PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER

8-1-04 DOGGETT

Definition for persistence- something existing for a long time or longer than usual time or continuously without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure

Some examples of persistent

  • Noah continued to build the ark when everyone else was mocking and laughing
  • Moses persisted against pharaoh – persisted when people complained and rebelled
  • Paul persisted through personal affliction, stoning, shipwrecked, beatings
  • Jesus persisted to the point of death (persistence is not giving up)

“Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit” Luke 18:1 (Msg)

PRAYING WITH PERSISTENCE

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. [12] Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. [13] You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

How many of you here this morning through periodic times found yourselves waiting on God.  I mean a time when you prayed wholeheartedly for something that you believed was the will of God, and received nothing in response but an apparent icy silence from heaven (Raise you hand if you can relate). Perhaps you were praying for the salvation of a loved one.  Maybe it was a prayer asking for God to send revival in the nation.  How did you respond when you prayer wasn’t answered?  Did you quit praying all together?  Did you question whether or not you were praying according to the will of God or not? Did you stop attending prayer meetings? Come, but come late?  We live in an instant society.  People today want instant gratification.  We have instant pudding so that we can have our dessert without going through the bother of making it.  We have instant credit so that we can enjoy our purchase now instead of waiting until we can afford it.  That instant gratification mindset also affects Christians when it comes to prayer. We want instant answers to our prayers so that we don’t have to go through all the time and effort to pray repeatedly for the same thing.  God will not be rushed in His plans.  If we are to have our prayers answered, then we will have to cultivate the discipline of persistence in prayer.

KEEP ON PRAYING UNTIL YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED

“Always keep on praying.”1 Thes. 5:17 (Living)

Some have said that praying more than one time for the same thing demonstrates a lack of faith and even an insult to the Lord-  Although there are varieties of scriptures that teach persistence

The repeated intercessions of Abraham for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah show the necessity for importunate (shameless prayer) prayer.  Jacob, wrestling all night with the angel, gives significant emphasis to the power of perseverance in praying.  Moses prayed for forty days and forty nights, seeking to stay the wrath of God against Israel, and his example and success encourage our present day faith in its darkest hour.  Elijah repeated and urged his prayer seven times revealing the success of his prayer and the victory of his faith.  One occasion Daniel though faint and weak, pressed his case three weeks until the answer and the blessing came.  Many nights during His earthly life Jesus spent in prayer.  In Gethsemane He presented the same petition, three times, with unabated, yet submissive importunity, which involved the element of His soul, and issued tears and bloody sweat.  The importunate friend is a classic example of insistent prayer.

THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT

See Luke 11:1 –5  When Jesus had finished praying one of his disciples came to Him and said Lord Teach us to pray

“Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, [6] because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’  [7] “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ [8] I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs”.  Luke 11:5-8 (NIV)

There are three persons in this parable– the one spoken for, the one who speaks, and the one appealed to.  The Lord vividly contrasts the reluctance and the selfishness of the friend appealed to, with the openhanded and opened hearted generosity of the Heavenly Father. The man appealed to was not concerned with his friend’s distress.  The argument runs:  If even a self-centered and ungenerous human being to whom sleep was more important than his friend’s distress and need will reluctantly rise at midnight and supply the need because of his friend’s shameless persistence, how much more will God be moved by persistent prayer to meet His child’s need! The Lord Jesus is saying to us –“Keep on praying until you get what you need”. When you pray and you don’t obtain the thing the first time, pray again; and if we do not obtain it the second time, pray a third time; and if we do not obtain it the hundredth time, keep on praying until we do get it.

THE UNJUST JUDGE

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.” Luke 18:1 (Living)

Let’s continue reading the story of the Unjust Judge (see Luke 18:2-8).  The parable of the heartless Judge, who had neither respect for God nor respect for men, teaches the same lesson even more strongly.  If the defenseless but troublesome widow by her shameless persistence over came the reluctance of the unjust judge to do her justice, how much more will the believer be speedily vindicated in the courts heaven, where he has a strong Advocate, whose character is the exact opposite of the judge’s. In both parables, Jesus is careful to vindicate the character of God and to reveal His true nature and attitude.  God is neither a selfish neighbor nor a crooked judge dispensing reluctant justice to a wronged widow because his comfort was being disturbed by her persistence.  The lesson is that lukewarm ness in prayer, as in everything else, is nauseating to God and comes away empty-handed.  (See Revelation 3:15-16)  On the other hand, shameless persistence, that will not be denied returns with the answer in its hands.

THE CANAANITE WOMAN

“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. [22] A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Matthew 15:21-22 (NIV)

Another story of shameless persistence.  Let’s continue to read this story about the woman of Syrophenicia.  (See Matthew 15:23-28)  We have an illustration of this Holy boldness in the woman of Syrophenicia.  She came to Jesus Christ for the healing of her daughter.  She cried, “have mercy on me, O’ Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”  But our Lord seemed to pay no attention to her:  He answered her not a word.”  His disciples urged Him to send her away.  In spite of His apparent deafness to her appeal, she kept on crying. Then he turned to her with an apparently more positive rebuff:  “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of

Israel,” and she was not of the House of Israel.”  Then she persistent in worshipping Him calling to Him saying, “Lord, help me.”  Then came what almost appears to be a cruel rebuff: “It is not right to take the childrens bread and cast it to dogs.”(the word He used for dogs was a peculiar word that meant little pet dog, and was not at all as harsh as it seems, although it was an apparent refusal to hear her prayer,  But, as we shall see, our Lord was simply putting her faith to the test that she might get even a larger blessing.)  Then she said, “Truth Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.”  She was in essence saying, since I am a dog and the dogs have a right to eat the crumbs from the masters table then my daughter has a right to be healed.  And then came one of the most wonderful words of commendation from our Lord.

“Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28 (NIV)

This type of faith pleases God.  He would have us have that faith in His loving-kindness and in himself that, even when He seems not to hear, we will trust Him still to hear.  God does not always give you the things you ask the first time you ask.  God wants to train you in persistent faith.  Why it is that God does not give us the things we ask, the first time we ask? The answer is plain:  Jesus would do us the far greater good of training us in persistent faith.  For our own good God compels us to be persistent in our efforts so don’t give up; keep on praying until you do get your prayers answered.

The walls of Jericho did not fall until the Israelites had circled them for a full thirteen times and then shout the shout of faith (Joshua 6:1-20)—We may circle our prayer 13 times and yet the answer has not come –why? Could it be God is waiting to hear a shout of faith?

PRAYING THROUGH

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. [9] But he said to me, “Mygrace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Cor. 12:8-9 (NIV)

In Mark 8:22-26 – Jesus laid His hands on the blind man two times

If persistence is so important, why did Paul, a man of prayer, pray only three times for the removal of the “thorn in the flesh”?  Should he not have continued to storm the gates of heaven until his request were granted and it was removed?  The reason for Paul’s lack of persistence was that his prayer was answered.  Once we receive a definite answer to prayer, we should quit praying.  It is wrong to persist in a prayer just because we did not like the answer we received. God knows what’s best for us and we should accept His judgment.  God will supply all of our need, not all of our want.  Pray through until you get your prayer answered.

Praise God! Please vist us on  valleyoftheSON.com

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A Tale Of Two Sisters – LEAH / RACHEL

Laban had two daughters. The name of the older one was Leah and the name of the younger one was Rachel” (Genesis 29:16).

In Genesis chapter 27, Jacob had already swindled his brother Esau out of the birthright, and now he had deceitfully taken away the blessing of their father Isaac. Esau, having been double-crossed twice, was so angry that he was preparing to kill Jacob. When their mother, Rebekah, found out about Esau’s plans, she convinced Isaac to send Jacob up to the city of Haran where her brother Laban lived to find a wife. Jacob left home, headed north, found Laban and became employed as one of Laban’s workers.

Laban had two daughters; the older daughter was named Leah, and the younger daughter was named Rachel. Rachel had the body of a goddess and the face of a super-model. Leah is described as having “weak” eyes. Jacob immediately fell head over heels in love with Rachel. He told Laban that he would work seven years for Laban and as payment, he would get to marry Rachel. Both men shook hands on the deal.

At the end of the seven years, Laban swindled Jacob by switching Leah for Rachel towards the end of the marriage ceremony. Jacob thought he was spending the night with Rachel, but Laban had substituted Leah in her place. Jacob was furious. The swindler had been swindled. He didn’t want Leah he wanted Rachel. Jacob and Laban worked out another deal for another seven years of service. When the seven-day marriage ritual with Leah was complete, Jacob immediately married Rachel.

Jacob confronted Laban about the trickery and Laban agreed to give him Rachel one week later, provided Jacob would work for him an additional seven years. Jacob agreed, married Rachel, and loved Rachel more than Leah. This hurt Leah and God consoled her with children. Leah was not comforted, however, and named her sons accordingly. Her firstborn was Reuben because “the Lord has seen (in Hebrew ra’ah) my affliction” and “now my husband will love me (ye’ehabani)”(Genesis 29:32). Her second son was Simeon because “the Lord heard (shama) that I was unloved”(Genesis 29:33). Her third she named Levi in the hope that “this time my husband will become attached (yillaweh) to me”(Genesis 29:34). Only her fourth son’s name was not directly connected to Leah’s relationship with her husband. She named him Judah because “this time I will praise (odeh) the Lord”(Genesis 29:35).

