My neighbor’s overgrowth of weeds has reached nearly 3 feet. It is a perfect hiding spot for a rabbit, that is, until my Labrador decides he wants to retrieve him. I keep him from having any success; however, this morning he did shock the rabbit he uncovered with his keen abilities. The rabbit, stunned and not really able to evaluate his options, ran right towards a pack of German Shepherds. He rebounded and finally found an escape route.
Watching the frazzled rabbit run from one point to the next haphazardly reminded me of how easy it is to get comfortable and feel safe somewhere only to find yourself under attack. This can happen in a relationship, at a job, in a circle of friends, and even at church. It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us most. We get comfortable. We feel safe. Then something happens. We all have moments, situations, events, etc. in life that shock us, open our eyes, hurt us, change us as people. We have the option to respond in whatever way we see fit. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we deny.
When we run, like the rabbit, we are running from something, and there’s always a place we are running toward. Maybe we attempt to nurse our brokenness with some self-soothing methods that are almost second-hand nature. Remember the Golden Girls moments when the cheesecake came out of the fridge? Perhaps your soothing is going to the gym, taking a shopping trip, having a few (or more) drinks. We all have our vices; some of us have multiple vices.
Whatever your situation may be, spend time with God. Take refuge in Him. People change; God is unchanging. People are unfaithful; God is faithful. People are broken, not-perfect, and many times selfish; God’s love is unfailing, His ways are perfect, and He pours out His blessing in abundance. As you cling to Him, may you realize you were never meant to hide in the safety of the overgrowth—you were made to soar! The people in your life are not to be your safety net, but they are part of your life to love, to encourage, to serve. The financial security of a good job and money in the bank is not for you to sit back and coast through life, but to glorify God. Often, when you are chased from the overgrowth, you are led to right where you are meant to be at this very moment. Let the Spirit guide your steps from the weeds to all that He has awaiting. It might not appear to be better than the pile of weeds, but you can trust that God has a great plan. In faith, in obedience, in love – press onward and soar!
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” – Psalm 143:8 [NLT]
“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:5 [NLT]
8-26-17 – Provision – “FEAST ON JESUS”
BREAD OF LIFE
John 6:35 – Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 7:37-39 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
John 4:10, 13-14 – Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” … Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 2:10-12– But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
Luke 22:15-20 – And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
- Look Back in Remembrance
- Of Christ, of what Christ did on Cross, of the love of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24)
- AFFECTIONATELY REMEMBER
- Body of Christ broken for you
- Blood of Christ poured out for you
- Poured out – GAVE His life.
- 1 Peter 4:20 before the foundation of world
- Wasn’t spilled like an accident
- Look Ahead to His Coming
- As often as you eat bread & drink cup – proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (I Corinthians 11:26)
- Look Within
- Examine yourself before Communion (1 Corinthians 11:28)
- THOROUGHLY EXAMINE
- Doximazo “dok-im-ad-zo”
- Discern / examine / test / prove
- Repent of any sin, if you don’t do this you dishonor the body of Christ and damn self (v. 29)
Jesus and His disciples during Last Supper drank:
1stcup (sanctification– He chose us to be set apart)
2ndcup (deliverance– He alone sets us free from the bondage of our sin)
3rdcup (redemption– He alone pays our ransom price) was one drank for introduction to Holy Communion teaching.
Still had 4thcup (hope– we have hope in the coming of Jesus) to drink in New Jerusalem
Have you answered the call? Are you ready for His return?
Isaiah 55:1 – Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Revelation 7:16-17– Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Revelation 19:7 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
3 parts of wedding:
- Marriage contract signed by parents, dowry paid for bride & then the engagement begins
- About a year later, the groom and friends go to house of the bride, then they parade through the streets. The bride knew in advance that it would happen in about a year, but didn’t have the exact time. She best be ready (Matthew 25:1-13, Parable of the Ten Virgins) – 1-year engagement
- Supper went on for days (John 2:1-2) – 7-day feast – most important people invited first & everyone stayed then to the end of celebration.
1stphase is completed – New Covenant with God, believer put faith in Christ, dowry paid to God the Father – the blood of Christ was shed on the bride’s behalf.
2ndphase – Christ is coming to claim His bride
3rdphase – Wedding Feast with the Lamb
HOW CAN WE PREPARE:
Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Jeremiah 15:16 – Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
John 10:14-15– I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. YOU RECOGNIZE WHO YOU KNOW
Ephesians 5:25-29– Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church
John 4:32, 34 – But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”… Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.
