Sunday, July 24, 2016

Living In The Overflow Of God's Blessings

Living In The Overflow Of God's Blessings

Psalm 31.19 How abundant are the good things
    that You have stored up for those who fear You,
that You bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in You.

God has stored up an abundance of wonderful things for those who respect and worship Him from their hearts. Those who are under His protection are the recipients of these good things. If we worship Him privately He will reward us publicly. (Matthew 6) He takes care of His children.

God is wanting to do more than you can imagine in your life. I believe many live a lot less fruitful lives than He desires for us.

We can live in the overflow of His blessings. Life can be a crescendo of glory, The way can keep on getting brighter if we fix our eyes upon Him.

1. The Abundance of God.

to be or become many, be or become much, be or become great
10 Thousands
Good things= property, prosperity, goodness (of taste, discernment)

The wildflowers of New Hampshire

The wildflowers no one gets to see all over the world.

Water gushing over rocks continually. We turn power off. God keeps it flowing freely.
Sitting under those falls for 15 minutes... I am still loose. Aerated pure water.

The sea, the waters, the land, good land

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above!

Open a cucumber or pepper. See the abundance of seeds. Understand the miracle of seeds and you will understand more about God's work in you. In each pepper there are enough seeds to have a very large garden.

Mark 6.13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word.
The seed is the Word of God.

With His Word hidden in your heart you have seeds to share, to spread. Sow seeds, the good seed of the Gospel.

"Oh the joy of knowing the living God, of seeing the living God, of resting on the living God in our very special and particular circumstances! I am but His agent. He will look after His own honor, provide for His own servants and supply our need according to His own riches... " - J Hudson Taylor

God is a God of Abundance.
Abundant Grace
Abundant Seeds
Abundant Power

How abundant...
Large Amount
Question that is answered only as we live by faith.
It is a beautiful thing

2. The Good Things

Good=to be good, be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial, be pleasant, be favorable, be happy, be right

He knows exactly what I need

Stored up
to hide, treasure, treasure or store up, treasure up
to lie hidden, lurk
to  hide from discovery- only those who trust Him/ fear Him find out
If you want to know step out in faith and watch God work.

Psalm 146.6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    He remains faithful forever.

His Grace, mercy and love
Forgiveness, pardon
None of these things and more do we deserve. He abundantly blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1.3)

The LORD has reserves which are  infinitely beyond our imaginations and our dreams. He has ways of working we have not even thought about. He is a supernatural God!

I love to give my grandkids surprises. We are often surprised by Him as He blesses us.

Garden surprises- finding a new plant (periwinkle) that you did not plant
Finding fruit on something you were not expecting (Korean Eggplant this week)

The rewards of the righteous:

It makes us thankful
It builds our confidence

3. Fear the LORD

Psalm 147.11 the LORD delights in those who fear Him,
    who put their hope in His unfailing love.

Fear (reverence and awe and respect) that is life long.

Part of this is I believe trusting in Him and not in ourselves, not even looking to where the provisions may come from but continually looking to Him.

 Psalm 123.1 I lift up my eyes to you,
    to You Who sit enthroned in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
    till He shows us his mercy.

It is not easy to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus because there are so many distractions.

People, even other Christians
If I want him to remain alive until I come back what is that to you?

World and National Problems

Bitterness and Unforgiveness

As long as I think I can figure out how to meet my needs out I am not looking to Him. Surrender to Him is being aware that He gave you the abilities to make money and do things. 

The proud in heart miss out on the blessings of God, the good things He has.

4. Take Refuge in Him

 flee for protection
to put trust in God
confide or hope in God

We cannot live in the overflow of God's blessings unless we are taking refuge in Him.

Let's live in the overflow, the waterfalls if you will, of God's good blessings!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tragedy Into Triumph

John 9.1-3

John 9. 3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in him."

John 11.1-6, 14-16

John 11.4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

A man born blind
A man who was sick and died.

John 11.37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

What do these accounts tell us about the LORD?

1. The LORD is desiring to reveal Himself to us and everyone.

He wants to work in you, in our church.

He wants to bring glory to Himself by making the things of Christ known unto us. 

I Peter 1.3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

One of the  purposes of His Word is for the LORD to reveal Himself to you.

One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit.
John 14.21
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 16.14 He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.

One of the purposes of suffering.
God makes Himself known.
Dear BrotherHazard,  "I came away from the surgery for amputation being closer to God."

One of the purposes of challenges and problems is for Him to reveal Himself to you.
II Chronicles 16.9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. 

2. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform

He sets His footsteps on the sea and rides upon the storm.

Through Blindness and death God has brought songs to hearts and to His Church.
Fanny Crosby wrote the equivalent of 17 books of hymns

"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."

If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind...for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour."

Carolina Sandell Berg Day Day
   Lina Sandell, the name by which she was known in her country, was nicknamed the "Fanny Crosby of Sweden"; though she did not write near as many hymns as Miss Crosby did, she is said to have been as popular among her people as was the famous American hymnwriter. However she wrote anonymously, always signing her poems simply with "L.S."  It was Oskar Ahnfelt who brought her hymns to the public, arranging music to them and singing them (while accompanying himself on guitar) around Scandanavia.
   On a trip with her father when she was 26 years of age, as they were crossing a lake in a boat, her father was suddenly thrown overboard and drowned before her eyes. The accident impacted her greatly for the rest of her life. At age 33 she penned the words of "Day By Day", just one of the 650 hymns she wrote in her lifetime before and after the accident; hymns that "mightily influenced the revival that swept across Scandanavia after l850".
 The words of Lina Berg's hymns were all the more popular because of the simple, beautiful melodies written for them, especially those of Oscar Ahnfelt who played his guitar and sang her hymns throughout Scandanavia. Lina Berg once said that Ahnfeld sang her songs "into the hearts of the people." 

Do you want to see the wonders of God? Open yourself to pain and brokenness.

Look at your brokenness, not as a liability but an asset.  Jesus did! God looks at blindness and death and pain as conduits through which He accomplish His purposes and display His work.

Paul the Apostle understood this perspective:
Philippians 1. 12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

3. God desires to use our points of pain and times of suffering for His Glory.

He can raise the dead and heal the blind but sometimes He has higher plans and purposes. 

If He choses not to do a miracle in a family's or person's life He has greater plans.

We must trust Him.
Total trust.

We must wait for Him.
Waiting  eagerly, looking, hoping, expecting

We must allow Him to work out His purposes through us.
Her next hymn after Day by Day:
Let Thy Word all divine be my lamp in whose light
I may constantly keep to Thy way;
And each day wouldst Thou cleanse me anew, make me white
In the blood shed for me on that day
The cross Thou didst suffer, Lord Jesus.

Sung at her father's funeral a hymn she wrote earlier:
Children of the heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

What He takes or what He gives us
Shows the Father’s love so precious;
We may trust His purpose wholly–
‘Tis His children’s welfare solely.

God is always at work. He is always answering prayer. He has a plan for all of His children. His plan may appear to be thwarted, it may appear there is no reason to continue. How many times do we say like Martha and Mary, "LORD, if You had... then...!" But God is at work, He displays His glory through those very things!

He wants to do so in your life today. Get His perspective. Look at your life like He looks at it. Let Him work His Work through you.

Facing Our Losses

Psalm 23
The Valley of the Shadow of Death

*We will walk through it
*There is no need to fear
(C.S Lewis wrote “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.)
*The LORD is with us.
*He will comfort us.
*He restores our souls.

Our losses can be through a number of things, a number of the manifestations of death. Divorce can be like death. The word death in the Hebrew means both death's shadow and deep darkness.

Story of second Christmas after Mark died.

Psalm 68.6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

1. Face Them

*Don't deny them

*Don't let anger rule. 

*Don't replace them. 
You can't. 
God won't.

*Embrace them
Embrace the Cross- Fenelon


2. Face Them With the LORD
*He is The Man of Sorrows.
He understands. No one understands like Jesus.

*He is with us.
His Promise.

*He is here to help.
In ways we cannot even imagine.

*He faced them.
Jesus knew what it was to have people leave Him through betrayal, death and loss of love.

3. Face Them With An Eternal Perspective.

This world and our lives here are temporary.

Heaven is forever.
I do not think we can comprehend just the eternal part alone.

There will be a new earth and a New Jerusalem.

4. Keep Your Eyes on Jesus.
Fixed upon Him.
to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something
As we look to him our grief is bearable because we know He is with us and He is the Resurrection and the Life. John 11, backyard, shortly after my brother, Mark died.
Jesus' words to Martha
John 11.23 Your brother will rise again. 
Those words to Martha there in Bethany, Israel became His words to me in Bay Shore, Long Island 16 years ago... because I had my eyes, teary as they were, fixed on Him!

5.Walk  With the LORD on the Blessed Hope Grief Journey   

Tragedy to Triumph
This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9.4