Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

Be Rich in God

August 4, 2018

As Christians we may, or may not, be blessed with an abundance of material blessings.  We will have, however, blessings that this world may not comprehend.

I.  The Blessing of the Lord:  Numbers 6:22-26

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

There are three components to this blessing.  God blesses us by providing for our material needs.  He gives us abilities and opportunities and helps our labor to be fruitful.  God also keeps us from harm.   Some times we are acutely aware of His protection, but there are doubtless many times that we are blissfully unaware of the dangers that we avoid because of the protection of God.

The third part of this blessing is the most important.  The first two are represented by the simple words ‘bless’ and ‘keep’.  The last portion is given in verses 25 & 26.  It has to do with the presence of God is our lives.

There is nothing greater than having an awareness of God’s presence.  He is with us not only in church gatherings, or in times in the beauty of nature.  God is with us always.  He is with us in traffic, while shopping, during the workday, indeed all throughout every day.  But are we aware of His presence?  Do we turn our eyes towards Him?  Can we hear His voice, sense His presence?

The fledgling nation of Israel had been brought out of Egypt by the power of God.  They had a visible symbol of His presence with them in the column of smoke by day, and the pillar of fire by night.  They saw miraculous provision and protection over and over.

Yet they did not appreciate what they had been given.

II.  Not Enough:  Numbers 11:1

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.

They had been complaining because the manna that God provided each day became tiresome.  They missed the food that they had in Egypt, never mind that they had been slaves.  God had promised them a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’.  They were unhappy with what God had provided for them while on the journey.

III.  Consequences:  Psalms 106:15

And He gave them their request,
But sent leanness into their soul.

This is a sad commentary on the consequences of that day.  God provided huge flocks of birds for them to have to eat, but sent ‘leanness into their soul’.  They did not appreciate the special relationship that they had been given by God.

They did not appreciate what God had done for them.

IV.  The Moral of the Story:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

We too, are on a journey to a promised land.  Our promised land is heaven.  We have been given the promise that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, but that He will be with us always.  God provides for us and protects us and has given us of His Holy Spirit.

Yet sometimes we do not appreciate what we have been given.

We want more.

We want something different.

We fail to realize that the greatest gift that God has given to us is the ability that we have to live in relationship with Him.

May appreciate what we have been given.

May we seek more….of God in our lives.

May we always place God first in our lives.

 

These are the sermon notes from 7/29/18.  All quotations are 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. 

 

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A Good Example

June 15, 2016

Some Christians only read the New Testament.  That is a mistake.  There are many wonderful stories and truths revealed to us in the pages of the Old Testament.  Today’s message comes from the book of II Chronicles.  It is a portion of the story of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah.

II Chronicles 17:3-6

 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

I.  Our Choice

King Jehoshaphat made the right choice.  He chose to seek God rather than Baal.  Obviously, God is not lost, but sometimes our ability to see Him is hindered by the things of this world.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us

 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

We seek God through prayer and by reading His revealed word, the Bible.  These activities should be a part of our daily lives.

KIng Jehoshaphat also walked in His commandments.  His faith in God was not dead, but produced a life of obedience to God.  James 2: 17-18 tells us:

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If we are spending time in God’s presence and in God’s Word, there should be a change taking place in our lives.  We should become more and more the people that we are supposed to be.

It is always still a choice, but we can choose to seek God, and we can choose to do what is right in His eyes.

II.  Our Reward

King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed by God.  God will bless those who serve Him.  This blessing may come in various forms.  It is not meant to be a means of getting rich, but rather a means of appreciating what is truly important in this life.

Psalms 37:16-17

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that our greatest reward is yet to come.  As believers we have an eternity in heaven waiting for us.  Even if we received nothing in this life, the promise of the life to come is great reward.

III.  Our Delight

Even though King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed, his true delight was in the Lord.  If our true delight is in God, no one can take that from us.

As the king continued to mature, he continued to look for ways to please God.  We too, as we mature in the Lord should look more closely at our lives and remove those things that might be displeasing to God.

I conclude today’s message with a longer quote from Psalms 37.

Psalms 37:1-11

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are the sermon notes from 6/12/16.  The Bible quotes are 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.

Blessed or Cursed?

August 1, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 7/28/13.

I.  Blessing or Curse:  Deuteronomy 11:26-28

 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.

