Preaching, Teach

Herod Agrippa

Acts 12:1-2 “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.”

This is the first time that the Roman appointed king takes an interest in the believers.

(Before this…..it was the Pharisees and religious leaders….which were angry against the believers of Christ.)

It is Passover time again….and crowds of people are in Jerusalem.

Herod Agrippa was an Edomite….not a Jew….but he converted to Judaism.

He was the grandson of Herod the Great, who ruled during Christ’s birth.

(Herod the great was the one who sent and killed all the children under three years old in Bethlehem, trying to kill Christ Jesus as a baby)

Herod Agrippa was a friend of Caesar….he had ruled land nearby….but then was given Judea by Caesar, as well.

He was a proud man, who ruled Judea for about five years…..always looking for a way to increase the people’s love of him….so….

…..he took and beheaded James, John’s brother.

James was one of the three of the inner circle to Jesus. He was called, along with John his brother, “sons of thunder”. Perhaps his powerful preaching had brought him to Herod’s attention.

(James along with John was also one to whom Christ had said, “…ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with:…” Matthew 20:23)

The beheading was done by a sword, to inflict the most pain….and get the most praise from the religious rulers and the people.

Acts 12:3-5 “And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

And when he had apprehended him, he put him prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

I want to mention here, that pride has been the undoing of many people.

Pride is the peacock within us……unfolding it’s tail feathers, for show.

Pride is the mirror….where we often look….to see the person we want to be considered.

And Herod Agrippa is a proud man.

So he takes Peter…..but waits till all the ceremonies of the Passover are done….then he will bring Peter out before all….and kill him.

That should make him very popular….loved, even….by the people.

(This is a picture, in miniature, of the Antichrist in the last days. He will rise up, and begin a steady persecution of the believing remnant.

That will make him exceedingly popular with the world….

Pride is his great sin….Daniel 8:23-25.

He shall exalt himself:

Daniel 11:36-37 “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished:…

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,….for he shall magnify himself above all.”)

But as the purpose of the Antichrist will seem to be fulfilled…..so Herod Agrippa thought his killing of Peter would be a big moment…

But God had another Purpose….deliverance.

This deliverance is in answer to prayer.

The church was meeting in Mary’s house. Mary’s brother was Barnabas who was Saul/Paul’s first missionary partner. Mary’s son was John Mark….the author of the book of Mark.

Many were gathered, some coming and going as they could….so that prayer for Peter was around the clock. This continued for all the days of the Passover feast….that Herod’s designs might be thwarted….and Peter released.

And God sent an angel…

Acts 12:6-8 “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers,….

….the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side,….saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals.”

Peter was perfectly at peace to die. He did not expect deliverance….especially after James death.

Gates and guards kept Peter in,….but could not keep God’s angel out.

With the angel….there was light….

….and a kick on the side to wake him up!

God made his handcuffs fall off….

Then the angel tells Peter to “gird thyself”…..the angel reminding Peter that the Lord Jesus told him…”when thou was young, you girded yourself,…..but when you shall be old, you will stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee…” (John 21:18). Peter would grow old….it was not time to die.

The angel tells Peter to “bind on thy sandals”…..prepare for a journey you are not expecting.

Acts 12:9. “And he went out, and followed him;….but thought he saw a vision.”

Peter thinks it is a vision, yet obeys and follows the angel….past the first guard post…..and the second guard post…..and then to the gate which separated the fort of the Roman soldiers, from the city….

….and it opened for him.

Acts 12:11-12 “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod,….

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary….where many were gathered together praying.”

Once Peter realizes that the Lord has delivered him….he seeks out a home where he knew a church met….

…Mary’s house.

He knocks,….but the girl who came to the gate….only asked who was there. (A church could not be too careful for night visitors….)

And when she recognized Peter’s voice….she ran and told the people who were praying inside!

She was excited and happy…..

…..but they did not believe it!

(Isn’t this just like us….we pray for something….and yet, do not really believe that God is going to give it.

We prepare for the worse…..instead of His best.)

Finally she keeps insisting that it is Peter….so they go and see….

….and when Peter comes in…..they rejoice that he is delivered.

He quiets them…..and tells all that has happened….and instructs that they are to pass it on to the rest of the church there.

Then, as the angel said, it was time to move on….and “he went to another place”

(Jesus had told them: Matthew 10:23 “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:..”)

But what of Herod’s purpose? God overruled and fulfilled His own purpose.

(God rules and overrules.

He often allows our enemies to seem to surround, and have the victory…..but then….He overrules their plans….and sees to us….not always in deliverance….but always bearing us up, in all the things we go through.)

The next day there was a lot of excitement to find Peter gone!

Acts 12:19 “And when Herod had sought for him (Peter), and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and there abode.”

Herod searched the city….but did not find him….then when his pride was wounded….

