Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fine Tuning Our Prayers

Fine Tuning Our Prayers

Past month visitors to The Sunday Message: Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, The Ukraine, South Africa, The Philippines, The United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Czechia, The Netherlands, India, Russia, Indonesia, Canada and Thailand.

We have had  recently over 200 views a day on this blog, which are my notes for the message you hear. Some we know have borrowed them to share with their congregation. This blog is in its tenth year, where we have gone through the Bible once.

Last week within 24 hours we had over 100 views of our morning worship service and message on live stream. By midweek, 120 and this morning, 129. That translates into over 1,500 people this week being touched by the ministry of the Word of God from this little fellowship! We are now going to be live-streaming from our Facebook Page and on Bambuser. Use this in inviting people to church. Tell them they can check out our services on these venues. If they attach their device to their flat screen TV it can viewed in their living room or den.
This morning...
Psalm 141.2 May my prayer be set before You like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Every once in a while our cars need a check up. We need to see fluid levels, how our brakes are, alignment...

So it is with our spiritual life. Some have designed revival meetings for this, other discipleship accountability groups. Here we have chosen the Bible's self examination: Taking the LORD's Supper each month. 
I Corinthians 11.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

This morning we are looking at a verse of scripture which should reflect our prayers. David prayed about his praying. He wanted it to be according to God's Word, modeled after worship in the Temple, which was a copy of what is in heaven.

We are talking this morning about seeing how our prayers line up to God's Word and making adjustments if needs be.

Proverbs 1.5a  let the wise listen and add to their learning...
The wise will add to their learning.
Wise people continue to grow in the grace of the LORD, in the knowledge of Him. So our prayers ought to be fine tuned from our time in the Word and our experiences of life as we walk with the LORD.

Jesus spoke about prayer to His disciples. He modeled prayer. He taught them how to pray. He is praying for us now. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us in our praying. He is here this morning to help us.

Look carefully at this these words God inspired David to write...
1. My Prayer

Prayer is talking to God about Him and us and others.

From my heart to God's

To some of Israel's religious leaders of His time, during Holy Week...
Mark 12.24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
We need to know and put into practice what His Word says about prayer.
We need to see the power of God working as we pray... in our daily bread and in  powerful contests of power. Elijah, Epaphras- always wrestling in prayer
We need to make our prayers personal. David's use of "my' and "You" show his close fellowship with the LORD.

Get that fellowship where it is supposed to be and other things fall into place, not the least of which is our prayer life.  Align your life with God's Word and keep a tender heart and your prayers will be fined tuned.

2. Like Incense

incense, smoke, odor of (burning) sacrifice
sweet smoke of sacrifice

Incense in the tabernacle and later in the temple symbolized the sweet prayers of the saints rising up to God, and His response of love and joy over them.
God loving and enjoying the prayers of the saints.

Incense was carefully prepared, on fire and devoted to God. Just like our prayers ought to be.

Revelation 5:6-8
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

Under the Old Covenant..
*Incense was broken and pounded before it was used-
the sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart. Psalm 51.17
*Incense had a fire under it.
*Incense rose up as a sweet smell to heaven

Ephesians 5.2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Our prayers and our lives are inseparable. When observing Paul Rees, Richard   Gehman observed, "Watching him, I realize this man's entire life is a prayer."

Praying without ceasing is what we are to seek after.

This means "Be still and know that I am God."
Keeping our eyes fixed upon Him.
Living with one foot in heaven.

David asks that his prayer might be like be... 
3. Like The Evening Sacrifice
Lifting up Hands...
Psalm 63.4 I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
I Timothy 2.8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
David is equating prayers with the lifting up of his hands.
In Haiti a number of children and young adults call me Papa or Daddy. It seemed strange at first but now I understand. It is a term of warmth and respect. Learning Manners and Customs of a Foreign Land is invaluable.

What was meaning of the custom in the Old and New Testament of lifting up the hands?

It was a gesture of worship and adoration to Almighty God.

