Posts Tagged ‘Hesed’


I would like 2012 to be a significant year in the life of our church. I want us to get serious about Discipleship. I want discipleship to be discussed in every class room, every committee meeting, every get together. I want the question that is asked most of each other, “How are you developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?” I want each of us to have a clear picture of how we are to develop as disciples of Christ. It will not happen right away, but over the next 18 months, as we look at every aspect of our church in light of Discipleship, we can make the proper adjustments in how we do ministry, and develop a clear-cut road to discipleship, Biblical Discipleship.

This will not come without some difficulties. Discipleship is difficult, for the way is blocked with Goliath’s. Saul’s and Doegs. But if we continue to kneel before the Cross, and desire to follow the Holy Spirit, Christ will do an amazing work in this church and in your lives.

Many (if not most) Christians Live in a Cave

We need to ask ourselves “Are we walking in the Light?” (If you are not daily in the Word of God how can you think you are walking in the Light?) I believe many Christians are living in a cave, but they may or may not realize it. Their profession of faith in Christ may have been real, but they have stopped walking by FAITH. They walk by sight. And sadly, when you walk by sight, you are blind. You are living in a Cave. The danger is that living in a cave will produce eyes that no longer see the light. They can no longer walk by faith. They can no longer see Him who is invisible. When you become used to the darkness of the cave, you don’t realize how much ‘light’ you are missing. Isaiah wrote about the Lord:

Isaiah 42:5-7 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

When Jesus began His public ministry, he proclaimed:

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

The Jewish people thought they were walking in the light. But in actuality they were held in prison by the perversions of the Law perpetrated by the Pharisees. Jesus opened many eyes to the true Light of the Gospel, but the religious Leaders remained blind, because “we just don’t do it that way”. Jesus did not fit into the mold formed in the cave of their minds and they rejected Him. In fact, they crucified Him, for they refused to follow His light.

Discipleship is difficult, for you follow Christ, not a religion, not a list of man-made rules or traditions. Discipleship requires an ongoing growth and development of a relationship with an invisible Savior. Discipleship requires Faith, for only Faith imparts the ability to see Him who is Invisible.

Jesus proclaimed that He was coming to give sight to the blind. But in order to receive sight, we must be willing to submit to His leadership and commands. Any resistance on our part places us right back in the darkness that Jesus came to free us from.

I.   David Discipleship Involves:

A. Involves Growing Faith, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

1 Samuel 23:29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.

David leaves the Rock of Escape and goes down to the Dead Sea, to find refuge in the Strongholds of EnGedi. EnGedi is a great hideout. Plenty of hide-outs, fresh water, a veritable oasis. EnGedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site for 4000 years. The abundant springs and year-round temperate climate provided the perfect conditions for agriculture in ancient times. Solomon compared his lover to “a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of EnGedi,” an indication of the beauty and fertility of the site (Song 1:14).

Even though there are many springs around the Dead Sea, most of them have a high salt content. EnGedi is one of only two fresh water springs located on the western shore of the Dead Sea and, because of the greater availability of land for agriculture at EnGedi, it is the best spring by which to settle.

EnGedi means literally “the spring of the kid (goat).” Evidence exists that young ibex have always lived near the springs of EnGedi. One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the “Crags of the Ibex” in the vicinity of EnGedi.

David could have settled here and hoped in the natural strongholds that were there in EnGedi. He may not have become content, but he and his men could have resumed more normal lives. They could have still worshipped God, do an occasional good deed, and been safe. That is what a stronghold is, a place of safety due to its position or protection.

But this would not produce the Discipleship that God required of David, nor would it serve to transform David’s crew into Mighty Men. God wanted them to grow in their faith.

So God allowed King Saul to find David. God lead Saul into David’s Stronghold.

 1 Samuel 24:1-3 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.

 His Men are urging David to Kill Saul

1 Samuel 24:4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ”

Perhaps David had told his men of a promise God had given him, a promise of deliverance similar to Abraham. His men believed in David, and when Saul came to them, excitedly they exclaimed that “Deliverance is Here”! Perhaps David identified with Abram, when God delivered his enemies into his hand:

 Genesis 14:17-20 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Encouraged by his men, the Scriptures record what happened next: “Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” His men must have been shocked. Why didn;t he kill him. Their troubles would be over. They could go home. David could be King. But God wanted each of them to learn a valuable lesson. 

1.  Disciples that desire safety and comfort usually end up in the dark as far as God is concerned.
2.  In the cave of safety, our self-centeredness prevents us from seeing the light of Jesus Christ
3.  In the cave of safety we often resort to solving our problems with our own short-sighted vision.

God wanted David and his men to look to Him in the darkness of the cave, not to their own resources. Here was a struggle of conscience pre-ordained of God that would lead these men into the very presence of God!

As John Piper told his church:

But if we do what David did, and follow the call of God—hazards and all—then we will come to this place week in and week out with a sense of deepening reality and power.

That’s essential number one: if God’s blessing is going to be on this place, as a place of real worship, then those of us who gather here must gather as a kind of haven between hazards. Not as a haven instead of hazards but a haven between hazards. True worship will come from the impulse to hazard things for the name of God.[1]

B. Involves Growing Worship, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

Most people associate worship with something you do when things are going OK. We associate church with worship. We go to church when things are normal. I have discovered that when things get “abnormal” that folks don’t really feel like worshipping at church. When we are overwhelmed with house guests. When we experience the loss of a loved one. When we have a tragedy strike us. When we are stricken with a deadly disease.

One thing very obvious about David is His worship of God, especially when things were “abnormal” And David’s worship wasn’t confined to the Tabernacle of the Temple. David worshipped God anywhere and everywhere. But David especially worshipped God when things were “abnormal”, because Worship was what David lived for.

When David found himself in the cave, with Saul but a breath away, followed by his 3000 trained killers, David was justifiably afraid. It was dark, he was trapped, here was Saul, his men outside. David’s men wanted to kill Saul, but David feared God much more than he feared King Saul. Since he was the anointed King of Israel, only God could remove him. It was not within David’s power. Even if Saul was dead, what would the 3000 armed men do when they discovered he was dead?

No, this was problem too great for David. His men needed to learn what David already knew, that God had great power to deal with dangerous or perilous situations in our life. We can see David’s heart response and message to his men in Psalm 57:

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam (instruction). When he had fled from Saul into the cave. 

Psalm 57:1-11 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!


David cried out to God to fulfill His purpose in his life. If God’s purpose was to be accomplished by David’s death, then so be it. But David had a promise from God that he would be King, so David cried out for that purpose to be accomplished.

  • David asked God to send out His “hesed” (unfailing love) and his faithfulness
  • David asked that God be exalted regardless of what happened.
  • David affirmed that his heart was fixed upon God.
  • David promised to give thanks to all the people, regardless of the outcome.
  • David worshiped one more time and exalted God.

Because David’s heart was fixed upon God, David always worshipped God in the midst of his problems, and in fact exalted God in the face of his problems. No matter what David faced, he always said “God, this is for you to handle. You be exalted, and however you work this out, I will praise you before all the people”.

We will see this over and over in David’s life. Because his heart was given to God, David sought to see God’s justice in every situation he faced, even in the unjust ones.

Application:

Are you overwhelmed with a certain situation? Do you struggle with what God is doing in your life?