….he just had a fit about the deliverance of Peter.

If he had wanted to considered the matter, he might have seen God’s hand in it.

But he was so wrapped up in himself,……that he missed his opportunity to repent.

Peter, his prey, was gone….so he killed the guards….

….and ashamed of being robbed something that would make him look good in the peoples eyes….he leaves Jerusalem.

His puffed up pride is put down,….God has shamed him….

…..perhaps this is the reason his death….as it was….is written of.

In Caesarea, Herod has an argument with the countries of Tyre and Sidon…..so to get on his good side (for they needed the grain from Judea)….they came desiring peace.

On the day when he was going to speak before all the people at a celebration he had in honor of Caesar…..a multitude is gathered to hear his words.

Acts 12:21-23 “And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne and made an oration unto them.

And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”

History says,….he came out wearing a cape all of silver.

The timing was so….that when he came out on to the stage before the gathered multitude….his cape shown resplendent from the morning light.

They cried out that he was a god, and would henceforth consider him deity…

….when he did not deny it….he was struck with a pain in his stomach….”the angel of the Lord smote him,”……with worms, which caused his death….a few days later.

So ended the life of a man wholly taken up with himself. The world gave him honor…..but God shamed him…..gave him time to repent….and destroyed him because of his irreverence and pride.

Acts 12:24 “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”

Both the martyrship of James…..and the deliverance of Peter, increased the courage of those that were preaching…..and God blessed them, multiplying the Word spoken and the church.

(Now, for the exceptionally hard question…..Why did God allow Herod Agrippa to kill James…..but delivered Peter?

Some say it was timing…..Herod Agrippa arrested and killed James too quickly for God to work!

No! God can do anything.

James was a “son of thunder”….he was a fiery preacher. When he preached, people were effected by the Spirit….

…yet his ministry was short….

Peter lived for many years….helping to disciple John Mark (some say that Mark is actually Peter’s account of the gospel, which Mark wrote for him)….and going far to help his people, hear, and obey the gospel.

The answer to that question is that God rules and overrules in the lives of His own….and the death of a saint, is just as much God’s Will as the deliverance of another saint.

Hebrews 11:35 “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”

Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

We picture death as an ending…..not so God.

For all that belong to Him….it is simply the means that lifts the soul and spirit into His Presence.

Death, whether it is painful, slow, or sudden….if that person is born again…he is escorted by an angel into a deliverance of all pain, and sadness….into the Presence of Christ.

We all have our journey, our walk, our race to finish….let us heed what the angel of the Lord said to Peter:

“Gird thyself” In other words, “Be prepared, be watchful….be instant in season and out of season.”

“Bind on thy sandals” We have places to go….school, work, family ties, and encounters with those we have not yet met……and the Lord calls us to keep going till the end of our ministries.

Hopefully the Lord will not have to send someone to kick us in the side,…..to wake us up to what He is calling us to do,…next.)

May the God of all grace deliver each of us to do the ministry and work that He has for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are There Shadows in Your Christian Life?

Song of Solomon 4:6 “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

When we are born again, we are given the Holy Spirit and a new nature. One that loves God, and wants to please Him.

But we are Spiritual Babes, and often fail the Lord, when called to follow on with Him.

It is the Spiritual growth of our lives that brings us, as babes, to full grown children.

Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

To bring us to this point,……the Lord, through His Word, and by the Holy Spirit within us, will bring us to the Light again and again; till we are walking in it, with no Shadows between us. (1 John 1:7)

We fail, often, to fully realize that our own Natural Aversion to all things of God, is a clear manifestation of the ever present Old Nature within us. The old man wants his own will, and rebels at being in subjection to God.

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

For the flesh lusteth (fights) against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to another; so that ye can not do the things that ye would.”

It is the flesh which “attacks” the new nature which is of God within us,….for it still seeks to rule us, with our old habits, attitudes, and affections.

Romans 8:13-14 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

The “flesh”, “old man”, is our old nature; and remains in us, even though we have become born again.

We are to choose to obey the Spirit of God within us, and walk in the Light; so that the old nature is kept in subjection to Christ.

God’s Light, when it is submitted to, yields Power within us to do His Will.

It is a process.

This is an act of the will.

“…If ye do through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

And what a life! A life with the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and helping us, to do and be His Will!

Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Quicken is to make alive, active, and effective. As I said, What a life!

Mortify is to “put to death”.

That is, it is brought to the place where it has no influence in us.

Thus by an act of our wills, willing with the Holy Spirit, we do put to death the natural life, that it might become Christ’s life in us.

Song of Solomon 4:6 “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

Where Shadows are in our life, full Light has not come.

Shadows are cast by something between the Light source (Christ’s Life), and that which is lighted (us).

It is a mountain of myrrh (which speaks of death), because it takes a lot of denying ourselves, and yielding to the Holy Spirit.

