Tag Archives: God

My Standard

Facebook and I have a love hate relationship. I am thankful for the ability to keep up with friends and family; however, the constant demand for attention and the heaps of negativity and drama are draining to life. Over the past few years, I have only skimmed my newsfeed and I ignore Messenger even if the constant new message notification icon frustrates my OCD tendencies. There is so much more to life. Nonetheless, I enjoy still keeping up with my family and friends, and I especially love looking at my memories each day. There is nothing like taking a walk down memory lane. For multiple reasons, my memory (both short-term and long-term) is not good. Taking these daily strolls is always an adventure. But this week, I got a surprise.

In my memory feed, I saw some old photos of my children and dogs. I saw events and gatherings. I saw some quotes I shared. Then I saw a blocked post. A blocked post! The reason? It “goes against our community standards.” Community standards? What? This is the word of God. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (NIV). This verse from Isaiah 12:2 was as important to me then as it is to me now. Such a powerful declaration, a memory that came on just the day when I needed to be reminded of it once again. But it doesn’t follow community standards. And what are the community standards? Safety, voice, and equity. 

The Word of God will always convict the world. Though His Word is Truth and should be our plumb line in life, where we hold everything up to the True Standard—His standards, the world will always see this as folly. But these community standards speak of our God more than the world will ever know. When we find that there is no true safety from the dangers of this world, we find refuge in Him. We find salvation in Him. When we find that the voices of this world are often sharing lies and agendas and hate and destruction, we can rest in Him and trust Him. He is our strength and our defense. When the lies are spoken about us, He speaks over us His truth, His love, His grace. When the world seems like there is no fairness, no justice, no equality, we find that He so loved EVERYONE, that He sent His only Son to pay the ultimate price so that we ALL have the opportunity to come to Him, to be free, to be redeemed, to be healed, to live out a great inheritance as a child of God, a son or daughter of the God Most High. That despite the doings of the father of lies and our own sin and shortcomings, we can have a loving, eternal relationship with our Father. He is my safety, my voice, my equity.

And so today, even while the world has community standards and wants to block the truth and keep you from receiving all that God has for you, reach out to Him. Draw near to the One who is Hope. Cling to the One who is Peace. Rejoice in the One who is King. One day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess—JESUS IS LORD!

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2 [NIV]

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March 7

March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.

When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.

This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.

Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.

But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.

As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.

Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!

As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.

This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.

Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!

Restores and Revives

On a Saturday morning, I find myself sleeping in and spending more time in the Word. It is certainly a time of refreshment for me—the sleep and the time with God. We need rest. We need God.

Today’s verse speaks about how God restores and revives. The actual word translates to mean restore, refresh, renew, or revive. When you take a closer look, the Hebrew word “shub” means to turn back or return. This return is to a state you were once in, and this return is not from an occasional nap or reading the daily verse of the day. Shub points to a revival of your life, your strength, your energy. This is something God offers you daily, but it cannot happen if we are not staying connected and being mindful of His presence every day as we go through our day.

If you are feeling tired or drained or if you would like to sleep the next week of your life away, perhaps it is a good time to for shub, to turn back to Him and allow Him to pour into you. What is needed for shub? You simply return. Be intentional about prayer and reading your Bible. As you lean into Him in prayer, as you dig deeper into His Word, you will be restored and revived. Remember this shub isn’t a cat nap that gets you to finish your day with no major issues—there’s so much more! I pray this return to your first love will restore and revive you. The fruit of this revival points to the fullness of God.

“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. – Psalm 23:3 [TPT]

 

My Delicious Feast

I love food. I love cooking food. I find myself often planning a new experimentation for dinner. I roam through the produce aisle looking for ingredients. I consider what I want for the finished product. I imagine what I could create by mixing everything together. I look forward to the plate at the end of the experiment. More importantly, I look forward to the finished product on the plate.

When you get to sit down for a delicious meal that you thoroughly enjoy from start to finish, it becomes more than a meal – it is a feast! Each of us likely envision a different type of feast. For me, a feast is ordering three different types of egg rolls and spring rolls from my favorite Chinese restaurant and eating them in consecutive order. It is my favorite lunch feast. It is celebration for no particular reason except to enjoy what God has provided.