  • Confess to God your sinfulness for not giving Him your heart, and for not fixing your heart upon Him.
  • Confess your lack of worship and then bow humbly before Him, and ask Him to fulfill His purpose for your life. Ask Him to be exalted in the situation you are facing. Then bow before Him and say, whatever you want for my life, I accept it and I want it. I want you to be exalted in this situation.

II.  David Discipleship Requires:

A. Requires Humble Submission to God’s Ways, or there will be no Discipleship

There was a mom with a young pre-teen who was neglecting his chores to play his new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. His room was a disaster, and Mom had enough. She marched into his room and holding her preferred form of politically incorrect discipline, exclaimed “Get up and clean this room or you will know the wrath of Vladimir Makarov!” He knew what that meant, so he jumped up and started cleaning his room. You could tell his heart was not in it, however, and soon he said, “I may be cleaning my room on the outside, but inside I’m playing Modern Warfare 3 and I’m blasting away! He was submitting to a greater force, but only because he had to. But that is not David’s heart in the Cave.

Three things in Psalm 57:1 show a disciple’s (David) submission before God.

  • He cries for mercy. He sees his need from God for mercy and grace. 
  • He cries out for a refuge. He is vulnerable before his enemies, he sees his need for God’s provision. 
  • He calls his refuge the “shadow of God’s wings.” David, the mighty warrior, the anointed of God, says, “In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge.” In other words, “I am a little chick. And I need the covering of my God.” Submission to God requires humility.

Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me”.

Discipleship requires you to submit your will to God’s purpose for you. That took humility for David, especially in front of 600 manly vagabums. But it also requires something else, something that most American Christians stumble at:

B. Requires the Desire for God’s Glory above Our Own Concerns, or there will be no Discipleship

  • Psalm 57:5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!

No matter what happens, I want you to be exalted. If it means my death, or my imprisonment, that will be your purpose, and You will be Exalted.

You must be willing to accept poverty, homelessness, sickness, disease, rejection, betrayal, injustice, abuse, anything, as long as it exalts God. A Disciple never says I don’t have to put up with this. A Disciple exalts God to where His glory is between you and any problem you may be having.

Jesus did just that:

1 Peter 2:20-24 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

We have become a Nation that focuses so  much on our Individual Rights, that we place our supposed rights before our responsibilities. That philosophy has infected our church to the point that we put our rights before our responsibilities as a Disciple of Christ.

  • We want our discipleship to be comfortable, but Jesus says I don’t even promise you a bed to sleep on.
  • We want our discipleship to fit our schedule, but Jesus says let the dead bury their dead.
  • We want our discipleship to be convenient, but Jesus says if you put your hand to the plow and then look back at those conveniences, you are not fit for the Kingdom of God.
  • We don’t want our discipleship to make us so different that we’ll be embarrassed, or laughed at,  , or be embarrassing, but Jesus said “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory”.
  • We want our discipleship to not be too costly, but Jesus says if you are going to follow Him, you must give up everything by dying to self and taking up His cross for you!

We always say that our primary purpose as Christians is to give Glory to God, but what we mean is that we want a nice comfortable life that portrays the good side of God. How dare Him make us suffer! How can our suffering bring glory to Him? I can do so much more for God when I am affluent and generous! Right?

I was reading about the injustices going on in Eritrea. Evangelical Christians are imprisoned, some for life, for simply bowing their heads in prayer over a meal. They are imprisoned in stifling hot shipping containers or underground bunkers. They are never given baths or showers. There are so many forced into a small place that to lay down and sleep they must sleep on their side. The stench is intolerable. They are given one glass of water a day. They get bread if they are lucky. The prison officials do not care if they live or die. Some are executed. Most are tortured. When a new prisoner come, the first thing anyone says to him, “Did you smuggle any razor blades” because they want to kill themselves. Some are given the opportunity to leave if they recant their faith. Most do not. They cannot, for they are Disciples of Jesus Christ. They knew what it would cost them when they gave their lives to Him!

One young woman who was caught with a Bible was arrested and tied with her hands and feet tied to opposite limbs behind the back. Her captors told her, “Jesus will save you now.”[2]

Jesus did not save her. She eventually died. Did she march up to Jesus in Heaven and say “How could you forget about me? How could you let me endure such suffering that I died of dehydration?” No, she wakes up in the arms of Jesus, and when she looks into His eyes, she says, Jesus, I would do it all over again, for your wonderful glory!

Watch Videos Describing the Torture of Christians going on in Eritrea TODAY!

That is what Discipleship is all about. We develop as Disciples as everything in our life, our good, our bad, our successes, our failures, our joys, our sadness’s are laid at the Cross and our only cry is “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” My life is inconsequential to your Glory, but I dedicate it to you, for your use in whatever will bring you Glory!

Psalm 112:1-7 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

A Disciple is never afraid of bad news. He is not afraid of a diagnosis of cancer. He is not afraid of hearing of a loved one’s tragic death. His heart is firm, always trusting God, no matter what the news.

David wrote another Psalm while he was in the Dark Cave:

Psalm 142 -A maskil (instruction) of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

Psalm 142:1-7 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.


When Surrounded by Darkness, in whom do you trust?

  • Do you trust in yourself, doing what you think is best?
  • Do you trust your friends, to get their help?

If David had done either of those, we wouldn’t be studying his life.

David cried out to God, knowing, that

  • “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!”
  • “You are my refuge, my portion!”
  • “Bring me out of the darkness of this cave, and I will give thanks to your name!”
  • “You deal bountifully with me!”

David turned to God when he was backed into a corner, deep in the darkness of the cave!

What lessons of Hesed, Mishpat and Tsedaqah are in this experience of David’s?

Hesed, Unfailing Love-was in his heart as he refused to kill King Saul. His love for God and trust in Him was stronger than any feeling of hate that might have welled up and led him to take vengeance into his own hands.

  • As a result those men with Him saw the Mercy of God in David’s actions.

Mishpat, justice, was brought into David’s House as both he and his men realized that God must be trusted even in perilous situations where you are tempted to do things your own way. God’s Justice must reign in your response to every situation, good or bad.

  • His men saw that, and the House of David grew strong in the ways of God that day.

Tsedeqah, righteousness, was David’s Hope as He agreed to wait upon God. Even though that meant years of struggle and hardship, it was worth it because David’s Hope was to be in God and His strength, and not in himself. Temporary relief would have brought eternal damnation.

  • His men saw David’s Hope, and would learn to trust God!

Then ask God to grow your Faith to see Him in the Darkness.Do you want to Grow to be a Mighty Man or Woman of God in 2012? Do you want to draw closer to Christ than ever before? Do you His love to be sweeter than ever before?

  • Worship God more faithfully and He will give you more reasons to worship Him.
  • Humble yourself to being a little chickie, needing the protection of His wings.
  • Desire God to be exalted in whatever you face this next year.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

2 Samuel 22:29-30 For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Psalm 18:28-29 For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

When surrounded by Darkness in Whom Do You TRUST?

Isaiah 50:10 … Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

How are YOU developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

Overflow through Me!

In days of barren darkness,
I need a light to encourage, refresh,
bring life – God’s word, and grace, and peace.

In a dark and barren world,
God’s Spirit lives within me to be a Light,
abundantly stretching forth, bringing life for all.