And then it is, the hill of frankincense (which speaks of reigning authority) comes in.

For when we yield to Him, and get out of the way; it takes very little of the power of God, to empower us for His Will….in anything.

To consider these Shadows, we must go back to our very beginnings, and first consider: “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

Romans 9:20 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

It is a point of our rebellious old man, that we were never consulted in our being.

But just brought into being,…with the parents I had,….in these circumstances,…looking as I do;…..and then forced to deal with it.

(How many of these thoughts have we had? The sad thing: we do not bring them to the Lord and deal with them.)

Sadly, many seek meaning in things, or emotions; or in oblivion, and finding it not.

(The death wish the Psychiatrist talk about, is not just a wish to die, but a desire for non-being. To never have been; or to go into nothingness.)

But once we are, we are Eternal beings.

We will exist forever, either in Heaven with God in bliss; or in agony with the Devil.

But God has for us an “expected end”.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Our expected end is Christ, and the joy and peace He has for us, as we walk in His Light.

As the thing formed, we must be reconciled to God, Who formed us…..As we are.

This is a deep thing of the soul, and worked within us by the Holy Spirit in our spirit.

It is not just living because we have to; Or trying to find joy in “things”….but…

We can come to the place where we love who the Lord has made us…..really….and to enter into the life He has for us.

Here is where subjection is real…not just words.

Your spirit, with the Power of the Holy Spirit, by an act of your will, brings your soul (the place of your intelligence, affections, and will) into subjection to God’s Will.

And you do it on that mountain of myrrh.

He begins as soon as you are born again, to encourage you to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. (Matthew 16:24-25)

Every time you do this, His power works in you; creating in you that image of Christ in you.

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

God’s Will for you, has had it’s “beginnings” in Eternity past:

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;”

He thought of you in Christ Jesus before He created the world. And so has made provision for your complete Salvation from sin: the guilt, penalty, and power of sin.

These shadows, are not the sin itself; but are the influences of our sin. They cast a shadow, a darkness over us.

It may be because of self pity because we have done these things: “Oh, how could I do that? How could I be so stupid?” (I have said this to myself)

It may be that the sin is gone; because you know it will cause problems, or because of God’s chastening.

But the desire for that thing, still remains.

And must be removed, before the Shadows will “flee” away.

There is still an element of darkness in your life.

He can do it, keep coming to Him.

So many of these Shadows are of our Adversary, the Devil; deeply implanted within us , down through the years.

Things done by others, to us!

To which he has whispered many angry thoughts: “God should not have let them get by with this.”

Or thoughts of revenge.

Again, let us consider Christ Jesus’ “expected end” for us: Joy and Peace in believing.

Do you have it? Are you obtaining it everyday, by denying yourself and picking up your cross, and following Him into the Light He has for you?

You don’t have to walk in Shadows. Keep coming to Him. Listen to Him, and His Word to you.

Hang on to His Love; and know He is hanging on to you.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

O Give thanks unto the Lord.

Psalm 107:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

How can we count the mercies God has given us?

Mercy is God’s kindness to sinners.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor of power to us.

Hope is of the Holy Spirit….it is that confident expectation that God will do what He says.

Love is God’s Everlasting Arms around us, and working in us, for our good.

(There are temporal mercies: the sun, rain, and food, etc. which come on the good and the evil.

But spiritual mercies are for His elect…which have to do with Salvation…all the blessings in Christ.

The first time “merciful” is used, is when Lot is “taken by the hand” and lead out of the destruction of Sodom…..which is a picture of every man’s salvation: God takes us by the hand and saves us from the destruction of our sin.

Titus 3:4-6 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by working of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”)

Psalm 86:3 “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily.”

The Lord shows us daily mercies…..again and again….He is there.

Psalm 106:1 “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

For His mercy, and all that He has done…..is doing….and certainly will ultimately do…….we should praise Him….

for without mercy we are lost….lost in our sin,…..but also lost in our many sorrows of this world.

We can become “mired” in the troubles and problems we have…

But His mercy comes along and lifts us out of all of them.

He reminds us of HIs might….is He not able? Of course.

He reminds us of His joy….is He not with us, and for us? And If He is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

He gives us peace like a fortress. (Philippians 4:7)

Psalm 94:18 “When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.”

Psalm 105:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name: make known His deeds among the people.”

Isaiah 63:7 “I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us,….”

Praising the Lord should always come when we receive answers to our prayers. It is His due, of course,……but it also helps us.

“I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord”…

It is a way to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God….by the retelling of the “adventure” and the deliverance of the Lord, for us.

It encourages us now….in what ever is going on…so we will continue to trust and hold on to Him.

It helps us for tomorrow…..it nerves us for the coming storms……for we never know what a day will bring….but we can know our God.