The Spot Light Is on Rachel

Genesis 30 opens with the spotlight on Rachel:  When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children; she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family” (vv.1-3).

Bilhah had a son by Jacob who legally became Rachel’s child. We know this because it was Rachel who named the little boy. She called him Dan, saying, “God has vindicated me; He has listened to my plea and given me a son” (v.6).

If it worked once, maybe it would work twice. So Rachel sent Bilhah to Jacob again. The maidservant bore another son and Rachel named the baby Naphtali, which means “wrestlings.” Rachel explained her choice of names by saying, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won” (v.8).

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep But Ugly Is To The Bone- When Beauty Fades Away Ugly Holds Its Own

Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful Genesis 29:17 (NIV)

The Bible says in Genesis 29:30 that “Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.” The words “more than” are not in the original Hebrew text. The interpreters of the Old Testament added those words to the text much later. What the Bible indicates here is that Jacob did not love Leah at all. Jacob had eyes only for Rachel and he didn’t care about Leah. Jacob’s heart was for the super-model, not the homely girl who needed glasses.

We can only imagine the beauty of Rachel. The Bible says in Genesis 29:20, “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few daysfor the love he had to her.”  Here was a man who was so taken with the looks of this girl that he was willing to be a servant of her household for seven years in order to have her as his wife.  This was Jacob’s first mistake.  He only saw what was on the outside.  The world has a saying, “beauty is only skin deep.”  The Bible puts it this way in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  Jacob would have been wise to look at Rachel’s heart and not at her face.

The Scheme

During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “[Jacob] can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me tonight,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son (30:14-17).

This incident demonstrates the daily tensions in Jacob’s household. Little Reuben had found some mandrakes in the field. The mandrake is a plant that bears a yellow fruit the size of a plum and is shaped like a tomato. This fruit was called a love apple. People believed that mandrakes helped a woman become fertile

Living With A Man Who Doesn’t Love You

Two women; one was loved and the other was unloved. The interesting thing to look at is the personalities of the two women. They were like night and day, complete opposites

Let me show you.

Rachel was for the most part, barren (a sign of God’s displeasure).

Leah bore many children (a sign of God’s favor).

Rachel stole her father’s idols and kept them in her tent.

Leah kept asking God for more sons in the hope that maybe Jacob would love her.

Rachel traded Jacob to Leah (for a night) for some of Leah’s freshly caught geese.

The only thing Rachel had that Leah wanted, was Jacob’s love.

Rachel was always jealous of Leah because Leah could bear children.

The Bible does not say that Leah was jealous of Rachel over anything.

Rachel was unhappy due to God closing her womb.

Leah was happy and rejoiced over her children.

When Rachel died (after giving birth to Benjamin) Jacob buried her near Bethlehem.

When Leah died many years later, Jacob buried her next to Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebekah.

When Jacob was old and dying, he gave his sons instructions to bury with him with his forefathers, and next to Leah.

What happened in the end that caused Leah to be shown so much honor and not Rachel? It was Leah who was buried with Jacob’s forefathers, not Rachel. It was Leah that Jacob wanted to be buried next to, not Rachel. In the end, it was Leah who was loved, not Rachel. What happened? Perhaps Jacob started seeing things from God’s perspective. Perhaps Jacob saw that the woman God loved was Leah.Perhaps Jacob saw that Leah was focused on God and Rachel was not. Thousands of years later, the messiah would be born through Judah’s lineage. It was Leah who gave birth to Judah, not Rachel. It was Leah who gave birth to Levi, who would become the father of the line of Priests.

Leah was not blessed with physical beauty, but she was indeed blessed by God.  Unloved by men, she was deeply loved by God.

Blessings please visit valleyoftheSON.com

Perhaps you are a Christian woman who is married to man that does not love you. You and Leah have much in common. Where is your focus? Leah’s focus was on God. God eventually turned Jacob’s heart to Leah and he loved her more than he had ever loved Rachel.

While Leah was waiting all those years for God to turn Jacob’s heart to her, she never gave up hope.

During all those years that she was unloved, God continued to bless Leah. During all those years that Leah was unloved by her husband, God never stopped loving her.

If you are a woman in Leah’s shoes, there is great hope for you. Are you willing to give God time to answer your prayers? Leah waited, and God answered her prayer. Leah could have become bitter because she was unloved, but she did not, and God rewarded her patience. God will reward your patience if you keep your heart and your life focused on Him. Keep God as your number one priority and he will see you through to the end.

The desire of most women is to be a super-model like Rachel. What woman does not want men to desire her? But God wants women to desire Him. He wants women with weak eyes like Leah, who will focus on Him, and not on the world. You know how painful and tough life really is as you live from day to day. Will you face life and focus your eyes on God like Leah? Or will you focus inward and focus on your problems, like Rachel. It is a tale of two sisters, which one will you choose to be?

The next time Leah is mentioned occurs when Jacob met with his estranged brother Esau. Jacob formed a receiving line of his wives and children, putting the maids and their children first, Leah and her children in the middle, and Rachel and her son at the end.

It is not written when Leah died, but only that she was buried in the Cave of Machpelah. Leah left as her legacy half of the 12 tribes, including Judah, father of the monarchy, and Levi, father of the priesthood.

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THE FRUIT OF THE BELIEVER

Doggett 2006

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)”

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments Galatians 5:22 (Msg)

Humor???

Jack had a near death experience that changed his life forever.  One day, after church Jack went horseback riding.  Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control.  He tried with all his might to hang on, but was thrown off.  Just when things could possibly get worse, jack’s foot got caught in the stirrup.  When this happened, he fell head first to the ground.  His head continued to bounce harder and harder, and the horse did not stop or even slow down.  Just as he was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Wal-Mart manager came out and unplugged it.

What Do Real Witnesses Look Like

“You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:15 (NIV)”

Jesus told His disciples, and us, that we are to be witnesses for Him.  What do these witnesses look like?  What are we to do so that each of our lives can be a witness for Christ?  One of the things we can consider is the fruit of the Spirit that the Spirit is producing in our lives.  When such fruit is produced, we are being the kind of people that will draw others to God and His love, but here is the good news.  God doesn’t just leave it up to us.  He gives us his Spirit so that we can produce the kind of fruit that will draw others to Him.  Let’s look at how the Spirit can produce more of this fruit in our lives.  Read Galatians 5:16-26 below

Fruit Producers

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. [17]  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.  [19] The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. [25] Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [26] Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV)

What Is Spiritual Fruit? First, I would like you to think literally of fruit; for example, the basic garden variety of tomato.  What does a tomato plant produce?  Tomatoes!  Not beans, apples, pumpkins, but tomatoes.  The plant doesn’t have to concentrate, work at it or labor over producing a tomato; it just does it.  It produces its fruit as the natural result of being a tomato plant.  Paul chooses the word fruit very deliberately.  He says the list of things in verses 22-23 are fruit that are produced in the lives of believers.  Just as a tomato plant produces a tomato as fruit, so a believer produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. as a fruit.

Notice, however, that Paul calls these things the “fruit of the Spirit.” That means that the source or origin of this fruit is the Holy Spirit.  Paul does not say, “Work these things into your lives.” These things are not the result of our own efforts.  These are the fruits, the results of having the Holy Spirit in our lives. Because of the Holy Spirit, these things are now in our lives because the Spirit is naturally or spiritually producing them.  As the Holy Spirit works within us our character and conduct are beautifully refined and changed.” We are to let the Spirit work in us as he grows these fruits within us.

Nine Christian Virtues?

“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22 (NIV)”

One other thing to note: Paul does not speak of the fruits of the Spirit, but the fruit of the Spirit.  There are not nine different varieties of fruits, but one fruit with several different aspects or facets.  Why is that important?  The result of this is that no one can say, “I don’t have that fruit.” “I’d like to be more patient with my children, husband, wife, co-workers and so on, but I guess I just don’t have the Spiritual fruit of patience.”  If we are believers in Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit will produce all these things in us. Not that we have all these things perfectly; we are far from producing perfect fruit.  Yet we should display every aspect of this fruit of the Spirit.  Finally, exhibiting such fruit may take time, but the Spirit will do this.

What are these nine Christian virtues? There have been many attempts at different groupings of these nine virtues.  It is difficult to say whether or not Paul had a clear structure or order in mind.  Nevertheless, there are some rough categories.  The first three — love, joy and peace – together form a basic group of inner qualities of a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The second three – patience, kindness, goodness – are more relational and thus more applicable to our relationships with others.  The final three – faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – form a bit of a mixture of virtues.  I believe that the first one, love, forms a root from which all the others fall.  In other words, if you want to know how love comes into being, look at the rest of the list.

Trees

“He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Mark 8:24 (NIV)”

“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:9 (NIV)  See Isaiah 61:3 –Trees of Righteousness

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)”

Fruit doesn’t exist without a tree; and the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t exist without the Holy Spirit’s presence. The Spirit only produces fruit in people he indwells; if he’s not living in you, no fruit will be produced- the fruit of the Spirit is found only in believers.

