Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Who Do You Serve?

November 9, 2015

As we think about the future, there is a great deal of uncertainty: the fluctuations in global economy, the rising national debt, the rise of terrorist organizations,  the growing intolerance towards those who practice conservative religion, and the increasing polarization of politics, all contribute to a sense that we may be headed for serious trouble.  I am very glad that the Bible addresses how to live in troubling times.

I.  Where is Your Treasure?  Matthew 6:19-21

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We have limited resources.  There is only so much money, time and energy.  How are we investing our resources?  Of course, most of us have to work a job, or attend classes.  We all have daily tasks that need to be performed, but what do we do with what is left?  Certainly it is possible that we can use up all of our resources on ourselves, but is that what we are supposed to do?  Is that what we have to do?  We should ask God to help us prioritize our lives in such a way that they will be pleasing to Him.  We are not supposed to work ourselves to death, but we are to have the type of priorities that God has for us.  It might be enlightening to make a chart of how we use our resources, and see just what kind of priority is being given to God.  We might be surprised at what we see.

II.  Light or Dark?  Matthew 6:22-23

 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

I love to watch sunrises.  There is something very special about watching the world wake up.  Things look different in the early morning light.

Jesus is the light of the world.  How often during the day do we focus on Him.  Of course it is necessary for us to focus on the task at hand, especially if driving or doing some other task that is potentially dangerous, but Jesus should never be far from our mind or heart.  If we allow His light to shine into our spirits, then our days will be so much better.  Remember, He is with us always, but are we aware of His presence?

III.  Who Do You Serve?  Matthew 6:24

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The first question would have to be “What is mammon?”.  Certainly, it is not a word that we use in our normal conversations.  Basically, it just means money.  What is comes down to is what is the focus of our lives?  Are we serving God, or just trying to accumulate money?  There is the saying “He who dies with the most toys wins”, but that is not meant to be our focus as the children of God.   We are to serve God first.  He will take care of us.  Only one thing can be most important in our lives.  That should be God.

IV.  God Will Provide  Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If we seek God first, He will take care of us.  God knows our needs.  He can bless us with employment and can help what we have go further than we would expect if we will but trust in Him.  Jesus was a carpenter, but He referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd will guide, provide and protect His sheep.  We can trust that God will take care of us if we put our trust in Him by making our relationship with Him our top priority.

V.  Don’t Worry, Pray!  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.

If we find ourselves becoming weighed down with the concerns of this world, remember that we can turn to God in prayer, knowing that He will take care of us.    Pray until the peace comes.  In placing our trust, not in ourselves, but in God, we will find the peace that passes understanding.  We are, most often, still called to act, but God will give us the direction that we need. He will give us wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

So as we look into an uncertain future, we can trust that God will guide, provide and protect.  We can trust that in the end all things will work out for the good of those who place their trust in God.  (Romans 8:28)

These are the sermon notes from 10/25/15.  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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Their Inheritance

September 21, 2015

What is our most precious possession?  What do we own that is of greatest value?  Are they the same thing?

I.  I Am Their Inheritance: Ezekiel 44:28

 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

This passage is speaking of the priests.  Their possession was not land, but God Himself.  Of course, no one can actually possess God.  It is a means of understanding the priority, or nature, of the relationship between each priest and God. That relationship is of more value than any material thing.

II.  We Are a Royal Priesthood:  I Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

As a part of the new covenant that we have with God in Christ, the Levitical priesthood is replaced.  All Christians are a part of the new priesthood.  We are all able to enter into the presence of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  As a new priesthood, we can lay claim to the promise made to the old priesthood.  We can now consider God to be our ‘possession’.

III.  The Pearl of Great Price:  Mathew 13: 45-46

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

What could be of more value than God?  Yet how much effort do we put into developing our relationship with God?  How much time do we spend in the Word?  How much time do we spend in prayer?  How much priority do we place on being present in worship in the house of God?

IV.  A Living Sacrifice:  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.

If we have recognized the value of our relationship with God, it is reasonable to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  We should be willing to submit to whatever God’s will is for our lives.  The challenge is to be able to discern what that will of God is for us.  There is that which is acceptable, that which is good, and that which is perfect.  May we be able to discern and follow the perfect will of God.

These are the sermon notes from 9/6/15.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Cast Your Cares

June 15, 2015

We are called to be different from the world.  Our American culture tells us to be proud, independent, even rebellious. God calls us to a different lifestyle.

