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Sermon of the Week 
Sunday, April 30 2017

Scripture tells us that David encouraged himself in the Lord. Many of the Psalms were David's songs of self encouragement as he remembered God's goodness and faithfulness. So let's take a look at the subject of God's favor...

    Timmy’s mom was worried about her little five year old boy, because after walking with him, the first week of school, he insisted on walking to kindergarten with his little friend who lived next door. He wanted to be like the "big boys." Not wanting to disappoint him, she decided to have the Nanny, Mrs. Shirley Goodnest, to follow him to school, at a distance, so that he would not notice he was being shadowed, but close enough to intervene if necessary. Mrs. Shirley Goodnest was up early walking her own daughter to kindergarten anyway, So, the very next school day Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out to follow behind Timmy and his friend as he walked to school. As the boys walked and chatted, and kicked stones and anything else they could kick, Timmy's friend notice that a lady seemed to be following them every day. "Have you noticed that lady following us every day? Do you know her?" he asked Timmy. "Yea, I know who she is," Timmy replied "Well who is she?"…."That's just Shirley Goodnest," Timmy said…."Shirley Goodnest? Who is she? Why is she following us?" …"Well," Timmy explained, "Every night Mom reads me the 23rd Psalm 'cuz she worries about me so much. And that Psalm says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life,' so I guess we'll just have to get used to it." (that's what happens when you read with a heavy southern accent)                                                                                    

In many of the Bible accounts, there were those who were given favor in adverse situations...and Shirley Goodnest followed them....

    We read in Genesis 39:21  And the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

    The bible says when it was time for the Jews to leave Egypt, in Exodus 12:36  And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians,     so that they gave unto them such things as they required. And they emptied out the treasures of Egypt.

God’s Grace is about receiving everything that we never deserved… in ourselves we could never be good enough, righteous enough, or deserving enough…

    We all need to come to the truth that…..

Our sin is never greater than His Grace

Our mistakes are never greater than His Favor

Our stupidity is never greater than His Love

Our entire past is never greater than His Power! 

    2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for You, for my strength is made perfect in your weaknesses….                                                          

    Favor is clearly seen when a person is chosen for a position they are not naturally qualified for, especially when there are others that are far more qualified than they are. David, for all appearance, was the most unqualified person in his family, but God passed over all the others to choose him.                              

    We can consider favor as the open door of “opportunity” and grace as the “ability” to get the job done once you’ve gone through the open door.

Many folks are praying for grace when they need favor, for an  open door of opportunity… (That’s when you already have the gifting to do the job, but lack the opportunity to act on it). Grace is God's ability resting on you, to do what you could not do, in and by yourself. 

There is no limit to what God’s Favor, when combined with His Grace,               can do in your life!

    Whenever Jesus showed up….opportunities for the impossible to         become possible, showed up with Him…. The bible says that everywhere Jesus went, He was doing good… (He walked through open doors of favor          with abilities which flowed from God’s grace).

    In Zechariah 4: 6-7 we read the powerful verses "Not by might not by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."…"Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain (a level place)    and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shouting’s, crying grace, grace unto it."

    In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, Favor had already been given to the two captive tribes of Israelites by the Persian kings which provided an open door which allowed them to go back to rebuild the broken down walls and restore the temple. The only problem was the amount of resistance coming against them by the enemies from the north. (as seen in the book of Ezra). They were discouraged. The job was not getting done. The mountain that Zerubbabel mentioned was the pile of rubble that once was the old temple. He declared that it be leveled and out of the way so the new temple could be built. 

    He didn't shout favor to it because opportunity had already been given, he shouted grace, grace. The Lord knew his people couldn't accomplish the task without His help, and His ability coming on and through them.

    We can see the difference between grace and favor quite clearly in the       life of Joseph. Even in the midst of pain and heartache favor was given to        him at every turn. Once the favor (or opportunity) was given Joseph, he          then operated in the ability or (grace) to get the job done. Being in the pit,                      in Potiphar’s house or in prison, could not stop the favor and grace of God      from operating in his life! 

Tell someone, “I’m breaking through with the favor and grace of God”

    Most of the books in the new testament have some form of the            blessing “grace to you or grace upon you, or grace be with you.”                                                                  This isn’t just a nice greeting or salutation. The writers of the New     Testament, knew that the people of God, needed God's grace, His (ability),        in order to accomplish what they could never do in themselves.                                           

    It is in the area of feeling unworthy or unqualified, that Satan does his most effective work in keeping us below our God given privileges....

    When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay            for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent          and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage,             can win no prize, and deserves no award, yet that person receives such a gift anyway .....-that is a good picture of God’s unmerited grace and favor.                                                              

    The Psalmist says, in Proverbs 12:2  A good man obtains  the favor of the LORD…. The word obtain, is nef-ak'.... (to cause, to secure, to acquire) the favor of the Lord..... This is different than just stumbling into something..

This indicates that there are things we can do to position ourselves, to “aquire” and continue to experience God’s favor!

    1.  It’s true In Salvation….Psalms 106:4 Remember me, O LORD, with   the favor that You bring unto your people: O visit me (paw-kad'..continue    to give oversight to me) with Your salvation. (God brings about the  opportunity for Salvation through His favor, then gives the ability to experience salvation through Grace, that we might be saved, and receive the inheritance of the redeemed)

Salvation, also involves the process known as conversion…which is the transforming of our mind, and our character as we renew our thought life by the word of God.

    2. We position ourselves for favor by abiding in the presence of God….      

Moses said, in Exodus 33:13  Now therefore, I pray, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me Your way, that I may know You, that I may find grace in Your sight: and consider that this nation is Your people. v.14  And He said, My presence shall go with You, and I will give you rest. v.15  And Moses said unto Him, If Your presence does not go with me, then do not ask that I go. (Moses knew that grace operated  most effectively, in the place of favor).

    3. Favor is about benefiting the lives of others…                               Genesis 18:3 And Abraham said, My Lord, if now I have found favor                  (given the opportunity) in your sight, do not depart, v.4  but, let a little       water, I pray you, be fetched, to wash your feet, and rest yourselves here                  in the shade. v.5  And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and so comfort your hearts, and after that you shall pass on, since you have given this                  opportunity to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said.                    (Abraham was given  the opportunity to minister to angels as he seized                   the favor given to him so he could minister in the power of grace).

So as favor comes, we ask how we can minister in grace for that situation.

    4. Favor is about the fingerprint of God on our lives….                                                                      1 Samuel 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and let         none of his words fall to the ground. v.20  And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.     

    (every one of us have the finger print of God etched on our lives… it is     important to find out how your calling and gifting have predisposed and predestined your life. His DNA is imbedded in our destiny!

    Jesus said, in John 14:3  I go and prepare a place for you, and I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, you may be also. The grace gifts in our lives will make a place for us as God’s favor opens the doors of opportunity. 

Our strongest consistant anointing will always rest upon our giftedness.        

    5. Favor is about mantaining your joy…..                                               Proverbs 16:15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his               favor is as a refreshing cloud of the latter rain. 19:12….The king's favor is       as dew which settles upon the grass. (the word refresh that is found here is “ep-ee-mel'-i-ah” and it means to guard, maintain and protect your joy… 

GUARD YOUR JOY, so you will experience His favor! 

    The chairman of the pastoral search committee, said as he made his announcement to the congregation: "Next Sunday our visiting preacher                        will be the Rev. Bill Oaks. If any of you would like to see some of the other preachers which we have, interviewed, you will find them hanging in the vestibule." 

(Now that is a tough interview!)                                                                                   

    The biblical year of Jubilee, is referred to as “the year of the favor of the Lord”…but it’s more than a certain time frame of 7 years… or 50 years in the case of the great Jubilee,… it’s a prophetic season where God’s favor, and God’s grace is available to mankind….In Jesus, God is making a declaration that it is always the right season for …a new day and a new start, it's a time of fresh beginnings. 

