Tag Archives: gratitude

Stand in Awe Outline

{ASH WEDNESDAY 2017}

Stand in Awe

Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of Him. [Psalm 33:8]

Lent is a season of fasting and renewal. When you fast (stop doing something), but you also replace it with something else—something beneficial to your relationship with Jesus.

For this Lenten season, let us stand in awe and worship our God. We were made to worship God, to glorify God. But as we go through our days, we often add other things to the mix.

 

[LEVITICUS 10]

Unauthorized fire – Hebrew word “zara” means strange, from outside

 

[Leviticus 10:3]

‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.”  Aaron remained silent. [NIV]

“I must be treated as holy”

 

 

Holy is used more often as a prefix to God’s name more than any other attribute in Scripture.

 

Holy – “Set Apart” – [Exodus 3:14] I AM WHO I AM

[Revelation 22:13] He is the Alpha. The Omega. The First. The Last. The Beginning. The End.

[Revelation 1:8] He was and is and is to come.

[1 Samuel 2:2] Hannah says – “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you.”

 

As we see in this story in Leviticus, the closer you are to God – the more careful you need to be about His holiness so not to dishonor God.

 

The sad thing is not only do some people treat the things of God with contempt, but they also can cause others to follow suit, as possible with this instance with the strange fire.

 

During this Lenten season, let us ask…

 

  • What are you adding to your offering to God that isn’t meant to be there?

 

  • What is getting in the way of you fully offering yourself to Him? Fully worshiping Him as He deserves?

 

 

[Exodus 33:20] We read about Moses asking to see God’s glory….  God’s holiness is so blindingly radiant we cannot see it and live. Moses had to be hidden behind a rock for the glory of God to pass by.

 

It was this Holy Ground that required man to remove the unclean shoes and hide his face.

 

 

[Isaiah 6:1-4]

Only when we encounter God in His holiness is it possible for us to see our own self – “I am a sinful man”

This is something we must all come to recognize. I AM A SINNER!

Today, we don’t tread on the same Holy Ground as Moses. We don’t have the same need for a veil to shield us from the glory. Instead, we have the glory of God within us because of Christ.

[2 Corinthians 4:3-7] If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.  You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Our foreheads are marked tonight by ashes as we are reminded that we are but dust, that we are like fragile clay jars containing the great treasure from God Himself. We are reminded that without Jesus, we are nothing. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Our lives are marked WITH AND FOR CHRIST.

 

This should lead us to Awe * Worship * Adoration

[Isaiah 40:12-31] God has no equal

God….

  • Loves perfectly
  • Speaks perfectly
  • Creates perfectly
  • Acts perfectly
  • Chooses perfectly
  • Teaches perfectly
  • Disciplines perfectly

 

[Exodus 15:11]

Who is like YOU –

  • glorious in holiness,
  • awesome in splendor,
  • performing great wonders

 

What is keeping you from falling at his feet?

 

In Revelation 1:17, John sees Jesus and he immediately falls at His feet.

What’s keeping you from this?

What’s keeping you from the AWE?

 

A Always thankful[1 Thessalonians 5:18] CONTINUALLY THANKFUL

WWorship everywhere– IN ALL THAT YOU DO AND SAY [Colossians 3:17] – this isn’t just singing (everything you do should point to Him)

You should continually be aware of His presence everywhere.

E Eyes on Him– Eyes on Jesus [Hebrews 12:2] Perfecter of Faith

 

Consider the ashes on your forehead this evening… here’s a picture of what is coming…

[Revelation 22:3-5] No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” [Revelation 4]

 

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Burst Out in Songs

I love music and I love to sing. The problem is no one really enjoys hearing the sweet melodies I sing. I haven’t figured out how to sing in the right keys. Even so, God loves to hear me sing. He loves to hear you sing too!

The Psalms reference singing and praising God often. In Psalm 28:7, the Psalmist writes that his “heart is filled with joy,” so much joy that he “burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” In Psalm 30:12, the Psalmist talks about giving thanks forever—singing praises and not being silent.

