Archive for the ‘Notes From Sermons’ Category

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04-17-11 Where’s God? – You Aren’t Alone.

April 20, 2011

We all have stories.We all have pain at some point in our stories.We can tuck that away and act as if it doesn’t exist and we can come into church and put on our “I’m okay” masks, or… We can be real.Let’s admit that life is tough and even tougher if you are a follower of God.Many have wondered at one point or another in their life, “Where are you God?”These sermon notes deal with that question.

My pastor began talking about a story from 1991 when 6 men boarded a 72 foot fishing boat named the Andrea Gail and even though they were warned not to leave due to a forecast of incredible storms at sea, they pushed off.Sure enough, all of them perished at sea.You may have seen the movie based on this true story.I don’t know about you, but I’m a “happy endings” kinda guy.So as I’m watching the circumstances in the movie go from bad to worse, I keep waiting for that moment whenthe hero is going to save the day… but George Clooney never saved the day and everyone dies and the movie rolls credits…I hated that ending.The title even bothered me.“perfect storm”?!!What!?My idea of a pefect storm is a storm that either doesn’t happen at all, or if it does happen it passes without causing any damage to property or people.That’s the perfect storm.But the title of this movie makes no since.It’s like saying, “the perfect heart attack”…. (again to me, something that doesn’t happen).Or like saying, “the perfect divorce”..(again, something that is best described as perfect when it doesn’t happen at all).Despite the title of a movie, we expect a hero to rise up and save the day.And when tragedy or tough times strike in our lives, we expect God to do the same thing.

My pastor goes on, what about those times when the ship that is my life is going down and God is nowhere to be found?

Matthew 27:41-45 (New International Version, ©2011)

41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

So, Jesus is hanging on the cross and things just keep on getting worse.Have you ever had those moments in your life where things just keep getting worse/darker and it seems like God is just being quite and not doing anything?This is one of the things that many people have used as an excuse to either not believe in God or to believe He exist but have nothing to do with Him.Because the thought is, “If He were real, surely He would have come into my situation and saved the day right?”Let’s be honest, there are times when believers have even felt this way right?But I know that when things are going bad in my life or going from bad to worse, I tend to look the most for God.

Let’s rewind a bit in the story here.

Matthew 26:36-38 (New International Version, ©2011)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

This is a moment in which we can relate to Jesus.He is worried/sorrowful/troubled about tomorrow.He is overwhelmed with what his future looks like if something doesn’t drastically change.We all have those moments. For a lot of us, this is our “where are you God?” moment.What did Jesus do at this point?

1st – He didn’t go alone.

He takes the 3 guys that are closest to Him with Him.He sees the value in having close friends with him.He is God, but he doesn’t want to be alone.This can be rough if you are a guy, because guys tend to want to isolate themselves (especially when we are in rough times).Guys go into our “caves” and everyone knows not to follow or you will get singed by the flames that come from our mouths.But, we have to learn not to do it alone.We must spend time investing in relationships to find those whom we can trust and let get close to us.Remember people are just people and they can help if you let em, but they aren’t God… I’ll explain here.

Matthew 26:39-41 (New International Version, ©2011)

39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.“Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?”he asked Peter.41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

2nd-Talk with friends, but rely on God.

Jesus didn’t take the question to His disciples but he takes the question to God.He shares his fear, sorrow, dread, and pain with His disciples, but He relies on God.We need to learn to “lean on” people but “rely on” God.We need to allow a few to get close, but take the question to God.Currently, a number of us instead take our major questions in life to people and rely on them, but we lean into God.Turn it around, Talk to people/Rely on God.

