Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Words For Life

June 8, 2015

The book of Proverbs is filled with short sayings filled with wisdom for godly living.  In today’s message I have selected seven to share with you.

I.  On Alcohol:  Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker,
Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

We all can think of examples where lives have been destroyed by alcohol: the drunk driver who kills someone, the alcoholic that loses everything important to them,  An individual who makes a mistake while under the influence that has lifelong consequences. No one drinks intending to make life destroying actions.   The best way to avoid these types of problems is to abstain from alcohol.  Perhaps you will have no problem with alcohol, but what about others who seek to follow your example, but who fail to walk the line of moderation?  We are not to set a stumbling block in the path of others.  If we practice abstinence, no one following our example will be led astray by alcohol.

Drinking alcohol is like playing with fire.  Abstinence is the better choice.

II.  Pleasure:  Proverbs 21:17

He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

This verse reminds me of the warning in II Timothy 3:4 that talks about people who are “lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God”.  God has given us many wonderful gifts, but we need to be careful not to let the gifts take the place of the giver.  God is to be more important to us than material things.  If the things of this world take the place of God in our life, then even if we are rich, we are truly poor.

III.  Overwork:  Proverbs 23:4

Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!

The Bible talks about the importance of hard work.  Here we are warned against overwork.  Some of us have a tendency to be lazy.  Some of us are inclined to overwork.  We should seek to find a healthy balance.  Without the blessing of God, long hours will be in vain.  With the blessing of God, our efforts can bear fruit.  We should be faithful servants, but we do not have to work ourselves to death.

IV.  Repeating Mistakes:  Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly.

We should learn from our mistakes, not repeat them.  Sadly, I know people who repeat the same mistake over and over again.  I guess that makes them fools.  I don’t like to use such terms for people, but that is what the Bible calls people who repeat their folly.  Let us not be fools.  Let us learn from our mistakes.

V.  The Wounds of a Friend:  Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Our friends may tell us when we have messed up.  We should receive correction humbly, recognizing that they speak out of love for us, not out of hatred.  It may sting for the moment, but we are made better by godly correction.

VI.  Sudden Destruction:  Proverbs 29:1

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

A person will only tolerate so much.  If we are in a relationship with someone and they continue in wrong behavior, there may come a time when we cut them out of our lives.  We see this in human relationships.  Is it true with God?  Is it possible that God will cut us off if we consistently refuse correction?  I certainly would not want to take that chance.  One of the scariest things that I have heard people say is “I know it is wrong, but God will forgive me”.  Premeditated sin, counting on God’s forgiveness, is a very dangerous road to travel.

VII.  Build a Life:  Proverbs 24:3-4

Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

If we would live our lives according to God’s wisdom, it would be good.  Our lives here on earth can be filled with the riches that God has for us.  Those riches may look different from person to person, but for the faithful servant of God, life can be good, and the best is yet to come.

These are the sermon notes from 6/7/15.  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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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. 

The Acceptable, the Good and the Perfect

May 7, 2015

I am a percussionist.  I have played percussion instruments in performance groups and in worship teams for over thirty-five years.   As a percussionist, I have a fairly large collection of instruments.  I have a vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, timpani, congas, bongos, tempo blocks, cowbells, tambourines, a guiro, afuche, claves, various types of shakers, and more.

I played drums and percussion in school.  There was music.  I played what was written.  When I was first asked to play in church, I asked if there was music.  The director laughed, told me no, and that he would teach me to improvise.

Now I hardly ever use written music.

One of the challenges that  a percussionist faces is determining what instrument is going to be the best choice for a particular song, or part of a song.  Personally, I pray that I will be inspired by God’s Spirit to best be in tune with the worship that is taking place.  Paul speaks of singing in the Spirit, my goal is to play in the Spirit.

Last night during the worship service, as I was selecting which instrument to play, it occurred to me that it was a good illustration of our life choices.  In the same way that I have many instruments from which I can choose to play, I also have many ways in which I can spend my time.  In fact, I have far more things that I could do, than I could possibly have time or energy to do.

I could play many instruments and sound decent, but there is only one instrument that would be best.  It is the same in life, the challenge is to select the best thing to do with our time at any given moment.

I am still working on that.

Romans 12: 1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In playing my instruments, I want to be the best that I can be.  In life, my desire is to be in the perfect will of God, not just the good, or the merely acceptable, but the perfect.  I am glad that God accepts me in my imperfection, but I want to be the best that I can be in my service to God, not just as a musician, but in all areas of my life.

I hope that is true for you as well.

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

Created for a Purpose

December 29, 2014

Gideon was one of the judges of Israel.  He had seventy sons by his wives, and one son, named Abimelech, by his concubine.  After the death of Gideon, Abimelech killed all of his brothers except one, named Jotham, who got away.  Jotham later confronted Abimelech with words recorded in the book of Judges.

