Posts Tagged ‘blessing’



Hebrews-this-is-the-main-point
What is the Main Point of Hebrews? Hebrews 8 is the pivotal chapter in this “Better Book.”

Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister …Hebrews 8:1-2a

    • We have (this kind)
    • of High Priest
      • Right hand (Place of honor)
      • Throne
      • Majesty
      • Heaven
    • a Minister (vs 2)Main Point of Hebrews 8

The important thing for us to take away this morning, is not that we have a high priest, not that the High Priest is Jesus, not that He is indestructible, not that He is even beside the Majesty in heaven. The important thing we must see is that He is THIS KIND OF HIGH PRIEST – a MINISTER!

How you see Jesus Christ will determine your success as a disciple, as a Christian and as a Kingdom subject. If we can view Him as He is for us, then we will see that He places us (in all our humanity) in the very presence of the Majesty!

The Minister of the Sanctuary

holy tabernacleHebrews 8:2 describes Jesus as the “minister of the sanctuary” It further describes this Sanctuary as the “True Tabernacle”

Minister (liturgy) = Service to God and to Man

We Need to grip into our hearts “What is that Service?” and fully see “What is His Ministry?”

Sanctuary = True Tabernacle

  • Sanctuary is “hagion” meaning “holy place”.
  • It could refer to the Holy of Holies, but in this context, it has a bigger place in view-because we see the throne of the “Majesty of the heavens”

Holy Place = True Dwelling of God

  • Jesus is the minister of the true dwelling
  • His ministry involves providing for the majesty
  • His ministry involves providing for man

Minister_of_true_tabernacleJesus Christ is the Minister at the very Center of God’s Creation.

  • „ He alone provides what God’s Holiness required.
  • „ He alone provides what man requires.

„ He alone increases the “Majesty of the Heavens” by bringing increase to man.

Jesus is at the throne of the Majesty, serving as a minister to God and to Man. As a minister, He is providing something that is life changing. His ministry magnifies the Majesty by providing for you and me. If the Holy Spirit brings this truth into your heart, it will literally stop it in awe. This goes far beyond what we normally see.

  • Do not get caught up in the shadow.
  • Do not limit your faith to the physical.
  • Do not fall in love with the building,
  • You will miss the Majesty!

Verse 9: For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. (KJV –regarded them not).

They were given a covenant, a means of living with the Majesty and Power of God, yet they chose not to continue in it. So God showed no concern for them.

The important thing we need to take away is what Jesus is doing as MINISTER and how understanding that will change the way you live your life! Chapter 8 has an impact that will change the way you view Christianity.

This morning, the Holy Spirit wants to show you something that will bring vitality and power to your life, as well as open your eyes to the Majesty, and will reveal to your heart how you can always know He regards your life with concern!

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6

More excellent: to be superior, better[1] (Heb. 1:4; 8:6).

What was the result of the ministry of the earthly High Priests?

Purpose of Minister (1)God could put His Name on the people and Bless them…

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

Result: They shall put my name upon them and the people would be BLESSED!

  • The Old Covenant administered by the Priests resulted in what?-God’s Blessing!
What was the problem with this?
  • You could lose God’s Blessing
  • God’s blessing was conditioned upon your obedience.
  • God’s concern and care was conditioned upon my continuing to be in right standing with the Priests.
  • People started elevating the Priests and the Place of Worship
How do we know this?
  • More concerned about where to worship rather than who (this was what the woman at the well brought up to Jesus)
  • More concerned about beauty of building than the beauty of the one you worship (The Pharisees screamed blasphemy when Jesus said he would build the temple again after three days. They thought He was referring to their beautiful Temple)
  • Allow the Priest to do whatever he wants, even if it corrupted the worship (This is mentioned in Malachi)

What did the Old Law and High Priest fail to provide the People?

Christ ministers a New HeartA New Heart

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:10-11

Two Betters – the Basis of his “more excellent” Ministry.

A. Better Covenant

Window to the MajestyBasis of better Covenant – blood of God’s Son, sinless sacrifice, God Himself was torn asunder.

Read Genesis 15 – With Abraham, God guaranteed His Word with His Strength and His Promise, that He would be torn asunder just like the animal sacrifice if He failed to perform. Jesus proved His power by allowing Himself to be torn asunder to satisfy the Holy demands of His Father, therefore proving to us there was nothing left to be done. The promise would stand for all eternity, for Jesus had already been torn asunder.

  • The basis of a Covenant is the ability to deliver! Christ’s Covenant is not subject to ‘Act of Terrorism’ or ‘Act of Nature’ clauses.

B. Better Promises

Basis of a promise-strength, ability, what that promise cost, trust in the ability to deliver!

1.    Is your Faith in Christ resting in His Better Promises?

    • The Promise of the Holy Spirit

And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” Luke 24:49

    • Promised in the Old Testament

until the Spirit from heaven is poured out on us. Then the desert will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest. Then justice will inhabit the wilderness, and righteousness will dwell in the orchard. The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever. Isaiah 32:15-17

    • The Holy Spirit will teach you all things

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26

    • He is our Seal

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13

2.  Are You In Constant Connection with our Minister?

He is constantly calling and encouraging, but you must see Him by faith! You must answer His call by faith! Do not make excuses, for you have a NEW HEART! If you fail to respond to His calling, then perhaps you do not, and your Christian Life is fake, devoid of His ministry!

The Result – HIS SURPASSING MINISTRY!

The True Meaning of His Better Ministry

MInistry to the Majesty1.    Provision for Us

  • They will “Know me in themselves

And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

2.    Provision for God

God’s Holiness was never compromised as He showed sinful men mercy and forgiveness, for the Better Ministry of Jesus Christ meant that the righteous demands of His holiness could be met and satisfied, thus allowing His Glory to be maintained even in mercy!

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:11-12

So What Does His Surpassing Ministry Mean for You?

As long as you abide in Christ, you are in the Presence of God even NOW! If you turn to yourself and rely on you flesh for righteousness, you are settling for your own glory, and missing out on the majesty! This is why we must apply the truth and message of Hebrews 8 to our lives, so that we may continue to abide in the power of the Blood!

1. The What

of Hebrews 8 is that we now have a Minister, a very powerful minister who has the power and ability to bring us into the presence of the Majesty through His better covenant and promises. (This is the Way of Jesus)

2. The So What

that will bring backbone to our Christian walk in the form of the Truth is that we are in the very Presence Of The Majesty in Jesus Christ! This is truth that defies our rational thought, our sighted walk. This is truth that only Faith can visualize and touch! (This is the Truth of Jesus that sets us Free)

  • Through Christ and His ministry to us,  God can shower us with care and concern, even when we sin!

3. The  Now What

We now live with a clear vision of the Ministry of Jesus Christ, that He brings us into the presence of the Majesty even when we fail, even when we are diseased, even when we are down and distressed. The Majesty is where we live and breathe! In Jesus Christ! This is the Life of Jesus-that we have His Life regardless of our circumstances!

What do we count on when we are in the presence of the Majesty?

  • Know that in His presence, He regards you and He is concerned for you. He cares for you! Just as He cares for His Son!
How do you actuate the Promise of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Be Diligent to experience Him no matter the Circumstance!

  • Know Me in the majesty
  • Know me in the tragedy
  • Know me in the mediocrity
  • Know me in your family

We must keep the windows of our Heavenly Minister clean, so that we may always see that we are living in the presence of the Majesty! We must focus on the Better Promises rather than the world, and we must focus on His body and blood as our righteousness!

Do not let this be the epithet of your Christian Life:

HE DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR HIM, SAYS THE LORD. Hebrews 8:9

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[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “diaphoros”.

About these ads

An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the Doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of new technology hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%.

He went back for a check up and the Doctor confirmed: “your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve already changed my will three times!”

We are going to eavesdrop on a conversation between God and His chosen people, the Jews. I don’t expect you to change your wills, but I do want you to examine your heart in light of what we will find is of Greatest Value to God.

I am asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that being a Christian is much more than going to church and reading the Bible. You are a Christian because God puts His Name upon you through Jesus Christ, and His Name upon you means we are partners with Him in pursuing the thing which is of greatest Value to Him!

Historical Background of Nehemiah and Malachi

The Book of Malachi was written during the time of Nehemiah. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to rebuild the wall, and returned to Persia in 433 B.C. He later returned to Israel (ca. 424 B.C.) to deal with the sins Malachi described (Neh. 13:6). So it is likely that Malachi was written during the period of Nehemiah’s absence[1].

Ezra had rebuilt the Temple years before, but Nehemiah was concerned about the city of Jerusalem. The protective wall and gates surrounding Jerusalem had been toppled and destroyed. The people were easy prey for marauding invaders. There was no pride in God’s City.

Cultural Judaism

As Nehemiah served as Governor of Jerusalem from 445-433BC, he discovered there were tremendous problems with the lives of the Jews, problems which would prevent the Name of God from being lifted up by their lives.

The problem was the Jews had become so effected by the thinking of the “heathen” around them, that they were Jews in name only. They were “Cultural Jews.” They were no different from the people around them.

