Monthly Archives: June 2019

Harvest After Life’s Storms

This Evening’s SermonHarvest after life’s storms

“He brings clouds to punish people,” and many may find themselves in a storm of life, dark clouds swirling about and the overwhelming heaviness of heart. Is that you dear reader? Do you find life seems dark and full of thunder and peels of lightning.

Even when a storm comes from our personal sin we are not without consolation if we turn to the Lord, even if it is His heavy hand upon our lot, if we trust His mercy and call to mind his compassion, we can have hope that once we humble ourselves he will lift us up.

Though He may bring the heavy hand and cloud to chasten ones sin, that is not entirely hopeless either if we respond right to what the hand of the Lord assigned. For it is only hopeless if we harden our hearts and rebel all the more. It is only hopeless if we in pride gnash our teeth at God’s heavy hand and fail to heed His reason for that cloud He summoned to do it’s work.

For the passage says also, “or to water the earth and show His love.”

Though trials brew and storm clouds settle. Let us not forget that if we humble ourselves before the Lord and receive His instruction from the cloud, we can then rejoice in the harvest it’s rain will produce in the soils of our life and soul.

“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. (Job 5:17-18)

Though not all life trials are a direct result of personal sin, all trials should be a opportune occasion for personal purification and growth of faith. Whether storm clouds come from our backsliding in sin or just a part of life, the response to these always should be humbling ourselves to let God teach us, grow us, prune us, and prepare us to bear more fruit.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5)

We must seek God’s wisdom in the cloudy days and thunderous nights. Then we can understand what we must learn and how we ought to respond if we want to see the soil of life produce it’s harvest and produce.

Yet let it not be said of us that our faith is not strong enough to handle the winds of adversity, 

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever. (Proverbs 10:25)

Far to many encounter life’s woes and harden their hearts in bitterness and turn away from God. 

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Trust the Lord even though he has by appearance let you suffer much and let you down, only in persevering through difficulty can we see the rainbow of victory at the end of our trials and tests

13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:13-15)

“Where are you?” and “Come follow me!”

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

I find this fascinating. We know that the Bible teaches God is a spirit. Yet we see him walking in human form here. God is everywhere, yet can take on a body as well and as we see clearly from the text that he is literally walking as an actual bodily being in the Garden calling out for them, Adam and Eve. 

Many get very confused when they hear thar the Scripture teaches Jesus was both human and divinely God at the same time. 

Jesus was the bodily form of God Most High. Jesus walked as God in the body on earth while God still inhabited heaven as God the Father.

Lets examine this very complicated theological concept. Though it be impossible
 I think for us to fully understand this. I do think it is possible to get a better grasp on it. 

Psalm 2 points us to the Messiah that was to come:

The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain. ” I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. Psalm 2:2-8 – 

We see also, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

When referring back to Psalm 2 where it says, “You are my son; today I have become your father.” 

This verse could easily cause confusion. It almost seems to suggest that before the Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, that Jesus was not before that the Son of God. Yet, he was. He was God and God’s Son as well. Before Jesus was born into the world by means of human reproductive system, He was enthroned in glory and majesty.

Remember when the angel appears to Mary and says the Spirit of God would overshadow her and cause her to miraculously conceive, not by a human man, but the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Yet Jesus says in his earthly ministry in His prayer to the Father in John 17

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:1-5)

Jesus was God’s physical manifestation among people He created for Himself.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 – 

Yet as sin entered the world, it has been broken ever since. They script writer looked down from on high and was displeased. He looked down and saw the thousands of years of mess that sin brought and it says:

Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 59:15-20 – 

The Great Script writer, the Omnipotent, all knowing and Omnipresent God scripts Himself into human History.

It truly is His story, and he came into the stage and “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 – 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 – 

Jesus came calling out to people like Adam and Eve saying “Where are you?”

The disciples—-
19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:19-22)

The lame man who was healed:—

The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:13-14 – 

The woman at the well:

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. ) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (John 4:7-26)

It could be also dear reader He has come looking for you, He could be saying, “Where are you?”

You may fear being discovered and say like the first man and woman said “We were afraid, so we hid”

Yet Jesus has come to take away guilt and sin and give you new life if you will respond to His call “Where are you?” And “Come follow me!”

Weakness to Strength, From Worm To Iron Threshing Sledge 

When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns. [1 Samuel 18:15-16]

King Saul became jealous and afraid of David. He began to see that the Lord was with David. 

It started after Goliath was defeated and the women came out singing over the victory.

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom? ” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. 1 Samuel 18:6-9 – 

Goliath was clearly an eye sore and it was in Israel’s benefit, Saul’s benefit that Goliath was taken out. Yet Saul had a larger problem before him in his heart- he was not pleased David got the victory over Goliath because it took away from the praises Saul got for his victories. 