Lord, fill me with your light – allow it to shine through me!


My dad was not always a godly man. It wasn’t until his early 30’s that he started going to church. My mom was the ‘religious’ one. Even when we switched churches when I was 14, his religion was more of a Sunday thing. Our Christmases were as secular as the next door heathen families.

When I was planning for college, Dad seemed to change. He wasn’t religious anymore. God wasn’t a Sunday thing anymore. All of a sudden, it was Jesus Christ. All of a sudden everything he did was all about Jesus. Jesus owned everything he had. Christmas was about Jesus Christ. I liked it, because Jesus had become real to me as well. I was going off to Bible College. It was as I was getting ready to leave that he came to me and with tears in his eyes (my Dad never cried) he said that God was giving him a second chance. In fact that became one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, that God is the God of second chances. Anyway, he asked me to forgive him for not being a good father to me.

Holding Benjamin

Just 3 ½  years after that, I fould myself with a one month old baby boy, back at home celebrating Christmas with my family and my 18 year old wife, Lydia.

That Christmas morning was overwhelming, as my Dad read the Christmas story by candlelight. Here I was, a new daddy, holding my baby boy as my Dad read the story of Mary and Joseph becoming new parents. So let’s join my Dad as he and Mom listen in as I now read the Christmas story with you.

Luke 2:1-38 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Most people stop the Christmas Story here, but Dad kept on reading…

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous 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. And he came in 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 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As Dad read the part of Simeon holding the baby Jesus and proclaiming Jesus is the light of revelation to the Gentiles, I understand that Jesus had revealed that light to my Dad, and now my Dad wanted me to see that light, so that I could be a good father to my son, Benjamin. The greatest gift I ever received from my Dad is the light of the reality of Jesus Christ. That light burns in my heart and life today 37 years later, and it burns in the heart and life of the son I held in my arms that morning.

Did I make mistakes? Too many to count! Has the light always burnt brightly in my life? No! But the Light was always there drawing me into His presence. Is my family perfect? No, but the Light of Christ is at work in my family, and I pray He is at work in yours.

I only remember a few of the gifts my parents gave me. But I will always remember the gift my Dad gave me that Christmas, the Light of Christ from his life to mine, to guide me as I fathered my children. He had passed that light to me, and now I am passing it on to my children and grandchildren.

When the magi visited the infant Jesus, they presented gifts to Him, treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The amazing thing about those gifts, is that this morning, Jesus is re-giving them to you and me. That’s right, the greatest gifts you will ever receive at Christmas, are not sitting under a tree, but they are here, in this Bible and they come from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

I know in American culture it is customary for us to give gifts to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. But in may cultures (Asian, Burmese), if it is your birthday, it is a day for you to serve or buy a meal or give gifts. The more you serve and give the better your next year will be. Jesus is going to have a great year next year, because He is giving us some amazing gifts.

Let’s open OUR presents from Jesus this morning.

Gold

The first gift that Jesus gives us is gold, pure gold. Pure Gold represents the pure unfailing Love that Jesus loves us with. Gold is a good representative if Christ’s Love, because Gold is almost impossible to destroy. It is impervious to most acids. Gold is very dense and heavy, a massively solid material. Just a 3 x 3 cube would weigh over 36000 pounds. Yet as solid and dense as Gold is, it can be stretched and used to cover anything. It can be beat on thousands of times until it is microscopicly thin, yet it is still Gold. Paul prayed that we would know the height and depth and length and breadth of the Love of Christ. His love is so solid that it can dash any problem, so yielding that it can take any thing we can throw at it, so flexible that it can cover any sin we could ever commit. His love is never failing.

This Gold was in the Garden of Eden, in the land of Havilah, and the river Pishon flowed around it. Pishon means spreading, and is a picture of the Holy Spirit taking the Love of God and spreading it throughout the world.

Havila means stretch of sand. Abram in Genesis 13:2 was described as being rich in gold.  God promised him a house with descendants as numerous as the grains of sand. Certainly the unfailing love of God extended to every descendant of Abraham. The Love of Christ knows no limits. It knows no boundaries. The love of Christ seeks every sinner, no matter how great their sins. The love of Christ, symbolized by the gold, comes from the ‘hesed’ of God, the mercy of God. When God instructed Moses in how to build the Tabernacle, as God’s House on the earth, he told him to construct the innermost room covered in Gold. This room, the Holy of Holies, is where the High Priest would offer the sacrifice as atonement for the sins of all of the Jews. The ark was covered in gold, which formed the “mercy Seat” Here the offering would be presented before Holy God in utter darkness. Everything in the room was covered in gold, picturing the mercy and love of God. God would see the sacrifice, and His love and mercy would flow upon the Jewish people. The reason His love and merices could flow is because God knew one day, His only begotten Son would hang upon the cursed cross on Mt Golgotha, and there, Jesus would demonstrate His unfailing love for all the sinners of the race of Adam, as He would become their sacrifice, and take upon Himself all their ghastly and dastardly sins. There on Mt Golgotha, the golden love of God was poured out upon the sands of mankind, as His Son satisfied the Holy demands of God’s Eternal Law!

The veil before the Holy of Holies was forever rent in to, from top to bottom, showing the world that God’s unfailing love was now upon the world, because of the forever sacrifice of His Son.

God’s Holy Spirit calls whosoever will to come to the Cross of Salvation, and humble yourself before this unfailing Love, pictured by the purest of Gold! Only at the cross can you receive this gift of forgiveness, right standing and Hope of eternal Life in Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Babylon has corrupted this gold. Indeed, many choose the gold itself instead of the love and forgiveness it represents. One day, Babylon will fall…Jesus Christ who reigns in Heaven above, is clothed in a golden sash across His heart. He will judge the world on the basis of His pure Love. Anyone not found in His heart, anyone not found in His Golden Love becasueof their rejection of Him, will live for all eternity without His Love, in a place where there is no love! They have followed the spirit of Babylon, which decieves with a false gold, a false love:

Revelation 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

This Golden Gift of Christ is Salvation, the New Birth, the True Wealth that only God gives to those who have Faith to Trust Him!

All those who receive the Golden Gift of Christs Love will one day walk in a city whose very streets are pure gold. We will forever walk held up by the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ

Glory to God in the Highest! God’s Hesed is everlasting!

Frankincense

The next gift that Jesus gives us is  Frankincense. Frankincense is tapped from the scraggy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense trees have the ability to grow in extremely harsh environments. They can even grow directly out of solid rock. How they can do this is still unknown, but the Boswellia trees that grow on rock develop a swollen disk like trunk which prevents it from being torn away from the rock during violent storms. The tears from the trees which grow on solid rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.[1].

  • Frankincense comes from the Hebrew levonah, meaning “white”.[2]

Frankincense was the main ingredient in the holy incense used in the Tabernacle and Temple Worship of Jehovah.

The altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was situated in the Holy Place near the curtain before the Most Holy Place. The high priest burned incense when he tended the lamps (Exodus 30:1-9).

Once per year, on The Day Of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and burn incense there before The Ark Of The Covenant.

Frankincense was used in the grain offering (Leviticus 2:1, 2:16, 6:15, 24:7), but was strictly excluded from the sin offering (Leviticus 5:11)

Incense was used to symbolize or accompany prayer (Psalm 141:2, Luke 1:10, Revelation 5:8, 8:3).