How often do you burst out in songs for God? How often do you praise Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life? He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. Often we are quick to thank someone who hands us a cup of coffee, but we don’t thank God for that same cup of coffee, or for something so much greater than that one, temporary cup of coffee. Today, I pray your heart is filled with joy that overflows and you burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7 [NLT]

“That I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!” – Psalm 30:12 [NLT]

Everything from Him

Tonight I had some tomato soup for dinner. It was upsetting to find no saltine crackers after I already prepared the soup. It just wasn’t the same. It didn’t take me long to grumble because there were no crackers, and then remember that I am blessed to have the bowl of soup.

We often forget how blessed we are by God. He gives us so much. We take it for granted. In Romans 11, we read the question, “Who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?” This basically says we can never out give God. He gives in abundance. He blesses us greatly. Everything comes from God and if we grasp that, we will live with a heart of gratitude and not cling to the things of this earth.

The Sabbath is a special gift to us. We need to remember it’s not just about taking a rest. The Sabbath is so much more. It’s about remembering where everything comes from— GOD. The people were to collect for six days and rest the seventh. In doing so, they were trusting in the provision of God. The people were trusting that God will give them all they need. They recognize everything is from Him.

I love to celebrate the Sabbath. It helps to keep me focused. It helps to keep me thankful. Today, remember “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” Remember that God is the great provider. Trust Him to meet your needs. Rest knowing that He is faithful.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” – Psalm 24:1 [NLT]

“Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:35-36 [HCSB]

Close Embrace

I was sleeping so well. All of the sudden my eyes were wide open. It was National Dog Day. But that wasn’t why Max woke me up. A storm with lightning and thunder was in our midst. Max was having an anxiety attack. My overweight dog was in big baby mode. I called him onto my bed and held him in a close embrace to calm him down. He has a special storm jacket or thunder jacket. I call it a storm trooper jacket because it’s the only way he is a good trooper through storms.

As I lay unable to sleep with my panicked canine, I considered the close embrace of our heavenly Father. When we embrace someone closely, eventually we let go. We start to feel hot. We want to change our position. We cannot spend all day in one place. We have things to do. Sometimes it is a challenge embracing anyone at all. But with God, it’s different. The embrace is never-ending. Forever, we are in safety with the close embrace of God.

God “takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV). The psalmist said that God covers us with His feathers, that under His wings we find refuge (Psalm 91:4). Today, consider the close embrace of God. Nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Settle close to Him for refuge. Enjoy His presence. Appreciate the close embrace.

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

You Have Lacked Nothing

You Have Lacked Nothing

Today’s verse speaks of a time when God’s people were wandering around in the wilderness. Even when they were not always walking with their eyes fixed on God, even when their hearts were easily swayed, God provided for them. During a time when they grumbled and complained again and again, God still made sure they had everything they needed. He provided them manna. He provided them fresh water. This verse speaks truth – they “lacked nothing.”

For those reading this right now, it is quite possible that you can boldly claim these same words – that you have lacked nothing, that God has indeed provided for everything you need. Oftentimes as we fix our eyes elsewhere, we might become forgetful of this truth. But we have lacked nothing. We have been fed. We have been clothed. We so often show little gratitude for the many things God provides us for daily.

Today let us remind ourselves that we have lacked nothing over the years. God has provided for us and He has provided in abundance. Let us not overlook this great blessing. Instead, I pray we are able to live a life of gratitude, a life that appreciates all of the blessings that He pours out upon us. We are blessed so very much. Thank you Jesus! Let us be blessed to be a blessing!

“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” – Deuteronomy 2:7 [NLT]

In Silence

I’m currently reading Exodus. In Chapter 14, I read this– And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be silent. [ESV]

Fear not
Stand firm
See the salvation of the LORD
Be silent

These are hard things for us. So often our lives are steered by fear and pride. We don’t always stand firm but instead turn tail and run. We aren’t always thankful for this great salvation from the Lord. Being silent– that’s hard. It’s hard for me (anyone who knows me knows I can talk) but it’s difficult for everyone. Jesus wants us to enjoy His company in silence, away from the noise of the world. It’s so we can hear Him.