Matthew 26:42-44 (New International Version, ©2011)

42He went away a second time and prayed,“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

This is our me too moment with Jesus.He didn’t stop asking.Look at the last four words of that verse, “saying the same thing.”Don’t stop asking.In the book of Hebrews we are told that we have a high priest Jesus who sympathizes with us in our weakness and that He can relate to what we are going through.There are a number of things that Jesus did or said that I can’t accurately say, “me too” to.I’ve never raised people from the dead, healed a leper, healed a blind man.Even the non huge miracles stuff, I still struggle with loving my enemies and turning the other cheek, but this is one of those times when I can say, “me too Jesus.”We know what it is to have heavy hearts at times and pray over and over and over for this cup to pass us if at all possible, but God’s will be done. Jesus here is looking at tomorrow and it’s looking really rough for Him…. It looks painful and hopeless… Sound familiar?He is doing everything right and yet God is silent.His Father doesn’t intervene and Jesus ends up on the cross.Just like the “perfect storm” you may hit that point in this story or in your story where you think, “wait a minute…. That’s not the ending we are looking for God.”Thankfully, it’s not the end of the story, so let’s go back to the cross.

Matthew 27:46 (King James Version)

46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Jesus yelled this out.He didn’t yell when they were mocking him, or when they were beating him, or at any other point on record, but here… When the Father turns away and is silent, He yells.God turned away because at that point Jesus had taken on all our sin.We must know that silence is not the same thing as absence.The Father wasn’t absent, He was silent.In our turmoil during the times when God isn’t responding or we can’t hear Him, it doesn’t mean He is absent.

Isaiah 53:5 (New International Version, ©2011)

5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds
we are healed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (New International Version, ©2011)

21God made him who had no sin to be sin<sup value=”[a]”>[a]for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God turned His face away from Jesus so that He would never have to turn His face away from us.

Hebrews 13:5 (New International Version, ©2011)

5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.

The whole Romans chapter 8 really applies right here but the following are the verses that were used in this sermon.(i encourage you to read the entire chapter though)

Romans 838For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So please take from this that in those “where are you God?” moments when God is silent, it doesn’t mean He is absent.He is right there with you and it’s not the end of the story.Your impossible moments and my impossible moments are not the end of the story.When creating a masterpiece on the pottery wheel a simple slip of the hand can mess anything up.What appeared to be becoming something beautiful can become a train-wreck in a second.(Sounds a lot like life huh?)But as long as the artist is there, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that cannot be repaired and restored and crafted into the masterpiece that the artist had originally envisioned.Nothing can separate us from the love of God.He never leaves us nor forsakes us.We may get off track and things may seem to be a disaster and He may even be silent, but He never leaves the wheel.

Don’t go it alone Christian.Don’t go it alone Jew.He is good.He is with you.He is for you.If He is for you… seriously, what can possibly stand against you?

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04-16-11 Luke 16&17

April 17, 2011

How can a loving God send people to hell? I’m sure you’ve heard the question but is it a question that’s actually designed just to let people off the hook?

John 3:16-21 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

We are not to reject the Biblical teaching of the reality of hell and eternal punishment (like rob bell or mormons are doing) and accountability for sins. It is offensive to Christ to take this out of the Gospel message. Hell is real and God doesn’t send you there but rather you chose hell by denying the name of God.

Luke 16:19-21 NIV

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

Wow. That’s like the epitemy of need. He is in sorrow.

Luke 16:22-23 NIV

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

We find that there is torment in Hades… This is not hell. Hell is a place of eternal seperation and fire. Hades appears to be the place where Old Testament believers and non-believers alike would go until the day of judgement. It is the non-permanent place or temporary address of the disembodied souls of dead. It is not the grave or sepulcher, nor is it the eternal location of the souls of the dead. Abraham’s bosom here is representative of the “going to heaven” side of this holding area and is separated by a great gap from the “going to hell” side of the holding area.

Hebrews 11:39 NIV

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,

These were students of Scripture that looked forward to the cross. For them they would stand by Abraham until Jesus came to preach and bring them home.

Matthew 12:40 NIV

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

what did he do there?

1 Peter 3:19-20 NIV

After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

Ephesians 4:9-10 NIV

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

This clarifies the system of the past but on this side of the cross we are told to be absent from the body is to be with Christ for those who believe.

Luke 16:23-24 NIV

In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

The rich man didn’t have faith in God but rather in his own money.