Jesus is our High Priest, ever living to offer prayers on our behalf.

Every morning and evening the sacred incense was burned. (Ex 30:7, 8; 2Ch 13:11) Once a year on the Day of Atonement coals from the altar were taken in a censer, or fire holder, together with two handfuls of incense, into the Holy of Holies, where the incense was made to smoke before the mercy seat of the ark of the testimony. (Leviticus 16:12, 13.)

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Through His Intercession, Jesus secured our Justification!

Jesus gives us the gift of His Justice, secured by His stripes, His blood, and His tears. He is interceding daily for us before His Father. His prayers are being offered even now for us, that we would honor God’s House, that we would continue His work and build a House that honors God!

Through the Frankincense of Christ, our sins, though they be a scarlet, are “white” as snow.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

and being made white as snow, we are brought into God’s House of Justice. Frankincense is never used in the sin offering, for Frankincense is the Holiness of God’s Justice, secured by the blood of Jesus Christ. For by His stripes we are healed.

This incense was placed upon the golden Altar of Incense by the High Priest to be burned before the Lord. It was to be a sweet odor unto the Lord. Through Jesus the stench of our sinful life is converted into a  beautiful fragrance before God.

Myrrh

Myrrh is harvested from the Commiphora myrrha tree in a process similar to frankincense. The myrrh is the hardened resin produced from the taps of the bark. Myrrh means “bitterness”. It was used in perfumes, but most of all it was used to embalm the dead. It also had a numbing effect so was used as an antiseptic and pain killer.  A cousin tree  produced the famous “Balm of Gilead”.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula,is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead.[3]

Myrrh is much different from the valuable gold and frankincense gifts. Myrrh symbolizes suffering, trials, tribulations, and afflictions. The church of Smyrna is known as the “Suffering Church”. The name “Smyrna” comes from myrrh. Suffering and persecution is something that Jesus experienced from the beginning of His life, from the flight into Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, to the end of His life, to His wrongful crucifixion. In fact we are told that suffering was such an integral of Jesus’ life that, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Jesus never escaped the myrrh, the persecutions, throughout His entire life. No one has suffered more unjustly than He. And just as He was given the gift of myrrh by Wise Men, so we too, along with the gift of gold (salvation), and the gift of frankincense (holiness), are to receive the gift of myrrh (suffering) from the hand of the Lord, the wisest of men. It is not done to destroy us, but to teach us obedience. Suffering, trials, tribulations, persecutions are a natural part of this life. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11)

The sufferings of Jesus produced Righteousness for all who come to Him. Indeed, we cease from sin as we suffer with Him.

Of these three gifts, only myrrh is mentioned at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:39-40).

Gold – symbolizing the (hesed) unfailing love of God which leads to our being born again, is a one time gift.

Frankincense – symbolizing the (mishpat) justice of God applied to our life-our justification-is given to us all at once when we are born again.

But myrrh – symbolizing (tsedeqah) righteousness, must be experienced all our life. Our righteousness is in Christ, but only as we learn to die to sin and to Satan and to the flesh, and that will be a life-long journey.

As we experience the myrrh of life, we will have the gold of His unfailing love sustaining us, and the frankincense of His intercessory prayers encouraging us.

The end result is that we step forth clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all eternity! We walk forever on streets of the Golden Love of God, forever in His House, living and developing as His children!

These three gifts that we have unwrapped this morning are Christ’s forever gifts! But just as He has re-gifted them to us, so we should re-gift them to others!


[2] Klein, Ernest, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English, The University of Haifa, Carta, Jerusalem, p.292


My time in Bible College was tumultuous at best. The emphasis was on outward conformity to rigorous (and silly) rules. Discipleship was a matter of conformity. Fortunately, I started reading books by Watchman Nee, reading sermons by Charles Finney and RA Torrey. I learned from these men that being a disciple is much more than knowledge and outward conformity. I learned about the Holy Spirit. I learned about grace!  Christ wanted to live in and through my life. This was the basis of Galatians 2:20. His life in me is True Discipleship. Outward conformity is false discipleship, dangerous, prideful and destructive.

Now that I am a pastor, how do I take this conviction and use it to make disciples in my church? Strangely, God has led me to explore the life of David. When I looked at the ‘last words of David’, some concepts just popped out at me, and God showed me a foundation for discipleship in the church.

DISCIPLESHIP from the LAST WORDS of DAVID

2 Samuel 23:5 (NKJV) “Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire(hepes); Will He not make it increase(semah)?

WHAT DAVID IS SAYING

It is the end of his life, and David is praising God for the Covenant He has made with him, (2 Sam 7). He is praising God for his faithfulness, even though neither he nor his family had been like the tender grass springing up from the ground and flourishing by the united influences of the sun and rain.

Because of God’s covenant with him, his house would be ordered and secured, his desires would be met, and God would cause his house to spring up and grow!

He acknowledges his failures, (my house is not so) and prophetically looks forward to God’s Covenant of Salvation. (Indeed, the writer of Hebrews calls David a prophet ahead of Samuel in Hebrews 11:32). It is though David, in his last recorded message, is saying:

“My house is not like that; I am a very faulty man; but God has the One Who satisfies Him on my behalf”.

There is no doubt about it that in his last words David was lifting up his eyes from his own failure, his own coming short, his own weakness, yes, his own grievous sins, and at the end of his life he is saying with Job, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25). As David wrote in Psalms 138:8 ‘I see the One Who will complete my life and “will fulfill His purpose for me” (Psa. 138:8), and make good on my behalf where I have failed.’

These are the words of a true Disciple. In his words are revealed the secrets of a lifelong journey of discipleship. Discipleship grows from total dependence upon the Promises of God. Discipleship changes our Heart, our House and our Hope!

The three areas of David’s Life in Which David Grew to Be a Man of God are seen in his last words:

1. Heart (For all my desire)

  • Psalms 57:7 (ESV) My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
  • 1 Kings 3:6 (ESV) And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you
  • Psalms 119:2 (KJV) Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

2. House (A Covenant with me and my House)

  • Ps 26:8 Lord, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.
  • Ps 101:2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
  • Ps 112:3 Prosperity and welfare are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
  • Ps 127:1 Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.
  • Ps 128:3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the innermost parts of your house; your children shall be like olive plants round about your table.

3. Hope (He will make it Grow)

  • Psalms 71:5 (ESV) For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
  • Psalms 119:114 (ESV) You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.  
  • Psalms 119:116 (ESV) Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!  
  • Psalms 130:5 (ESV) I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;  

DAVID DISCIPLESHIP

Discipleship MUST FOCUS on three areas of your life:

1. Your Desire. (For this is all my salvation and all my desire)

Proverbs 13:12 (ESV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

What are the desires of your heart? What gets you emotionally excited? What or who do you incline yourself toward? What are you fixed upon? Desires centered upon God and His Word are Life-Giving!

Desire (hepes)- A masculine noun meaning delight, pleasure, desire, matter. The root idea is to incline toward something[1]; it means “to experience emotional delight.” This delight may be felt by men or by God. Men are said to experience it in respect to women. Shechem, son of Hamor, had “delight” in Jacob’s daughter Dinah (Genesis 34:19). The contestants in King Ahasuerus’s beauty contest did not return to him after the first viewing unless he had “delight” in them (Esther 2:14))[2].