A good tree produces lots of fruit—the more a tree produces the better the tree.  The Spirit wants to produce lots of fruit in you; he’s like a grafted tree: He can produce nine kinds of fruit in every believer!

Trees that don’t produce aren’t much good; they’re cut down and replaced with better ones (Luke 13:6–9).  A tree is known by its fruit (Matt 12:33; cf. 7:17–19; Luke 6:43).

When people see the fruit of the Spirit in action, they learn something about the Holy Spirit—they learn something about God when they see what He has produced in your soul

MENTAL ATTITUDES

“The ax is now ready to cut the roots of the trees. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”  Luke 3:9 (GW)

“A good tree doesn’t produce rotten fruit, and a rotten tree doesn’t produce good fruit. [44] Each tree is known by its fruit. You don’t pick figs from thorny plants or grapes from a thornbush.  Luke 6:43-44 (GW)

“Others were planted on good ground. When they came up, they produced a hundred times as much as was planted.”      After he had said this, he called out, “Let the person who has ears listen!”  Luke 8:8 (GW)

• The fruit of the Spirit is produced in the mind -see Romans 8:27 (NIV)

• The fruit of the Spirit are all mental attitudes: many Christians confuse the fruit of the Spirit with the production of good works

• These attitudes result primarily from the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry;

good works result from these attitudes (since attitudes usually express themselves in deeds)

• The sequence is: gospel hearing, faith, salvation, indwelling, Bible teaching, confession, spirituality, spiritual growth, production of fruit, Christ likeness, good works, and rewards

CHRIST LIKENESS

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.  1 Cor. 11:1 (NIV)”

The Spirit came to help you change on the inside by producing new things in your soul—attitudes you’ve never had before

• Through filling and bombardment with God’s Word, you change slowly and steadily as the fruit of the Spirit forms in your soul

• You become more and more like Christ—a mature Christian

• The Holy Spirit came to help you become more like Christ- to become more loving, patient, happy, peaceful, gentle, and self-controlled • you can be a be a beautiful person with the character of Jesus Christ abiding in you

EXAMPLE OF LOVE

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5 (NIV)”

• The Holy Spirit produces God’s love in our hearts (Rom 5:5):

(1) “The love of God” is the love God has for others;

(2) “Has been poured out” shows this love can be transferred from God to us;

(3) “Within our hearts” is the destination of this love—our souls; (4) “through the Holy Spirit” indicates the agent who transfers

God’s love to our souls; (5) “who was given to us” says we must be indwelt with the Spirit before he can transfer this love to us

• We can have the same kind of love for others that God has!

• Love motivates us to pray for one another—especially for our spiritual leaders (Rom 15:30–31): note the apostle’s prayer request for deliverance from persecution and for acceptance by the saints in Jerusalem

One believer cannot be another believer’s fruit.   There is absolutely nothing in Scripture to support such a teaching.   Being fruitful or bearing good fruit is the outward manifestation of Christ’s work in a person. And just as one can bear good fruit, one can also bear bad fruit.   Scripture states that every person (tree) is recognized by his or her own fruit, the outward display or overflow of the inward life which they are yielding to, be it of Christ or the sinful nature. See Romans 7:4-5

Why must the branch remain in the vine in order to bear fruit? Because the sap, which carries the genetic makeup (or life) of the fruit, flows from the vine into the branch. If the branch becomes separated from the vine, the sap stops flowing.  “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (Jn 15:4) Believers must remain in Jesus to receive from Him and bear fruit. What is it that believers receive from Jesus? His life, His nature, His presence, etc., through the Holy Spirit.   So, If Jesus is the “vine” and believers are the “branches”, what would the sap be? The Holy Spirit.

Jesus also says that He must remain in the man, “…and I in him…”, for the man to bear fruit.   The Greek word that is translated “remain” actually means to abide. How does Jesus (the vine) abide in the man (the branch)? He abides through what the man receives from Him; through the Holy Spirit, through the sap. How does the man (the branch) abide in Jesus (the vine)?   He abides through faith.   And through the Spirit the man will “bear much fruit”.   The fruit is of the Spirit that is abiding in the man.   As the man (the “branch”) remains in union with Christ (the “vine”), the Holy Spirit brings forth much fruit through the man (the “branch”); the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and the fruits of righteousness.   This is the “fruit” which is being referred to in John 15:8.

Again, fruit comes from within the branch.   Note: In Scripture, Jesus likens believers to “trees” (and, or) “branches”; never to fruit.   The fruit is always something which the tree or branch brings forth from within itself. If anything, we are all God’s fruit, His offspring (Acts 17:29) , for it is He who gives the new life within.   It is His seed, His life, and His Spirit that brings about the birth and growth of a believer

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God’s Plans For You

Doggett 6-19-05

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)”

Humor???

In the middle of a forest, there was a hunter who was suddenly confronted by a huge, mean bear. In his fear, all attempts to shoot the bear were unsuccessful. Finally, he turned and ran as fast as he could.  The hunter ran and ran and ran, until he ended up at the edge of a very steep cliff. His hopes were dim.  Seeing no way out of his predicament, and with the bear closing in rather quickly, the hunter got down on his knees, opened his arms, and exclaimed, “Dear God! Please give this bear some *religion*!” The skies darkened and there was lightning in the air. Just a few feet short of the hunter, the bear came to abrupt stop and glanced around, somewhat confused.  Suddenly, the bear looked up into the sky and said, “Thank you, God, for the food I’m about to receive….”

THE PLANS IN GODS HEART FOR YOU

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11 (NIV)

God has wonderful and great plans for you.  They are “plans of His heart”.  They are plans for you to have a future of well-being and knowledge of His care for you.  They are plans that He longs to see you benefiting from but he needs your involvement in order to carry them out.  God needs you co-operation and your active participation in his plans in order for them to happen for you.  He’s got to have you working with him on his plans.  Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this:  “We then, as workers together with him, 2 Corinthians. 6:1 (KJV)”

THE HOLY SPIRITS DISCLOSURE

“However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”[10] but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. [11] For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. [12] We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. . 1 Corinthians. 2:9-12 (NIV)”

Jesus sends to you his Holy Spirit with this in mind.  As a believer the moment you receive the Holy Spirit, he begins to disclose to you God’s plans.

AS A BELEIVER THE MOMENT YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE BEGINS TO DISCLOSE TO YOU GODS PLANS

At the same time He begins to reveal to you how marvelous they are and to guide your participation in those plans so that you may prosper. The Holy Spirit is the disclosure of God’s plans, His revealer of his intentions, and His guide in his ways. God’s Spirit has been given to us so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.  Paul taught this by impartation of the Holy Spirit to the Corinthians.  God’s Spirit is with us to reveal the things of God to us.  We must know how His Spirit communicates with us so that we can receive these revelations.  It’s important to get what’s on God’s heart into our heart.

WE MUST KNOW HOW HIS SPIRIT COMMUNICATES WITH US SO THAT WE CAN RECEIVE THESE REVELATIONS

Job understood that God gives to man understanding through and by the very breathe of God within him.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding. Job 32:8 (NIV)

GOD SPEAKS TO US

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. [15] All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. John 16:13-15 (NIV)”

God speaks through visions.  This is how he communicated with Peter on the roof top in Joppa (see Acts 11).  God speaks through dreams – this is how he communicated with Joseph to get him and his family out of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:19, KJB).  God speaks by prophecy- the fulfillment of Paul’s apostolic calling began this way (Acts 13:2, KJB).  God communicates with his people in an audible voice.  When the Lord spoke to Paul on the road of Damascus it was in an audible voice that even those with him could hear (Acts 9).  On the mount where Jesus was seen by his disciples in his glorified appearance God spoke from the cloud in an audible voice (Acts 9:4-7- Matthew 17:5).  All through the bible we read of times when God spoke audibly or times when he communicated with his people in a spectacular manifestation of his power and glory.  Thank God though that we don’t have to wait for the spectacular to have God communicating with us constantly.  God delights in communicating His Council, His Wisdom, His Guidance to us- His Children at anytime, any place under any circumstance by his spirit.  God’s Spirit has a variety of ways he communicates on a day to day , moment by moment basis with his children.

THE HOLY SPIRITS VOICE

“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, [20] for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19-20 (NIV)”

God communicates with his people by the voice of his spirit in the quiet of our hearts.  Jesus encouraged his disciples by telling them that God’s Spirit speaks in them.  The prophet Elijah (I Kings 19:11-12) had to learn that God speaks by his spirit within his people and not always in the external realm of physical senses.  He had to learn to attend to the still small voice of God coming from the quiet of his heart.  He found out when God was not heard in the strong and mighty wind, the earthquake or the fire, he would be heard in the delicate whispering voice known to the heart.  Here he discloses Gods plans and purposes for your life.