Nehemiah discovered that while everyone “appeared” to be ‘religious Jews’, serious problems were going on.

Some of the Jews were enslaving their fellowmen. Times were tough, crops were not good, and folks were selling their children just to get money to plant a crop. If the crop failed, they had to mortgage the land. They had to borrow to pay the king’s tax.

The people had intermarried with people of other languages, cultures and religions. They were letting those religious beliefs influence how they worshipped. It was OK to worship other gods as long as they still went to Temple worship. Furthermore, God was not real in their homes, and the children were growing up ignorant of God, ignorant of the Hebrew language. When Ezra read the Law, Nehemiah had to have people in the audience who could translate and explain what was being read.

The people were treating the Sabbath as if it were an ordinary day. Ammonites and Moabites were going into the Temple. Merchants were conducting business in the Temple, even storing their goods there, treating it as if it were just another building. The Jews were divorcing Jewish wives and marrying women of Ammonite and Moabite ancestry, profaning the Word of God. Even priests had married foreign women.

Type of Holy Spirit

It became Nehemiah’s passion to rebuild the wall, repopulate the city and restore God’s Name to the nations. As such, Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit, for it was His desire to get the people to stand up for God’s Name and be the chosen people of God that they were.

The Wall represents our Testimony

The wall represented their testimony for God. They kept the evil things out, kept the righteous things in. The gates represented Godly judgment in what went out and was allowed in.

The walls provided protection from the evil of this world.

Zechariah 2:5 “And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst”

REFORMS

Nehemiah in chapters 5-12 effected reforms, but then he went back to Assyria for 9 years. During this time the people resorted to their old ways, and that is when Malachi preached the Message from God.

As a result of the Message, when Nehemiah came back, the people repented and returned to God and Nehemiah was able to write in chapter 13:

Nehemiah 13:30 “I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work”

What Did God Say to His People?

Don’t you want to know what God said to these “cultural Jews” that turned their hearts around and made them start living for God?

But before we do, understand this. These people all thought they were “good Jews”. You would see them every Sabbath at the Temple. You would let your children play with their children. You would see them at Little League. You would help them at harvest time. Times were tough, crops were scarce, and money real tight. Most everyone was barely surviving. The Assyrian’s taxed heavily, and those taxes had to be paid, crop or not.

First of all God called to His people and simply said:

1.  (1:2) God says “I love you”, yet the people say “you call this love?”

God gives them a quick lesson in how He has chosen them, and how if He didn’t love them, they would be in worse shape.

  • He says, you will one day say “Great is the Lord!”

2. (1:6): “Where is my honor?” – His people say “how have we despised your name?”

  • spoiled food & animal offerings
  • blind and lame animals
  • They were giving God their “leftovers”
  • God says “I have no pleasure in you” & “I will not accept your sacrifices”
  • (1:11) because “My Name will be great among the nations” (twice He says)

3. (1:13) The Jews Respond: “What a weariness (burden) this is”

  • They weary the Lord!

GOD: “I am a great King, and my name will be feared among the nations”

When God sees the attitude of the People, He addresses the Priests:

4. (2:2) “Give Honor to my name” (to the Priests)

  • No fear of God’s Name
  • Turned away from God’s Word
  • Corrupted the teaching of God’s Law
  • Partiality
  • Temple is profaned.
  • Covenant is profaned

Then God reminds the people of what He has seen:

5.  (2:13) “Why Does God Not Bless Me?”

  • Cover the altar with tears
  • You think God has no standards, that anything goes!
  • I see how you treat your families, your wives.
  • You are being faithless by divorcing and remarrying foreign wives that do not know me.
  • I seek a Godly Offspring, children that Know my Name!

(2:15) God sought a Godly Offspring! Their children were growing up not knowing the Power and Authority of God’s Name, because of divorce!

  • God tells them “You are wearying to Me!”

6. (2:17) “How have we wearied the Lord?”

  • Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord
  • Where is the God of justice

7. (3:13) “How have we spoken against you?”

  • It is a waste to serve the Lord
  • The arrogant are blessed
  • evildoers prosper, get away with evil

You have dishonored the Name and Word of God!

What Do You Think God Values above everything? What is Mentioned more than anything else?

God Values His Name above everything else in this world!

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

  • The “name” of Jehovah refers to his authority and reputation. God wants a people who personally stake their lives on the authority and the reputation of Jehovah.
  • God wants a people who Know and Reverence and Honor His Name. That Honor is not superficial but is displayed in the way they live. The Name of the Lord is synonymous with His Power, His Faithfulness, His Love, His Mercy, His Glory, His Being!

When Moses said to the God in the burning bush, Who do I say sent me to Egypt to lead the Jews. God said “I am [hāyâ] that I am [hāyâ].” From haya we see the Name of God – Jehovah (YWWH) which occurs 5,321 times in the Old Testament.[2] Jehovah is Our Lord who has always been. JUst as Jesus says in Revelations 1 “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

The Bible that most of us read, that most of us believe is living and God inspired, is only what it is because of the Name of God!

Psalms 138:2 2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NAME OF GOD

Look at what God instructed Aaron to say to the Jews way back in the wilderness, even before they went to Israel:

Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

  • The Lord bless you and keep you;
  • The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
  • The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

  • God had chosen the Jews to set His Name upon them, and to bless them

God enters into a partnership with the people He puts His Name on

  • God would bless them, but in return he wanted them to honor his name, and represent him to the world.
  • The common bond of this partnership was the Glory of God’s Name!

As Christians, God puts His Name on us!

  • John 17:26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
  • Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  • Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Moses knew the Power of God’s Name:

Deuteronomy 28:10 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.

David Knew the Power of God’s Name:

Psalms 20:7 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

When God Puts His Name on someone, He is entrusting that person with the authority and power and reputation of His Name. He expects us to Live our lives as representatives of His Power and Authority, and honor His reputation!

We become the Visible Expression of the Glory of God to the world, to generations to come.

But the Jews of Nehemiah’s days were bringing God down to their level, and making His Name common, and corrupt.

They were saying that God will accept anything and everything you give Him, it really doesn’t matter what you sacrifice. It doesn’t matter who you marry, or how many times you marry. It doesn’t matter how you treat people, or whether you lie cheat or steal to get ahead. He doesn’t really care what we do and even if He really does, He doesn’t have the power to do anything about it!

Psalm 7:11-13 David said, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

What did God reveal that turned these people back to HIM?

God cries out “Return to me and I will return to you” (3:17)

And the people replied: “Yes, let us return to God.  But how shall we return?

And God’s reply is a thousand miles different from what I would ever have thought of.

He replies to them: “God will bless us, and be with us, and open the windows of heaven, and pour out an abounding immeasurable blessing upon us if…”

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts. if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough to receive it.

“Your hearts aren’t big enough and your arms aren’t wide enough to receive all the blessings I’ll pour out upon you if you will return to Me with a sense of stewardship, with a sense of partnership with my Name.”

Such a gift from God, that no matter where I am in my walk with Him, that if I see that His Name is upon me, and He depends upon me to Honor the power and authority of His Name, if I start honoring our partnership with giving unto Him that which is His, He will uphold His reputation and His Word by blessing me!

I can partner with God Himself. He wants such a relationship with me that He is willing to put His reputation on the line if I simply Honor His Name!

Our tithing, our giving grows out of this partnership, this relationship we have with the Name of God!

If this is not the foundation of your giving: You will see the tithe as nothing but a gimmick to get money out of reluctant people, or as a bargain we make with God. If a man could believe: “If I tithe, I’ll get ten dollars for every one that I give.  Or I’ll get a hundred dollars for every ten that I offer:” Then, who wouldn’t trade a one dollar bill for a ten-dollar bill or a ten-dollar bill for a one hundred-dollar bill?  The most greedy person in Cass County would start tithing!

Tithing is not a gimmick

Tithing is about the Name of God and us Honoring His Name, because we are partners with the power of His name.

Tithing is the way we return to God, the way we show our reverence for His Name. Tithing is proof of our partnership with God!

I read about a man who was having trouble with this concept. He had been taught tithing, so he told his pastor, “I don’t see how I can give ten percent to the church when I can’t even keep on top of our bills.”

The pastor replied, “John, if I promise to make up the difference in your bills if you should fall short, do you think you could try giving that much for just one month?”

John thought about it for a moment and then replied, “Sure, if you promise to make up any shortage, I will try giving ten percent for one month.”

“What do you think of that?” mused the pastor. “You say you’d be willing to trust a mere man like me, who possesses so little materially, but you couldn’t trust your Heavenly Father, who owns the whole universe!” John began giving regularly off the top each month, and God always met his needs.

When you place your money in the offering bag, do so with a sense of His presence. Do so with a sense of the His Name upon you. Do so as a sign of your partnership in the Glory of God’s Name!

IS GOD DISTANT?

If you find yourself wondering where God is in your life. If you find yourself thinking He seems so distant. If you are missing your joy, God says “return to me” start embracing this partnership we have in Honoring and Upholding the Power of My Name. Start realizing the power of this partnership by simply giving me your tithe.

God has placed a burden upon my heart, a burden that our nation, our churches, are becoming a place of “Cultural Christians” who are bringing God down to their level.