Over and over throughout scripture we are presented with a choice of action.  We can choose to follow God, or reject God. Here, we are told plainly that to obey God brings blessings, to be disobedient brings a curse.  First, we need to know what commandments God wants us to obey.  We recognize that we are no longer expected to follow the Mosaic law, so what commandments are we to obey?  This question is answered by careful, consistent reading of God’s Word.  Secondly, we must believe that God is sincere about the promise of blessing and the threat of a curse.  Although these words were spoken to the children of Israel long ago, as the people of God today, we can claim these words for ourselves.  Finally, once we have identified the commands we are to obey, and believed the promise of God, we must actually live out our lives in obedience.  This does not mean that we will not have any problems.  There will still be the tests and trials of our faith that are a normal part of the Christian experience.  However, even in the midst of the storms of life.  we will be able to recognize in our lives the presence of the blessings of God.

II.  Beware!  Deuteronomy 17:14-20

“When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

Solomon should have heeded this warning.  He multiplied horses, wives, and gold; and in the end his heart was turned away from God.

Today, we do not need to be concerned about multiplying horses, but we do need to be concerned about an unhealthy pursuit of power.  Many people today desire to be powerful, whether it is in business, politics, or even in the church.  We should be careful about the pursuit of power.  We are called to be servants, not to acquire them.

We cannot legally multiply wives today, at least not in most countries, but there is a major problem with sex.  Premarital sex, adultery, homosexual activity, pornography, and divorce are prevalent in our culture.  Christians are called to purity.  Sex is meant to be shared between a husband and wife, meaning a man and a woman, joined together in holy matrimony until death do they part.

We may not trade in gold and silver, but certainly the desire to be rich has not changed.  We are warned that the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” but do we take it to heart?  Or do we continue to feverishly pursue the almighty dollar?  We need to be careful to have the right attitude towards wealth.

We need to guard against pride.  Sometimes Christians develop an attitude of self-righteousness.  This is extremely bad.  We must never forget that we can only become the children of God, by the grace of God.

III.  The Law

In the verses we have read from Deuteronomy 17 we are told that the king was to write a copy of the law, and to read it daily.  It is not necessary for us to make a hand-written copy. (Although that might be a truly wonderful experience!)  We should, however, read from the Word daily.  We should continue to respect God and to be obedient to His Word.

We are faced with a choice.  We should choose to live our lives according to God’s Word and receive the blessings He has for us.

The Best Gift Ever

December 27, 2012

These are the sermon notes from 12/23/12.

We probably all have gifts that we have received in the past that stand out from all the other gifts that we have received.  God himself, has given us the very best gift.

I.  Make the Right Choice Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

It is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of material things.  Material things, however, will not satisfy the longing in our soul.  We have been created to live in a relationship with God and unless that relationship is healthy, we will not be content.  We must remember to “seek first, the kingdom of God”.

II.  Restoration Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

God offers us forgiveness for our sins.  He longs for us to return to Him.  Remember the story of the prodigal son.  God, our heavenly father, is waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him.

III.  The Word Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Once we have been restored in our relationship with God we need to make spending time in the Bible a priority in our lives.   God’s Word will have a lasting, favorable impact on our lives.

IV.  Blessings Isaiah 55:12-13

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

As we live our lives in a relationship with God we will experience the blessings of the Lord.  These blessings come in a whole variety of different forms, but we can be assured that God is good to His people.

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  That is the best gift ever!

A New Ride

April 15, 2010

Since last summer, I have been doing triathlon training.  That means that twice a week I do a combination swim, bike, and run.  It has been going fairly well, and it has helped to lower my cholesterol to acceptable levels.

The bicycle that I have been using is a Schwinn Traveler, manufactured, I think, in the seventies.  I bought it at a garage sale for five dollars, six or seven years ago.  It works fine as far as I am concerned.

A friend of mine, who works at the gym, is an avid bicycle rider.  He has been telling me from the beginning that I needed a better bike.  I would laugh and tell him that mine worked fine, he could look for one for me, but it would have to be in my budget, which was very low.

Yesterday, as I am doing my weight routine, he comes in with a name and a number for me to call.  He thinks that he has found a bike for me.  It is listed for forty dollars, which is within my budget.  I called the man,and went to look at the bike.  As I am looking at the bike, the man tells me that he had bought it at a garage sale and that he just didn’t like it.  He must have thought that I was hesitating, because he offered to take thirty dollars for it.

Sold.

The bike is a Trekker 520.  I brought it back to show my friend from the gym, who informed me that I do not realize how good a bike I have just bought. He has helped people look for things before, but this is the best deal he’s found for someone.  I laughingly asked him how many pastors he has previously helped.  

He is right about me not yet truly appreciating the quality of the bike.  I don’t know very much about them.  He had to tell me how to put air in the tires.  (They are not standard tubes or nozzles.)  I will take it for a ride a little later this morning.  

I thank God that I have been blessed with a great bike for my new ride.