AS YOU EAT THE WORD, YOU FIND NOURISHMENT FOLLOWING IT.
If seeking this close, intimate relationship with Jesus – PRAYER IS CRUCIAL
Psalm 63:1 – You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
The book of Revelation – how the Church prays to initiate things to happen. Our prayer life must be active.
We read in Revelation 8 of the prayers of God’s people filling bowls and being mixed with fire (God’s Power). It is these prayer offerings from the saints that lead to the 7 trumpetswhich move us toward the New Heaven and New Earth!
Revelation 22:17– The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. We as Church should cry out EVEN SO COME
Psalm 42:1-2 – As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?
We should desire to be with God… to be near Him… to commune with Him… to be in His Presence always!
Let us feast on Jesus!
Let us be washed by the Word!
Let us prepare for the coming of our King!
Let us cry out to the Lord in Prayer…. Even So Come!
Lord, we are desperate for You Lord!
We wait for You!
In Romans 15:13, we read: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NLT). We know that Jesus Christ is our only hope. We know that He alone is our confidence. The Bible says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (NIV).
If you have put your confidence in a human at any point in your life, it is likely that you have been let down or hurt. Humans are constantly changing. The hearts of humans are deceptive. Being confident in Christ Jesus is different. We are to rely on what He has done for us. We are to trust in the promises of God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
It is when we try to place our confidence in something else that we find ourselves in trouble and we are always let down. Today, consider where you have placed your confidence. Are you relying on human effort? Are you relying on friends or family? Or have you put your confidence in God? Are you relying on the One who was and is and is to come?
“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.” – Philippians 3:3 [NLT]
What if you did not help work on a project—not even for a second—but you received recognition for the great work you did on the project? During a ceremony, you were called up on stage to accept this great honor when you never even did anything to assist. Wouldn’t that be strange? Would you feel awkward receiving recognition when you did not even help with the project? What if you were given special access or a higher position with greater privilege because of this project? It sounds crazy, right?!?
The Bible speaks about this place of undeserved privilege, a place that we now stand. We are just like this person who never worked on a project but gained honor and privilege from the project. We do not deserve to stand before God. We do not deserve to have this privilege. Nonetheless, Jesus Christ has “brought us into this place.” He has allowed us to enter the inner veil. He has given us this great honor through Him.
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we can “confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we have been “brought… into this place of undeserved privilege.” Never forget that it is an undeserved privilege. Praise Him for He alone deserves the honor, glory, and praise. Share your hope with others and continue to look forward to what is ahead.
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” – Romans 5:2 [NLT]
As it nears my son’s sixteenth birthday, there is great expectation. This is a big day for any teenager. When I consider the months and weeks prior to his birth, there was great expectation. He was my first child. I didn’t know what to expect, but I spent a lot of time considering who he would be and couldn’t wait to meet him.
In 1 Peter 1, we read about our great hope. In verse 3, Peter talks about how “we live with great expectation.” We live with this great expectation because “we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” We know that because of this, “we have a priceless inheritance” (v. 4). The Bible also tells us that God is protecting us “by His power” until the day comes when we receive the revelation of our salvation.
Some of us have lost the joy of this great expectation. We are so focused on this world that we cannot be “truly glad” that “there is wonderful joy ahead” (v. 6). Perhaps our trials have hardened our hearts. God reminds us that this is on “for a little while.” The trials “show that your faith is genuine” (v. 7). Today, be reminded of our great hope, our great expectation. Remember, “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (v. 8).
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” – 1 Peter 1:3 [NLT]
After the twelve spies surveyed the land, only two came back with a good report. Ten men came back to share their fear of the strong people of the land. When the people were speaking negatively about the situation, Caleb boldly stepped forward. The Bible says that he “silenced the people before Moses.” He exclaimed, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).
Caleb trusted the One behind the promise. He trusted God. Ten of the spies couldn’t look past the problems they saw with the land. They couldn’t imagine that God would see them through, that God would deliver on His promise. They were stopped in their tracks, stopped by mere men.
