Sunday, February 19, 2017
Psalm 119.140 Your Promises have been thoroughly tested and your servant loves them. God's Word: * The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40.8 * Forever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119.89 Your Word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. * So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55.11 * Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away. Mark 13.31 (The Words of Jesus) The surety of the Word of God. It is certain. It is eternal. It will never pass away. It is true. No matter what may be the test. They are thoroughly tested at times. This was the Psalmist's testimony. 1. He is Faithful To All His Promises. Psalm 145.13 Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” It took 40 years. This was not because of God but Israel. However these is even a longer waiting. These promises went all the way back to Abraham. He keeps His Word. II Peter 3.8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the LORD a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The LORD is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the LORD will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. We have an obsession with the "here and now" in America. We have Instant Messenger, Instant Coffee, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Instant Pudding, On Demand TV Shows... We are so programmed today to be instantly gratified. From instant credit to ATM machines to high-speed Internet and fast-food restaurants, we are wired to getting everything we need and want now. And if we don’t get it now, our blood pressure starts to rise! But God’s timelines are wiser and better than our little antsy, often shortsighted expectations. That is carried over our relationship to God and His promises.- Joseph Stowell I think of the waiting for the blooms of the flowers. They take their time! Stay the Course! Trust in the LORD! He will do what He says! We have the Rock Solid examples of His Word and History. The faithfulness of the LORD. is higher than the heavens reaching to the sky. Psalm 108.4 continues throughout all generations. Psalm 119.90 is recognized in nature. Psalm 8.3-4 2. His Promises Will Be Tested. Thoroughly= exceedingly much, force, might Things that come against it: *Critics *Mockers *Satan "Did God really say..." *Time *Competing schools of thought that may sound good. Discernment is needed more than ever before! Tested= smelt, refined Put through the fire With great force and might His Promises will be put through the fire and we with them if we believe Him! Think of Abraham an Isaac. The Promise given to Abraham. Waiting for that Promise to be fulfilled... then long after it is God calling upon Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The dreams of Joseph and the anointing of David were both tested severely after they were given to these young men. God spoke to Habakkuk, He told him, "Write the vision down upon the tablet... make it plain... though it tarries wait for it. It will certainly will come. It will not delay." Habakkuk 2.2-3 We are all tested when we depend upon God's Word. God's Word is put to the test all the time. "No matter what may the be the test, God will take care of you..." "The Bible stands every test we give it for it Author is divine." Psalm 12.6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. 3. Through This We Love The LORD and His Promises Of God Even More. "... Your servant loves them." Love= human love, deep friendship as with a friend or family As we walk with the LORD we develop this deep relationship with the Promises of God. Hymns have been written like Standing on The Promises. More than that we embrace His Promises. We make them our own. We quote them in times of trouble. His promises become more precious to us when we go through the fire! The Molly Kathleen Gold Mine in Cripple Creek Colorado. Psalm 66:10 For you, God, tested us; You refined us like silver. God's Word stands and when we stand upon it we stand too. The wise and the foolish man in Matthew 7. David prayed in Psalm 57.1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed. David knew God. He knew He could trust Him to do what He said. He struggled at times, many times with his feelings. He was an emotional wreck in some moments, some very difficult moments. He never lost his faith. When God's promises are thoroughly tested we can be shaken to our core. We may get depressed and even feel like it is all over. We may come to the end of ourselves. I know that is an uncomfortable place to be and we do not like it there but it is there where we meet with God in unusual ways, extraordinary ways. We are not committed to our own comfort, we are committed to God. So trust His Promises today in your life, no matter what may be the test! .
