the whole world….but lose yourself…..your soul.

You see, your soul is not just the “thing” that goes to heaven or hell…..but it is the very real essence of you.

And you are valuable….

….would you throw away your most valuable jewel?

Many have…..but will you?

What have you spent your life in seeking?

Isaiah 55:2-3 “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

And if you could acquire the whole world (all that you desire in it)….but in order to have it, you would lose your soul?

(Remember our souls are our personalities. All that make us, us.)

Would you do it?

Well, Christ Jesus has lived, and died, and was raised again….that our souls might be free….

…free from our sin.

…free from the influence of the world.

…free from the narrowness of our fears.

…free from being lost….to the glorious purpose of Christ….a life open to and receptive to Him, Who loves us….and calls us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Fear not

My husband had a message once……about  the first time God says to Abraham…”Fear not, Abraham: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

       My husband made the comment…and I have not forgotten it…that the Lord only says, “Fear not”…

……when there  is  something to fear. 

       That He says it, to remind us…that He is there!  To take our eyes off of the thing itself….and put our trust on Him.

There are sixty-one times the Lord says. Fear not,  to someone in the Bible…from Genesis to Revelation.   (Revelation 1:17 “And when I saw Him, I fell at HIs feet as dead.  And He laid HIs right hand upon me, saying unto me,   Fear not; I am the first and the last:”)

      The Lord only  says this to His own….for they are to look to HIm and be saved….delivered from fear of mind and heart, and embolden with HIs Presence and guidance.

Exodus 14:13 “And Moses said unto the people,  Fear ye not,  stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day:  for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”

(this is one of my favorites,….because the grandest army was behind them….coming to destroy and re-establish their slavery.    They had chariots and horses, weapons and many men…..yet God said….”Fear ye not”,….

…then He said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”    

       At the very beginning of their trip to the Promised Land,  God deals with them…to believe Him….to see,  that what He says….He will do.)

Exactly what God said, happened.  God made a way for His people,  delivering them….and taking them out of the circumstances so completely….they did not need to fear the Egyptians anymore.

Fear is one of the many things which the devil uses,  to get us to see the circumstances around us…rather than God.

1 Peter 5:7-9 “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.        

      Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

      Whom resist steadfast in the faith,…”

To “cast” something,   is to stand back from and throw it away from you, a little or great distance.

        To cast our care upon God is to put it away from us….and upon the sure shoulders of Christ,…for might;  and the sure heart of Christ,…because of HIs love.

“He careth for you”….to be of interest.   God is interested in all your cares.   We think, of course, the big ones….but He is interested in even goose-quills….the smallest of our concerns. 

(The story is told of George Muller, whose ministry was of faith. He prayed for many thousands of dollars for the missionaries of the China Inland Missionary program. He started an orphanage in England….by faith getting land to build on, that was impossible.

        Yet when a man came to see him, the man was let in and Mr.      told him, “ I am finishing a letter that is very important….please sit down and I will be with you in a minute.”

The man noticed, that Mr. Muller wrote a few words, then quickly bowed his head, and prayed….then finished his letter….and sealing it….he looked up and asked what the man wanted.

        The man spoke of his business,….then asked,  “Please, tell me what you prayed for when you were writing.”

Mr. Muller said, “As I said this letter was very important….and my pen tip was failing….and I asked the Lord to keep it, till I was finished with the letter.”)

To be “sober” here is to be serious in the work of the Lord….not to fritter away our time on nothing things….things of amusement only.  Or on worldly pursuits….but to seriously consider that the time we have is limited….

….and God has called us to walk with HIm.

We have an adversary….an active enemy….”walking about” like a wild lion….looking for food.  Lions roar….to scare or cause us to run into something we should not.

      He “walks about”,….coming from any direction with trouble,  doubt or mistrust,…to cast us down in mind and heart. 

      He would destroy us, if he could….but works mostly to get us to give up, ourselves,   on God, or His Word.

But we are to “resist steadfast in the faith”. 

     We are to stand in the faith.   Faith sees God, and if the roaring adversary can get us to “see” something else—our problem,….our selves,…others…then our faith grows weak…and we are not standing.     I want to mention….that “steadfast” means to hold up.   It is from the Holy Spirit…a word that denotes inner strength to continue…through battle and storm.

