Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Conformed

Romans 8:29-30 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.

Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.”

The foreknowledge of God has to do with people….It is God’s foreknowledge of us…

…who we were, who we are, and who He will make us…under His molding.

Predestination has to do with our purpose as His children….and our purpose is to be conformed to Christ. He has predestinated us to be conformed to the Image of His Son.

For it is only as we are thus conformed to HIs character, and disposition that we fulfill our purpose, as His….no matter our calling or work. (Whether large or small, or in front of people or as a prayer warrior….our purpose is to manifest Christ…His character…by being conformed to Him.)

Our obedience is a necessary component to this….for to be conformed to Christ, we must love Him and HIs Will, as He loved His Father, and did all HIs Will. (only rebels refuse obedience to their Lord)

John 14:21 “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

He did foreknow…..He did predestinate….both of these are with His power and grace….

….that the family of God, with all the features and characteristics of our elder Brother, Jesus Christ….might be seen.

Those He did predestinate….He called.

Our calling…is to follow Christ….whether we are to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-22)…or mend the church….or whatever….it is for His determination or pleasure. (Revelation 4:11).

And those He called He justified…or to render innocent, or righteous.

We are justified by Christ when we are born again. And we are made just, or righteous in our life by sanctification of the Spirit.

And those He justified, them He also glorifies….or honors here by the constant peace and joy of the Holy Spirit…..and in heaven, forever to be with Him…what glory that will be!

Paul begins this eighth chapter with the cry of praise for Christ’s abundant life for us:

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”.

Here is where the Spirit comes into prominence in Romans….it is Christ’s victory, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to us….that gives us victory in our everyday lives.

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

Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

On those high and glorious notes….Paul shows that through Christ’s victory and the with the Holy Spirit, we were called to a purpose….

….the purpose being….”to be conformed to the image of His Son”.

The Name: His Son is used, because Paul is stressing His holy life here in this world of sin,… and His fulfilling the Will of the Father…..all of which we are to be conformed to.

And here and now, is where we are conformed to Christ.

the substitution taught in the New Testament is two-fold,….

….”He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)….

“That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

“Be made”….we are made the righteousness of God by being born again….for then a new nature….Christ’s nature is imputed to us.

But the “making” does not stop there….for we are conformed to His character and disposition….by HIs life being imparted to us…by the Holy Spirit’s working….

…and so little by little, we are made the righteousness of God in Him.

Ephesians 2:8-10 “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.

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

Paul is not telling the Ephesians how to be born again….they were.

He is telling them how they were born again….and for what purpose.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works….

The Lord does all things well….and He is at work within us causing us to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Is He working His will in you? Are we walking in His good works for us?

He has ordained….

….. (Ordained: by virtue of His authority, He has made full provision for us for these good works)

He has ordained that if you are saved…..you are predestinated to be conformed to His Son….

…are we yielding to the Holy Spirit….and being so conformed in character and disposition?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

An Ambassador, here, is one who represents their king on foreign soil…..who has authority to speak for king and country.

And as Christians, we are in a world that loves not God, or HIs Christ. We have been placed, as Ambassadors of Christ, here.

My husband used to have a message: Servants, Soldiers, and Ambassadors.

We are called to be servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, first. Serving Him in obedience, learning to yield to HIs Holy Spirit, and do His Will.

Then we are called as soldiers….standing in our armor….for if we are obedient….our Adversary the devil, will certainly throw fiery darts against our faith….and stir up the world’s anger against us.

Then, having learned to serve….and to stand against the wiles of the devil….

….we are called as Ambassadors….to speak with authority for our King.

“…as though God did beseech you by us…”

And what are we called to speak? reconciliation….which is adjustment, restoration to the divine favor.

We are to bring the message of peace with God, by Christ Jesus, to others.

Romans 10:14-15 “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

We speak for our King….and tell all who will hear….that He will give peace to those who believe and receive Him.

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

By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

First, there is given peace with God,….through our Lord Jesus Christ. As we are born again, we are “in Christ”….and we have peace and access to God through Him. (Hebrews 4:16)

Then we are given peace in Christ….while in this world.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

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

Peace here is “joined together”. As we are in Christ, we are joined to His peace….His stability and strength in this world.