2. Your Dependants. (Responsible for your House)

Discipleship is never isolated. It is not for the benefit of one person. Discipleship builds your house. Discipleship benefits those who either depend upon you, or are influenced by you.

  • Hebrews 3:4-6 (ESV) 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
  • Hebrews 11:7 (ESV) By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
  • Acts 18:8 (ESV) Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

3. Your Development. (Will He not make it grow?)

Discipleship takes place over a lifetime. It is to develop you into the man or woman God wants you to be. It is an up and down thing. It is a series of growth failures and successes, but the end result is that you develop the character of Jesus Christ! Christ is the Hope of your daily Life! He is the Reason you Grow!

  • This word is one of the names of Christ – He is the Branch (Zech 3:8)
  • Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) …we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ…
  • Psalms 92:12 (ESV) The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Grow (semah – A verb meaning to grow, to spring forth, to sprout. It refers to a plant as it breaks forth out of the ground)[3] This word is one of the Titles for the coming Messiah:  Zechariah 3:8 (ESV) Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch (semah)

Is This God’s Plan for Discipleship?

I believe this folds perfectly into what God desires for His people. Discipleship is about becoming one who knows and understands our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 9:24 reveals what God delights in. If we are to know and understand God, then our discipleship ‘program’ should allow us to know and understand what God delights in, and make those our delights!

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) 23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

REMEMBER BABYLON?

Recently we wrote about Biblical Babylon, and how it represents much more than a city, or a region. It represents man robbing God of His glory. It represents man trying to minimize God’s impact in his life by seeking after Splendor, Status and Success.

  • Instead of focusing on a heart that is set upon God, we focus on things that are beautiful, exciting, fun. Our heart desires all the beauty of this world.
  • Instead of focusing on our dependants, our House, and how our life can benefit them, we focus on our self, on our own status, what makes us look good to the world.
  • Instead of focusing on developing a life dependent upon our God and Savior Jesus Christ, we focus on success, on things that make us look successful.

The spirit of Babylon is diametrically opposed to being a disciple. The spirit of Babylon will trip you up on your journey to gain Christ!

  • Wise Man –> Boasts in Wisdom -> He is focusing on man’s Splendor, After all God used wisdom to create the world. (God employed wisdom as His master craftsman to create all things[4] (Psalms 104:24 (ESV) O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.)
  • Mighty Man –> Boasts in Might –> Might is another word for Status. Men of ‘might’ are men of status.
  • Rich Man –> Boasts in Riches –> Riches are synonymous with Success in today’s society.

Here God takes direct aim at the spirit of Babylon and says it has no place among His people. God follows the negative with positives that we should pay close attention to. God says: if you are going to boast, boast in this, that you understand and know me, that you know what I delight in! David was a man after God’s own heart. He made it the priority of his life to know and understand God. Isn’t that what a disciple does? A disciple gets to know and understand Jesus Christ! That knowledge and understanding comes from a personal relationship. David certainly projects a man who had a close, personal relationship with God. God further states there are three things He delights in. He delights in unfailing love (hesed), justice (mishpat), and righteousness (tsedaqah). So if David’s intent was to make the delights of God his own (a man after God’s heart), shouldn’t that be reflected in David’s life, and what he aspired to? Should we not find evidence of God’s delights in David’s life? Yes we should and yes we do!

An amazing insight was granted me as I looked at David’s last words. As I saw what his life had culminated in, I saw what had been driving him all his life. The God brought Jeremiah 9:23 & 24 to my mind. There was a connection, and I had to seek it. Then my eyes were opened. David’s last words were also an expression of Hesed, Mishpat and Tsedaqah! David had built his life around what God delighted in!

David is the ultimate example of a disciple of Jesus Christ! David’s life is our pattern for discipleship! Discipleship must focus upon Hesed, Mishpat and Tsedaqah!

Discipleship should lead us to delight in what God Delights in, to knowing and understanding God!

Discipleship should lead us to Jesus Christ, and to the hope of gaining Him!


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, .

[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “712: ‏חָפֵץ‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 310.

[3] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book,

[4] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 337.


Mothers come in all sizesMother’s come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some of us had young mothers, some had older mothers. Some of us had petite mom’s some had larger moms. Regardless of the age or size of our Mom’s, I know something all Mom’s have in common. When push comes to shove, when the gates of hell open up, when the world  falls apart, there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her children. Sorry Dad’s. You don’t come close.

A mother’s love for her children is one of the strongest forces in this world. I believe it is so strong because it is chiseled directly from the heart of God!

Power of Mothers LoveWhat makes God’s Love so powerful, and what makes a mother’s love so powerful, is a special bond!

A Mother bonds with her child through countless hours, countless feedings. This is her baby, her child. God’s love is so powerful because of His relationship to those He loves. God had a special relationship with His people, the Jews. It was a covenant relationship. It made the Jews special, beloved to Him. His love for them was different than His love for the gentiles because of that Covenant Relationship. Through Jesus Christ, we have a New Covenant Relationship with God. We are born again and become children of God. We enter into a new and special relationship with God. He has a special Love for His children. Just as a Mother has a special love for her own children, so does God have a special love with His children.

The Power of Love is because of the Relationship!

Mom fights off pitbullJust like you don’t pull on superman’s cape, your don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger and you don’t mess around with a Mom and her children.

Fremont, CA (KPIX) – A Fremont, California woman is recovering from severe injuries to her arms after a pit bull terrier attacked her in her own garage, forcing her to stash her baby in a garbage can for protection. Thirty-two-year-old Angela Silva received 50 staples and countless stitches as a result of Tuesday’s attack. Silva says her neighbor’s dog wandered into her open garage and lunged at her and her four-month-old son.After she put the child in a plastic garbage bin, the 80-pound pit bull terrier, “Swisher”, continued pursuing the baby and knocked over the bin as Silva fought the animal off with her arms. Two men across the street eventually came to her aid and chased away the dog.

“My flesh was flying off of my arms,” she says. “I just don’t think that I would have been able to stand up any longer.”

Mighty Pharaoh tried to kill the Jewish babies.

Mom saves Baby MosesThe Jewish Mom’s were so tough they were having the babies one day and out working in the field the next, their babies hidden away. One Mom was bold enough to make a basket of reeds and then waterproof it, and then put her baby Moses in it to float downstream. Mom’s do amazing things because of their love for their children.

Jer 9 23_24I believe that Jeremiah 9:23-24 gives us insight into what makes a mother’s love so powerful. These verses reveal what makes the heart of God happy, what He delights in. He delights when three things are at work on earth, and I believe God uses a Mother’s love to accomplish these three things:

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB) Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

This morning we need to understand these three things that God Delights in, and once we understand these, we can better understand the power of a Mother’s Love. But first, let me ask you a couple of questions that this verse brings up…

What Do You Boast About?

“let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me”

Boast in God and MomYou may be smart, you may have wealth, but God says that doesn’t matter. If you are going to boast in anything, boast in knowing and understanding God. That requires growing relationship with Him. That requires an intimacy with God such that any time you pick up His Word you are immediately overwhelmed with a flash from God!

Like the TV series Chuck, who has the Intersect in his brain. Whenever he sees someone or something that is in the Super Spy data base, he flashes on it and all this information comes to his mind. He always gets overwhelmed for just a bit when he “flashes” on the information.chuck_main

Do you have that kind of relationship with God? Do you boast to your friends that you have such a special relationship?