Fear not.  

     Psalm 31:13 “For I have heard the slander of man:  fear was on every side:  while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

      But I trusted in Thee, O Lord:  I said, Thou art my God.”

David had many men try and slander or hurt him….even of his own household….but….David trusted the Lord.

Fear not.

      2 Chronicles 20:1,3,17 “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

      And Jehoshaphat feared,…..and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

But he heard….

      “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem:  fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

Jehoshaphat feared….but he sought the Lord….getting all the people to do the same….and God delivered them.

Fear not.

      Paul, on the way to Rome….in the middle of a terrible storm.   All men were shaken.  

Yet he hears…

Acts 27:23-25 “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, Whose I am, and Whom I serve,

       Saying,  Fear not, Paul: thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

       Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer:  for I believe God,  that it shall be even as it was told me.”

It is interesting to note:   that there were many people on that ship….yet for Paul’s sake….they all survive.  

       God is interested in us…and in all our cares….big and small.

When Jesus gave command to the disciples before He sent them out to prepare for HIs coming through the villages….He said, 

Matthew 10:24-25, 29-31 “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord.

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.

       Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

       But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

       Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

The term “value” here has to do with “bearing through”….simply God is going to see us through…because He cares and values us.

Many times we are called to “Fear God”,….and many times we are told to “Fear not,..nor be dismayed.”

Let us know,….trust….believe God….and fear Him…..seeking His deliverance and help….for He will see us through….the largest waters, and the in the smallest cares.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Exodus ends with the Glory of God coming on the Tabernacle…..taking His place over the mercy seat…

Exodus 40:34 “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.”

…..and Leviticus opens with God’s Voice….speaking of the sacrifices which would be the only means to meet with Him.

And that was what God wanted His people to do: meet with Him….on the basis of sacrifice……recognizing three things in the sacrifice:

cost: it would cost them something to come, for they would have to bring the sacrifice.

The power of the blood……for the life is in the blood: and for them to come (in all but one)…it would have to be shed.

These would have to be repeated till Christ the Messiah came.

Leviticus 1:1-2 “And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord,…”

The Lord Jesus Christ was the great Sacrifice. It was to Him that all the other sacrifices pointed.

There were five offerings: the whole burnt offering, the Meat (Meal) offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering.

Christ was the fulfillment of all of them…..but we are only going to speak of the last two:

The sin offering:

Leviticus 4:2 “……If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:….”

The sin offering deals with that fact that we sin,…..because we are sinners.

I am not a sinner because I sin;…….I sin, because I am a sinner.

This was for a sin of ignorance….There was no sin offering, for a willful, deliberate sin.

In light of the cross of Christ, God counts only one sin as willful…..the rejection of Jesus Christ, His Son as our Lord and Savior.

All others are considered the outcome of our evil heart of unbelief…..done in ignorance…..till the light of Christ shines.

Ephesians 4:18 “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”

To offer the sacrifice, they were to bring a bullock…..unblemished.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”

They were to put their hand on the head of the animal and kill it themselves. (A recognition that our sins crucified Christ).

Then the priest was to take the blood….three places:

Before the veil…where inside was the mercy seat, where dwelt the Presence of God…in the Holy of Holies.

On the horns of the incense altar in the Holy Place, which speaks of prayer….His prayer for us as Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)

And the rest was poured out by the Brazen Altar….as Christ’s was poured out on the cross.

Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood;…..for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.”

The inward fat and parts were to be burnt up….how much inward suffering, did the Lord Jesus have, because of my sin.

And the rest was to be carried outside the camp…..and burnt.

(Hebrews 13:12 “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.)

What can the guilt of a person be……who refuses the offer of such a Savior?

Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him;”

The trespass offering….

Every sin is a “trespass” against God’s righteous government….and He demands that certain restoration be done.

(Leviticus 5:15-19). “If a soul commit a trespass… the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his trespass….a ram without blemish (this would have been the best male of the flock….given for the trespass)…..with thy estimation (of the damage) by shekels of silver,……

….and if a soul sin…..; though he wist it not, yet he is guilty, and shall bear his iniquity……and he shall bring a ram with out blemish….and it shall be forgiven him.

It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord.”