Peter and John, being threatened by the counsel….prayed for boldness and received peace….by more of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 4:29-31)

Paul and Silas, while beaten and in prison….had the Lord’s peace.

As soon as their prayers began…..their praises did too. (Acts 16:25)

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Anything in between you and the Lord needs to be reconciled. Whether it is sin,….love or hatred of yourself,…..the world’s allure,….or the Adversary, the devil’s whispers of doubt…or unbelief…(that is how he tricked our first parents….”doubt God’s Word”.)

Join with Christ….in whatever hinders you….and have His peace and strength.

“…As though God did beseech you by us….we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Have you Heard the Lord call you?

Song of Solomon 5:2 ” I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.”

This is a story of a believer, who has gone to sleep. But she hears the voice of her Lord, in her heart, and she awakes.

So far, so good.

Then with her understanding, she hears Him call to her to open to Him.

This opening up of her life, is different than the Salvation she has already experienced. For He calls her, His sister; being joint-heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”

She has had fellowship with the Lord; and has gone on in that fellowship to be called His dove.

Now a dove can see only one thing at a time, and this has been her experience in Christ; keeping her eyes on Him.

Song of Solomon 1:15 “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves eyes.”

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.”

He calls her His undefiled. This shows, that in that love relationship, she has gone on with Him;…..so she is being saved from the defilements of the world, and self.

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

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.”

But this calling, here, is a deeper calling, for Jesus calls her, as the One who sweat great drops of blood as in the garden (Luke 22:44).

But there seems to be a hinderance to His call,….

Song of Solomon 5:3 “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?”

It would seem that having experienced so much of Her Lord, she has become a little proud. (Remember, one of the things the Lord deals with His own about is the “pride of life”)

“I have put off my coat”…….simply means she had begun to put off the old man with it’s deeds.

Colossians 3:9 “Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

Was she now to be defiled by working in the world?

“I have washed my feet”……..All her sins were confessed, up to date. And she had been cleansed from them. If she ventures out into the world to work for Jesus, won’t she again be contaminated by it?

These might have been very good questions,…..if…..Jesus were not the One calling her to go out with Him,…..to the work of bringing souls to Christ.

Song of Solomon 5:4-5 “My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.”

The ancient doors used to have holes in them by the handle, so that when someone dear would come, they would put perfume (myrrh) on the inside of the door handle, to show they had been there.

Though she had hesitated to go further with the Lord,…..for what she thought were good reasons;……still she loves Him and is moved to go and open her hearts door again to His Call.

When she does, her hands drip with the perfume of myrrh.

(Myrrh was used to anoint the bodies of the dead, before burial, and was one of the treasures brought to Jesus at His birth by the wise men.)

So Jesus Christ is calling this loved one to go with Him into the experience of intercession, and travail for those He wants saved…..

and to work for those who are babes in Christ,….to help them grow up in Him.

Often, this is a hard work, for it recognizes our imperfections, as well as those of others.

Also, it is a long work; it is not done in a day, or even a week; but till Christ be formed in them.

Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

But she had opened,……..but she found Him gone.

Christ never retracts a calling; but He often withdraws the feeling of His presence, to prove us.

Will we become angry?

Or will be seek Him?

Song of Solomon 5:6 “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer:”

She seeks Him. She sought Christ Jesus in the usual means….of prayer and church services…..hoping to find Him there.

She calls to Him to speak to her again, but it seemed as if He was refusing to call again.

She had come so far with Him, and now she had failed Him, the dearest Friend she had ever had.

She wanted to go back to the way things were….but the call had come, and she was either going to seek till she did find,……or yield to the pride she had shown earlier.

What follows is a conversation between her, and those who would seek Him also.

“What is thy beloved more that another beloved?” They ask. (Song of Solomon 5:9-16)

Then she describes His Greatness, His strength in times of her weakness,…….and that He is the altogether lovely One to her.

Song of Solomon 5:16 “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

When she describes Him, she realizes that He has never left her, but proved her love to Him.