The Bible speaks of a delicious feast—a delicious feast of God. He is our celebration. He is the One Who truly satisfies. He gives us all that we can drink, and it overflows. We have the opportunity to partake of Him. We are invited to draw near, to approach His Table. We are encouraged to be refreshed by His Word, to eat of His daily bread. He can be your delicious feast – Your Joy, Your Song, Your Salvation. You can find comfort in His presence as you sit down and partake of Him. Too often, we settle for crumbs and miss out on the feast He provides. Drink deep my friend. When you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him!

“You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.” – Psalm 23:5 [TPT]

 

What is Love Series – Love Always Outline

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  1. Love is Patient… fill in gaps with GRACE
  2. Love is Kind… do GOOD & be GENEROUS to all
  3. Love Rejoices with Truth… DELIGHT in truth
  4. Love Always

“Love Always”… used to use this as my signature for cards and letters

Realized that I do not “Love Always.” 

Always means ALL THE TIME

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 Living Bible (TLB)

If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

 

Love BEARS all things – Love BEARS always

 

YOU WILL BE LOYAL TO HIM NO MATTER WHAT THE COST

YOU WILL NEVER STOP BEING PATIENT

LOVE COVERS… PROTECTS

 

1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

 

Charles Spurgeon noted that… “This love both covers and bears all things. It never proclaims the errors of others. It refuses to see faults unless it may kindly help in their removal. It stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips.”

 

Love BELIEVES all things – Love BELIEVES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE IN HIM

Expect the best of others (of what’s in them now)

You recognize they are made in the image of God — you see the very best in them now

You believe in someone until you are shown otherwise – give benefit of the doubt

 

Romans 12:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Faith in what God has made available now

 

Love HOPES all things – Love HOPES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS EXPECT THE BEST OF HIM

Expect the best of others (of what is to come)

You recognize that God has a greater purpose in a person’s life, a plan & purpose of His design — you see what God wants to do in a person’s life.

Love looks forward with confidence & grace

Trust that expects fulfillment of the future promises of God

 

1 Timothy 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

 

Romans 8:24 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 For this is the hope of our salvation.

 

But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have?

 

Love ENDURES all things – Love ENDURES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS STAND YOUR GROUND IN DEFENDING HIM

YOU WILL NEVER GIVES UP

To endure – To remain under

Perseveres despite situations / circumstances

No matter what!

 

1 Corinthians 9:12 (NASB)

12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

 

In Closing, look to God to understand what it means to LOVE ALWAYS…

Love Bears… God bears… He pours out grace & mercy despite your sins and shortcomings. Your sins cannot stand up to His grace.

Love Believes… God believes the best in you – God designed you for His good purpose & God sees you as His Son. 

Love Hopes… God has your future beautifully orchestrated & God sees who you will be – the beautiful masterpiece

Love Endures… God loves NO MATTER WHAT… He truly LOVES ALWAYS!

Stooping Down in Gentleness

We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.

God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.

When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.

“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]

 

Carols Series: Fall on Your Knees Outline

Worship the King

Matthew 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

O Holy Night

O holy night the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new glorious morn

Fall on your knees

O hear the angels’ voices

O night divine

O night when Christ was born

O night divine o night

O night divine

 

Strong’s Concordance

barak: to kneel, bless

Transliteration: barak

Phonetic Spelling: (baw-rak’)

Definition: to kneel, bless

Showing respect, give something of value to another

 

Psalm 103:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Psalm 103:11-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

 

Psalm 29:2 English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

Acts: You Will Be My Witnesses Outlines

YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES

First 8 chapters – time period of 30-33 

Luke quotes OT LXX (Septuagint or “70”), not Hebrew – early Greek translation of OT

Chapters 1-12 – Peter’s Ministry / Chapters 13-28 – Paul’s Ministry

Pentecost is 50 days after Passover (known as Feast of Weeks), Greek word “50th”