LISTEN TO THE WHISPER NEXT TO YOUR HEART- NOT THE WIND, EARTHQUAKE OR FIRE

THE EARS OF YOUR HEART/ GOD’S WORD MAKES HIS VOICE DISTINCT

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, Hebrews 3:7 (NIV)”

Many of you here this morning have come to recognize the spirits voice and you do so easily just as you recognize the voice of a dear loved one.  How can this happen?  It will happen as you daily take time to hear God’s written word speaking to your heart.  In this way you will become familiar with the very accent and texture of the spirit’s voice.  You’ll soon be able to recognize his voice because you have been daily hearing with the ears of your heart.  The written word of God in the bible is a recording of the voice of God’s sprit as holy men and women of God heard it.  They wrote it down so that you could receive it today in your hearts.

THE WRIITEN WORD OF GOD IN THE BIBLE IS A RECORDING OF THE VOICE OF GOD’S SPIRIT AS HOLY MEN AND WOMEN OF GOD HEARD IT

When the Holy Spirit breathes life into the written word for you and you welcome it into your hearts that word will live there in your heart.  It will give you power to discern what or whose voice is arising within you.  The bible says:

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)”

The word of God sets you apart in your life.  Whatever is soulish in origin from whatever is spiritual in origin.  It also sets you apart to that which is fleshly in origin.  The reality is that you will know whose voice you are hearing. You will recognize the voice of your soul.  You’ll recognize the voice of your spirit and the Holy Spirit.  You’ll also have discernment of the purpose and intentions of what is missing in your heart by the Holy Spirit.

MEDITATE ON THE WORD

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2 (NIV)”

Every time you meditate on God’s word you have the opportunity to be Spirit led.  You can expect to be led, taught and blessed by the Holy Spirit as you read God’s word.  It’s important that you use this opportunity to read study and meditate upon the word of God.  A believer who accustoms himself to being Spirit led in his word study time will readily accustom himself to being led in his decision making time.

NOT A TOUR GUIDE/ GUIDING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

“But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. John 16:13 (Msg)”

If you are yielded and sensitive to him the Holy Spirit will be to you a companion who will consistently guide you in the way of life.  The Holy Spirit isn’t a tour guide.  He doesn’t start in front of you pointing the way- rather whenever you are ready the Holy spirit gently takes you by the hand and prompts you to walk with him while he shows you the way.  His guiding is like the guiding a loving parent gives a small child on a walk through the park on a sunny day.  You have to let the Holy Spirit take you by the hand and prompt you to walk with him while he shows you the way.  You have to become child like submit yourselves to the gentle leading of the Holy having the utmost confidence in his loving desire to bring nothing but good to your life.  One of the most helpful verses in the bible to help one learn about the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit is found in Psalms:

THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT STAND BACK AND POINT THE WAY – HE TAKES US BY THE HAND- SEE TO IT THAT YOU DON’T RESIST HIM- GO WITH THE FLOW

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. [9] Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Psalm 32:8-9 (KJV)”

RECEIVE HIS HOLY SPIRIT TODAY

“And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, BECAUSE IT NEITHER SEES HIM NOR KNOWS HIM. BUT YOU SHALL KNOW HIM, BECAUSE HE WILL DWELL WITH YOU AND BE IN YOU.”John 14:16-17

  • The Holy Spirit is the primary presence of God among us today.  He Reveals God through Scripture, by making Himself known and by guiding and directing God’s people. He enables and empowers believers by giving and sustaining all life, by giving power and gifts to serve God, by bringing forth fruit in believers; and by purifying, teaching and uniting believers. But the Spirit’s presence and blessing is dependent upon our response to Him:  He brings blessing, but the blessing may be temporarily removed or lessened. Acting with hardened disobedience towards the Holy Spirit brings strong judgment, and irrationally rejecting the truth of the Holy Spirit’s work in Jesus and then attributing it to Satan cannot be forgiven.  Jesus says: “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32 , Mark 3:29-30 & Luke 12:10).   See Hebrews 6:4-6- Pharisees

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 (NIV)

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GIFTS/ TALENTS/ABILITIES

Jesus said “….the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going into another country, who called together his servants and loaned them money to invest for Him while He was gone (Matthew 25:14 )

YOU HAVE AN AMOUNT- YOU WILL GIVE ACCOUNT- MAKE YOU LIFE COUNT

In the book of Matthew 25, this parable talks of a man and His three servants.  He gives to each servant according to his ability.  To one He gave $5,000 to another, $2,000 to another, and $1,000 to the last, dividing it in proportion to their abilities, and then He left.

In this parable the owner gives His servants care of the money. [“Talent”…We use to mean skill or ability.] Talents stands for God’s gifts to us; it could include special abilities to work with youth, to work with children etc.

The owner in this parable shows us about God:

  • God is very generous –(turn read Psalms 145:6)
  • He gives us valuable things- important gifts
  • He gives us abilities -(turn read Exodus 35:31-33)
  • He lets us decide how to use these gifts [some gifts are restricted/some no-restricted]

God gives each of us at least one talent.  One gift to be used for Him and for His glory.  You have an amount –God has given you something- a gift, a talent, and maybe more than one; and it is valuable.

“A group of people were being welcomed into the church family.  One man heard the pastor say; “Now God has given each of you a unique talent.  When you join the church you are expected to serve God with whatever abilities you have”.  Well, it just so happened that this particular man was a reformed criminal.  After he was released from prison, he had renounced the life of crime and gone straight.  Joining the church, making a commitment to follow Jesus, was the first step in that effort.  Serving the Lord was a little out of his line, but he wanted to do what he could.  So he went to the pastor and said, “Preacher, church work is something I’m not real familiar with, but I can fix the church’s electric meter so that every other day it will run backwards.  That way you’ll never have to write another check to the Electric Company.  Well, some talents are not appropriate for use in the service of God, no matter how sincerely they’re offered!  But all of us have at least one talent that is valuable to the church.  There are gifts and talents here today all around us in the people in this room- Yes, here today in this Sunday school class.

Do we bury our particular gift, or do we invest it to bless God and others?

You have an amount. YOU WILL GIVE AN ACCOUNT

“After a long time their master returned from His trip and called them to Him to account for His money.” (Matthew 25:19)

God wants you to use wisely what He’s given you.

  • Are you doing all that you possibly can?
  • Are you using the abilities that God has given you?
  • Do you use your talents?

“One person told a pastor he never thought he could do anything for God because he only had one talent.  The pastor said, “Don’t be discouraged, God can use it.  “What is your talent, anyway?”  My only talent is criticizing people.” “In that case,” The pastor said, “you’d better do what the one servant did- BURY IT.”

Each one of us has different abilities…..

We all have the same body temperature 98.9 degrees

  • Our blood is red
  • We all have a brain; there has never been a successful brain transplant preformed
  • But no two people have the same fingerprints- not even twins
  • And we all have different abilities

God gives us gifts according to our abilityThen He leaves us alone.  He does not abandon us.  He is always there to guide us in prayer, and put us back on the right path if we ask.  Our Lord is coming back one day to settle His accounts with us.  Let me ask you this, do you want to be the person that buried your ability?  It is easy to misuse-or just hide and bury your talent:

“I’ll be at the meeting, but don’t ask me to do anything.

“I will take on a role, but I don’t want to be committed to a regular program.”

“I was asked to help with Vacation Bible Study but don’t expect me to attend all the activities.”

Burying your talent is a sin.  How have you invested the talents that God has given you?  How do you think you can invest your God-given talents more wisely?  If you would put to use that talent that God has given into your care God will bless your faithfulness, recognize your work and He will reward you.

God gave all of us abilities and talents when we were born-even before we were born.  God told Jeremiah that He called him before he was even conceived.  God wants us to invest our talents so that others will come to know Him.  God does not want us to have wasted talents.  He wants us to use it to the best of our ability.  We will all some day face Him and give an account of what we did in our lives.  Let’s not tell Him that we wasted the gifts He gave us.  You are responsible for what is put into your hands.  This goes for spiritual matters, as well as money, and wealth.  He will bless you at your level of ability.  You have and amount.  And you will give account (Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:12, Hebrews 13:17, 1Peter 4:5). So, Thirdly……

MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT

1st man (vs.16): 5+5=10 (doubled)

2nd man (vs17): 2+2=4 (doubled)

3rd man (vs.18): 1+0= same/buried

“Then the man with the $1,000 came and said, Sir, I know you were a hard man and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned so I hid your money in the earth and here it is.”(Matt 25:24 LV)

This servant accused His master of being a thief and a robber, which infuriated Him.  This servant buried His master’s money to prevent Him from possibly stealing what he would have earned.  The master called the third servant “wicked and lazy”. The question this morning “Whom do you represent”.  The man with five talents and the man with the two talents invested it because they had faith in their master. Do you have faith in your master? Are you willing to take risks for Him?

Sometimes in the church folk complain about the programs or activities of the church not fulfilling their needs.  But instead of complaining- why not offer to help? Why not put your talent to work?

“A complaining member, talking to a preacher, was asked, “Can you read?” “Yes. “Can you talk?” The member replied, “Of course.”  The preacher responds, “If you can talk you can pray.  If you can read, you can study the Bible.  If you see a need, let’s fill it.  Each of us has a talent-We have potential.  You may think that your talent is insignificant or unimportant to you, but it is important to God.

