Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A New Thing

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

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

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

He told me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future we do not have.

But we can live for Him, today.

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

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

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

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

Spiritual wisdom is really practical skill to make pointed decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new thing…shall ye not know it?

He is asking you: will you know it?

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

I will follow Thee, but….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was He worth it?

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

There can be no conditions.

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

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

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

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

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

Which is more important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty exciting….

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

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

How practical our God is!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will we follow Him?

Will we follow Him, now?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Do we have, what we seem to have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does God want from us? Us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…because I feared the people.”

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

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

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

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

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

Our Rock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Jesus and the Children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Mark it says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And why does He rejoice so, over that one?

Because, they are always in His plans and purposes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lord’s Personal Voice to His Sheep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And out they would come, behind him.

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

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

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

As a Christian, you should experience this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today is a new day.

Yesterday’s failures have been confessed.

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

Now, it is today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we ready to hear?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Achan’s Folly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let us look at what tempted him:

Joshua 7:21 “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achan is unsatisfied with the way things are going….

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

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

Perhaps it is desire for prestige and importance…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did he lack?

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

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

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

Then, he said, “No, God.”

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

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

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

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

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

Sin begets sin.

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

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

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

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

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

For it shows us…..us.

What we do with that knowledge makes all the difference.

What we do after that, makes all the difference!

Will we obey His Will?

What do we think of our Lord?

Achan should have waited on the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

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

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

But do you?

Are you a person who has an uncontrollable temper?

Do you have a habit you can not give up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many times have we thought:

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

“I won’t, even if you want me to.”

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

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

We often choose it, instead of yielding to authority.

And yes, this includes God’s Authority.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are we growing in grace?

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Peter knew a lot about this; having denied the Lord three times, once even before a maid.

Yet he was restored, and became the first preacher of the gospel after Pentecost. Three thousand were saved that first day.(Acts 2:41)

He had grown some since he had bragged about his loyalty; and then failed Jesus so terribly.

He had learned his own weakness….when his courage and devotion failed…..even when he loved the Lord….

After he was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he learned how to preach……he learned about persecution,…and determined they must obey God rather than man…

…..about the Lord including the Gentiles into the church….

….about the importance of the Word of God….

….and he learned that we are never “too sanctified” to get tripped up.

Galatians 2:11-13 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried with their dissimulation.”

When this happened, Paul corrected him in front of everyone there…..”when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel…”

Was this Peter,….the one who had opened the door to Gentiles….yet, tripped up? How could this be?

Because we are never out of danger, this side of heaven.

And Peter was weak before the influence of men,……for he was not yielding to the Holy Spirit….he let his emotions lead him, instead.

It says, “….fearing them which were of the circumcision.”

Fear is a terrible enemy….how many have stumbled under the “roar” of the devil, causing fear

(1 Peter 5:8-9 here Peter warns of this very thing).

Peter, corrected, though….went on to preach many places….taking with him Mark…discipling him…till he was a old man…

But he knew he was not done growing….he would continue to grow as long as he would be “in this tabernacle”…..for he (and we) should never stop learning by the Holy Spirit, in our experiences of life about Jesus, and what He will do for us.

And so when he was old, he warned others about this very thing…”that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”(verse 1:16)

2 Peter 1:2-4, 12-13 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:”

Every true Christian stands in need of growing in grace.

To do so, must “eat” the Bread of Life which is Christ.

That involves fellowship with Him….in our everyday tasks.

(Are we spending time with our lovely Lord?)

We must “drink” the water of Life freely which is His Holy Spirit.

That involves yielding ourselves to His guidance and convictions.

If we are to become strong Christians, and not babes, we need to grow.

We need to use what He gives us and gain experience with Him.

(If Jesus were here on earth, and came and invited you to follow Him, would you?

But, though He is not here on earth,…..He is still inviting us to:

Come and Follow Me into the everyday experiences of today, tomorrow, and onward.)

Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

We have spiritual senses, as well as natural ones.