Pentecost is one of 3 major feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16) – the Festival of Unleavened Bread [begins day after Passover for a week, in remembrance of the Exodus/no leaven], the Festival of Weeks/Harvest [gratitude of Harvest], and the Festival of Tabernacles/Booths [5 days after Day of Atonement, dwell in tents to remind of time before Canaan] 

Acts 1:4-7 – Promise of Holy Spirit / Acts 1:5 – Wait for the Holy Spirit / Acts 1:9-11 – Ascension

Holy Spirit is the beginning

Only belong to Christ with the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:9

Adopted – Romans 8:14-17

Be Body of Christ with Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:13

          Tongues of Fire – Speech, communication of Gospel; Fire – God’s purifying presence

Mt. Sinai – Exodus 19:16-18 – fire came down at one place, now every believer

Only baptized by Holy Spirit once – Ephesians 4:4-5

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Insulting Him – Hebrews 10:29

Lying to Him – Acts 5:3-4

Resisting Him – Acts 7:51

Blaspheming Him – Mark 3:29

Grieving Him – Ephesians 4:30 – Cause Him sorrow/sadness because of indwelling sin

Quenching Him – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Allow sin to hinder influence of Holy Spirit, won’t allow His power to yield righteous fruit because of this sin

How YOU will be His witness – John 14-16

Comforts YOU (Acts 9:31) – He is known as the Comforter

Fills YOU with power (Acts 1:8)

Guides YOU to Truth (16:13)

Reminds YOU of Jesus’ Words (14:26)

Gives YOU the words to say (Luke 12:12)

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You Will Be My Witnesses

What I Have

Acts 3 – Healing of a Lame Man

The Lame Man Settled 

We settle with our circumstances

We accept our pains, our struggles, our situations

What if we thought beyond what was possible in our eyes?

What if we put everything into God’s hands?

Peter & John shared WHAT THEY HAD

What do you have?

Do you get caught in thinking what you have is time, talent, treasure, but forget the most important item you have?

People need the message of eternal life— people need JESUS and the SALVATION He freely gives more than the temporary things of the earth.

This lame man was not given money to get him through the day— He was provided with healing for the temporary but through Christ Jesus he also was offered SALVATION – ETERNAL LIFE

Why would we rather toss some money at someone then give them what is truly needed above all things?  {Road Dogs – not about the hot dogs, about Jesus}

The healing was done IN THE NAME OF JESUS

He gives you authority (power to influence, power to command)

When they say this, it means they are stating that Jesus gave them the power and authority to do this on Jesus behalf. It is all about Jesus. We are the vessels.

Are you using the authority and power you have been given to witness to others? 

In verse 20, it speaks of seasons of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord. We are all in need of this refreshing.

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You Will Be My Witnesses

All In

Acts 6:8 – Acts 7:60 – STEPHEN’S WITNESS

Stephen kept his eyes fixed on Jesus

Face of an angel (6:15) 

Moses at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:29-35)

Stephen followed the example of Jesus

He did not defend himself though the leaders were noting he was heard speaking blasphemous words (6:11) and presented false witnesses (6:13)

These same charges against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60)

He spoke the truth despite the consequences, calling the people stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears. He told them they are always resisting the Holy Spirit (6:51). He told them they received the Law but haven’t kept it (6:53).

He trusted God with his spirit (7:59)

Jesus said — “Father, into Your hands I entrust My Spirit” (Luke 23:46)

He asked for forgiveness of those who stoned him (7:60)

Jesus said — “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Stephen received a “standing ovation” for his witness (7:55-56)

He saw the glory of God

He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God

When he spoke this truth, he was saying Jesus was equal to the Father

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NOT FOR SALE

Acts 8:9-25

Severe persecution broke out again the church in Jerusalem (8:1)

Saul was ravaging the church

People scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria

Those who were scattered continued preaching the Word (8:4)

Philip went to Samaria

Samaritans were considered unclean

When the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, the Jews and Gentiles intermingled — resulted in the Samaritans

Samaritans had a their own temple, read a different version of the Pentateuch, and had differing views about the Messiah

Philip’s ministry to the Samaritans was fruitful, only one called Evangelist

Crowds were all paying attention, many were healed

Simon the Magician/Sorcerer

He amazed the people with magic, called “Great Power of God” (not from God)