The Holy Spirit knows how to teach an old dog new tricks!!!

    Look with me, at 10 Blessings that come with God’s FAVOR,                    (When God brings a season of open doors )  

    1. Favor produces supernatural opportunities for increase and promotion                              

Genesis 39:21 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; while he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. v.3  And Potipher saw that the favor of the LORD was with him, and the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

    2. Favor brings restoration of everything the enemy has stolen….          Exodus 3:20 And I will stretch out my hand, with all my wonders which I will do in the midst of Egypt, that he may let you go. v.21  And I will give my people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, you shall not go empty v.22 You shall leave with the spoils of Egypt, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters.

    3. Favor brings honor in the face of the adversary…                                                       Exodus 11:3  And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. So that the man Moses was greatly revered in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of all the people.. Truly with God all things work together for good!...

    4. Favor produces expansion of what you have.. 

Deuteronomy 33:23  And the Lord spoke through Moses concerning Naphtali and said, “Be satisfied with favor, and be full with the blessings of the LORD: You shall possess that which is from the west and towards the south and you shall be increased. (the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, and He gives it to whomsoever He wills)

    5. Favor gives great victories even against impossible odds…       

Joshua 6:20 So the people shouted as the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up and they took the city.

With favor, Elijah supernaturally defeated the prophets of Baal on Carmel… 

Samson shook himself and the power of God came on him for mighty deeds

Gideon defeated 300,000 Midianites with 300 men…. 

Tell someone, (now it’s your turn!)

    6. Favor renews and sustains, when others are diminishing….                             At 85 years of age, we hear from brother Caleb…                                                 Joshua 14:11  I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. v.12  Now therefore give me this mountain, *…the cities were great and fenced: if the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. v.13  And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, Hebron for an inheritance. (favor is no respecter of age, gender or station in life)

    7. Favor produces prominence and preferential treatment…                      Esther 7:2  And the king said unto Esther, “what is your petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted you and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. v.3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, My Lord, If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please you, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. 

    8. Favor will give access to the highest court of heaven….                                Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 12:2 We look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand (place of favor) at the throne of God.

    9. Favor will change rules, regulations, even laws if necessary to your advantage…. 

Daniel 2:21  For He changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and sets up kings: He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: v.22  He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him…

    Through favor, the sun went backward 10 degrees on Hezekiah’s sundial

The daylight stayed in place so Joshua could have time to win the battle…                                                                           A path was made through the Red sea waters…

A prophet’s borrowed axe head floated after it was lost.... 

Water was turned into wine at the marriage feast…

Peter walked on the sea in stormy waters…

10 lepers were made to sound like an army as they walked on sand….

He who made the natural laws is able to suspend them by His favor!

    10. Favor wins battles you do not even have to fight because God will fight them for you…                                                                                       Jeremiah 1:19  And they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you…       Jeremiah 15:20  And I will make you to be unto this people as a strong fence and a brazen wall: and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with You to save you and to deliver you, says the LORD v.21 And I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the destroyer.

    In the book of Luke 5:1-7, Peter had fished all night and couldn’t catch a single fish, He and the others with him were tired, discouraged and down- right frustrated. They were throwing in the towel, washing and mending the nets, so they could go home….and Jesus showed up… Jesus told them something they probably didn’t want to hear, because their minds were set on calling it quits. He said “go back out a little ways, and try again”… I can almost hear the groans and complaining”, but thank God they said…          

    “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”. Our nevertheless, causes a transition from empty to full, from impossible to possible, from not enough to more than enough...

    The difference was, that favor and grace showed up… Favor presented a new opportunity, and grace provided the ability to do what they hadn’t been able to do before! 

I can do all things through the God of Favor and Grace, who strengthens me!!

Pray with me today…..

Thank You Father for the Precious Gift of Jesus, who is my Jubilee! Today I declare and decree that THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE ESPECIALLY FOR ME! I will rejoice and be exceeding glad in it. TODAY I AM REDEEMED IN YOUR SIGHT PREGNANT WITH MY BLESSINGS, BENEFITS AND BREAKTHROUGHS! TODAY, I expect many Great and Wonderful Things to happen in my life because my expectation and hope is of the Lord and it shall not be cut off! TODAY IS THE DAY OF FULL SALVATION!

    TODAY IS MY DAY OF GRACE AND FAVOR! TODAY, MY VOICE IS HEARD ON HIGH! TODAY, MY PRAYER IS ANSWERED! TODAY, MY DESIRE IS GRANTED! TODAY MY DREAM COMES TRUE! TODAY, MY DESTINY IS BEING FULFILLED!

TODAY, this very moment, RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW, is the HOUR OF MY MANIFESTATION and THE HOUR OF MY REVELATION! TODAY, LORD, YOU HAVE FAVOURED ME WITH THE BLESSING OF YOUR GOODNESS! AND I AM OVERFLOWING AND FILLED WITH ABUNDANCE. 

    TODAY I AM BOUNTIFULLY BLESSED TO BE A GREAT BLESSING TO OTHERS!     THIS DAY, THE LORD HAS ANOINTED MY HEAD WITH HIS FRESH HEAVENLY, OIL OF FAVOR! THE BLOOD OF HIS FAVOR IS LIKE A SHIELD SURROUNDING MY LIFE! I DECLARE AND DECREE THAT I AM NOW AN ANOINTED CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH!        I WILL NOT BOW DOWN IN SHAME, IN DEFEAT OR DISAPPOINTMENT FOR THE LORD IS MY SHIELD, MY SURROUNDER, HE IS THE GLORY AND LIFTER OF MY HEAD!

TODAY, I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE GOD AND HIS UNFAILING WORD! TODAY, I CHOOSE LIFE THAT IS FREE FROM THE CURSE… 

    TODAY, I CHOOSE TO LIVE THE OVERFLOWING, OVERCOMING, OVERWHELMING AND OVERTAKING ABUNDANT LIFE OF ALMIGHTY GOD!

I receive the Grace to live a holy, righteous and blameless life before Him!

I receive the Favor that will make me the head and not the tail of every situation! I receive the Grace to heal the sick, and perform signs and wonders and miracles! I receive the Grace to be clothed and anointed with wisdom, knowledge, honor, riches, and strength. TODAY, I CHOOSE TO REACH OUT and touch others through His favor and grace. 

    TODAY, I WILL ABIDE IN UNBROKEN FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION WITH THE HEAVENLY KING OF KINGS! TODAY, I WILL REIGN OVER SATAN, SIN SICKNESS AND SORROW! TODAY, I WILL REIGN OVER EVERY CONTRARY CIRCUMSTANCE IN MY LIFE IN THE NAME OF JESUS. TODAY, I WILL CONSCIOUSLY MAKE BOLD WITHDRAWALS FROM THE STOREHOUSE OF ALMIGHTY GOD, SUFFICIENT TO MEET ALL MY NEEDS AND THAT OF HUMANITY AROUND ME! I DECLARE THAT I WILL OWE NO MAN ANYTHING BUT TO LOVE THEM WITH THE LOVE OF GOD!

I DECLARE THAT I WILL NEVER NEED TO BEG OR BORROW BUT WITH THE FAVOR OF GOD UPON ME AND THE ABUNDANT FAVOR OF ALMIGHTY GOD DEPOSITED IN MY HEART I CAN FREELY BLESS EVERYONE I MEET! WITH BOLDNESS THAT COMES FROM FAITH IN GOD, I SAY “AMEN! AND AMEN”! LET IT BE DONE IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: AT 11:31 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 18 2017

On this Sunday when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus or the "Getting Up"..... I want us to reflect on how this event impacted all of our lives.....individually and collectively. I challenge you to discover new truth in the timeless message of Easter...