CULTURAL CHRISTIANS INFECTING AMERICA

“numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. “Gallup and Barna,” laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, “hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.”[3] Divorce is more common among “born-again” Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their non-evangelical peers.[4]

Cultural Christians believe they are Christians, but they do not Honor the Name of God to the point that their lives reflect His Values, and the Power of His Name. Cultural Christians simply try to fit God into their lives as long as it is convenient.

If God is getting through to your heart the way Malachi was getting through to the cultural Jews of Nehemiah’s Day, the first thing you do to tell God you take this partnership seriously is simply start tithing!

The Joy of Partnership

Returning to God begins with that “walk of faith” and complete trust in the Name of God. Returning to God is the wonderful acknowledgment that God and you are partners. We are stewards of God’s Name. We are Stewards of God’s Possessions.

I don’t have any breath but that God gives it to me (Breath is a gift of God).  There’s not any sunshine, but God’s sunshine; there’s not any failing rain, but God’s rain; there’s not any increase, but God’s increase; there’s not any harvest, but God’s harvest.  All of it is a gift from God.

As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy: “We brought nothing into this world and we shall certainly carry nothing out”.

I am a partner with God; and, as such, He is my first creditor.  That’s why the first fruits belong to Him.  And He says: “Honor me with the first fruits of all thy substance; so shall thy barns will filled with plenty and thy presses bursting out with new wine.”

He and I are partners.

This is God’s part: The breath, the life, the sun, the rain, the increase—that’s God’s. My Part is the labor and the love of my hands.  And when I honor God, God honors me. God wants to bless us.  God has put His Name upon us. When we come to God in consecration and dedication; and bring to Him our tithe and offering, out of the appreciation of my heart for our partnreship—two things happen.

1. We step into the supernatural.

When we tithe, God’s strength comes into our soul. His Face shines upon us. His Life is upon us! He lifts His countenance upon us and gives His peace! The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. His Name is upon you!

You are stepping into the unseen, the presence of God. You are embracing the Power and Authority of His Name! God has placed His Name upon You!

2.  We bless someone else.

Giving to God is just another name for helping somebody else. Preaching the gospel, saving the lost, teaching our children, assembling our families in praise and worship—it’s just another name for serving Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  And, when I give to God, that’s another name for ministry to somebody else.

That’s Good. That’s Great

And when the Lord made the beautiful and verdant earth, with its teeming plants and vegetation, grasses, and trees, God looked upon it and God said: “That’s good.  That’s good.”  When the Lord spoke to the air and [it] was filled with fowls and birds; and unto the sea and it was filled with the fish; and to the land mass and it was filled with animals, God looked at it and He said: “That’s good.  That’s great.”

Well, when we bring a tithe and an offering to the Lord, we are being like God.

  • We go to Awana’s and see boys and girls learning God’s Word, learning about Jesus, and we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I had a part in it.”
  • We look at our teenagers, and we see them being taught how to make decisions based upon Jesus Christ ans His Word, we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When we see families strengthened to follow the Lord, and husbands and wives being encouraged to love each other and make Christ Lord in their homes, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When you see our church responding to needs and sickness and surgeries and loss of loved ones, we say: “That’s great.  That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • And we look upon the ministries of our church, reaching out to our neighbors, showing them the love of Christ, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad to have a part in it.”

But the truth is, I believe we can see God do much more!

Somewhere in rural Midwest, years ago, when most of the income was earned at harvest time, there was a town in which a big expansive elevator was built.  One man owned the elevator and took the grain, the wheat, the corn, the oats, the rye, the barley from the people.

He attended the main church in town. This church had built a beautiful building and was now deep in debt.Giving was down, debt payments were high, they hadn’t been able to fully cover the pastor’s salary. They had stopped giving to missions.

So at a conference in the church, they turned to that man who owned the big grain elevator and asked him if he would be treasurer of the congregation.  And the elevator man said: “I will accept the place as treasurer of the congregation if you’ll give me one year and don’t ask me any questions and don’t expect any report from me until the end of the year.”

Well, they were in dire straits and so they agreed. They elected him treasurer with the understanding they’d never ask him any questions during the year and not to expect a report until the end of the year.  When the end of the year came, he stood up before that congregation and made his report: They had paid every dime of the big debt they had on the church; they had raised the pastor’s salary; and they had increased their gifts two-hundred percent to missions; and they had thousands of dollars in the bank.

And the people gasped in amazement and one man finally had the courage to stand up and say: “But how did you do it?”

And the elevator man said:

Whenever you came into my elevator with the wheat, or the corn, or the barley, or the rye, or the oats,or the beans, I took one-tenth of it and set it aside for God.  You never missed it, you never knew it, but one-tenth of all that you brought me, I set aside for God.  And out of those tithes that you unconsciously dedicated to the Lord, I have paid off the church debt; I have raised the pastor’s salary. I have given to missions.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, if each of our people were to tithe, if each of you were to partner your life with the Power & Reputation of the Name of God; why next year we would be saying “what are we going to do about the money? Not because we do not have enough, but we’d be wondering what to do with all the extra!

Is the Name of God upon You? Do You See that He has entrusted His Name with You? Do you see that returning to God begins with trusting Him with His tithe, trusting Him to Honor the Power of His Name and His Word!

As we have eavesdropped on God’s conversation with the Jews 2400 years ago, could He have been talking to you? Have you settled for a cultural Christianity, when God wants you to see you are in partnership with the Power of His name?

I encourage to not be a comfortable, convenient, cultural Christian. Allow that which is Most Valuable to God, the Honor and Power of His Name, to be your most valuable possession.

Lift up the Name of Jehovah, see Him as the “I Am of your life, try Him and see if His Name is not the Most Powerful Name, able to open the windows of Heaven and pour out Blessings from heaven that you will not be able to contain.

Those that Lift up the Honor of His Name, who live their lives in the Power of His Name are promised a Reward!

Malachi 3:16-17 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

Your name is written in His Book. You shall be a treasured Jewel. You shall be spared in the day of Judgment.


[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “484: ‏הָוָה‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 210.


Fathers Men of GodBelieve it or not, God thinks Fathers are important. God will never allow test tubes to replace Fathers. Fathers are absolutely essential in God’s overall plan of providing an inheritance for His Son. We are in a tragic Cultural War, one which relegates the Father to the role of bumbling idiot. God sees Christian Fathers as a Fighters, Infantry Soldiers in the Battle for the Inheritance for His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Wish You Were Here”

Kendall Phelps will never forget the morning when a picture popped up on his computer in his Silver Lake, Kansas, high school classroom. There stood Chris, his oldest son, in desert camouflage in front of a bombed-out building in Baghdad. He was holding a sign written on the back of a discarded MRE carton: “DAD, WISH YOU WERE HERE. SEMPER FI!” Kendall, a retired Marine, rushed across the street to the elementary school where his wife, Sherma, teaches fourth grade. She had already received the same photo via e-mail and, in a spasm of giddy relief, was printing out copies to post at the church and all over town. Chris had not been heard from since just after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom a month earlier. Kendall’s elation that his son was all right momentarily erased his disappointment over not being in Baghdad himself. “Kendall is a Marine and a dad,” explains Sherma. “He could not stand it that he was not over there with Chris, fighting side by side, protecting his son.”

In January 2005, against all odds, Master Gunnery Sgt. Kendall Phelps, 58, and Maj. Christopher Phelps, 35, deployed to Iraq together for a seven-month tour in the newly formed 5th Civil Affairs Group based in Fallujah. Ever since the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, tragically died when their cruiser was sunk in World War II, the U.S. military has been reluctant to deploy immediate family members in the same company. No one can remember a Marine father and son serving together. The mission of the 5th Civil Affairs Group is to facilitate the reconstruction of Al Anbar province, an area riddled with suicide bombers and insurgents. Chris, a team leader, is working with the Iraqi police, firefighters and contractors on rebuilding the infrastructure. His dad will use his 30 years of teaching experience to help establish new schools. They both know it won’t be easy. “It will be hot and nerve-racking and people are going to die,” says Chris. “My buddies say civil affairs is the most dangerous job in the Marine Corps right now. But I also think it’s going to be gratifying to get that grid system up and water pumping.”

“When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

Christian Fathers, your time is never over. We are always at war, a war that impacts Eternity. God Needs us to make a difference. God needs us to be different. God needs us to focus on Eternity, on the inheritance for His Son.

An Army brat was boasting about his father to a Marine brat:

“My dad is an engineer. He can build anything. Do you know the Alps?” “Yes,” said the Marine brat. “My dad built them.”
Then the Marine kid spoke: “And do you know the Dead Sea?” “Yes.” “My dad killed it!”

The Fathers of Israel were Fighters. They were fighting to take possession of a land they could call their own. After centuries of wandering, being enslaved, they wanted to provide their families with a permanent home, a place they could settle down and start spreading roots.

Their Fathers Made the Wrong Decision

Their fathers before them had witnessed a mighty miracle in the parting of the red sea and the destruction of Pharoah’s army. They had witnessed the victory over the Amalekites. They had seen God miraculously provide manna from heaven, water from a rock. Yet their fathers failed to give their hearts and minds to the awesom God who worked these mighty acts. In fact their fathers all perished in the wilderness, as God told them they would. They were fighters, but failed to become Mighty Men of God because of their heart belief.