Sunday, February 12, 2017
The Benefits Of Affliction Psalm 119.67, 71, 75 Our view of affliction (bruised, humbled, bowed down, depressed) is vastly different than God's when we are in the beginning of this race to heaven. As we mature it becomes clearer that God is in it, has His Hand upon the whole process and is doing things within us through it. We see through a glass dimly or darkly... a poor reflection. We cannot see the larger work God is doing in us. We may get an idea from time to time, a glimpse. However the greater work God is doing is most of the time hidden from us. It is part of the "the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8.18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. We avoid too much about death. This whole anti aging industry is really built on a lie. You cannot stop the natural breakdown in the human body. You may be able to look a little better but inside you know. Now that is not to say that we should not try to stay in shape, to keep going but we do face reality eventually. So the influence of this on us is huge even if we do not participate. My 40th High School Reunion: "She doesn't look that way without paying a huge price and doing a lot of work all the time." Affliction, physical pain, emotional suffering, spiritual burdens are good for us. We often feel the pain without realizing the work God is doing. Most times we cannot even see it. Gideon had these feelings: Judges 6.11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Peel back the sky... 1. Affliction Causes Us To Obey God's Word. v.67 Not to stray... Stay on course keep= guard, keep watch over Affliction puts us into God's Word. It reminds us of mortality and how fleeing our lives are. Psalm 90.10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 89.47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? 48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah. God's Word is a matter of life and death, both now and forever. Affliction reinforces that. When we are weak and down we look up to God. We seek out His Word. 2. Affliction Teaches God's Decrees v.71 Diff from Word and Decree Word= Utterance, speech, God's Word, The Torah Decree= Something engraved or inscribed The basics for life are found in the Ten Commandments. Civil Societies are built upon them. When we are afflicted we see where we are in living by thee tablets of stone. We see where we have fallen short, usually in the first one. Affliction shows us if we have had the LORD God as our master pasion or someone or something else. God engraved these on stone to show their permanence. The will never pass away. He showed us in them the proper place for Him in our lives, the sanctity of His Name, Rest, Family, Marriage, Human Life and Personal Property Rights. Whenever a society wanes in these things it begins to slip on a slippery slope into its own demise. Affliction brings us back to the basics of life: Food, water, clothing, shelter. It brings us back to the spiritual priorities. People who are afflicted often cry out, "Oh God..." I have heard them cry out, "Jesus! Help me!" I have never heard them cry, "Oh Buddha!" or "Oh Allah". The School of Suffering is in session while we are here on earth. It is not a question of if it is question of when. If we are truly children of God we will suffer! This suffering can be severe at times, overwhelming even. Think of Who we are following. Jesus told us we would suffer. He told us that in this world we would have trouble. He told us we needed to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. When we are afflicted our hearts are more open to receive spiritual truth. God gets our attention through affliction. When the bottom falls out we seek for the true foundation. We built a new foundation in Haiti in the church. the first one crumbled because it was not reinforced properly. In places where there are earthquakes reinforced foundations are vital. Affliction checks how we are doing in obeying the Ten Commandments. It gives us a restored fear of God. 3. Affliction Shows Us The Faithfulness of God v.75 Joseph's dreams came true 13 years later. He thought he was done with his family. God had not forgot. What appeared to be cruel treatment by God and an abandonment of dreams He gave him was really God working in Joseph and the world for the fulfillment at the right time. I think that is why when God spoke to Habakkuk, He told him, "Write the vision down upon the tablet... make it plain... though it tarries wait for it. It will certainly will come. It will not delay." Habakkuk 2.2-3 God confounds the wise. Through It All "If I never had a problem, I wouldn't know He could solve them I wouldn't know what faith in God could do." Think back on the most difficult times in your life. How did you get through it? What were some epic moments you remember?... A Word from God, prayers prayed over you. It was good for me to be afflicted... seeing God's Hand in your pain is a great gift. Facebook Grief Group... To Haiti With Love ------------------------------------------ Habakkuk 1.5 Ecuador, Haiti, Peru - all nations which I have hosted missionaries from over 37 years now of being a Pastor. Your pastor is from Ecuador. Ken Blish was a missionary in South America. I remember him before he left in 1981. He spoke in my church before he went. Then years later after we began 2 Spanish churches I told Dr. Mucci he needs someone to help him with all the Spanish Churches. I recommended Ken Blish. Yelssy Manza is from Peru. I have been to Haiti 5 times now in 30 months... going again in September, LORD willing. Pray about meeting a week from Saturday. Your pastor will be coming to my house. Yelssy met with Pastor Art this week to discuss the District being involved. This is what she said, "I had a meeting with our DS Pastor Art and I did share with him the desire to do 3 missions trip to Haiti this September. (I spoke before about this with Pastor Larry). The last Mission trip will be Medical, because we want to have a complete place finish (Church) to use it as a hotel and clinic during the last trip. Pastor Art gave us his blessing so we can walk now with these projects. 6 months ago... Yelssy wanted Pastor Art to go on a mission trip. "I told him he has to go!" I told her that he would never go if she pushed him. I have known him for 35 years, since she was 5 years old in Peru. I told her leave him to me. Don't say another word. I invited him to Haiti. He told me he would go before he retires in 2018, a year from now. He went last month. He had a great time. (Picture of Pastor Art and I and Errol in the pick up truck)... ride down. To God Be The Glory Great Things He has Done! (Picture of the church before and after) Miracles in Haiti Words for Trips: September 2014 "The good Hand of my God was upon me." September 2015 "Didn't I tel you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? John 11.40 March 2016 II Chronicles 20:15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.'" January 2017 He already had in mind what He was going to do. John 6.6 *This church being built without any debt, built by faith and prayer and cash. *The politicians... our greatest need here in the mountains- an orphanage! *The church has more than doubled in size- both Sundays ran out of seats- we had 5 more benches made. *We fed the workers, children, ourselves. *Pray about going this September. Pray for the meeting a week from Saturday. Pray for the trips and the doctors in September *Immigration Meeting with Immigration Attorney to help with Green Cards next month!
