Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

True North on the Compass of Your Life.

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

There is, on the compass, a magnetic north, which is not true North.
You can navigate with this, for short trips.
But when you have long trips over any length of time or of distance; you must be able to ascertain True North, or you will be off your point of destination, miles and miles.

We should all have a goal to which we are headed in life; and a way of getting there, which is not going to lead us in the wrong paths.
That goal keeps our eyes focused on the real purpose of our existence.
As Christians, our purpose of life, should come from the Lord:

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

We are “created in Christ Jesus” or born again; for a purpose.
Our purpose is to “walk” in the good works God appoints us, as individual Christians, to do.

So what is the True North in this walk?

It is making Jesus Christ, Lord of your life, so that you will know what to do, and will be empowered to do by His life, within you.

John 7:17 “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whither it be of God, or whither I speak of myself.”

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

As certain as this old earth keeps turning, there will be sunrise tomorrow.
You may not be able to see it, for there may be clouds and the day dark and dreary; but the sun will be there.

This says that we can rest easy in Christ; we can expect Him to show us His Way for us, and for Him to give us His blessings (the former and latter rains), in the time we need them.

It also encourages us, to follow Him. (How many scriptures do this very thing?)
He knows where we should be, and how we are to get there.
In life, in attitudes, and in troubles; with Him as our Lord and Savior; we shall know.
Our whole life is a journey. (I used to tell a friend, life is an adventure. They thought of “lions” and “tigers”; and they were not happy about the thought. But I still think it is.) It is a journey of a life time.
And, lets face it, we need help; we need a guide, who loves us, to get us to the end.

We are to “walk” from here to heaven, with Christ Jesus.
That is a daily walk with Him.

That is how we grow to know Him more.
True North on the compass of our lives, is to make Him Lord of our lives.
Then we will see His Purpose for our lives, done.
Then we will get to the end in peace.

 

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Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Man with the Withered Hand.

Matthew 12:9-10 “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
And behold, there was a man who had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? That they might accuse him.”

Jesus had been on a teaching tour through the cities of Israel. And now he was come to their synagogue.

The Pharisees had laid a trap for him, in the appearance of a man with a withered hand.

To have a deformity in Israel, was to be disgraced, for it meant that sin was somewhere in the family of the person. This man had sinned, or someone in his family had sinned, and he was being punished for it.

So the Pharisees asked a question, that they thought was pretty straight forward.
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
The Sabbath was the day of rest. A day which should be spent in contemplating God, and His Word. A day of fellowship with others of His people.

They were to do no work on the Sabbath, or it would be defiled.
But what is work, and what is mercy?
Jesus points out the difference.

Matthew 12:11-12 “And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
How much then is a man better that a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”

Would you save you one sheep? Your only sheep? Are you not commanded in the ceremonial law, to save a sheep, even of your neighbors? (Deuteronomy 22:4)
This is interesting. Jesus does not say one out of a hundred. Or a thousand.
But one.
That is exactly the way He feels about us. If He only came to save one, He would have.
We are that one. The man with the withered hand was that one; and He would save us, and He would save him.

So His question to the Pharisees was really: would you, save the one sheep you own; would you save your livelihood? Or the livelihood of your neighbor?
The answer He gave; of course you would.
Therefore, since you would save your one sheep on the sabbath, I will save this one man on the sabbath.

Also notice, the way He talked of the sheep: “if it fall into a pit”. Are we not also ready to fall into a pit, without His Salvation?

Christ’s answer was God’s Character. The Sabbath was made for man to have rest with His God. It is lawful, then to do well on the sabbath days.

Matthew 12:13 “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”

This man may have been a tool of the Pharisees to use against Jesus, but heard enough to know that the mercy of God was being extended to him.
But it would cost him something.
It would cost him embarrassment.(And how many of us would be stopped right here?)
He would have to show his deformity for all to see.

It would also cost him the company of these people. For to be obedient, would show that he believed Jesus. This was dangerous, as these people were influential.

So, here is the choice: Jesus, and God’s mercy; or his normal existence, but accepted by the religious rulers.
Which would he do?
“And he stretched it forth.”
His choice was Jesus, and obedience. For it, he was healed.

But Jesus was also offering mercy to all those in the synagogue: including those Pharisees. But they refused to believe Him.

Matthew 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”
Their choice was to keep the life and influence they had; not to yield to the mercy offered.
How much they lost by their choice!