When Philip evangelized, even Simon declared he believed and was baptized

Simon followed Philip everywhere, watching him perform sings & miracles

Laying Hands = Holy Spirit

The Samaritans believed but did not yet receive the Holy Spirit

Many believe this delay of the Holy Spirit was to confirm unity, the laying of hands was affirmation of the spreading of the Gospel to Samaria

When Simon saw this power, he offered to buy it (like Judas, put monetary value on something spiritual) – heart not right before God (8:20)

Peter rebuked Simon, told him to repent & pray for forgiveness (8:22)

God’s Salvation is Not For Sale

Ephesians 2:8

God’s Spirit is Not For Sale

1 Corinthians 12:7

God’s Blessing is Not For Sale

Psalm 1:1-6

Matthew 6:33

Psalm 67

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Chosen

Here I Am (v. 10)

Told WHERE to go — street called Straight, house of Judas

Told WHO to go to — Saul, man from Tarsus

Told WHEN to go — at once

Told WHY he must go – since he is praying there, needs to place hands on him and pray so his sight can be restored

BUT this man… (v. 13-14)

Very evil, Power to harm

He is my CHOSEN INSTRUMENT (vessel of election) (v. 15)

He will carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel

He is chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ

We are to WITNESS to GOD’s CHOSEN ONES

They are chosen ones because they will accept Jesus (PREDESTINATION)

Ephesians 1:4-5 — even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

God wants to freely pour out His grace & mercy on His chosen ones

2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God has a plan for His chosen ones

Romans 8:28-30 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

You are called to say “Here I Am” to God’s leading you to share Jesus so that His message of hope and salvation can reach the chosen ones

2 Timothy 1:9 — who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

Ephesians 1:11-12 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

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FREE AT LAST

Acts 11:1-18

The Truth will set you free (John 8:31-36)

Everyone who believes is set free (Romans 8:1-4)

No Condemnation

Free from the Law of sin & death, Jesus fulfilled the Law

Acts 11:1-18

Approach God with freedom (Ephesians 3:12)

Don’t submit to yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)

Be slaves of God (Romans 6:22)

Slaves of Righteousness

Charles Spurgeon said as slaves of God, enjoy:

Perfect Freedom

Joyful Existence

Heavenly Prospect

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Deliverance

Acts 12

King Herod (Agrippa I)

His grandfather was Herod the Great (slaughtered babies after Magi visit – Matt. 1

His uncle was Herod Antipas (murdered John Baptist) – Mark 6

James (brother of John) executed by sword

12:17 is James, Jesus’ half-brother who is leading Jerusalem church

“Wartime Walkie Talkie” – John Piper’s description of prayer

James executed, Peter arrested

Herod attacks by sword, church counters with prayer

Peter was sleeping, not anxious/panicked (confidence in God)

Peter doesn’t escape… he is delivered

Angel had to strike Peter on side too wake him (v. 7)

Chains fell off Peter’s wrist (v. 7)

Gate opened by itself (v. 10)

Peter was too asleep to even know what was happening (v. 9, 11)

Deliverance comes after church praying fervently to God (v. 5, 13)

Prayer is the church’s weapon

They didn’t believe Peter was at the door even though they were praying for him

Perhaps didn’t think he could be rescued, that he was going to end up like James so prayed differently

Perhaps thought he was already dead (mentioned seeing his ghost)

God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)

1) Made In Faith

“All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!  – Mark 9:23

2) Abide in Him 

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 [NASB]

3) In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14 [NLT]

5) For God’s Will

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 [NIV]

“We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15 [GW]

6) Persistent and Bold 

Ask, Seek, Knock  – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense) – Matthew 7:7-11

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Walk with Integrity

ACTS 5:1-16

Ananias & Sapphira

Joseph aka Barnabas… sold a field, laid money at apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37)

Ananias & Sapphira sold a piece of property too… but lacked integrity… didn’t fear God

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Posers / Liars / Deceivers

Pretended to do a righteous act, lied about it

Planned this deception, both were on board

Praise seekers 

They sought recognition for their act of giving

Greedy

The word used in v. 3 means “to keep back” or to “pilfer” (“steal in small amount”) – embezzlement is what we would call it today

The Holy Spirit was grieved by this couple who professed Jesus

Proverbs 10:9 – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

The word means “blameless,” “upright,” “innocent.”