I Peter 5:5-11

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us[d] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen

I.  Submissive

This is not a quality that we like to emphasize as Americans,  It goes against our stubborn individualism.  Yet, learning to be submissive to those in authority can generally be a good idea.  As children we should submit to our parents.  As students we should submit to our teachers.  As workers we should submit to our bosses.  This should not mean a blind obedience, but a willing recognition of who is in charge.  As I told my boys when they got their first jobs “As long as it isn’t illegal or immoral, you do what your boss tells you to do.”  With a son now working in construction, I might add “or breaks the safety rules.”.

In the verses above, we are told to submit to one another.  It does not always have to be our way.  We need to be willing to think of others.  It should not be a matter of jostling for superiority, but rather  we should be considerate of each other.

Most of all we should be submissive to God.  Even as Jesus prayed, so we too should pray “not my will, but yours be done.

II.  Humilty

Pride is a dangerous trait for Christians.  Pride is a sin itself, and can lead to all kinds of other sins.  It can create dissatisfaction and strife when we think that we are better than others, or that we deserve more than we are receiving.  We must guard against pride.

This does not mean that we should think that we are worthless.  We are, after all, made in God’s image.  We are the “children of the king”.  We should seek a balance in understanding who we are in Christ.

III.  Cast Your Cares

It is a wonderful thing to be able to bring our concerns to God and leave them in His care.  God loves us and is able to help us in our time of need.  We need to place our trust in Him.  This also applies to our concerns for our children, or grandchildren.  Those situations are sometimes even more concerning, because we have less control.  We can bring our needs, and the needs of others to God in prayer, knowing that He loves us, our families and our friends.  We can indeed cast our cares upon Him, for He does care for us.

IV.  Resist

We need to be watchful for the attacks of the devil.  He will try to destroy us if he can by leading us astray.  It will be a little here, a little there, until one day we find that we have strayed far from the path that God intends for us.  We must be watchful, stand firm, endure suffering if necessary for the time being, knowing that God rewards those who faithfully serve Him.

V. Completion

Our tests and struggles will one day come to an end.  We will be able to say with Paul, that we have ‘finished the race’.  It is God who is working in us, and He finishes what He starts.  (Philippians 1:6)

VI.  To the Glory of God

Our lives are completed, not for our glory, but for the glory of God.  If it were not for the grace of God we would remain in our sins.  All that is accomplished in us or through us is by the grace of God and for the glory of God.

As Christians were are to have a different mind-set than the people in the world.  We are to recognize submissiveness and humility as desirable traits.  We are to place our confidence in God, rather than ourselves or others.  We are to resist the attacks of the Devil and allow God to complete His work in us.  All for the glory of God

These are the sermon notes from 6/14/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Thanks Be to God

December 15, 2014

Recently, my mother was very ill.  It was serious enough that all four of her children gathered together from different states to be with her as she went into surgery.  With the help of a lot of prayer, she came through and has since recovered enough to return to her own apartment in a senior center.

I Corinthians 15:54-58

 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

I.  Victory Over Death

As we talked with my mother about the surgery she said more than once “If the good Lord wills, I’ll come through this.”  There were two things that were important in that statement.  First, her life was in God’s hands.  She placed her trust, not in the doctors, but in God.  Second, although unsaid, it was understood that if she didn’t make it through the surgery, it was all right.  She was ready to go.  Her trust in God allowed her to face a surgery that she might not survive because death had lost its’ sting.

My mother lived out her faith in a difficult situation.  Each one of us who are believers should be able to place our trust in God who has overcome death and who holds our lives in His hands.

Thanks be to God.

II.  Victory in Life

We recognize that God has given us the victory in life as well as in death.  Our lives have purpose and meaning, even if we do not always see or understand. All good gifts ultimately come from God.  There are many  simple pleasures in this life.  Most important is the love of God, family and friends.

Thanks be to God.

III.  Be Steadfast

Since we believe that we can have victory either in life or in death, it is easier to remain steadfast.  We do not quit.  We do not give up.  We continue to carry out the purpose that God has for our life.  We know that our labor for God is not in vain.

Thanks be to God.

These are the sermon notes from 11/23/14.  Any advertisement is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Back to Basics

February 13, 2014

There are three primary ingredients for continuing Christian growth.

I.  Prayer:  Psalms 55:17

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Prayer is spending time communicating with God.  There are a number of different components of prayer.

