Posts Tagged ‘trust’

In God We Trust

November 16, 2016

This message was preached 11/6/16, the Sunday before election day.  I had been reading in Jeremiah in my devotions and this seemed appropriate.

I.  Judgement on the Land:  Jeremiah 9:12-16

 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?

13 And the Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.”

A.  Not Obeyed My Voice

The children of Israel had not continued in following the law of God.  As a result, God was sending judgement upon the land.

In our country, there are many who serve God, but there are also many who do not.  It is very important that those who claim to be followers of God, are actually following God.  We should seek to live in obedience to His Word and His Spirit.  We may not be able to be perfect, but we should seek to be the people God means for us to be.

B.  The Dictates of Their Own Hearts

I really have a dislike for the song “I Did It My Way”.  I am afraid that there are far too many people who are living their lives their way instead of God’s way.  In the end it will not work out so well for them.  We should be like Jesus and say “Not my will, but thine be done.”.

Is judgment coming to our country?

Only time will tell, but it is not too late.

II.  Time to Change:  Jeremiah 18:7-8

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

A.  Freedom

I firmly believe that one of the ways in which we are made in the image of God is that we have the freedom to choose how we act.  Each one of us has the freedom to choose how we will respond to God.  Now, I do not expect the entire nation to repent, but I hope and pray that many within our nation will repent.

B.  Responsibility

With freedom comes responsibility.  Since we can choose our actions, we are responsible for our actions.

C.  Consequences

There are consequences for our decisions.  When we do what is right in the eyes of God, we can expect to be blessed.  If we do what is wrong, we should not be surprised if there are unpleasant consequences.

D.  Is There Hope?

Our hope is not found in a political party or candidate.  Our hope is placed in God.  With God, there is always hope.

III.  The Right Choice:  Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

A.  Trust in the Lord

I appreciate that it still says “In God We Trust” on our money.  It is a regular reminder to trust in God, not in the things of this world.  God is worthy of our trust.  People may fail us.  God will not.

B.  If My People

As the people of God lead the way in repentance, perhaps others will follow. II Chronicles 7:14 says:

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

C.  Choose This Day:  Joshua 24:15

 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We cannot decide for everybody, but we can decide for ourselves.  Let us choose to serve the Lord.

D.  Let Your Light Shine:  Matthew 5:13-16

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

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

If we have chosen to follow the Lord, then our lives should be different from the world around us.  Let us not give way to anger, hatred or despair, but rather may we be examples of the peace, love and hope that God has for us, and for all who call upon His name.

Let the light of Christ shine through your lives.  May the light of Christ bring hope to the world.

This is the message that was preached 11/6/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

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Responding to a Threat

October 19, 2016

Have you ever been threatened?  Or perhaps, you feel threatened by what you see on the horizon.  The message today is for you.

I.  Threat:  Isaiah 37:10-11

 “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered?

A.  Judah was threatened with conquest by the Assyrians.  The Assyrians were a powerful nation that had already conquered many nations.  They had given Judah the option of either surrendering and being deported or resisting and being destroyed.  They had been successful so far, and from the physical evaluation Judah had no chance at all.  The Assyrians did not believe that God would be able to do anything to stop them.

B.  Most of us are not in threat of physical danger.  There are, however, different types of threats.  The response of Hezekiah to this physical threat is a response that will work with any type of threat.

II.  Response:  Isaiah 37:14-20

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 18 Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord, You alone.”

A.  Pray:  Hezekiah’s  response was to bring it to God.  Our first response also should be to turn to God.  He is not our last resort, but our first choice.  God, here is our problem.  What should we do?

B.  Trust:  Hezekiah trusted in God.  So can we.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  (Romans 8:31)

C.  Listen:  In the case of Hezekiah, God took care of the problem as we shall see shortly.  For us, it is important to ask God to guide us.  If we ask God for guidance He will direct our steps.

D.  Act:  Don’t bother asking for directions if you are not going to follow them.  It would be better not to ask, than to ask and then disobey.  Throughout the history of Israel, individuals had occasionally been been given unusual directions.  Trust and obedience are rewarded.