“A man was walking along the beach one day and saw a young man picking up starfish that had washed ashore and he was throwing them back into the sea.  The man saw thousands of starfish and asked the boy why he was doing it.  He told the boy that there were so many starfish in the sea and why did he think throwing one more back in would make a difference.  No one would notice he said.  The young boy looked up at the man as he threw another starfish and said, It sure made a difference for that one.”

We don’t all have the same talents.  God gives us according to our abilities.  What matters is not how much talent we have, but what we do with it.

IN THE CHURCH THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO

Wash the dishes-Put the chairs out- Clean the bathrooms- Teach bible lessons- Help with V.B.S- Drive the bus- Pass out tracts- Pick up rubbish- Empty trash cans- Paint a wall- Clean carpet- Mow a lawn- Sweep the floor- Make coffee /prepare snacks- Work the sound system- Coordinate weddings- Prepare church bulletin’s – Play instruments- Create plays- Post church information- Design newsletters- Sing/dance- Write poems- Seat people-Greet people- Secure Building- Purchase supplies- Repair broken things- Clean windows /doors- Visit the sick- Pray- Give to the work of the Lord- Be a blessing to others- Your talent may be to support a ministry, enter in your prayer closet, to help another, or teach a child.

God doesn’t give all of us the same gifts.  Each one of us has a unique talent to use.  Some can teach, fix things that get broken, make lovely cloths for the tables at church, prepare delicious food for fellowship meals.  God wants us to discover and develop our gifts to build His kingdom.

On Queen Elizabeth’s “official birthday” some years back, she granted honors to a number of her subjects.  One was a 60-year old postman in northern Wales, a fellow with the Uniroyal name of Jones.  Because Jones, who came from a family delivering Welsh mail for 150 years, had “not missed a day’s service in 43 years and got the mail through despite snow, storms and floods, “the Queen bestowed the British Empire Medal upon him expressing the gratitude of the nation.  This earthly Queen bestowed such a great honor on a man for faithfulness in so simple a task as delivering the mail.  Don’t you think the King of Heaven will be even more diligent to make certain each of His subjects receives a proper award for faithful service?  Of course, He will reward you for the quality of your service. This parable shows that we are not measured by what we have to begin with, but by what we do with what we have.

When an owner places something of value into the hands of one of His servants, He wants it to be used to benefit His kingdom.  As Christians, our life is devoted to ministry.  You are all in the ministry.  Our Lord Jesus came down to this old sinful world and was born in a manger to serve others.

At the close of life’s service we come to the throne of grace, to offer back what we have been given, like the owner in the Parable of the Talents.  God will not ask, “How many talents did you have? But “What did you do with what I gave you?

The useless servant, in Jesus’ eyes was the Pharisees.

They buried God’s blessings- they did not use the opportunity they had.

Three things you can do with your life – Waste your life- Spend your life- Invest your life

Remember – You have an amount-You have –0ne day-to give account- I urge you to make your life count

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ENTERING THE FAITH ZONE

12-12-04 DOGGETT

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

HUMOR???

For the umpteenth time Mrs. Youngston came to her pastor to tell him, “I’m so scared! Joe says he’s going to kill me if I continue to come to your church.”  ”Yes, yes, my child,” replied the pastor, more than a little tired of hearing this over and over. “I will continue to pray for you, Mrs. Youngston. Have faith – the Lord will watch over you.”  ”Oh yes, he has kept me safe thus far, only…..”  ”Only what, my child?”  ”Well, now he says if I keep coming to your church, he’s going to kill YOU!”  ”Well, now,” said the pastor, “Perhaps it’s time to check out that little church on the other side of town.”

SATANS ZONE DEFENSE

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. Luke 5:1

In the game of basketball Zone defenses are usually designed to keep the ball out of certain areas, especially areas close to the basket. Even more common are zones designed to match up with players in certain areas and still attempt to keep the ball out of the basket area. Satan is always found near the zone trying to trip you up by filling your heart and mind with doubt and unbelief. Our enemy major desire is to ‘Protect the Zone’, to stop the opposition from scoring. He makes sure the most dangerous opposition players are covered first (are you strong in faith). If a player (believer) is free and likely to score, he trys to cover them to stop the score.  As believers we need to ‘Shut Down’ his defense by operating in strong faith. Jesus is always found within the zone (the place of faith) to help you when it comes to winning the game of faith. The zone defense is to keep you and me from getting close to Jesus. Once you penetrate that zone defense of the enemy by pressing in with your faith you can then begin to take and make that shot of faith.

HEARING AND BELIEVING THE WORD WILL BREAK DOWN SATANS ZONE DEFENCE / IF YOU WANT STRONGER FAITH ASK FOR IT.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)

Let’s look at the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Faith is the evidence. That makes faith a noun!A noun, according to my grade school teachers, is a person, place, or thing.  Faith becomes the evidence, the proof, that what we are seeking does exist! Does that make sense?  It is already in existence! Your faith WILLmove that mountain that God wants moved!!  It is your faith that allows God to do His thing!!  How do you get more, stronger faith?In Chapter 9 of Mark the disciples couldn’t cast out a spirit in a boy. The boy’s father asked Jesus to help and Jesus told him in verses 23-24, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”Notice, the father must have heardthat Jesus had the power to deliver his son, but was struggling with his faith. In other words, the father might have said, “I want to believe because you say that is what it will take, but I am having difficulty because it is believing something I have not yet seen. Help me to have unwavering faith.” So, the answer to the question of how do we get more, stronger faith is to ask for it.

God wants us to have strong faith. If He wants it then we will get it if we ask for it. Read Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”Remember, God cannot lie. Ask and it SHALLbe given you. Seek and ye SHALLfind. Knock and it SHALLbe opened unto you. GLORY

PRESSING INTO THE ZONE

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. She said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. Mark 5:25

This woman whom was bound in torment and disgrace teaches us much about faith. She was diseased for 12 years with the issue of blood, which made her unclean during the entire time. With the pain and discomfort that accompanies her illness along with the strict ordinances of separation the Mosaic Law demands, she might as well have had a disease. Below is the law that was followed for women with an issue of blood. Lets all turn to Leviticus 15:25-27 “25

These particular passages do not say anything about her social status or where she was living. The do speak much of her courage and faith. Even after 12 years, she never gave up the faiththat she would be healed someday. Her faith was so great that she went and sought Jesus, and braved the crowd around her just to touch the hem of his garment. She knew that there would be those who knew of her uncleanness, and if she would accidentally touch someone else, they would be unclean also. A person, who knew she was unclean, would not be happy to have made contact with her.  The woman pressed beyond satans zone defense and into the faith zone.

To touch the hem of his garment, she would have to have been crawling along the ground somehow, or walked up behind Jesus and stooped down. I believe she was as discreet as possible as not to draw attention to herself. If she wanted attention, she would have gone up to Jesus or cried out to him. She knew that by asking him to heal her, she would also be asking that he become unclean for her. That would be unacceptable to many in the crowd, and would have started trouble. She probably self-conscience and maybe even to embarrassed to ask for healing because of the nature of her problem. She was thinking that if I could just sneak in the crowd and touch the hem of his garment, I’ll be whole.  At the moment she touched Jesus’ garment, he turned around and told her that her faith made her whole. Yes, Jesus said her faith made her whole. Jesus did not say that he made her whole, but it was her faith that made her whole. She was one of the few who were healed that Jesus said it was their faith that actually healed them. This type of faith is very strong. What impresses me the most about it is that there is basically no question in the person’s mind about what is going to happen when they apply their faith.

STEPPING INTO THE FAITH ZONE

“The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8 (NIV)”

“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Matthew 9:18 (NIV)”

Just as the woman knew she would be whole, the centurion in Matthew 8:8 knew that his servant would be healed. It is an unshakable faith that the certain ruler in Matthew 9:18 had when he went to Jesus even though he knew is daughter was already dead. It is that type of faith that many people strive for, but is also the hardest to understand and apply.

A BLIND MAN STEPS INTO THE FAITH ZONE

“And they came to Jericho: and as he (Jesus) went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus. Mark 10:46

WALKING BY FAITH

“So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ. Romans 10:17 (TEV) “

Rom 10 17 Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. Isaac should have known better. His father, after all,  was the most famous father when it comes to faith.  The Scriptures tell us that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” The voice was Jacob’s (Gen 27:22), but it “felt” like Esau.   Millions have been fooled by their feelings or misled by what they saw. It is natural to want to “see,” or to “feel” everything is alright.  Missouri is not the only “show me” state. All who demand evidence and proof are headed for a state of misery.  Such a state is populated by those who “walk by sight.”  But those who walk by sight cannot really see at all. ”Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”

Our faith must feed on the hearing of the Word of God, not by what we feel.   ”Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” The temptation is always the same: to walk by sight, to live by might, and to forget what’s right. “Who art thou my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau…” Remember we still live in a world where the “father of lies” spins his web. Though a thousand voices whisper or shout in the streets, may we long to hear only one familiar voice and say with Samuel, “Speak [Lord] thy servant heareth” 1Sam. 3:10.  I dare not trust the way I feel Be something smooth or coarse Only faith is really real God’s Word truth’s only source

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE “EARS TO HEAR?”