Daniel 11:32 “….but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

Not only so……but our testimony of deliverance, comforts others who might be going through some of the same situations.

Ps 89:1 “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.”

O give thanks unto the Lord…..thanking the Lord should be as exhaling…..for as we breath in His many blessings…..and we should breath out His many praises.

Paul was eminently the Apostle of “thanks unto the Lord”….

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

“But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care in the heart of Titus for you.” (2 Corinthians 8;16)

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”

Hebrews 13:15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.”

I started this with….”How can we count the mercies God has given us?”

We can not….they are without number….like the stars in the night sky.

But they all center in our blessed Lord Jesus Christ…..Who is the sum and substance of our blessings.

2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Thorns and thistles

Luke 8:14 “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard go forth, and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”

“The Sower went out to sow his seed…”.

The seed is the Word of God…but it is the ground which it falls into we are talking about.

This Word falls in a heart full of thorns. Thorns represent the curse of the fall….or our “old man”…the old nature which is always present.

Jesus said, that these thorns were:

“cares”…..burdens of grief, fear, protection, supply.

“Riches”….a supply of money, houses, or lands….to make us independent of God….or so we think.

“Pleasure of this life”….we think of food, sex, drink, or drugs….but there is also putting our “fun times”, first.

I believe Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost,…. all who will come to Him. (Hebrews 7:25)

Therefore these thorns represent that which keeps us from completely giving ourselves to the Lord Jesus.

Something that claims this part of our life,…first.

Jeremiah 4:3 “For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”

We are to prepare our hearts to hear His Word, when we read it….when we hear it….when it is preached.

And when it is heard….because our hearts are prepared…it will bring forth fruit….not thorns.

But where did the thorns originally come from?

There were no thorns and thistles in the garden of Eden.

But when Adam and Eve fell…

Genesis 3:17-18 “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:

cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field:”

Thorns are actually aborted branches. Both are prickly and injurious. Both can cause infections….

…..both can only be put away…..by effort.

But thorns and thistles shall it “bring forth” unto us. They just pop up….with no effort….for they are of this world….they are of the curse of sin.

We are in a world of sin….and thorns and thistles abound…..in us, by habit or temptation…

….and around us.

They often spring up before the good seed…and if we are not careful to remove or cut them down…..they will choke the new good plant.

Hebrews 6:7-8 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain which cometh oft upon if, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, recieveth blessing from God:

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.”

We are to keep our hearts and lives for God….and use every blessing from God (the rain) to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But if we are careless….then thorns and thistles (the things under the curse…sin)….will definitely spring up in our life…and they are not so easy to deal with then.

Numbers 33:55 “But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.”

We must deal with all the things of our old man….of cares, riches, and pleasures of this life……because if we leave them, as the Israelites did the cursed inhabitants…they will be thorns in our side….giving us trouble, till we do.

(My brother bought a small plot of land….about fifteen acres…from a neighbor.

Now the neighbor told him to watch for Canadian thistles.

They have a very strong root….so cutting them down will not do any good….they will just spring back up…you have to keep at it.

He told my brother that he had had trouble with them, and if you let them flower….you have let them go too long….for the flowers will dry and spread them all over.

My brother used the ground for pasture for some special cows….so he did not want to spray it.

You guessed it,…..my brother saw them coming up….and was busy….and the next thing you know it they were grown and flowering.

Let me tell you how hard it was to deal with something that was almost as tall as I was…

Chopping them out, without getting “bit” by the prickly nettles….was a very hard job.)

So it is with us….if we are careless…

Proverbs 22:5 “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.”

Froward means twisted, perverted, crooked. And how many crooked paths are put before us everyday….to lead us astray?

A little twist of the way…..what will it hurt?

But the thorns come up and the thistles grow large….before you know it.

Watch ye….is not just good advice for times of trouble….but times of prosperity….and…any time. We need Christ’s guiding hand to lead us away from thorns…..and to lead us in to His fruit of the Spirit.

Isaiah 32:11,13 “Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones…..gird sackcloth upon your loins.

Upon the land of My people shall come up thorns and briers;….”

To be careless….. is to put our desire for now….what ever it is over the will of the Lord….as though it was not that important.

The answer? To continue to receive the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 32:15-17 “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high….

Then judgement shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.”

Some believe this is a prophesy concerning the giving of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost….but…

……whenever the Spirit is manifested….there is righteousness and peace…

…not thorns of self will.

Matthew 7:16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

Nothing we can do, without the Holy Spirit’s blessing will yield any good fruit.

The best that human nature can produce for God….is thorns.

Only when we continue to receive the Holy Spirit’s fullness, will we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

And, of course, I would be remiss, if I did not mention the worst day for the manifesting of man’s the attitude toward God….

….. when our blessed Lord had a crown of thorns pushed into HIs head….when they mocked Him as a king…

….totally unaware that He is the King of kings.