I know that our world has become so infected with sin that homes and families are fractured and tormented. Not everyone has a wonderful mom who loved them and nurtured them.  Our Mom’s may be flawed in several ways, but there is always something you can boast in about your mom. It may be her cooking, her crafts, her drive, her protection, her prayers, her drive. Dig deep and find something to boast in about your Mom. Boast about her to your children, and even your grandchildren. Honor her. She gave you life.

We honor God because He gave us life. If we are to boast, boast in God, in that you know Him and understand Him.

What Are You Accomplishing With Your Life?

“I am the Lord who exercises (āśâ)”. āśâ actually means “to do”,  “to make”,  “to accomplish.” God is very focused. He is committed to working and accomplishing three things. But let me say this word of advice. God is rather picky about who he works with, who He accomplishes for. He only works these three things on behalf of those He has a relationship with.

Amazing MomMoms are amazing. Most of the time they are like Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter, but should one of their children cry out at night, or get in trouble, out comes the Supermom Cape and suddenly she is Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, up in the air, it’s a bird, no it’s a plane, no its SUPER MOM!Super Mom Action Figure

  • Diaper Changes: 7,300 by baby’s 2nd birthday
  • Diaper Changing Speed: Moms take 2 minutes, 5 seconds (adds up to 3 40-hour work weeks each year!) , vs. 1 minute, 36 seconds for dads
  • Giving Attention: Preschooler requires mom’s attention once every 4 minutes or 210 times / day
  • Taking Care: Preschooler moms spend 2.7 hrs / day on primary childcare, vs. 1.2 hours for dads
  • Chores: Women average 2.2 hrs / day, vs. 1.3 hrs / day for men
  • Laundry: 88% is done by moms, totaling 330 loads of laundry & 5,300 articles of clothing each year
  • Least Favorite Chore: Vacuuming the stairs
  • Most Kids: Mrs. Vassilyev of Russia gave birth to 69 children between 1725 and 1765
  • Oldest Mom: Rosanna Dalla Corte gave birth to a baby boy when she was 63 years old in Italy in 1994
  • Heaviest Newborn: Signora Carmelina Fedele gave birth to a 22 lb 8 oz boy in Italy in 1955

I know at the end of a busy week, even a busy day, most Mom’s don’t feel too Super, but you are! You accomplish so much! Your influence is incalculable.

Mom’s, know and understand that God is Super Too. There is one Major difference. Most Moms’ will admit that they don’t see themselves as Super. Very few Mom’s have ever potty trained their child on the first try. There were trials and failures. But God does not try and fail. He does not experiment on which food is best, or what reward works when trying to potty train a toddler. He is El Elyon, God Omnipotent who Reigns from on High. He is the God of Accomplishment! He is a God who is intimately and actively involved in your lives, and he will accomplish what He sets out to do. And in accomplishing His will for your life, He is guided by three things in which God Delights! And I suggest, Moms, that you are the hand of God, being used by Him to accomplish these three things….

God is a God of ACCOMPLISHMENT. He Accomplishes hesed, mishpat and sedaqa.

God Delights in Mishpāt (JUSTICE)

God Delights in mishpatJustice is the best word we use to translate mishpat

The basic meaning of this word is “to establish the heavenly norm or pattern on earth.” Normally this concept is applied to society, i.e., the bringing of society into the right order or arrangement. In this sense it is translated “justice.”

But in three passages its meaning is applied to a building. In Exodus 26:30; 1 Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God’s dwelling place.

The word translated judgment means the establishment of justice

God has a Kingdom in His heart, a kingdom of justice, of order, a kingdom that is at work in heaven and his desire is for it to be so on earth.

The Tabernacle was an earthly type of the Justice that God seeks on the earth.

When His Son came to earth, He did what was necessary to empower this justice on earth. One day He will claim this inheritance and establish God’s Justice on earth. Until that day, we as His children, have an earthly tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit dwells. God can establish His justice in our lives. His Son can reign in our hearts and everywhere our foot trods. Mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Psalm 106:37).

Aaron wore the Breastplate of Mishpat. And so should Mothers

breastplate of mishpatThe breastplate worn by the high priest is called a “breastplate of judgment” (Exodus 28:15, 29-30), not from any alleged revelation given by the stones Urim and Thummim but because the breastplate covered Aaron’s heart and “they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goeth in before the Lord and Aaron shall bear the judgment (mishpāṭ) of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.”

(Exo 28:30)  And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

What Aaron was concerned with before God was Israel’s justification, i.e. judicial sentence (see above) of guiltiness. We need more Mom’s who carry God’s Justice in their heart, and carry their children in prayer before our God who delights in mishpat.

Mom’s Communicate God’s Desire for Mishpat to their Children.

A.Proper Behavior.

Montevious Lewis

Montevious Lewis

Mom Give Public Punishment to Save Son from Life of Crime

A 12 year-old boy who bullied a fellow classmate and stole his iPod will have to cut the grass this summer at his school. That’s the punishment his school doled out. His mother had something else in mind. Believing that her son, Montavious Lewis, needed something more severe to get the message through, Bertreice Dixon decided that an afternoon at a busy intersection spent ringing a bell and wearing a sandwich board bearing his transgressions would be more effective. The get-up also included a plastic hat with the letter “D,” for dumb, a description of his actions, she says. According to Dixon, Montavious was trying to be “tough in front of his friends” and she says she is trying to save him from going “down a road where [he’s] gonna end up in prison or dead.” She insists that it is love that motivates her: “This right here is showing him how much I love him, and hopefully he’ll take it into consideration and don’t do it again.””Kelly Dudzik, Fox16 News, June 1, 2008;

Mom’s have an instinctive idea of the way God want’s His world to be ordered. They have an amazing opportunity to impress their children with our Creator’s Justice. The way He wants to Order our behavior in this world. When you go before Holy God in prayer for your children and grandchildren, you ask God to work His Order His Justice in their Life.

B.Proper Lifestyle

RIGHT IS TAUGHT

In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17 year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices.

In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.” In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime and Human Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six. Christianity Today, August 16, 1993, p. 30.

Mom’s must teach God’s mishpat to them when they are young. Proper behavior is not a byproduct of environment, but the result of conscious choices made because of proper teaching in mishpat.

C.Proper Relationship

Mom’s can stand in the gap for their children to cloth them in robe of righteousness.

robe of righteousnessIn prophetic Vision, God’s Mishpat came to be expressed by the Nature of the Robe worn. Isaiah 61:10 is a good illustration of this.

(Isa 61:10)  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Only those who are in Right Relationship with God will enjoy God’s Mishpat. There must be a relationship with Him, and that relationship means your life has changed, you wear a Robe of Salvation. God has dealt justly with your Sin through the cross of Christ, You are now clothed with His Justice, New Garments. New Relationship. Born AGAIN!

God Delights in tsedaqa (righteousness)

God delights in tsedaqaWe use Righteousness to translate this word. The difference between mishpat and tsedaqa is that mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal. God’s justice becomes ingrained in our character. Tsedaqa begins in the internal and transforms the external. The justice of God in our heart becomes righteousness that transforms our lives and our environment. It is inner righteousness righteousness that prevails and causes us to outwardly triump!

