The Great “I Am”…

The Great “I Am”

Here is the question for this morning. Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am”? When it comes down to it there are only two choices. It is either self or God. First and foremost, we must decide to be honest with ourselves. Our actions of the day typically are the great indicators of who or Who I have chosen to serve today. Did I start the day with prayer and some form of devotion? Is my goal today to broaden my worth or to assist others? Those type of questions will reveal what my answer to our first question is. Of course, once again, it requires I be brutally honest with myself.

Jesus offers us eternal reward, happiness, fulfillment and all the treasures that this world and self cannot. It will help us make the correct choice if we reflect on Who Jesus is. In God’s scriptures Jesus is given titles such as; The Word, Lamb of God, Son of God, Truth, Bread of Life, Resurrection, Vine and of course ‘I Am’. The name of Jesus and His titles affirm His preexistence and deity. The beauty being that He desires a relationship with us again that our sin broke. Listen to Jesus words recorded in the Gospel of John and His offer to us. Then you make the choice;

  • John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”
  • John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • John 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep'”
  • John 10:11-14 ” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
  • John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
  • John 14:1,2 ” “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”

Peer pressure and the expectations and controls of the society around us can influence our choices. That having been said we must remember that it remains our choice. We can never blame anyone or anything for the choices we make.

I Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Joshua is a great example of making choices that are dramatically different than the society and peers who surrounded him. Out of a couple of million people of his generation who God rescued from Egypt he was one of only two who made the choice to serve God and could enter the promised land. Yes, I said two out of a couple of million. Wow, what a great example for us. So, what was his choice? Joshua choose to serve the great ‘I AM’. I am sure for Joshua it would have been easier to go with the flow and the crowd but he knew that is not what God wanted from his life. Listen to the stand he took and be assured you can do the same. Even when everyone around you objects!

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 (your country, state, city, etc.), in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am” this morning? Put your check mark on one or the other.

_____ Jesus

_____ Self

Creation vs Evolution…

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created …”

Gen 1:26,27 “The God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.

Creation vs Evolution…

A group of scientists and engineers got together and decided since they can make machines and robots do almost anything, and were able to clone, that God was no longer needed.

They sent an engineer and a scientist to confront God with their finding.

God listened patiently and kindly and said He understood their feelings.

However, He would like to challenge them with the simple making of a human being the way it was in the beginning.

The two took the challenge. God said now remember this will be from scratch. They agreed.

God bent down and picked up a handful of dirt. The engineer and scientist bent down to get a handful of dirt.

God said “You need to create the dirt first”.

Do you find it sad when you see all the TV and school philosophies being conveyed that we began as something other than, “Let us make man in Our image”?

Who do you suppose would push that logic?

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour.”

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

God knows ALL…

Mat 11:28,29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.

Who knows?

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…

God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…

God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…

God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…

God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…
God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…

God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…

God has sustained you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for..

God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…

God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…

God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

When you realize life is for eternity and only Jesus can save you…

God awaits your calling upon His Son to save you.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…GOD KNOWS!

Mat 11:28,29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
gently and lowly of heart, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

Christians are a strange group…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

• The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
• Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
• So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?

o Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
o John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
o Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
o Matt 5:13 “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.
 Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
o We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
o Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
• Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
o 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
o Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;
Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”
James 4:14 “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Then comes eternity……
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”
HE IS RISEN……..

Trials, Troubles, Heartaches and Victory…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

“Trials, Troubles, Heartaches and Victory”

Little Jessica suddenly became America’s child the day she fell down that narrow shaft in a backyard in Texas. Here was a toddler, wedged nearly upside down, in a shaft far too narrow for a man to navigate, and unable to help herself in any way. It didn’t take long for the press to descend on that little hole in the ground to cover this valiant effort to try to save little Jessica’s life. Pretty soon countless people across the country and around the world were rooting and praying for her life. I was one of them. At first, there appeared to be no way out of this deadly situation, but the rescuers weren’t giving up. They began to build a wider shaft parallel to the one Jessica was trapped in. She’d been in there for nearly three days when a rescuer finally went down that new shaft and through the tunnel they had dug to Jessica. Minutes later – a scene many of us will never forget. In the glare of the press’s massive lights, a battered but breathing little girl emerged from that hole with her arms tightly around her rescuer.

Many times you and I fall into a similar spiritual situation that we see little Jessica in. We are trapped in a spot, in a situation where there does not seem to be any way out. We cannot plan our way out, think our way out, talk our way out or work our way out. Fear can set in or worse yet complacency. Can you recognize those areas of your life when that happens? Or may it even be happening right now? If not, it will sooner or later. At that moment we are facing a situation that is beyond our power to fix or to figure out.

Our usual delivery systems in our life, the people or sources which would usually come
through for us just aren’t doing it. Not this time. And worse yet maybe we have fallen into the trap so often that complacency has set in. We have given up trying to doing it God’s way. Or maybe we even have ourselves convinced that God is not right there with us at every moment and situation in our lives. We feel like there is no way to turn this around. We are at the bottom of the shaft, beyond the reach of any conventional help.

God offers us this comfort in times of trials or troubles;

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.”

The snare that entangles us can come from a multitude of directions. One is from satan as he seeks to trip us up. As believers, he can no longer have our souls but he can keep us from serving Jesus.