Did she love Him?…….Or His gifts?

She loved Him, and found Him.

They were united in the work as well as in life.

Theirs was a love relationship; And true love follows to the end, for the Loved One.

Have you heard the Lord call you? Perhaps you have hesitated, too. Listen to the love in your heart for Jesus, and answer His call.

Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”

His, has been, and is an everlasting love, for us.

Will we answer His call?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Not willing that any should Perish, But that All should come to Repentance

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; But is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Jesus’s promise is:

John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth Me, shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Christ Jesus came to save all who would come to Him.

Salvation is four fold:

First, from the love of sin. (Conviction)

Second, from the guilt of sin. (By being Born Again)

Third, from the power of sin. (Called Sanctification, or the Natural man becoming the Spiritual man)

Fourth, from the presence of sin. (In Heaven)

And we are saved by the Word of God, believing and receiving what Christ has said, in the Bible.

1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”.

Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

Now this was said to a very religious Pharisee.

He had come to Jesus (although at night, for he was concerned what others might think), to understand Jesus’s message; for he knew it was of God.

John 3:1-2 “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

And Jesus got right to the point: If you want to see the kingdom of God, you must be born again.

Nicodemus asked what that meant,….exactly.

So Jesus begins to teach this very religious Pharisee, exactly what God requires from the man who would have everlasting life.

John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily,(or Truth, truth), I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”

In other words, Nicodemus, you must be born of the Holy Spirit from above to enter into the kingdom of God.

It is not natural birth, even for a Jew (though they had the oracles of God, they refused to honor and obey God).

It is the “birth” of the Holy Spirit within you,….in your heart and life,….that makes you a subject of God’s Kingdom.

This new birth gives you a new nature (desires, and attitudes),…..for it is Christ’s life in you.

And, Nicodemus, like the wind which blows;…..it is shown by it’s effects within you…….you can not see the wind: but you can see the leaves and things blowing around.

“So is everyone that is born of the Spirit”: they will show it, by changing into His character, and doing His Will.

John 3:9 “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?”

Under the Law, it was your own power which was at work. And Nicodemus wondered how could he do such things!

But here, Jesus was saying that God would by His Spirit, work within each man, who came to Him to be born again.

This was something wonderful. So much so, that at first Nicodemus did not understand it.

(It had been spoken of in the Old Testament:

Ezekiel 11:19-20 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh:

That they may walk in My statues, and keep My ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”)

So Jesus again explains exactly what would happen, and how this life could be; but first He corrects Nicodemus:

John 3:10 “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?”

Jesus was saying, “Are you a ruler of religion, a Pharisee, which ought to know the Scriptures; and yet do not know these things I am speaking about? This life was foretold in the Scriptures, do you not know them?”

Jesus was doing this to awaken Nicodemus to what God had promised in the Word of God….to remember that the Messiah….Jesus, was promised as the Way to this life….that all that God had said, was coming to pass.

John 3:14-18 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

And whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

(Condemnation from God is a horrible thing: To hear “Depart from Me” will sink a man to Hell.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19)

Jesus is saying here, quite plainly, that He was going to be “lifted up” (on the cross),…….and that all who looked to Him and believed on Him as the Son of God, would be saved.

(Moses “lifted up” or put on a pole, a serpent. He placed it high above the camp of Israel, when they were in the wilderness.

He did this by command of the Lord, because the people had spake against God, Moses, and the manna God had given them.

He , therefore, sent fiery serpents among the people; which when they were bit, died.

Repenting, the people came to Moses to pray for them; and the Lord told Moses to place a serpent of brass on a pole.

Anyone who was bitten by a serpent, and would looked up to the Brazen serpent, believing in God’s promise, would live. Numbers 21:5-9)

John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:”

We are to receive Him into our heart and lives.

And How do we receive Him?

Romans 10:8-13 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

For whosoever that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We receive Him, by coming to Him in belief, and calling on Him with our mouths to save us from our sins.

“God, be merciful unto me, a sinner; and save me for Jesus sake. Amen.”