     Before Jesus "Got Up" from the womb of Mary, where the divine seed of God was deposited.... We tend to think of the terms B.C (before Christ) and A.D. (after Christ).... but the truth be known, there is no B.C. because there is no time where there was no Jesus.... He was before anything that was made....He is the beginning and He will be at the end.... He is timeless, eternal, and it is in Him that all things exist. 

While it is true that He became the son of God, when the physical body began to form in the womb of mary, from a single cell...we also know that He was God the Word, The Second person of the Trinity, before He was the Son of Man.... and the Son of God....

Knowing that there was no time when He did not exist, means that there is no time when He is not close to any one of us....

    Jesus was born in a stable in a remote part of the world that was undeveloped, remote and insignificant....He lived a humble life as a carpenter's son in a small village, yet He rose to become one of the most important men in all of history. He got up, from an obscure *.....beginning, and a place which the bible actually says John 1:46  "Can there be anything good that comes out of Nazareth? ....

    When you feel that you just can't get there from where you are.... remember, He got up so you could get up also!!! If you've fallen, you can get up! Failure and falling short, doesn’t have to be a hitching post that you're tied to, it's only a guide post that you can learn from, and get up from...

    Jacob's wife Rachael died in childbirth, and Jacob was traumatized by the death of the woman he loved so dearly....but instead of naming the child..."son of my sorrow"....He named him "Benjamin"...The strength of my right arm.... 

    Jacob's name meant deceiver and usurper (can you picture his teacher giving the roll call at school and asking if the deceiver and usurper was present?).... But God changed his name to Israel, which means "Prince who prevailed with God"....

    Abraham's given name was Abram...which meant "Father" but God had something bigger planned so He changed it to Abraham, meaning "Father of nations".....God knows how to bring you up.....

    Jesus Got up from obscurity, and what seemed to be a dead end life, in a small village of Gallilee.... so that every one of those who believe in Him, no longer have to accept anything less than all He has planned and all He knew that He had for us from the day we were born!                                                                                        

    Your God given strength is the marker of your destiny....                                                         Peter's strength was his great courage and Jesus named him the Rock.... Moses strength was his meekness (meekness is strength under control).... Abraham's strength was his faith, and he is called the father of the faith....David's strength was His heart after God, and he was called the friend of God.....All of these men failed and fell...but their God given area of strength got them up and kept them going....                                                                                     

    Unguarded, undisciplined and divided strength can be our greatest source of weakness!

     A children's church teacher was teaching the children about the benifit of having a family. She happened to ask the group if they could remember a scripture which had to do with marriage... One child raised his hand and said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".

(Ignorance is not bliss)

    There’s a huge difference between saying "I can do it", or saying "I can do all things thru Christ"!

    Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

    Larry and Lorie were getting up in years, and Lorie got Alzheimer’s. It began gradually, but eventually she was lost in it's grip…nothing she said made sense. More and more, Larry had to do everything for her. Then one day, sitting in their living room, she miraculously stepped out of her illness for a moment and looked at him and said, “do you still want me?” He said “it broke his heart! And he ran to her and said, O, cup cake, of course I want you…the greatest privilege of my life is caring for you!” Then she smiled…and just as quickly as she stepped out of her illness, she slipped back in again… 

    Let me read you a poem written by a person with Alzheimers.....                             "Do not ask me to remember, don't try to make me understand. Just let me rest and know you're with me. Kiss my cheek and hold my hand. I'm confused beyond understanding, I am sick and sad and lost. All I know is that I need you to be there with me, at all cost. Do not lose your patience with me, do not scold or curse or cry. I can't help the way I'm behaving, I can't be different if I tried. Just remember that I need you, even though the best of me is gone, please be always there beside me, love me till this thing is gone"..... 

You may feel like you’ve out lived your usefulness!…and maybe you've even asked God, "Do you still want me, can you still use me"...but no matter what you’ve done or what your condition…God still has a wonderful plan for your life! How do I know that? You’re still breathing, so there's still hope, let your strength arise! God loves us just like we are, but He loves us enough to not leave us that way.....He still wants us to be all we can be, to be blessed, to be an instrument of His love and care, and bring second chances to as many as possible!                                                                                

    When I was a teen, I decided that I would be a good roller skater....  I wanted to jump up in the air and do a 360 spin, I wanted to skate backward  and do some of the moves a figure skater made.                                                   

   I jumped and fell, I would spin and fall, I went backwards and fell, I tried other things and I fell, but I kept getting up and falling, until I figured out why I was falling and I began to fall less and less.....I was well aquainted with the floor before I was able to stay up on my skates....But I kept getting up!

    Proverbs 24:16, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again”. (I think that was my theme song)!

    Satan’s goal is not only for you to fall, but for you to stay down…Jesus got up so we could get up!!!

    On one occasion the sceptics and the doubters confronted Jesus about the issue of where He got His authority..... Jesus answered in ...               

    Mark 2:9-12 "Is it easier to say to this lame man, 'Your sins are forgiven'? Or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. Then Jesus spoke to the man who could not walk. "I tell you," he said, "get up. Take your mat and go home."The man got up and took his mat. Then he walked away while everyone watched. All the people were amazed. They praised God and said, "We have never seen anything like this!" 

People were watching to see what would happen....they are watching to see if we are going to get up, or allow the wall we have run into, or the pit we've fallen into, to keep us down.                                                                             

    I have quoted the words of Jeremiah 29:11 so many times to encourage myself in the Lord.... "For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

    Satan wanted to sift Peter to condemn him and he thought he had him, as he warmed himself by the devil's fire, denied Jesus, cursed the memory of Him, and later went back to fishing....Jesus knew Peter's Failure, but He knew his faith and inner conviction, and He knew his future....Jesus got up so Peter could get up and preach a message that would bring 3000 to Christ, his shadow would heal sick folks, he would write part of the bible, and he would be part of spreading the gospel around the world!

Peter's message to all of us today, is You’ve Fallen…But You CAN Get Up!

   This is illustrated in the story of Mark 5:38 And Jesus came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw the tumult, and all those that wept and wailed greatly. v39 And when He had come in, He said unto them, Why do you make all this fuss, and all this weeping? The young girl  is not dead, but only sleeps. v40 And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and the mother of the girl, and those that were with him, and entered in where the girl was lying. v41  And He took her by the hand, and said unto her, "Talitha cumi"... which being interpreted is, "Daughter, I say unto you, get up". 

    Sometimes Satan will come against us with the hardest blow of all, and something we treasure, something we hold dear dies..... it might be a dream, it might be an expectation, a relationship or something that is a part of us.... For Jairus, when that something died, he did what we all should do....He looked to see where Jesus was in all of this....Friend, you can't do any better than getting Jesus into the situation!

    A teacher asked the kids to pray as they sat in a circle. Each one took a turn and when they got to one little boy he said, "Dear God, we had a good time at church today. Wish you could have been here." 

Where Jesus is, LIFE IS, HOPE IS, A NEW BEGINNING IS!!!

He is speaking to us today, the same words this father and the daughter heard, when hope was gone.....GET UP!!!

    1 Corinthians 15:55 "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? 56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57) But thanks be to God, who always gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

    When our "get up and go has got up and went", we need to hear those words, we need to experience the power of them.....

Jesus didn't open the tomb so He could get out, He opened it so we could get up!!!

    Satan uses guilt, shame and our own pride to keep us down much longer than we should and could be. And he has been especially effective with a certain group of folks in the church. Bin Gossiping, Bin Critical, Bin Absent, Bin Compromising and Bin Sour. Bin Sleepin, Bin Loafin, and Bin Drinkin have repented and made a turn around, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Bin Praying, Bin Witnessing, Bin Teaching and Bin living it!!!

    In the midst of Paul's battle with his flesh, Jesus appeared to him and said in 2 Corinthians 12:9  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness". 