To walk with integrity means:

Live the Truth

Stay Humble

Be Generous

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Not God

Acts 14:8-20

Lystra

Part of Galatia

Temple dedicated to Zeus at the town gates

Pagan people lived there — they had no knowledge of Old Testament so Paul adjusted message to the people so they could understand

He started with the very beginning – God who made the heaven & earth

Legend

Zeus & Hermes came down to Lystra. No one would welcome them except an old couple (Philemon & his wife)

Philemon & his wife. They made a temple, appointed the couple priest & priestess

They sent a flood to destroy the others.

Paul called Hermes (messenger of the gods) because he was speaker of the duo

Keep the focus on God

God is Creator (v. 15)

God is Provider (v. 17)

If you offer someone something other than God, it will fail

How Do You Make Sure You are God-Focused as a Witness:

1. Receive the Gospel daily

Sinner, saved by grace

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [NASB]

IF YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR THE GOSPEL, YOUR PRIDE WILL RISE UP AND TAKE HOLD OF YOUR WITNESSING.

IT WILL THEN BE ALL ABOUT YOU HELPING, YOU SAVING, YOU DOING

2. Thank God daily

Gratitude reminds us of how blessed we are– that our blessings come from God. 

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” [ESV]

Gratitude reminds us that He is our Creator and He is our Provider.

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY HARBOR A FEELING OF ENTITLEMENT. 

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY BECOME NEGATIVE…. FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE… FOCUSING ON THE BAD THINGS YOU SEE OR THINK YOU SEE.

3. Live in His Truth daily

Be in the Word

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” [NIV]

Walk in Faithful Obedience

James 1:22

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. [ESV]

4. Glorify God always

Acts 12:20-23

But things went from bad to worse for Herod. Now people from Tyre and Sidon put him on the warpath. But they got Blastus, King Herod’s right-hand man, to put in a good word for them and got a delegation together to iron things out. Because they were dependent on Judea for food supplies, they couldn’t afford to let this go on too long. On the day set for their meeting, Herod, robed in pomposity, took his place on the throne and regaled them with a lot of hot air. The people played their part to the hilt and shouted flatteries: “The voice of God! The voice of God!” That was the last straw. God had had enough of Herod’s arrogance and sent an angel to strike him down. Herod had given God no credit for anything. Down he went. Rotten to the core, a maggoty old man if there ever was one, he died.

God is our Creator

We were created to glorify Him… to point to Him!

God is our Provider

We are given all we need by Him… to point to Him!

Let us glorify Him

To Him alone be all honor, glory, and praise… point to Him!

————————————————————————-

PRAISE AT ALL TIMES

Acts 16:25-34  

Matthew 26:30

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [NASB]

After the Last Supper, sang a hymn and then went to the Mount of Olives. 

Read Acts 16:25-34

Fortune Teller – power from evil spirits/demons – Paul commanded the demon come out in Jesus name. Owners lost money.

Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, and jailed

Praying and singing hymns (v. 25)

Prisoners were listening – PEOPLE ALWAYS LISTENING

Earthquake – prison doors open/chains off – jailer & household saved!

Acts 16:25-26

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose. [MSG]

ROBUST – strong, vigorous

Acts 16:25

Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship. [TPT]

UNDAUNTED – not intimidated or discouraged 

Why are we talking about this today?

We were made to glorify God. (Isaiah 43:7)

1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials  so that the proven character of your faith —  more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire  —  may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [CSB] 

How can we be undaunted (not discouraged) & sing robust (strong) praises to the Lord at ALL times so we can point to Jesus Christ (be the “good” witness)?

Be Grateful at ALL times

Always look for God’s grace. Seek it out. 

Read Psalm 118

Be God centered

Don’t look at the situation. Look to God…. To His Truth, His Promises!

Don’t focus on the mess… remember the future ahead!

