Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God has shown us Who He is….and how He feels toward us….

Jeremiah 10:10, 12 “But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King: at His wrath the earth will tremble, and the mountains shall not be able to abide His indignation.

He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.”

Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord hath appeared of old to me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

……let us grow bold in our trust of Him…..and get honest and show Him all we are, and all we need.

Are we showing how we feel about Him?

Luke 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

Here is the good and honest heart….

…and it is the only one in the parable of the sower, that produces fruit….the other’s are given the Word…..but do not bear fruit….for they let “things” (cares, worry, and pleasures of this life) interfere with the Word’s influence.

But the honest heart….bears fruit. True it is not the same for everyone…..but it is fruit to God….from us.

If we will honestly face ourselves for what we are…..then grace will be applied to us:

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

It is not a matter of meriting His help….or earning forgiveness….

…but it is a matter of the heart before God.

Have you come and talked to God lately…..honestly laying out before Him yourself…..your attitudes,….your thoughts—good or bad,……your angry words,…..or gossip…or idols?

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

When it speaks of the heart in scripture….it speaks of our souls.

The issues of Life?

The “issues” are those things which come out of your heart….into your speech and actions.

Jesus said about the things that come from a natural heart:

Matthew 15:18-19”But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies:

The “issues of life” deal with those things that have been placed within us by the Lord; those things that we are to maintain and show to others……

….to have and manifest Christ.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

These are the things which counts for time….and eternity….

And they are of the heart….which we are to “keep”…..hang on to….as valuable.

Many know that Jesus loves them….but are we “rooted and grounded” in this knowledge?…..so that it keeps us in the trials of life….in the dark days of trouble and in the bright days of prosperity?

Jeremiah 9:24 “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

If we are to bring forth fruit to Christ….we need to “abide in Him”…..and from that intimate, personal relationship…..we are to grow in knowledge of what His love means to us…..what it does for us….

……and get honest with Him about everything which comes to us….and how we feel about it.

Above all that we guard….we are to guard our hearts….and keep them for Christ Jesus.

They are His dwelling place…for He will abide with them for ever.

They are His clay….for He will mold them to feel mercy for others, to feel love for others, and to be courageous in the face of our everyday days.

They are His throne on earth….for it is through us that He is shown as King.

He has shown us His love for us, by His Son…..will we get honest with Him and manifest Him to others?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Woman at the Well

John 4:3-4, 6-7 “He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. For he must needs go through Samaria.
Now Jacobs’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.”

Why is the woman at the well important?

  1. the Salvation of every person is important.
  2. She became a light which brought her city to Christ, though she was an adulteress.
  3. Because Jesus lets us know that it is not in a place, or because you are a particular people….but He tells that anyone must worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Jesus is passing through Samaria, and was tired, hungry and thirsty. His disciples went into the city to buy some food. And Jesus sat on the well, waiting.
She had come to the well when no one was around, because of what she was; and yet wanted the truth of God’s Word…..even though she was, what she was.

(I am stressing this, because we all begin our journey with the Lord the same way: We are sinners. Maybe we have never done what she did, but sin places us on the same plain….on the way to death.)

“Why do you a Jew ask a drink of me, a Samaritan?” (John 4:9)

It seemed a good question, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans,….thinking them defiled.
(The Samaritans were the descendants of the inter marriages of Hebrew and the other nations. Ezra 9:1-2,12)

But Jesus came to save all those who would believe and receive His life.

So, instead of pressing His right to a drink again;…….Jesus speaks to her about “living water”.

John 4:10, 13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knowest the gift of God, and Who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Her reply was very practical: “Give me that water so I won’t have to come and draw from this well.”

So Jesus brings her a step further toward real life, by dealing with her real problem: “Go get your husband.”

Would she tell the truth?
She replied, “I have no husband”.

John 4:17-18 “….Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said I have no husband:
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”

What would she do now? Run away? Spit on Him? Throw water on Him?