The Scriptures say much about the ears and hearing. To be able to hear with attention or interest, to listen to, to give heed to, to yield to, and to obey the Scriptures is a “great blessing”.

In the gospel of Matthew our Lord said:

Matthew 13:16“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

And in the Old Testament we read:

Proverbs 20:12“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”

Psalm 78:1“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your earsto the words of my mouth.”

Proverbs 4:20“My son, attend to my words; incline thine earunto my sayings.”

So basically we can explain an “hearing ear” by three simple commands:

  • “Give ear… to My law”;
  • “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth”;
  • “attend to My words.”

THE HEARING EAR

The “hearing ear” is sensitive to God’s Word and obeys it. Two more Scriptures that depict the “hearing ear” are also found in the Book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 15:31“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”

Proverbs 13:1“A wise son heareth his Father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

The “hearing ear” is the ear that listens to correction. It gives heed to reproof and rebuke. It receives all punishment and chastisement from the Lord. It “heareth the reproof of life.” As a wise son, it hears the Father’s instruction which includes all the checks and restraints, rebukes and reproofs, correction and instruction that comes from the Father’s hand

Are all of God’s children “wise” sons and daughters? Do they all hearken to the Father’s commands as outlined in His Word? Do they all “hear” the Father’s chiding and reproof?

No, as Proverbs 13:1 tells us “…A scorner heareth not rebuke.” These are those who are arrogant boasters and mockers of “harsh” or corrective words from the Lord.

In 2 Timothy Paul tells us:

2 Timothy 4:3“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:”

They are desirous of hearing “pleasant” things from the Lord. They want “smooth” words from God that conform to their carnal wishes and feelings. They want to hear the kind of instruction that will allay their restless and uneasy sinful desires.

The apostle Paul goes on to tell us about those who turn away their ears from the Truth and turn them unto fables and falsehoods in the next verse:

2 Timothy 4:4“And they shall turn away their earsfrom the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

“But my people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention; Psalm 81:11 (Msg)

In John 10:27 our Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice…” Nonetheless, Hebrews 3:15 warns, “…Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts…”

Even though we are God’s children and hear His voice, there are times when the Father speaks things to us that we do not like to hear. The temptation presents itself to become stubborn or obstinate to the Father’s command. The Scriptures abound with example after example of times when the Father cried unto Israel, His people, and they would not hear.

They were supposedly God’s sheep, yet they would not give heed to His Word. They did not like His terms. They refused to be ruled by His commands. “Israel would none of Me.” What does this mean? They refused or rejected God. They did not incline their ear to Him. They did not worship Him or find satisfaction in Him. They were no longer attached to Him or cleaving to Him as their “All-in-All”.

Christ’s last message to the church – “Listen”

Blessedis he who reads and those who hearthe words of this prophecy, and keepthose things which are written in it ..Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)


Even though all believers have “heard” and have responded in saving faith to Christ, too often as they continue on they seem to experience a “loss of hearing”.The expectation is that “listening” will characterize the believers’ walk but believers can also drift. Believers can become “dull of hearing” (cf. Heb. 5:11).  If a person refuses to listen either they have never TRULY been saved or they have a serious problem in their walk (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3).  In either case they need to REPENT!  Hence, five of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 are called upon to “repent”.  Seven times (once to each church) we hear the refrain, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Listening is an evidence of salvation (cf. 1 Thess. 2:13) but also the on-going condition for spiritual blessing for those who are believers.

Revelation 1:3 (NKJV) Blessedis he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (emphasis mine)

“That dog is all ear!” Response of someone about a well-trained hunting dog who wouldrespond on command to his master. God help us to be “all ear” to our Master!

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WHY SIT HERE UNTIL WE DIE?

Doggett 8-9-05

“Now there were four lepers sitting outside the city gates.  ”Why sit here until we die?” they asked each other. 2 Kings 7:3 (Living)

A guy has a talking dog.  He brings it to a talent scout.  ”This dog can speak English,” he claims to the unimpressed agent.  ”Okay, Sport,” the guy says to the dog, “what’s on the top of a house?” “Roof!” the dog replies.  ”Oh, come on…” the talent agent responds.” All dogs go ‘roof’.”  ”No, wait,” the guy says.  He asks the dog “what does sandpaper feel like?”  ”Rough!” the dog answers.  The talent agent gives a condescending blank stare.  He is losing his patience.  ”No, hang on,” the guy says.  ”This one will amaze you.”  He turns and asks the dog:  ”What book in the bible begins with the letter “R?”  ”Ruth!” goes the dog.  And the talent scout, having seen enough, boots them out of his office onto the street.  And the dog turns to the guy and says, “Maybe I should have recited the Lords prayer

Aggressively Pursuing God

“From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.

Matthew 11:12 (GW)”

“Hello?  Mr. Doggett This is Mike from Picture-Perfect Window Company.  How are you today?”  Sound familiar?  It always seems as though telemarketers (whether they’re window companies, lawn companies, insurance agents, or credit card companies) call at the most inopportune times.  You would think that cold-calling people would have to be the most unproductive way of drumming up business.  Yet it seems as if my family gets at least three or four of these annoying calls a night—right in the middleof dinner.  Still, companies use telemarketers because they know that if they sit around waiting for more business, they will more than likely not get it.  They have to be aggressive.  Turn Read 2 Kings 7:3-19

The bible tells a story about four men who sat at the entrance of the city’s gate dying with leprosy, an incurable disease which causes terribly visible swelling and sores on the skin, only then to eat inward to the bones.  These lepers sat outside of the city because they were not permitted to live within the city because of this contagious and incurable disease.  These men were faced with a fatal disease, they were outcasts, and they were starving because of a famine in the land.  This type of dark and gloomy life and no perceived future would make the average person throw in the towel and just give up on life - but not these men.

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”  (II Kings 7:3-4)

Sitting and examining their situation, they realized that just simply sitting and doing nothing would result in having and being nothing, so they asked themselves the question, “Why do we sit here until we die?“  They knew that if they entered the city, they would die because of the famine.  They also knew that if they sat there and did nothing, that they would die as well.  What did they do?  They made the decision to ACT. Regardless of their gloomy circumstance, they got up from were they were and decided to do something to change their situation.  They made the choice to face their obstacles and do something different.  They went into the city realizing that difficulties may be ahead, for if the city dwellers spared their lives, they would live, and if not, they would die–but given the situation that they were in, things were not going to just get better.  Our opening verse of scripture and its surrounding story focuses on the way the four Samaritan lepers thought and acted on their situation.  They realized that no one was going to offer them food in the midst of a famine, and if they were going to get rid of that gnawing in their stomachs, then they would have to take matters into their own hands.  If they maintained the unchanging status quo, then they were going to get the same results that they had been getting—no food and ultimately death.  They realized that they would have to be aggressive.

: Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. — Will Rogers

God Will Work In Your Situation If You Make The Decision To Act

“I will place on his shoulder (Jesus) the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open Isaiah 22:22 (NIV)”

God will open wonderful doors of opportunity for the believer who will obey His word.  He will also close doors in situations where the enemy is trying to enter your life to hinder you.

Continuing our story: Upon entering the city, to their pleasant surprise, no one was there, because God had caused the city dwellers to abandon their tents. ….. Because of their decision to change their situationand the decision to act, these hungry dying men when into a tent, and feasted as they ate, drank, and carried off silver, gold, and clothing.  However, it did not end there, after putting away the silver, gold, and clothing, they entered another tent and again met great fortune.

You, just like the lepers, may be in your decision place today.  If you are in a place, or situation that seems lifeless, regardless of where that place may be, or how things look, ask yourself the question, why do I sit here until I die? Take a good look at where you are, and where you want to be.  Then take the necessary steps to find yourself in that desired place.  Because in the midst of misfortune – choice, and then action will find you reaping the great benefits that God has purposed for your life.

Pew Warmers / View from The Pew

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)

The expression “pew warmer” is a familiar word to most Christians, who have learned over the years some of the ‘Christian’ jargon.  Now many churches don’t even have pews, but they still have ‘pew warmers’.  For the uninitiated, they may be defined as “those who do nothing more for the Lord than sit in church on Sunday” and, sad as it may seem, they are the most common, garden variety Christian in our country today. In a decade of harvest and outreach, at a time of God’s Spirit moving on hearts in a deeper way, they sit, detached and very often critical, guarding their seat lest it be stolen in the middle of a meeting!  The deceiving thing is that they look the same, and sound the same as those serving God, at least until you look a little deeper.  They may sit praising Him; they usually have a comment about how everybody should be doing it.  They very often love God, and are right into positive words, faith, and showing love to the brethren.  So what’s missing?  They are people who refuse to act –Members who sit back to receive without getting up to give. Of course it is tempting to sit back, to take it easy, to let others do the work.  The result however is devastating.  First of all to the church, because there is more work than a few so-called experts can handle.  But also for those who think they can sit back and watch.  Non-involvement means dying for both the church and those members, who unlike Jesus, seek to be ministered unto, rather than to minister.  Why sit here until we Die?