I.  Our Common Purpose:  Judges 9:8-15

“The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
11 But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
13 But the vine said to them,
‘Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’

Now, I know that this is a prophetic word against Abimelech.  As such, it has a specific purpose for which it was written.  Today, however, I want to focus on something other than the treachery of Abimelech.  I want to talk about the symbolism of trees.

All living trees have some things in common.  They have roots, trunks, branches and leaves.  In the word given to Abimelech, the trees were symbolic of people.  I want to talk about people.  All people are created by God with some common purposes.

1.  We are to love God and people.  Matthew 22:36-40

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

2.  We are to give thanks to God.  I Thessalonians 5:18

 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

3.  We are to do good works.  Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

4.  We are to tell others about Jesus.  I Peter 3:15

 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

5.  We are to pray.  I Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing,

These actions are common to all Christians.  We do not have to ask ourselves if we should do these things.  We should be doing them.

II.  Our Different Gifts:  Romans 12:6-8

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are different types of trees that fulfill different purposes.  There are also different types of people to fulfill different purposes in the kingdom of God. There are many ways that God can use us.  We do not need to try to be something that God has not called and gifted us to be.  We should seek to identify our gifts and use them for the glory of God.

These are the sermon notes from 11/30/14.  Any advertisements that might accompany this post are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

The Ten Commandments

October 30, 2014

The Ten Commandments were given to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.  To this day they provide, not just a code of conduct for a religious group, but a foundation for ethical behavior that has stood for thousands of years.  Today, however, it is being removed not just from our public buildings but from many of our lives.  Today I hope to reinforce the foundation of our code of conduct, The Ten Commandments.

I.  Our Relationship to God:  Deuteronomy 5:6-15

‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

11 ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

The first commandment seems simple enough.  Today, at least in western culture, the God of Abraham is clearly the primary deity that is addressed.  There is more to it however.  Is God our top priority, or is He merely a part of our lives, and a small part at that?  God is meant to be the most important part of our lives.  If anything else is more important to us, then we have set that thing up as a god in our lives.

God is not something of this world.  There can be no image of God because God is a Spirit, not a thing.  Making an image of God would change our idea of the nature of God.  God is eternal.  Material things all have a beginning.  God is an eternal Spirit, not some material, created thing.

Profanity used to be reserved for men in certain trades.  Today profanity is used by men, women and children in all walks of life.  The name of Jesus Christ is used as an exclamation of anger, not just as an expression of praise.  People curse all sorts of things using the name of God.  Even the common expression of surprise or dismay may be represented by the acronym OMG!  Clearly our society has not taken the third commandment very seriously.

We can add a second dimension to this commandment today.  As Christians we have taken upon ourselves the name of Christ.  Are we making a mockery of that holy name by our unholy lives?

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.  We are so busy today.  Many have discarded the practice of a day of rest.  It was meant to be a blessing to us, not a burden, and yet many have rejected that gift.  Our lives are diminished by not observing a day devoted to rest and worship.

II.  Our Relationship to Parents:  Deuteronomy 5:16

 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Our attitude towards authority begins at home.  If we learn to respect and obey our parents it will impact the rest of our lives.  We will respect and obey our teachers.  We will respect and obey our employers.  We will respect and obey the legal authorities.  We will respect and obey God.   We first learn at home that obeying the rules brings reward, being disobedient results in punishment.  That is a lesson that is good all life long.

Parents take care of their children when they are young.  When the parents become old, the children take care of them.  The church and the government only have to help those who do not have family.  This was a basic rule of society for generations.

III.  Our Relationship Towards Others:  Deuteronomy 5:17-21

 ‘You shall not murder.

18 ‘You shall not commit adultery.

19 ‘You shall not steal.

20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

21 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

Our society has distorted the sixth commandment.  They seem to think that to murder and to kill are synonymous.  Killing a human being in self defense, or combat, or executing a criminal are not covered by this commandment.  Of course, Jesus expanded this commandment and told us that we were not to hate our neighbor.  We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Sexual sin is rampant in our society.  God created us as sexual beings, but the only appropriate place for sex is within the bonds of marriage.  The only form of biblical marriage is a man and a woman.

Do not steal is not supposed to cover only things over a certain value.  Taking small items that do not belong to us is still stealing.  Taking things from work is stealing.  Even cheating on our tax returns is stealing.  Not fulfilling a contract is stealing.  Not giving an honest days work for an honest days pay is stealing.

Do not lie.  I once told my class at the college that I do not lie and they laughed at me.  They assumed that statement itself was a lie.  Lying has become a rampant disease in our society to the point that you really don’t know who you can trust to speak the truth.  That is a sad commentary on the state of our country.  How much better would our world be if we could trust people to simply speak the truth?