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Joshua 1.1-9 Devotional for Advent, Advent Retreat on the plane going down to Haiti. "This is the full unveiling (epiphany) of a mystery: The LORD has come among us to take an intimate hand in the future of the human race. We have God's Word in Scripture: 'I am about to do a new thing.' I try to allow this to sink in." Whenever I return from a trip to Haiti (and this was the fifth trip I have made now) I am filled with wonder and awe at the power of God. They are in such a situation that their daily lives depend on God. They do not have a fall back plan... As Pastor Art said to me, "Their goal is to make it though the day." We need to get out there where if God doesn't come through we won't make it. The pastor from Haiti, "I want to go back because there we need God and we pray for everything there. Here in America you don't need Him like we do." We have been talking since Christmas about new things God can do, things He is preparing to do among us. We have been trying to let that sink in. Let it sink into your prayers, privately and in the Bible Studies or whenever you pray with others. Let it sink into your minds and hearts so you can see it. Push out doubt anyway you can. Journaling my doubts have helped. "New beginnings can arise from seemingly unbeatable odds." -Judith Glaser, CEO Benchmark Communications, Inc. John 3.34 He gives the Spirit without measure. Think again with me... 1. We entered into an agreement 14 months ago with the Spanish Speaking Church we began 21 years ago. PENIEL = The Face of God, been there at that spot where Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the LORD. We have seen improvements made to our facility and have the cost of operating the church building cared for now. Bob Pawson's prayer, "I want to see the church building used every day." When we closed Good Shepherd that seemed to fall aside. But shortly after the Spanish church came and we are there again! 2. The Nazarene Cafe... Really Pat Shea's idea, then Sue Fliss and I began to dream and here we are! Each time new people have come. This Friday, February 10th we will do another one, Valentine's Day weekend. Pray and invite. This can become something beyond our imaginations. It can be a net to catch fish, a lighthouse on a stormy sea, another door into the kingdom. 3. The Immigration Assistance Program with our Spanish Brothers and Sisters. Soon, there will be a meeting with an immigration attorney. Pray. Pray. Pray. We are going to expand it to all in need of documentation. *Moving in to possess the land Where God wants to take us this year! There are often things sitting right underneath our noses! Ephesians 2:8-10New American Standard Bible (NASB) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT 1. We need to reach out to children and their families! We have more than 75 here in our building each week! We have a leaders meeting on the first Monday of the month with all 17 GS Troop Leaders attending representing all the GS in Bay Shore. They refer to the building as "The Church". How can we reach them? I don't know but if we pray God will use us as He did back in the fall when one of the girls was missing. Pray. Pray. Pray. We need to add Jesus' heart to our prayers: Don't say 4 months and then comes the harvest. I tell you look to the fields they are white for harvest. Pray the LORD of the harvest that He may send forth workers into His Harvest Field. God help us dream! God help us change our prayers today and this year. Look to the fields they are ripe for harvest! 2. Between the backyard of the parsonage and the grounds at the church we have a Botanical Gardens. We also have experts gardeners around. How about a community gardening club or group which we own and operate? Creation and its Creator fit right in. Motto of the Daylily Society, "Consider the Lilies". We can bring the rest of the things that Jesus taught. People comment from time to time about the beauty of the flowers on the church property. With all the bulbs that have been planted and mini shrubs, etc. this place is going to be bursting with color and beauty this year. We have been given gifts from God to use. People love sharing their cooking recipes or finished dishes. They also love sharing their plants with each other. My whole backyard are gifts from people. Steve, Helen's nephew, who oversaw the Girl Scouts Planting and did all the planting you will see on the east and north sides of the church grounds, said when it comes in you should set up a few picnic tables and have a church BBQ... we may do that, beginning our gardening club! Bringing the cafe idea outside for the warmer weather. We can take the earth, this property, which shows His Handiwork and point it out to others. Let the Beauty of the Earth be a witness! Hymn For The Beauty of the Earth Hymn text Edit Original text of 1864: For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies, For the