You can run but you cannot Hide…..

You can run but you cannot Hide…..

Jonah was given a ministry to perform but his desires and pride got in the way. He thought he knew more than our God and that the people he was being asked to minister to were too sinful to be saved. He saw them as the scum of the earth rather than lost sheep as our Lord saw them. He tried to run from the Lord but quickly learned that it is impossible to do so.

You can run but you cannot hide from the Lord! Just ask Jonah.

Jonah 1:1-4 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me. BUT JONAH rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.

Jonah 1:17 “And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah learned it’s never too late to repent. But like me and many of you I am sure, Jonah waited until his trials forced him to repent and do it God’s way. When was the last time you said; ‘not my will Lord, but your will be done’?

Jonah 2:1 “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish.”

We now see him turning to God. Remember, it is never too late to do so. It’s never too late to surrender your life to serving God.

Jonah 2:9a “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving…”

Jonah 3:3a “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord.”

Isn’t it great how long suffering and patient our God is? As with Jonah, God waits on us to commit to Him and His service.

Have a great day in the service of the King and please do not wait to be nudged or you may be swallowed or………..

Be NOT Conformed to this World…..

2 Cor. 5:21 “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Be Not Conformed to This World

Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, the government and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want and think we deserve.

What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly–even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us eternal life with Him if we will accept it by grace through faith. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?

Christians in the Sudan and many other countries around the world–who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith–are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout with the “I deserve more” and “Why me” mentalities.

Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer? We have become the salt that has lost its seasoning power and may be good for nothing. Ouch! God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind which must be our attitude toward all issues. The results of sin are the only ones that God did not design and even those results God can use to teach and train us if we allow Him to.

To know if you have it you need but check out your attitude of gratitude. Are you thankful for even the things that appear to be catastrophic in your life? If they are not a result of sin then I brought them on by myself. God can never tempt or author sin. Don’t get captured by the attitude of the world or the opinion page of the local newspaper. Scripture teaches that we are to count ALL things or situations in our lives as joy and that God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind.

If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings–including my redemption and home in heaven–but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks and the unspeakable joy of the trials that bring spiritual growth. And my whole focus would change. Because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body. Never believe anything about yourself or God that makes His grace to you seem anything less than astonishing. Because that’s exactly what it is.

Portions from; Randy Alcorn, “The Grace and Truth Paradox,” Multnomah Publishers 2003, pp. 33-35

The rest of the story….

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.”

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Romans 12:1-2 ” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Time gets Better with Age….

I Cor 13:11 “When I was a child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

TIME GETS BETTER WITH AGE

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing
“Silent Night”. Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either. Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what
they are doing and wave back. Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes
me clean it up again. Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try
cheering someone else up. Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my
parents are strict with me. Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of
advice. Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great
pleasures. Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed
me there. (Or gotten there before me)Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live
so that no one will believe it. Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t
know how to show it. Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a
little note. Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his
or her need to cast blame on others. Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the
phone. Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles
these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights. Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet
full of pills. Age 52

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a
life. Age 58

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you
miss them terribly after they die. Age 60

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your
children, work to improve your marriage. Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
(but not often) Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on
both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But if you focus on doing God’s will, loving your family, meeting the needs of others, doing your work with joy, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually
make the right decision. Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72

I’ve learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth,
I’ve seen several. Age 75

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
Age 82

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a
friendly pat on the back. Age 90

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92

James 1:5,6a “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives
to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him,
but let him ask in faith without any doubting…”

The Importance of Israel….

Should we support Israel….

Is our nation’s support of Israel important? As with all of the important questions in our lives the word of God holds the answers. You do not have to depend on the feelings and emotions of our world. So, listen carefully. Much depends on it.

Zechariah 14:12 “Now this will be the plaque with which the Lord will
strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their
flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their sockets, and
their tongue will rot in their mouth.”

God has a special place in His heart for the Jewish people.

Exodus 6:7 “Then I will take you (Jewish Nation) for My people, and I
will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who
brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will
bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.”

Some say, well yes but that was in the Old Testament. How about today?
The scriptures proclaim that because of sin the Jewish people lost their
promised land and were scattered throughout the nations. They also
proclaim that God will restore them to their land in New Testament times.