Do not be jealous of your neighbor, or envious of the things that they have in their life.  Learn to be happy with what you have in your own life.  Covetousness makes us believe that we need some thing to be happy.  All we truly  need to be happy is to be in a right relationship with God.

Deuteronomy 5:29

Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

These are the sermon notes from 10/19/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any  money from them.

 

Building A Storm-Proof Life

September 11, 2014

Have you ever encountered a disaster?  Something that you were trying to accomplish that completely fell apart?  God gives us some basic directions about how we can keep our lives from falling apart.

I.  Bear Good Fruit:  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.

A.  Bear Good Fruit

What is good fruit?  How can we know if our lives are bearing good fruit?  Galatians 5:22-23 tells us about the fruit of the Spirit.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

This is contrasted with the deeds of the flesh found in Galatians 5:19-21.

 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So a rather simple examination of our lives can tell us if the fruit of the Spirit is evident and growing or if we are mired in the deeds of the flesh.  We should seek to weed out the          deeds of the flesh and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit.

B.  From the Heart

The development of the fruit of the Spirit is not something that we seek to force upon the outside.   We should develop a love for God and for people.  This should originate in our relationship with God that originates in our hearts.  This growing relationship with God will do a transformational work within us.  It is change from the inside out, not from the outside in.

II.  A Solid Foundation:  Luke 6:46-49

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

Obeying the commandments of God are the key to building a stable, successful life.  Christians will still encounter the storms of life, but their “house” will stand solid if it is built on the rock of Jesus Christ.

If we have heard, but do not obey, the teaching of Christ, then when the storms come, our lives will fall apart.

III.  Take Up Your Cross:  Luke 9:23-26

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him.  If we seek our own goals and pleasures we will ultimately lose.  We should seek to fulfill God’s plan for our life.  In following God’s plan we will ultimately save our life.  Daily we should say “not my will, but thine be done”.  

IV.  Life:  Luke 9:56

For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

We can trust God with our lives.  He is good to His people.

John 10:10 says:

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

May our lives be given over to God, so that He may do a work in our hearts, transforming us into the people of God.  May our lives bear the fruit of righteousness as we live in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  That is how we can truly live an abundant life in Him, a life that will be storm-proof.

These are the sermon notes from 8/31/14.  Any advertisements that may appear have been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

God is Able

August 25, 2014

The children of Israel had been permitted to leave Egypt.  Then the reality of what effect the loss of all those laborers would be came into focus, and Pharaoh sent the army to bring them back.

I.  Deliverance:  Exodus 15:20-21

Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them:

“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”

When the Egyptian army caught up to Israel, God, whose presence in their midst was seen by a column of smoke went between the Egyptians and the Israelites.  This prevented the Egyptians from pursuing the Israelites.  While  they were delayed by the cloud, God parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through on dry land.  After they were through the sea, the cloud lifted and the Egyptians could see where the Israelites had gone.  They followed the Israelites,  going into the divided waters.  Once they were in the midst of the sea, they began to have problems with their chariots and realized, too late, that they were in trouble.  God allowed the waters to return to their normal place, and the Egyptians were drowned.

Psalms 28:7 tells us:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

If God is our shield, then the only things that are able to get through to us from the outside, is what God allows to come through.  Why is is that bad things happen to us if God is our shield?

One reason is the natural consequences of bad choices.  God has given us free will and that means that we do not always do what God would want us to do.  With freedom comes responsibility, and sometimes the bad things that happen to us are our own fault.  Sometimes God will protect us from our stupidity, and sometimes He does not.

Sometimes God allows bad things to happen to us to test our faith.  It is easy to say that we trust God when everything is wonderful, but can we trust Him when our world is falling apart?

Sometimes God is trying to get our attention.  Perhaps we have not been listening to the still small voice, and God uses trials to get us to refocus our attention on Him.

Sometimes bad things happen because how we handle them can be a testimony to the world of the difference that Christ makes in our lives.

God is our shield.  We can trust Him.  God is able to deliver us.

II.  Provision:  Exodus 15:22-25a

 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.[a] 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

 

God is able to provide.  The Israelites were a large body of people traveling through the wilderness.  God regularly provided manna for them to eat, and water for them to drink.  Their needs were met, yet they frequently grumbled.  They did not trust God to provide for them, and they frequently complained about what God did provide.  

Psalms 37:4 says

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

If we are willing to put God first, then He will provide for us.  If we delight ourselves in Him, then our lives will be filled with the goodness of God.  It is important that we keep God first in our lives.

III.  Obedience:  Exodus 15: 25b-26

There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

If we truly believe that God is God, then we should be obedient to Him.  Yet, even the most avid believers are not always obedient.  We all sin.  We fail the test of obedience.  This does not mean that we completely give up and live a sinful life, but it does demonstrate that we need forgiveness.  We need a savior.  We need Jesus.