Today, remember that the LORD is with you. He is fighting with you. It’s His battle. And He wants you to fear not and stand firm with the confidence only He can give you. In the silence, as you watch Him move and work out His great plan, you will see the salvation of the Lord and His glory will be seen by many. God is alive. Amen.

Be a Blessing

Be a Blessing

Abraham was promised three things. God said He would make him a great nation. God said He would make his name great. God said He would bless him. We remember these promises. Again and again there is mention of this covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant. What a beautiful promise! What an awesome covenant!

So. So. So. Oh yes, there’s a second half of the verse. The verse continues, “So that you will be a blessing.” God will make Abraham a great nation, and bless him and make his name great SO that he will be a blessing. There’s receiving, but there’s also giving. There’s an expectation. There’s a response.

We each are blessed. Blessed to be a blessing. You have a choice in life. You can reach out and grab it all for yourself. Or you can ask yourself, how can I be a blessing? Today, consider what you can do to bless someone. It might be by using a gift or talent, by using something in your possession, by reaching into your pocketbook, or maybe it simply means to listen or smile or spend your time with someone. It is wonderful to be thankful for your blessings. But an attitude of gratitude should result in a desire to be a blessing.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2 [ESV]

A Banquet of Praise

I’ve been to many banquets over the years; each one is a great celebration. In today’s verse, it speaks about “a banquet of praise.” The NIV says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.”

Now today we do not sacrifice thank offerings like they once did; however, we still should offer praise to God. He alone deserves praise. In verse 15, God says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Call on Him. He will help. We will honor Him. It seems so simple but yet it gets neglected again and again.

We can never praise God enough. We can never offer Him enough thanks for what He has done for us, what He has given us. When I think of spreading out a banquet feast, I think of the big table of food at a wedding celebration or birthday dinner. I think of a Christmas family dinner or a picnic spread on a beautiful summer day. Those feasts we give a lot to make happen. We prepare. We spend. We plan. We pour a lot out for those banquets. A banquet is elaborate. A banquet is large. So when we think of a banquet of praise, it should never be only a “thank you for my food” before your meal and nothing more for the rest of the day. Imagine tomorrow morning, waking up and only having what you thanked God for today. Wow! There’s so much more to be thankful for, so much more opportunity to praise Him. Start spreading out that banquet. Honor Him.

“Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”

-Psalm 50:14-15 [MSG]

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Don’t Hold Back

We see many people not hold back. Many times it is when someone is having a tantrum or voicing an opinion. Then there are those who don’t hold back at the all-you-can-eat buffet. There are those who don’t hold back when they are racing or competing in sports. Not holding back means doing it all. It could be eating it all, giving it all, saying it all.

In today’s passage, we read about the Israelites who responded to Hezekiah’s command with generous hands. “They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything,” the Bible says. They gave the firstfruits of everything—EVERYTHING! There was so much stuff that was dedicated to God that it was piled in mounds. Look at the time involved—over three months of piling items. Talk about not holding back.

When I read of this it brings me great joy. I always love to read about people who are so generous and giving. It is such a special thing to give; it is a gift to give. I always get more joy from giving than from keeping. Sadly the statistics show that most people hold back a lot. I have heard it said if everyone tithed without holding back, giving the ten percent, people would be cared for and there would not be all of the situations we see all around the world. You might think that ten percent is a lot. You might think you cannot do it. But trust me, when you do it, God sees you through. You always have just what you need. So don’t hold back. Live with your hands open.

“As soon as Hezekiah’s orders had gone out, the Israelites responded generously: firstfruits of the grain harvest, new wine, oil, honey—everything they grew. They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything. They also brought in a tithe of their cattle, sheep, and anything else they owned that had been dedicated to God. Everything was sorted and piled in mounds. They started doing this in the third month and didn’t finish until the seventh month.”

-2 Chronicles 31:5-7 [MSG]

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