What was the evening sacrifice? 
Shorter service than the morning sacrifice.
Took place between 2:30 to 4pm each day.
At the end the priest who burned the incense would come out and pronounce the blessing Aaron taught his sons, the priests in 
Numbers 6.22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 “"The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”"

What an awesome way to conclude the day!

We have an actual account of this in Luke 1. 8-22 with Zechariah.

The evening sacrifice included worship and blessing and communion with God- all things that prayer ought to have in an increasing measure. Praying without ceasing.

Jesus said, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6.6)

In that quiet secluded place worship God, thank Him and commune with Him.

Like the evening sacrifice...
What time of the day did Jesus die? He went to the cross at 9am and gave up His Spirit at 3pm He went to the cross when the morning sacrifice was being offered and ( darkness came over the land at noon) died at time of the evening sacrifice, the time of prayer-3pm.(9am,12pm,3pm were the times of prayer for the Jews)

At the close of day, the close of the business... Wall Street closing bell
After the day has been spent may my prayer be quiet and still and reflective of the deep riches I experience from the LORD. 

Fine tuning our prayers.
*Make it personal between you and the LORD. Grow in that fellowship.
*May it be like incense: sweet fellowship, rising up to heaven, pleasing to God, full of the worship of Him, 
* Sacrificial, Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess His Name.  
Begin the day with prayer, end it with prayer.

Psalm 5.1 Listen to my words, O LORD,
    consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to You I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

Psalm 141.2 May my prayer be set before You like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. Hebrews 13.15

Now Walk With God...

Sunday, March 12, 2017

God's Amazing Will

Welcome to this past month visitors: France, Germany, Hungary, The Ukraine, South Africa, The Philippines, Brazil, The United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Czechia, The Netherlands, India, Russia, Thailand and Canada. 

 Psalm 135.6 The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. 

 Pleases: to delight in, take pleasure in, desire He has a heart of love and mercy. His faithfulness continues through all generations. He is the God of all comfort. He abounds in compassion. Does whatever: to fashion, accomplish, work, make, produce to deal (with) act with effect to prepare put in order celebrate to acquire (property) to appoint, ordain, institute to bring about to use We know that when He created the heavens and the earth... Genesis 1.31 God saw all that He had made and it was very good. We are told in Revelation 13.8 that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the creation of the world. Jesus was destined to die on the cross from creation. More than that. The plan of redemption was put into place before the creation of man and his fall. God had His grace operating before sin entered. His amazing will! His will is amazing and many times along the journey we are in awe of its operation in our lives. As we grow in the LORD we come to embrace His will as the best for us even though we do not understand it. We come to believe indeed He is working all things together for our good. We want more of what He wants and less of what we want. That is a mark of spiritual maturity. You will read this week in Psalm 139.16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. God has such a wonderful plan for our lives. It is not without struggle. In fact He uses the wrestling in prayer, the struggles, the difficulties for our good, for His glory. Just trust Him in it. Pictures from Bellevue 1. It is a Good Thing It doesn't say Whatever pleases us! Spoiled children- no one wants to be around them. We would get everything we want- not a good thing. Lack of knowledge of God's