John 19:2-3 “And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe,

And said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him with their hands.”

He bore all the curse for us.

Thorns and briers, thorns and thistles…..all are under the curse.

They spring up, unless you cut them out.

They spread out, and interfere with the good plants.

They are strong….not easily removed….unless you get them early.

But by watching,…..and receiving all the Holy Spirit has for us, we can cut out all that is “thorns”,….or of our old man……and bring forth fruit to Christ Jesus our Lord, in blessing.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Hold Thou me up

Psalm 119:114-117 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word.

Depart from me, ye evil doers: For I will keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statues continually.”

This is a prayer for the keeping power of God to “uphold”, or “hold Thou me up”….in the position that I have obtained through the Holy Spirit.

“There are so many enemies….within me, and temptations in this world….hold on to me, Lord Jesus.

I do not want to fear,….hold on to my peace.

I do not want to be angry,….hold on to my love.

I do not want to go my own way….hold me up by Your Word.”

Christ Jesus taught us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation”. For temptation is dangerous…though we do not often see it’s poison…..

….but dangerous situations call for extra watchfulness and prayers to our God, that He would stretch out His right hand….and help us.

This may not be immediate deliverance;….but His hand…holding us up…out of the mire of this world….

….the attitudes and emotions…the love of money or power…the misery and sorrow of failures (and who does not have them?)…or ingratitude.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

Psalm 17:5 “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”

He helps us “hold fast” in His paths….those that are shown us in His Word.

We can not keep from sin, unless we keep to His Word.

Psalm 17:4 “Concerning the works of men, by the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”

When temptations are about…when the world’s siren call comes….and the devil tricks….

…..then we must pray…..hold Thou me up in Thy Word…..

….give me understanding to know….and grace to do……so that we may hold out against these temptations…and find His “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The Word is what Jesus used, when He was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:4, 8, 12)

He could have easily used His deity to defeat the devil….

…..but instead….showed us the weapon we should use, when under attack….”It is written”…the Word of God.

The Word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17)….for it is by His reminding us of His Word….and by His power through it…that it is effectual for us….against our enemies…now.

(A few verses that have helped me:

1). Romans 14:22 “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing that he alloweth.”

What we know we should not do…..we should not do, that our conscience stays yielding to the Holy Spirit.

2). 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort:

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Our testimonies about what God has done for us….though they seem little to us…carry a great deal of weight with the Holy Spirit….they are reality…and He blesses them.

3). Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Each day brings things we never expected….so be prepared in the Lord…by prayer, before you begin the day.

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

Praise God for this….and I ask for it often….”work in me, Lord”…..it is both: to will….for I am sometimes “unwilling” in this thing. And to do….for I am often lazy in this thing.

5). Colossians 3:15-16 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….and be ye thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;…”

We must yield and stand upon His peace,……and HIs Word must be listened to.

6). 1 Thessalonians 5:8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

In how many scriptures does God call us to stand with Him….in light….in this world?

7). 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

We are to be before Him at all times, wherever we are….then our whole life is in an attitude to pray.

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

One of my favorites…..anytime you think you are drifting from God….pull yourself back….To the one constant in your life….God’s love of us…..even when we are quite unloveable. It is like walking in the sunny side of the street!)

The Psalmist says:

Hold Thou me up…..and I shall be safe…

…my own learning, or experience, or skill will not help in times of temptation…..for we are only tempted by something our hearts are interested in.

James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lusts, and enticed.”

(Lust is….I want this…and I want it now….whatever this is.)

But Christ Jesus has made a way to escape temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Ps 119:114-117 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word.

Depart from me, ye evil doers: For I will keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statues continually.”

In His hands we are safe….He holds us up….He is our hiding place….His Word guides and enlightens us….and His Holy Spirit empowers us.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Why must we lose our self-life?

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

Why must we lose our self-life?

Does not God love me? so why does God want me to change?

Sure, I can give up my sin….the bad things, but why “me”? Would true love to Christ really ask such a question?

The “me” we give up….is not our true personality…..that is saved and brought into complete subjection to Christ, by His Spirit.

The “me” we give up…..is our way of doing things, our attitudes picked up from the world, our narrowness of self…..which always looks for “what will this do for me”.

When I first heard of denying myself, and losing my self-life…..frankly I thought that it would be easy.

After all, I am saved….I want the Lord’s Will…

…..that is all there is to it, right?

….but did I really want His Will? Do I really want to have His life, instead of mine?

Yes, actually I did….

…..and through this process, I learned that.

It is one of the wonderful things that comes from it.

So many,….like I did…..

…..think they have surrendered to the Lord’s Will for their lives, yet constantly reject the Way, that Will is to be brought to pass.

Surely, the Lord would not care if I do this…..this way…after all, it gets His Will done….

….when the reality of it all is, His Will is certainly HIs Way.