If an Israelite underestimates his crop….and does not bring the full tithe….then as soon as he realizes his error…..he was to rectify it,….and bring this sacrifice.

God was trying to teach the importance of His Word…..that they should know it,….and observe it.

We should hear the Word and know what it says;…..for His Word is the standard of God’s judgement….(John 12:48-50)….not what we think is good.

If an Israelite lies to his neighbor about an animal that he found, or about the worth of something….then he shall restore the thing, and add a fifth part more….bringing a trespass offering to the Lord.

The trespass was to be restored, if possible….or payment made to replace what was taken, or found, or miscounted.

The trespass offering was about making things right….between you and God, and between each other….yet God was ever to be in the middle of it….seeing to it, and honoring the reconciliation.

Yet how can we ever restore to a righteous God, what we have lied, stolen (time, talents), and been in error about?

We can not…..we must bring our Trespass offering….which is Christ Jesus.

Psalm 69:4 “….then I restored that which I took not away.”

The Lord Jesus restored, for you and me…..our trespass….and gave the more than that which was required.

In Hebrews it says that the blood of goats and bulls accomplished nothing in themselves (Hebrews 10:8-10)….for…..

….they were all pointing to the Only True Sacrifice…Jesus Christ the Lord.

How much we have in Him! How much He did for us!

Who can calculate the greatness of His sacrifice….just for me.

May we all bow our heads and magnify the Lord’s grace, in granting such a sinner as I, salvation….nearness to Him….in my life now, and in heaven for eternity.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Ask and Ye shall Receive

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For everyone that asketh recieveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

For what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”

First, let me ask you: do you want what God has for you?

Then ask for it—you will receive an answer.

But sometimes it is an answer that has a fulfillment, later.

So what do you do? You seek for the means of getting the fulfillment. And use it—that is seeking.

(Perhaps it is a promise that needs to be accomplished: for overcoming sin, for spiritual growth, for healing, for meeting your needs [yes, God is interested in every part of you; your wellbeing, safety, and finances])

What can the means be? Prayer is a great means. It is not reminding the Lord of what He said, but showing the Lord that you expect Him to do it.

This is the knocking: you keep after this promise.

Ezekiel 36:36-37 “Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.

(Here is the promise, but what did Israel do with it? It saddened the Lord that they did not seek for it enough to inquire after it.)

Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;…”

Belief is a great means:

It strengthens you against the whispers of the Adversary, when he says that God is not going to do this for you. (“Sure,” he whispers, “God might do it for others, but not for you.”)

Belief, on the other hand says: I am staying with the Lord. I know He knows my circumstance….I also know He will help me in it, bring me through it, and be with me in it. We “knock” by believing. Even to the point of telling the Lord: “I believe, help my unbelief.” He will.

(Mark 9:23-24 “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”)

Obedience is another means: Sometimes we just have to get up and do what is next, and next; leaving the final outcome to God. The “knocking” is the obedience.

Mark 11:12-15 “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry:

And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

(If a fig tree had leaves, it ought to have fruit; since the fruit comes on the tree before the leaves. But it did not.)

And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And His disciples heard it.

And they came to Jerusalem…..”

They did not hang around and see if it was going to happen; they went into Jerusalem where the Lord cleansed the Temple the last time. They had a day of work to do. And did it.

Mark 11:19-22 “When even was come, He went out of the city.

And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, Master, behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Have faith in God.”

We ask, because we need. He answers many different ways: with further instructions, with promises,…and with power at the moment.

(How wonderful are His ways! How many lessons I have learned by them.)

We seek, because the need is still there, and we need to know the means God wants us to use to see it brought to pass.

And we knock, because we know God has heard, and encouraged us to keep going to get the blessing. And when He opens, He will give it.

He does not give “look alike” blessings, which are the stone for bread, the snake for the fish (eel).

But He knows how to give “good gifts” to those of His children which ask Him…by the Holy Spirit.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-3 “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law,….and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”

The bush burned, yet was not consumed.

Moses had been in exile from Egypt, and had married, and was caring for the flock of his father-in-law.

Then he saw a sight that was so unusual that he left the herd, and went to see it.

It was a dry desert bush that was burning….the flame was in the “midst of the bush”……..

…….yet it was not getting burnt up….it was not being destroyed by the flame….but was manifesting the flame.