plan, we would mess up what He plans. Limited vision He looks down from His throne in heaven and knows the thoughts of each heart! He knows the beginning from the end. He knows all things. Psalm 138.6 Though the LORDis exalted, He looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, He sees them from afar. Jacob's wrestling with God is a good picture of how many try to "handle" God's will in their lives. How much better to submit to God. Profane history exhibits the instruments by which Jehovah works; the finger of Divine Revelation points to the unseen but Almighty Hand which wields and guides the instrument, and causes even Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Jews and the people of Israel, to do what the Hand and the Counsel of God determined before to be done.—George Payne, in "Lectures on Christian Theology," 1850. Jesus submitted to His Father's will, set an example for our submission To... 2.God's Good Pleasing and Perfect Will - Romans 12.2 Good=good in its nature, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, excellent, distinguished upright, honourable Carol West this week on Facebook. Pleasing= He does whatever pleases Him. To be well off To prosper Spiritual riches last, they grow more precious in time and in eternity. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. Rather store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... Perfect= brought to its end, finished, integrity and virtuous. Psalm 135.6 The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths God's Amazing Will in Our Salvation: John 6:39 “Now this is the will of the One who sent Me, that I lose not one of all He has given Me, but raise each one on the last day." I was made for His pleasure and find true fulfillment when I please Him. My life will never be fulfilled if I am seeking for my pleasure. You will probably get some momentary pleasure but not long lasting fulfillment, no contentment. I was sharing some of the Hand of God in my life and through people, some of who are in heaven and how that connection and thread runs through my life today. As I reflect on this looking back on my journey I am so blessed and fulfilled down deep in my heart. If I lost all my material possessions tomorrow i would still have these rich deep memories and the present experience of seeing God's Hand upon me. 3. Our Faith in Him and His Wisdom and His Ways Here is how we apply this verse. We must have faith in Him and in His Wisdom and His Ways. God is good and loving. He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84.11 Psalm 115.2-3 Why do the nations say, "Where if their God?"Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him. His ways are higher than our ways we are told in Isaiah 55.8-9 As high as the heavens are above the earth! We must have faith if we are to trust His will in our lives. The "no" answer to prayer we must embrace just as we embrace the "yes". Often we do not know if the answer is "wait" or "no". Waiting is so that God can bring about His perfect will, lining things up, bringing in people He wants a part of the answer. David testifies, "I waited patiently for the LORD and He heard my cry." Psalm 40.1 He does whatever He pleases. Nothing can stop God from accomplishing His purposes. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church. When men design evil against us the LORD turns it around and uses it to make us more like Him. What about when we have prayed for someone to be healed and they died? Remember... Precious in the sight of the LORD are the death of His saints Psalm 116.15 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. Isaiah 57.1 God's will is amazing, His good, pleasing and perfect will. He works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose. All we need to do is to have faith in Him and His Wisdom and His ways. Let's commit ourselves to His will. Let's trust Him. Let's say to the LORD, "Here I am. Help Yourself to my life, my heart, everything."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Sufferings Of David

