Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

The Power of Praise

August 22, 2016

I think that I have always enjoyed singing.  Then, shortly after graduation, I was asked to play percussion on the worship team at church.

I was hooked.

I love to worship using my instruments.   (drums and percussion)  Then a few years back I tried singing while playing.

I love it.  It is also very biblical.

I.  Sing

Psalms 95:1-3

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

Life is not a musical, but our lives should have more music.  Singing lifts the spirits.  I have seen a little boy who, when he is happy, goes around singing made up songs.  He is happy and he expresses that happiness through song.  Maybe as adults we have become too self conscious, maybe life should be a musical.

Psalms 96:1-4

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

We may sing when we are happy, but singing to the Lord is not about us.  The Lord is great and greatly to be praised.  He deserves our worship.  It is about Him, not us.

Psalms 98:1-6

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

We can sing in church.  We can sing in the car.  We can sing at home.  I would encourage you to incorporate more singing into your life.  Play the radio on Christian stations, buy Christian CDs.  God deserves our worship.

There is a secondary effect.  It does lift our spirits.  After the first service this morning, a lady mentioned to me that it actually seems to detox our spirits.  I liked that and told her that I was going to include it in the second service.  Sometimes our spirits need a cleansing detox.  Spend time in worship and praise.  God deserves it, and it will help us as well.

II.  Give Thanks

Psalms 100:1-4

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

God not only deserves our praise, He deserves our thanks.  When we are feeling good and things are going well it is easy to give God thanks and praise.

Psalms 107:21-22

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Some days it is not so easy.  Sometimes we may feel as if our problems are too great to give God thanks.  On those days we should still offer a sacrifice of praise.  Plus, if we would shift our focus just a little, we would see that even on the worst of days, God has blessed us in many ways.  Remember the old song and “Count Your Blessings”.

Psalms 107:31-32

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

As we are told in I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks in everything.  After all, we are told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good…”

It is always right and fitting that we give God both praise and thanks.

III.  Pray

Psalms 109:1-4

Do not keep silent,
O God of my praise!
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful
Have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without a cause.
In return for my love they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.

This is a dramatic shift from the first two points of this message.

Sometimes people are cruel.  They lie, they hurt us in a whole variety of ways.

Our response should be to pray to the God whom we praise.  He is our deliverer.

Matthew 6:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

It is human nature to hurt those that have hurt us, to reply in kind, with interest.

God has called us to be different.

We are able to be different because of God.  As we spend time in His presence in praise and thanksgiving, we are changed.  We are able to forgive and even to love our enemies, not because it comes naturally, but because we have been changed by the time we have spent in worship of the God who loves us all.

These are the sermon notes from 8/21/16,  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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Hold Fast

July 11, 2016

We prefer to talk about the abundant life that God has for us.  We enjoy the many blessings that we receive.

How do we respond when things don’t go as we would hope?

What do we do in the face of tragedy?

I.  Job

A.  Do What is Right:  Job 1:1

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

This is a good model for us.  We should fear God and shun evil.  We should seek to be blameless and upright.  We know that we cannot be perfect, but we should seek to live as God wants us to live.

Just because we are serving God doesn’t mean that we are exempt from hardship.  In a single day Job suffered the loss of all his great wealth and the tragic death of all ten of his children.  It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

His response has become a classic line.

B.  Response to Loss:  Job 1:20-22

 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

He mourned the loss and worshiped God.  These words were uttered long ago, but they have been repeated by countless other believers who have suffered loss.  If we turn to God, He is able to bring us comfort in times of tragedy.

Some might say, at least he still had his health.  That was the next to go.  He was stricken with painful boils that made him physically miserable.

    C.  Hold Fast:  Job 2:9-10

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

In times of hardship.  Hold fast to your integrity.  Actually, hold fast to your faith in God which is the true source of integrity.

If we are facing the loss of material things or the deterioration of our health we can still trust that God is with us.  He will help us through the difficult times.  A better day is coming.  If not in this life, then in the life to come.

Hold fast.

II.  Endure Hardship:  II Timothy 2:3

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I served in the United States Marine Corps.  I have often said that that experience prepared me better for ministry than my years at Bible college.

Why?

A marine is not allowed to quit when the mission becomes difficult.  It doesn’t matter if you are tired, hot, cold, hurt, or whatever.

Accomplish the mission!