Luke 16:25 NIV

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

Not to be misinterpreted as “being poor and having bad happen to you sends you to heaven”.. that’s not Biblical. Their destinations were based on their faith, not money or lack of.

Luke 16:26 NIV

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

This is a very clear indication of the rule. You cannot be prayed from one side to the other after death. There is no after death second chances. Mormans are wrong. Rob Bell is wrong. This isn’t some game . People are going to Hell all the time and they won’t be prayed into heaven or later baptized in a sort of holdover headquarters. They will be tormented.

Luke 16:27-28 NIV

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

How many people lost would beg the same? All of em. But they and we are all given the opportunity to learn from the truth that is available to us while we live in the body.

Luke 16:29-31 NIV

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Of course people would believe if we brought them a shining proof, but salvation is by faith-not physical proof alone (though a great deal does exist).

This is very real. Hell is real. Heaven is real. God is real. we should be moved to tears over those who don’t know Christ as their Savior. Don’t hold back Christian. Tell them.

Luke 17:1 NIV

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.

So here Jesus is making it all too clear that yes stumbling will occur. But how bad;horrible it is to be the one by which which the stumble comes.

Luke 17:2 NIV

It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

He is talking both about actual children as well as the children of God=us.

Luke 17:3-4 NIV

So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

If you go to a unbeliever and tell them to repent for their sin against You, then you are barking up the wrong tree. Because that person needs to get saved first. But what is being said here is amongst brothersisters and in love.

Ephesians 4:15, 17 NIV

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

Again be sure its done in love and also be sure it is a sin against you.

Galations 5 talks about how this confrontation should take place. In Proverbs we are told that the words of a friend are faithful. This is because we love eachother too much to leave eachother as we are. Our character needs growth. Proverbs also says that as iron suspension iron painfulare the words of a friend. But this is needed. Confrontation in friendships and in marriage will occur but it may be used to help you grow and if done in love that will be the result. Just as Christ loves us too much to leave us the same; we love eachother too much to allow that price of broccoli in your teeth.

Luke 17:5-6 NIV

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

The disciples response of needing more faith is almost comical. You see that’s how hard it can b to forgive. LOL. But they are gently rebuked as Jesus advises them this can be done with even the smallest faith. If You are saved, you already have this faith needed to forgive just as you were forgive.

Luke 17:7-10 NIV

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”

Does your job thank you for doing what is expected of you? No-of course not. Its your job. Well serving is our job. We are to be forgiving and not be impressed with ourselves by what God has done in us. God does want to use us but don’t get it wrong, He’s not dependant on us.

What should my response be to the reality of hell? Its not a Fairy tale. Don’t be in the wrong place: that place of unbelief when your time comes to meet God. And for those of us who believe, I know we get busy but that’s not a reason to loose site or forget about those that don’t know the truth and its no excuse to fail in showing love. Paul says he is not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of Christ in us.

How do I respond when someone sins against me? Tell them in love. They may not even be aware that they did so. Make sure its sin and not just personal preference.

How do I view myself? Am I super Christian? Or wretchedman? Don’t fall into the trap of pride. Just do what the Lord asked u to do.

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04-09-11 1 Corinthians 13

April 10, 2011

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

This is agape love. It’s not your typical love of icecream or your love for your brother, but rather its an unconditional love that is beyond just a feeling. It is an action. Certain things have a look of Christian to us, but if they are done without love then they are worthless. We must be sure to have right motive in our service. When we do for others let it be from love and not just sense of duty or just so others see you.