Love which from our birth Over and around us lies: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For the beauty of each hour Of the day and of the night, Hill and vale, and tree and flower, Sun and moon and stars of light: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For the joy of ear and eye, For the heart and brain's delight, For the mystic harmony Linking sense to sound and sight: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent, child, Friends on earth, and friends above; For all gentle thoughts and mild: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For each perfect Gift of Thine To our race so freely given, Graces human and Divine, Flowers of earth, and buds of Heaven: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For Thy Bride that evermore Lifteth holy hands above, Offering up on every shore This Pure Sacrifice of Love: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For Thy Martyrs' crown of light, For Thy Prophets' eagle eye, For Thy bold Confessors' might, For the lips of Infancy: Christ, our God, to Thee we raise This our Sacrifice of Praise. For Thy Virgins' robes of snow, For Thy Maiden Mother mild, For Thyself, with hearts aglow, Jesu, Victim undefiled, Offer we at Thine own Shrine Thyself, sweet Sacrament Divine. I see people coming to a Christian Based Gardening Club and finding Christ. I see a photo being taken with Steve and the Girl Scouts this spring. I see the community being touched with the Gospel, souls saved, new believers baptized, prodigals returning! 3. Some kind of ministry to special needs children. "Jesus Loves Me Too" 100's in our community. I don't know where to begin but I do know what Jesus said. Luke 14…12Then Jesus said to the man who had invited Him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. 13But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”… The lady who runs the Interdenominational Orphanage for special needs children in the hurricane area in Haiti... met her in a supply store the US government built, like a Home Depot. Let's invite the LORD to show us His heart for the special needs children in this community. In Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago I found myself surrounded with special needs adults. Give these parents a little more "free" time to do necessary things. Some special needs children can be a lot of work. We can love the least of these! Let me speak to you for a moment about our church's prayer life. We pray very well for those who are sick. We need to do that. We need to continue to do that. Yet we need to learn again from the early church in Acts. Prayed for the lost Prayed for God to work. Acts 4.23-31 Look at what they prayed for: 29 And now, LORD, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. We need to pray like this. Notice what they prayed for and that God answered: Speaking the Word of God with boldness! boldness= freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech openly, frankly, i.e without concealment without ambiguity or circumlocution without the use of figures and comparisons free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity That church down In Bellevue, Haiti, prayed against all odds. Their building was destroyed. They are very poor. "LORD, help us rebuild our church." God, in the past 2 1/2 years is doing more than that, immeasurably more! The church has standing room only. We bought 5 new benches for them when we were there. A year and a half ago we were praying about finances here. It was very tough. God answered our prayers and much more! We need to get ourselves "out there" in prayer. God loves Bay Shore and all of its people. LORD help us to be a light for this community. Bring people to You! Use this church whom You love we pray! One thing we are going to do: I have invited the young man Jhon, who was our translator in Haiti to come and stay with me for a few months. He will help us reach out to the Haitian community around us. Please pray. Where does God want me to engaged in the Kingdom these days? Let's seek His Kingdom first in prayer, in our lives Let's pray to speak His Word boldly God’s Kingdom did enter our world concealed. In fact, at Christmastime each year we celebrate how God’s Kingdom came in such an unlikely and concealed way, through the birth of a baby in ancient Israel. But we shouldn’t conclude from the way God’s kingdom entered our world that God wants to keep it hidden. That’s the difference between Christmas and Easter. At Christmas God’s kingdom was hidden, but at Easter it’s proclaimed through the resurrection. The LORD promises to be with us through the Bible. To Joshua To His Disciples Matthew 28.20 To His People Isaiah 41.10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Paul to Timothy II Timothy 4.16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. He will stand with us! He will help us! He is going before us! Let's go into this New Year filled with Hope and Faith!