(I want to talk for just a moment about us… that dry wilderness bush.

We are in a wilderness of this world….but more, we are part of the landscape; as that bush was. We fit right in to this world’s scene.

There was nothing unusual about the bush……until it glowed with the Presence of God. [When the Lord manifested Himself to men in the Old Testament, He was often called “the angel of the Lord”.]

But when the Lord “enlightened” it… became something which drew men toward the Light.

God does not want to “burn us up”…..but rather burn within us, so we will manifest His light.)

Years earlier, in Pharaoh’s court, Moses had thought that surely he could deliver “his brethren”, the Israelites…..and tried (Exodus 2:11-14)…and failed….

……..but the years out on the desert had withered his pride and confidence in himself…..and he was like this dry bush…….waiting for God’s flame to light him,….call him,….and use him.

Exodus 3:4 “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses, and he said, Here am I.”

As Moses was coming to see this sight, a Voice spoke to him… was a Voice he recognized….

…….So when he heard this Voice, he answered: “Hear I am.”

He was answering a Person….a Person Who he believed in,…..for the scriptures plainly say that:

“by faith, Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter……esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:…”(Hebrews 11:24-26)

Exodus 3:5-6 “And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Moses came forward….but not too far…….(there is that place where we must recognize the Almighty….and bow.)

Then the Lord began the process of calling Moses to do the work of deliverance.

The Lord said, “I am come down to deliver them….Come now…..and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou may bring forth My people…out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:8-10)

But Moses, instead of rejoicing… the time has come…..says:

“Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:11)

The wilderness had done it’s job….the confidence of Moses, the prince of Egypt was gone…..

…..but now hesitation was present.

Moses felt, that if in his earlier might and vigor he could not persuade the Israelites…..what could he do now, that he was older, and had no power?

The Lord spoke again of His Presence…..(remember Moses is standing in front of a bush burning….and hearing God)…..”Certainly I will be with thee…”

(It is amazing how many times in the Word, the Lord says the same thing to HIs people….to us!

“I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20; “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” Hebrews 13:5)

Moses then asks, Who shall I say sent me? What is Your name?

God then explains His name: I AM THAT I AM. I am from everlasting…there was no time, that I was not….And I always will be.

God explains Moses ministry, first to Israel….

…..then before Pharaoh, who, God told him, would not listen, or let them go… first.

But God would deal with him and his nation…

Moses is still unsure…..not of God…..but of himself, and his ability to deal with the people and Pharaoh.

So God shows him another lesson…..Moses shepherd’s rod. The rod he had been using for years, taking care of sheep.

But by God’s Word, the ordinary rod became a tool of God.

Exodus 4:2-4 “And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:”

(You will notice, Moses ran from the serpent, but at the Lord’s command; picked it up by the tail. It was not fear for himself which hindered Moses….but fear of failing in the deliverance of Israel.)

Then God told him to put his hand into his bosom….and it was leprous.

Then put it into his bosom again….and it was whole.

God is able….the message is clear.

….but Moses turns to his speech….he was not a man of words….he did not think he could speak well enough to talk before Pharaoh and the people.

By this time, the Lord’s anger was “kindled” against Moses: The answer God gives comes as a rebuke (to backstrike with words)….

….God was displeased with Moses lack of zeal for his calling….for letting fear, rule his will.

God knew his heart….He knew that Moses wanted the deliverance of Israel….but Moses was letting imaginary hinderances block his sight.

Moses had “turned aside to see”…..and God had showed him that a bush can burn, and not be consumed by God’s Presence…

That a rod can be turned to a terrifying tool for God….

That disease can be given in a moment….and healed in a moment by the God of his fathers….I am that I am.

But Moses was letting his past failure blind his eyes from seeing that in all these examples…..God was saying “I am able….for you”.

God goes on to give him Aaron, his brother, who would speak to the people and Pharaoh, the words Moses would say.

“And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” (Exodus 4:17)

But God says it in such a way, that there is no “backtalk” from Moses…..”And Moses went…” (Exodus 4:18)

How often do we “see” what the Lord is trying to tell us?

Are we letting past failures, or fear blind us to what God is calling us to do?