The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Have you received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lame man at the gate Beautiful

Acts 3:1-3 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms.”

This is days after the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost,….

Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray (remember the church met in the porches of the temple as well as in their houses, for prayer and preaching in the early days)

As they are about to go in, a lame man asks alms.

Now this man, though an Israelite…one under the covenant……had never entered the temple….for from the day he was born, he was lame.

So he begged from those who could.

He was just outside…always just outside….but never having gone in, to come near to God,….or worship

Acts 3:4-7 “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”

This miracle is done in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…

(Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”)

Then Peter took him by the right hand, and lifted him up….

….notice the confidence of Peter in the name of Jesus.

He does not wait for the man to obey….but reached down and grabbed him….lifting him.

When he is lifted—then his ankles and feet receive strength…..

…….it is when strength was required by standing, that strength was given to stand.

(How much the same way we should be:

We should lift each other up in prayer in Jesus Name.

We should lift up each other in words of encouragement, edification, and exhortation.

How many people’s “walk” would become stronger….being helped from a crippling sin, habit, or resentment….by our faith in Jesus Name, and lifting them up in our prayers.)

And then joy…..and abundant strength is given:

Acts 3:8 “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

This lame man,….lame from birth…..entered…for the first time into the temple to praise God.

Acts 3:11 “ And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s , greatly wondering.”

This man was so joyful….so grateful….so praiseful….

….he held Peter and John…..and would not let them go!

This was quite the sight! Joyful praise from a man, who all knew to be lame….yet he was leaping now….and walking.

Peter takes this opportunity to preach to those gathered:

First, he tells them that it was not their own power or holiness that caused this man to walk…..

Then he tells them that God…..the God of their fathers has glorified His Son Jesus….

….who they crucified….

Acts 3:14-16 “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just,….and killed the Prince of life whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong,….”

This miracle is done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is the name of the Lord when he was here, going about Israel, preaching and doing good.

This is important…..for this is the name they knew Him by…..this is the name used when they cried for Him to be crucified….

And now in this Name,…..this miracle was performed…..proving that He is not dead…..but risen, as promised…..and that He is approved of God.

Acts 3:18-19 “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,…”

There is such a scene that the temple guards are called….by the Sadducees.

(The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. They believed in being religious so God would bless them…in the now. )

They arrested Peter, John, and the lame man! (Perhaps thinking a night in “the hold” would dampen their testimony….and cool their devotion.)

Yet many which heard Peter’s message….seeing the proof of Jesus Name….believed.

The next morning, the council brought them out, before them…..

….and asked a question,…

Acts 4:7 “….By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”

(We say that God is in control…..and look at this question! Amazing! They asked them exactly what Peter needed to show the authority and power of Jesus’ Name….now…before this council!)

Acts 4:8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them,….”

(Jesus said, “And when they bring you unto….magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

So Peter, given power by the Holy Ghost, spoke boldly)

“…….Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

Be it known unto you all,….that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whole ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

What an amazing scriptural message….laying out in no uncertain terms….Jesus Christ was the Messiah…

…..they crucified Him,…even though they were given the ministry of “building” God’s nation by God’s law….

…..yet that Name is still calling all who will believe….even them….for there is no other name under heaven whereby they…..”they” could be saved.

Acts 4:13-14 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.”

(When the Holy Spirit speaks through us….there is power, and authority in the words we speak.

He brings back scripture to mind, and can plant that seed in those that hear.)

Because the council could not say anything against the miracle….the man standing right there….

…..they threatened Peter and John…..and commanded them not to speak in Jesus name anymore.

But Peter and John are fixed in their determination to serve the Lord….

Acts 4:19-20 “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

….and they speak to the conscience of the council right then, if they will hear it—it is right to serve God more than man.

“God is doing this, listen carefully….for we will not stop speaking about what we have seen….though you threaten us…

…we will speak about….

….Jesus crucified…..and raised up….speaking to us, before He went back up to heaven….and the giving of the Holy Spirit…”

The council threatens them again….but lets them go.

And they (I believe all three, including the lame man) immediately go to the gathered church….where they told of all that had happened:

This is a warning of maybe future persecution….and the means of going through it….by the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.