Our devotion to God should be even more of a commitment than a marine’s commitment to his/her duty.  After all, a marine is serving an earthly kingdom, while we serve a heavenly kingdom.

There have been many times when I have been tempted to leave the ministry.  There are far easier ways to make a living.  However, it is the desire of my heart to be faithful to my calling, to accomplish the mission that God has given to me.

Never quit!

It is appropriate to ask ourselves some questions when hardship comes our way.

Is this hardship the consequence of a bad decision, or mistake on my part?  If that is the case, then learn from your mistakes.

Is God trying to get my attention?  Have I been following the direction of God?  God sometimes allows things to go badly for us so that we will get back on track.

If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if we are serving God to the best of our ability, then we can recognize hardships as a test or trial of our faith.  We should hold fast and press on.

III.  Count it all Joy:  James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

God uses the tests and trials of this life to mold us into the people that we are called to be in Christ.  We can rejoice in the knowledge that God is working in us.  The difficulties that we face actually can strengthen our faith and help in our development as Christians.

In addition  to the work that God is doing in us, God can use difficult experiences for His glory.  How we handle bad experiences can sometimes be the very best testimony that we give to unbelievers.

We can also rejoice in the knowledge that even in bad times, God is with us.  We can rejoice in the Lord.  He loves us and will help us.  His grace is sufficient for us.  (II Corinthians 12:9)

So, when we are called upon to suffer hardship;  hold fast to your faith, endure hardship, and count it all joy that God is working both in you and through you.

These are the sermon notes from 7/9/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible. 

 

To Our Fathers

June 20, 2016

I came across this poem that I wrote for Father’s Day back in June of 2000.  I thought that I would share it with you.

 

The job of father is not well defined.

One thing is for sure- it is full time.

Traditional chores of the trash and the yard

of fixing the broken

and of taking charge.

A father’s expected to provide and protect

but nowadays more expectations are met.

A father may help to cook and to clean

and in men’s restrooms changing tables are seen.

A father’s expected to advise and to scold

and then there’s the reason that a child is told

“Just wait, till your father gets home!”.

It’s a mystery at times,

what a dad’s supposed to do.

He may feel inadequate, confused or blue.

So it’s a good thing we’ve a Father above

who can offer us help with His Great Love.

As we turn to God with our fathering skills,

He will help us indeed, as we seek His will.

And so to our fathers on Father’s Day

remember God is our father

and seek to do things His way.

Pastor Curt

June 2000

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Rejoice and Give Thanks

June 2, 2016

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

There’s no discharge on the ground!

When going through Marine Corps boot camp we ran… a lot.  When we ran, we often sang.  The lines written above are an example of some of the things that our drill instructors would call out and that we recruits would repeat.

Oddly enough, I find some wisdom in those words that can be applied to our lives as Christians today.

I Chronicles 16:8-12

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
12 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,

I.  Give Thanks

Being grateful for what we have received is not meant to be simply an annual observance.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, but if that is the only time that we are grateful, then we have an attitude problem.  At any given time, even in difficult, or bad times, we should be able to look around us and count our blessings.  Actually, once we start looking for things to be grateful for, we will be amazed at how many there are in our lives.

We should give thanks to God for his love, our salvation through Jesus Christ, His ongoing presence in our lives, His provision, His protection, His help, and so much more!

God is good to His people.  We should be grateful!

II.  Call Upon His Name

When we do experience problems, we can call upon God to help.  He is “an ever present help”.  (Psalms 46:1)

Knowing that God hears us when we pray, and that He is able to help, brings great comfort in times of difficulty.  We can trust that in any situation that we face, that if we call upon the Lord, He will give us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength that we need to do it.

III.  Make Known

Here at our church we regularly give people an opportunity to share their testimonies of what God has done in their life.  It is good to hear that God is at work both in our lives and through our lives.  God does not work only in the times of the Bible, nor in missions work overseas.  God is at work all the time in the lives of ordinary people.  We should learn to be aware of the hand of God working in our midst.  We should both give God thanks, and make known what He is doing in our lives today.  We share these testimonies, not only in church, but with our friends and family, really, with anyone with whom we are have a conversation.  We should watch for opportunities to share what God has done in our lives.

IV.  Seek the Lord

Our prayer time should be more than bringing a lists of requests to the throne of God.  Yes, it is appropriate to bring our requests before Him, but prayer is meant to be more than that.  We are to seek His presence.  Now, God is present everywhere, so it is not really a matter of trying to find where He is located, it is about having our spiritual eyes, and ears opened, so that we may see and hear Him.  It is about having our heart opened so that we may receive all that He has for us.