Moses went….and as we know, he dealt with Pharaoh…….”The Lord has said, Let My people go.”……..bringing the people out of Egypt, in triumph.

That rod stayed with him to the end…..he used it many times.

(The serpent before Pharaoh, the rod turned the rivers to blood, brought frogs out of the rivers, he held it up at the Red Sea, he smote the rock for water, etc.)

It was just a plain shepherd’s rod….which, when used in God’s service, became a weapon, and a guide for those that were brought out.

The lesson God showed Moses, from the fire in the bush, is just the same for us:

Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (It is repeated in Hebrews 12:29)

Jealous means that He is zealous of His commandments and calling….He will not let anything else take His place in our hearts and lives….

He will lead us through failures,….speaking to us, to draw us on with Him…..rebuking us, correcting us….so that we may be instruments in His hands.

For Moses,…..and for all of His servants, that He calls……

……it is not what we are at the start,…..but what we let Him make us; that makes all the difference.

1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “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.

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

It is God that makes the difference in any and every situation.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Really determining to do God’s Will

John 7:17 L.N.T. “If anyone really determines to do His Will, then he will surely know of the teaching, whether it be of God or whether I speak from myself.”

John 7:17 “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, wither it be of God, or wither I speak of myself.”

I am using the term “really determining” to do God’s Will….for many are “trying” to do God’s Will….or “wanting” to do God’s Will…

…but determination has to do with the mental weighing of two or more things…

….to find out which one we will do.

And “really” is the adjective form of Reality.

When we, in reality, determine to do God’s Will….we will know what it is….and do it.

And our will is the active part of us, which does it. We do, what we will to do.

It is obedience that opens up God’s Will to our understanding. And when we really determine…..

…….have, in reality, weighed the things presented in the light of our will to do God’s will…..

……we will know by the Holy Spirit, what God’s will is.

John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The creature must find a resting place….and that resting place is in the Will of the Creator.

Our hearts were made for fellowship with Christ…in light….in the sunshine of His love.

Jude 20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

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

It is only when sin entered that we turned from light to darkness…..hiding our true selves, with Adam and Eve “amongst the trees of the garden”……among all the showy things, or pretenses we make to God….(Genesis 3:8, John 3:19)

But when we come to the light of the truth about ourselves…..getting honest, by the Holy Spirit’s help, with ourselves….

….grace (the unmerited favor of power) will be applied.

John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

John 3:21 “But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

This is not a matter of merit…earning the forgiveness….it is a matter of the heart openly coming before God, in honesty….and getting that help….that power….from God to deal with the situation…to deal with us.

And then walking in His light:

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.”

This “cleanseth” is a past, present, and future term.

He did cleanse me when I came to Him and got born again. (This cleansing once for all, that I may come before His presence)

He does cleanse me when I come to Him and confess my sin that I commit. (Cleansing me from the desire, and my conscience from the defilement, all sin causes.)

He will cleanse me eternally from every evil when He takes us to heaven.

And this cleansing as Christians, is by walking with Him in the Light of His Word, in the Light of obedience to His Will.

And then standing in His light, in a world of darkness:

Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

To wrap ourselves in the Light that is Christ…

….for when we see the light….we have the power of choice.

Paul writes concerning the ministry in this world,….giving his experience, for an example:

2 Corinthians 6:1-7 “We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

(For He saith, I have heard thee in the time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee:

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed:

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

By stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;

By pureness, by knowledge, by longsufferings, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”

This is to “really determine”… in reality choose to obey God….and you will know what His Will is.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are you at peace?

We can never truly know peace…..until we know the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior….by faith.

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

This is true peace, a peace with God….so that we may come boldly into HIs presence in prayer. (Hebrews 4:16)

But when we are born again, we can enter into the peace of rest, in all circumstances….

….are we getting it from the Lord?

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Jesus guides our feet into the way of peace….as our hearts are occupied with Christ.

Only there, under the guidance of Christ, is peace of mind and heart. From fear and imaginations….which is one of the chief causes of anxiety and worry…which rob us of peace.

Isaiah 48:18 “O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

The listening and obedient ear, knows true peace….for our peace is rooted and grounded in the Person of God, and the Word of the Lord….who can not lie.

Isa 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because He trusteth in Thee.

Trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Perhaps we should ask….what is peace? Is it just being away from strife?

No, for often we have peace in troubles.

Then what is the peace that Jesus gives?

First it is that the wrath that lies hard upon us….when we were rebels against the Lord, in our sin….wrapped up in the world’s ways…

…that is gone.

Jesus is our propitiation….the appeasing of God’s Holy wrath and anger. Jesus took the wrath and condemnation for us, when He gave His life a ransom on the cross.

Second, God’s peace stabilizes us. It makes us immovable in His Will, as we yield to it…..and gives us strength to stand.

Third, God’s peace leads us to joy in the Lord. When we are at rest in the Word of God…and trusting in Him….then we feel His Presence more keenly, and we have His joy.

Fourth, and very important in the days in which we live… surrounds us with a protection from the malice of words, and the bitterness of our heart’s reactions to the hatred of men.

They hate Jesus (no matter how they “respect” our beliefs….because He shows them their sin)….and so they will hate us, because we love and belong to Him.

But as we are obedient to the Lord…we will have peace.

Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

Peace like a river…flowing through us….calming, keeping our eyes on the Lord, and bringing us joy in the midst of sorrow,….that Is God’s Peace….and He has it for everyone of us.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.”

Peace always…by all means. How wonderful the provision for our journey through this world! How gracious of the Lord to remember and see our troubles, and pain! How loving to surround us…as with His mighty arms….with HIs Peace.

But praise God….He has this peace for all who will come to Him.

Isaiah 57:19 “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.”

Let us have this peace ourselves….

…..and then,…let us publish the gospel of peace abroad.

Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

In the world, we will have tribulation,….Jesus said. But He also said….”Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

How are we to have good cheer?

“These things I have spoken unto you,…..that in Me ye might have peace.”

The Lord knew how much we will need it,…..and He does not withhold even a little of what we need…..

….”in Him”….we have His peace….we can be of good cheer….we can overcome in the faith He gives us, because He overcame. (1 John 5:4-5)

Again, let us have this peace….always…by all means, for He has it for us.

Preaching, Teaching , and Notes

The Widow of Zarephath:

God had caused that the rain in Israel and the surrounding area, would be stopped…..because of their turning to idols….according to the prayers of Elijah. (James 5:17)

Without rain, there is thirst, hunger, famine… a terrible plague. It slowly kills….everything

God would send rain, in His time…..but He had a lesson He wanted to show His people, first.

But Elijah, God’s Prophet, had been saved,…..fed with bread by ravens, next to a brook; during part of the famine.

1 Kings 17:7 “And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.”

(Could not the Lord have kept that creek running? Or a spring? After all it was a miracle that the ravens fed him every morning and every night!

Of course, but when God allows circumstances to change….it is so we may seek Him….and what is next.)

Yet God would not forsake His Prophet. And Elijah was told what to do next.

1 Kings 17:9 “Arise, get to Zarephath, which belongeth to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”

Let us take a look at this “command to this widow woman”.

First, God said it; and is He not able to deliver? Of course!

So Elijah goes to the next country over, Sidon; and to the city of Zarephath.

At the unknown command of God (What else made this woman gather sticks at just this time) a widow was at the gate, preparing for her and her son, a last meal.

I say “unknown command”, because she had not heard God’s voice. But rather it was the Lord moving her to do this, with His sovereign power.

Seeing her, Elijah asks her to get him a small drink of water. Even in her extremity, she was courteous, and was going to go to get it.

Then Elijah, believing that this was the woman to whom he had been sent, asks her another favor.

1 Kings 17:11 “And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand.”

This stranger would have seemed very presumptuous, in my way of thinking. After all, wasn’t I being nice enough to get him a drink?

But remember: The Lord said He had “commanded”. This was a test to see if indeed this was the woman he had been sent to.

1 Kings 17:12 “And she said, As the Lord, thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

She was not rude.

She just told this man the truth. But notice; she recognized him as an Israelite; and a Godly one; since she said, “As the Lord, thy God liveth”.

Convinced that this was the woman to whom he was sent, Elijah gave a command, and a promise to her.

1 Kings 17:13-14 “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”

She was to feed him first. This, again, may seem presumptuous, but how else would he have known if she believed the Lord’s Word?