But instead she considered the truth, instead of her feelings,….and spoke to this man of something which was on her heart: worship,….for she knew He was a prophet.
She wanted to know, what was right, in God sight.

This is amazing…..she was being shown for what she was….yet…she is drawn out of herself….because she sees He is a prophet (she still does not see Who He is as Lord and Savior)….but she is being drawn toward more of the truth…

Let me say, that Jesus does this within us….He draws us out of ourselves….our circumstances….toward Him.

“Were they right to worship in this mountain, as their fathers did? Or were the Jews right in saying Jerusalem was the only place to worship God?”

Odd conversation for a woman who had been looking for satisfaction in sexual and romantic emotions.

John 4:21-22 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship;…
…But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:….
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Right here, could have been a problem; if she did not really want the truth.
(Maybe this was what she had been searching for in those five husbands she’d had.
But to want the truth,….generally, and to face the truth for yourself, is two different things.)

Yet, here again, she does not back away from getting the truth,……of getting that living water;……even when it came to what He would say about herself.

John 4:25-26 “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will teach us all things.
Jesus saith unto her, I that speaketh unto thee am He.”

Jesus had revealed Himself to very few people; but to this woman who wanted the truth, He did.

This shows us the great value the Lord Jesus puts on truth,….and those that seek it.

(John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
When truth is faced, grace is always given….no matter what our background)

This woman was afraid of people….and how they treated her.
Because of that she had come to the well at this time…..and met Jesus.

But hearing the Truth, and from the Messiah……sent her into that same town, to tell all that she would meet, about Christ Jesus.

John 4:29 “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”

By her witness, many came to believe on Jesus, too:
John 4:39-42 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified , He told me all that ever I did.
So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that he would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.
And many more believed because of His own word.
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Notice, she is not afraid of the townspeople, now. They are not different….she is. She has met the Savior….and believed on Him. (John 1:12, Romans 10:8-13)

What of us? How much do we value the truth, especially for ourselves?

Have we hidden lives we do not want to admit to?
Or are we believing in a doctrine, and that is enough?

The truth is, that everyone who comes to Jesus can find the water of life……
……real satisfaction…..and know for themselves that He is Lord and Savior, for themselves….and show Him to others.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God’s Faithful Servant

Faithful means that we continue to do our duty…great or small…..no matter the circumstances.

Daniel was faithful to God,……even after being taken captive into another land.

Here in Babylon, he could have forgotten about God, and His law if he had thought it was troublesome;……but Daniel didn’t, he loved God, and wanted to honor Him where he had been taken.

Given an opportunity for real advancement, and maybe power; would he defile himself by the food that he was given?

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

The man in charge was afraid of the king, thinking that the food they wanted, would make them look weak before the king.

Then, he might loose his head.

Daniel 1:12 “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee ten days, and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.”

So the one over them agreed,……and it proved that being true to their God’s law, was more healthier than the richest food, and drink.

God gave Daniel and his friends, for their faithfulness, wisdom and skill to learn.

But Daniel, He gave understanding in visions and dreams. (It would come in handy)

Next, Daniel saves all the wise men in Babylon from Nebuchadnezzar wanting to destroy them,……for they could not tell the king the dream which he had.

They would gladly give an interpretation, but could not tell him what he had dreamed……..and the king had forgotten it.

But it had frightened him….so….

Tell me, he said, or die.

But Daniel went in before Nebuchadnezzar, and asked for time to get the answer for the king. (Remember the king is already frightened and furious!)

But the king agreed.

Daniel 2:17-19 “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Misheal, and Azariah his companions:

That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

In praise to God, alone, Daniel speaks to the king, and tells him what his dream was,…..and the interpretation.

But makes it known that it is God in heaven, alone, that can, and will reveal this dream.

Time after time, Daniel is faithful to God.

Before the drunken Belshazzar (Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson)…..Daniel spoke the judgement on his kingdom that the finger of God had wrote on the wall.

Whether, reward or death, Daniel did not know what would come to him for his speaking the truth,…….but he was faithful to God and His Word, honoring the Lord.