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Joshua 1.1-9 We have been celebrating Jesus being born. (Jesus in the Greek, Yeshua/ Joshua in Hebrew) "Jehovah/ Yahweh is Salvation" Jesus brought the New Covenant for the whole world. The New Testament begins with the words, "The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Joshua brought in a New Time for Israel They were going into the land God promised them. Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned that land and its alluded to its promise from God when he mentioned 4,000 years of history. in his speech at the State Department this past week. Jacob/Israel... Joshua...Jesus Paradoxes of God *Putting on the Greatest Angel Demonstration in the sky to a group of Bethlehem Shepherds *Taking talented surgeons and putting them in hospitals to the uttermost part of the earth where no one will ever hear of them *Bethlehem itself. Wisdom of the world to look in Jerusalem. * The LORD Using children, young people *Jesus raising the dead but wanting to keep it from the multitudes. *Teachers, very talented ones going to third world countries around the world making next to nothing for the Kingdom of God *God doing things quietly, almost unnoticed. Most of which is never published or heard about. *Dr. Aileen Coleman In Jordan (Google her) * Friend of mine met leader of a major Mission Organization in New Delhi India Airport... Meetings in Port Au Prince Airport.... Mostyns... Yesterday when we announced the Pack and Prayer. Lady from Tennessee speaking about her daughter being a missionary and wanting to do that when they send her packages. *Dr. J. Hudson Taylor, Dr. Nelson Bell, Dr. Howard Hamlin - all who could have been incredible surgeons in England and America but left for China and Africa for a Higher Calling, a Greater Work The rest of us... “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” “…when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10) We are in the world, but we are not of the world (John 17:11, 14) “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Galatians 2:20) New conquests for Israel under Joshua What should have taken 4 months took 40 years due to unbelief. The most successful things in my 40 plus years of ministry have met with the greatest opposition at first. Going into new territory is unnerving and we tend to settle in the wilderness than enter the promises! *We have done it with God's help this year! 1. We entered into an agreement 13 months ago with the Spanish Speaking Church we began 21 years ago. PENIEL = The Face of God, been there at that spot where Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the LORD. We have seen improvements made and have the cost of operating the church building cared for now. Bob Pawson's prayer, "I want to see the church building used every day." When we closed Good Shepherd that seemed to fall aside. But shortly after the Spanish church came and we are there again! 2. The Nazarene Cafe... Really Pat Shea's idea, then Sue Fliss and I began to dream and here we are! Each time new people have come. February 10th we will do another one, Valentine's Day weekend. Begin now to pray and invite. This can become something beyond our imaginations. It can be a net to catch fish, a lighthouse on a stormy sea. 3. The Immigration Assistance Program with our Spanish Brothers and Sisters. A week from this Friday there will be a meeting with an immigration attorney. Pray. Pray. Pray. *Moving in to possess the land Where God wants to take us this year! There are often things sitting right underneath our noses! Ephesians 2:8-10New American Standard Bible (NASB) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. God has prepared good works, foreordained them for us to do! Dr. Suzanne Wolfram, who made that dress for Betchina wrote to me about this upcoming trip to Haiti: Your work on the Haitian earthquake meant that when the hurricane hit, you were already ready with the prayer team, the donors, the work team... "For such a time as this" (Mordecai to Esther) 1. We need to reach out to children and their families! We have more than 50 here in our building each week! We have a leaders meeting on the first Monday of the month with all 17 GS Troop Leaders attending representing all the GS in Bay Shore. They refer to the building as "The Church". How can we reach them? I don't know but if we pray God will use us as He did back in the fall when one of the girls was missing. Pray. Pray. Pray. We need to keep praying for those who are sick but we need to add Jesus' heart to our prayers: Don't say 4 months and then comes the harvest. I tell you look to the fields they are white for harvest. Pray the LORD of the harvest that He may send forth workers into His Harvest Field. God help us dream! God help us change our prayers today and this year. Look to the fields they are ripe for harvest! 2. Between the backyard of the parsonage and the grounds at the church we have a Botanical Gardens. We also have experts gardeners around. How about a community gardening club or group which we own and operate? Creation and its Creator fit right in. Motto of the Daylily Society, "Consider the Lilies". We can bring the rest of the things that Jesus taught. To be continued next week
Sunday, December 18, 2016