FightingFathersFaceDecisionNow the sons were fathers, and these fathers too were witnessing mighty acts of the awesome God known as Jehovah. They witnessed the mighty miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. They witnessed the walls of a mighty city fall down with just the blowing of Rams horns and shouting of God’s people. They shared in the foolish defeat at Ai, and then the mighty victory over both Ai and Bethel. Joshua knew that the time was right for turning these Fighting Fathers into Mighty Men of God. Only as Mighty Men of God would the total inheritance be claimed. SO Joshua led them to the Valley of Decision at Shechem.

BY NOW THE MESSAGE WAS RINGING LOUD AND CLEAR IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. THEY MUST MAKE A DECISION, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. That decision involved their HEARTS.

THEIR FATHER’S FAILED TO HAVE A HEART BELIEF IN THE TRUE GOD

FathersWrongBeliefSystemWhen it came time for their fathers to make such a decision, here is what they said:

  • Exodus 24:3 (NASB) Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!”

In fact they said it again:

  • Exodus 24:7 (NASB) Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

But they were just mouthing words without embracing them in their hearts and lives. Look what happened a month or so later:

Exodus 32:1-6 (NKJV) Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Instead of obeying this awesome Jehovah who had done these mighty miracles, they fashioned their own god, and blasphemed the true God by saying this golden cow had led them from Egypt. Then they made an altar to this new god, and made sacrifices and feasted before their new god. Their fathers rejected the God of Creation and worshipped a god of their own making. As a result, many died that day, but they all died in the wilderness over the next 40 years.

Hearts_farfromGodTHEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM GOD:

Isaiah 29:13 (NLT) And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

JESUS SAW THE SAME IN THE PHARISEES:

Mark 7:6-7 (NLT) Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

The Hebrews wanted a god they could see and follow, so they quickly abandoned the God of Moses for a golden calf. The God of Moses was invisible, powerful, but scary and impersonal. The Golden calf they had seen in Egypt, they could see it and admire it, it wasn’t scary, it was a lot of fun. They could be themselves around it. It wasn’t too demanding. Men are constantly fashioning gods they like, gods that fit their lifestyle. This is why Jesus came into this world, to show us that god is not found in something we make, something we do, or some place we attend. God is found in Jesus Christ.

JEWISH WORSHIP BECAME DEAD & IMPERSONAL -THE TRADITIONS OF MEN.

John 5_40 refuse to come to JesusBy the time of Christ, the Jews had made the worship of God an impersonal. Lifeless, burdensome affair. It did not require heart belief, only tedious attention to rules. Obeying tradition was enough to affirm you were a child of Abraham. Tradition alone was enough to give you the hope of God’s Blessing. So Jesus cried out on the steps of the Temple:

John 5:38-40 (ESV) and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

God desired His People to walk before Him in the Power of a Real Relationship with a Real and Living Eternal God. In order for that to happen they had to believe His Word Gives LIFE (BLESSING). Joshua had been charged by Moses to renew the people’s covenant with God as soon as they were able to in Canaan. Joshua was charged with making sure these Fighting Fathers gave their hearts over to God’s Way of Life.

HEART BELIEF SYSTEM

Heart Belief System1HeartBeliefSystem_2God realizes that our actions are influenced by our Heart beliefs. This Covenant is a foundational commitment to embrace the Sayings of God as our belief system. His expectation is presented in Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Embracing those beliefs marked the day that the Hebrews became the children of God most high.

The Day The Jews Became God’s Chosen People.

Day Jews Became Gods PeopleDeuteronomy 26:16-19 (NKJV) “This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”

The Basis for them being the people of God was their HEART belief in God’s Belief System, as expressed in His Law. They were to walk in His ways, obey His statutes and commands, and listen and obey His voice. If they embraced God’s Belief System, He would set them high above all nations., and make them a holy people unto Himself.

The decisions we make as to Who’s word we follow and believe in will effect our life, our future, and our families future. It will effect our eternal inheritance. If say you will obey God, but don’t build your life upon and around His Belief System, your heart will be far from God. You will perish in the wilderness. You will not enter into His Rest, His inheritance. You may even go to church, tithe, pray, but your heart is far from Him. You do your own thing through the week because you don’t have His Belief System in your heart!

THE WINNING HEART BELIEF

Winning Heart BeliefIn order to become Winners, Conqueror’s of Canaan, these Fighting Fathers must embrace the Winning Heart Belief. So Joshua led these Fighter Father’s to embrace God’s Belief System. Here is how He did it: He Took them on a 20 mile march to Mt Ebal & Mt Gerizim.

COMMANDED BY GOD & MOSES

While Moses was still with the people, before they crossed the Jordan, it had been commanded that they should meet at Ebal and Gerizim when they came into the land. (Deut. 11:29-32) It had also been commanded by Moses (Deut. 27) how great stones should be set up in Mount Ebal and plastered with plaster and on them should be written all the words of the law – the Ten Commandments (R. 662) -very plainly. These very stones or others set up near by should form an altar on which sacrifices should be offered. Six tribes had been named which should stand on either mountain, and curses had been given which the Levites should recite to the people with a loud voice. To each curse the tribes on Mount Ebal should answer, Amen; and as blessings were recited, the tribes on Mount Gerizim should say, Amen.

MT EBAL AND GERIZIM

Gerizim Ebal AmphitheaterStanding by the altar, Joshua or the Levites read the law with a loud voice, and the people answered from the mountain sides. “Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of his way,” and from the people on Mount Ebal came, “Amen.” And so with other curses. And after each blessing, came “Amen” from the people on Mount Gerizim. It was very solemn and sacred, for the people were promising the Lord that they would keep His laws in the land that He was giving them.

The place appointed for this meeting is most remarkable. Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south stand facing each other. Shechem lies in the valley between as it slopes westward. At the highest point in the pass, east of Shechem, there is a hollow like an amphitheater in the face of each mountain. They seem made by nature for the tribes, six on either side. Joshua, with the elders, officers, and judges, stood by the ark, probably in the valley between. There he read the law, and the tribes from one side of the valley and the other responded to the blessings and the curses. You probably wonder how all those people were able to hear the words of Joshua. Wonder no more:

An article on bibleplaces.com refers to an experiment conducted in the 19th century by J.W. McGarvey, during his tour of the Holy Land . He describes how these two mountains face each other with their slopes being about one mile apart, with the Biblical city of Shechem lying between them. On the side of both mountains there is a deep semicircular recess, which form two natural amphitheatres, where voices can carry for considerable distances. For his experiment, McGarvey stood between the two mountains, in the place where the Levities and the people of Israel would have stood. He said that there would have been enough space for 600,000 Israelites and their families. One of his two companions climbed halfway up Mt. Ebal , and another climbed halfway up Mt. Gerizim . Each evidently stood within the two natural amphitheatres, where they could each represent six tribes for the blessing and the curse.

The author read the blessings and the curses, and his two companions responded with, “Amen”, as Moses had instructed. The companion on Mt. Gerizim could hear the author clearly, and his response could also be heard clearly. The companion on Mt. Ebal could hear the voice of the author, but had difficulty distinguishing the words because of trees and terracing on the mountainside, which affected the acoustics. McGarvey suggested that if Joshua had a loud voice, he could have easily been heard by the whole the whole people of Israel , even without the Levites repeating his words.

This experiment shows that God chose the best place in the land to conduct this ceremony of renewal of the covenant, so all the congregation of Israel could hear the words of the Law clearly, and agree to them. The natural amphitheatres do not work so effectively today because of recent building development, but still show clearly in photographs and aerial mapping.

blessingorcurse1Imagine the scene as over two million people responded to Joshua:

‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’
And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’ ‘
Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

joshua altarAccording to Deuteronomy 27-28, the altar was built on the mountain of cursing, Mount Ebal.  We need the covering sacrifice exactly at the point where our sin and failures are revealed and God’s curse is pronounced on our sin.

LIFE OR DEATH

There is a Principle that rings throughout the Bible, and we see it come to the forefront when Joshua leds these Fighting Fathers to renew their covenant with God. There is no middle ground with God, there is only Life or Death. And as far as God is concerned, you are either dead in sin, or dead to sin, but alive to God. There can be no life without death. You must die to sin and what you want, and Live to what God wants. It’s either God’s belief system or your whatever belief system you make up on your own. You chose what you want to have upon your life. On this day they were acknowledging the Power of God and His Word, His Belief System. They were embracing His Word for their lives, to be their belief system for life.

  • They were professing their death to the way of the world, the way of the flesh, and confessing that they were alive to the Life of God.
  • They were acknowledging the Rewards that come from Living unto God!
  • They were also acknowledging the  Penalties that come from turning you back on God’s Belief System.
  • That Word and how they obey it will determine either blessing or cursing upon their life, their children’s lives.

What Turns a Father into a Man of God?