If she had made three cakes, one for her son, one for him, and one for her….that would have been generous, but unbelieving.

It would have been the wait and see attitude.

Maybe you’re right, maybe not; here is what we have, we will all eat, and see.

But she was to believe God’s Word, make him a cake, and see him eat it.

Then return and make for herself and her son.

What an amazing God we have, who can move a heart,…..any heart, to truly believe enough to obey,…..especially in hard times.

1 Kings 17:15-16 “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.”

God’s Word is always true.

Our believing enough to obey, is often the problem.

But if we, like the widow,…..will yield to God’s “command” within us,….then, we too, can know real power for our spiritual and temporal lives.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes


Hope, in the Bible, is of the Holy Spirit,….

….it is the confident expectation that God will do what He says.

If He gives us a word, or promise…..the Holy Spirit places hope within us….giving us assurance that God will fulfill all He has said.

It is not the “hope so”, which is more like a wish….but the Holy Spirit within us…implanting the roots of what will be the tree of promise,….and in the end….the fruit of the fulfillment and answer.

There is stability in this hope….for again, it is of the Holy Spirit within.

Hebrews 6:18-19 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope sent before us:

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

Our example:

Jeremiah and the land he buys:

Jeremiah was in prison….the king had ordered his arrest for speaking the truth about the coming victory of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon….and the destruction of Jerusalem.

He tried to save the people……but most did not want to hear the truth.

(Jeremiah had warned Zedekiah, king of Judah….to simply go out to Nebuchadnezzar….and submit to him. Then the king and the people would be able to stay in the land.

God was trying to teach His people about submission… up their proud ways of doing what they wanted….and yield.

But Zedekiah the king of Judah….was too proud and scared to do what he should….for himself or his people.)

But in prison, Jeremiah hears the word of the Lord….a very strange word, in these times:

Jeremiah 32:7 “Behold, Hanameel…..thy uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: the right of redemption is thine to buy it.”

Anathoth was Jeremiah’s hometown…..and with the siege of the country…..there was much poverty…..and little crops were being produced.

His uncle, no doubt needed the money….perhaps to save some of his family from becoming servants.

“The right of redemption” was Jeremiah’s right to buy the land of a poor relative….at a reasonable price….for himself……in order to keep it in the family.

Jeremiah 32:9-11 “And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.

And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.

So I took the evidence of the purchase,….”

This is very remarkable… act of hope about the word of the Lord:

….Jeremiah knew that Nebuchadnezzar would take the city….that the inhabitants of the whole land would be divided into slave…and dragged away to a foreign land…

….and servant….taking care of the land so that the crops would go to Nebuchadnezzar.

There was no reason of thinking that Jeremiah would ever use that land….

…why then did he buy it?

Remember hope is the confident expectation that God will do what He says.

And Jeremiah’s hope was in the Lord’s Word…..not in lands, or deeds.

Jeremiah 32:12-15 “And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch….in the sight of Hanameel….and in the presence of the witnesses….

…..and I charged Baruch before them…

…..Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences,….and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”

Here was where Jeremiah’s hope lay…….”Thus saith the Lord of hosts”.

What a joyful word this was! This land will be possessed by Israel again!

Hope for a time coming….hope in the Word of the Lord.

After the purchase…..he prays….

Jeremiah 32:17, 24-25 “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth, by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee:

Behold the mounts (places they put the machines which catapult into the city), they are come unto the city to take it;……and the city is given….that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what Thou hast spoken is come to pass;…

And Thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”

Though God saw all that Israel had done…..and was chastening them for it….yet God also saw what would be…..and gave a word of hope to His servant.

During this siege, there was sword, famine, and pestilence…..

…..yet Jeremiah heard of a time….through God’s Word….that things would return to “normal”….

“…and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” (Jeremiah 32:37-38)

This purchase was to be an earnest….a down payment….on the promise to come.

The Lord showed Jeremiah that the land and the people would be desolate….for a time (seventy years)….but then:

Jeremiah 32:27, 42-44 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?

For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.

And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate….

….for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord.”

Jeremiah knew that he, himself would not redeem this land, in this life (though certainly in the Millennial reign, that land will be his.)….

….but he was looking to the promise of God in hope.