The comfortable pew

Means that the burdens of the ministry are left for the shoulders of a few.  And it will result in quick burnout.  It will result in, sometimes; severe criticism on the part of those who do nothing and that will bring more discouragement to hard workers….  and one more result may be that those who stand back will live on the edge of the church, always in danger of falling over the edge and losing it all. But the Bible has news for us.  Being a member of the church means that you, according to your ability take part in the ministry of the church.  No one is exempt, not even those who think there is nothing they have to contribute.  Every church member has been given at least one gift.  So what we need to do is to: DISCOVER YOUR GIFTS and use them for the glory of God- Why sit here until we die?  Make a contribution to the church- Serve the Lord with gladness!

Body Gifts

“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4 (NIV)”

In 1 Corinthians 12:11, Paul, writing about the Spirit giving gifts, says: “He gives them to each person.” And that gift is a body gift.  By that he means that these gifts are given to the body of Jesus for the work of the church.  It is important for us to think about the fact that together all members form the body of Jesus. And of that body, Jesus is the Head.   What does that imply’?

When Jesus was with us, here on earth, He finished the work that He came to do.  He opened the way to the Father, the way home. He removed the terrible roadblock formed by our sin.  That however did not mean that nothing remained to be done.  For instance there are children who need to be informed that the way home is open.  They need an invitation to come back to the Father.  They need to be guided.  Furthermore all God’s children need to be prepared for living at home.  They need that simply because they know naturally how to live in this world, but they have to learn anew how to live in the home with their Father.  They need to be integrated into the body; they need to learn about fellowship, and many other aspects of living with and for God. They need to learn how to live in the kingdom; they need to learn how to assist in the coming of that kingdom. So Jesus, when He had to return to heaven, from there to rule His church, sent us the Holy Spirit in His place.  The Spirit came to live in our hearts, to transform us, or sanctify us for living at home. By His very nature, He remains in the background.  He works behind the scenes. There He encourages us to do the work of Jesus, to finish what is still left uncompleted: Gathering all the nations in, calling all men to give God the glory, uniting into the body of Jesus.   No more spectators-No More Bench Warmers- Get in the Game! –Why sit here until we die!

Being Aggressive About What You Believe / The Grasshopper & The Ant

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4 (NIV)”

I know we all have heard the story about, “The Grasshopper and the Ant.” The grasshopper in the story is considered a lazy insect, while the ant is looked upon as industrious and economical. As the story unfolds, during the summer while the days were pleasant and sunny, the grasshopper would sing and play and have a merry good old time, never thinking about tomorrow!  One day the grasshopper decided to visit the ant. Upon his arrival, to his surprise, he found the ant hard at work.  He said to the ant, “Why do you work so hard? Why don’t you rest and have a good time like me, and enjoy the beautiful summer days?

The ant replied, “I must work in order to be prepared when the stormy days shall come.”

So the grasshopper went away as idle and as unconcerned as before, singing, playing and sleeping the fine sunny day away, while the ant was busy preparing for the chilly winter days that would surely come.  Soon a change began to take place.  Cold winds began to blow, and snow covered the ground.  This stopped the grasshopper’s dancing and singing and it stopped his playing.  For he became cold and he had no shelter, so he went around to see the ant to get some food and shelter from the cold; but the ant said, “Not so, I have but enough for myself, you have spent your time in idleness throughout the summer days, now it is cold, and winter has set in.

It is too late, “The door is shut!” Let me ask you which of these two was the wiser?

I believe we all will agree it was the ant! You will admit that the grasshopper was unwise.   So what is the meaning to this parable?  It is saying to adults, children, and our youth; it is not wise to wait until you become men and women to give your hearts and your time to God.  No it is not wise to play when you should be learning and getting involved in the work.  To the young while you are young, give your hearts and your time to God.  While you are young, give of your best to the Master, give of the strength of your youth, start preparing while you can give Him a full life; I know how easy it is not to take life serious, we all have been young, but remember the lesson of the grasshopper, for sure as there is spring and summer, there will be a fall; and when the fall is over, winter is not far behind!  See Matthew 25:1-13  story of The 10 virgins

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Matthew 25:1-13- Philip. 2:12 (NIV)

Why Sit Her Until We Die? Make your decision today To Act!

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GODLY WISDOM IS A TREE OF LIFE

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. [7] He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”  Proverbs 2:6-7 (NASB)

HUMOR

After the Sunday school teacher finished the day’s lesson he asked the class if they had any questions. Mr. Johnson, “announced little Joey, “there’s something I can’t figger out.”  “What’s that Joey?”  asked Johnson.  “well accordin’ to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?  Right? ”  “An the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?’  “Er-right.”  “An the Children of Israel built the temple, “right?”  “Again you’re right.”  “An the Children Of Israel fought the gyptians, an’ the Children of Israel fought the Romans, an’ the Children of Israel wuz always doin’somethin’ important right?”  “All that is right too agreed Johnson.  “So what’s your question?”  “What I want to know is dis, “demanded Joey.  “What wuz all the grown-ups Doin?”

WE NEED WISDOM- THE GOD KIND

“So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. [10] Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.”  Col. 1:9-10 (NLT)

When you look around and observe life and things that surround us, you would probably agree that we need wisdom more than we’ve ever needed wisdom before.  One out of two marriages ends in divorce.  Crime rates are up- especially crimes against children and young people.  The drug problem is totally out of control.  The sexual evolution has resulted in a disease evolution.  The national debt is in such high figures that the average person cannot comprehend that amount of money.  Gangs roaming our streets.  The homeless rate is up.  Unemployment is at it’s all time high.  The leaders of our country making wrong decisions.  Abortionist are killing more than 2million babies a year in the United states alone.  Things are out of control!  Never have we needed wisdom more than we need it today.  When you look at the world situation, the problems are compounded. Everything that is wrong in America is wrong in other nations, and sometimes in far greater proportions. Never has the need for wisdom been greater.  And the best news I can share with you this morning is that God wants to give you His wisdom more than you want to have it.  He longs for you to have His wisdom, to experience it fully in all areas of your life, and to walk in it day by day.

WHAT IS WISDOM?-THE BAPTISM OF WISDOM

“Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” Proverbs 3:18 (NLT)

“The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. [8] The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge.  1 Cor. 12:7-8 (TEV)

Wisdom is the God given ability to perceive the true nature of a matter and to implement the will of God in that matter. Wisdom has two facets to it.  First, it is the God-given ability to perceive the truth of a matter.  What is real?  What is true?  And furthermore what is real and true from God’s perspective?  Man’s reality and God’s reality are often very different. When the King told the three Hebrew boys in Daniel 3 that he was going to throw them into the fiery furnace if you don’t bow down to my image.  Natural wisdom would say, “I’d better bow down. What good am I going to do for God on this earth if I don’t bow and am burned alive?”  Natural wisdom looks at the facts and makes choices that seem right for the welfare of the person (or persons) involved.  Spiritual wisdom, however says, “take your stand.  You are commanded by God not to bow down to an idol at any time.  Trust God in this.  If you die, you die.  The consequences are up to God.  Your entire life is under God’s control. So trust God and obey.”  Spiritual wisdom makes a decision based upon the absolutes of God.  Nearly every situation or circumstance you face in life can be approached from these two angles: Natural wisdom and Spiritual wisdom.

Wisdom is always a gift.  That is to say, it is something bestowed by God freely and from the depths of His own nature and mercy.  Godly wisdom is like a great river available to each one of us.  We each need to draw from it and to be baptized in it.  A word of wisdom is like a bucket of water taken from that river and applied directly to the lips of someone dying of thirst.  A word of wisdom is the application of wisdom at a particular time.

“The Lord gives wisdom.  From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6 (GW)

God‘s wisdom is for us all.  God does not desire that He alone possess wisdom.  If so. He never would have made wisdom available to you or have challenged you to obtain it.  If wisdom were impossible to find, He never would have challenged men and women to seek it. Furthermore, God does not withhold His wisdom from those who desire it.  He hasn’t set aside one class of people, one race, one nationality, one sex, one age group, or one socioeconomic segment of society to possess wisdom. Wisdom is God’s desire for you. Wisdom is God’s vehicle for getting you to the place you want to go.  Cars are vehicles of transportation that can get you to where you want to go very quickly.  Similarly, wisdom is your vehicle for getting from where you are to the place where you want to be in life.  Do you need financial stability?, your children to obey you?  Some would say I need my children to obey me.  My home is so unsettled and in turmoil.  Things would be perfect only if my children will obey. I would say to you , No.  That isn’t what you really need.  You need WISDOM to know how to be a good parent and to know how to lead your family.  Someone might say, “I need for my spouse to start loving me.”  I would say to you “What you really need is the WISDOM to know how to be a good spouse yourself.  You might say I need a friend – someone to talk to.  “My response?  No. You need the WISDOM to know how to be a good friend to someone first.  Wisdom is the single and greatest need of your life.