How many problems could we avoid, if we would be more attentive to the Lord’s way of doing things.

The whole objective in the Lord’s call to deny ourselves and pick up our cross…..the reality of it….is

……that we might lose our life in ourself….

And even that is not the end….although it is an amazing freedom from the narrowness of self….

….but the end is…..that we might find our life in Christ, which is liberty of the Spirit in all our days.

This losing our self-life is a step by step process of giving over to Christ…..my habits, my ways, and my opinions….and taking on His character….His ways….His thoughts…

…His gentleness,….no one was more gentle than Christ.

I am not talking about “wishy-washy, it is ok” stuff.

I am talking about bending down….and reaching out to those who suffered…and drawing them out to a belief in Him.

(The leper, the man at the pool of Bethesda..John 5:6-8, the Samaritan woman, the demon possessed living in tombs..Mark 5:2-15)

…His boldness in the face of evil.

Twice, driving out the money sellers in the Temple.

Accusing those that did not want Him to heal on the Sabbath of hypocrisy because they would pull one of their sheep out of a pit on this day.

Standing face to face with the mob and Judas, who came to arrest Him,….unlawfully.

…His truth.

He never excused sin…..He forgave it.

…His prayer life.

Many nights alone, all night with His Heavenly Father in prayer.

Praying for Peter when the devil would “sift him as wheat”

…His ministry of warning all that the kingdom of God is come.

Christ came to die…..but He was not silent…..nor did He do nothing, but wait His time.

He “fulfilled all righteousness”….in a world of sin, hatred, and illness.

We, too, need to fulfill all the righteousness we are called to.

And the only way to really finish our work….is to become conformed to Christ, and His character.

To lose our life….we need to come to the place that we see:

It is not Christ for me……unless Christ is formed in me.

That it is not our life we are living…..but an extension of His life, in my circumstances….to His honor.

This can only be by love. The willed tendency of our heart to yield, to give, to be completely His.

To love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, will….this is to lose our lives in our selves…..so we can find His life rising in us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Let Us Go On

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth”

To know about God; that there is One, that He is up there “seeing” to things; is enough religion for some people.

Religion and everyday life are seen by these, as two separate and distinct issues.

Though they may not come out and say it, they agree with those that keep religion on Sunday,……and their real lives, the rest of the time.

Let me tell everyone who names the name of a Christian:

Jesus Christ interferes with life;……namely our life.

He makes claims upon us. He wants us.

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

Matthew 10:37-38 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more that me is not worthy of me.

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me , is not worthy of me.”

To know only about God is a knowledge that does not save.

They need to be drawn to Jesus Christ for themselves.

Luke 18:9-12 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give titles of all that I possess.”

The attitude of some is: that God should be God, and I’ll be me.

They say, in their hearts:

“God,….You stay up there in heaven, watch offer me, keep me from harm, care for me, and take me home to heaven when I die;

I’ll stay down here and do nothing too terrible. I will go to church, read my Bible when I need to and pray whenever I’m in trouble.”

These imagine that the bargain is struck.

So off we go completely convinced, like the Pharisee, we are on good standing with the Lord.

But this is a religion that never touches the heart….that never rises above what is good…..for “me”.

Luke 18:13-14 “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

We have talked of “humbling” before. It means to abase yourself…..place yourself (everything of your self)….under Christ.

Some people reject Christ…..not as Savior….but as Lord.

But the truth is….that it is the Lord Jesus Christ that saves….completely and eternally.

The sincere follower has heard the call of Christ; and has left any bargaining behind. He has decided to follow Christ whithersoever He leads.

Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

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

And this decision has far reaching consequences, both to ourselves, and any we come into contact with.

Christ’s life is Eternal Life.

It is Him we receive at new birth, He is our life.

Eternal life is a condition of life, here and now; as well as for eternity.

We receive His nature by the Holy Spirit.

He places the love of God and His Word within, as well as a desire for holiness of life.

Faith, joy, peace, all the graces of God, are at our disposal.

Philippians 3:8-14 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

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,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

The prize? This high calling of God in Christ Jesus. This calling is to everyone who is born again.

We are called to bring forth fruit.

We are called to walk together with Christ.

We are called to obtain promises.

We are called to witness of Christ.

We are called to know Christ.

To know Christ: this is the goal of any true follower of Christ.

Not to win salvation: that is in Christ.

Not to win heaven: that is the end of those who belong to Christ.

But to know Christ:

For to know Him is the real gain of all things. Real satisfaction, real joy, real peace.

This is to “go on to know the Lord”

When you do, you will also find His going forth with you in power and loving presence.

To follow on. To go on. To seek. These are words we need to activate in our everyday lives.

And the One we need to follow after is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Malachi

Malachi 1:1 “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.”

I love this book,….it has one of my favorite verses in it.