Daniel 5:17, 25-28 “Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king and make known to him the interpretation.

And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.

This is the interpretation of the thing; Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

Tekel; thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.

Peres; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

So Daniel gave God’s Word, and it was exactly as God said:

That night the city was taken…..and Belshazzar killed.

Yet he was also faithful to all the people he was called to work for……and this is shown under the Medes and Persians.

Under King Darius, Daniel was promoted above every one else. He saw that the finances of the king was correct. “And the king should have no damage.” (Daniel 6:2)

An honest man is hard to find, where wealth is concerned; but Daniel was.

Also shown, was the jealousy and hatred, his faithfulness occasioned.

For the ambitious princes got together and made a plan.

If they attacked Daniel, it would have to be because of his God.

So they flattered the king, and said that they thought it would be honoring to the king if a law was written that forbid anyone to ask anything of any deity or man,……but the king, for thirty days.

Darius was flattered! (How careful we need to be when people start flattering us. When our ego is inflated, it blinds us to what is in front of us.)

The law was made, but Daniel kept right on praying to God. (It was at this time the remnant in Israel was in great need, and Daniel prayed three times a day for that need.)

Caught by these princes, Daniel was accused before Darius.

Now Darius was in a bind.

He hated that he had been tricked, but he had to do what the law stated, even though he tried to free Daniel.

Daniel 6:16 “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.”

This more of a hope of the king, than belief; but it was true.

God, Who Daniel served continually,…..He would deliver him.

Daniel 6:19-22 “Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever.

My God has sent HIs angel, and shut the lions mouths, that they have not hurt me: for as much as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”

God sent an angel to close the mouths of the lions, and they did Daniel no harm.

Daniel faithfully wrote prophesy’s for God people,…..praying for the spiritual well-being of them all his life.

Daniel continued to serve the kings of Persia faithfully, until his death.

But behind it all was his faithful service to God.

He did not have to be in his home land to serve God. For God is the God of heaven and earth;…..and rules in every nation, kindred, and tongue.

As Christians, we are called to be faithful servants to God,……and for Christ’s sake,…..faithful in our everyday lives, to those we should minister to, wherever.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

New Ground…..onward!

Joshua 3:4 “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.”

Our days are often the same…..today is as yesterday. Yet Jesus calls us to keep our eyes on Him….and follow on.

“Take the world, but give me Jesus, all its joys are but a name;

But His love abideth ever, Thro’ eternal years the same.

Take the world, but give me Jesus, Sweetest comfort of my soul;

With my Savior watching o’er me, I can sing though billows roll.

Take the world but give me Jesus, Let me view His constant smile;

Then thro’-out my pilgrim journey. Light will cheer me all the while.

Take the world, but give me Jesus, In His cross my trust shall be;

Till, with clearer, brighter vision, Face to face my Lord I see.” (Fanny J. Crosby)

Plainly, I will ask you?

Is your level of joy and peace increasing?

Are you entering new ground….higher ground with Christ?

To have it in it’s fullness, we must become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit….and stop stifling Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Quench not the Spirit.”

To “quench”…is to put out, or stifle the fire which is burning.

In our yielding to Him, we will begin to experience that reality He has for us.

Acts 1:6. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The disciples, after the Lord’s resurrection, wondered if He was not going to bring in the kingdom.

It seemed a good time, His resurrection would surely convince all the doubters…..and He would manifest His power.

Being all gathered together….they thought that this was the next step…

(How like us, they were. We think we know what the Lord is going to do next! Surely this would be what He wants to do!)

But Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:7-9)

This was the last words of the Man, Christ Jesus. Times and seasons are in the Father’s hands, and they are not for us to know.

What?! Leave the witness of who He is….and what He did….in the hands of His disciples…of us?

We ran away….and hid, until You came to us and showed us Your resurrection…..how can we do what You are telling us to do?

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”

The power of the Holy Ghost was the answer…..

Power to go out to conquer the world?

No, not at all!