Rest in your confidence in Him!

Ex: Waiting for your child to finish tying his/her shoes

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments. [NIV]

SALVATION IS FROM GOD — v. 18 is salvation (God alone offers salvation through Christ Jesus)

VICTORY IS FROM GOD — v. 19 is control, victory (God is in control, He provides victory)

Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the LORD; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the LORD’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together. [CSB]

————————————————————————-

Not A Suggestion

You Will Be My Witnesses

It is not a suggestion to repent and turn to God.

God is our Creator and Sustainer.

In Him we live, move, and exist!

We long for Him & through repentance, turning toward God we can do life with Him!

It is not a suggestion to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

People are living life blinded by sin, unable to be in the presence of God, unable to experience life as it is intended.

We have been commanded to share Jesus through the Great Commission — it is not a suggestion! 

Acts 17:22-34 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul Speaks to the Leaders of Athens

22 So Paul stood in the middle of the leadership council and said, “Respected leaders of Athens,[a] it is clear to me how extravagant you are in your worship of idols.[b] 

23 For as I walked through your city, I was captivated by the many shrines and objects of your worship. I even found an inscription on one altar that read, ‘To the Unknown God.’[c] I have come to introduce to you this God whom you worship without even knowing anything about him.

24 “The true God is the Creator of all things. He is the owner and Lord of the heavenly realm and the earthly realm, and he doesn’t live in man-made temples. 

25 He supplies life and breath and all things to every living being. He doesn’t lack a thing that we mortals could supply for him, for he has all things and everything he needs. 

26 From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history.

27 He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to him,[e] and find him—for he is the God who is easy to discover![f] 

28 It is through him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said,[g] ‘Our lineage comes from him.’[h]

29 “Since our lineage can be traced back to God, how could we even think that the divine image could be compared to something made of gold, silver, or stone, sculpted by man’s artwork and clever imagination?

30 “In the past God tolerated[i] our ignorance of these things, but now the time of deception has passed away.[j] He commands us all to repent and turn to God.[k] 

31 For the appointed day has risen, in which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man he has designated. And the proof given to the world that God has chosen this Man is this: he resurrected him from among the dead!”[l]

32 The moment they heard Paul bring up the topic of resurrection, some of them ridiculed him, then got up and left. But others said, “We want to hear you again later about these things.” 

33 So Paul left the meeting. 34 But there were some who believed the message and joined him from that day forward. Among them were Dionysius, a judge on the leadership council,[m] and a woman named Damaris.[n]

Hebrews 10:22 The Passion Translation (TPT)

22 we come closer to God and approach him[a] with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out![b]

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 The Message (MSG)

7-10 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

————————————————————————-

Judgment

Acts 24:22-27

Felix listened to Paul about Jesus

Felix was originally a slave, freed by Emperor Claudius

Felix became one of the emperor’s infamous favorites

As governor, Felix committed every act of extortion

Felix lured Drusilla away from her husband because he desired her

She was one of the three daughters of Herod Agrippa I

Her father murdered James

Her uncle murdered John the Baptist

Her great grandfather murdered the Hebrew babies

PAUL WAS NOT ASHAMED

Romans 1:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Felix sent for Paul often (v. 26)

Felix thought Paul would offer a bribe

When asked to share truth about “the faith in Jesus Christ,” Paul did not dampen the message to not offend

PAUL WAS PREPARED

1 Peter 3:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

FELIX WAS CONVICTED & FEARFUL

Fear stopped Felix from listening fully

He feared judgment which was surely coming

THE TIME WAS NOT CONVENIENT

Felix sent Paul away for a convenient time 

Time is never convenient

Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading

Recognize you may be sent away like Paul

JUDGMENT IS COMING

Hebrews 10:26-31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Christ or Judgment

26 For if we go on willfully and deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice [to atone] for our sins [that is, no further offering to anticipate], 27 but a kind of awful and terrifying expectation of [divine] judgment and the fury of a fire and burning wrath which will consume the adversaries [those who put themselves in opposition to God]. 28 Anyone who has ignored and set aside the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that [a]sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].