James 1:27 (New International Version, ©2011)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

This is one of many verses that tell us the desire of God in and through our lives. Do you do this just to check it off your list? Do you help others just because you are told to? How bout following how the Bible says to treat your spouse? Can u do that in a Godly manner without love? Nor can the rest of your actions for the advancement of the kingdom be done without love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It always perseveres. It is long suffering. That means that if it is truly unconditional, it doesntly suddenly cease when times get tough and the situation doesn’t fit into your plan/schedule. We sometimes have to suffer in loving others. This is part of it. Its a hard thing to accept but it is indeed part of the whole walking with Jesus thing. When you cane to salvation and confessed Jesus as Lord and repented of your sins, you accepted God’s unconditional love. You also signed up to learn how to love others in the same manner that God loved you.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 NIV

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Don’t argue about your spiritual gifts. Stop quarrelling among yourselves. The unbelievers see your action amongst yourselves and this is not a loving action. Love God and love your neighbor. Let your actions be motivated by this.

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03-27-11 Walking on Water – I believe in you

April 10, 2011

Matthew 14:22-27 NKJV

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

“Troubled”. yea. “Terrified”, or “scared” in some other versions. Wouldn’t u be a bit scared too if u though u were seeing a ghost walking toward u on the water during a hellish storm?

Matthew 14:28-30 NKJV

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

So, what do u do when u see someone walking on the water during a storm and then realize u know that person? Call out and ask to join them of course! What else? LOL – I love that about Peter. His whole roller coaster growth in Christ was entertaining at times.

Matthew 14:31-33 NKJV

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

What else is there to say after seeing and experiencing what they just did?

Some questions:

What made Peter think he could walk on water too?

Why did Peter begin to doubt and thus sink?

Looking at the time period and location we see that being a rabbi was like the equivelent of being a famous celebrity today. Little kids wanted to grow up to be rabbi. And in this time period the Jews followed the Torah (the religious law) and since many… most in fact couldn’t read or write, they thus had to go to someone who could teach it to them and then they had to memorize. This was usually Done by age 10. If they couldn’t do it, they were then sent home to learn their family trade instead. However, if they could memorize the first five books of law, they would then go on to learn the rest of the old testiment. Then the best of the best of them would go on to spend time directly with a rabbi and disciple after them and do as they did and all the others were then sent home to learn their family trade. This was done from the age 14-30.

Matt 4:19

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Jesus calls peter to be a follower of Jesus. Do u now understand why peter dropped everything to follow him? U see peter had failed at some point in his discipleship and was at some point sent home to learn the family trade as he was not qualified to follow a rabbi and become like a rabbi. But here Jesus is saying, “u are worthy peter. Ill take u on as my disciple right now.” Jesus has also said this to you. Regardless of who you are, you are called to follow Jesus.

So why is peter then also excited to step out onto the water? That’s His rabbi out there! Why did peter begin to sink? He took his focus off Jesus. He lost faith in himself.

Don’t lose faith in yourself. GOD has faith in what he can and will do through you if u will just let Him

Ephesians 3:20 NKJV

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

He can do more than you can imagine through you. HE BELIEVES IN YOU. DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOU?

It doesn’t matter what this world has told u you are a failure at. You can do whatever God calls you to do. He has empowered u to follow Him and to do his will. HE BELIEVES IN YOU. Your money doesn’t matter. Your education doesn’t matter. Your current economic status according to america doesn’t matter. GOD CAN AND WANTS TO DO AMAZING THINGS THROUGH YOU. You need to have faith that God has faith in You. The Creator of the universe believes in You. Let your attitudes, your words, your actions and your whole life reflect his faith.

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04-09-11 Hosea1-3

April 9, 2011

Hosea

This book gives us a heart check in two areas – Idolatry is the first area. (the children of Israel have come to a place where they worship other gods; false gods and this becomes the thorn in their side to the point where God has to seriously threaten them and equate what they do to adultery in marriage and even to harlotry – selling yourself)

We can study the ideology of worshiping other gods before our Lord. In doing so we find that each of these false gods that the Israelites worshipped actually was a symbol for something. Take Baal for example – this was a representation of financial prosperity and sexual immorality. Sounds a lot like America if you ask me. If you put up a play boy bunny, this is communicating that your god is sexual immorality and you have placed this before God. What symbols have you allowed to become false gods in your life?