Jesus talked of saving the “one sheep”, because each of us are that one sheep.
He came to save us: from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and one day from the presence of sin.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Have you seen God’s Provision for You?

A little background is needed:

The king of Syria warred against the king of Israel. He would set up camp in places where the king of Israel would pass through. In this way he thought to destroy him and take over Israel.

But God had a prophet in Israel, called Elisha. He sent to the king of Israel a warning, many times, about such ambushes.

This frustrated the king of Syria, and at first he thought he was being betrayed by someone in his own court.
But a knowledgeable man in the king’s court told him:

2 Kings 6:12 “And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.”

So the king of Syria, a mighty warrior, with a mighty army; sought to lay hands on this man: Elisha, God’s prophet.

2 Kings 6:13-14 “And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him saying, Behold, he is at Dothan.
Therefore sent he thither horses and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and encompassed the city about.”

Now Elisha was just one man (though he had a servant with him); so sending this large company to get him, seemed like over-kill.

But it was not just meant to take Elisha, but also to scare him. To put him in awe of the might and power of the king of Syria.

Fear comes when we feel that we can not deal with a situation, ourselves.
Or can not get the right help from others, and there is nothing we can do about what is going on.
Then we become afraid.

But surrounded by this great and mighty army, Elisha was not afraid (although his servant was terrified).

2 Kings 6:15-16 “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do?”
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

The servant saw that they were surrounded; everything to be afraid of!
Are not we often the same way?

But Elisha saw nothing to be afraid of; for he saw the provision of God for them.

They say: Seeing is believing. And for Elisha, he already “saw” by faith that the Syrian army that was around the city, was surrounded themselves!
The Syrian army was in more trouble then they were!

But the servant of Elisha needed a little more “sight”. He needed to get his eyes off the enemy, and onto the Lord’s army.

2 Kings 6:17 “Elisha prayed, and said, Lord I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses, and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

With that much help around them, they could have walked right through the army, or had them destroyed.
But God’s ways of dealing with people are different than ours.

Elisha, instead, prayed that the army of the Syrians would become blind.
And they were.

Then he led them to the city of Samaria, where Israel’s king and army had them completely surrounded.

Then he told the king to feed them, and send them back to their king. And it saved Israel, for a while.

2 Kings 6:22-23. “And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
And he prepared provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. “

God’s provision for us is not always horses and chariots of fire.
Sometimes He provides natural ways of deliverance.
But however He gives us His provision, we need to “see” it, and use it.

Elisha prayed, and sight was given to his servant.
We need to pray and ask God to give us sight, to see what He will provide.

Are you in trouble? In distress? Or just afraid?
Look to Jesus, and seek His provision for you. Whether simple, natural help is sent. Or heavenly help is sent. He will be found of all those who really seek Him.

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Man with the Withered Hand.

Matthew 12:9-10 “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
And behold, there was a man who had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? That they might accuse him.”

Jesus had been on a teaching tour through the cities of Israel. And now he was come to their synagogue.

The Pharisees had laid a trap for him, in the appearance of a man with a withered hand.

To have a deformity in Israel, was to be disgraced, for it meant that sin was somewhere in the family of the person. This man had sinned, or someone in his family had sinned, and he was being punished for it.

So the Pharisees asked a question, that they thought was pretty straight forward.
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
The Sabbath was the day of rest. A day which should be spent in contemplating God, and His Word. A day of fellowship with others of His people.

They were to do no work on the Sabbath, or it would be defiled.
But what is work, and what is mercy?
Jesus points out the difference.

Matthew 12:11-12 “And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
How much then is a man better that a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”

Would you save you one sheep? Your only sheep? Are you not commanded in the ceremonial law, to save a sheep, even of your neighbors? (Deuteronomy 22:4)
This is interesting. Jesus does not say one out of a hundred. Or a thousand.
But one.
That is exactly the way He feels about us. If He only came to save one, He would have.
We are that one. The man with the withered hand was that one; and He would save us, and He would save him.

So His question to the Pharisees was really: would you, save the one sheep you own; would you save your livelihood?   Or the livelihood of your neighbor?
The answer He gave; of course you would.
Therefore, since you would save your one sheep on the sabbath, I will save this one man on the sabbath.

Also notice, the way He talked of the sheep: “if it fall into a pit”. Are we not also ready to fall into a pit, without His Salvation?

Christ’s answer was God’s Character. The Sabbath was made for man to have rest with His God. It is lawful, then, to do well on the sabbath days.