Revelation 6:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Setting Out Outline

2-28-16

Rabbi Jason Shulman said, “There are many books that tell us how to find God but the truth is that God is not lost or hiding. In fact, it is the actual, continuous, omnipresence of God that is so hard for the human mind to fathom.”

 

As we are setting out, we need to be available for God—we need to be able to allow our experiences and the environment to speak to us. We need to pay attention to what is happening around us and within us. Only when we fix our eyes on what He is doing around us and focus within us are we able to continue on the path He has designed for us.

 

For this reason, my morning walks have been such a blessing.

 

Psalm 19– everything that exists praises the Creator

  • The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
  • Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
  • They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
  • Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
  • It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
  • It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 

Job 12:7-10—“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lordhas done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

 

 

All of life is bathed in beauty and sacredness

We either….

  • Don’t See
  • See, miss message, do nothing
  • See, misinterpret, wrong path
  • See, understand, move forward

 

Why do we miss Jesus?

  • We make false division between sacred and secular– REMEMBER GOD IS EVERYWHERE

 

  • We consider God stuck between the pages of Bible– REMEMBER GOD IS ALIVE
    1. Exodus 29:45 – “Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God”
    2. Ezekiel 37:27 – “My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

  • We don’t have the kind of relationship that results in recognition– REMEMBER YOU CANNOT RECOGNIZE WHAT OR WHO YOU DO NOT KNOW

 

  • His appearance is different than our expectations– REMEMBER GOD DOES NOT THINK AS WE THINK
    1. God spoke through
      1. Burning Bush (Exodus 3)
      2. Plagues (Exodus 7-11)
  • Balaam’s Donkey (Numbers 22)
  1. God’s Sign Language
    1. Noah and the Rainbow (Genesis 9)
    2. The Exodus – the pillar of cloud and fire (Exodus 13)

 

  • We are too focused elsewhere to notice – something else has priority
    1. Fear of Missing Out – DISTRACTIONS
    2. Focused on temporary – PRIORITIES
    3. Don’t understand what really matters –BUSYNESS
      1. Leonard Sweet – “We are so busy. Usually too busy for God.”
    4. To pay attention means you are no longer the center of attention.
    5. Hebrew 2:1– “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

 

  • We do not want to see Him– REMEMBER YOU WON’T SEE GOD IF YOU TRULY DON’T WANT TO – DISINTEREST
    1. Matthew 6:21 – Jesus said our hearts follow what we treasure / pay attention to—“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

 

Examples of Missed Boats

  • Samuel thinks God is Elithe Priest (1 Samuel 3)
  • Birth of Jesus(Old Testament) – the Jews just didn’t get it
  • Pilate– what is Truth? (John 18)
  • Thief on the Cross– “One of the criminals who hung there heaped abuse on Him. “Are You not the Christ?” he said. ‘Save Yourself and us!’” – Luke 23:39
  • Walk to Emmaus(Luke 24) – two fellas walking with Jesus had no clue

 

What does the Bible say?

 

Proverbs 8:34– “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.”

  • Listen – Prayer- Prayer is fully paying attention to God
    1. Show Up
    2. Slow Down
    3. Shut Your Mouth
  • Watch – Requires you to be INTENTIONAL
  • Wait – Requires PATIENCE

 

Habakkuk 2:1– “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.”

  • I will stand on my guard post
  • I will keep watch to see what He will say

Habakkuk 2:20– “The LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”

  1. Silence
    1. absence of sound
      1. Your mouth is quiet
      2. No noise
    2. absence of movement
      1. You aren’t doing
        1. You aren’t focused on the next thing
        2. You aren’t multitasking
        3. All of you is still

 

Remember the quote from the beginning from Lewis Carroll

“Don’t just do something, stand there.”

 

As we set out, remember Who we are walking with…

 

God walks ahead of us and we are to walk in a way that

our lives cast only ONE SHADOW.

 

As the sun shines down upon your life at this journey point, will there be only one shadow to be seen?

 

Sanctity of Life Outline

The Sanctity of Life 1-17-16

“I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.” – excerpt from the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, 1984Ronald Reagan

 

We are supposed to protect the weak and vulnerable during all phases of life.