Power to conquer yourself, and bring yourself into subjection to God’s Will and Way for your life.

Jesus does it all…..through the Holy Spirit….with your willing with Him.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit….He had told them of. Now He was saying this was the way His crucifixion and resurrection was to be witnessed to. So that His Way of Salvation could be witnessed and told to others.

We are all called as witnesses. Witnesses to the power of God in our lives. We can speak….of what we know in our experience.

For we witness, more by what we are…..than what we say.

Jesus Christ is seen, as we lift Him up in our lives.

For the disciples it was…..”in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”

For us, it is…..”first in me,….my church (the fellowship of believers to strengthen and be strengthened)….my home….my job….and throughout the world to the degree of my influence (wherever I am).

No matter what we do, we will be better at it, through the power of the Holy Spirit,…

…..because the Spirit speaks of our enablement…..of grace, given and used….we are powerless on our own.

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

As we will with God, His Will will be done.

Is it not time, we all willed to do and be of His good pleasure?

Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Here, we come into our highest order….the most we can achieve personally…..

…..to live for the pleasure or determination of the Lord…..to become what we were created for.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Manasseh

Manasseh was one of the Bible’s worst persons: he was a king, born into luxury and position.
Loved of his father, Hezekiah, who was a Godly king.

As a matter of fact, years before, when Hezekiah was going to die; he prayed that he might live. That God would extend his life.
He had no son, and wanted to have an heir, before he died.

Manasseh was the result.

From the first, he departed from the ways of his father. And forsook the worship of God, for idols.
The pleasures of this life was all he was interested in;……that, and leading others into the same sin.

2 Kings 21:1-2 “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign,…
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.”
2 Kings 21:6 “And he made his sons pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.”

He destroyed those who spoke out against him, and became worse and worse in “having his own way”.
2 Chronicles 33:10. “And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.”

How often it is, that sin leads to more sin.
We can begin by getting angry, and the next minute, we can be thinking about getting even.
We can begin by speeding, and end up endangering others.
Sin is addictive; that is why we need our Savior, Jesus Christ, to save us from it. (Matthew 1:21)

The blood that Manasseh shed, and the idols he worshipped, brought the curse of God onto the nation of Judah.
(Tradition says that he killed Isaiah for preaching against him, and his sin)

2 Kings 21:16 “Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end unto another; besides his sin where with he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

2 Kings 21:11-12 “Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.”

Yet….

And this is amazing grace….Manasseh repented.

2 Chronicles 33:11-12 “Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,”

To “humble ourselves” in the Hebrew is to “bend the knee” or submit to God.

This is what Manasseh had never done. He had not submitted to anyone or anything.
No matter what image he had brought and set up; there was always something else to seek after.
For none of them satisfied Manasseh’s real desire.
He had used power to do what he wanted, when he wanted, as he wanted; no matter who got hurt in the process. (Remember he sacrificed his own children.)

God, the true God,…..was to be sought, heard, and obeyed;…..not refused and rebelled against. And there is usually a time limit to our rebellion: either repentance….or destruction.
God knows how to bring down a person’s pride.

And how to finally awaken the person to His claims,…….upon the life He gave us.
(For some, it comes in rebukes: to back-strike with words, to get them into the way of life.
For some, it comes in chastening: things happen that would not have happened had we heard His rebuke….sometimes to others we love…..sometimes to ourselves.
All so that we will not continue our mad dash toward death.
For Manasseh….nothing affected him,…….until he was afflicted.)

2 Chronicles 33:13 “And prayed unto Him (the Lord): and was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.
Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God.”

The prison brought him to the place he needed to be: alone….before God.

Repentance brought him to the place he needed to be: saved from his sins….

And brought him to his kingdom again. This time he was in subjection to God, bringing back the worship of God to Judah; whereby saving many of his people.

2 Chronicles 33:15-16 “And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.”

Peace offerings! Because he had found peace with God. (So can we. Romans 5:1-2)
Thank offerings! Because he had finally found true satisfaction in God.

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

Grace is the unmerited favor of power in our lives, by Jesus Christ our Lord.