Praise:  We should spend some time each day expressing our praise to God.

Thanksgiving:  We should thank God for what He has done, is doing, and is going to do.

Confession:  We should regularly confess our sins, as God brings them to our attention.

Supplication:  It is appropriate to bring our concerns and needs before God.  He is able to help.

Intercession:  We should pray for the needs of others.

Listening:  Communication is a two-way street.  We should spend some time in silence, allowing God the opportunity to speak to us in our hearts.

II.  Scripture:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Read:  We should regularly read the Word of God.  Both the Old and New Testaments should be read.

Study:  It is appropriate to spend some time in in-depth study.  There are many study-aids available including various versions, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and so on.

Memorize:  It is a good discipline to commit scripture verses to memory.

Meditate:  Christian meditation focuses on the Word of God, or the presence of God.  It can be incorporated into our times of prayer.

III.  Fellowship: Hebrews 10:24-25

 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fellowship does benefit us.  We are not meant to live in isolation, but as part of a community of believers.  This community can be called the body of Christ, or the family of God.  It is important to gather together.  Sometimes we are in need of encouragement and support, and other times we give encouragement and support.

At our church we have Sunday morning worship, Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study.  Each of these opportunities are there for believers to promote Christian growth and fellowship.

It is also good for believers to gather together outside of church.  There are many different ways that Christians can gather for fellowship.  We are not meant to be alone.  We should reach out to each other for encouragement and support.

These three things are basic components necessary for Christian growth.  In the same way that football teams need to properly execute the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and ball control; so Christians must continue to regularly spend time in prayer, scripture and fellowship.

These are the sermon notes from January 26.  Any advertisement that accompanies this blog are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any financial benefit from them.

 

 

 

Obey, Pray, and Act

February 25, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 2/24/13.

Introduction:  I have been reading in Daniel. When most people think of Daniel the first thing that comes to mind is Daniel in the lions’ den.  The second thing that most people would think of is Daniel’s friends and the fiery furnace.  Today’s message is about neither of those, although the first point does come from the story of the lions’ den.

I.  Obedience to God: Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

The king had been convinced to proclaim a law that no one was to petition any man or god, besides himself for thirty days.  The law could not be revoked and the penalty for breaking this law would be to be cast into the den of lions.

Daniel was fully aware of this new law and still prayed in front of an open window three times that day.

Martin Luther, and others have talked about our dual citizenship.  We are members of a kingdom here on earth, and we are members of the kingdom of heaven.  We are to obey the laws of our earthly kingdom.  Even Jesus said that we are to “render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s”.

However, if there is a conflict between the laws of the worldly kingdom, and the laws of the heavenly kingdom, we are to obey the laws of God.

II.  Prayer and Trust: Daniel 9:19

 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

This verse comes at the beginning of a marvelous messianic prophecy.  I love the basic outline of prayer that it gives to us.

O Lord, hear!  God hears our prayers.  We do not have to wake Him up.  We do not have to gain His attention.  He is always listening.  This beginning reminds us of the truth that God does indeed hear our prayers.

O Lord, forgive!  If we think about our country as a whole, there is a lot of sin that needs to be forgiven.  If we think about the Christian church as a whole, there is a lot of sin to be forgiven.  If we are honest, we will recognize that none of us have yet reached perfection.  We fall short in word or deed, or thought;  by what we have done, and by what we have failed to do.  We all need forgiveness,

O Lord, act!  Our God is able to take action in our lives.  He is able to intervene in the activities of this life for our sakes.  He does not simply stand off and watch, He is able to act in the affairs of this world.

III.  Take Action:  Daniel 11:32-33a

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame;

This verse comes before a prophecy regarding the end times.

The people who know God refers to all of us who are living our lives in a relationship with God.  We can know Him.  It is exciting to know that we can know Him better.  We do not have to remain stagnant in our relationship with God.

We can be strong in the Lord.  Whatever difficulties may come our way, we are able to stand in the day of adversity because we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

We will be a people who act.  We are not merely spectators.  We take part in the ongoing work of God in this world.  Even seemingly small things can be great when they are done according to the will of God.

Those who understand will instruct many.  When the day comes, many people will be open to hear the things of God.  Those who know God, and understand will be able to share that faith with many.