We are to have “hearing ears” to hear what the Lord says to us. There is no audible voice; but the internal Voice which guides us.

We are to have “seeing eyes”……eyes of faith…..enlightened by the Holy Spirit and His Word.

We are to have the sense of “smell”.

This Spiritual sense tells us if a thing is good or rotten, just like our nose does. It is discernment.

And we have “taste”. We are called to taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalms 34:8)

That means, we are to experience His sweetness in the comfort, help, and word He gives.

It is of the Holy Spirit, as all of these are:

but we are to use His enabling, and learn by the experience. This is how we grow in grace.

Peter did…..and when he was old, said….

….remember my example, both failures, and successes……and learn of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

If we sit on the sidelines….we certainly may be Christians,…

….but we will not grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and become strong,….having those “all things that pertain to life….and godliness…” (think of it!)

Again, Peter did…..perfectly? No, but he learned.

Are we willing to learn of the Holy Spirit?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Our Stand before the World

After Judah had sinned, God let their enemies have the victory over them; to show them they should repent and turn back to Him.

Sadly they would not, and Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem three times. The first two, he took much of the riches of the land; and the learned men. The third time, he destroyed the walls, and burnt the temple.

On the first conquest, Nebuchadnezzar took away the young men of skill. Princes who had been taught in science and who demonstrated wisdom. They would have to learn the teachings and the language of the Chaldeans, so they could be of use to Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were four such young men. When brought to the palace of the king of Babylon, they were given over to the prince of the eunuchs; or the one in charge of their learning process.

Daniel 1:5 “And the king appointed a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine of which he drank: so nourishing them three years that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.”

They were in a foreign country, living at the whim of the king, and the food that was presented to them was designed to “nourish them”. (make them stronger, smarter, and able to stand before the king, looking good.)

They could have reasoned that they had no choice.

That if God let them come to this land, then He would want them to “go along” with the plan of those that took them.

(The food had been offered to the king’s gods; then given to the king and his favorites)

But Daniel “purposed in his heart” that he would not defile himself with these foods and wine.

He was concerned with serving God, even in a foreign land.

He was not going to forget the commandments of God, just because he was not in the land of Judah.

But what should he do?

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

He went to the one in charge of their care, and asked that he might not eat these things.

He did not have a fit, and refuse to eat….but asked….giving respect for the person assigned their preparation for the king’s service (he, too, was just a servant).

God blessed him, and put respect for Daniel in this man’s heart.

But it was not just Daniel’s safety that was in question.

Daniel 1:10 “And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your face worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.”

Daniel understood the danger he was putting this man in; so he asked for a test.

If it was a matter of their strength and looks…..then God would surely let their obedience be blessed; that they may look healthy and strong.

(So they would look healthier than the other young men that had been brought to Babylon to learn their sciences and knowledge.)

Daniel 1:12-14 “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse (grains) to eat, and water to drink.

Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenances of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.”

Daniel was going to leave this test into the hands of the Lord.

God would bless His word, and give them health and strength; so the eunuch would be able to see the difference.

They would be able to live, the eunuch would be able to live, and they could obey God….even in this foreign land.

Daniel 1:15-16 “And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children that did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

Thus Melzar (the eunuch) took away the portion of their meat, and the wine which they should drink; and gave them pulse.”

So Daniel and his friends remained obedient to God, and continued in this training.

They became very important to this king, and honored God in their service many times.

Daniel 1:17, 18, 20 “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill and learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all vision and dreams.

Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

At first Daniel stood alone, for God’s commandments; but soon three others joined him.

We may be sent to another place, or job, or school; or stay in the same place……But being His born again ones, we can serve the Lord wherever we are.

We are never alone, for the Holy Spirit is within us; giving us the blessing of His Presence and guidance.

And help.

He works in us; but He is also working things out around us…..if we just trust and obey Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Diotrephes,….and Gaius

3 John 9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, recieveth us not.”

This is an amazing statement….the beloved Apostle John….the one that leaned his head on Jesus shoulder at the Last Supper….the one that ran with the other disciples, but then came back and followed Jesus into the Judgement Hall……the only one of the twelve that stood at the foot of the cross, as Jesus was crucified…..