Hosea in this book is going to be called to present God’s unconditional love to the children of Israel. He is the messenger of repenting and receiving God’s love following your turning away from adultery from God.

Hosea 1

1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash<sup value="[a]”>[a] king of Israel:

750 BC around 1st and 2nd kings time frame. So the old testament isn’t exactly in chronological order and we have gone back historically quite a few books as we begin to read Hosea. Hosea is going to watch the death of Israel as captivity is coming for them for their lack of repentance…. Much like Jerimiah watched the death of a nation for the same reason.

You may at some point notice that Israel was taken captive long before Judah and that is primarily related to the fact that there was not one king throughout their history that followed after God in a truly righteous manner. 722bc Israel is taken captive – 526bc Judah is taken captivity.

2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.”

This is for the purpose of becoming an illustration of God’s love. Now when we talk about idolatry we are not only talking about idolizing something before the Lord our God but also that we have sold ourselves into this thing. We have acted like a harlot when we have allowed our career or our house or a desire to be in an un-Godly relationship. It is spiritual adultery. We are not to allow anything the position of God in our life. God is saying to the nation of Israel that they have broken his heart through their act of idolatry. Think about how it may feel to have your spouse cheat on you…. God too feels hurt.

3So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

Note first off that Hosea obeyed God

4 Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” 6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them.

The names given all have significant meaning here. It is another study completely though. Suffice it to say that they are justly named with purposes of the Lord’s will.

7Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the LORD their God, will save them.”

8 After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. 9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.<sup value="[b]”>[b]

There are several points thus far where we may conclude that Hosea’s wife cheated on him and became pregnant with another person’s child, but we do not conclude this for sure as it is not written that we would know this with no doubt. It is simply a probable possibility.

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’

So the very place where/when the people of God will be called no longer the people of God is also the very point that their restoration will be made.

11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.<sup value="[c]”>[c]

Hosea 2

1 [a]“Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

Israel Punished and Restored

2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.

God doesn’t condone their sins, but He does show them love and advise them also to show love to one another. He also here shows us some of the emotion involved in being cheated on. He shows His love of the people but hatred of their sin and He shows how He is torn in the two opposing emotions… Anger/hurt vs. unconditional love.

3 Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.
4 I will not show my love to her children,
because they are the children of adultery.
5 Their mother has been unfaithful
and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’

God gives them the opportunity to go after their false gods but then in verse 6 advises of the protective hedge against our own sinful flesh.

6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

How great it is that our Lord doesn’t want us to succeed in our sins.

7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’

It is God’s grace that does not allow us to become success full in sin. It will not fulfill us to chase after sin now. Things are very different now that we know Christ as our Savior. We are now a child of God and though we are permitted free will to walk away and to drift as far as we may, but we now have a rubber band (God’s love) that will bring us back to God every time. His grace will draw us back. The question is how hard will we snap back to Him? Lol The further you draw to objects in a rubber band before releasing one, the harder the snap will be.

8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

Now we see the children of God still taking His blessings and sacrificing them to the god of prosperity and sexual immorality thus also giving credit to Baal instead of God for the many blessings He had given.. God is about to take this hypocrisy away from them. The children of Israel forgot God.

9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,”
declares the LORD.

So the children of God willfully chose to ignore God because this was the only way to move forward with sin. IT is the same with us that we cannot while meditating on God and His teachings then also willfully sin. This is why it is so important that we meditate on His word always (both day and night) never allowing for sin to enter in place of following after Him. Above we just read what seemingly is leading to God’s wrath but remember earlier the point of the consequences of sin is also going to be a place where God will begin their revival. This is the place where they are now broken and we have been brought to a place of wilderness by the consequences of their own choices. A perfect place to begin drawing one back to God is directly following their brokenness. It is the same with us. When God wants you to get back on track and get your attention refocused on Him, He often allows you the trials and tribulations of life that are a direct result of your own sin. He allows us natural consequences that we may draw nearer to the realization of our supernatural and natural need for a relationship with God. However, it is wrong to assume that just because one is in the wilderness it is because of sin. Take Job for example. There are exceptions to the rule such as God allowing Satan the permission to tempt one and draw them into the wilderness.