(And in fact, among the very first of Israel to return from captivity, were men of Anathoth, Jeremiah’s hometown. Ezra 2:23)

What of us?

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Hope is the confident expectation that God will do what He says.

He has done all that He has said….

….and all that is written in the scriptures will certainly come to pass.

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.”

I do not know how Jeremiah felt about his uncle…or about the land….or about the process of redeeming the land (the deeds and witness)….

….what I do know about Jeremiah, was that he desired above all else God’s glory and honor…

….and that a deed in an earthen vessel…..symbolized hope….and that it honored God.

Are we yielding to the hope of the Holy Spirit?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The bushel over our lights

Matthew 5:14-15 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

You remember the children’s song….This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel….no! I’m going to let it shine; hide it under a bushel…no! I’m going to let it shine; let it shine; let it shine; let it shine.

Won’t let Satan blow it out….I’m going to let it shine; Won’t let Satan blow it out…I’m going to let it shine; let it shine; let it shine; let it shine.

Shine till Jesus comes again; I’m going to let it shine; Shine till Jesus comes again; I’m going to let it shine; let it shine; let it shine; let it shine.

But since the last time we sang that, has our light been dimmed,….or hidden under a bushel?

Just what is that bushel….that our light is under?

Well, one thing I have found over the years….is weariness.

Sometimes we feel as if we can not do just this one more thing….

….no one has appreciated us… one cares,… much indifference….

….we all have a reason that we let the wile of weariness creep in….

….but once it is there, it is like a bushel over our light.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not be weary in well doing: for for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We are going along fine, then something takes a turn we did not expect….whether in loss, or hurt, or illness….

….then we’re not sure what to do! We sure do not feel like shining our light!

We feel like curling up and hiding.

We are often like the disciples, at Gethsemane, who were saddened by Jesus saying He was going away.

Jesus asked them to watch with Him for a while….but they fell asleep…..never dreaming failure was just around the corner.

Another thing that hides our light, is the past.

The Holy Spirit is guiding now, correcting now, giving us grace for now….

….but when we let the past enter the door of our thoughts (good past, or bad past)….it throws the “now” aside…

…and we are neither yielding to the moments guidance, or listening for the warnings….

…we are “back there”….and our light is hidden.

Philippians3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, “

Fear is often the bushel that covers our light….and gives us confusion of feeling, in it’s place….until the love of Jesus conquerors the fear.

Nicodemus came to Jesus at night for fear of retaliation from the rulers, and Joseph of Arimathaea, who gave Jesus his tomb, was also a “silent disciple”.

John 19:38-39 “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. he came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.”

They were “silent disciples”….till the love of Jesus conquered that fear.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Bushels are made of guilt….

…when we sin, as Christians, there is a darkening of our light…..that “bushel” comes between us….and fellowship with the Lord, breaks down.

Guilt is there,….and it needs to be confessed and cleansed.

1 John 1:5-7 “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

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.”

Strife or quarrels are bushels….

….they cover our good works, and….we “walk as men”….just like everyone else of the world……not as Christ’s representatives.

1 Corinthians 3:3 “For ye are yet carnal (not growing up into Christ): for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men.”

Doubts are bushels. When we lose some confidence in Christ and His Word….we come into shadows.

It is not unbelief yet, but it is as though we are groping for the handrail…..we are just not going forward….for we are trying to find something to hang on to….

….when we should be trusting Christ.

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

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Sympathy with ourselves is a bushel….

….it is not self-pity…..but just a feeling that we “deserve something else”…..whatever that “else” is.

For this puts us into a mind that God is not giving us “the best” He should….

….when a little honest conversation with the Lord, would straighten our thoughts out.

Psalm 77:8, 10, 12 “Is His mercy clean gone for ever? Doth His promise fail for evermore?

And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings.”

Every time our light is hidden, opportunities are lost.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 7 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

And how do we keep, from hiding our lights?

Colossians 3:16-17 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”

First, know God’s Word……let it dwell in you richly…..or copiously.

Second, praise God for the grace He has given you…..testify of it to help others.

Third, whatever you do….do as if you were saying a prayer over it in Jesus Name…..that will elevate every act into a blessing….for it is for “His sake” it is done.

We need not have a bushel over our lights…..we can be a bright out-shining of His life, who was the Light of the world.