What Makes a Father a Man of GodGod wants Fathers who will be Men of God, Men whose Hearts are firmly planted in God’s Word. Joshua’s actions revealed why God chose him to lead these Fighting Men to become Mighty Men of God. From his actions in JOSHUA 8:30-35, we see what makes a Father a Man of God.

Men of God Incorruptible1 Corinthians 9:25 (KJV) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Men of God are Sound2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Self control, disciplined)

Titus 2:1-2 (NKJV) But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

2 Timothy 1:13 (NKJV) Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Men of God are CompleteJames 1:4 (ESV) And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Revelation 3:2 (ESV) Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Men of God are SacrificialOur Eternal Father loved us so much that he gave the ultimate sacrifice-His Son.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

RENEW YOUR COMMITMENT

Fathers Renew You Commitment to GodFathers, every so often we need to renew our commitment to having God’s Belief System in our heart. We need to check out our heart to see who and what we love. We need to examine it for false god beliefs, selfish loves. DO WE LOVE OUR GOD? We need to see if we are still standing firm in one spirit with Jesus Christ, with one mind locked sude by side for the faith of the gospel of our Savior.

Lance Corporal Jeffry Nashton – Terrorist Attack 1983

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2008 – Twenty-five years ago, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Nashton lay broken, burned and blind in a military hospital bed in Germany, the victim of a brutal terrorist attack that nearly killed him.

(a terrorist slammed a truck loaded with explosives into a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 23, 1983.)

Faithful Fathers Godly MenGeneral PXKELLEYGeneral P.X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), went to the hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany to visit wounded Marines. One Marine, LCpl Jeffrey Nashton, USMC, was wired up for sound, covered by tubes, unable to speak, fighting to stay alive. The general came to pin on the Purple Heart. Nashton could not see or speak, and could barely hear. General Kelley knelt beside his bed, and Nashton reached out with his hand and rubbed over the general’s stars. Counting four, he managed a grin. He motioned for something with which to write. He received a pen and paper, and wrote, “Semper Fi,” and gave it to General Kelly. The general is reported to have wept.

Kelley would later send the four gold stars Nashton touched to Nashton along with a special commendation. You might recall I mentioned LCpl John L’Heureaux earlier who was working as a forward observer on the roof when it crashed down. He was in the bed next to Nashton when General Kelley came. Mike Toma, whom we mentioned earlier as one of the first to be rescued, was under the debris next to Nashton. A mutual friend, LCpl. Bill Sanpedro was dug out and flown to Germany, but died on the way.

lebanon PostAttackHNashton suffered a fractured skull, shattered cheekbone, eyebrow and right eye orbit, crushed arms, a broken left leg, bruised right leg, two collapsed lungs, burns on his arms and back, and internal bleeding, not to mention the psychological impacts. Incredibly he survived and returned to active duty in January 1984, just two months later.

The two Marines, now both retired, met again yesterday, this time on a grassy knoll under a clear, blue fall morning sky at Arlington National Cemetery’s section 59. The section is dotted with the white headstones of those who died in the terrorist attack.

Nashton, Kelley, and about 100 friends and family members, along with a handful of survivors, gathered at the cemetery for the White House Commission on Remembrance’s 25th annual tribute to the 241 Americans, mostly Marines, who died that day. The attack was part of a coordinated attack in which another suicide bomber crashed into a French military compound at the same time. Fifty-eight French soldiers died.

Faithful Men 2 Timothy2Nashton was one of three Marines in his unit to survive the attack that morning. His unit was part of the 1,800 Marines serving in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping mission.

Kelley, who traveled to Beirut in the aftermath of the bombing, said he later took off the four stars that Nashton touched that day. He had them mounted in a shadow box inscribed with the Marine Corps motto, and he presented them to Nashton as he recovered at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

“In my heart of hearts he deserved those four stars more than I did,” Kelley said.

SEMPER FIDELIS-ALWAYS FAITHFUL.  These words come from a heart belief, a belief that does not change regardless of the circumstance. Just as Chris said:

“When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

So too, Christian Fathers who have become Men of God because of their HEART BELIEF will be ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Their time is never over. Once you give your heart to God, there is no turning back. The battle for God’s inheritance will ever be before you.

SemperFiCling_largeMighty Fathers of God need to adopt the motto of Semper Fi. We need to be ALWAYS FAITHFUL to Jehovah God, and to His Son Jesus Christ. Semper Fi.


jason-bourne

Jason Bourne is my kind of hero. He is a man with an awful past, a trained assassin who has lost his memory. I like him because he is like a maniacal energizer bunny, he just keeps on killing and killing. He can kill a man with a bic pen, he can kill a man just by singing “Makes me feel like a woman”. In the Bourne movies, he is after the men who made him what he is, and they are out to kill him. It is but another movie showing how corrupt our government is, and it’s subtle message is to trust no one!

reagan-government-helpRonald Reagan said the most terrifying words in the English language “I’m from the Government & I’m here to help you”. Indeed many in America regard the Federal Government, in fact any government, with scorn and contempt. I confess that my attitude has been wrong on several occasions. But God has issued the Scourne Ultimatum to Christians. (I made the spelling like Bourne)

SCORN: lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. Similar to contempt. To show scorn for the court is to be held in contempt.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1 (KJV)

The Scourne Ultimatum applies to Being Blessed. If you want to have God’s Blessing in your life You must not sit with those who scorn God’s Ways. If we as a Church want God’s blessings on our efforts to grow and reach out and serve, we must not be Scorning God’s Ways nor God’s Government.

Part of the Scourne Ultimatum is that not only do you miss out on God’s Blessing and Power, but you also lose God’s ability to keep you from temptation. Those that scorn authorities reserve special judgment for themselves:

then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 2 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

god-over-beltonWell, you say, God isn’t governing Belton (or your city, your country…)! Oh, Yes He Is!

For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. Psalms 22:28 (KJV)

God is even governing Cass County. He is governing Peculiar, Cleveland, Raymore. God has ordained our civil government, our civil authority.

God’s Directive for Christians is found in Romans 13: 3-7

For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evil. For this reason you must obey the authorities—not just because of God’s punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all. Romans 13:3-7 (TEV)

Our civil authorities are the ministers of God. The word used is δικονς. The same word we get ‘deacon’ from. Civil Authorities are God’s deacons. We are to give honor and respect to ALL Civil authorities, not just some of them. They are all deacons of God!

burris-confirmedThe impeachment trial for the Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is over. He is out of office. While still Governor he appointed a replacement for now President Barack Obama. The Congress at first said they would never approve the person he appointed. They changed their mind and approved now Senator Burris. Why? You can speculate about why, but they did the honorable thing. They honored the office of Governor that Mr Blagojevich held. He may be a dishonorable person, he was even impeached, but while he was in office, the citizens of Illinois, the United States Senate honored the office that he represented.

Civil Authorities are ordained by God. They are His servants, His deacons. If you give your heart to God and allow His truth to guide your life, then every time you see a policeman, firefighter, councilman, mayor, state legislator, governor, judge, congressman, senator, or any other person in a branch of government, you should find respect and honor welling up in your heart. This is the fear of the Lord residing in your heart. That fear leads you to honor God and those authorities He has ordained. The way most of us encounter civil authority is by those flashing lights in our rear view mirror.

77-impalaI remember driving to Springfield one time near 1980 or 81. We were going to Branson for a little family vacation. We were in a 1978 or 79 Chevy Impala. Big back seat. We had at least four kids then. The baby was up front but the three boys were in the back. It was late at night, the kids were asleep, and one was laying in the back under the window, two were sprawled in the back seat. You looked in our car and it was all kids.

Well, I got caught speeding. The officer came to the window and said his usual, I said I’m sorry that I was speeding and I thanked him for doing his job. He goes back and then comes back. He said. The fine for this ticket would have been 75 or 80 dollars, but I’m just gonna give you a warning. You take that money and spend it on your kids.

I thanked him, and drove away thanking God for His mercy.

Now I have had not so kind encounters with policemen. And I am sure you have too. They have a tough job. You cannot watch TV without seeing and hearing people dishonor policemen, and government officials.

Why should churches and Christians have a good reputation with the city?

1. Honor for Civil Authority is God Directed

Furthermore, he (church leaders) must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:7 (AMP)

We bring offense to the Gospel by not having a good reputation. The early church in Jerusalem:

but the people (outside the church) held them in high regard and praised and made much of them. Acts 5:13 (AMP)

westboro-protestsWhen we fail to pro-actively honor our civil authorities, we hinder the advancement of the gospel. Our civil authorities are the gatekeepers of our community. If we want those doors open wide to our efforts to preach the Gospel, we must honor the gatekeepers. We must ask ourselves if the Gospel of Christ is aided by protests and controversy. Certainly the actions of Rev. Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church harm the cause of Christ. They consider themselves to be Biblical, but they frame their action in hatred instead of the Grace of God. God says to honor our authorities so that we may live peaceably with all men.

An unbeliever in early Rome wrote: “They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time, they surpass the laws by their lives. (Letter to Diognetus, chapter 5)

Do we compromise the Gospel to honor and reach civil authorities? Definitely Not!