Truly David did not take the praises from Saul but rightfully gave the praise always back to the Lord, who was truly the one who toppled the 9 ft giant.

Saul though wanted the glory that did nor belong to him, or even David, but the Lord God who brought about victory for Israel.

During the span of time, David eventually is forced to flee for his life, away from the presence of Saul and his own family. Saul had benefited so much from David’s presence but then turned on him and started a relentless effort to kill David. David was on the run for years until finally Saul is slain by the Philistines in battle and David returns from the land of the Philistines to become Israel’s next king.

Yet during this season of hardship in David’s life, we see God’s favor rest upon him even while turmoil swirls about around him.

—These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; 1 Chronicles 12:1 – 

Often in our lives we may go through hardships yet see how God is tremendously blessing us in the midst of troubles. Though life is not usually all good all the time, we can see some of our most fruitful years when the trials of life are going on!

David tasted this blessing himself. Though a fugitive on the run from Saul. God was bringing people into David’s life that helped him in battle. God was blessing David when Saul was trying to heap curses and take his life.

Human beings may try to create problems, yet God gives us His goodness and favor as we pursue Him!

These years of waiting on God on the run from Saul were not wasted. Rather God was preparing Israel’s next king! God was using the shadows of suffering and sorrow to groom His faithful servant who He was going to promote to a place of honor and responsibility later!

If we look at troubles the wrong way, we may entirely miss what treasures in darkness that we can lay hold of

I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45:2-3)

Jesus said in other words a similar thing: “27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:27-31)

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:14-15 – 

Those dark places of life are so often where the Lord takes us into His secret counsel and reveals deep hidden things we know not. The greatest school teacher of the ways of the Lord and the wisdom of God are found most often not in Seminary, not in some theology class or text book, yet are taught by the Lord Himself in His curriculum of suffering. 

We grow most by far when hard pressed and bent low, when humiliation causes us to let go of pride and our own resources and knowledge, to seek God’s greater knowledge.

Indeed, when human help is no avail and our own devisings and careful plans are vain to deliver us. When we are pressed metaphorically between the impassible Red Sea of the tomorrow and the problems close in like Pharaoh and his vast army, encroaching on us with haste. 

That is when the Lord gains most glory for Himself, when we cry out and say “I cannot fix this one my God” 

It is then, truly then, the Lord impresses His truth into us deeper then ever that without Him we are always helpless and dependent on Him. Prosperity and ease to quickly tempt forgetfulness on our reliance on the Lord. To much ease can dull the heart of dependence and make us proud and feel unshakable,

When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. Psalm 30:6-7 – 

When troubles come and hardships strikes the core, we are often reminded we are mortal and so helplessly frail.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Psalm 22:6-11 – 

Ah, but the blessedness thereafter, the blessedness when we learn to put our trust and hope only in the Lord our God! Human beings are no avail to us unless God himself supports them to support us. Yet all strength comes from our truest source, yes, the Lord Himself.

God can take a worm like we are and make us strong as iron when we seek Him and depend on His unlimited reserve of power!

Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. Isaiah 41:14-15 –

God Can Use Our Weaknesses

Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. (Acts 7:22)

This is how Scripture portrays Moses. Yet how did Moses see himself,

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10 – 

Then in Exodus 6:12 and Exodus 6:30, Moses kept bringing up to the Lord he spoke with faltering lips. Yet later on in Stephen’s sermon in the book of Acts, Stephen describes Moses as both powerful in speech and action.

The truth is we all have insecurities that we fear may keep us from ministering and doing the work of the Lord. However, it is not on us to accomplish results but be obedient.

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.” Exodus 4:13-17 – 

God gets a little ticked off at Moses here and says basically, “Moses, you are going and I won’t take your excuse, here to help you I will send your brother to to be your mouth for you.”

When dealing with insecurities we can take courage from stories like these. Moses had only a staff and when he allowed God to take possession of it

It transitions from being Moses’s staff to walk with to being “The staff of God”

So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand. Exodus 4:20 – 

An ordinary staff used to support weak legs maybe or help balance Moses. It became a consecrated instrument God used to bring the ten plagues and part the Red Sea. 

Now we must understand, God can take the ordinary things that show our weakness and make use of them. For where we are weak, he is strong and sufficient. As the Apostle Paul said, 
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

When we offer ourselves fully to God, he can use us, no matter how inadequate we may feel.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5)

God’s power can anoint even weakness, handy cap, struggle, our weaknesses and insecurity.