Matthew 12:13 “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”

This man may have been a tool of the Pharisees to use against Jesus, but heard enough to know that the mercy of God was being extended to him.
But it would cost him something.
It would cost him embarrassment.(And how many of us would be stopped right here?)
He would have to show his deformity for all to see.

It would also cost him the company of these people. For to be obedient, would show that he believed Jesus. This was dangerous, as these people were influential.

So, here is the choice: Jesus, and God’s mercy; or his normal existence, but accepted by the religious rulers.
Which would he do?
“And he stretched it forth.”
His choice was Jesus, and obedience. For it, he was healed.

But Jesus was also offering mercy to all those in the synagogue: including those Pharisees. But they refused to believe Him.

Matthew 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”
Their choice was to keep the life and influence they had; not to yield to the mercy offered.
How much they lost by their choice!

Jesus talked of saving the “one sheep”, because each of us are that one sheep.
He came to save us: from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and one day from the presence of sin.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Widow of Nain

Luke 7:11-12 “And it came to pass the day after, that he(Jesus) went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city were with her.”

There are several things to mention concerning this miracle.
1.The man was dead. He was in a coffin (bier), going to be buried.
2.Jesus knew that he was the only son of this woman, and that she was a widow. Widows were cast off people, at this time, unless they were rich. They were dependent on their sons to care for them; take them into their homes, or provide for them. There was no government assistance. No social services, nothing but family for her to rely upon. Without this son, she would be destitute.
3.It was Jesus’ compassion that caused Him to raise her son; not her request, or the request of the many people that were with her.
4. He spoke first, to the widow, “Weep not”. A comforting command, which stressed that He would do something about her grief. Luke 7:13 “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.”
5.Though He touched the coffin, He simply spoke to the son, to raise him from the dead. Luke 7:14-15 “And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.”
6.Jesus raised him for his mother’s sake; and returned him to his mother, when the son sat up and began to speak.

In all of this, it is not what others did:
Their names were not told.
Whether the mother spoke, or what the son said when he was raised up, is not told.

Nothing is important here, but what Jesus did, and said.

Jesus raised a son, because of his compassion for the mother.
Compassion here means tender mercy.

Jesus spoke first to the mother: a command and a comfort. “Weep not”, but believe on Me. “Weep not”, for I will restore your son.

It is Jesus’s heart that is shown here; His mercy endures forever.
And He will show it to us, as well.

 

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

GOD

The Bible is God’s revelation to us, and it states very plainly…

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

“In the beginning God…”
All our beginnings must be traced back to God.

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

This traces all things back to His pleasure and purpose.
“Pleasure” here means His determination.
His purpose is His Will or Plan for each of us.
His determination is His setting all things in order to bring to pass what He wills for us.

How can that be, you say, for we are in a big mess? O.K., we know we got here ourselves, by our own willful choice; so how can His determination be seen?
Shouldn’t He have kept me out of this mess?

Simply, He let you slide into that mess. To show you what your way produces; to produce in you that repentance which is not repented of. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Didn’t He warn you by His Holy Spirit?
Since you know it was of your own will, hasn’t He provided you light?
Light, which you refused, then; but maybe will listen to now?

Well, here the Word of the Lord, and what He said to Israel, before they were removed for a time from the land God gave them:

Jeremiah 4:10, 18 “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.”
(God promised them peace and security, if they put away their idolatry, and returned to Him; but they did not. Oh, they never stopped pretending to worship God in His temple, but they refused to wholly follow the Lord.). So the Lord said to them:
“Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.”

He plainly told them, through Jeremiah, that their sins were bringing these troubles on them.
Would they hear?

Jeremiah 2:19, 3:22. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear in not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.
“Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding. Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God.”

His determination for us is to share in His fellowship, and power and glory.
But we often refuse, for something the world tells us is better.

So, the Lord also determines to let us feel the bitterness of our sin, to make us see that what we had with Him is so much better than what the world offers. To make us want to return to the Lord.
When we do, we see the goodness and sweetness of His forgiveness, and renewed joy.

Let us talk about the prodigal son:
Luke 15:11-13 “And he (Jesus) said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said unto his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth unto me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”

Jesus tells this parable about a man with two sons. His sons are grown and the younger one wants to get away from the duty of the farm, and go and “have some fun”.
The Father (who is our Father God) takes His goods and divides it between these two sons (which represents all of God’s children; there are two groups).
Now in the days Jesus speaks of, the elder son would have gotten a two thirds portion; and the younger, the rest.
The determination of the Father for His sons, is that they labor with Him in the fields and with the sheep, and be blessed with all that He is (His power) and all that will be produced (His abundant life).