In 1948 Israel once again became a nation recognized as such and the
struggle to survive continues.

Jeremiah 3:3 “For, behold, days are coming, ‘declares the Lord, when I
will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah (OT Northern &
Southern Kingdoms)’. The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the
land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it.'”

The caution for us……..

Gen 12:3 “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses
you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

But how about the Gentiles? Does that mean we cannot be a part of God’s family? Fortunately no, it does not mean that. When Jesus came the first time He died, was buried and rose again so that all of mankind has the opportunity to be a part of His Church and family by placing their faith in His sacrifice for our sins. The following verse is just one of many in the scriptures talking about the gospel going to both Gentiles and Jews.

Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel:

He who is, who was and who is to COME AGAIN…..

He who is, who was and who is to COME AGAIN….

Was Jesus just a great man?

Was Jesus just a prophet?

Or is He the Son of God who set aside His glory to die for our sins, be buried, and rose from the dead?

Is He today sitting at the right hand of the throne of God interceding for sinful mankind?

Will Jesus return a 2nd time to straighten out our sin filled world?

If Jesus is really God then we have a couple of huge questions to ask ourselves.

The first is have we accepted His sacrifice on Calvary for our sins or are we trusting in our own deeds, family or church for our salvation. The second is; How is our service and relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords this morning??

Phil 2:5-7 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, BUT MADE HIMSELF of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

John 1:1, 14 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”

If Jesus was just a man and is still in the grave then our sins cannot be washed away by His sacrifice, we cannot be ‘born again’ and life is……………………..?

I Cor 15:14-20 “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up–if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

II Cor 5:15 “…and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

Thank you Father that your Son Jesus is our Lord and Savior!!

Can you imagine how the world around us would be effected if they saw in us the same attitudes and qualities that Jesus has?????????????

Let the truth of who Jesus is dictate your actions today.

God can use me, regardless of….

Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that comES to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.”

God can use everyone, regardless…..

Have you ever felt like you were too small in the Christian community for God to do His mighty works through you? You feel that your level of scriptural knowledge is inadequate or that your looks or speaking abilities are such that God could never work out His will using you as His messenger.  I have felt that way at times and it is comforting and challenging to see that so have many others who have portions of their lives recorded in scripture. The question this morning is this; Can I be used by God regardless of my spiritual level of training and regardless of my abilities.

I have recently been moved by God through His word to see many from all areas of life that God has chosen to use. I find that if I make myself available to Him and depend on His wisdom instead of my own that I can be used by God to perform His will and it does not get any better than that.

The following are just a very few of those mentioned in the Bible and their level of confidence in God being able to use them. Many did not question that God could use them but many did. And regardless of their level of faith our God was able to mold, change and use them.

  • Joseph was the youngest of 11 sons prior to Benjamin being born (Gen 34-37). God used him to save His people from the slavery that Israel would later in history be subjected to. He went through many terrible experiences from being sold by his brothers as a slave to lies him from Potifers wife causing him prison time as a result of God’s plan for restoration of Israel. He accepted them and stayed faithful to God.
  • Moses said when told by God that He was going to use him to lead the rescue of Israel from Egypt;

o   Ex 4:10 “And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue”

o   In spite of his early level of weak faith God used him mightily and he is one of the major names in scripture of those who served our God.

  • Ruth was not even an Israelite but God used her as a part of the family line to send His Son to a lost world through. (Mat 1) And all of us Gentiles say; Thank you Jesus…….!
  • Rahab a prostitute in Jericho also was not an Israelite but was used by God as a part of the family line to send His Son to a lost world through. (Mat 1) And all of us Gentiles again say; Thank you Jesus…….! Rahab is mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Wow!
  • Gideon felt based on his families’ standing in Israel he could not be used by God to lead them. God showed him that if he depended on God it was possible. He was used by God to lead Israel in conquering the Philistines while being outnumbered 300 to 135,000. That’s a ratio of 450 to 1. It leaves no question about Who defeated them. Listen to Gideon’s first reaction to the call of God;

o   Judges 6:15 “And he said unto him, Oh, Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