The Time Came Luke 2.4-8 The time came for the baby to be born. God had this planned from the beginning of time. It is noteworthy that all human history is measured by the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. History is His Story. We will see when we all get to heaven. The Birth of Jesus Christ is the pivot of human history His Story He set up His Kingdom, God's kingdom, a spiritual kingdom which will never end. Kingdoms rise and fall but His Kingdom endures forever. The Kingdom of God as we shared last week is among us! Jesus said that in order to enter the kingdom of God you must become like a little child. He came into the world as a Baby. Kingdoms of this world begin with conquest militarily. There are memorials set up all over for the battles. The memorial for the beginning of this kingdom of is The manger in Bethlehem and the Cross in Jerusalem! 1. The Baby He is Christ the LORD. Christ the anointed and appointed one. The LORD God God's Son Time Days were accomplished the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night of the last day of this present age, the day Christ will return from heaven, raise the dead, hold the final judgment, and perfect his kingdom used of time in general, i.e. the days of his life. Time Galatians 4.4 that which is (has been) filled a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e. manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers in the NT, the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ that which fills or with which a thing is filled of those things which a ship is filled, freight and merchandise, sailors, oarsmen, soldiers completeness or fulness of time fulness, abundance a fulfilling, keeping The time had fully come for Jesus' birth. This was not just the end of Mary's pregnancy. This was a whole new world order. The Kingdom of God was coming. The days were accomplished. The time came for her to give birth. This the LORD entering earth as a Baby, as King of Israel and King of Kings. Roman Roads were ready for the Gospel. The nation of Israel was occupied territory. There was no room for Mary and Joseph because it was the time of the census. Taxation was foremost in everyone's mind. Taxation without representation and more than that. The nation of Israel came from a family. The land was divided with the names of those sons and their descendants inhabiting it. It had been taken over by Rome and now they were being charged taxes in their own land. Place Bethlehem Let's go to Bethlehem. This was the words of the shepherds who went and worshipped Christ, the newborn King. Let's go Nazareth (Actually no one said this. "Nazareth?! Can any good..?") Let's go to Jerusalem. This was the words of all who went to worship the LORD. All Jews said this. Now under the New Covenant - Whoever calls upon the Name of the LORD will be saved. If you were going to launch a worldwide religion in the first century this little land bridge which connected Africa, Asia and Europe was the place! History of Bethlehem Jacob buried Rachel there. Ruth and Boaz met there. David watched the flock of his father Jesse there. Jesus was born there. He was the second King to be born there. This He was born King of the Jews, King of Kings, He will reign over the world in His Father's Kingdom. So this Baby in the manger born that night in Bethlehem where no one save a few shepherds came and saw is the main Figure of all Human History. 2. Born Born of Mary Born into this world. Stable of an Inn The census made it so. Bethlehem was overcrowded Swaddling clothes Manger A feeding trough for animals. Jesus was born homeless and the people who first came to worship Him lived in tents at best. Homeless men this week One in Barnes and Noble checking on each other about the cold coming. The time came... 3. Christ the LORD The Words of the Angel to the Shepherds The time had come for the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One to be born. The time had come, the time the prophets foretold. The time they longed to know themselves. I Peter 1.11 CEV The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. Our times in are in His Hands... Rev. Art Hughes and Betty The time had come for Christ to be born. The time is now for salvation. The time is approaching for Him to come again.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
The King Of Kings and His Kingdom Luke 1. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end. There is an old hymn which is entitled "More About Jesus Would I Know" This Advent has had me focusing on Him more than ever before. I am taking in the whole nativity but my eyes and heart have been fixed on the Baby in the manger more than before. He is the Hope of world. He is the Light of the world He is the Savior of the world. He is the Bread that comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world. We are going to talk about Him again this morning. Today from Luke's Gospel... Luke tells us that he carefully investigated all these things. He interviewed people, may have even gone to locals and locales and walked around. He was a doctor. He was used to observing people. He saw things others did not see. He had an ear for things. Two doctors in my family are like that. It is amazing how they view us... they see things we do not. We have the Word God breathed through him and that he wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. We are told in this account: 1. Jesus was Born Of Mary. -v.31 The first part of this verse was a usual happening for married women but Mary was a virgin. Yet we see here the natural with the supernatural. This is often how God works. We must avoid extremes. A missionary I admire wrote, "Work like everything depended upon you. Pray like everything depends upon God." Jesus came into the human race the way all of us came in, born of a woman. This is how the Word became flesh. He experienced the whole of the human predicament. He became one of us. We became followers of His. The Parable of the Birds. The Angel Gabriel told her this. Angels are real and at work today. My granddaughter, Maddie. Pastor Jerry this past week, "Do you believe in angels?" So the Holy Spirit moved on Mary and she became with child through that action. A miracle! The Virgin Conception and Birth. Isaiah foretold it over 700 years before. Isaiah 7.14 Behold the virgin will be with child and you are to give Him the Name Immanuel, which means, God with us. Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. When he was told in a dream how Mary became pregnant he took her home as his wife but had no union with her until after Jesus was born. So Jesus came into a family. He knew what it was to have a father on earth who was not his biological father. He knew what it was to be born and grow up in a family. He embraced our living. 2. Jesus is The Son of God. -v.32 He was and is the Son of God forever. He became Mary's Son. That is an important distinction. He is God. John 1.1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1.14 The Word became flesh and lived for a while (tabernacled) among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The Angel, Gabriel told Mary in v.31c she was to give Him the name Jesus. He will Great. God is great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. Demons trembled. Mark 1.24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!" Matthew 8.29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" Acts 19.15 One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?" The Centurion At The Cross Mark 15.39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Peter in Caesarea Philippi Matthew 16.16 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Mary's Son was the Son of God before He became her Son. 3. Jesus is David's Son. -v.33 God's promise to David I will build you a house. II Samuel 2.11 "‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD Himself will establish a house for you: 12When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before meb ; your throne will be established forever. A Kingdom that endures forever... Psalm 145.13 Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. the LORD is faithful to all His Promises and loving toward all He has made. I Corinthians 4.20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. The King of Kings and His Kingdom When Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven, "Your Kingdom come..." He did so knowing that we would be here 2,000 years later. His kingdom is expanding today. He wants us to be part of it in more ways than we can imagine. It is tied into His Birth. As seekers of His Kingdom we invite Him to be part of our work, our family, our neighborhoods, our world, our lives and even "our" church, which is His. Acts 1.3b He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. I would love to have been a part of these Bible Studies. No wonder John wrote that the world would not have room for the books that would have to be written. We only know what we are told here. It was about the Holy Spirit empowering the disciples to spread the Word around the world. Do I see signs of God's Kingdom breaking through in the world all around me? Or am I too focused on the darkness? Do I need to look at things differently? God help us! God's promise through the Prophets Bethlehem Micah 5.2 Of the increase of His government... forever Isaiah 9.7 4. The fulfillment of God's Promise to David Isaiah 9.7b He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. God's promises are greater than we can imagine. More than we could ask for. Descendants of Jacob- Children of Abraham by faith The family keeps multiplying. I think that is one of the reasons we rejoice when a person receives Christ. The promise resounds back 2,000 years to John's Gospel (As many as believed He gave right to become children of God) , 3,000 to David (building a house-family)and 4,000 to Abraham (all the people's on earth will be blessed through you and your descendants) God's family makes up God's Kingdom but His Kingdom rules over all or overrules. So as those shoeboxes go out to children in nations where there is oppression and famine and disease... third world countries... His Kingdom is ruling in those boxes of love... As you go out and let your light shine... His Kingdom is ruling in this present darkness. As we share the King of Kings, as we seek His Kingdom He brings more people in and redeems their lives from the pit. Christmas is about Jesus, God's Son, Mary's Son, Son of David King of Kings and LORD of lords Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace Jesus, Beautiful Savior, Glorious LORD, Emmanuel, Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Matthew 1.18-25 I love how God brought Jesus, His Son into the world! Almost off the radar! How does God work? Quietly, almost unnoticed at times. Simply, quietly.... Look at what has happened... The Advent Conspiracy Video Here in this little church... The 29 shoeboxes went out around the world The Haiti Express... Lifelong friends giving this week... So encouraging. I cannot tell you how that blesses me. We have not asked them. They have just given out of their hearts! Trip set for January 20th The Sunday Morning Message Last Week: France, Germany, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, China, Estonia, India, The Netherlands Last Night With the Spanish Church... Incredible meeting. Next month Rudy will bring an immigration attorney. No doubt one of the most exciting things