It is written several hundred years after the captivity under Nebuchadnezzar………and over four hundred years before Christ (the fullness of times is come…Galatians 4:4)

God, according to His promise……has brought them back to the land, and told them to build Him a temple, and rebuild their lives.

Those of a willing heart, came back in joy….

…and though there was persecution, and problems….still the Lord has given them encouragement and instruction by His prophets.

And so, the people have built a temple, and returned to the sacrifices for sin, peace, and trespass…..and things are good….for a time…

….but…after a while…

….their greed, and love of money has led them into error and sin….again.

Not of idolatry….which was their sin before the captivity….but of impiety…..a lack of reverence to God.

In Malachi……in four short chapters, God declares His love to Israel….”I have loved you, saith the Lord.” (Malachi 1:2)…

……and shows their dishonor to that love……and to Him.

And how are they dishonoring Him?

Malachi 1:6 “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honor? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of host unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, Where in have we despised Thy name?”

Concerning the sacrifices, God had laid down some very specific laws that they were to follow….

….and had given them priests to enforce these.

The priests were to sacrifice nothing that was blemished, torn, or too old….

…for each sacrifice showed forth the Great Sacrifice of Christ.

But after returning from captivity….building houses, and estates again….and the temple…

….their affection became consumed by making “more”…..more money, more cattle, more land.

And in the process, they began to bring “second-hand” sacrifices to God….

….thinking He would not mind….after all He is getting a sacrifice!

And at the heart of this dishonoring of His sacrifice…..were the priests.

They should have stood with God, and made the people aware of their sin….but instead, they encouraged it.

Malachi 1:7-8 “Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.

And ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?

Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be please with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.”

God is very practical…..

….He tells these “worshippers”…….to take these animals to the governor…..

…find out what he thinks of your present?

He is mocking them,….for He knows no man would except a defective present….

…..yet they were bring these to Him.

(They bring the blind, for they have no “sight” or understanding in their sacrifice and worship….they are blindly giving for show.

They bring the lame and those ready to die…”sick”….because that is the state of their hearts toward God.

Malachi 1:14 “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and vowels, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is dreadful among the heathen.”)

But that is not all…..the people had begun to put away their wives, and marry women of the land….

It wasn’t really divorce as we know it. The old wives were merely put into another house, and the husband would get a new wife.

The first wives were coming to the priests and weeping (looking toward the mercy seat)…..but the priests did nothing….

….but God heard.

Malachi 2:13-14 “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regarded not the offering any more….

Yet ye say, Wherefore?

Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.”

And the third sin was with their tithes:

They were to give the first portion of their goods to God,….

……a sign that they were all His,….and that they thankfully received what He gave them.

Malachi 3:7-8 “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them.

Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.

But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings.”

These three things symbolize our everyday life in the world….things which should be sanctified to the Lord, as Christians…

….our spiritual life….worship and work….how we do, when we do, what we do.

….our family life….to our parents, our spouses, to our children.

….our financial life….giving God control of our finances…(Matthew 6:31-33)

Impractical, you say?

Frankly, there is nothing so impractical,…..as a Christian giving only part of his life to Christ.

When God is in control of our lives…in every way……we are blessed…if not with everything we want….with everything we need, for now.

Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts,

if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

The Lord has opened His heart to them…..then He speaks of opening the windows of heaven….if they will return to Him,….and honor His Word.

And then here is one of my favorite verses: I love this….our God is so Personal….He sees everything….He is Almighty…..yet…

….speaks as if He bends down to catch these words, spoken between believers!

Malachi 3:16 “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:

And the Lord hearkened and heard it,

And a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.”

(In every age, God has His godly remnant….those that look to His honor, and trust on His word….

….even in the worst of times….there will be such a remnant in the Tribulation period)

I love this!

Those that feared Him…..reverence and love was what He spoke to them about…..

(Though the majority thought, “It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance….”Malachi 3:14

Those wrapped up in this world always thing of “profit and loss”…..but forget their souls…Matthew 16:26)

….yet, for those that loved the Lord,….they “spake often to one another”

…..comforting and encouraging each other in the Word of the Lord…..

And when they did…..He leaned down and “hearkened and heard it”.

And when God hears, He answers (1 John 5:14-15)….

Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall (under His special care and protection).”

God would remember….and write their names…..in His book of remembrance,….

…..for those that “thought upon His name”.

The word, “thought” here, means “valued”…those that valued His Name….and Him.

God loves to be longed for….He loves to be sought;

For He sought us Himself with such longing and love;

He died for desire of us….Marvelous thought;

And waits for us, to be with Him in heaven, above.

God leaves this book…..and the Old Testament…..

….with a finger pointing to the coming of His Son….and to the prophet (John the Baptist. Malachi 4:5-6)…

….that will be sent, to awaken those that look for Christ,….