I encourage you to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God, to recognize that He is always with us.

V.  Rejoice!

As the people of God, we have much reason to rejoice. Our lives should not be marked by drudgery and struggle, but rather by blessings and glorious victory!  Again, do not mistake the difficulties of this world with final defeat.  Walk in faith!  See the victory that is ahead of us!  Rejoice in the God of our salvation!!

Ain’t no sense in looking down!

Look up!!

These are the sermon notes from 5/29/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The memory verse for this week is I Chronicles 16:8, or if you prefer more of a challenge; 8-10.

Attitude

May 12, 2016

Our memory verse for this week is a verse that all teenagers should be required to know.  Actually, it would be good for adults to review often as well, as it seems to address a common problem.

I.  Do Not Complain Philippians 2:14*

Do all things without complaining and disputing,

As I read this verse I am reminded of all the times that the children of Israel complained as they were traveling through the wilderness.  God had miraculously brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, provided for their daily needs: yet they complained.

It did not end well for them.

God has brought us out of darkness and into the light of His love.  He watches over us, provides for us , protects us: yet often we complain.

We should learn a lesson from the children of Israel and learn to be content.

Being content, does not mean being complacent.  It is appropriate for us to work to improve the world around us.  It does mean having an attitude that is grateful for what we have received, rather than groaning about what others have that we covet for ourselves.

God is our provider.  We should not be grumbling about His provision.

God is our Lord.  We should not complain or dispute over the tasks that He sets before us.

II.  Rejoice!  Philippians 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

Whatever our circumstances may be, whatever tasks we may be called upon to do, we can rejoice in the knowledge of God’s love for us.

I am reminded about when the disciples came back from their assignment to go out in pairs and preach the gospel.  When they came back together they were excited about the demons being subject to them.  Jesus told them instead to be glad that their names were written in heaven.  (Luke  10:1-19)  We too, can rejoice that our names are written in heaven.

At any given time we can look around us and see both good and evil.  We should focus on the good.  That will make it much easier to rejoice.

Philippians 4: 8

 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

III.  Press On: Philippians 3:12=14

 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I have participated in five 24 hour runs.  One year I completed 30 miles and quit, one year I completed 50 miles and quit, two years I completed a little over 63 miles and quit.  Only one year did I stay at the track for the full 24 hours.  That year I completed 77.45 miles.  That is the only year that I feel I actually completed the race.

In our Christian walk, we should not quit early.   There is no retirement.  God has a plan and a purpose for us for as long as we are on this earth.  It is fine to fondly remember the things that God has done in the past, but let us press on to see what God has for us today.

II Timothy 4:7-8

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Our attitude can really make a difference in our lives.  Let us not complain, but rather rejoice, as we press on to finish the race.

These are the sermon notes from 5/1/16.  All scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

The Heart of the Matter

April 18, 2016

I teach philosophy courses at a community college.  One of the courses that I teach is a course on ethics.  Ethical theory can have different areas of focus.  They can focus on the action.  Some people think that Christianity has this focus.  Do not kill.  Do not steal.  Do not commit adultery, and so forth.  Another focus of ethical theory is the consequences.  “The end justifies the means”  is an example of this type of thinking.  This approach is much harder to reconcile with Christian thought, although it is quite popular in contemporary society.   A third focus is to focus on the individual;  their thoughts, motives and character.

Which approach does God favor?  I do not think that I want to make a definite conclusion to this question.  I would not want to wrongly represent God, but I will make a suggestion and offer some support.

I. God Sees the Heart:  I Samuel 16:6-7

Before we read these verses we should know the background.  Samuel was a prophet who served as the last judge over all Israel.  When he was old the people asked for him to appoint a king.  God directed Samuel to anoint Saul king of Israel.  Saul proved himself to be unfaithful by not being obedient to the commands of God.  God decided to remove him from being king and told Samuel to anoint a new person to be king.

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I believe that God is most concerned with what is in our hearts.  We can exercise self control and act in the right way, at least temporarily, if we have sufficient motivation.  However, God is not fooled by actions that are not heartfelt. We are called to love God and to love our neighbor.  That is first and foremost, an attitude of the heart .