  • John the Baptist was beheaded because he warned Herod of the lawlessness of sleeping with his brother’s wife.
  • The Apostles, Peter and John, respectfully decline to refrain from preaching Jesus Christ, becasue they decided it was more important to obey God rather than man.

And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20 (NKJV)

Our attitude of Honor is so important in showing our authorities to fear God.

national-prayer-centerPastor Ken Wilde is the Senior Pastor of Capital Christian Center in Boise, Idaho. 22 Weeks out of the year he spends in Washington DC praying for the leaders of our Country. Ken founded the National Prayer Center is an inter-denominational, non-profit organization dedicated to activating, mobilizing and inspiring Christians across America to become involved in the Biblical mandate to pray for our leaders and for national revival in order to heal our land., with over 2000 attendees. The Center is open to members of Congress and their staffs for times of prayer, devotion and spiritual encouragement.

Ken Wilde tells of meeting with a Congressman for the first time. He brought 15 intercessors from a local church along with their pastor. When they were allowed into his office, Ken could tell by the congressman’s body language that he wasn’t sure what they wanted.

He asked what he could do for them. Ken proceeded to tell him they did not want anything, but were only there to thank him for his service to his country and to pray for him.

He said this is a real gift for me. Every day it is an endless stream of people and groups coming in to his office to request money for this or that special interest. He pictures a digital readout on the wall that totals all the money requests each day. “But you have come to give me something today. That has never happened before.

The group prayed for the Congressman, and when they had finished, he asked them if they would pray for his staff as well. When they had finished, he looked at his watch and said, I just had an appointment cancellation, would you like to go over to the Capitol and have a look around? (A Congressman never does this-only interns and staffers.) He led them on a quick ½ hour tour of the Capitol.

Two weeks later Ken received a call from the local Pastor. He was quite frantic. The Congressman had called and told him he was going to come and visit his church with his wife.

Are we to bring the truth to our leaders?

nathan-to-davidWe must speak the truth, but speak it in love. Sometimes God will raise up servants to speak strong words to a civil leader.

  • Nathan to David
  • John the Baptist to Herod

What good does it do when we backbite against our leaders, when we disrespect and dishonor them. What we say in private God will shout from the rooftops on the day of judgment. Speak the truth in your hearts and you will have a heart burning with honor before our leaders. Otherwise your dishonor will poison your spirit and will be manifested before our leaders.

2. Honor for Civil Authority Restores the Fear of God.

scourne-ultimatum-2Peter illustrates the value of the “Scourne Ultimatum”:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Peter says “how can you fear God whom you cannot see, when your don’t honor the leader he has placed his authority upon that you do see?

In America we say: “You will have to earn my respect” The fear of God says: “I see the authority that God has placed upon you, therefore you already have my respect”. We are not to sit in the seat of the scornful, but we are to walk in the fear of the Lord.

  • Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Psalms 33:8 (KJV)
  • Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. Deuteronomy 8:6 (NKJV)
  • The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV)

Honoring our civil authorities opens up our community to the Power and Authority of God!

“and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 3:9-10 (NIV)

God uses the church to display to the hidden authorities of this world His manifild wisdom. In the unseen realm of God’s Kingdom, when the church honor’s God’s Civil authorities, it allows God to display His awesome Power. In so doing, the world, the governors know the Fear of the Lord! If we do not fear our authorities, we demonstrate no fear of the Lord, and our authorities will never fear the Lord. The church, Christians, are to be living testimonies of the Power of God!

Herod Agrippa came into power in 37AD.He helped the Emperor Claudius gain the throne after Caligula was murdered. As a reward he was given Judea nd Samaria. Now his kingdom was as large as his grandfather Herod the Great. Herod Agrippa (I) was the one who persecuted the early church. He killed James. He imprisoned Peter tot kill him. This is the King that Peter wrote we are to honor! The Christians continued to honor Agrippa, even though they feared him and endured horrible persecutions for their faith in Christ. In so doing, the Jews and Herod experienced first hand the “Fear of God”!

The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers. Acts 12:22-24 (NLT)

God had his way with Herod! The people feared God!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego honored the King but honored God first. In so doing the King saw the power of God, He feared the Power of God, and S,M, & A were promoted in the land. God’s influence was allowed to spread. The whole Country Feared God!

We see a modern day application of this principle in Nigeria:

nigeria-prayerNigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with over 140 million people. There is a strong Christian movement in Nigeria. The Christians there have a strong sense of honor for their civil authorities. There are monthly prayer meetings where 100’s of thousands of believers gather together to pray for the leaders of the country, and for righteousness to reign in their country.

Abacha took over power from the caretaker government of Chief Ernest Shonekan, who was put into place by General Ibrahim Babangida after his annulment of the 12 June 1993 elections (won by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola) caused a massive popular uproar.

In 1998 in one of those monthly prayer meetings, a well-known Nigerian pastor, Emmanuel Nuhu Kure had a vision in which he saw the clouds part and two huge angels appear with giant swords. God showed him Abacha’s days were now numbered, in fact he prophesied it would happen within three months.. There would be no escaping if he did not repent.

Word got to Abaca about the vision, and he a “peace offering to Kure, a huge sum of money., to hopefully turn the prophecy around. Pastor Kure said the Lord told him “Do not touch it lest his (ABACHA’s) leprosy come upon you. Pastor Kure refused the money and sent word back to repent and turn to the Lord God.

Three months later, during another large prayer meeting, another Pastor, Pastor Adeboye told the gathering to turn to the people around them and wish each other “Happy New Year”. Everyone was puzzled. Pastor Adeboye told them the yoke was broken and there would be dancing in the streets.

Within 24 hours of his proclamation, President Abacha died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

A BBC news report said that “Nigerians celebrated in the streets across the country at the news of his death.

Today the Harvest is truly Plentiful in Nigeria. God’s Power is truly evident:

nigeria-revivalCharisma Magazine, Jan. 30, 2009 — The counting of the completed Decision Cards from last week’s Gospel Crusade is 803,563. So many people heard the Gospel and decided to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The local churches follow them up immediately. “Gather up the fragments so that nothing be lost”, Jesus said. (John 6,12). NOTHING BE LOST! That is the will of God.

“The original Gospel comes with signs and wonders, and what we witnessed last week was absolutely glorious! Miracles upon miracles. Without the miraculous the Gospel would be an empty shell. But Jesus Christ is the same…TODAY. Miracles identify Him. If signs and wonders come from God alone, then we cannot be showmen. Christian services are not exhibitions of our religious stature. Christ gives us the victory that He won on the Cross. “From the fullness of his grace have we all received” – that is, “out of” his fullness we receive our supply. “We have this treasure (this power) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). That power flows out as it flows in, the overflowing of God through mortal lives. And this is what we witness.

This Gospel Crusade nearly did not happen because of lack of finance, but the God of Miracles performed another of His wonders and made it possible. A very big Thank You to those who helped us so spontaneously. Imagine if we would not have gone! We love you and pray for you.

More than 800,000 people made decisions for Christ during crusades evangelist Reinhard Bonnke hosted last week in Nigeria’s Delta State. Bonnke, founder of Florida-based Christ for All Nations (CFAN), said 85,000 people gathered the first night of the crusade, held in Isokoland Jan. 21-26. CFAN reported that on the final meeting some 425,000 people attended. Those who accepted Christ were directed to a local church for follow up. “The original gospel comes with signs and wonders, and what we witnessed last week was absolutely glorious. Miracles upon miracles,” Bonnke said in a ministry statement. “Without the miraculous the gospel would be an empty shell. But Jesus Christ is the same-today. Miracles identify Him.” Bonnke said there were numerous reports of the blind receiving sight and the lame walking. One man reported that he had been healed of HIV/AIDS.

3. Honor for Civil Authority is God Rewarding

When we honor a prophet, we receive a prophet’s reward. When we honor a civil authority, we receive a civil authorities award. What is that? It is the key to the community. They are the gatekeepers of our towns, cities, states and nations.

John Bevere in “Honor’s Reward” tells of a church in the Midwest that he used to preach at in the late 80’s. One particular church was about 150 and seemed very stagnant. He preached there three or four years in a row. He stopped going, but decided to go a few years later to a conference they were putting on. The letter of invitation indicated there would be over 800. He was curious, and decided to accept the invitation to speak. When he stepped into their new auditorium it was packed with 8-900 people. He said the presence of God was stronger than he had ever experienced before.

After the meeting, he was alone with the Pastor and asked “What Happened” You were stagnant for years. How did the church grow so quickly? I’ve only been gone three years.

“John, I got so tired about my people complaining about paying their taxes and how wrong our civil leaders were, I had to do something about it. So I took it to prayer and God gave me an idea.” He went to city officials and asked about their greatest need. They shared with him that the fire department needed special equipment to enable the fire fighters to see through smoke.

thermal-imaging-cameraMost fire related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, rather than burning. The smoke is so thick that they cannot see someone even a few feet in front of them. Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) use infrared technology to help firefighters and rescue workers “see” through smoke, darkness, fog, dense vegetation, fire and walls to find people and fire sources. A common use for TICs is to quickly and easily locate a fire’s origin without causing unnecessary damage. Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) were new at that time and quite expensive. It was going to cost the city $25,000 and they did not have the budget for it.