Since I was a young boy, I have heard people speak as if the end is near.  Still today, many believe that the closing days of earth’s history are at hand.  They could be right.  Even if they are not, it is important for the people of God to follow the laws of God, to pray and trust, and to take action in times of trouble.

A Bit of Everything

July 19, 2012

The message on Sunday Jul 15 was based on I Thessalonians 5:14-24.

Warn those who are unruly.  The Greek word translated unruly also means insubordinate or idle.  People who are not cooperating with godly leadership, whether by causing problems, or by not assisting in the work of the kingdom of God, should be warned that there are consequences for not fully engaging in the mission that God has called us to work.

Comfort the fainthearted.  I think of this, as those who are lacking the courage to strike out on the path that God has shown them.  God sometimes calls us to do things that are outside of our comfort zone.  We are sometimes called to take risks.  We should be bold to do what God has called us to do.

Uphold the weak.  A life of service to Christ can become draining.  We can work so hard for so long, that sometimes we grow weary.  We need to seek the strength that God offers, and use wisdom to guide our schedules.  We should encourage those who appear to be faltering.

Be patient with all.  This can be a challenge.  We are to treat all people with kindness, courtesy and respect, especially those who seem to deserve it the least.

See that no one renders evil for evil.  Paybacks is the way of the world.  We are called to be different.  Mercy and grace are not just things that we receive from God, but are things that we should extend to others.

Pursue what is good for yourself and for all.   Elsewhere in scripture we are told to “overcome evil with good” and that is the idea here as well.  We are not evil-doers, but doers of good.

Rejoice always.  Times can be difficult, but we can always rejoice in a God who loves us, and who will help us in times of need.

Pray without ceasing.  There are two aspects to this.  First we can continue to pray for concerns that have not yet been met.  We can continue to pray for the salvation of the unsaved, healing for the sick, help for those in various afflictions.  We do not pray once and then drop the matter.  Secondly, I believe that we are called to cultivate an attitude of prayer.  Prayer is communication with God.  God is always with us.  We can learn to develop a sense of the presence of God at all times.  I believe that is what it means to “walk in the Spirit”.

In everything give thanks.  It is easy to thank God for the good things.  We can even give thanks in the things that appear bad because we are told that ” all things work together for good”.  We may not be able to see, or understand exactly how this works, but we can trust God that it is true.

For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  This does not mean that it is God’s will that terrible things happen.  God has allowed human freedom, and humans sometimes use that freedom to do terrible things.  God is able to use even the most awful things to work for good, but it was not His will that caused them.  It is His will, that we give thanks in all things.

Do not quench the Spirit.  It is important for us to learn to be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit.  God will guide us, and use us in many ways if we are willing to listen, and be obedient to, the voice of the Spirit.

Do not despise prophecies.  Sometimes it may seem as if the same people are giving the same message over and over.  Sometimes a message is given in a way that does not have a very polished delivery.  We should recognize that God uses ordinary people to speak to us in extraordinary ways.

Test all things, hold fast what is good.  When we hear messages, it is appropriate to exam them closely.  We should compare them to the Word and ask God’s Spirit to grant us discernment.  It is like eating chicken.  You eat the meat, and discard the bones.

Abstain from every form of evil.  We are called to “cease to do evil, and learn to do good”.  As we mature in Christ we will be more and more able to distinguish between good and evil.  We should choose the good.4

I close with verses 23&24.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

 

 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

March 5, 2012

Here are the notes from the sermon Sunday, March 4, 2012.

I.  Acts 3:19 Repentance

A,  The first and primary form of repentance is to turn away from sin and towards God through faith in Jesus.  Our initial salvation, being born again, is where we need to start.

B.  As we grow in the Lord, God will reveal areas in our life that we need to change.  As the Holy Spirit reveals things to us, we should repent, and change our behavior.  This is an ongoing process of the Word of God, and the Spirit of God in our lives.

C.  There are times when we are serving God faithfully, but we need the strength of the Lord to renew us in our innermost beings. We turn away from the cares and concerns of the world and focus our eyes on Jesus.

All of these times of repentance can be wonderful times of refreshing and renewal.  If we are in need of additional strength and power to live out our Christian lives, there is another avenue available to us.

II.  Acts 1:4-8  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The disciples are promised that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.  The purpose of the power is the proclamation of the gospel.

III.  Acts 2:1-4  The Initial Outpouring

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit is poured out.  There is the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, cloven tongues of fire, and they all begin to speak in tongues as the Spirit gives them utterance.