II.  Out of the Heart:  Luke 6:43-45

 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

We should seek to be filled with the things of God.  We are spiritual beings in a physical body.  We need to feed the body to meet the physical needs.  We need to feed our spirit to meet our spiritual needs.  We should be spending time in prayer, in the Word, and in fellowship with other believers so that our spirit is well fed and full.  Then we will be able to bring forth good things from our hearts.

III.  No Control:  James 3:8-12

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Some people try to exercise self control and simply do and say the right thing from their own strength.  This will work.  Some of the time.

We cannot always be good in what we say and do in our own strength.  In our flesh we will fall short.  By the Spirit we can be victorious.

IV.  Seasoning:  Colossians 4:6*

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Our words can have an impact.  They can build up or they can tear down.  Let us seek to be people whose words are filled with grace.  The right words, in the right tone, at the right time can be used by God to bring life,hope and peace.

V.  What are You?  Matthew 5:13-16

 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are called to be both salt and light.  I realize that I started this message by talking about the heart and then I moved on to our words and our deeds.  I believe that is how God works in our lives as well.  He starts in our hearts.  When we turn to Him in repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus He sends His Spirit into our hearts giving us a new life.  This new life is then demonstrated through our lives, through our attitudes, words and deeds.  If we are Christians, then Christ dwells in our hearts, if Christ is in our hearts He should show forth in our lives.

If we are experiencing difficulties, we should not focus on the external symptoms, but on the internal relationship.  Draw close to God and our lives will bear the fruit of righteousness.

These are the sermon notes from 4/17/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 

 

Walk Humbly With God

October 22, 2015

I have recently been reading in the minor prophets.  I believe that they have some wonderful life lessons for us.

I.  Warning!  Jonah 3:4,5&10

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah proclaims a warning to the people of Nineveh of coming judgement.  The people believe the message and repent.  Their repentance is sincere.  It is demonstrated by their actions.  God sees the genuine nature of their repentance and forgives them.

Do we as the people of God respond as well?  When we are confronted with sin, do we believe and repent; or do we argue and make excuses?

II.  Live By Faith:  Habakkuk 2:4

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

Pride is a common sin that may not be easily recognized.  We need to guard against pride in our lives.

What does it mean to live by faith?  Paul quotes this verse in Romans 1:16-17.  Then Martin Luther used these verses to start a reformation movement that profoundly changed the church.

In my own life, I think of living by faith to mean that I will seek to know God, worship God and to serve God.  Ultimately, this is all done by faith because we must believe in the message that He has given us in the Bible, and also the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit.  “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7)

III.  Walk With God:  Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

When I was a young man torn between two Christian traditions: one, a part of the holiness movement, with its’ emphasis on rules for holy living; and the other a tradition marked by an emphasis on grace; these verses brought me comfort and direction.

I was to do justly.  I understood that to mean to do what is right in my relationships with others, with God, and with the environment.

I was to love mercy.  I appreciated that God was merciful to me.  I was to be merciful to others.  That means that as God forgives me, I was to forgive others.

I was to walk humbly with God.  This is my favorite.  I am not alone.  God is always with me.  We do not have to think too much of ourselves, but we can think much of the presence of God in our lives.

My hope and my prayer is that we will receive the Word of God in faith and repentance, that we will learn what it means to walk in faith, humbly with our God.

These are the sermon notes from 10/11/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Things We Should Know

September 28, 2015

There are some things that we know, or should know, as Christians that we really ought to share with anyone who will listen.

I.  Lack of Knowledge:  Hosea 4:1 & 6

Hear the word of the Lord,
You children of Israel,
For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:

“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

There are some simple, powerful truths in the Bible that Christians should know and share.  Without that knowledge people perish.  Their lives are sorely diminished.

II.   God Loves You:  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The first thing that we need to know and share is that God loves us.  All of us.  Everyone.  He has offered us forgiveness of sins and a new eternal life through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.  We are simply called to believe this good news.

III.  Pursue Knowledge:  Hosea 6:3

Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

As we pursue the knowledge of God there is a wonderful truth that we can grasp and hold on to.  God has a plan for us...and it is a good one.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The person who has given their life over to God has a future and a hope.  Whatever circumstances come our way God can give us wisdom and strength.  Wisdom to know what to do.  Strength to do it.  God will help us with the challenges of this life.  Even if this life is rough, we have a hope of an eternity with Him in heaven.