But the will of the younger yearns after the world’s “good time”.
So the outcome is that the younger leaves, as soon as he turns his portion into usable cash.
And, for a while he has just what he thinks, out in the world.
But he spends all his money, and just about that time, his “good time” and all the friends he has gotten through his money; runs out.

Now I will mention here that the “portion” of every Christian is his will.
If he wills, the child of God, can spend his days in sweet fellowship and good works, with God.
But often our wills seek another “sweetness”.
We may run after the world’s goods, and for awhile rejoice in them.
But there will come a day, if we are true Christians, that the will for these things, “runs out”; or becomes aware of it’s poverty. It will wake up, and realize that it has nothing. A barrenness comes into the soul of such a Christian, and there is a famine–a mighty famine. (Amos 8:11)
Luke 15:14 “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”

So what does he do?
Luke 15:15-16 “And went an joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would have vain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

Now here is a great lesson: he leaves home so he does not have to labor in the fields, or feed sheep; and he ends up in a field, feeding pigs.

But because he is a true Christian, the Holy Spirit never leaves him. And though no man gives to him, yet he is called back home by a voice inside himself which calls, “Return”.

Luke 15:17-19 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go unto my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

But he was not going to return and demand anything from his Father, no.
He was going to come and seek forgiveness, and try and get just a simple servants place in his Father’s house.
And he did; and confessed to his Father.

But his Father sees things differently:
Luke 15:20, 22-24 “…But when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
But the Father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

When we return to Him, the Lord always returns to us; more than we ever expected.

God’s determination for us, His children, is that we fellowship with Him, and enter into His work, bringing blessing and glory to Him; which He always shares with us.

But when we refuse to obey; He often lets us go our “own way”; still calling by the Holy Spirit within to return.
He will let us taste the bitter “husks the swine” eat; till we come and be reconciled to Him.
He is God. He has planned all things for us. And made a way in the wilderness of this world, and a way back, as well.

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

That Thou Mayest

Revelation 3:18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Now it used to be a favorite correction of my Aunt, to tell me which to use: “May I?”
Or “Can I?”
I would say, “Can I go outside, and play?”
She would say, “I don’t know, do you have legs to take you?”
Of course, she would be stressing what was the proper English. I should have said, “May I go outside and play?”

Can, she would say, denotes ability. May, denotes permission or will.

So Jesus Christ says, “That thou mayest”, He means that He will give permission to open up the windows of Heaven and pour us down the blessings He describes here.

All in Heaven are just looking to Him, and waiting for His permission to give abundant manifestations of His power and presence, to each who will “buy of Me (The Lord Jesus Christ)”.
Malachi 3:10. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

We will speak, about each blessing offered and the means to get these “windows of heaven” opened up to us. We will start with the last, first; for this is the beginning of the rest.

Eyes that really see, by the use of eyesalve. Without this, we are still blind; or with blurry eyes, seeing unclearly. And what is this eyesalve we are to use?
It is honesty. If we are to see God as He is; then we MUST see ourselves as we are. They go hand in hand.
As we get honest, and let the Lord search our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9-10), we won’t be losing our way anymore, because we can now see Reality, and Truth.
And anytime truth is faced; grace is given. (Grace is the unmerited favor of power)

John 1:17 “For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
The Lord once said to me: “That if any Laodicean would get a good look at his own heart, he would do something about it immediately.”

White raiment that thou mayest be clothed:
If we are Christians, we must be clothed upon with Christ’s Righteousness.
But Christ is not going to be for me in power and presence, unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me.
We are told to:
Colossians 3:8-10, 12-13 “But now ye also put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications out of your mouth.
Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Put off the old man; put on the new man created in Christ Jesus. All this you must do, that the shame of your nakedness do not appear.

Gold, tried in the fire.
Gold in Scripture speaks of God in my life.
When it says, “tried in the fire”, it means that it has come through the purifying process, and there is no impurities, in the gold. It is pure gold. We are truly “rich” in the Spiritual Blessings of love, joy, peace, long suffering, patience, etc.
Having God in my life is a great blessing.
But pure gold, signifies being filled with the Holy Spirit, by surrendering to Him: giving up my right to rule my life; and yielding my life, moment by moment, to the Holy Spirit’s Presence and Guidance.