Psalm 132.1 LORD, remember David and all that he suffered. Suffered=to be occupied, be busied with to afflict, oppress, humble, be bowed down to be put down, become low to be depressed, be downcast to stoop Remember= Cause to be remembered. He did by recording it in His Word. The word remember here means to set up a memorial. God did that in His Word as well. This prayer was not for God's benefit... it was for ours. God's memory is perfect. The only things He forgets is our sins we confess to Him. This verse is speaking specifically about the trouble David went through to get the ark to Jerusalem. You can read about it in II Samuel 6-7 But there were even greater afflictions/ suffering in David's life. It was a decade he went through in his 20's. It was of no doing of his own. It was due to Saul's jealousy of him. It helps me to know that the man after God's own heart, that Joseph and Daniel of whom nothing negative is said about in God's Word went through deep sufferings and testings. It helps me when people who love the LORD deeply and seek to obey Him fully go through painful trials that others like David and Joseph and Daniel went through too. I Samuel 18.6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. The inability to rejoice when God works through others is a dangerous thing. Saul was fixated upon David and sought to destroy him. This began the downfall of Saul. It was a sad thing to watch. God used the suffering in David's life from the hand of Saul to change David drastically. 17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” I Samuel 18.28 When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. I Samuel 19.9 But an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape. I Samuel 27.27 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.” 1. David was taken into the service of the King Saul. Samuel anointed David king over Israel After this he was taken into Saul's service to sing and play the harp. Stringed instruments are soothing. We used to have music playing when we ate when the kids were growing up. It aids in digestion. Brass instrument rouse the spirit and mind to action while strings soothe the spirit. I Samuel 16.15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” 17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.” 19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. David became a national hero by killing Goliath (and that is where the problem with Saul began) Humble "No small thing to become a son-in-law to the king! Saul hoping his daughter would become a snare to David. Bait, lure, to set a trap What a horrible and despicable thing to be said about your daughter and her fiancĂ©. He set a price on Michal and hoping that in the midst of getting it David would die in battle, instead he deliver twice as many as Saul asked for. 2. God loved David and saw that his inner soul was altered. Broken by Saul's jealousy and eventual banishment. Saul was God's chosen way to crush David, much like Joseph and his brothers Both of these men did not retaliate when it was in their power to do so! Suffering can be agonizing. God desires to alter our personality to make us more like Jesus. "O wondrous Love Sublime, How shall this tongue of mine to wandering mortals tell, the matchless grace Divine, that I a child of hell, should in His image shine?" Suffering begets humility. Think about it? How many people who have suffered severely are proud? It is good to become friends with those who have experienced suffering, those who have had an overwhelming share of trouble. Jealousy and pride are not apt to be things the contend with. Useable because he was broken. Most things are not. Horses and dogs and people are, human beings even more. A broken spirit is of great worth in the Kingdom of God. Brokenness: It is impossible to live life without experiencing brokenness. Whether it is feeling the pain of a broken promise, surviving a broken bone or experiencing personal failure, life takes its toll on each of us. Saul had made David a Captain in the army in the hopes he would be killed in battle. He had him fight the Philistines in an overwhelming contest for his daughter's hand in marriage.Twice he hurled his javelin at David to pin him to the wall. Finally he sent messengers to his house to kill him. Then David fled. For a decade he lived among caves, was on the run, hid away from Saul. David was in great pain, separated from family and friends and his home in Bethlehem. God was doing some wonderful alterations inside of David. He called him aside and David submitted. He was like 3. Clay in the Hands of the Potter Jeremiah 18.1-4 A new vessel. Psalm 59.9 I will wait upon You, O LORD. God is my defense. The LORD remakes us. He uses sufferings to that. Suffering and afflictions are so unpleasant... look at what happened to Naomi.. her name meant "pleasant" when she returned to Bethlehem after 10 years she was hardly recognizable... "Could this be Naomi?" She answered and said, "Don't call me Naomi (Pleasant) call me Mara (Bitter) for the Almighty had made my life bitter." God was not done with her. He loves to write last chapters when we think it is all over. The Psalms were David's "therapy". He wrote these words to God, inspired by God about God's greatness and his struggles. Submit to the LORD's work in your life. Allow Him to remake you. He will produce a vessel fit for His use in His Kingdom. You will do the works He has prepared in advance for you to do.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Going Higher With the LORD