Do not let your limitations make you feel the Lord cannot use you. All power is His any ways and He is seeking merely willing volunteers. He has a unique calling for each individual to be a part of His overarching plan. All we have to do is be willing and make ourselves available!

Pilate’s Part To Play.

Sermon for tonight

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. (Acts 4:27)

Fascinating, the Scripture makes it sound as though Pilate with Herod conspired against Jesus. We know Pilate took a very passive push over approach to the whole thing. He tried very hard to feel less guilty over the matter. Yet the Scripture is clear Pilate was just as guilty of crucifying Christ as the angry mob who desired it.

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24-25)

Indeed it was on the people and their children, and indeed Pilate was still guilty of Jesus’s blood on his own hands as well.

Pilate’s indecision, was his decision. Pilate became guilty of Christ’s blood even though he tried to assuage his guilty conscience. 

Many today also may say, “Well I am not against Jesus or his teaching. I think he was a wise teacher and a good man.”

Pilate thought that even. Yet Pilate was to afraid to believe In Jesus as His personal Lord and Savior for fear of an angry crowd. Pilate skidded the issue then finally shuffles Jesus off to the crowd.

The same principle applies when Jesus says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)

Many may not consider themselves against Jesus Christ. Yet Jesus says here if you are not believing in Him as Savior and following him as Lord, you are against him.

To live in sin is to be against Christ. Pilate turns away from Christ and heeds the demands of the wicked Jewish mob.
Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. (Proverbs 28:4)

Pilate rejects instruction and turns away from Christ and in that sense he gives into the crowd and “praises the wicked”

Yet we all apart from the blood of Christ spilled are wicked and sinful, when we turn to Christ for forgiveness of sin, we become new! Whenever someone turns to Christ and begins to follow Him with their lives, they become a testimony of a life God amazingly changes, and a light!

In that way when this happens, the person turning from the kingdom of darkness of sin to Jesus Christ- they do what the latter part of the Proverb says “but those who heed it resist them.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

When we turn to Christ from sin, we come out of darkness and now ought to walk out our new identity as adopted children of God!

True Power That Changes Your Life.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. (Ezekiel 33:32)

It’s one thing to say one is a Christian, say they believe in Christ, go to church every Sunday but it takes true power to live it out.

It takes power to live out what is taught in the Word and incorporate it into our daily lives, in every area of life. It takes power to let God’s Word shape your thinking, speaking, finances, marriage and family life. It takes power to let God’s Word shape how you work at your job. It takes power to let God’s Word change how you respond to pressures of life, difficult people, unfair situations and every interaction you have.

The World needs to see more of Christ’s power exerted through Christ’s people! Not just “one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.” 

James tells us faith without actions that follow is a dead faith. Indeed we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone, yet that should bear evidence in how we live that we truly belong to Christ. Jesus says himself in John 3:3, “Unless a man be born again, he will not see the kingdom of God.”

True change that makes us able to not just know we should not do certain things but brings power to live a whole new way. A new nature, and the Spirit led life.

Until that change takes place, we may try as hard as we want to “be good” but always find that the way our skin and mind pulls us is to “be bad”

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:16-18)

When we are trying by human strength, the flesh, to live the Spiritual life, we cannot. That is why as Christians we must continually seek the Lord for His power to replace our lack of power. 

We do this by seeking Him regularly, soaking up His strength and abandoning self effort and asking Him to take the wheel of our life.

For “Apart from me you can do nothing” Jesus said in John 15:5

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Prison Ship Vehicle Of The Gospel.

The Apostle Paul was on a ship headed to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. It was no cruiz ship but he was bound in chains for the proclaiming of the Gospel.

Yet this did not stop God’s powerful work in people’s lives or in Paul’s life either. On the ship in chains, not the most comfortable situation. Yet the storm came and God was using Paul to bring hope to the prisoners as well as the Roman soldiers who were guarding them.

Let us never think God cannot use us in a situation that may feel quite confining. Paul had spent many times in prison. Yet Paul’s overruling passion to share the Gospel was by God’s sovereign plan winning out!

When we too align our hearts with God’s passions, we can have joy in any situation. Paul’s greatest desire was that God be glorified and the message of Christ be proclaimed and people come to know Him!

We see this happening in spite of being often in chains and facing large amounts of opposition. Paul saw the bright side of things though, Jesus was drawing people! Paul was most likely so joyful and enable to endure all he did because his focus was on Jesus’s glory and other’s good.

When our focus is that way, we can truly overflow with great joy and see God do amazing things and draw people to Himself!

Had Paul gotten caught up with the unfairness of the situation he may have been bitter and angry. Yet Paul looked at it as a grans opportunity to make Jesus known!

Psalms 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Where was Paul’s delight? In Christ, in making the gospel known and seeing people eternally spared the wrath of God!