The pastor preached the next Sunday from Romans 13. In love he corrected his congregation for complaining against city officials. He told the people they were God’s servants and that believers could not be blessed by dishonoring civil leaders and cutting corners on their taxes. Once the scriptural foundation was laid, he told of the cities need for the Thermal Imaging Device, and announced a special offering would be taken. It was a good way to honor those whom God had appointed.

The church responded by repenting of their attitude and giving a 25,000 dollar offering. The pastor called the mayor and asked if he could assemble some of the city leaders so the church could honor them with this check to buy the equipment. When the church people got to the meeting, they were surprised to see how many city officials and workers were present to receive this honor.

At the presentation, the pastor read from Romans 13 and shared how his church appreciated the city officials and workers, and they viewed them as ministers of God. He thanked them all. The city officials and firefighters were overwhelmed by the honor and generosity of the church. (We convey honor by money)

A year later the pastor held a new building dedication. Scores of city workers and officials attended. Many were saved and made the decision to attend the church. “That is what blew open the community to us.”

rick-warrenMany evangelical Christians criticized Rick Warren for catering to Obama and McCain when he had them to his church for his one on one interview. But Pastor Warren was only doing what Scriptures tell him to do, honor our leaders, pray for the President. And because he honored the men running for President, when the time came to invoke God’s blessing on our new President, Pastor Rick Warren received the honor. God unlocked the doors of our nation to a man who saw the value of honoring our civil leaders. Now some criticized his prayer, saying it wasn’t bold enough or whatever, but his prayer was before God almighty and was both honoring to our Creator and our new President. That was not the occasion to get on a soapbox and try to put the fear of God into our country.

But listen to how he closed the prayer:

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

He used the opportunity to honor the one who gave him life, Jesus Christ.

If we dishonor our civil leaders, if we address them like we are better than they, if we try to set them straight so to speak, we are dishonoring God, we are failing to fear God, and we close the door on any opportunity to further honor Jesus Christ.

Look at the life of Billy Graham:

billy-grahamFebruary 2005, Time magazine reported, “He has had the ear of Presidents for five decades, but except for his public disavowal of racial segregation, Billy Graham, 86, has stuck to soul saving and left the political proselytizing to others. He explained his self-imposed separation of church and state in the language of a Gospel preacher: ‘It’s not what I was called to do.’”

Billy Graham never took his eyes from the one who called him to preach, Jesus Christ. He was given the marvelous opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ at the highest levels of government. Former President George Bush said he owes his conversion to Jesus Christ to Billy Graham.

Are You Afraid of God? Are you afraid that one day you will have to face almighty God, Holy God, Righteous God? Are you not sure how you will fare in that meeting? When you revere God to the point of seeing your need for Jesus Christ, you will no longer need to be afraid of God.

satan_fallConcluding thought: When the disciples returned from their special mission to evangelize, they couldn’t wait to tell Jesus about the amazing power they experienced:

“Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (NLT)

Jesus said it was no big deal to have authority over demons. Likewise, we can say that it is no big deal to be a civil authority, even the President of the United States! After all, Jesus saw Satan being thrown out of heaven like lightning. He is no big deal! What is a BIG DEAL is to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! When we honor our civil authorities it works to bring the Fear of God into our society. And wherever the Fear of the Lord is, there the Salvation of the Lord is. People will have their names written in the Book of Life! For that WE REJOICE!



value-of-honorEver since the age of 12 I have been nudged to seek after God. Verses like Isaiah 55:6-9 touched my heart:

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I grew up with an awareness of a God whose thoughts were higher than my thoughts, and whose ways were higher than my ways. As I grew and became alive to God through the new birth in Jesus Christ, my desire to know this God increased. I read the Bible, not in a scholarly way, but with the illumination of my new teacher, the Holy Spirit. I read books by Watchman Nee, who had tremendous insight into the ways of God. I attended the Basic and Advanced Seminar taught by Bill Gothard. I saw tremendous insights into the ways of God from His teachings.

However, as I struggled in my early walk,  I realized that simply knowing the ways of God does not mean you are a Spiritual Christian. I had a tremendous head knowledge, but there was a huge void in my heart. After marriage, I continued to struggle in my Christian walk. I battled with enemies of pride, lust, greed, selfishness. I made many wrong choices. At one point in my life I remember thinking that I was a castaway like Paul mentioned in 1 Cor 9:27, that God had put me on the shelf and would no longer use me.

In my struggles with my walk with God, I would constantly turn to the Psalms. Here was a man (David) that I could relate to. His honesty with God encouraged me. I remember reading Psalms 25 and having my heart suddenly do somersaults.

Psalms 25:1-12 (KJV) 1 Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD. 8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. 9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. 10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. 12 What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

I could go on for hours of how much this Psalm meant to me. Briefly, however, it meant that David struggled with his flesh and sins and enemies too. He got down, but out of the depths of despair, he held up his soul to Almighty God. He affirmed His trust in Him, and asked God to remove any shame from his life. Then he said something that I have meditated on for over twenty five years, and I still do not know the full depth of these verses, but such as I know I will try to explain.

He said “shew me your ways” or as some translations say, “make me to know your ways”. Then He said “teach me your paths.”

I had always thought David had got it backwards. I had wanted to learn the ways of God, but David said show me your ways. The Hebrew word for show means not just a head knowledge, but a knowledge gained by intimate, personal experience. David desired a personal, intimate knowledge of the way that God worked in his life. Way in the Hebrew means course, in a broad sense. It required a personal intimate relationship to know the course, the way God worked.

Then David prayed “teach me your paths”. Teach implies close attention to what is being taught. Path is the word for a literal, step by step path. David was telling God that if He would show David how God was working in every thing that was happening in his life, the rejection, the pursuit by enemies, the isolation of being on the run, then David would pay close attention to learn and see step by step the path that God was wanting Him to take.

God gave me a picture of a guy who was experiencing the hand of God in a very intimate way, and sometimes that hand left bruises, sometimes it was a gentle nudge, sometimes it was a slap on the rear, but David knew intimately what God was doing, and because he had this intimate knowledge of God’s way, he was learning which path to follow, which step to take, and it was a daily even hourly lesson.

All of a sudden I could look back at what God had done in my life, and realize that His ways were in everything that had happened. I thanked Him for His ways, I asked Him to show me what He was doing, I asked for forgiveness for my sins and failure to pay attention to what He was trying to do.

I asked Him to teach me His path, to teach me which way I was to go.

I am convinced with every fiber of my being, that if you desire first of all to know intimately the ways of God, He will show you. He will even take you through things that are painful and difficult to understand. But if you pay attention, you will know His way, and once you commit to knowing His way, then you can start learning the path He has for your life. It will be as if a giant searchlight has been turned on. You will see the steps pf God before you.

I believe that if you follow the path that God has for your life, it will be a path of Blessing. It may not be riches as the world counts blessings, but Blessing is experiencing the Presence of God. That is the True Pathway of Blessing.

It seems very rare when every aspect of our life seems blessed. Seems like there is always a struggle either in our job, our finances, our friendships, our family, our possessions. David found the Pathway of Blessing in every aspect of His Life. I believe, and based upon the life lessons God has made me to experience, that we can find the Pathway of Blessing in every situation we face. If you have never committed to knowing the ways of God, let me encourage you to do this. I must advise you that the ways of God cannot be understood until you experience them. But I will give you encouragement, if you look at the events of your life with this mindset, to know the ways of God, you will discover a Pathway of Blessing that you may never have seen before. It will be like these video games with secret passageways. When you commit to knowing the ways of God, you will have the key to seeing God’s pathway that He has only for you!

The Pathway of Blessing Leads to Rewards

2 John 1:8 (NKJV) Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

John was a very elderly man looking back on life when he wrote this. He was writing with the benefit of a life lived walking in the truth of Jesus teachings. He had what John Bevere calls a “Grandfather Anointing”. It is when the young children listen to Grandfather because he is wise.

This last holiday God convicted me over not doing more to bring Jesus Christ into our family gatherings. We had tons of great family times with the kids and grandchildren, but other than a few prayers, I did little to bring the reality of Jesus into our gatherings. So I am going to institute the Pathway of Blessing Moment with Grandfather. I am committing to sharing with my children and grandchildren a lesson from my life and God’s Word in which God revealed His path for my life. Hopefully I can write these down and give them to my family so that when I am gone they will have an encouragement to learn the pathway that God has for their life.

From John’s “Grandfather Anointing” we learn a couple of very important things that will frame our study of the Pathway of Blessing.

1. John is speaking with a sense of urgency when he says “Watch out”

2. Don’t take this matter lightly, but look after this diligently.

3. Don’t lose your FULL REWARD!

Some of you who grow plants can understand this vividly. Imagine planting acres of corn or wheat, and then fertilizing, watching the plants grow, seeing what looks to be an abundant harvest, only to have a hail storm or tornado or something else wipe out the crop. All that work down the drain. Or perhaps you area businessman, and have built a great business, but because of a few bad decisions, or maybe right decisions but at the wrong time, you lose your business. All that work down the drain. Many recently have watched their hard earned money go down the drain because of someone elses bad decision. Most of us have experienced the loss of our labor. We know how empty and discouraged it can make us feel.

