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 All

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 ALL!

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.”

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.”

God can use everyone, if…

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

God can use everyone, if…..

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 many times and it is comforting and challenging to see that so many others who have portions of their lives recorded in scripture have felt the same. 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 that God uses the weak to accomplish much. 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 with the same issue. 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 the restoration of Israel. He accepted those trials (James 1:2,3) 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 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 was a prostitute in Jericho and 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”

Where do I and you stand on these requirements this morning?

The Faith of our America’s Founders…

2 Chron. 7:14a “If my people…”

The Faith of America’s Founders…

Founding Faith!

In this difficult time for our country it does us well to remember and build on the faith of our founding fathers! Note how they were not afraid to reference Jesus as their source of strength!!
How about us? When is the last time we gave credit to Jesus for something in our lives and the unsaved world heard us?

George Washington, father of our country, first president of the United States said;

“Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ.” “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” “Of all the habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (From his farewell speech, 1796).

Patrick Henry, American Revolutionary leader:
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians: not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Benjamin Franklin, At the Constitutional Convention of 1787:
“I have lived long, Sir, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . . . My views . . . are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruption’s of Christianity, I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.”

Prayer that opened the first Continental Congress in September, 1774:

“My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his salvation. . . .
Awake and rise to my defense” Contend for me, my God and Lord” (Psalm 35:9, 23)

John Adams, on that prayer;

“Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid? It was enough . . . to melt a heart of stone. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm
to be read that day.”

George Washington:

“Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. . . Daily frames me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.”

Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution:

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy.”

So, how important is it that I vote on who takes office and on what promise or principles do I base my vote on? Material or moral promises? You decide. That is one of the blessings we have in America. We can decide…..

2 Chron. 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Eph 6:12-13 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

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.”

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

If I knew it would be the last time
that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time

that I’d see you walk out the door,
I would give you hugs and kisses, and then call you back for more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,

I would memorize each action
and word so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I would spare a minute or two
to tell you that I love you,
instead of assuming you KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day….
Well, I’m sure you’ll have so many more,

I can just let this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything alright.

There will always be another day to say our “I love you”, and certainly, there’s another chance to say our “Anything I can do?”

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get, I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight….
So, if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes you’ll surely regret the day
that you didn’t take the extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss, and you were too busy to grant someone what turned out to be their last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today and whisper in their ears, tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear.  Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,”  “Thank you “or “It’s okay.”

And if tomorrow never comes you’ll have no regrets about today.

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men to die once then comes the judgment”

To truly have no regrets……

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Heart is…

Serving Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords requires that we check out the priorities of our hearts and ask whether they are the same as those Jesus would set.

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

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

Heart Check

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We spend too recklessly,

Laugh too little,

Drive too fast,

Get too angry too quickly,

Stay up too late,

Get up too tired,

Read scripture too seldom if at all,

Pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom and lie too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve tried to add years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We’ve conquered outer space, but not our inner space; We’ve done larger things, but not better things;

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; We write more, but learn less;

Plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait;

We have higher incomes; but lower morals;

More food but less appeasement;

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication;

We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; Tall men, and short character; Steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips,

Disposable diapers,

Throwaway morality,

One-night stands,

Overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

The solution is one you will not hear very often in this world.

The solution is a personal relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to direct and control our lives!!!!

You can never get too much of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!

The percentage of how much of our life Jesus controls is directly proportionate to our level of commitment.

Rom 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Obeying God…

Mat 16:24, 25 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Gen 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did”

Obeying God…

Has there ever been a time in your life when you submitted to the Holy Spirit toward a lifetime of obedience to God?

The life of obedience is a life of following Christ. Once you commit your life to be one of obedience, you will still face choices to obey or disobey.

You will not always choose correctly, and you will not be without sin.

However, once you make the commitment to a lifetime of obedience, God will take that commitment and bend your heart in His direction.

Obedience, then, becomes a normal way in which you and I respond to the circumstances of life. Obedience becomes not merely a decision, but a lifestyle.

In Genesis 6, we read about God’s call for Noah to construct the ark. Yet

Noah’s compliance with that particular decision is not how Noah embodied obedience. It’s why we remember him, but Noah had already committed his life to walking with God. Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”

Therefore, when Noah was presented with the decision to obey God and build an ark when rain was not just unexpected but literally foreign to the people and the terrain, he obeyed. Noah obeyed because he had, at some previous point, committed his life to be one of obedience unto his Lord.

Seven principles for learning to live a lifestyle of obedience include:

1) Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until God directs you-usually through a multitude of means, including His Word, the church, circumstances, and prayer.

2) Develop a love for the Word of God. This is God’s primary tool of speaking to us. As we learn to meditate on the Word of God, we will learn the ways of God.

3) Obeying God oftentimes means going against human reasoning. If we wait until we understand, we’ll never be obedient to God. He will never lead us in opposition to His Word, but He will sometimes lead us in opposition to our definition of common sense.

4) Realize that God will sometimes cause us to walk in the dark. He will sometimes call us to walk in a direction where we cannot see a clear path.

We can pray and argue all we want, but God will not always show us where we are going; He simply commands and waits for us to submit.

5) We must learn to expect struggles. Plainly, some things God will ask us to do; we just don’t want to do them. Sometimes we don’t want to obey because we’re afraid of failure. Understand that God never requires something of us that isn’t for our best and for His glory.

6) Realize that there’s no substitute for obedience.

7) Learn to leave all the consequences of our obedience to God.

The issue hasn’t changed with time. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ worthy of your obedience, and has there ever come a time in your life where you said, “Lord, from this moment on, as a way of life or lifestyle, I choose to obey You no matter what”?

** Read the key passages and answer the questions below.

  1. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15) What does God say are the rewards of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
  2. (Genesis 12:1-3) Which one of the above principles applies to Abraham’s call from God?
  3. (1 Samuel 15:1-29) What does Samuel tell Saul that he did wrong?

What was the consequence of Saul’s action? What do you learn about God in this passage?

  1. As you read this, what did God bring to your mind in regards to something He is calling you to do?
  2. If you have not done it before, take this time to commit to God in prayer your desire to obey Him fully. If you do not have this desire, be honest. Ask Him to place it in your heart.

Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”