He has power for us: everyday power to live for Him, and enjoy the peace and joy, He only can give.

And power to save and deliver us from the worst sins.

He can save to the uttermost those that call upon Him, and come to Him….He did Manasseh.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

What seest thou, Amos?

Amos 7:7-8 “Thus He showed me and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in His hand.

And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline, Then said the Lord, Behold, I set a plumbline in the midst of My people Israel: I will not again pass by them anymore.”

A plumbline is a line with a heavy pointed weight on the end of it. Held up for a wall in building……..it shows whether the wall is straight…or crooked.

No matter how high you build it….or with what you build….if the wall is not straight (though it may appear so), it is out of alignment, and hinders more building.

The Lord was standing, with a plumbline to measure Israel’s righteousness….and it was not coming out straight…

In previous visions Amos had seen judgement come upon Israel……and the Lord had listened to the pleas of His prophet for His people….for mercy….

….but now He did not permit Amos to intercede….judgement had to come for those who were “crooked”.

Israel was built on God Word……upon sacrifices which pictured Christ Jesus….upon a Law, that if followed, lead to blessings….

…but they “perverted” their way…or made them crooked.

Jeremiah 3:21 “A voice was heard upon high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.”

Israel was to have been a “wall”. A bulwark for God in the midst of the world’s idolatry.

Yet now, they were like a wall out of plumb,…unable to manifest His strength, and His honor against His enemies.

And here is the plumbline, with which God measured Israel:

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

(The Lord wanted His people to come and “agree” with Him, in the ways of their lives….all the parts of their life.

He wants the same with us…..

…Life is many agreements with Him….bringing us to the place in our experience that we are fully submitted to His Will….and the way He is going to bring His Will to pass….with me.

We might be a “church goer”, or someone who is busy with serving others,….but if that is hiding something in your life that you are refusing to give to the Lord Jesus Christ….then we are out of plumb….we are not coming to the agreements with Christ, that He wants.

“My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.” Proverbs 23:26 “Observe”, here, means to maintain and obey in the Hebrew)

One of these agreements He wanted with Israel, was….they were to be His people,…..accepting His honor….

…..and they were to honor Him….

…they were to worship Him in heart and life,…not just in words.

This would have made them a wall…straight and strong….honoring HIs Name, His Word, and praising Him…and He would have strengthened them, and given them victory against their enemies. (Psalm 8:1-2)

Yet, now, God holds the plumbline to measure their straightness (Matthew 7:13-14)

Those who conform to His Word, were saved….but those who were “out of plumb” with Him, would be judged.

He had sent Amos to warn them…..to tell them, He will not pass by this….

……will they come and agree with Him?

That was for Israel,….but what about us…..His people now….His church?

Christ Jesus said that in the last days:

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Why shall their love wax cold? Because of iniquities.

(An iniquity is anything unequal to our high calling in Christ Jesus.)

This is not open sin…..but something which might even seem Ok…..but which we, who belong to Him,…..should not do….

(I could suggest: certain movies, certain books, making fun of people, wanting “bad things” to happen to our enemies…….any thing which puts you out of place with the convictions of the Holy Spirit, as a Christian…

…and this can be done as an individual…or a group. This is personal….for our convictions are personal from Him.)

When we commit iniquity….the Holy Spirit will convict us….He will remind us that we belong to Christ….

….soon, if we will not listen…..our love of Christ is turned into…just a duty to Christ….

….our service becomes obligations…..which makes us “weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9)

Like a ship in the harbor against a pier….that is not moored properly.

The gentlest waves push it against that pier (the very place of safety) and can completely ruin it…..without it ever being in stormy seas.

The very obediences to Christ, which bring joy to our hearts, and purpose to our lives….can by “small” iniquities, become “burdens”…..which can wreak our joy and peace.

But when we line up everything in our life,….with the plumbline of “For His Sake”.

When what we do, or not do…..is just that…..”For His Sake”…..then our wall is straight….and strong.