IV.  Mercy

In Hosea 4:1, already quoted above, the absence of mercy contributes to the problem.  Mercy is when we are not given the punishment that we deserve.  As Christians we are called upon to forgive those who have wronged us.  We even pray “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”  Forgiveness is a very important part of who we are as believers.   We are both forgiven and forgiving.

V.  Things Will Work Out:  Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

We are not God.  We are not capable of seeing things from His perspective.  Even when we cannot understand, we can trust.  All things will work out for good for those who believe.  We may not be able to see how they work out in this life, but once we have an eternal perspective we may understand.  For those who do not believe, their ultimate end, unfortunately, is destruction and torment.  It does not work out so well for them.

These basic truths are very important to Christians.  We should be aware of them ourselves, and we should share them with others.  These truths offer us, and all who would believe, a hope that is unshakable.

Hope can really make a difference.

God makes a difference.

These are the sermon notes from 9/13/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Great Peace

May 28, 2015

One of our greatest assets as Christians is the peace of God that brings us through the turmoil of life.

I.  Psalms 119:165

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

The peace that God has for His people is something that this world cannot given, nor understand, nor take away.  It is not an absence of external turmoil or conflict.  It is an inner peace that allows us to face the storms of life unruffled.

This peace comes from time spent in the Word of God.  The Word of God, together with the Spirit of God, transform the people of God.  We should read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and above all, be obedient to it.

To stumble is to trip up, to almost fall.  People who are grounded in the Word will live stable Christian lives.

The King James version of the Bible says “And nothing will offend them.” for the second portion of verse 165.  Christians who are solidly grounded in the Word will not be offended by the actions of others.  We will have compassion on them, even when they are doing offensive things.

II.  John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This verse has been one of my favorites since my teenage years.  It has given me a peace within that comes from a confidence in what God can do in our lives.

We will have tribulation.  We will have problems, tests, and trials.  We can be confident that God will see us through those problems.  We can trust that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.  We are not alone.  God is with us.  It may be that we must look at our situations from an eternal perspective, because sometimes things don’t work out for us in this life.  That doesn’t meant that we are defeated.

We have the Spirit of Christ as our source of strength.  Jesus overcame the world.  Now, we too, are more than conquerors.

III.  II Timothy 3:1-5

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Whenever I read this portion of scripture I am amazed at how many of these traits are in evidence in the world today.  I believe that perilous times have come and we should guard our hearts against the corruption that is in the world.

In all of this, we may be at peace.  As our world descends into chaos, we can know that God is still on the throne.  We should continue to seek to do what is right in the eyes of God.  We should work to solve problems and to make the world in which we now live a better place, but we must realize that our true home is not in this world.

IV.  Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We cannot be at peace and be worried at the same time.  We should not worry.  Anything that we are anxious about we can bring to God and leave in His hands.  He loves us, hears us, and is able to help us.

We can be at peace in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 5/24/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them. 

Rejoice Always

February 23, 2015

I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always!”  There are times in life when this is  easy and times when it is not.

I.  Rejoice in Blessings:  I Chronicles 19:16

 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”

Everything that we have has come from God.  We may think that our own abilities and hard work have earned us the material things that we possess, but who gave us the abilities?  Who gave us the opportunities?  Who helped the results of our efforts to be favorable?  It is appropriate to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to us.  When things are going well it is easy to rejoice.

II.  Rejoice in Trials:  II Thessalonians 1:4-7

 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

God is with us even in our times of trial.  We are not alone.  God will give us wisdom and strength to endure the times of trials.  We can rejoice that we do not face our trials alone.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

We can rest assured that the wicked will be punished.  We do not rejoice in their destruction.  We pray for them to repent, but there is a sense of justice in knowing that the wicked who have not repented, will be punished.

The faithful will be rewarded.  If not in this life, then in the next.

III.  Rejoice in Death:

Luke 10: 20: 

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

As Christians we can rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Our lives on this earth may be difficult at times but we have a hope that goes beyond this world.  Our true reward is in the life to come.

We do not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.  Rather we warn them of the judgement to come upon those who do not repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  We rejoice along with the angels in heaven whenever a person turns from their sins and finds salvation in Jesus Christ.

To rejoice always seems like a difficult challenge, but when we think about it we realize that in times of blessing, in times of trial and even in death, we have reason to rejoice.  For in life, and in death, God is with us.

These are the sermon notes from 2/15/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.