Going Higher With the LORD 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 maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till He shows us His mercy. As we follow the LORD there is an inner desire to grow closer to Him, become more like Him, depend on Him more. Our faith in the LORD grows and it becomes stronger in Him. We come to realize that we can indeed trust Him for all our needs. In our walk with the LORD more and more we realize how utterly dependent upon Him we are... or we should be. Just once I would like to hear someone say to me, "Pastor, pray for me that I will be more thankful for the blessings I have. I am rich." Actually that will probably never happen. Think of the Church in Laodecia which like Israel got its eyes off the LORD and on His blessings and said, "I am increased with goods and have need of nothing." Uh Oh! Look at what Jesus said to that church. He rebuked them and called on them to repent. They needed healing in their eyes, spiritually.. so they would once again focus on Him. Psalm 123 speaks about this. 1. Looking to God. We are admonished to look to Jesus. Fixing our eyes upon Him. Hebrews 12.2 Psalm 25.15 Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net Lift up= Up to God... We always look up when we look to Him. Away from the situations on earth To Him Who is seated on the throne of Heaven Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful Face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace. How important it is when we're going through trials to fix our eyes upon the LORD. So many times we get our eyes upon people and we get in these interpersonal conflicts with people and we're watching to see what he's going to do next. Just waiting. Best to just get your eyes fixed on the Lord. And so he said, "As the servant watches his master's hand." Now the servant was constantly watching, especially at a dinner or whatever, when the guests were there, the servant the whole time would watch his master's hand. For the master would give certain signals with his hand, expecting the servant to pick up on those signals. It was the duty of the servant if things are getting out of order, if the wine is getting low or something, the master would just give a signal with his hand and the servant knew exactly what he was saying. And thus, the whole time the servant's eyes would be glued upon the master's hands waiting for a signal. Because if the master should signal and the servant is off someplace else and his mind someplace else, and he's not on his toes, then he's really in trouble. Constantly watching. And the same with the maidservants. Watching the mistress, watching the hand continually, because it was with the hand that they gave their beckons, their signals. Not wanting to speak to the servants or directions were given to them by hand movements. And so, "Even as a servant keeps his eye on his master's hand, LORD, I'm going to keep my eyes glued on You." That's a good policy. Just keep your eyes glued on the LORD. I lift up my eyes to You.. Where He is 2. Looking Up Shows Our Position and His Position. He is high and lifted up. Isaiah 57.15 God is high and lifted up. He lives forever. His name is holy. He says, “I live in a high and holy place..." Isaiah 6.1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Revelation 4.1-2 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. We are on earth. We are His servants. Servants look to the hands of their masters. For signals. The regard here had to God. The psalmist himself lifted up his eyes to Him. "The eyes of a good man are ever on the LORD. " (Psalm 25.15) In every prayer we lift up our soul, the eye of our soul, to God, especially in trouble. The eyes of the body of a believer are heaven-ward. Our eyes wait on the Lord, the eye of desire and prayer, and the eye of dependence, hope, and expectation, the longing eye. Our eyes must wait upon God as the LORD, and our God, until that He have mercy upon us. We desire mercy from him, we hope He will show us mercy, and we will continue our attendance on him till the mercy come. This is illustrated (v. 2) by a parallel: Our eyes are to God as the eyes of a servant, and handmaid, to the hand of their master and mistress. The eyes of a servant of God are to be looking to the Master. We are looking up from the earth to heaven. We are looking to His Hand. What do we know from His Word and our experience about the Hand of God? We are looking to His Hand 1. To His master's directing hand, expecting that He will appoint him his work, and cut it out for him, and show him how he must do it. LORD what will you have me to do? Here am I send me. (Isaiah 6.8-9)LORD, I am your servant, use me however You desire. Doctor from Spain to Yelssy... grew up in Peru together... now I am making lots of money. "I need to do missions trips!" It may not be a missions trip but what if we all said to the LORD today and every day from here on, "LORD, I am Your servant. What would you have me do?" 2.To his supplying hand. Servants look to their master, or their mistress, for their portion of food. Proverbs 31:15. And to God must we look for daily bread, for grace sufficient; from Him we must receive it thankfully. He will supply all we need for His work as well! 3.To His helping hand. If the servant cannot do his work himself, where must he look for help but to his master? And in the strength of the Lord God we must go forth and go on. Psalm 121.2 Our Help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 4.To his protecting hand. We pray for this often. If the servant meets with opposition in his work, if he be questioned for what he does, if he be wronged and injured, who should bear him out and right him, but his master that set him on work? The people of God, when they are persecuted, may appeal to their Master, We are Yours; save us. The Psalms are full of these appeals. 5.To His correcting hand. Hebrews 12.7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? To whom should they make supplication but to their Judge? They submit themselves to and humble themselves under God's mighty hand. Hebrews 12.9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 6. To His Healing Hand The Early Church's Prayer: Acts 4.30 Stretch out Your Hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus. 7. To His rewarding hand. The servant expects his wages, his well-done, from his master. Hypocrites have their eye to the world's hand; thence they have their reward (Mt. 6:2); but true Christians have their eye to God as their Rewarder. Hebrews 11.6 ...He rewards those who diligently seek Him. The Hand of Our Master, Our LORD is good, very good. In His Hand... From His Hand... From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.- John 1.16 3. He Is Our Only Hope He will show us mercy. He will come to help us. He will be with us. He will take us to be with Him. He is preparing a place for us!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

No Matter What May Be The Test

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

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

New Beginnings in God's Kingdom Part Three

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!