IV.  Acts 2:5-11 A Sign to Unbelievers.

On the day of initial outpouring, some of the disciples are speaking in foreign human languages that are understood by those who are in the vicinity.  This is a powerful sign to unbelievers of the power of God.

V.  Acts 2:38-41  The Promise is to All

Peter preaches a message and over three thousand are saved. He mentions that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all.

VI.  Additional Accounts

A.  Acts 10: 44-48:  As the gospel is preached by Peter to the Gentiles for the very first time, the Holy Spirit is poured out and they speak in tongues even as Peter is still speaking.

B.  Acts 19:1-6:  Twelve men speak in tongues and prophecy after Paul tells them about faith in Jesus, lays hands on them and prays.

In these accounts there is no mention of either wind, or tongues of fire.

VII.  I Corinthians 14:1-5  Comparison of Tongues and Prophecy

Our focus today is on the gift of tongues.  There are three distinct gifts of tongues.  One is when a person speaks in a human language that they do not know, but is known by the people who hear the message.  This is a sign to unbelievers.  The second is when a message is given in tongues, and then an interpretation is also given.  This is for the strengthening of the faith of believers.  The third and most common is when we use the gift of tongues as a prayer language.  We speak to God without the barrier of human language.  The Holy Spirit prays with us, and through us.  This form is for the strengthening of the individual. People who have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit should use their prayer language regularly. It is given to us to use, for our benefit. So that we may be strengthened to serve.

VIII.  Luke 11:9-13  Our Confidence is in our Heavenly Father

If we ask God for the Holy Spirit, He will not give us something that is bad instead.  We can trust that the experience is real, and from God.

You do not have to have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to be saved.  No one will make you ask God for this gift.  It is not a requirement, but an opportunity, that is presented to all believers.  If you desire to seek this gift, you can ask your heavenly Father.  People receive this gift in a number of ways.  The experience of individuals seeking the gift may vary.  It may happen quickly, or it may tarry, but if we are open to the power of God, we too, may receive this gift.

Holy Fear

January 9, 2012

Here is the sermon outline from yesterday. I encourage you to look up the Bible references.

Introduction:  We had a lot of answered prayers in 2011.  It is good to know that we can bring our requests to God.  (Philippians 4:6)  We also enjoyed spending time in the presence of God this morning in worship.  We have come a long way as the people of God.

I.  Exodus 19:16-20 & Exodus 20:18-21  The Fear of the Lord

This is an account of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai.  There was thunder, lightening, fire, smoke and the sound of a trumpet.  It was very frightening.  The people’s response was to tell Moses to speak to God for them.  For a long time, priests went to God on behalf of the people.

II.  Hebrews 10:19-22  We Can Enter the Presence of God with Confidence

Because of Jesus we can come into the presence of God.  It is no longer necessary to go through a priest.  This dramatically changes the relationship that we have with God.

III.  Extremes

There are two extremes in our relationship with God.  On one hand, we could be afraid of God to the point that we are not willing, or able to come before Him with our requests.   This is not desirable.  God wants us to come into His presence.

The other extreme is to treat God as if He was an equal, a good friend.  It is possible to become too casual in our approach to God, to forget who He is, and what is our place.  I have even heard it said, that we are to “tell God what to do”.   This attitude of casual contempt is very wrong.

American Christianity, in general, leans to the  casual side  in its’ approach to God.  We should, as individuals, evaluate our own attitude, and maintain a healthy respect for the power, and majesty, the glory, and the honor of our Lord.

Out of the Habit

December 26, 2011

It has been a while since I was blogging with any consistency.  I used to blog four days a week.  Then it dropped to three days. Then maybe two.    Life is busy, blogging is not high on the priority list, and so now, blogging has been almost dropped.  I am out of the habit of blogging.

I wonder how many people get out of the habit of practicing Christian disciplines in the same way?  Whether we are talking about prayer, Bible reading, or church attendance:  I wonder how many people allow those practices to slowly slip out of their lives?

The difference is,  the Christian disciplines are important to our spiritual health.  If I never wrote another blog entry, it would probably not matter much in the scheme of things, but if I stopped praying, reading my Bible or attending church, my spiritual health would decline, and my relationship with God would deteriorate.

I encourage you to maintain the habit of daily prayer and Bible reading, and regularly attending church services.  Don’t let yourself get out of the habit.