…..was not received!

Who would even consider such an action? And what was this about?

(We think of apostolic power…..of how much they accomplished for Christ Jesus….going out and spreading the gospel….because of the great love they had for Christ…

….but here is a picture into the decay of a church.

A church that went from the bright, joyful fellowship of believers….into one that allowed this one who “loves to have the preeminence”, to rule.

John lived longer than any of the Apostles….he was younger….and he was the only one who died a natural death….the others were martyred.

He had been imprisoned (Revelation 1:9, 10:11)…….and let out, to preach and teach again….mending the church, with the Words of Christ:

Revelation 2:4-5 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

This candlestick was the Light of God shining through them….they were quenching it, by “leaving their first love”….Christ. Other things had come in….and their “light” was dimming.

And here is the state of the church now……”lukewarm”. We think they are all right….but God wants us zealous….boiling hot….and to get there we need to repent.

Revelation 3:15-16, 19 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spur thee out of my mouth.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”)

Here, in his last epistle, John was writing his friend Gaius, and thanking him for receiving the men, who for Christ’s sake, were going around as itinerant preachers….to the churches.

3 John 7-8 “Because that for His (Jesus Christ) name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth.”

Now these men, who had been called to go out and preach at churches for their instruction and encouragement….had not asked for money from the churches…..and had only gone into homes that asked them in.

Yet there was one in the church, Diotrephes, that wanted to have the say about who would speak in the church….and who would not.

3 John 9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not.”

These men that had come, were Jewish/Christian preachers……sent from the Apostle John to this church;…for it’s good.

But because they were Jewish……that gave this man an excuse for “prating” about them…..to berate them….and by implication,….

….to refuse the Apostle John’s recommendation.

Instead,…substituting his own opinion as right…..which had to be obeyed.

(The criteria for receiving those who say they are Christians, was set down by our Lord Jesus, and the Apostle John:

John 13:20 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that recieveth whosoever I send receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.”

And how do you know that the Lord sent them? By the doctrine they preach….is it the Word of God?

2 John 9-10 “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed:”

How important it is, for us to know God’s Word!)

Love and fellowship, is a predominant topic with John….and this man, Diotrephes, has neither.

Diotrephes, instead, uses his influence,….for the love of being in charge….not for the love and good of the church.

He went even further, than speaking against them. He demanded that they would not be received!

Then, a step more……he demanded to have those people who would want to hear these preachers,….or give them a place to stay…….to be cast out of the church!

3 John 10 “Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbideth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.”

But the Apostle John spake out against such behavior of fellow believers.

3 John 11-12 “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

Demetrius (one of the men John had sent) hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.”

(There is personal conviction for each believer….

….so if Diotrephes could not hear them….or open his house to them…..fine.

But others could….and would have,….

….except, that he threatened them…..

…..but where did he get such authority? Not from God….but from those in the church….who let him take over their own responsibility.

Paul warned the church at Ephesus, about the same thing:

Acts 20:28-31 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Also of your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Therefore watch,…”)

But Gaius is of another spirit….he recognizes another Christian, by their conversation and reactions……especially some sent by the beloved Apostle

John…..no matter what background they are from….

….and he welcomes them into his home….giving them food and lodging….having fellowship with them…..taking them to the church…

….and when they are refused there….he keeps them till they are ready to depart to the next place…and sends them away with food.

3 John 3, 5-6 “For I rejoice greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Which hath borne witness of thy charity before the church whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:”

As Christians, we are to love one another….looking for the Word of God to be worked out in ourselves, and others through the Holy Spirit…

…..to grow in grace and the knowledge of God…. for God’s glory…..and for the strengthening and encouraging of the local church.

1 John 2:5-6 “But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily, is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.

He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He (Christ Jesus) walked.”

Each Christian’s responsibility before the Lord……is to know the Word of God, listen to the Holy Spirit, and to love each other in the Lord.