    It makes it easier to get up when you remember what the Lord did the last time you were down and out. It's easier to get up when you start remembering how God brought you out and brought you through that last mess you found yourself in. It is easier to get up when you start remembering that you didn’t have enough money to pay your mortgage, but somehow God found a way; when the cupboard bare and the refrigerator was empty and God put food on your table.                                                              

    It’s easier to get up when you start to remember his promises to you: I will be with you…I will not leave you, nor forsake you…I am the bread of life…I am living water…I am your rock in a weary land…I am Jehovah Jirah, your provider.....

    Romans 8:11 "But if the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you". 

    When Jesus got up on Easter morning, He didn't go to heaven, He went to Hell and took the keys of death, hell and the grave... Then He announced His victory to all those who were held in the place of the righteous dead, and said "Get Up".... Oh...they had waited mellenia for those words, and having given the announcement,  then Jesus led a processional to heaven with the old testament faithful in the parade. 

He went to hell because He wasn't willing to go to heaven without us!

    Ephesians puts it this way! Ephesians 4:8 "Wherefore He said, when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. V9  (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? v10  For He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things". 

    Then we see Colossians 2:15 "And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it".     

    Without the open tomb, the empty cross would lose it's power, and be nothing more than a talisman worn on a gold chain around someone's neck. But we not only look to the cross, we look through the cross at what validates it, and brings it's redemptive power down through the ages to each of us. The power of the cross is the living Lord who ever lives to present it's claims to every demon of hell, every bondage and addiction, every sickness and every sin. He places it's finished work in the very face of Satan and He must tremble and flee before it!

    Because He got up, you and I are much more than what you see on the outside....We're not who we used to be...we don't live where we used to live, and we don't do what we used to do.....

    The angels on resurrection morning asked the disciples "Why do you seek the living among the dead"? If He had not gotten up, we would be lost, if He had not gotten up, we would be in our sin, if He had not gotten up we would have no forgiveness, only the condemning and accusing rigidity of the law.. If He had not gotten up we would be without hope and without purpose...

    When you've gotten so low, that you feel that all you have is Jesus, You have enough!!!!                                                                                                                  

    Bill and Gloria wrote those words....Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds my future. My life is worth the living just because He lives!

    When someone asks you how you can live a Christian life when so many turn against you… it's because He got up. When they ask you how you can smile in the midst of the pain tell them…because He got up. When they ask you how you are able to keep on going when so much goes wrong, tell them…because He got up! When it looks like all hope is gone you can tell them you’re going to be okay…...because He got up!

    Paul says in 1Corinthians 15:14 "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain". But thank God he doesn't stop there....1Corinthians 15:20 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become our firstfruits....v25 For He must reign, till he has put all enemies under His feet. 

    The crowds around the cross mocked and said "If you really are the Christ, then come down from the cross and save yourself".... But Jesus knew that if He had come down, then He would never have been able to Get us Up!!!

    The world calls out for us to come down from the walk of faith, come down from the Christ centered life, come down from the life of scriptural discipline and live for the flesh.... 

    Listen friend, we've all gotten knocked down, but we get up again, because Jesus lives in us and you can't keep Him down, and if He is in us, you can’t keep us down either. - 

    You can choose to blow up, give up, get hung up, freeze up, break up, mess up, hold up, shoot up, rust up, or be washed up....but He got up so you could GET UP!!!

    The chorus of a song by Lee Ann Womack says "Get up, get up in Jesus' name, The Lord is calling daily to those who would be saved. Don't go down defeated while victory's here to claim. Get up, get up, get up, in Jesus' name"                                                                                            Overcomers may fail…but they try again. Overcomers may get knocked down…but they get back up.  Overcomers may lose the battle…but they win the war. Overcomers may suffer some set backs…but they rise up and recover everything they've lost. The Bible does not call us survivors, it calls us overcomers. The Bible does not call us just a conquer…but it calls us more than a conquer.                                                                                               

     The old timers used to talk about what they called "The great gitt'n up morning" And I remember that Jesus said:… if I be lifted UP from the earth…I’ll draw all men unto me…They tried to ignore Him, they tried to silence Him, They beat Him and crucified Him, then they buried Him,  but early, on that great getting UP Sunday morning…Jesus rose… he got UP from the grave  and said ALL POWER  is in my hand…and because he got up on that day…You and I can experience that great getting UP morning…                                                                                                                    

    The bible says that one day soon, Jesus Christ will come back to this earth with a shout ….the voice of an archangel and the trump of God and the dead in Christ will rise UP…then we who are still alive will be changed in a moment the twinkling of an eye and will be caught UP in the clouds to meet Him in the air… Tell someone, "Keep getting up, and keep going up!!"      

    The world can't keep you down, The devil can't keep you down, and your situation and circumstances can't keep you down! (turn to someone and say "look out, I'm getting ready to get up"!!!)                                                        

    I close with a poem which says....Let the heavens be joyful, Let earth her song begin. Let the round world be triumphant, And all that is therein. Let all things seen and unseen, with their notes of gladness blend. For Christ the Lord has risen, and our Joy now has no end.                              Hallelujah, He got up so we can get up!!!!

    Prayer....."Lord Jesus, on Good Friday, things looked like it was all out of control, but You saw the end from the beginning, and what we could not see was safely hidden in You. The mystery that was veiled was torn open for all to see and enter into. In like manner, Lord of New Beginnings, may that which seems disquised  in a shroud of chaos and confusion, be the new beginning our nation has hoped, believed and prayed for. Lord, you choose the messengers who bring forth Your new day.                                                           

    Lord, may we not be so focused on the messengers, that we miss the message, and allow a time which will difine history and the future, to pass unnoticed and unappreciated. The fear mongers shall not hold back the light that pierces the darkness and the dawn of this new day shall break forth in power and splendor. Thank You Lord for a new day in our Country and in our World. "For the governments shall be upon Your shoulders, and of Your Kingdom there shall be no end"!!!! Hallelujah!

 

 

Posted by: AT 06:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 13 2017

                                                                                          

    We're going to pick up where we left off last Sunday, but since it's Palm Sunday (which fits in perfectly with the praise theme) In the second part of this message, we're dealing with "The Praise Parade".                                                                                                                                           

    Today's message begins as Jesus and the disciples make their journey to Jerusalem for Passover. They stopped in Bethany which was on their way, and they enjoyed dinner with Mary, Martha and Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. Passover was 6 days away. After spending the night there, they continued on the Roman road to where the donkey's colt was tied up in Bethpage, they brought the colt to Jesus, so Jesus could ride down the descent of the Mount of olives, across the Kidron Valley and through the Golden Gate which in the Hebrew is called the Gate of Mercy. It was the gate which goes eastward and into the temple court. (the same gate Jesus will enter when he returns to this earth)                                                                                                                         

    Since the Gallilean calendar was different than the Judean calendar, Jesus ended up celebrating Passover with the disciples on Thursday (we know this as the last supper), but the Judeans offered the passover lamb on Friday, which allowed Jesus to perfectly fulfill the prophecy by being the Passover lamb, which God offered for our sins. There is a 6 hour overlap between the two times observed. You see, the Gallilean *.....day begins at sunrise, but the Judean day begins at sunset, which allowed Jesus to have passover the day before the Judean Passover, on Thursday, where He said to them, this is my body and this is my blood. Then it allowed him to be crucified at exactly the time the Judeans were sacrificing their Passover lamb on Friday.                                                                                            

    Passover is a celebration of the liberation from bondage! It marks the event of leaving the oppression of Egypt behind and following the glory and presence of God. It was deeply embedded in their history and was a part of the journey which God had started them on as they looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. What they had hoped for generations...Since the word came to Adam that his seed would crush the head of Satan, and the covenant went forth to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and on to Joseph and Mary. Freedom had seemed like an illusive butterfly.. 