THE CALL OF WISDOM

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; [21] at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:      [22] “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?  [23] If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. [24] But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,  [25] since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, [26] I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you [27] when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.  [28] “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.  [29] Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, [30] since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, [31] they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” Proverbs 1:20-31 (NIV)

God truly wants to impart wisdom to your life.  If you ever get to the point at which you DECIDE that you want supernatural wisdom of God instead of your own natural wisdom and that you will do whatever He prompts you to do, leaving the consequences of your life totally in His hands.  I believe that He will impart to you His wisdom. He truly wants you to have His wisdom. He wants you to live according to His wisdom.  He’s waiting for you to ask.  His wisdom cries in the street.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.” Proverbs 3:5 (TEV)

KNOWING GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE

If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it.” James 1:5 (Living)

We must come to the point at which you are willing to say, “I don’t know” without fear, without paranoia, .without embarrassment.  Have you ever noticed that children aren’t afraid to say?  “I don’t know?”  In fact, it seems to be their theme song during a particular stage in life.  You say, “What do you want to be when you grow up? The child looks at you right in the eye and says, “I dunno.”  What are you going to do when you go home tonight?”  “I dunno.  “What is your name and address? I dunno .  Some parents begin to think that there is something wrong wiyth their children because they respond to every question with I dunno.  And then comes that arrogant stage when they think they know everything.  They say I’m now seventeen years old and I know everything..  As we come to God as little children. Its not a crime to say I dunno.”  It’s when we think we know it all that we are in big trouble.

JEHOSAPHAT NEEDED GOD”S WISDOM

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We have no way to protect ourselves against this mighty army. We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you.” 2 Chron. 20:12 (Living)

In 2 Chronicles 20 we read about Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, who awoke one morning in Jerusalem to find that he was completely surrounded by his enemies.  The people of Moab had joined with the people of Ammon and the people who lived on Mt Seir, and these three enemies had come up against Jehoshaphat.  And Jesoshaphat did four things. First, he set himself to seek the Lord.  Second, he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  He called all the people together so they might stand as one person and with one voice cry out to God. Third, Jehoshaphat entered the house of the Lord and began to pray, reminding God of all His blessings and promises to His people. And Fourth, Jehoshsphat concluded his prayer with this admission: “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2Chron. 20:12). “I dunno!” The King himself said this to God!” Now this was the King!  Everyone in the land looked to him as the smartest and the most powerful person in the land.  This was the leader.  And there he stood, as a big adult with a lot of responsibilities, and he said before God and the entire congregation, “Were weak, God.  We don’t know what to do.  BUT OUR EYES ARE ON YOU.”

It’s important to reach out to God for answers to the things we don’t know. He wants you to have His wisdom more that you may want to have it.

Blessings to all in Jesus  valleyoftheson.com

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ETERNAL SECURITY

(There is no heaven with a little corner of hell in it)

BOOK OF LIFE

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.Rev 20:13

BLOTTED OUT

I want to start out by saying that eternal security does not exist in the bible. Fifteen times the book of life is mentioned in the bible and the term “blotted out” is used in these passages. If your name is in the book of life and all of our names are, it can be blotted out.

Revelation 3:5 – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Exodus 32:33 – And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

CAN A BELIEVER STILL SIN LIKE THE DEVIL AND BE SAVED?

to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the Book of Life the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”

Can person can continue to murder, rape, hate, fornicate, do drugs, and still be saved as long as they believe in Jesus, right? Eternal Security Heresy. This heresy says that once you have believed on Jesus, then it doesn’t matter what you do or how much sin you commit, you will still go to heaven when you die.  This is a lie.

If the Eternal Security Proponent used the excuse that a true believer would never truly live a life like that, they will be teaching a doctrine of immorality because the VERY message they would be preaching to others would give other people the wrong thinking that they can sin and still be saved

When Eternal Security Proponents say that a person can never lose their salvation by anything that they do, then they are going to think they CAN sin and still be saved (Thereby giving them a license to sin).

SINNERS BY OCCUPATION

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1John 1:8

Once we repent of our sins and give our lives to Jesus we are no longer sinners. All of our sins are under the blood Jesus. Is it possible to sin after we are saved? Yes

Sinning is missing the mark, missing the bull’s eye and this we all do. When we sin God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:9

However there are those who delight in iniquity and are sinners by occupation; this is what they live to do. They take the blood off of the lintel and place it on the threshold and trample underfoot

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.Heb 10:26-31

NO ONE CAN PLUCK YOU OUT OF GOD’S HANDS BUT YOU CAN WALK OUT

No man can pluck you out of God’s hands but you can walk out if you want to

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life,and they will never perish. No one can snatchthem out of My hand. 29My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.…John 10:27-29

Hebrews 6:4-8.

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because [Or repentance while] to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

Calvinists, who deny that salvation can ever be lost, reason on the subject in a marvelous way. They tell us, that no virgin’s lamp can go out; no promising harvest be choked with thorns; no branch in Christ can ever be cut off from unfruitfulness; no pardon can ever be forfeited, and no name blotted out of God’s book! They insist that no salt can ever lose its savor; nobody can ever “receive the grace of God in vain”; “bury his talents”; “neglect such great salvation”; trifle away “a day of grace”; “look back” after putting his hand to the gospel plow. Nobody can “grieve the Spirit” till He is “quenched,” and strives no more, nor “deny the Lord that bought them”; nor “bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Nobody, or body of believers, can ever get so lukewarm that Jesus will spew them out of His mouth. They use reams of paper to argue that if one ever got lost he was never found. John 17:12; that if one falls, he never stood. Rom. 11:16-22 and Heb. 6:4-6; if one was ever “cast forth,” he was never in, and “if one ever withered,” he was never green. John 15:1-6; and that “if any man draws back,” it proves that he never had anything to draw back from. Heb. 10:38,39; that if one ever “falls away into spiritual darkness,” he was never enlightened. Heb 6:4-6; that if you “again get entangled in the pollutions of the world,” it shows that you never escaped. 2 Pet 2:20; that if you “put salvation away” you never had it to put away, and if you make shipwreck of faith, there was no ship of faith there!! In short they say: If you get it, you can’t lose it; and if you lose it you never had it. May God save us from accepting a doctrine, that must be defended by such fallacious reasoning!”

May God rid the Body of Christ of this devilish doctrine, which offers false hope to the ungodly.

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HOW TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We see here in this passage three main points. First is that you can KNOW that you have eternal life, second is that eternal life is in God’s Son (Jesus), and third is that if you have Jesus then you have eternal life. God wants you to know that you have eternal life. In fact, he says you can know for sure without a doubt. The chances are that if you don’t know for sure that you have eternal life, it’s probably because you don’t have it.

There are two types of people: those who have Jesus, and those who do not have Jesus. The question then becomes, how does a person receive Jesus and therefore eternal life? There are many ideas about how we receive Jesus and inherit eternal life. Some say you must be baptized, that you must be a good person, or that you must be a good Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, etc. However, I am not concerned with the opinions of man, and neither should you be. Let’s look at what the Word of God says.

The first thing you must realize is that you are a sinner.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Everyone has sinned before, and looking at the Ten Commandments will illustrate this. How many lies have you told in your life? How many times have you stolen things (even small things)? Hopefully you have never murdered anyone, but the Bible says that God sees hatred in the heart as murder. How many times have you hated someone? Hopefully you’ve never committed adultery, but Jesus said if you look on someone and have lust in your heart, you commit adultery in your heart. How many times have you done that? These are only four of the ten commandments, but the point is that you are a sinner and so am I.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The second thing you must realize is that sin has a penalty.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Notice it says that the SOUL that sins shall die. This is speaking of eternal damnation in what we would call hell or the lake of fire.

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets [the Bible]; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets [the Bible], neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The third thing you must realize is that good works or being religious does not save you from this penalty.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Eternal life is found in Jesus, and having eternal life means that we are saved from our sins and the punishment of them. The above verses tell us that we are saved “not by works.” This means that you do not receive Jesus or eternal life by doing good works or religious deeds and rituals like baptism, communion/Eucharist, confession of sins to a priest, joining a church, giving money to charity, etc.

The fourth thing you must do is personally receive Jesus.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Now, Let’s see what the Bible says is the way we receive Jesus:

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 10:7-9 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

We must believe on Jesus. In today’s world, believing in God means believing he exists, but this is not what it means to believe on Jesus in the Bible. To believe in someone means to trust their abilities or their character. For example, If I said I believe in you to pick me up from school, it would mean I have faith in your abilities. In the same way, we must depend on or have faith or believe in Jesus and his ability to save us. This is another reason why good works or being religious cannot save us, because we must have faith in Jesus’ ability and not our own. If you are depending upon your own goodness to save you, then by definition you are not believing on Jesus!”

You must personally make the decision to receive Christ by placing your faith (trusting and depending) in Christ, and repenting (turning in your heart and desiring to be changed) of your sin. This is how you receive Jesus Christ. You do NOT receive Christ by being religious or “good.” Will you receive Jesus today so that you can “know that ye have eternal life”? The only way for you to know that you have eternal life is by receiving Jesus on God’s terms and not your own. It is not possible for you to know that you have eternal life if your eternal life is dependent upon your good works or how religious you are. This is not how eternal life is attained.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

If you would like to receive Jesus today, will you right now pray to him, asking him to save you and change you? This is how you receive Christ. Please receive him today

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