  • Translated – Righteousness
  • It Is Right Behavior And Attitudes Based Upon A Right Relationship
  • Because Of Tsedaqa One Is Delivered And Triumphs
  • Conquering Righteousness In Action

“ṣedāqâ implies relationship. A man is righteous when he meets certain claims which another has on him in virtue of relationship”. It is that which “triumphs and prospers” deliverance, salvation or triumph — ṣedāqâ (reaches, relates, rewards– delivers, saves and causes to triumph) The word describes the attitude and actions God had and expected His people to maintain. He is unequivocally righteous;

More than ever Moms, our children need a Right Relationship with God. They need the Righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ, from giving their lives to Him. This world is getting sicker and sicker, and our children are under attack. Can you believe what England is telling parents? Will the US be far behind?

English Government encourages parents to NOT teach right and wrong Sex behavior

Parents should not teach their children the difference between right and wrong when it comes to sexual relationships, according to a new Government advice leaflet. By Lucy Cockcroft Last Updated: 3:29PM GMT 22 Feb 2009

Instead, a light and informal discussion is recommended, where moral values are not touched upon. The purpose of this approach, according to the leaflet, is to encourage openness and honesty. However, critics say that without suitable guidance, children will be left vulnerable when they are faced with making decisions about how to conduct a sexual relationship. The leaflet advises: “Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open.” It suggests parents could use the lives of celebrities as a way of introducing the topic and says they should choose informal moments, such as when watching TV, rather than sitting teenagers down for a “big talk”.

Mom’s know that God requires boundaries for our lives. They instinctively teach their children the Law of God.While every Mother loves their child, there are expectations, boundaries that Mom’s expect their children to abide by. A picture of this is in the following illustration:

Rufus Jones lost a son of eleven years who was all the world to him. He wrote many years later about the experience, concluding with this luminous parable of how his own heart was opened to God’s love:

“When my sorrow was at its most acute I was walking along a great city highway, when suddenly I saw a little child come out of a great gate, which swung to and fastened behind her. She wanted to go to her home behind the gate, but it would not open. She pounded in vain with her little fist. She rattled the gate. The she wailed as though her heart would break. The cry brought the mother. She caught the child in her arms and kissed away the tears. ‘Didn’t you know I would come? It’s all right now.’ All of a sudden I saw with my spirit that there was love behind my shut gate.”

Gate will always openA child may rebel and shut them off from a mother’s love. Just as we rebel and shut ourself from God’s love. But Mom’s let their children know that no matter how rebellious they are, Love will always be behind the gate. Mom will always be there to open the gate once the prodigal child comes home. Christ will always be there with arms outstretched. Our children need to know that they are never shut out from God’s Righteousness and Love. Jesus Christ is the one who opens the gate to our lives and allows us free access to our Holy God.

No matter the sin, our children need to grow up knowing that God delights in tsedaqa, and that He actively desires for the Righteousness of Christ to be ours. Mom’s you can teach your children that no matter how dark the road gets, there is a Righteousness that is available to them in Jesus Christ. It is a Righteousness that will deliver them from sin!

God Delights in Hesed (Lovingkindness):

God delights in hesed

  • Translated – Loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love
  • Active Force – doing, showing, keeping based on loyalty to a relationship
  • Three Integral Components:
    • Strength
    • Steadfastness
    • Love
  • The Active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure.

It is often used in reference to God’s specific, concrete acts of redemption in fulfillment of His promise. An example appears in Isa. 55:3: “… And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” There are three elements of God’s hesed. Take one away and His hesed is not complete. God shows hesed in His “strength,” in His “steadfastness,” and in His “love.”

In Hesed we find God’s Strength, Love and Steadfast Loyalty on Active and Continual Display. It is a Mother’s steadfast love for her children that best accomplishes God’s hesed on earth.

God Abounds in Hesed

God abounds in hesedGod’s Hesed (loving-kindness) is offered to His people, who need redemption from sin, enemies, and troubles. A recurrent refrain describing God’s nature is “abounding in ḥesed”

We find a beautiful portrait of God’s Hesed in the relationship of Ruth and Naomi.

naomi and ruth picture hesedIn Ruth 1:16-17, we see Naomi, an Israelite widow, decided to return to Israel after the death of her two sons in the land of Moab. Ruth, her widowed daughter-in-law, planned to go with her, even though Naomi warned her that there could be no expectation of marriage and children, but rather the bleak prospect of poverty. Still Ruth refused to leave Naomi.

Uttering one of the most moving pleas of hesed in the entire Bible, Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The L ord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” With that the two widows went back to Bethlehem.

Ruth’s hesed to Naomi resulted in God’s hesed to her, even though she was a Moabitess.

Boaz, married the young Ruth, and they gave birth to Obed, and Naomi served as the nurse. Referring to the child, the people of Bethlehem told Naomi, “And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him” (Ruth 4:15).

Ruth demonstrated hesed to Naomi and her God. Because of the relationship, she found the hesed of Boaz and God himself. Our Savior, is descended from Obed, the child of Ruth and Boaz. Obed was the grandfather of  David, the great shepherd king of Israel. Ruth is one of only three women named in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1.

The extraordinary efforts of mothers and fathers to save their children are unforgettable.

Mom demonstratees hesedBeichuan: The young woman buried beneath debris looked as if she performing an ancient ritual. The palms of her hands were placed flat on the ground and she was bent over. A rescuer cried out to her, but there was no reply. The rescue team was about to move on and look for more survivors, when the team captain returned to have one more look. He found a baby under her body. “A baby is still alive!” he said. The three- or four-month-old old baby was wrapped in a quilt. Uninjured, the baby was sleeping quietly. His sweet, chubby face brought some comfort to those around him at the disaster site. Holding the baby up, a mobile phone was revealed. On the phone’s screen, a text message read: “Dear baby, if you survive, please remember that I love you forever.” The rescuers, hardened by the horrors of the disaster zone, could not help crying.

Baby survives on dead mother’s breast Dujiangyan: Another three-month baby was discovered yesterday still suckling to her dead mother’s breast. When rescuers reached the infant, she breathed heavily while still sucking her dead mother’s nipple, completely unaware of the chaos around. Her soft, pink face was a strong contrast to her mother’s dust-covered breasts. “We lifted the baby very carefully. But as soon as we pulled her away from her mother’s breasts, the baby began to cry,” said Gong Jin, a doctor from Guangzhou who volunteered in Dujiangyan. “It is heartbreaking to imagine how a dying mother still tried to breast-feed her baby.” You can tell from the way the mother was positioned that she tried to protect her baby from being hurt. “Maybe she put her nipple into the baby’s lips at the last minute of her life.”

  • A Mother’s concerns are felt by her children, and those concerns and undying love do make a huge difference in children’s lives because:
  • A Mother’s love can heal a child miraculously when there is no hope medically!
  • A Mother’s love does open a child’s heart so the child is able to see the lower-energy that comes with harmful choices!
  • A Mother’s love sometimes is the only thing that opens a child’s heart so they can see themselves as a young person deserving self-respect.
  • A Mother’s Love “fixes” stuff that NO ONE else can fix!

Mother’s, you are touching your children with the very heart of God. Your love for your children has been chiseled from His very heart.