    The triumphant entry of Jesus, fortold the time when prophecy would be fulfilled and the true King of the earth would enter to reign....Palm Sunday is the celebration of our hope and faith in  the King who has come to set us free from things that would hold us bondage and who brings Liberty and freedom. Folks had heard the news that Jesus was journeying from Bethany towards Jerusalem, and they knew the words of Zechariah, Those Old Covenant words were well rehersed by every Jewish person.... and they began to throng their way to the Holy City. It is estimated that approximately 120,000 had gathered for the Passover. 

     Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey. v10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 

It was an exhuberant Parade of Praise which met the disciples and Jesus....        I like Mark's account of the happenings on that day....                                                                         

    Mark 11:1-11 "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them,“Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ “ They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!                                                                                                                                                                

    And now He was right there in front of them. They fully expected Him to launch His kingdom by overthrowing the Romans and driving them out at that time, But their expectations although true, would be accomplished on their time line, but by the Holy Spirit working through each individual believer, as a personal liberator available to all mankind. The Passover message had to be shared with the whole earth so that everyone possible could be part of the "Parade of Praise" to the Lord. How easy it is to have what we've longed for and yearned for to be right in front of us, and yet miss His ways  and His timing, because we saw it through the eyes and ears of the flesh and not the Spirit....

     A little boy named Johnny couldn't wait to go to church to find out what Palm Sunday was. He had been going to church all of his little life, and had heard about Jesus week after week. But sadly, as eager as he was to find out about Palm Sunday, Johnny came down with the flue. He told his parents to go to church and when they got home they could tell him about it. So they hired a baby-sitter to take care of him *.....while they went to church. When they came home holding palm leaves, Johnny asked, "What are the palm leaves for?" His mom told him, "Well, you see, when Jesus came to town, riding on a donkey,  people were eager to greet Him and they waved palm leaves at him in respect." Johnny looked upset and said, "Wouldn't ya know? The day I'm not in church, and Jesus shows up and they had donkey rides!"                                                                                        

  Philip Brewer wrote "God uses where you are, to take you where you never could have gone. God uses what you can do to accomplish what you never could have done. God uses who you are so you can become who you never could have been.

    A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. As he read, She would reach up and touch his wrinkled cheek. Finally she asked, “Grandpa, did God make you?”“Yes, sweetheart, God made me a long time ago,”he answered her. Then she rubbed her own face and asked, “grandpa, did God make me too?”“Yes, honey, He sure did. God made you just a short time ago.” She rubbed his face and then her own and said, "Grandpa, God’s getting a lot better at it, isn’t he?”

    Psalm 100:3 "...we are His people." Acts 17:28 "For in Him (in God) we live, and move, and have our being, for we are His offspring." 

    The Praise Zone is intentional.....

The spiritual believer is a person, who through a determination of the will, has trained their spiritual senses, to see the hand of God in all the things around them. It takes time, effort and determination to stop our minds from dwelling on the negative and sing His praises, when the world wants us to sing about everything else. Jesus said that if we do not praise Him, the stones will cry out! So, remember that if you keep holding back on your praise, God can replace you with a rock! 

    He's the same yesterday, today and forever, He never changes but there are some things that need to change, like some really weird laws that still remain on the books. For example: In Kentucky, it is still against the law for a person not to take a bath at least once a year. In Massachusetts, it remains against the law to put tomatoes in clam chowder. In Phoenix, Arizona it is still illegal to walk through a hotel lobby with spurs on.                                                                                                                                 

    Aren't you grateful that God's truth is never outdated or out of style. What was true for past generations, is truth for every generation. What worked for past generations, works today and for future generations as well. God's promises extend to every generation. Today, you can make your own personal commitment to live your life from this day forward, in the Praise Zone.                                                                                      

    The bible is a book that promotes walking the talk, not just talking the walk... God is looking for people that won't just talk praise, but will live in the praise zone! Martin Luther once introduced a guest speaker by saying, "What we believe, he lives" and with that Luther sat down. What greater intro could anyone receive? "What we believe, he lives".

    Look at what happens when we live in the praise zone!

    Our Praise Declares Who God Is....Psalm 100:5, "For the LORD is good." In all of life, we can be sure of this one thing, the Lord is good. The fact that God is good, means that He is kind, He is gracious and He is generous. We never need doubt God's goodness. We may not understand the things God brings or allows into our lives, but we must always know that it is for our ultimate good. Whatever God does is perfectly timed and ultimately and absolutely the very best for us! We may question the means He uses, but we can always praise Him for the outcome because it will be what He sees as best. !                                                                                                          

    When we praise, we elevate our attitude and cause our focus to be upon God and His power, and not on our problems! In this place of praise, God's Spirit affirms to us that He is bigger than our problems and pain. God is so big, He can even use our suffering, pain and problems to accomplish His own purpose in our lives! 

    The Praise Zone humbles us. Pride has a hard time bowing. Our Ego and our praise to God will sometimes clash. Jesus humbled himself that He might do the will of the Father. He rode on a lowly donkey to remind us that when we humble ourselves God will exalt us in due season. Praise to God keeps ego in check and brings pride into proper perspective.When we begin to praise God, we get ourselves out of the picture and we begin to see what we didn't see before...                                                                          

    Praise changes our perspective....                                                                                                                                       A man bought a classic 1979 pontiac and when he drove it to the store to get different flavors of ice cream, it was all fine until he bought vanilla. Then the car wouldn't start. He complained to the dealership, who wouldn't take him seriously. But finally, he got a technician to come check and go with him to the store. The first time, they bought chocolate and the car started fine. The next trip he bought strawberry and the car started fine. The next trip, he bought vanilla and the car wouldn't start. They did this several times and each time he bought vanilla, the car wouldn't start. Finally the technician went in the store to locate the icecream, and found that all the other flavors were at the back of the store, but the vanilla was right inside the entrance. He realized that the problem was not about the ice cream, but was about vapor lock. With the vanilla just inside the door, the engine didn't have a chance to cool down, so vapor lock was preventing it from starting.                                                                                                             Often we are too attached to what we think is the problem, to see the solution...                                    Sometimes we have to eleminate some things for other things to begin to appear...   you have to close some doors before other doors will open.                                                          

    If you praise superficial things, your life will become superficial. If you praise perverted things, your life will become perverted. If you praise fleshly things, You will become fleshly, If you praise evil things, your life will become evil. If you praise and worship the true God, then your life will become godly." 

    The Praise Zone Makes a God Connection....When I hear a child cry "daddy" or "paw-paw," in a crowded store, I automatically turn my head and my heart rate increases. That little voice instantly connects me with my children and grandchildren! It is the same when we praise the Lord, we are declaring our devotion and allegiance to God. As God's children, praise is one way we connect with the Heavenly Father. Praise gets God's attention and brings us into His presence so we can hear Him just as a child hears the voice of His Father.... (Speaking of children...)                                                                                           

    Some children were given a project which involved writing a letter to their pastor. Stephen, age 8, wrote, "Dear Pastor, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother certainly won't be there to bother me anymore".                                                                 Loreen, age 9,wrote, "Dear Pastor, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you had it at Disneyland. I hope I helped you some".                                                            Alexander, age 10, wrote, "Dear Pastor, Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We need God's help or a new pitcher. Thank you".                                                            Arnold, age 8, wrote, "Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody but I'm sure He never met my sister. Sincerely yours, Arnold".                                                                                 Pete, age 9, wrote, "Dear Pastor, in your sermon you said some good things about some people. Could you please say that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson. Sincerely yours, Pete".                                                                                                             We laugh at the self focus of children when they are little, but as we get older, there comes a time when we need to realize we are not the center of the universe. When that realization comes, it makes sense to turn it all over to God.                          