happening last night on the Island was right here. The Kingdom of God All quietly happening while the world turns, while our nation spends $500 Billion this month on Christmas gifts. Big things/Little Things God so often is at work and we don't realize it. Genesis 28.16 "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." We look for big display and fail to see God at work in the little things, the small things. I am convinced that in God's kingdom today there millions of small things happening that we do not know about, God's people living out His Word. Bible Studies, Short Term Mission Groups, Prayer Groups Don't ever under estimate the one on one with people: John 3 and 4 were about 2 people. The exchange between two is how much of God's work is done. Jesus does not see us as one of the multitude. Everyone He called He called personally and everyone He healed He healed one on one. The only massive thing He did was to feed the 5,000. He meets us face to face, where He can deal with us as individuals. I was in King Kullen this past week. One of the cashiers I know, Sue, told me as I went through the self serve lane (I love using that- reminds me of the days when I worked in the grocery store!), "I was walking home with groceries the other night (her car was being repaired) and this young man from your church stopped and gave me a ride. He saved me walking a mile. This is going on all over the world. No one noticed. Pastor Chuck Smith wrote, "Sadly, that numberless host of unseen Christians across the centuries who have subsisted and denied themselves on and off the mission field, living in scrupulous integrity- the George Mullers, Hudson Taylors, and C.T. Studds- does not even gain a flicker from the media spotlight. These great lives pass in quiet anonymity." This is the way God works. He works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. He works through people who know Him but are not known by many. He works behind the scenes weaving things together. He works through humble simple people. This is the story of Christmas! His Word being fulfilled. The Word becoming flesh. Jesus being born. He worked in this way in Jesus coming to earth. 1. God used a couple living in Nazareth to bring His Son Into The World. They were virtually unknown in Israel before this event. I love how God uses names. While the world may not know people, God knows. He knows us better than we know ourselves! From our time in the Psalms these past few months we have discovered: He knit us together in our mother's womb. He knows the thoughts we will have before the chemicals of our brains come together to form them. He knows us perfectly, better than we know ourselves. He knows the number of our days. God cares deeply about us. God used Mary a young woman pledged to be married to a carpenter from Nazareth in Galilee. Galilee was sort of the upstate New York. Jerusalem was sort of the New York City only infinitely more. The wise men came to Jerusalem. I want you to see the insignificance of this couple. Those are the people God uses. Remember when you were called... 1 Corinthians 1:26-29King James Version (KJV) 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in His presence. We would have never known about this couple if it were not for Jesus. Think of all the people you know because of Him! Then think about how He came. 2. No one took note of Jesus being born that night in Bethlehem. Think about it. God, coming into world He created. A few shepherds came. It took place in a terribly inconvenient time for Israel, a Roman Census. It was not like our censuses every ten years. Its main purpose was to remind the people that they were under Roman rule and so was their money. It was primarily a way for the Empire to let the people know they were under control of the Empire. People were complaining about this, the travel inflicted upon them and the taxes they had to pay. God entered this world virtually unnoticed. He came quietly amidst great profanity. He came as a baby. There are no mentions of a huge crowd because there simply were none! Radio City 6,000 people last week, each day over 20,000 people hear the account of Christmas from God's Word Rockefeller Center 1,000's for the tree lighting on Wednesday Night, millions across the nation Both places had Christmas Carols sung... The Harlem Gospel Choir Back to Bethlehem... Human Inconvenience is often part of His plan. How about this verse in Psalm 119.140? "Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them." 3. After this glorious birth for the next 30 years apart from the journey to Egypt and the things that happened in the temple when He was 8 days old things settled into a routine life in Nazareth. Isn't this the carpenter's son? Matthew 13.55 He lived in Nazareth is virtual obscurity (as was said of His cousin John, the Baptist) until the time came for Him to appear publicly to Israel. Don't diminish the holiness of the routine of life. God is at work even in and through the routine. God never wastes time. Look at what God is doing or you will miss the joy He has for you! Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.... The Kingdom among us, The Kingdom coming Look for the LORD in the things people who do not know Him overlook... In the sunrise, in the sunset, the moon which He has set in place! Wise men look to the skies for His first appearing, they still do for He's coming again! Welcome to readers and hearers of The Sunday Morning Message today from Germany, France, Hong Kong, The Ukraine, South Africa, Albania, Brazil, The United Kingdom and from .Malaysia