Ephes. 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Another is from our flesh when we do not flee youthful lusts as II Tim 2:22 reminds us to do. We dabble in them and as James 1 notes that dabbling leads to sin. And Genesis 3 and Romans 6:23 reminds us of the penalty for those sins is spiritual and physical death. If that sin goes unconfessed then complacency and depression set in. And yes, while believers cannot lose their salvation sin can wreck their testimony, their happiness and even affect their family and generations to come. We lie to ourselves when we think we are only affecting ourselves or that God does not see the sin (Psalm 37).

Another are trials sent from God (James 1:2, 3) to help develop us into the servants He desires and hopefully we desire to be. There can be no lasting peace and joy outside of serving Jesus and allowing those trials to mold us. Acceptance offers the peace of God that passes worldly understanding.

Philip. 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Another is the heartache other people bring into our lives. Simply because they may view wrongly the reason for their difficult moments, they may be conformed to the world, their lack of acceptance of trials, their unsaved condition, their lack of accepting God’s trials to mold them; they can make our lives miserable.

Fortunately, God our heavenly Father enters the situation when snares entangle us. And yes, there is a Way out. Psalm 25:15 “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” If you are facing something for which there seems to be no conceivable solution, then do not give up and crawl into yourself. If you have placed your faith in Jesus and are one of His children then all things do work together in our lives for good and most importantly for His names sakes (Rom 8:28). As a believer the only thing in our life that He cannot be the Author of is sin.

Nobody sees God bigger than those who need Him desperately. That is if they seek Him.
As King David said in this psalm, “Only He” can release you. Isn’t that great? God wants you to believe Him for a solution that will have no human fingerprints on it, only His. It must be Him and Him alone.

  1. W. Tozer said, “The child of God should always be found living in expectation of the divine.”
    And he was right on track. In all things God says to lay our requests before Him and seek His wisdom (Psalm 1:1,2, Mat 6:33, James 1:5,6) If you are at one of those Red Sea moments then the question is, where will you turn?

If God chooses to use humans to deliver His resources to your life, remember it doesn’t come from them. They are but a tool that God uses to direct us.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.”

God’s Definition of Guidance…

Luke 22:40-42 “ When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

God’s Definition of Guidance

When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of
the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow
with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow
with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or
by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one
body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and
attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word guidance. When I saw “G,” I thought of God,
followed by “u” and “I.” “God, “u” and “I” dance.” God, you, and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you and
your family on this day and every day. May you abide in Him as He abides in
you. Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead and to guide you through
each season of your life.

And for those of you that know me closer than others you realize how poor of a dancer I am. I truly need my Lord leading me every step of the way…..HIS WAY!

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

Adversity, a Tool for Growth…

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation develops patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Adversity, a Tool for Growth

Can adversity in my life come from God? How should I view that adversity? Or is adversity in my life simply a result of fleshly or spiritual issues that I have and if I were spiritually stronger these things would never happen to me? These questions are asked by Christians of all maturity levels.

Some church organizations focus on the “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” theme and that adversity has no place in the life of a Christian. Is that true? Those churches teach that God would have you to be healthy and wealthy with never a hint of adversity in your life. That teaching is attractive to our fleshly emotions. If you are experiencing adversity their answer is that it is because you are weak in faith. They say if you just come to their church, support the programs, join in with the emotional message that God lift you up physically and materially. Many get deceived by this because it offers what the flesh wants. And the flesh always wants only what is best for it.

II Tim 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.”

So, how does God view adversity and our spiritual development? Our answer as with all questions in life is right there in the Book. There are many examples in scripture that help us understand how God views this topic and the depth of His love for us. Our obvious best example is our Savior Jesus. He came to display unconditional love while doing the will of the Father. We will never have to experience the depth of pain that Jesus experienced for us. If we are looking for our own will to be done it is easy to fall into the Health, Wealth and Prosperity trap.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

We could also look at the lives of Noah, Jonah, Moses, Job, David, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Rehab, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Mary and on and on. What we see are individuals that were molded by the circumstances that God sent into their lives. Those circumstances were simply not a result of their weak faith and fortunately they never viewed them like that. God loved them as He loves us and wanted the best for their lives. The question was what was best for their lives to bring glory of God and not to provide comfort for self. Each of those mentioned above experienced adversity and out of it came growth and more importantly God was pleased and glorified. That growth occurred only after they got to the place in their lives where they said, your will be done and not mine. None were blessed or avoided adversity simply because of strong faith. Their spiritual maturity grew as they presented themselves to God as living sacrifices to perform His will through their lives.
James 1:2, 3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

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

For me when I accept adversity as being from God the benefits are spiritual growth. When I reject trials as being from God the result is frustration, heartache and even tears. I have memorized II Cor 12:9 to help me in those times of adversity. It reminds me that God is in control and wants to lift up His name by His work in my life. WOW, you cannot have anything more than that if you are looking for purpose in your life.

In II Corinthians 12 Paul first viewed his “thorn” as a limiting handicap. After requesting that God remove it multiple times he received the answer. It was no. By the way, no and wait are answers to prayer. He evaluated the answer and came up with the spiritually correct answer. God had a purpose for the thorn and he was much better off accepting it than ignoring or complaining about it. After coming to the true perspective, he regarded it as a heavenly advantage. Pains and problems come into our lives and if viewed properly are tools reminding us of God’s all-sufficient grace.

Whatever your “thorn” today, remembers—His grace IS sufficient and it is available right now!!!!!!!

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”