    The Praise Zone motivates us to holy living..... In your house, there are drawers and doors that you would prefer to leave closed. Why? They are full of junk that you have stashed away. (come on) How many have a junk drawer? It's not that there is anything bad in those drawers or closets, but all that junk displaces needed space that could be better used. It is the same with our lives and hearts. Praise demands that we open ourselves, and open our hearts to God. It demands a transparency which will often reveal the clutter that has taking up space that is reserved for His presence only, in our lives! So often, praise demands that we confess our secrets sins. Praise is a purging, purifying agent. It cleanses the soul! The more we praise and worship the Lord, the more we desire to be like Him and the more transparant we become!

The following falls under the SAY WHAT!!!? category.....                                                            Here's some signs that you may be in the "Grey Zone"...

...if you honestly believe the people in the bible spoke King James English

...if you think First Assumptions and Second Fleshalonians are books of the bible                        

...if you think God's presence is always strongest in the back row. 

...if you think Acts 1:8 is a refrence to Happy Hour. 

...if you judge the quality of the church service by how short it was...

...if your definition of "fellowship" only involves food. 

...if you sit in church thinking what's the nearest resturant for lunch.

...if you think being in one accord is about a model of car. 

...if your most common statement is,"We've never done it this way before. 

    We had a neighbor who used to come by and have coffee in the morning with my wife. You could hear her screaming at her husband and the kids, whenever they were home. As they fellowshipped over coffee, Winnie used the time to help her grow spiritually. They would pray, worship and praise the Lord together. One day as they were worshiping, this woman began to repent of not living as the Christian she claimed to be, and not being the example to her family that she needed to be. When she became a praiser, she realized she needed to elevate who she was. They prayed together and she went home and spent the week correcting things she had been confronted with as she was in worship and praise. Her entire family came to Christ and her husband experienced a miracle healing.                                                                                                                                

    The Praise Zone increases our joy!  Psalm 100:1 says, "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD." Verse 2 speaks of "gladness" and "singing!" Joy, gladness, and singing, is the constant companion of praise. .Christianity ought to be contagious and it should not be a superficial, manufactured joy! True Joy is just epidemicly contagious!                                                                  In Romans 14, Paul tells us that the "kingdom of God" is not about living in fear, or keeping someone's rules, but it's about the joy of a fulfilling relationship with God, fueled by the Holy Spirit! We obtain joy when we know we are pleasing those we love! Praise releases joy and joy releases God's strength...The joy of the Lord is my strength...!                                                                                                                                     

    The Praise Zone Establishes our Faith. Praise and thanksgiving is an exspression of  faith. Someone said, "If you thank God after the fact, that is gratitude. If you thank God before the fact, that is faith." The greater we see God to be, the greater our sense of confidence and trust in Him and His ways. Faith is just another word for trust.

    Praise proclaims our trust in God in every situation, especially in times when we don't have a clue about what is happening in our lives, where we are or where we are going.                                                                                                                                          

    We shouldn't be like the airplane pilot who got lost and announced to the passengers.. "We're lost and don't have a clue where we are, but we're making real good time"...We praise, because our pilot knows our destination and He's always right on time. 

    I think of the words of Job...in Job 23:8 "Behold, I go forward but I do not see Him, I go backward but I do not perceive Him. v9 On the left hand He is working but I cannot behold Him. He hides Himself on the right hand that I don't see Him. v10 But He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

(When you're in that place, it's  always a good place to give Him praise!)                                                                                         

    The Praise Zone Elevates our outlook . It keeps everything from being just about us...Someone said, "life is too short to be serious all the time. So, if you can't laugh at yourself, call me, and I'll laugh at you." Happy people are not always secure people, Robin Williams showed us that...true security is trusting deep inside that your core beliefs and values and who you believe in, is a safe place compared to the challeges and uncertainty you are facing. 

    Everyone needs recognition for their accomplishments.                                                                                                               But, in order to give praise to others, I must be secure enough with myself to desire that they succeed and become great, just as much as I would desire it for myself. I think of a little boy who was practicing hitting the ball with his father. The dad asked the son if he was pitching the ball OK for him... The little boy, said " You're doing great dad, but when I hit it, you're supposed to say, Wonderful, Great job, Amazing hit"....He was expressing the need we all have for some praise and appreciation.                                                                             

    Praise is a Pro-active ...It is a choice to be ruled by things that are above and not by things of this earth!  We have different sets of emotions, one is positive one is negative, one is productive and the other is destructive. One is healthy, the other is toxic. Praise is the most effective weapon against pessimism, worry, depression, and discouragement. The set of emotions that includes toxic thinking, fear and doubt, cannot co-exist in the atmosphere of praise. An attitude of praise Binds the kings of darkness and puts the devil in confusion, while it swings the balance in your favor. ! Here's a good "Praise Zone" scripture for you.....                                                                                                                  

    Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, for you are called in one fellowship of believers, so be thankful. v16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord.v17 And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him".                                                                                                                If you want to see a difference in your relationship with Jesus Christ in your daily walk with Him, determine to praise Him every day! Commit yourself to a life of praise....                                                                                                                            

    The well-known English preacher Charles H. Spurgeon wrote something that would be good to remember as you begin each day. He said, "Let your thoughts be psalms, your prayers be incense, and your breath be praise."                                                                        

    Are your thoughts praiseworthy? There are 150 psalms, each pointing us to God's presence, purpose and power! In summarizing a criteria for our thought life, the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:8, "....if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Find the good and praise it! Better yet, find God every where and in everything, and praise Him! Let your thoughts be praiseworthy!                                                                  Are your prayers filled only with petitions, seeking something from God, or are your prayers equally embedded with praise to your God?                                                                     

    In one church, as the morning service began, the pastor challenged the congregation to pray silently for five minutes. There was a requirement however on everyone's prayers to the Lord. They could not ask God or petition Him for one single thing. The five minutes of prayer must be spent in praise. For those five minutes, folks searched for reasons just to thank and praise God!                                                                                                             God loves for us to praise Him! It is like the sweetest, aromatic fragrance to God, when we praise Him with our prayers! Psalm 141:2 is the desire of our heart when we are living in the Praise Zone. 

    Psalm 141:2  says, "Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." Let your prayers be filled with the incense of fervent, joyful praise!                                                                                                                           Praise should be as natural as breathing for the child of God! Let praise be to your spirit, just like breath is to your lungs. 

Let's make this commitment today, to Live In The Praise Zone, and to have a praise parade every day of our lives....!

    Prayer.... Lord Jesus, we thank you and praise You that you have enabled us to come forth victorious and be raised to a higher place as we receive full under-standing of our rights, privileges, and authority throughYour redemptive work in us. You are setting us on a path of ever increasing success so that the latter days of our life are much greater than any previous time. We now leave the past behind as You bring us into the wider place of Your abundance. We walk in happiness, peace, Divine favor and good fortune. Our families are blessed and anointed and our possessions are secure, because the limits have been taken off and we overflow with Your covenant of fullness. 

    In the name of Jesus, we declare that we are in total and complete health because Your salvation has brought wholeness and wellness into our lives. You have taken away sickness from our spirit. We were healed 2000 years ago, when you were crucified and Your word says we are the healed in Jesus’ name. We boldly declare that we are made whole, spirit, soul and body, for the power of sickness, infirmity, disease or deformity is no longer given any permission to be in our body and it no longer has any place, in Jesus’ name! 

    We praise You Lord Jesus, that You sustain us, even into our old age. You give energy, vitality, health and You rescue us from feebleness and calamity. We now receive Your ability, power and anointing, that we may be established in the place of Your covenant design and purpose. We cancel premature death and receive the full number of our days and the ability to pass on wealth and honor as an inheritance for the next generation. May You be honored and praised and glorified as all these things come to pass, in Jesus’ Name, AMEN!!!! 