Our service takes on a lightness,….when it is a matter of love for Him.

Have we lost our joyful yielding to His Voice?

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Psalm 36:7-9 “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.

For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.”

I want to stop here and say, “Hallelujah”! Our God is a wonderful God….full of mercy and truth to us….helping us….

….both by rebuking us…to stop us from following the wrong way….

….and by comforting and encouraging us by His protection and satisfaction.

To Trust is to hold on to….Him and His Word. (Under the shadow of Thy wings)

When God brought Israel out of Egypt….He said “I have brought you out on eagle’s wing…(Exodus 19:4)

Deuteronomy 32:11 “As an eagle stirs up her nest,

(it is time to get out…to fly yourself),…

….fluttereth over her young,

(showing them how to use their wings)….

….spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:”

(taking each eaglet on her wing and flying to show them how….keeping right there when they take off, to catch them on her wing)

The Lord brought them out and taught them how to come close to Him….gave them the place of worship, and set up peace offerings which were a grand supper: part sacrificed to God….part eaten before Him in the outer court!

He did all this to bring them close to Him.

The fat of the sacrifices, always suggested richness. Fat cattle were well fed and taken care of….and the fat of sacrifices was always choice…and placed on the altar. (Exodus 29:13, Lev. 1:8)…to God.

In many places God calls us to enter into His goodness, and joy….eat the fat: (Isaiah 25:6, Isaiah 55:2)

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat,and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

“Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures”. Satisfaction is in Christ alone.

John 7:37-38 “…..Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

(The belly, in scripture, is the soul….especially the will. Coming to Christ, willing with Him to do His Will….the Holy Spirit will flow out of us.)

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”

“For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.”

The Lord is a fountain of wisdom, and peace, and longsuffering.

Light is an emblem of all the blessings given by God, so that we may gain more.

These we may reflect and manifest to others:

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

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

To know the Lord a little, should create a hunger in us to know Him more.

“Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

When Jesus came, the last week of His life, He wept over Jerusalem….and said,…

Matthew 23:27 “….how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

And ye would not….

But now I ask you….will you? He often reaches out to us in lovingkindness….pulling us in under His wings of peace and love.

Sometimes we may be weeping in grief or fear….other times we may be tired and weary….

…but in all circumstances….in every place….God will be there…

….let us know His Arm of Care.

Paul said….and he shivered in jails, beaten and bound….and stood before kings and rulers….and preached before all men, the goodness and faithfulness of his God.

Philippians 4:11, 13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.”

And as David said,…..and as Paul said,….

…we too can say…

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Hallelujah, we are in Christ Jesus…..and by Him we receive all things we need.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Overcomers

As Christians we are called to many things:
We are called to love God above everyone and everything else.
We are called to witness of Him in our lives.
We are called to overcome.

To overcome is to get the Victory over. We are called to overcome ourselves, and the circumstances in which we have been placed; in order to do God’s Will for our lives.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This is a great promise for every Christian. In Christ Jesus, as born again ones, we might have peace, in this world, with all it’s turmoil and anger. We can overcome.

1 John 5:5 “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

And how do we overcome?

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

Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Because Christ overcame, we can too.

Revelation 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

In practical life, and that is where we all are, God’s Son, Jesus Christ really did overcome all things to see the Father’s will done;
His Word honored and obeyed in HIs life;
His glory manifested;
our Salvation complete.

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

So Christ’s life lived out through us can overcome in all situations….seeing God’s will done;
Honoring His Word…and obeying Him for His glory;
Enjoying our Salvation….again, through Christ.

Let us overcome, by our faith. The faith given and implanted within us by the Holy Spirit….to use today.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Doves’ Eyes.

Song of Solomon 4:1 “Behold, thou art fair, My love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks:..”

Matthew 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

A dove can only see one thing at a time. They focus on just that.

(For this reason, the Holy Spirit is likened to a dove. [Matthew 3:16]. He has the perfection of Spiritual insight…and keeps the Lord Jesus ever in our view.)