III.  Deliverance:  Isaiah 37:33-37

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He shall not come into this city,
Nor shoot an arrow there,
Nor come before it with shield,
Nor build a siege mound against it.
34 By the way that he came,
By the same shall he return;
And he shall not come into this city,’
Says the Lord.
35 ‘For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

36 Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.

God is able to deliver us.

Whatever we face, whatever our problem may be, nothing is too big for God.

Sometimes, we do need to remember that God is working from an eternal perspective.  From our point of view, we do not always see things working out for us.  We can trust that God knows what He is doing and that in the end, everything will work out for good.  (Romans 8:28)

These are the sermon notes from 10/16/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Celebration!

April 14, 2016

Palm Sunday is recognized by every Christian denomination that I am aware of as a day of celebration.

Mark 11:1-11

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”

So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”

And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. (NKJV)

I.  Celebration!

On the original Palm Sunday Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for the Passover.  He was well known throughout the land .  Lazarus had just recently been raised from the dead.  Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem by crowds of people who recognized what He had done and praised God.

I remember in my childhood, growing up in a Lutheran church, Palm Sunday was a big deal. The children would march in and form a double line, holding palm branches up in the air.  The choir and then the minister would enter, all the while the organ would be playing joyfully.

I think that it is important to celebrate.

I am not talking now about Palm Sunday.  I am talking about celebrating other events in our lives.  Life is filled with a cycle of work and rest, struggles and victories. It is appropriate for us, as the people of God, to recognize what God has done in our lives and to celebrate the victories.

II.  Remember!

The Christian church certainly continues to remember Palm Sunday.

On that day, the crowd remembered the great things that they had heard and seen.

We have seen God’s blessings in our lives.  We should remember what God has done in the past for us, for our families, for our friends.

Sometimes, when times are tough, we forget that God has been very good to us.

We should remember what God has done.

III. Trust!

As we look into the future we can trust that God will be with us.  He will guide us.  He will protect us.  He will provide for us.  He will enable us to handle whatever circumstances we might face.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus looked ahead to the cross.  He knew what was coming.  He also knew that after the cross, would come the resurrection.

We do not know what the future holds for us.  We may  be called upon to endure severe tests or trials, but we may be assured that we will be victorious in the end.

Resurrection Day is coming!

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.

These are the sermon notes from 3/20/16.  All scripture 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. 

*This is the recommended memory verse for this week. 

God is Able

December 14, 2015

Whatever circumstances we might face, God is able to bring us through them.  God can give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

I.  Heard Their Cry:  Exodus 3:7-8

And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

God saw the oppression that was faced by the Israelites.  God sees everything.  God sees the circumstances that we face.  He knows exactly what is going on in our lives even better than we ourselves.

God heard the cry of the Israelites as they called out to Him for Help.  God will hear us as well if we call out to Him.

God knew their sorrows.  God understands pain and suffering.  God knows exactly how we feel, what we think, and what has happened in our lives.

God knows.

God cares.

God understands.

God is able to help.

God planned to deliver the Israelites from their bondage.  They were a group of people who had been enslaved by a larger, more powerful nation.  God was going to deliver them.  God is able to deliver us as well.  Whatever our circumstances may be, nothing is too great for God.  God is able to deliver us.

II.  Brought Them Out:  Exodus 12:51

And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the Lord brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

God was indeed able to deliver what He had promised.  He brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt.

This was a process.  God spoke to Moses and gave him directions.  Moses in turn gave directions to the Israelites.  This was not something that could be done our way.  It could only be done God’s way.  If we are in need of deliverance, we can ask God for help and He will give us direction as well.

Moses was obedient to God’s directions.  The Israelites were obedient to God’s directions.  We also, need to be obedient to the directions that God gives to us.

Even though they were  obedient, things got worse before they got better.  That happens sometimes.  We are not to lose faith in God.  He is able to do what He has promised to do.  We must be patient, be obedient, and have faith in God.  Sometimes we must endure the time of affliction.  It is during those times that our faith is tested.

Eventually, God will bring success if we trust in Him and are obedient.  We are not able to do it our way, but God’s way.  We cannot skip steps that we do not like.  We must follow God’s plan, not devise our own.