God says that Caleb had “a different attitude than the others have.” He also was called loyal. His loyalty didn’t change with circumstances. He was loyal. Some of us have an attitude problem today. We have the attitude of the ten, instead of the attitude of Caleb; we have an attitude of fear and distrust, rather than an attitude of trust and confidence. The Bible speaks of this hope—this confidence—we should have as believers. We should be confidence for judgment day (1 John 4:17-18). We should have confidence for prayer (1 John 5:14). We should be confident His plan is perfect and He desires what is good for His children (Romans 8:28). We should be confident that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). May the Lord be your confidence (see Proverbs 3:26, Job 4:6).
“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]
“And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:10 [NLT]
During the walk this morning, it was quite foggy. It was the kind of fog that when you walk forward, you cannot see a thing. Even so, I know what is supposed to be there. I’ve walked the same path every morning and evening for years. So I walked forward in trust.
The Bible speaks of many great people of faith. Hebrews 11 is known as the Hall of Faith as it is filled with many of these faithful followers of God. People like Abraham, who God commanded to leave all he knew and walk into the unknown. He said that He would should Abraham where to go. Now that’s faith. Things are different for us. Even though there is a lot of unknown, we have a lot more to go on than Abraham did. We have the Word of God. We have the Old and the New Testaments. We can read about the faithfulness of God. We can read about how God provided. We can read about how God protected His people.
We don’t always have the faith we should, because we are human. We have doubts. We have worries. It is in these moments we pray for God to help our unbelief. “I believe. Help my unbelief.” As the fog up ahead keeps you from knowing all that will come your way, walk with fog faith, clinging to the promises of God, trusting God at His Word, for He is the best promise keeper.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1 [NIV]
We have all certainly missed some blessings. When we walk in faith, we are met with blessing. It might not happen right away, but eventually it comes. I remember when I took a leap of faith and returned to college. When I graduated with my ministry degree, I thought instantly something would happen. It was a long period later before I saw how God orchestrated everything for a better outcome. Remember, He thinks differently than us. What we think would be great, is nothing compared to the greatness He has in store for us.
I have been at the crossroads where I could walk in faith, or turn in the other direction. There have been times when I didn’t step forward. I stood my ground or turned direction. I then missed the opportunity to see God move. Remember, He calls us to walk in faith. If we don’t walk, we miss what follows. Oftentimes, rather than walk in faith, we take burdens on our own shoulder. We then miss the opportunity to see God move in awesome ways. We miss it!
Lately I have been recognizing the lack of faith in people around me. I’m not saying this to say, “My faith is greater than yours.” I am simply noting that God is revealing this to me. It grieves me. I feel for those who are not walking forward in faith, because I know they are missing out on what God has for them. I share with these people how God has moved in my life. Still, they don’t move. I can only pray. Prayer is always the best thing. Today, I’m praying for you. I am praying that you are not missing the blessings. I am praying for you to have confidence in the Lord, to move forward in faith—to step out to what God has for you. Embrace God and embrace His promises. You will be blessed!
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” – Jeremiah 17:7 [NLT]
We are Valuable. Matthew 6:26 – 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 valuable to him than they are? [NLT]
We are God’s Creation. 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. (Genesis 1 & 2)
We are His Masterpiece. He continues to mold us. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [ESV]
Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? [ESV]
We each have responsibility to shine the light in this dark world – to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
REMEMBER: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20)
If you have had an abortion and you asked for forgiveness, you have already been forgiven.
So what does the Bible say?
In the Bible, some were known in the womb. Some were sanctified in the womb.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” [NLT]
Isaiah 49:1 – “Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” [NLT]
Galatians 1:15 – “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased” [NIV]
The word for prenatal and postnatal beings in the Bible – CHILDREN.
We also read about:
- Jacob & Esau struggling in the womb
- John the Baptist leaping for joy while in the womb and recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb.
HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE
Psalm 139:13-16 [NIV] – GOD KNITS TOGETHER; IT’S GOD’S WORK – NOT OURS
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE
- Genesis 1:26-27 – Man is made in God’s image
- Genesis 5:3 – When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. [NIV]
- Seth was created in likeness of Adam.
- Adam was created in likeness of….. GOD
Imago Dei (EE-ma-go Day) – Image of God is stamped on each of us.
HE VALUES LIFE
Genesis 9 – Capital punishment – murder in 1st degree
And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God. (v. 5-6 NIV)
Exodus 21:22-25 speaks about punishment when pregnant woman is accidentally injured while people are fighting and a life is lost.
- The Didache (Di-dah-kay) – Jewish instruction manual held that abortion was murder
- Early church, Calvin, Luther, Edwards held that abortion was murder.
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.