And it showed the love the church had for each other….for they “lifted up their voice with one accord,…” (Acts 4:24)

Their prayer was praise: “…Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth…”

And their prayer was claiming the prophesy of the rulers of the earth standing up against Jesus Christ (Psalm 2 which includes in the last days of the Tribulation Period)…and that it was and will be…..all according to God’s plan.

“And now, Lord,….”

Acts 4:29-30 “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word,

And stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus.”

Boldness is what they wanted….(not necessarily protection from their enemies….but boldness to honor Jesus. What love!)…

….and God’s healing….for the nation of Israel, if according to His Will….and to the individual, in salvation…

…and that in Jesus’ Name….signs and wonders would be done….to magnify His name.

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together ; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.”

The place was shaken….a sign of His Might for them:

Haggai 2:6-7 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.”

God had “shaken” the earth at the coming of Christ….everything changed….for God’s people, Israel, were given the opportunity to receive their King….

….and now again, at the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the power manifested through Christ’s Name….

…..He is going to shake things up….for all the earth…

….for all people can receive His kingdom within in them….”in earth” (Matthew 6:10)….by faith in Christ Jesus.

And He will shake it again,….at the second coming of Christ to the earth to establish His Kingdom….on earth.

The lame man, is lame no more….and more, has faith Jesus…..and is filled with the Spirit with the rest of the church gathered.

He is healed….spiritually and physically…..and praising God…..

….and led into a life of power and prayer.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

There was a time when we read this before each service in our church. A time to bow our heads and consider that we were gathered together to worship God.

It is a good practice to do the same thing, sometime during the day….to bow the head,….and consider the Almighty God.

We often think of His attributes: His mercy, grace, His unchanging love, His power….

….but to contemplate God, in His majesty…in the fullness of His splendor….Who created and upholds the universe, and all that is in it…is helpful.

Psalm 104:1-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:

Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: Who maketh the clouds His chariot: Who walketh upon the wings of the wind:”

For me, it keeps me small.

I can get stuck into the middle of many things….and get to think that all I need to do is keep moving.

But God says: be quiet….stop…let the silence of your awe and reverence for Me, still your soul.

And it works.

Psalm 46:10-11 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of Hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

I love these verses….they remind me of when Israel was standing at the Red Sea…with the most powerful army of the day behind them, with vengeance;….

….yet God says, “Stand still, and see…”

So when I have these verses….I think that God knows what is around me….I must stop….watch, and wait on Him to speak….

….to speak about what I need to deal with.

….to speak about a battle ahead (John 16:13)

….to speak about Himself.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalms 93:1-2 “The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting.”

Our God is the Almighty God….full of power, mercy, goodness, strength, wisdom, knowledge,…

Psalms 91:1-2 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

I believe that “secret place” is the quiet times before Him, when we know He is God Almighty, for us.

Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

One day the whole earth will do so….the whole of mankind will have their mouths stopped,….from excuses, curses, and lies….(Romans 3:19, Matthew 12:36-37)

….but for us Christians, who belong to Him, we can stop and be still, now…..and know His majesty and power…..

….and find our rightful place before Him: at His feet.

Which gives order and perspective to everything else ahead.

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 my husband for our work, years ago.

He told him:

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 us 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

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

Blessed.

Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple.”

Blessed means twice happy!

God sees us blessed; How do we see ourselves, in His work?

When He chooses us, He causes us to draw near to Him. Would we resist that drawing?

When I was first brought back into the right way, after wandering away from God; I was in awe, that He loved me enough to welcome me back.

My thought was to grow closer to Him. Nearer, Nearer, I prayed. That is what I want.

The song of Nearer My God to Thee, seemed to play in my head, often.

“Even though it be a cross that raises me…”.

The “pig pen” of the world I had experienced; I wanted the “home” of closeness with God.

Blessed I was, and am, for God’s mercy to me.

This Psalm typifies God’s great arms.

Drawing us, even when we run away.

Calling us, even when we have refused before.

“We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house,”

For Christians, the closer we get to the Lord, the more satisfied we are.