III.  God is Able:  Daniel 3:17

If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.

We have skipped ahead hundreds of years to a new story in the Old Testament.  Daniel’s friends had defied a law that said that they were to bow down to a golden image.  They were told that if they did not bow down and worship that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace.  They declared their belief that God was able to deliver them.

They were thrown into the furnace and God did deliver them.  It is a wonderful story that confirms that God is with us even in the midst of fiery affliction.  Whatever we are facing we can trust that we are not facing it alone.  God is with us.

God is able.

IV.  But if Not:  Daniel 3:18

But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Sometimes Christians are called to be faithful even unto death.  Sometimes deliverance does not come in the physical world.

God is able to deliver us.

Sometimes that means that we are called to be faithful in this life, knowing that our reward, our deliverance will be in the life to come.  Over the years there have been many, many martyrs for the cause of Christ.  Even today, in various places around the world Christians are killed for their faith.  Their deliverance is still assured.  Their reward is in heaven.

God is able.

These are the sermon notes from 11/29/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

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. 

Things We Should Know

September 28, 2015

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

I.  Lack of Knowledge:  Hosea 4:1 & 6

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

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

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

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

II.   God Loves You:  John 3:16

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

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

III.  Pursue Knowledge:  Hosea 6:3

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

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

Jeremiah 29:11

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

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

IV.  Mercy

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

V.  Things Will Work Out:  Romans 8:28

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

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

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

Hope can really make a difference.

God makes a difference.

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

Plans, Promises, and Truthfulness

February 12, 2015

Years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote an article four times a week.  Those articles were about all kinds of different topics.  For quite a while now, I have been simply posting sermon notes.  I am going to try to get back to writing articles on a variety of topics.  The sermon notes will still come out on Mondays.  On Thursdays, I will be writing something different. At least, that is the plan.  Please feel free to make comments on anything that I write.  I enjoy interaction.  Thank you. 

Have you ever wondered what the world would look like if everyone was truthful?  If everyone kept their word?  If everyone kept their promises? This world would be a better place.

A number of years ago, I told my philosophy class that I tried to always tell the truth.  They laughed.  Apparently, they thought that I was lying, because, of course, everyone lies, at least in their minds. That memory has stayed with me as a sad commentary on society today.

I do not mean that we have to share every thought that goes through our minds. Some things we can keep to ourselves.

Sometimes, it is important to use tact when speaking the truth.  If we speak the truth with the right attitude, in the right way, at the right time,  it is a very good thing.  This is not always easy to do.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people kept their word?  If we tell someone we are going to do something, we should do it.  This is especially important in the business world.  If we hire someone to do some kind of work and they take the money but don’t do the work, then we are cheated.  On the other hand, if someone does the work, but isn’t paid, then they are cheated.  Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens far too often. It makes us suspicious of people.  Until someone has proven themselves, we may not trust them.

Promise keeping is especially important.  When my children were young, I wanted to impress on them the importance of keeping promises.  One way that I did that was to use promises very sparingly.  I would tell my children that I was planning to do something, but that sometimes plans have to change.  That way if something came up, and I had to change my plans, I was not breaking a promise.  When I did make a promise, I made sure that it was something that I could keep.

Incidentally, wedding vows are a form of promise.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.   This is not something to be taken lightly.  There may be bad days, but your commitment to each other should bring you through them.

Maybe we cannot transform the entire world, but we can change a little part of it.  May we learn to be truthful people who keep our word.

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

 

Lessons From King David

January 20, 2015

David is known as a man after God’s own heart.  We can look to his life for lessons for our own lives.

I.  God Looks at the Heart:  I Samuel 16:7

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

Saul had been anointed by Samuel, by the direction of God, to be the first king of Israel.  Saul had not been faithful to follow God with his whole heart and so God had sent Samuel to anoint the person who would be the next king of Israel.  The eldest son had been presented to Samuel, and he was impressive in appearance, but God was not looking for an impressive appearance.