  • King Saul of the OT is a name we typically relate to a troubled man but did you know that he started off on the right foot in serving God but quickly fell into the sin of pride. But yes, he was one showing us a servant coming from a family with that type of high standing in Israel. God truly chooses His servants from all levels of society and not just the philosophers or those with very minimal spiritual knowledge.

o   I Sam 9:2 “And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a young man and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”

  • Mary a young woman who loved God was not from any family of high spiritual importance within Israel but was blessed by God her Savior and used as part of the family line that introduced God the Son to a lost world.

o   Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”

  • Saul of the NT soon to be renamed Paul was a Pharisee or a Spiritual Leader in Israel who as a Pharisee did not believe Jesus to be God. God changed all that and he became one of the mightiest servants of Jesus found in scripture.
  • The 12 Apostles included 7 Fishermen, 1 Tax Collector and 4 with unknown occupations but probably tradesmen with limited to no spiritual training.

o   Acts 4:13 “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

o   Isn’t it awesome our Savior can use folks such as us fishermen…………..!?

o   Mat 4:19 “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

  • Elijah a mighty prophet of God was only one of two people to ever be taken from this earth without dying physically. Much can be learned from his service for our God when we commit to the same. (1 and 2 Kings)
  • Solomon was the son of King David who had wisdom according to God that no man could match or ever will be able to. The Holy Spirit using Solomon’s life left for us (II Pet 1:20, 21) the following truth for us to follow;

o   Eccl 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”

From those mentioned above you can see that God can use people from every level of society to accomplish His will. So we should never say never to being able to used by God. There is one very important ingredient in each of the above being used by God and it applies to our lives as well. You must 1st;

  • John 3:3 “ Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

And then you must;

  • Rom 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

You must then recognize Who will be the source of strength to accomplish God’s will.

  • Phil 4:13 “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.”
  • II Cor 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”

Why me and being a Soldier….

Why me and being a Soldier?

Like all of us you find yourself many times asking the question, ‘Why me’. Why are they picking on me?  Especially when you go through a time of suffering, whether physical or verbal.  If you are a ‘born again’ believer the Holy Spirit offers a teaching on the topic of suffering that can only be understood by believers. If you are not a ‘born again’ believer the spiritual logic provided by God the Holy Spirit will appear as foolishness to you.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Or there is one other option and it is that you can be a new Christian and  not yet be able to handle this level of spiritual insight or a Christian of many years but yet still a baby in your spiritual understanding.

  • I Corinthians 3:1-3 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

So, back to our topic of ‘Why me?’ and suffering for Jesus. We are brought up in a country of material wealth and increasing moral decay. Both are driven into us daily via our media, government schools and most of our political system all run by our enemy, satan. To stand up for Jesus labels us as intolerant bigots who are unaccepting of others and even dangerous. I wonder who would want to portray us that way.  A little sarcasm there but much truth in it.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

To be soldiers for Jesus we must grab a hold of what His ministry is for in this life. If Jesus did not have a mission for us on this earth He would have taken us home immediately after He drew us to Himself via the ‘born again’ event in our lives.

To live for Jesus it is vital we think about the topic of suffering for Jesus and what it means for our lives.

  • It is our destiny as ‘born again’ believers to go through some level of suffering as we minister for Jesus. Just like the church as Thessalonica it our destiny.
    • I Thes 3:3 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.
    • It is totally contrary to our upbringing and nature to accept that suffering is actually our nature but if God says it then it cannot possibly be wrong.
    • Step one is to accept what God says.

Second. Step two is to accept God’s mission for us which will require;

  • Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

In James 1:2,3 our God speaking to persecuted Christians and us says that we can go through trials in our lives that He sends our way. He sends trials our way so that we will grow in our faith. Trials when properly viewed will bring spiritual growth into our lives which is the ‘why me’ question is important. It is only dangerous when we do so selfishly and not asking ourselves what God is doing in our lives? If it is all about me than the lesson God intends is lost. And think about it another way. If your child does not learn a lesson you intend for them you typically have to do what? That’s correct, you have to teach it to them until they learn. So its best to learn quickly the lessons God sends our way.

  • James 1:2,3 My brethren, count it all joy WHEN you fall into various trials knowing this that the trying of your faith works patience.

So are you and Soldier for Jesus and are you learning from your trials?