     

 

Posted by: AT 12:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 07 2017

                                                                                       

    Psalm 100. "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.v2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.v3 Know that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.v4 I will enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.v5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures unto all generations."                                                                                                                                             

    While watching bits and pieces of a variety of sports, you can't help but notice that before beginning the games, each athlete will take the time to get himself or herself in a proper frame of mind. You might call it, "Getting in the zone." Each athlete understands the connection between the right mental preparation, and a great performance. Regardless of what each athlete mentally visualizes during that moment before the competition, I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve defeat. They don't allow themselves to visualize failure as they enter the game. 

    As I reflect on that, I ask all of us today, do we take time each day for spiritual preparation as we go into our day. How many bad performances have resulted because we did not take the time, to get in the zone of God's spiritual values and principles? How many tests of faith were failed, giving sin and Satan the victory, simply because we did not take the time to connect our spirit man or woman, with God's Spirit, ...                                                                                                                              

    Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. v9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. v10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not the same way, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. v11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thingwhere unto I sent it. v12 For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. v13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off".                                                                                                                                   

    This scripture is about how we are to live "...in the zone." We are choosing to call it the Praise Zone. How much of your life is spent in the Praise Zone? By the way, there are other "zones" to choose. 

    We can live in the Critical Zone, the Complaining Zone, the Angry Zone, the Doubting Zone, or the Defeated Zone. We can live in the Grey zone of I'm never sure... In the Fun zone of thinking it's all about how much fun you can have....The Security and the Safety zone where you live your whole life preparing for some tragedy or misfortune to happen....But we are told here in Isaiah that we should resolve to live each day in the Praise Zone!                                                                                                      

    A friend on Face Book wrote...."I Don't stop, Won't stop, Can't stop, Can't eat, Can't sleep until, I get my breakthrough"...Now that's all about meaning business when it comes to living in the Praise Zone!!!                                                                                                       

    A good portion of the Psalms, is involved with encouraging us to live in the praise zone. The Psalms are filled with expressions of praise.                                                             Psalm 18:3, "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised."                     Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the LORD at all times,His praise will continually be in my mouth                                                                                                                                                      Psalm 150:6, "Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.                                                                                                                                                       

    It has come to my attention, that seventeen of the Old Testament books, and eleven of the New Testament books, refer often to praising the Lord. There are enough verses in the Bible as a whole, to have a praise verse for every day of the year. If the Psalms and the entirety of God's Word are filled with praise, why isn't that the case in our lives as God's people? Of all the people of the earth, Christians are the most blessed, yet if we were to examine our words, many times we would never know it! How much of our daily conversation is spent in praise to the Lord? Do we have a reputation as the people that are filled with praise?                                                                                                     

    Robert E. Longacre, is an eminent linguist who has been working with the Summer Institute of Linguistics and pioneer Bible translation since the 1950’s. He is the author of over 150 published books and articles, Longacre’s work got my interest as he was writing about what he termed as “peaking”. He states that in a narrative as well as a lecture, the part of the narrative or the lecture where the text reaches a climax or main point of emphasis is where it starts "Peaking". Certainly we could say that David starts "Peaking" when His narrative brings us into the place of Praise!!!                                       

    For centuries, Christians have sung a hymn known as "The Hundred" based upon Psalms 100. You might best know it as a Doxology.                                                                    "Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."                                                                                                                            Psalm 100 belongs to every day of the year! It is a demonstration and expression of our praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and it should dominate our daily existence and cause our day to begin to "Peak" with praise ! Someone said, "Praise is acknowledging who God is and Thanksgiving is about what He has done for you."                                                                                                      

    Praise has been defined as an awareness and declaration of our dependence upon God. Another definition states that praise is the human expression of honor given unto God, for His character and action. However you define it, the question remains, "Does praise define you?" This short but beloved 100th psalm gives us reason and needed inspiration to live everyday of our lives in the Praise Zone.                                                      

    The Praise Zone is international. Psalms 100:1 says,"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands." God's goodness and grace has been revealed to the whole world, therefore, every person in every land should praise Him! Praise is for everyone. The poorest of nations and people on the earth, are included and invited to the Praise Zone. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! Our mission mandate is to tell the whole world, "every creature" of God's redemptive love so that everyone, everywhere can come into the praise Zone! Praise causes you to attract the things of heaven!

    The Praise Zone is multi-generational. Psalms 100:5 ends with, "..and His truth endures to all generations." We hear much about praise in contemporary Christianity and you might even think, to listen to some folks, that praise is something that was only recently discovered. 

    Over the years, American Christianity has coined the phrase, "worship wars." It actually means that Churches and generations have actually fought and become divided over praise and worship! What type of beat or rhythm is right or wrong.... what style is right or wrong....which phraseology in the lyrics is right or wrong... In many churches the old and young will not worship together, because they cannot agree on organ or guitar, drums or tamborines....to have or not to have dance.. and we forget that Praise, isn't for us, it should all be for and about HIM!!!!

    The young and the elderly can live together in the Praise Zone if it's about HIM!.                                                        Our challenges and perspective may be different, but our need is the same... TO GIVE PRAISE UNTO HIM! Every generation of Christians needs to praise the Lord.                               Jesus said that if we do not praise Him, the stones will cry out! God can replace you with a rock! And for many entrenched (I shall not be moved) Christians, that would not be too difficult!

    The Praise Zone is intentional. While there are occasions when you are overtaken by a spirit of praise, and caught up in the euphoria of praise, most of the time if praise is going to occur in your life, you must make it happen! Notice Psalms 100:2 says "I will enter into His gates.." This is a diliberate act of the will! In verse 4, it says to "enter into His courts". These phrases speak of a journey to the Old Testament Temple, God's House of worship and praise. Jews had to go out of their way and drop everything else they were doing, to place themselves in God's courts of praise!                                               Each of these phrases express responsibility and determination to get ourselves in a position of praise. We have come to think of praise as a shallow activity, which corresponds to certain songs we sing....but that has little to do with the greater and broader application of making praise a vital part of every day, all day long. True praise begins in the region of our will, our volition, and our choice to make it a priority.                                                                                                              

    Philip Brewer wrote....God uses where you are, to take you where you never could have gone. God uses what you can do to accomplish what you never could have done. God uses who you are to let you become who you never could have been....                           This is an area where all of us as believers need to keep developing and growing. Our old sinful fleshly nature is not inclined to notice God's blessings and give Him praise. The spiritual believer is a person, who through a determination of the will, has trained their spiritual senses, to see the hand of God in all the things around them. It takes time, effort and determination to stop our minds and sing His praises, when the world wants us to sing about anything else.                                                                                         

    he Praise Zone is personal. In Psalms 100:4, in the phrase "come before His presence," the word "presence" is derived from a Hebrew word (pen-oo-ale') which means God's face. This is not the worship of a distant deity, but a very personal God.                                                How many worship services are we part of, that we fail to "enter into His presence"? Every day we live, and every worship opportunity presented in church, is our own personal choice to "enter in." No one else can get us into the Praise Zone and keep us there. We must make up our minds to live there, with God's help!                                       When someone dies, we say they are "with the Lord"...I want to be so into God's praise that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, they can say, "He's with the Lord"!!!                                                                                   

    The Praise Zone Identifies you....Psalm 100:3 says "...we are His people." Acts 17:28 says, "For in Him (in God) we live, and move, and have our being, for we are His offspring."                                                                                                                                   

    What you praise and worship and give honor and devotion to, Identifies who you are..  "If you praise and worship superficial things, your life will become superficial. If you praise and worship perverted things, your life will become perverted. If you praise and worship fleshly things,You will become fleshly. If you praise and worship evil things, your life will become evil. If you praise and worship the true God, then your life will become godly." 