The further away from God, the more opportunity for things to come in between us.

These cause barriers.

The barriers we place, between the Lord and ourselves, cause discontent.

And discontent is to be dissatisfied.

And when we are dissatisfied, we start looking for other things.

There are many temptations in the world, the best place to be safe, is in the “holy temple” of fellowship and nearness to the Lord.

Blessed is the one who is close to the Lord.

Blessed, also, is the one who is given opportunity to get near to the Lord, again.

Most blessed is the one who never looks for any other satisfaction again,…than in Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Family Prayer

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye:…”

Here Jesus is speaking in the Sermon on the Mount.

He had just corrected their view of prayer:

Do not stand on the street corner to be seen of men….

…do not repeat and repeat something over and over, as though God was hard of hearing.

Both of these were not what the Heavenly Father wanted.

Prayer is a combination of worship, honor, and praise for God,….

….and a bringing of ourselves before Him for our needs (whether it is confession, requests, or intercession for others.)

Then he begins to teach them the right way to pray:

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye:…”

Luke 11:2 “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,…”

Jesus said that we should pray this prayer.

It is also a model of the prayers we should come to God about. It has all the elements, briefly stated, that we need to pray.

Prayer is talking to God about His will; to know it, and to get the ability (the grace), and means to do it.

It is telling God our needs, confessing our sins, and asking for help against the many pitfalls and enemies in this world.

“Our Father which art in heaven,”

The first thing Jesus teaches, is that we need to come to God on the basis of relationship.

Our relationship to His Son. We are to believe and receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and then His Father is our Father. (John 20:17)

And we can come to Him as “our Father which art in heaven”; He is in Heaven, far above every situation,…..and in charge of them.

“Hallowed be thy Name.” This is to acknowledge His Holiness and give reverence to Him.

His Name signifies all He is, and does; so we are to reverence and to honor it, because it represents Him.

“Thy kingdom come.” This is to pray for His kingdom to come within our hearts, now. That we would be obedient subjects of our King Jesus; and manifest how wonderful He is.

And we should pray for His kingdom to come to this world, which will come at His second coming.

(The world will know no peace, until Christ rules.)

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” We are to pray for His will to be done in our lives,….”in earth”;…..that we would know it, and fulfill it.

In heaven it is done joyfully, and speedily.

So are we to pray for it to be done with in us, the same way; and seek to do it in the same manner: with joy.

“Give us this day our daily bread”. We are to ask for our daily needs to be met.

This is not the luxuries; but the needs we have each day.

This teaches us that today we may have plenty; and tomorrow we may be in want. Or the opposite.

Our asking each day, brings us before His throne, with today’s needs.

It gives us the opportunity to realize what He did for us yesterday; and in faith, believe Him for today.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. We are asking that the trespasses we have committed against His Will, would be forgiven us.

They are debts against His Holiness, and goodness. We are to seek forgiveness for them.(1John 1:9)

We are to also forgive others, as He forgives us.

“And lead us not into temptation”. This is asking for the Holy Spirit’s protection against the things which tempt us everyday;……and especially those which we are prone to.

We are asking Him to keep us out of harms way;……and away from those things or people which lead us into harms way.

(Of course, having prayed it, we need to heed the warning given by the Holy Spirit in each situation).

“But deliver us from evil”. Some believe it means the evil one, the devil. We have three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

So we ask for deliverance.

When we have been tricked, and sinned;…..we ask that He will let us not fall any further…..but deliver us from the sin, and the wiles of the devil concerning it.

And it means, to save us from the evil of deceit, the world’s entanglements, and anger.

“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”

Christ received His kingdom….and is set down at the right hand of the Father:

…the power and the glory He had with the Father before He left heaven and came to earth to save us (Matthew 28:18)…

…..and further glory, for fulfilling the Father’s Will in everything.

In this we are to acknowledge His authority and power;…..join with Him in the work of manifesting it,….and praise Him for it.

Matthew 28:18-20″ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

“Amen”, or “Let it be”. This is to ask, that all the things we have prayed for, will be brought to pass.

Amen for each one of us.