14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor<sup value="[b]”>[b]a door of hope.
There she will respond<sup value="[c]”>[c] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

As in the day she came up out of Egypt. Wow. What a type of worship. How powerful. To worship as though you were just brought out of eternal bondage for the first time all over again. That is how the nation of Israel would worship again.

16 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.<sup value="[d]”>[d]’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.

“my master” in this translation is actually a modification of the name of baal (spelled differently in Hebrew). The people got so used to giving worship to false gods they had lost memory of his name, but thankfully God is merciful and has the grace to take the memory of that pagan name away from them that they may again call him their husband, no longer to commit adultery against God.

18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in<sup value="[e]”>[e]righteousness and justice,
in<sup value="[f]”>[f] love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in<sup value="[g]”>[g] faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

21 “In that day I will respond,”
declares the LORD—
“I will respond to the skies,
and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will respond to Jezreel.

So He took away the provisions and now he has given them back.

23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.<sup value="[i]”>[i]’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,<sup value="[j]”>[j]’ ‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

Hosea 3

Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife

1 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek[b] of barley.

Again being made an example to us here of the fact that a price is paid (Jesus on the cross) to inherit and receive the spouse (us) back unto God.

3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

So we have sold ourselves under sin and Jesus made the choice to willfully buy us back out of the death in our sins and bring us instead into His life. We were spiritual harlots before God; spiritually bankrupt with no hopes or dreams of ever getting out of the lifestyle of harlotry to false gods, and God reached in and saved us unconditionally from the gods of money and sexual immorality and the many other gods we set up for ourselves. He reached out through His son’s death and resurrection that we may become rooted and grounded in God’s love. This is the love that passes knowledge. The story of the redemption through Jesus Christ should be so meaningful that we not then go and give ourselves back over to the gods of this world. We should instead respond to the love Jesus has shown us in a fruitful and loving manner that allows for change in us. We should always meditate on and remember what has been done that we might be untied with our eternal Father and know Him. May we live in a manner that reflects this very real and powerful relationship with our creator and not turn away from Him for the temporary things of this world.

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03-13-11 Leverage 2

March 20, 2011

Mark 10:17-20 ESV

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”Mark 10:17-20 ESV

In other words, what is missing from my life?And Jesus responds with a question, “are u suggesting that I’m God?”

Note how the man doesn’t answer the question showing that he is more interested in religion.So Jesus starts on the commandments and gets interrupted by the guy who this time says teacher but doesn’t say good.

Mark 10:21-22 ESV

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Jesus looked on him with love.And told him the 1 thing that he lacked; the one thing that the man put above Jesus; the one thing that took up the focal point of the mans life… money.Too many have one thing that they have placed in the place of Jesus.Jesus must be our fulcrom.

Listen, the problem in this story and in our stories is not money… It’s that we have placed something to lean on in our life other than Jesus.The one thing that we r depending on other than Jesus.This is what is being communicated here.

Sometimes we ask the right questions but we aren’t really open to the real answers.Ask God what it is you depend on in place of Him and be prepared to accept and react to the real answer whether u like it or not.

Have u commited “almost” everything in your life to God?What is that one thing u are still holding on to?What is it that u just haven’t been able to give over to God and let Him be in charge of in your life?For many/most, it is money.

Mark 10:23-25 ESV

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Is it a sin to be rich?No.That’s not what is said here.Is it impossible to be saved if u r rich?Nope.Also not what Jesus said.But yes, it is very hard.Jesus knows how hard it is to depend on God if you have great monetary wealth because of how easily the world buys into the lie that money can take better care of you than God can.

Ask yourself, “how am I handling my money?”You may find yourself in a place where u feel hopeless and u feel as though your money is ruling you.If money or finances have caused anxiety or discomfort in you or your household, what is it that you can change (other than the level of you income)?