    The God who made us, made us for Himself, and He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He has a plan for our lives even better than the one we might have!!!                                                                                                

    The Praise Zone Declares Who God Is....Psalm 100:5, "For the LORD is good."           In all of life, we can be sure of this one thing, the Lord is good. The fact that God is good, means that He is kind, He is gracious and He is generous. We never need doubt God's goodness. We may not understand the things God brings or allows in our lives, but we must always know that it is for our ultimate good. Whatever God does is perfectly timed and ultimately and absolutely the very best for us! We may question the means, but we can praise Him for the outcome!                                                               

    Verse 5 continues by saying, " His mercy is everlasting." The Hebrew word (o-lawm') is translated here as "eternal, perpetual mercy," it is also translated as lovingkindness. God's mercy is His desire to love and bless His people always, at all times, forever! In short, we can count on God treating us even better than we ever deserve, ....forever! (no expiration date) God is faithfully true to His Word. 

    Verse 5 ends with, ".....and His truth endures to all generations." Human laws and rules are constantly changing. There are some human laws that need to change, but for some reason, they remain on the books. For example: In Kentucky, it remains the law that a person must take a bath at least once a year. In Massachusetts, it remains against the law to put tomatoes in clam chowder. In Phoenix, Arizona it is still illegal to walk through a hotel lobby with spurs on.                                                                                                                                  

    Aren't you grateful that God's truth is never outdated or out of style. What was true for past generations, is truth for every generation. What worked for past generations, works today and for future generations. God's promises extend to every generation.                                 Today, you can make your own personal commitment to live your life from this day forward, in the Praise Zone. Look at what happens when we live in the praise zone.   

    When we praise, we elevate our attitude and our focus is solely upon God and His power, ...not our problems! In this place God's Spirit affirms that He is bigger than our problems and pain. God is so big, He can use our suffering, pain and problems to accomplish His eternal purpose in our lives!                                                                                

    God uses problems to Direct us, to Inspect us, to Correct us, to Protect us, and to perfect us! When you enter His presence with praise, He enters your circumstances with power!!! So don't tell God you have a big problem, tell your problems you have a great big God!

    According to the Bureau of Standards in Washington, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a height of 100 feet is composed of less that one glass of water. That amount of water is divided into about 60 billion tiny droplets. Yet when those minute particles settle over a city or the countryside, they can almost blot out everything from sight. Many Christians today live their lives in the fog of the Grey Zone. They allow a cupful of troubles and worries to cloud their vision and shut down their spiritual growth. They allow anxiety, turmoil and toxic relationships, to defeat and strangle their faith.                            

    A certain company moved into a new skyscraper and discovered that the builders  had not put in enough elevators. Employees were disgruntled because there were long waits for the elevators, especially at both ends of the working day. The company got a wide cross-section of the staff together and asked them to sit down and solve the problem. 

    The task force came up with four possible solutions:. 1. Speed up the elevators, or arrange for them to stop more regularly at certain floors during rush periods. 2. Stagger working hours to reduce elevator demand at either end of the day. 3. Install mirrors around entrances to all elevators so people will get distracted by looking at themselves. 4. Drive a new elevator shaft through the building. 5. Promote a physical fitness program, with employee benifits. Which solution would you have chosen?    

    According to Professor DeBono, if you chose the first, second, or fourth solutions, then you are a "vertical" or traditional thinker. If you chose the third and fifth possibility, then you are a "lateral thinker." The vertical thinker takes the narrow view; the lateral thinker has a broader view. The solution was found by promoting the health benifits of taking the stairs, with points given which could be converted to cash in their paychecks. Many folks still took the elevator and complained, but many others, praised the health benifits of the stairs! Sometimes God has us take the stairs!!                                                                                                                    

    The Praise Zone humbles us. Pride has a hard time bowing. Ego and praise to God will usually clash. Our pride can cloud our minds with frustration and anger because we are focused on our rights being violated or that we have been wronged. Praise to God keeps ego in check and brings pride into proper perspective. So often the solution to the problem is hidden, because we're looking in the wrong place. When we begin to praise God, we begin to see what we didn't see before...                                                                                                                                        

    A man bought a classic 1979 pontiac and when he drove it to the store to get different flavors of ice cream, it was all fine until he bought vanilla. Then the car wouldn't start. He complained to the dealership, who wouldn't take him seriously. But finally, he got a technician to come check and go with him to the store. The first time, they bought chocolate and the car started fine. The next trip he bought strawberry and the car started fine. The next trip, he bought vanilla and the car wouldn't start. They did this several times and each time he bought vanilla, the car wouldn't start.      

    Finally the technician went in the store to locate the icecream, and found that all the other flavors were at the very back of the store, but the vanilla was right inside the entrance. He realized that the problem had nothing to do with the ice cream, but was about vapor lock. With the vanilla just inside the door, the engine didn't have a chance to cool down, so vapor lock was preventing it from starting. Often we are too close to the problem to see the solution... Praise changes our perspective....                                                                                                                         

    The Praise Zone Makes a God Connection....When I hear a child cry "daddy" or "paw-paw," in a crowded store, I automatically turn my head and my heart rate increases. That little voice instantly connects me with my children and grandchildren! It is the same when we praise the Lord, we are declaring our devotion and allegiance to God. As God's children, praise is one way we connect with the Heavenly Father. Praise raises our level of expectation and gets God's attention and brings us into His presence so we can hear Him just as a child hears the voice of His Father....                                                                                                                                    

    The Praise Zone motivates us to holy living..... In your house, there are drawers and doors that you would prefer to leave closed. Why? They are full of junk that you have stashed away. (come on) How many have a junk drawer? It's not that there is anything bad in those drawers or closets, but all that junk displaces needed space that could be better used. It is the same with our lives and hearts. Praise demands that we open ourselves, and open our hearts to God. It demands a transparency which will often reveal the clutter that has taken up space that is reserved for His presence only, in our lives! So often, praise demands that we confess our secrets sins. 

Praise is a purging, purifying agent. It cleanses the soul! The more we praise and worship the Lord, the more we desire to be like Him and the more transparant we become!                                                                                                                                       

    We had a neighbor who used to come by and have coffee in the morning with my wife. As they fellowshipped, Winnie used the time to help her grow spiritually. They would pray, worship and praise the Lord together. One day as they were worshiping, this woman began to repent of being lazy, and having a messy house, and not being the example to her family that she needed to be. When she became a praiser, what she knew became who she was. They prayed together and she went home and spent the week correcting things she had dealt with as she was in worship and praise. Her entire family came to Christ and her husband experienced a miracle healing.                                                                                                             

    The Praise Zone increases our joy!  Psalm 100:1 says, "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD." Verse 2 speaks of "gladness" and "singing!" Joy, gladness, and singing, is the constant companion of praise. .Christianity ought to be contagious and it should not be a superficial, manufactured joy! True Joy is just epidemicly contagious!                                                                            

    In Romans 14, Paul tells us that the "kingdom of God" is not about living in fear, or keeping someone's rules, but it's about the joy of a fulfilling relationship with God, fueled by the Holy Spirit! We obtain joy when we know we are pleasing those we love! Praise releases joy and joy releases God's strength...The joy of the Lord is my strength...!                                                                                                                                     

    The Praise Zone Establishes our Faith. Praise and thanksgiving is an exspression of  faith. Someone said, "If you thank God after the fact, that is gratitude. If you thank God before the fact, that is faith." The greater we see God, the greater our sense of confidence and trust in Him and His ways. Faith is just another word for trust, and    

    Praise proclaims our trust in God, especially in times when we don't have a clue about what is happening in our lives, where we are or where we are going.                                                                                                    We shouldn't be like the airplane pilot who got lost and announced to the passengers..."We're lost and don't have a clue where we are, but we're making real good time".We praise, because our pilot knows our destination and He's right on time.    

    I think of the words of Job...in Job 23:8 "Behold, I go forward but I do not see Him, I go backward but I do not perceive Him. v9 On the left hand He is working but I cannot behold Him. He hides Himself on the right hand that I don't see Him. v10 But He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

(When you're in that place, it's always a good place to give Him praise!)                                                                                       

   

Posted by: AT 09:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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