I will remind everyone who has continued to read this: this begins with losing our blindness.
The blindness which causes us to see ourselves as “alright” before God.
True, we know, in ourselves, we are not as we should be.
But we are O.K.

To be blind in this verse is “opaque, surrounded with smoke”. To have something covering our eyes that we can not see. And how many “smoke screens” has the devil used to try and come between us and the Truth?
It is mental or physical. (In other words, we can blind ourselves. By our imaginations: pretend to be someone we are not. Or we can blind ourselves by the “things” we choose to love; Physical things.)
It is to inflate with self-conceit, to be high-minded, or lifted up with pride. To be proud.

Pride is what brought down Lucifer to become the devil. (Isaiah 1:12-14)
And the pride of life is what tripped up Eve: “…Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
There is no cure for pride, or blindness; except Truth. Getting honest with God about everything.

Try it; and see if, when you do, the Lord will not open up the windows of heaven and pour you down a blessing.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Pete and Repeat

2 Peter 1:12-13 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:”

Peter is saying that those he writes to, know these truths, and practice them; but he is still going to remind them of the basics.
Why?
Because he remembers his denying Christ three times, even after he had walked three years with Christ, and after he vowed his faithfulness to Him.
Mark 14:29-31 “But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet not I.
And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.”

So, since he failed, he knows that it can happen, even to those who feel that they love the Lord so much, they would never deny Him.

So what are theses basic truths, Peter wanted to repeat?
2 Peter 1:2-4 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Grace and peace are not just greetings; but a real prayer for that grace of God in their lives which influences them to follow on.
And for the peace of God to be their fortress in times of trouble and fear.

He wanted them to obtain these promises. These exceeding great, and precious promises. That they might be partakers of the Divine Nature. But weren’t they? Weren’t they born again?
Yes, but the salvation of God for us, is a living thing. It begins with new birth and goes until we are in heaven, standing before God.
And Divine Nature is just not Christ’s life in our life (that we get at new birth); but His character formed in our character. That takes time; just like the forming of your child’s character takes teaching and discipline.
Salvation is to be:
We are saved from the love of sin: by conviction of the Holy Spirit, which turns the sin you love into a curse in your heart, so you begin to seek a Savior from it.

We are saved from the guilt of sin: by being born again.

We are saved from the power of sin: by the power of the Holy Spirit, delivering us from the influence it has on us. This is to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. (Corruption is to decay, shrivel up. Your heart, which has the Holy Spirit in it, becomes sick. The place you have for Him, becomes smaller. While the place and affections you give the world, grow larger. Lust is not just sexual lust. Lust of anything is inordinate affection for it. Your mind is always occupied with it. Your heart is drawn toward it. And then your steps will go after it; even if the way you do it is wrong.). This we are saved from by the power of the Holy Spirit within.

We are save from the presence of sin: when we are taken to heaven.

These verses cover that journey, promising His presence and power at every step.

And it is “through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord”.
This is, of course, personal, experiential knowledge of Him.
Knowledge through His Word; how important reading the Bible everyday is, for it’s guidance and help.
How can we best know how to pray? Listen to the prayers of those written of here.
Knowledge of what He wants to do for us, today, in the very circumstances we are in; with the very people we are called to be around.
Knowledge of His fearless, powerful, and encouraging Presence. What a blessing it is!
And knowledge of what we need to put aside as we grow in grace, and what we need to cast off.

But behind His promises, is His power, by the Holy Spirit.
We need to yield to this, and obtain these promises in our life; for He is with us and has these for us, if we want them.
Yes, it is a journey which takes time; but we have our lives to learn and develop into Spiritually Mature Christians.
And He accompanies us, never leaving us; and sends down His enabling, so we can go through anything with Him.

 

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Widow of Zarephath:

God had caused a famine, in Israel and the surrounding area. Elijah, God’s Prophet, had been fed with bread by ravens, next to a stream of water; during part of the famine. But now the water had dried up, for there had been no rain.
Yet God would not forsake His Prophet. And Elijah was told what to do next.

1 Kings 17:9 “Arise, get to Zarephath, which belongeth to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”

Let us take a look at this command.
First, God said it; and is He not able to deliver? Of course!
So Elijah goes to the next country over, Sidon; and to the city of Zarephath.

At the command of God (What else made this woman gather sticks at just this time) a widow was at the gate, preparing for her, and her family’s last meal.