  • “As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.”
  • “Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares for a world she will not see.”
  • “A mother . . . fills a place so great that there isn’t an angel in heaven who wouldn’t be glad to give a bushel of diamonds to come down here and take her place.”

Mom’s Love is Powerful

Jerry McauleyIn 1866 an illiterate river thief by the name of Jerry McAuley was converted while serving a term in Sing Sing. Later he established Jerry McAuley ‘s Water Street Mission.

Jerry McAuley’s Mission was just one of those dingy little mission halls such as one often passes in the poorer parts of New York. But read Reverend S. Irenaeus Prince’s account of what happened when the founder of this humble mission died :

I was to conduct the funeral and went early to complete the arrangements. As I turned down from Fifth Avenue through Thirty-Fourth Street, I saw a vast multitude standing in the sunshine, filling the streets and the square in front of the tabernacle. Astonished at the spectacle, and wondering why they did not go in and take seats in the church, I soon found that the house was packed with people so that it was impossible for me to get within the door. Proclamation was made that the clergy who were to officiate were on the outside and a passage was made for them to enter in. What could be more impressive and expressive of the estimate set upon the man and his work ? There is no other Christian worker in the City who would have called out these uncounted thousands in a last tribute of love and honor of his memory. There are many instances of men being instantly healed of the disease of drunkenness in Jerry McAuley’s Mission, and of beastly characters being entirely transformed. From the standpoint of material science there was absolutely no hope for many of these men. From the physiological point of view their bodies were hopelessly impaired, from the psychological point of view their mental capacity had deteriorated to the zero point and their will power had been long destroyed. Yet some of these men, men who had committed all sorts of crimes, who had lived in the lowest phases of drunken degradation for many years, were enabled through the present day outworkings of this Mighty Power to live exemplary lives, to become useful and honored citizens.

Mothers all, give me your undivided attention. Some of the worst characters among the men who were transformed in Jerry McAuley’s Mission did not, from our limited human point of view, deserve to be transformed at all. Some of them went forward to the mercy seat, not for the prayers of the mission workers, as they pretended, but simply in hope of getting a meal or an old pair of shoes. Some of them freely admitted this afterwards. Mr. C. S. Hadley, author of Jerry McAidey’s Water Street Mission, who was converted in the old Water Street Mission and an active worker there for many years, says that these men were converted because they had praying mothers.

The Power of a Mother’s Prayer

Moms Prayers convert lost childrenMr. Hadley says, in effect: ‘*MANY MEN COME IN HERE AND GO AWAY UNTOUCHED. IT IS VERY HARD TO CONVERT A MAN WHO DID NOT HAVE A PRAYING MOTHER.”

This is a very significant statement because, underlying it, we discover an important principle, a silent, invisible, working principle of this Mighty Power. That is, prayer is cumulative. EVERY real prayer IS RECORDED SOMEWHERE EVEN THOUGH AT THE TIME OF ITS UTTERANCE THERE WAS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT IT HAD ANY EFFECT WHATEVER. Many things besides this statement of Mr. Hadley indicate this.

Mothers, isn’t it wonderful, unbelievable almost, that the prayers of these men’s mothers could not be erased; that all the evil, corroding powers of hell on earth could not destroy these prayers, so eternally were they etched in the invisible scroll of Life which records each answered petition to God?

Mother did everything she could think of for that boy. He was so cute when he was little and she loved him so I All through the day her heart was made glad by her boy’s glad play; she had such a time keeping him dry and warm and fairly clean and out of mischief and out of trouble, but this she did not mind at all. Yes, and she prayed for him too. Father would have thought it all nonsense, so she never said a word to him about it.

Mother didn’t know how to pray very well ; she had a secret fear of God ; then, too, there were the doubts which would creep in. Often she would be so tired at night that she would not try to pray at all. In fact it was only when the boy was sick, or after she had heard a particularly inspiring sermon, that she prayed. Even when she did pray there was often this fear of God in her heart ; but nevertheless, as best she could, she prayed.

When the boy began to go wrong Mother fairly agonized in prayer. Her poor, torn heart was now filled with doubt and fears; yes, and there was her wounded pride, too. Sometimes when she tried to pray she would find herself getting angry at the boy. Still, because it was her instinct, and because she did so love her boy, she continued her anguished petitions.

There were, of course, the times when she felt her soul flooded with peace, when she could pray on and on looking in blind faith to God and pouring out her mother’s loving, selfless heart for her boy. At such times she knew that her prayers were answered. But still the boy kept going from bad to worse. He would do better for a while, but it didn’t last long. Finally he married a splendid girl and spoiled her life too.

Father did all he could for the boy. Time after time he paid up all his debts; twice he started him in business. They sent the boy to the Keeley Institute and to expensive sanitariums. But it seemed that the forces of evil always prevailed. They erased, apparently, all the good there was in the boy. He got so he would make solemn promises to his mother, although knowing full well that he would break them. He did things that covered the family with shame and yet did not appear to care that it hurt Mother. Finally he left town under a cloud and was never heard from again.

Time went on and the boy became a greyheaded, besotted old sinner. The forces of evil had corroded his life until no one would have dreamed that he had had a praying mother. Yes, everything good had been erased from that man’s life — EVERYTHING EXCEPT THOSE ANSWERED PRAYERS OF MOTHER.

Mother had long since passed on to the Great Beyond ; but, etched so deeply into the scroll of his life that all the evil powers of hell on earth could not erase them, there still remained her answered petitions. Thus it was that the boy went into the mission hall that night and sat down with a lot of other drunken loafers. Finally he went forward and knelt at the mercy seat and there, with the selfless, loving prayer of faith being poured out for him by the mission workers, he contacted with God — IN AN INSTANT LIKE A GREAT FLASH OF LIGHTNING, ALL THE MUCK WAS SWEPT OUT OF HIS LIFE AND HE STOOD THERE CLEAN AND STRONG. And it was because mother had prayed.

MOM’s, never is a greater miracle than this is performed, than when your child, your grandchild is born again through Jesus Christ.

Miracles like this are happening all around us, all over the world. There is hope for this world because the miracle working power of Jesus Christ is still happening. The Love of Mom’s is still touching the hearts of their children. The prayers of every Mom are still at work even though they may be departed.

Moms need to prayMom’s take hold of this Mighty Power. Purpose to pray fervently for your children, your grandchildren. Never give up on the Power of Jesus Christ to transform lives.

Continue to seek after God, continue to show His Lovingkindness, His Justice, His Righteousness to those in your care. Your Love is chiseled from the very heart of God, therefore it is the most powerful force on this planet!

You yourself can use this Mighty Power. You can build the foundations of your little ones’ lives; Mother, you have this power and you must use it. It is into your hands, not man’s, that God has placed the destinies of the nations.

FATHER, THOU ART LOVE. THOU ART IN THE INSTINCT WHICH LEADS THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD TO THE PUREST WATER AND TO THE MOST NUTRITIOUS GRASSES. THOU ART IN THE INTELLIGENCE WHICH ENABLES MAN TO USE EACH GOOD THING FOR THE GOOD PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT WAS INTENDED. AND THOU DOST MANIFEST THY LOVING POWER IN THE LIFE OF THIS THY LITTLE ONE. THOU WILT ALWAYS BE HIS GUIDANCE IN SELECTION, WHEREBY HE SHALL TAKE UNTO HIMSELF THAT WHICH IS GOOD.”