God’s Visions Sunday, Sep 24 2017 

The Promise of the Spirit

28 [p]It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all [q]mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

 

Do you have visions? Dreams? Do you know what they mean? Do you know why you have them?

Have you ever wondered, “what on earth does this mean?”

God gives us dreams and visions for His purposes. As we see in Genesis:

Jacob Moves to Egypt

46 So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel [a]in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.

Sometimes God uses them to call us to our ministry as in 1 Samuel:

The Prophetic Call to Samuel

3 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, [a]visions were infrequent.

It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he [b]answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

Sometimes God uses them to warn us of things as in the book of Job:

Job 4:12-14New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 “Now a word was brought to me stealthily, And my ear received a whisper of it. 13 “Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, 14 Dread came upon me, and trembling, And made [a]all my bones shake.

The world doesn’t want to hear about your visions as in the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 30:9-11New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who [a]refuse to listen To the [b]instruction of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us [c]pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. 11 “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, [d]Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

There are those who listen to the world’s request and speak of false visions, they are the false prophets as in the book of Lamentations:

14 Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading [b]oracles.

Prophets have visions as in the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah.

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God’s Unity Wednesday, Jul 12 2017 

I would like to draw your attention to a very important fact and that fact is this; if you being a Christian are in unity with “the world” you’ve got a problem. Indeed you have a problem that you may not even be aware that you’ve got. You may be asking me, “How do you know that this is a problem? What proof have you of it?”

The Word is my proof. Paul says in his second epistle to the Corinthians in Chapter 6 verse 14: 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Jesus himself said it in John 17 verse 16: 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

What does all of this have to do with God’s Unity?

Before we can discuss this topic you need to know what you are to be in unity with. So let us now get on with it, the topic at hand, God’s Unity.

It is and always has been God’s overall purpose for man. It says this in the book of Ephesians chapter 1 verses 9-11: he[a] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[b] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

So there you have it. Proof. Right there in black and white. God’s whole plan is unity. He is weaving a tapestry of our lives together as Christians thread by thread. With great carefulness, skill, intricacy he is weaving each thread. And we are the threads. You are a part of something bigger than yourself. You are God’s workmanship. It says so in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You’re not in this alone. I am in it with you. And you are in it with me. We together “in unity” working to will and to do his good pleasure. That is the mystery of God’s plan. That he is able to conform us. It says so in His Word in the book of Jude last verse: 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

When God finishes his work, He intends to be glorified in it and by it.

God’s Redemption Thursday, Feb 2 2017 

My first knowledge of the word redemption came off of the bottom of store coupons which gave the written promise, “redeemable for 1/20th of 1 cent.” Even as a child, I knew that we received coupons every week in our newspaper. So I sat down and cut coupons. After the first twenty my fingers were getting tired. So I turned to redeeming bottles which at that time were five cents for the small ones and ten cents for the big ones. Then I caught on to the idea of going door to door. At one house I would say, “Could you donate an egg for the poor?”  And at the next house I would say, “Would you buy an egg for a quarter for the poor?” Of course, I was the “poor”. That didn’t last too long before one of my neighbors taught me the meaning of the words, “No Soliciting.”

I understood the idea of exchanging.

Imagine my shock and horror when I learned that Jesus had to die to redeem us from our sins. Well, that seemed a bit drastic to me. I just don’t know if I would be willing to give up my life to save someone let alone the whole world. I always imagined the agony of crucifixion and thought, “How cruel!”

It wasn’t very long before my own sins began to weigh heavy on my heart and I began to think, “Maybe it is like the coupons, it’s too hard to redeem yourself.” So, I went forward in church to accept Jesus as my redeemer. You had to say it out loud back then in front of God and everybody so everybody knew you were a sinner. Then they dunked you under water the following Sunday and it was cold. I had to go under twice because my toe popped up the first time.

John 3:16 16 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.

 

 

God’s Light Thursday, Jan 19 2017 

When I graduated from the eighth grade, our neighbor across the street gave me a bible. It had a white cover, a zipper, and it was a red letter addition of the KJV. I remember the excitement of finally having my own bible. Up to that point, I had been using the family bible which was also my mother’s bible.

Right away, I started reading my bible, memorizing verses, so excited about what God had to say. The more I got into it the more I loved it. In a few short years that bible began to fall apart so I made a new cover for it out of a floral print fabric and used the same zipper. It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I finally got a new bible and yes it too is falling apart. I still have the old one on the headboard in my room.

Jesus tells us in the book of John that he is the “light of the world”:

John 8:12 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The enemy goes about blinding unbelievers to this light.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

God made this light to shine in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

The enemy masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

We are the children of light.

Ephesians 5:8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)

God’s Victory Friday, Jan 6 2017 

Have you ever noticed how if it isn’t one thing it’s another? You just get one thing fixed and another thing pops up. It seems we are always under testing and trials.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Have you ever noticed that when you make the decision to turn your life around and do the right thing that the devil seems to double down on you and to push every one of your buttons? He does not want you to be nice.

Jesus didn’t say you “might” run into a “little” trouble; he said, “You will” have trouble.

That is why it is so important to be “In Christ.”

Psalm 21:1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
    How great is his joy in the victories you give!

Psalm 60:12 12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies.    

Proverbs 11:14 14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.

So this isn’t just true for individuals.  It is also true for nations.  You can always tell if you have a great leader if you’ll look at his advisors.  We certainly want our nation to be victorious.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not only true in life but in death.

1 John 5:4-5 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

So “In Christ” we overcome “all” of our trials, troubles, and tribulations right up to and including our own “second” death. Our victory is in God.