Once we have entered a relationship with Jesus.  We are forgiven and God begins the process of cleansing us, making us more like Him.  That is a lifelong process.

God is able to save us.

God is able to change us.

God is able to work both in us, and through us.

God is able.

These are the sermon notes from 8/17/14.  Any advertisement that may appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

God Delivers and Forgives

January 20, 2014

We do not believe in a second-rate god.  Our God is an awesome God who is able to do even more than we ask or think.

I.  God Created:  Psalms 33:6-9

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

There are many people who say that they feel close to God when they are in nature.  Romans tells us that the attributes of God can be seen in the things that He created. (c.f. Romans 1:20)

The Bible begins with the words ” In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  (Genesis 1:1)  For generations, this fact was questioned by very few.  The existence of the natural world was used as a primary argument for the existence of God. The evolutionary theory was the first serious threat to this belief.  Since it was introduced, it has gone from a scandalous, ludicrous idea, to a theory that is widely accepted by the scientific and academic community.  Actually, tremendous pressure is brought upon people to conform to this belief.  However, there is  a return to faith  among many within the scientific community.  Lee Strobel’s book “The Case for a Creator” does a wonderful job of provided current scientific support for belief in a creator.

We can believe what the Bible says.  Our God is able to create the world out of nothing, by a simple spoken phrase.  He is an awesome God.

II.  God Delivers:  Psalms 37:3-8

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.

I am glad that our money still contains the phrase “In God We Trust”.  We regularly need to be reminded that we should not place our trust in our own strength and abilities, or in some organization, or government.  Our trust is well-placed when we trust in God.

We should do what is good, what is right in the sight of God.  It is never right to do wrong, nor wrong to do right.

We should delight ourselves in God.  I love to gather together with other believers and join together in worship of the King of Kings.  The world does not offer anything that compares with entering into the presence of God in worship.

When God is our first love, God gives us the desires of our heart.  First, of course is a sense of His presence in our lives, but God also blesses us in a whole variety of ways with the good gifts of this world.

Commit our ways to God, and He will bring it to pass.  We should not give up on our dreams!  If the dream is given by God, then God will bring it to pass.  God will give us the wisdom and strength to do what He calls us to do.

Rest and wait.  When we have done what we are called to do, we should rest and wait for God to do what only God can do.  If we become impatient and try to speed up the timing of God, we may create problems for ourselves.

Cease from anger.  “The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.”  This is a lifelong challenge for many of us.

Do not fret.  You cannot worry and trust God at the same time.

Trust in God.  He is able to deliver what He has promised.

III.  God Forgives:  Psalms 51:10-13

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

This psalm was written by David after he had committed adultery and murder.  God is willing to forgive us our sins when we turn to Him in repentance and faith.  He will restore our joy and help us to turn from our sins, to be the people He has called us to be.

The change in our lives can then inspire others to turn to God.  As others are drawn to God, we can teach them about His goodness.

Our God is an awesome God who delivers and forgives.

These are the sermon notes from 1/19/14.  Any advertisements that follow are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

God is Enough

July 6, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 6/30/13.

I.  Don’t Complain:  Numbers 11:1-6

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. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

How quickly the people had forgotten what God had already done for them.  They had been slaves in Egypt.  God had brought them out of Egypt, working miraculously in a number of ways.  They were now free.  God had provided manna for them, in addition to the flocks and herds that provided meat and dairy products for them.  I can understand how they would grow weary of the same food day after day, but they were not appreciative for what God had done for them.  When they complained, they were telling God that His provision was not good enough.   They wanted more.

We too, need to be careful.  God has provided for us in many ways.  He has brought us out of spiritual darkness, and into His light.  Yet, sometimes we too, look around at what we have, and are not satisfied with the provision of the Lord.

Furthermore, the children of Israel had continually before them the pillar of smoke by day, and the column of fire by night:  the physical symbols of God’s presence and favor.  Yet this too, was not enough and they complained.

We may not have the physical symbols of God’s presence, but we have His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us… but for many, that is not good enough.

II.  Be Content:  Philippians 4:10-13

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We love to claim verse thirteen.  We want the strength to be able to do all things.  Yet, we must first learn the importance of verse eleven.  We must be able to be content in Christ, whatever our external circumstances may be at the moment.

III.  Trust in God:  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

We can indeed trust that God will guide us in our decisions.  If we have turned to Him for guidance, even if we have not heard an audible voice, we can trust that God will direct our steps.  Faith and trust go hand in hand in the life of the believer.

IV.  Delight in God:  Psalms 37:3-5

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.

As Christians our greatest joy should come from being in the presence of God.  No one, and nothing of this world can take God away from us.  We can, however, easily be distracted and caught up in the affairs of the world.  We need to keep God first in our lives, and then everything else will come into line.

God is enough for us.