John cries out to us to watch out, so you may receive a full reward!

  • God is a Rewarder of those who Diligently Seek Him (Heb 11:6)
  • In Keeping the Word of God there is Great Reward (Psalm 19:9-11)
  • I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me (Ps 57:2 AMP)

God loves to reward His children. He loves it when we seek Him and give Him our hearts. Now if it is possible to have a full reward, then it is also possible to have no reward or a less than full reward. Next week I intend to look at Rewards and how following the pathway of Blessing determines our rewards.

Scripture repeatedly tells us to FINISH WELL:

Matthew 10:22, 24:13-Those who endure to the end will be saved,

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

Revelation 2:26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

endurance-runChristian Life is not a Sprint. It is an Endurance Run.

Life-Defining Moments

In the Bible we see people making Life-Defining decisions.

Consider Rehoboam:

rehoboamIn I Kings 12, we find a new King, Rehoboam, son of Solomon faced with a dilemma. Do I lower taxes as the people are requesting, or do I do something else to establish my throne. He listened to the advice of his father’s advisors, and they said to speak good words to the people and they would follow him forever. Then he listened to the words of his young friends whom he had hung around all his life-“His Posse”. They gave him different advice. So when the people came back after three days, Rehoboam told them: “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

This resulted in the destruction of the Kingdom his father had built, and 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel were permanently fragmented. One bad choice cost him dearly for the rest of his life.

Now this Life-Defining moment was not made then, it was made years earlier when young Rehoboam decided his friends and what they thought were more important that God or his dad. Rehoboam was one of these kids who rebelled against his dad and scorned what he said. When his life-defining moment came, he lacked the judgment to make the right decision.

Consider the Children of Israel

hebrew-childrenThe children of Israel were given every opportunity to develop a trust in the power of God to protect them and provide for them. They saw Him part the Red Sea, destroy the Egyptians, provide food and water, daily guidance. Yet they never developed that trust in an awesome God. Their lack of trust did not cause too many problems until there was one Life Defining Moment. God had them send in 12 men to spy out the land He was going to give them. Ten of the men came back and reported how impossible the situation looked. Two men said God could overcome any situation. The people whined and complained because they had never developed the discipline of trusting in the power of God. The result of their life-defining moment was wandering, death, and never entering into the rest of God’s Promised Land.

Consider What God Wants

what-god-wantsI went to a Bible College that believed if you obeyed the rules, you were a great Christian. But something in me said that was wrong. God showed me by sparing my life from a head-on collision with a tractor trailer rig, that it was more important to know His heart. To simply obey the rules did not bring joy to my heart. But when I obeyed because I knew His heart and what He was trying to teach me, it brought Joy. It brought meaning.

  • The young Rehoboam never caught the heart of his father Solomon, and so 10 tribes of Israel were lost.
  • The Children in the wilderness never caught the heart of Moses and so an entire generation of Israelites were lost.

If we as fathers and mothers do not learn to communicate this truth of the Pathway of God’s Blessing, we will lose an entire generation of children. We need to lead our children and grandchildren into catching the heart of God, and learning His path for our lives. As Solomon pleaded with his son Rehoboam, God also pleads with us:

Proverbs 23:26 (AMP) My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe and delight in my ways,

Early in my life I made a decision that the God of the Bible was my God and guide for my life. Whatever I struggled with I would seek to know the Power of God’s Word in order to walk in the right path.

What Disciplines are Guiding Your Life? How are you dealing with the struggles within your soul?

The Value of Honor

If we are going to see the Pathway of Blessing that God has for our live, we must learn the importance of Honor.

The Ugly Package Reveals God’s Way

john-9-blind-man-honors-jesusIn John 9 we find a man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus whether this man sinned or his parents sinned to cause his blindness. Jesus said neither, but this happened so that the works of God should be revealed in him. This happened so that he might see the pathway of Blessing that God wants him to walk in. Jesus then took some dirt and spit in it. He worked the dirt and made a clay that he was able to place over the man’s eyes. Then He said, go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Now why did Jesus do heal the man this way. Remember, we prayed to be shown the ways of God. God’s way is to use ugly things to bring Him glory. Sometimes he gives us ugly packages and tells us to carry them around. In fact God wants us to rejoice in our ugly package. When we start walking then God gives us light and this ugly package reveals the path He wants us to walk in.

When the blind man honored Jesus and accepted the dirty clay, and then went and washed his eyes, they were opened and he could see the path God wanted him to take. The Blind man HONORED Jesus Christ, even before He knew him to be the Messiah. This man was holding an ugly package, blindness. He was scoffed at, spit upon, ridiculed. His parents avoided him, because blindness was considered a curse. Along comes a man of compassion. The blind man honors him by allowing him to put mud on his eyes, and then HONORS his command. As a reward, his eyes are opened and he can see. Later, Jesus reveals himself to be the Son of God. He asks the man do you believe? He says Lord I Believe!

Jesus is before each one of us this morning. He wants us to see the ugly package that we are holding. Some of us are holding more than one ugly package. Jesus says, are you willing to let me touch your ugly package and let me show you what I can do? Are you willing to believe that I am the Son of God? Are you willing to see how much Blessing can come from this ugly package? ARE YOU WILLING TO HONOR ME!

You may be struggling with your faith this morning. You may be struggling financially, You may be struggling in your marriage, in a friendship. You know what ugly package you have. It may be obvious to the world, or you may have succeeded in hiding it. But Jesus knows the distress of your soul.

He wants you to Honor Him this morning. He want you to believe that he can use the ugliness in your life to show you His Pathway of Blessing. He wants to Reward your love for Him, your obedience to Him, Hour Honoring of Him.

One more illustration to underscore the truth that Honor is the foundation of learning the Pathway of Blessing that God has for your life. If you fail to Honor Jesus Christ, you will never see the Pathway of Blessing. You will never realize your FULL REWARD!

Mark 6: Neighbors Refuse to Honor Jesus

mark-6-no-honor-no-mighty-worksIn Mark 6, we see Jesus entering into his own country, the country of his upbringing, Nazareth. The people were astonished at His claims to be the Messiah, to be the fulfillment of Prophecy. They said, “isn’t this the carpenter, the Son of Mary” Why just last week he was fixing my chair. Someone else said, mu Johnny went to school with Jesus. He used to play in our back yard. Mark 6:3 said they were offended at Him.

And then we read in verse 5: “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”

Here was the Son of God, the creator of the World, and the people of Nazareth kept Him from doing any major miracles. They were restraining the Power of the Son of God! How did this happen? What were these people doing to restrain the Son of God? Jesus reveals what was restraining Him in verse 4: A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives and in his own house.” The thing which prevented the Blessing of Jesus was their failure to Honor Him as the miracle working Son of God!

Honor Defined

To Show Honor is to Give Value. To Honor someone we consider them valuable, precious, just like gold or a precious jewel. Other words to describe honor are appreciation, esteem, respect. To Show Dishonor is to show no respect, to give no value. To treat it as common, ordinary or menial. We Show Honor in our actions, our words and even our thoughts. All true Honor originates in our heart.

honor-in-heartThe Pharisees had more head knowledge of God’s Word than any other people, yet they failed to see Jesus as the Messiah. He did not “fit” their image of what the Messiah would look like. They were looking with their physical senses. In Luke 17:20-21 they even asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. Listen to His reply:

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Jesus told them the key to seeing the Kingdom of God was seeing with their heart, for indeed, it is inside us. That is why they never saw Jesus as the Messiah, for their hearts were far from God, tin fact they did not honor God in their hearts.

On the other hand, Simeon honored God in his heart, and was able to recognize the baby Jesus as the Messiah. In Luke 2:25-32 we read:

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Simeon saw with his heart that Jesus was the Messiah. He honored God’s instruction to him, that he would see the Messiah, and he waited till God’s chosen one was revealed to him.

Do You Want to walk in the Pathway of Blessing in 2009. Do you want God to take all the ugliness in your life and turn it into a Pathway of Blessing and Life?

Do You want Jesus to do great and Mighty things in your life?discoverpathwayofblessing

You Must do Three Things:

  1. Commit your life to paying attention to God and letting Him Show you first hand His Ways, even when they are ugly and unpleasant.
  2. Honor Jesus Christ with all your heart, your mind and your body.
  3. Look for God to Teach You His Path for your life, day by day, moment by moment

Demonstrate that Honor with times of Delighting in His Word and with times of Delighting in Conversation with Him.

  • Do You Desire God’s Blessing in Your Life this Year?
  • Do You want to see the path that God wants you to take?
  • Do you want to know first hand the mighty miracle power of Jesus Christ?

You Need to take the step of Honoring Him with all your life. You need to take every ugly thing in your life and give it to Him and say thank you Jesus. I know you can take the ugliness in my life and make it beautiful. I know you can make my path straight, you can give me renewed strength and love for you.

Will You Honor Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Will You Allow Him to Work Mighty Miracles in Your Life.

Will You Commit to Honoring Him in Your Family with Your Grandchildren?