  • Nearly 50% of pregnancies are unintended; of those about 40% are terminated.
  • There are thousands of kids in state care, only so many foster homes to meet the demand.
  • 18% of seniors live alone, while 43% report feeling lonely on regular basis. Isolated elders have a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than those not alone.

 

Life is HOLY

Why? Why is life holy? This is a question even the Psalmist pondered…

“When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is manthat You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?”(Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)

Why is human life holy?

 

  • WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26-2:25)

 

If we are made in the image of a HOLY GOD, then we too should be holy.

We are image bearers of God – created in the image, shadow, likeness of God.

We are imprinted with godlike characteristics.

“To be fully human is to fully reflect God’s creative, spiritual, intelligent, communicative, relational, moral and purposeful capacities.” (Relevant Magazine)

  • WE ARE SET APART – that means we are holy

We are set apart above all creation(Genesis 1:26-28)

We are handmade

Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade.

We are set apart as God’s chosen people

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Do you not know that you are God’s templeand that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

We are set apart for fellowship with God

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16b)

We are set apart and crowned by God with glory and majesty

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.(Psalm 8:4-5).

 

  • GOD VALUES ALL LIFE

You are valuable. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuableto him than they are?”(Matthew 6:26)

He values new life – He creates new life. He knit you together (Psalm 139). It’s all a part of God’s great plan.

He values young ones – He blesses them and says to let the little children come when the disciples rebuked them. (Matthew 19:13-15)

He values teens & young adults – Paul writes that youth should not be looked down on for being young. Instead, be an example to believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12)

He values the mature adults – You shall stand up before the gray head & honor the face of an old man, & you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

He values the poor, the widows, the strangers –For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)

If Life is Holy, how is Life Not Worth Living?

The world is filled with

  • Murder
  • Abortion
  • Suicide

This is unnatural death. God’s ways are life, not death.

  • Murder
    • Cain murders Abel(Genesis 4:9-15) – Cain is punished, but God also says that anyone who kills Cain would face vengeance.
    • Ten Commandments– Do not murder (Exodus 20:13)
    • Eye for eye– murder and be put to death (Leviticus 24:21)
    • Cities of Refuge– cities for those who killed unintentionally (Numbers 35)
  • Suicide
  • Abimelechwas injured when a woman from tower dropped millstone on his head and cracked his skull. He considered himself mortally injured and asked his armor bearer to kill him with his sword, which he did (Judges 9:52-54)
  • Samsonpulled down the building to kill the Philistines, resulting in his own suicide (Judges 16:29-30)
  • King Saulwas injured badly in war so he fell on his own sword (1 Samuel 31:4-6)
  • When Ahithophel’s advice wasn’t taken, he killed himself (2 Samuel 17:1-29)
  • King Zimrisaw his city was taken and burned down his house while inside (1 King 16:15-20)

What does God say about death?

See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

LIFE AND DEATH IS IN HIS HANDS

The world is filled with abuse of life

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Economic
  • Mental
  • Sexual

Abuse steals peace. Abuse kills joy. Abuse destroys hope.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justlyand to love mercyand to walk humblywith your God. (Micah 6:8)

Equip others. Empower others. Encourage others. Embrace others.

Speak life. Stand up for and speak for those who cannot stand up or speak for themselves.

 

The world is filled those who misunderstand the purpose of life

            What is the purpose of life? To glorify God.

Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. (Isaiah 43:7)

            Our greatest desire is to know God, to have a relationship with God.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

The Most Important Life – Eternal Life

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”(John 3:36)

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

John 3:16says “For God so loved the worldthat he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The worth of a human soul can be estimated only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. … It was the joy set before Christ in accomplishing so great salvation, that led him to submit to shame, agony, and death. How do all the treasures and the glories of earth sink into insignificance when compared with the value of a human soul!– Ellen White

 

  • Value Life– everyone is valuable to God’s Kingdom
  • Celebrate Life– praise the Lord for your life and for the lives of others
  • Embrace Life– seek out what God has for your life
  • Speak Life– speak life to others
  • Share Life – share the Good News of Eternal Life

May your life bring glory to God