To see as a dove according to the Lord, is to see reality….your spiritual life, in it’s relation to Christ.

Everything’s value, is set in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ….that One we are to keep our eyes upon.

As we grow in grace, we gain the maturity and the ability to know the things that the Holy Spirit is showing us, in the situations of life….our life.

He gives us understanding….light, and the ability to know what to do in each situation.

If you will read Ephesians, the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Trinity, given to us to lead us into the goodness and greatness of God’s power in our lives:

Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Whom (Jesus) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”

We are sealed as God’s children, by the Holy Spirit on God’s side; and given the beginning of all our possessions in Christ, through Him, on our side.

Ephesians 2:22 “In Whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.”

We are fitted into our place, for our work, in the Church, by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 3:16 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;”

He is the One which shows Christ and all His glory to us.

He grounds us in Christ (Ephesians 3:17),

makes us to know the things which Christ has for us….His love, in all it’s aspects (Ephesians 3:18-19)….

and His power, as we yield to Him in our lives (Ephesians 3:20)…..According as we let that power work within us.

Then, the practical aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is shown, as far as others are concerned:

Ephesians 4:3, 30-32 “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

And we are encouraged to yield to the Holy Spirit more and more,……and get perception and understanding of the will of the Lord, for our personal life.

Ephesians 5:17-21 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

And of course, the Holy Spirit is found in our armor.

Ephesians 6:17-18 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereinto with perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God that comes to us in our battles, and uses it in power, when we say it….

….and, of course, it is He that teaches us to pray (Jude 20).

The Dove of God comes upon us when we are born again, and imparts to us His vision….a single vision of light, grace, power, and ability.

The vision of Christ…Who He is to us, and what He is doing for us.

The vision of the world around us in perception, and truth.

And He not only gives us vision, but His power, as we yield to Him….

As we deny our self-life (Matthew 16:24), we gain our Christ’s life (Matthew 16:25)….through Him.

John 13:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Reason Entire for our being

Matthew 21:17-19 “And He (Jesus) left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged there.

Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungered.

And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let not fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”

Here Jesus, walking into Jerusalem to teach and preach….was hungry. Looking for fruit,….He found none, where there should have been fruit.

Why should there have been fruit, when it was not the time of figs?

Because there were leaves…..and the leaves come on after the fruit is formed on the tree.

One old preacher used to say…..

….”I am afraid my church has a lot of leaves….all the outward show of Christianity…..but not much fruit.

Fruit is what we are to bare…not just leaves. We will have leaves….the outward is always there as a result of the inward fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)….

….but to have leaves, and no true fruit, is to put ourselves under the rebuke of the Lord….a withering away.”

Matthew 21:20 “And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!”

They were amazed….they had seen Jesus heal with a word or a touch….

…and had heard Him rebuke them and the Pharisees…

…but this was an immediate sign…the next morning…of disapproval and judgement.

And here is the lesson…

Here is the whole of the matter….man is responsible to use God’s foreordained means…..to bring about God’s foreordained ends.

This is clearly the message of the fruitless fig tree….we must bear fruit.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But why are we so saved….for one reason entire…

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Here is the reason we were brought into being…to bear fruit for the Lord. To give Him glory.

The fruit of the Spirit…and the fruit of a Christian, which is another Christian.

If the Lord would look at this Laodicean Vineyard….would He find fruit on our branch?

If not, what hinders it? What is in our lives that keeps us from bearing fruit to the Lord? What ever it is….small or a mountain….the Lord Jesus has already told us what to do.

Matthew 21:21-22 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

This mountain speaks of those things that personally hinder me,…you,…us, from accomplishing His Will, things that cause barrenness….and unfruitfulness.

These mountains must needs be removed.

And each one of us bear the responsibility of seeing them removed….they are personal mountains…and must be dealt with personally….

….before we can know the “good works” which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This is our reason for being….to bear fruit for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….

…let us remove….in faith….believing Him….these mountains of hinderance,…

…so when He comes seeking fruit…..He will find it.