…..to prepare themselves….to prepare their hearts….to prepare their families for….the “great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Great for those who received Him…..dreadful for those who thought that they could in any way….”get rid of” the Son of God.

We, too, are waiting for Christ Jesus (the rapture)…..and it is time we prepare our hearts for His return.

Are we giving Him our best, our all, in all our everyday happenings?

In this world, of so many “things”…..what do we “value”?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Don’t come short, when it comes to God’s Promises

Hebrews 4:1 “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”

Have you ever tried to reach up or out to something and it is just out of reach?

This is the way many of us think about the promises of God. They are great and we want them;…..but they seem just out of reach.

But God never intends His Word to be seen, and not used. He intends us to have what He promises us.

Faith reaches out and gets what God has for us.

Every promise in the Word, and every promise given to you personally, is nothing until entered into by faith.

And there can never be completed faith, without obedience.

Promises are only promises, until we have them.

First, we apprehend them by faith.

That is, you see that God has this for you, personally, and you reach out in belief to His Word.

When you do, you should have the hope (remember hope is the confident expectation that God will do what He says) of these promises by the assurance of the Holy Spirit within.

Second, you apprehend these promises, by obedience. You live them.

Sometimes there are conditions to the promises the Lord gives, like the seed on the ground:

one, a hard walking path—no receiving there.

Others on rocks and thorns, which received by faith, but never put it to use.

The last, the good ground, which was tilled and received it by faith, (it says it “keeps” it) and also put it to use. Some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, some an hundred-fold.

(Mark 14:14-20)

Without the element of faith, there is nothing.

For faith is that which makes the things of God, real to us, so that we can apprehend them.

(Apprehend here means that we have them in hand. They are ours.

Like a felon is apprehended…only when they have him….not when they are just looking for him.)

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

It is a true substance. It exists within you by the Holy Spirit.

It gives us the proof within us, to use the word God gives us. In other words, you know it.

Faith is what is within us that reaches out to God in times of trouble, in praise, for help, for comfort, and for fellowship.

Hebrews 11:3,6 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made by things which do appear.

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.”

By faith we understand, or perceive truths which were mysteries before.

And again, we are to use our faith, and reach out to God in obedience, and get what He promises.

Hebrews 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

Let us not lose what He promises, by not believing Him.

But let us gain all that He has for us to have, through the Holy Spirit, and His promises, which He wants to give.

Let us apprehend His promises to us, and gain one hundred-fold for Christ Jesus,……..in believing obedience to His Word.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God’s Due Order

1 Chronicles 15:13 “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.”

Now David wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. There he had set up the Tabernacle. This was God’s will, to bring the Ark to Jerusalem and set up His worship there.

(The Ark was the symbol of the Presence of God with them. In the Tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies, above the mercy seat, which was the gold cover on the top of the Ark, dwelt the Presence. Inside were the Ten Commandments.)

But the “way” to move it, was important.

So:

1 Chronicles 13:1. “And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds and with every leader.”

They decided that they would put it on a new cart, like the Philistines did.

(The Philistines had taken it in battle, and after God had sent judgements upon them, they had returned the Ark to Israel, in a new cart. This was the last time it had been moved.)

But David did not consult with God, as to His Way of carrying the Ark.

(What the enemies of God do, is not what the people of God should do.)

But they gathered together, and put the Ark on the new cart, with men around it; and started toward Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 6:6-7, 9 “And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the Ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the Ark of God.

And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the Ark of the Lord come to me?”

The way God had told Israel to carry the Ark, was on the shoulders of the Priests. They were to put staves (long poles) through the places on the Ark, and carry it on their shoulders.

One man died because of David’s error, and they could not bring the Ark any further. Instead they carry it into a house nearby.

Three months pass. The household where the Ark stayed was greatly blessed.

So David knows it was not their moving it, that was wrong; but the due order for the move: the way God wanted.

David then finds out what the Lord had said to Israel about moving the Ark:

1 Chronicles 15:2 “Then David said, None ought to carry the Ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the Ark of God, and to minister unto Him for ever.”

1 Chronicles 15:11-13, 15 “And David called for.. the priests, and for the Levites,…

And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the Ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it.

For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.

And the children of the Levites bare that Ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded, according to the word of the Lord.”

When they got everything according to God’s due order, they brought up the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem in joy and singing, with blessing.

What was the difference?

One was the reasonable way which everyone agreed on.

One was God’s way.

His due order. And how important that is.

We think, if a job is done, it does not matter how it got that way; but God never thinks that way.

He has a way; a higher way of doing things.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways My ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

When His due order is honored, He gives blessings upon blessings.

When it is disregarded, He will not bless as He wants.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

All scripture is given for our learning. So we can profit from others: their mistakes,….and successes.

Let us honor God, and seek out His due order in our lives, and be blessed.

This is surely what He wants for us.