In secular ethics, there are different approaches to determining right and wrong.  Some focus on the rules.  With all the rules that God sets forth, some might think that God focuses on the rules, but that would be wrong.  Some focus on the results, that too, would be wrong.  With God, it is about our heart.  We are first and foremost to have a heart for God, to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.

II. Confidence in God:  I Samuel 17:37 & 45

 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This passage is from the famous story of David and Goliath.

What God has done in the past inspires hope for what God will do in the future.  That is one reason why we share testimonies.  The stories of what God has done in the lives of our family and friends inspires hope that God will work in our life as well.  David had experienced God’s help as a young shepherd and it gave him confidence in the present crisis.  His trust was not placed in his own skill, but in the knowledge that God was with him.

It is important to note, that God did use what David had in the way of abilities.  David did not face Goliath with armor, shield and sword; but with the shepherd’s staff and sling.

God can bless what we offer to Him to use.

III.  God is Our Strength:  I Samuel 30:6

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

At this time, before David was king, his followers had left their families in a town and gone off to battle.  While they were gone, the town had been attacked and all the people captured.  When David and his men returned to the town, they were greatly distressed and grieved.  David’s response was to turn to God for strength.

God is our strength.

If we could only remember this one thing.  When we are overwhelmed, we should turn to the rock of our salvation.  We should turn to God for strength.  He will help those who trust in Him.

David and his men pursued the army that had captured their families and were able to rescue them all.

We should love God with all our heart.  We can have complete confidence in Him.  He is our strength.

These are the sermon notes from 12/28.  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.

Humble Yourselves

March 6, 2014

We can resist evil by submitting to God.  He cares for us and will work both in us and through us.

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.”

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

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 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 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.  Humble Submission

There are two parts to submission listed here.  The first is submission to elders.  This represents the idea of being submissive to those in authority.  This concept is taught to us from the beginning as we are taught to honor our parents, our first authorities in our  lives.  Our attitude towards our parents will influence our attitude towards ours teachers.  Our attitude towards our teachers will influence our attitude towards our employers.  Our attitude towards our employers will influence our attitude towards legal and governmental authority.  Our attitude towards legal and governmental authority will influence our attitude towards God.  They all tie together.  It is important for us to have a good attitude towards those in authority.

The second part of this command to submission is to be submissive to one another.  By this we should recognize that we do not always have to have things go our own way.  We should be considerate of others and be willing to let them have their way, at least some of the time.  By the way, this is good marital advice as well as its application to the church.

II.  He Cares For You

We can give all our cares to Him.  Over the years, I have prayed for many different kinds of prayer requests.  Some of the request that have come from children over the years have seemed pretty insignificant on the surface.  I say on the surface because if it is important to us, then we can bring it to God.  God cares for us.  Our children should learn at an early age to bring their concerns to God.  He cares for us, and we can bring anything to God that is on our hearts.

We should also be willing to accept what God has for us.  Sometimes we get what we wanted, and sometimes we do not.  We should trust God with our hopes, our dreams and our lives.  He does indeed care for us.

III.  Resist Evil

As a motorcyclist, I have learned to watch out for things that could cause an accident.  I try to be constantly alert for potential danger because I recognize the dangerous nature of riding a motorcycle.  As Christians we should be alert for the tricks that the enemy uses to cause us to sin.  If we do fall into sin, we ask God to forgive us and seek to learn what caused us to stumble.  Watch out for the things that lead us into sin, and avoid them like the danger that they are to us.

Many of us have attempted dieting at one time or another.  It can be difficult to resist the urge to break our diet plan.  In order to succeed we must resist the urge to cheat on our diet.  In a similar way, we must resist the temptation to give in to sin.  This ability comes about by a combination of our will, and the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit.  God will give us strength, but we must also exercise our will.

IV.  Purpose in Suffering

God uses the times of suffering in our life to perfect or complete us.  Our faith is strengthened as God brings us safely through the tests and trials of our faith.  God can also use our perseverance in times of difficulty as a witness to others of His strengthening presence in our lives.  In the times of tests, or trials, may His light shine forth.

Conclusion:  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.   (v6)

These are the sermon notes from 3/2/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.