Paul was thrilled, even in chains, even unfairly accused and persecuted. And we can have this same radiating joy if we get our hearts centered on Christ and His mission.

Jesus taught “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

Paul discovered how to treasure Christ above all and treasure the salvation message. As a result he could delight and find joy even in bad situations.

Too easily, especially here in the west as believers, we too easily treasure comforts, convenience, materialistic prosperity or things that are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, but can be if that is what we live for and grow too attached to.

When times are good, praise the Lord! When times are rough, praise the Lord, for as it is written, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

When we have Him, we have all we need, a provider, protector, comforter and a “Shield and exceedingly great reward!”
God will provide what we need in His way and time and keep us alive till he calls us home!

Keys To Spiritual Authority, Answered Prayer

Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:42-43)

A signet ring represented power and authority. When a king took of his signet ring, he was delegating power and great authority to the one whom it had been given. In this case, Joseph. Joseph was faithful to God and God gave him great wisdom and Pharaoh saw it. Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much, that he gave him a second in command rank in authority.

Yet lets also understand the privilege we have as adopted children of God who have put our faith in Jesus Christ. We were cleansed and we went from being slaved of sin to adopted sons and daughters of the living God.

Lets look at Luke 15

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. (Luke 15:21-23)

Christ has made it possible to be forgiven of sin. So to us who have truly been saved and born anew into His family, God sees us now with the same love He sees His Son. We have been granted privileges that before were not available to us. 

We are clothed with a robe of righteousness, right standing before God. The ring of access to the throne of grace. We can now pray and know that our sins no longer come between us and approaching Holy God.

Jesus said that if we walk in obedience, we can ask anything in His name and it will be done, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:6-8)

Lets not misunderstand. Prayer is not some magic wand or lamp to get our wishes. However, as we align our hearts toward His will and walk in obedience, our prayers become powerful vessels that God uses and answers.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:13-15)

Now Joseph had been given a ring to signify his authority, he was under Pharaoh of course, yet he had great authority under the authority he was under. 

Pharaoh trusted that Joseph would not do anything that would jeopardize Egypt’s best interests. If Pharaoh did not trust Joseph, he would not have bestowed and vested so much power in Him. 

Likewise, when God trusts us, He can promise such lavish answers to prayer because He knows we will seek His glory, interests, and not abuse the privileges He grants.

If we want to see our prayers answered, let us be faithful and trustworthy and submit wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ in all areas of life!

Prayer With Power and Authority!

What a privilege it is to have access to God the King through prayer. Since then by Jesus Christ, our sins are cleansed, we now have received the benefits of communing and fellowshipping with Holy God. 

Mordecai was granted special privilege and authority from a human king and was granted authority to issue decrees with the king’s own signet ring. 

Yet even greater now that we are adopted by the King of Kings and subject to the Lord of Lords.

Jesus speaks a mind blowing statement here, “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

Let us not misunderstand this though, in order to receive such great answers to prayer, the pre qualifier must be true in our desires, “So that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

When coming before God the Father with such weighty requests, let us ask, “Is a yes to my petition going to bring God glory through Jesus Christ?”

If that is true, we can indeed know Psalm 37:4 is working on our behalf, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”

God delights answering prayers that exalt His Son Jesus Christ and glorify His name.

We dare not pray prayers that would be contrary His Royal interests or dishonor Him.

Only Own Up To It.

Go, proclaim this message toward the north: “‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord , ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:12-13)

Seems like a simple request from the Lord. He is basically saying “Just own up to it and agree you have greatly sinned against me.”

Many people of a religious mindset try to deny the weight of their guilt and appease their conscience and God by doing more good works. Yet God does not want mere religious, he wants us to be sorry over what we have done against Him.

We all know what it feels like to have someone do us sorely wrong and never sincerely apologize. Or maybe they say “Well, Im sorry, ok!” Yet you can tell they are not nearly as sorry over what they did but just offering empty lip service.

—The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish. ” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” (Isaiah 29:13-15)

Yet we cannot fool God who weighs the heart. We cannot pretend to be sorry and fool him when we are not. Often we cannot even fool other people when we kiss up with “Im sorry, ok”

Genuine repentance is sincere sorrow over sin. Not just sorry we suffer the consequences. As the song goes, “Don’t you say your sorry cause your not, because I know you are just sorry you got caught.”

Plain and simple, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:8-10)

Jesus Christ came to save sinners, we all were among them who lived in sin and did as we pleased and did not care much till by His Spirit he pricked our hearts, we saw our guilt and embraced His deeper greater love and forgiveness. We left the lifestyle of offending God behind to follow Jesus Christ!