Seeing her, Elijah asks for her to get him a small drink of water. Even in her extremity, she was courteous, and was going to go to get it.

Then Elijah, understanding that this was the woman to whom he had been sent, asks her another favor.
1 Kings 17:11 “And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand.”

This stranger would have seemed very presumptuous, in my way of thinking. After all, wasn’t I being nice enough to get him a drink?
But remember: “I have commanded”. This was a test to see if indeed this was the woman.

1 Kings 17:12 “And she said, As the Lord, thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
She was not rude.
She just told this man the truth. But notice; she recognized him as an Israelite; and a Godly one; since she said, “As the Lord, thy God liveth”.

Convinced that this was the woman to whom he was sent, Elijah gave a command, and a promise to her.

1 Kings 17:13-14 “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”

She was to feed him first. This, again, may seem presumptuous, but how else would he have known if she believed the Lord’s Word? If she had made three cakes, one for her son, one for him, and one for her….that would have been generous, but unbelieving. It would have been the wait and see attitude. Maybe you’re right, maybe not; here is what we have, we all eat, and see.

But she was to believe God, and make him a cake, and see him eat it; and return and make cakes for herself and her son.

Amazing God we have, who can move a heart, any heart, to truly believe enough to obey.

1 Kings 17:15-16 “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”

God’s Word is always true. Our believing enough to obey, is often the problem.

It was the same, when the Lord Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth. They refused to believe His clear message, that He was the Messiah. In His rebuke of their unbelief….the wait and see attitude; Jesus then speaks of this widow.

Luke 4:24-26 “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
but unto none of them was Elijah sent, save unto Zarephath a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.”

Our belief is always recognized, and honored by God.
God’s power works within us, as well as through us; if we trust and obey.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Being made Conformable

Philippians 3:10-12 ” That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, neither were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that which I am also apprehended of Christ Jesus.”

“Being made conformable”
To be made “conformable” is to be made pliable in the Lord’s hands.
Yielding to the Holy Spirit’s impressions.
This something Paul had to learn, as he says here; and we have to learn.

The Holy Spirit does not ZAP us with some power which is apart from Himself.
But He fills us with Himself, and His grace (the unmerited favor of power) as we yield.

Yield in scripture is to give in, to submit, to bow our hearts, to Him.

One of the greatest Victories of the Holy Spirit in our life, is that we are made useable.
God can never use the natural man, and bless him as He wants, for the natural man is at enmity with Him.
Romans 8:7″ Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

The natural man won’t yield to God’s authority, except in lip service to make himself look good.
So God gives us a new nature. It is His nature implanted within us by the Holy Spirit, when we are born again.
We must yield to the new nature instead of yielding to the old habits, ways, and attitudes, in any given circumstance.
Our adversary, the devil, fights against the new nature, and uses tricks to get us to be unthankful, or discontent with the way the Lord is leading us.
To quench the Holy Spirit’s help by distrust, and worry.

Often we do not realize the subtlety of this weapon; or the extent to which it ruins our peace.
It appears quite reasonable: “You don’t really want to do that, now, do you?”
“Think of what everyone is going to think about you!”
Or, “How rude people are!”

But, Paul says he learned to be “conformable” to the Holy Spirit, in his life’s situations. And we can be, too.

We are not all the same. Some yield easily in this, but not that. And some are just the opposite.
But if you stay at this yielding, He will make you conformable in every situation which comes up.
You will know His Will and the power to do it will come, because you will do His Will.

This is true freedom. Freedom to be what we ought to be.

Resurrection Power:
Ephesians 1:18-20 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”

There are three things promised us:
That our understanding would be enlightened or given light to see His Will, and how we are to do it.

That we may have the confident expectation that God will do what He says where our calling is concerned. That we may know the true riches we have in Christ Jesus, and since they are our inheritance; we may get them into us here, and now.

That we may, by the knowledge of experience, have that same power working in us, by which God raised Christ from the dead.

Philippians 3:12 “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”

Paul is saying that he had not attained or become complete in Christ Jesus, yet; but that he followed after Christ, so that he could have in present possession all that Christ had for him. (That is what “apprehend” means)
Because he was Christ’s present possession; he belonged to Christ.
The Lord had empowered him, and would empower him; so he chose to follow on after the Lord, till he had fulfilled the calling Christ gave him.

Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

This all begins with us knowing Christ Jesus.
We may know Him a little, or a lot; but there is always something more to learn about our Lord.
He calls us to follow Him.