Is it possible that ur money and ur possessions are standing in between u and living the life u were meant to live in Jesus?Ask yourself what the one thing is that is standing between you and life to the fullest in Christ.Pray about it.If its not money than ask God what it is, that He would reveal to you the way to a more abundant life in Christ and help you to tear down any walls in the way of fully trusting in Him.

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03-20-11 Leverage 3

March 20, 2011

Think about celebrities in the news over the years… Tiger Woods, Brittany Spears, Charlie Sheen, etc. Have u ever thought that if u had what they had then you could do a better job at it than them? How bout in the church? You family? Could it be that in leveraging your life with Christ you are still missing one final price?

Luke 19:1-4 NKJV

Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.

Short Guy. Not the point. Not significant. What is? That he was a tax collector. The Romans taxed the Jews and the Jews didn’t like it. Some Jews saw the opportunity in it. Zachias was not only one of these Jews who turned on other Jews to collect taxes from them and become rich, but he was the cheif tax collector of the region. People hated him for it. But the religious church officials basically said if you are a tax collector you are banned from the church and also from the face of God (according to the Jews).

Now we have him considered unclean and then he goes and climbs a sicamore tree (also considered an unclean tree). Why would he do this? Perhaps he figured that despite all the religious people excluding him, maybe Jesus wouldn’t exclude him? And he was right.

1-Jesus is not into catagoric exclusions or limitations.

Sometimes we gotta get up in a tree to see over the religious people. Metaphorically speaking for us but no metaphors for Shorty. We as Christians should be like a Mosaic. A whole bunch of individuals with a common belief coming together to make a beautiful picture of who Christ is. And yet far too often the church;the body of believers catagorically outs people and judges them… felon/adulterer/etc. Why? This isn’t Biblical. It isn’t Christ like to out the sinner.

Luke 19:5-8 NKJV

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

It’s sad that far too often for a person to experience Jesus they need to get through/past our judgement and condemnation. Ask yourself; challenge yourself: do people have to see over or around us to experience Jesus or can they see Him in me?

Take sin for an example. When others sin and it becomes or is made known, do you turn from them, or judge them, or make them feel bad for it? Or, do we act as Jesus and show them love and acceptance. Love the sinner as your are loved.

Our sin is only part of what Jesus is after. We come to Jesus and He takes care of our sin right away. Then we start to read the Bible, memorize Scripture, go to church, stop cussing, switch to light beer, etc. u do all these things on a check list, but perhaps life doesn’t feel like the fullest. Perhaps even though you have Jesus and He is your fulcrom to leverage your life you just don’t feel free. Maybe it’s because you came to Jesus and gave Him your sins, but you continue to carry the burden of the pain in your story.

This is not a sin issue; it’s a brokenness and pain issue. We come to Jesus and we are willing to let Him carry our sins but we don’t want to let Him help to lighten the rest of the load. We don’t fully give Him the burdens and scars of our past.

Luke 19:9-10 NKJV

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

What’s been lost in your life? In your story? If the pain from my life and your life is not transformed, it will be transmitted. We need to look at the pain from the past and stop believing all the lies that Satan has told us about those things that happened in the past. Stop believing that your life tomorrow can’t be any better than today. Life doesn’t need to be this heavy.

Do u believe that you have nothing to offer the world or you’re too fat or too skinny or too ugly or too stupid or undesireable or incapable as a man;as a woman? Have you fallen victim to the luggage of believing in the lies? What’s been lost in your story?

Jesus wants to take your hopelessness and replace it with hope. He wants you to release the lies so that you can take hold of the truth that Jesus offers. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. This is truth. You are valuable to God and you have a purpose to fullfill. That’s truth. You are loved deeply and eternally by God regardless of your past.. that’s truth. When you were consciously baptized as an adult, you chose to die of the old you and be ressurected as a new creation in Christ. Your past has no hold on you. Invite Christ to come into those painful things of your past and help you to lay them down before God. Invite Him to help you lay yourself down before the Lord and received grace and let freedom become the song of your heart.

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