Psalms 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”.
Let me begin by saying that I read an article that grabbed my attention and possibly inspired me to preach on this topic this morning. The article’s headline read, “Life Expectancy in U.S. Declines Slightly, by the average of 6 weeks, and Researchers Are Puzzled” this tells me that if this is the average, it means that many people’s life has decreased by much more than this. I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot in 6 weeks if I knew I was dying. I know that I wouldn’t have to worry about how long I was going to live, that would come to, Oh Yeah, 6 more weeks!!! So today, what if we love a little deeper, laugh a little more, and hold our loved ones a little tighter because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
James 4:14 For you know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away’.
So I asked myself, and I ask all of us to examine some areas that are guaranteed to shorten the fullness and length of our lives. It is apparent that many folks are actually looking for ways to shorten their lives and I say that based on the life choices they’re making. Can we get real practical here? These things may not keep you out of heaven, but they’ll get you there a lot sooner, and reduce the quality of life till you get there!
We can know bible principles without having spiritual lifestyle values…
I do not say any of this to condemn, but out of concern, I am still amazed when I see folks smoking, when we all know now, that the chances of getting lung disease and lung cancer are very, very high. And that doesn’t include the high probability of heart disease, throat cancer and other organs failing. It is a proven fact that smoking will shorten a person’s life by 10 years or more. It’s a no brainer. Even up into middle age or later, when people quit smoking their over-all health improves greatly.
Here’s another way to shorten your life… driving recklessly, driving while drinking, and driving without a seat belt. It’s one of the major causes of death in people of all ages. A guy was pulled over for speeding, and as the officer approached the car, he noticed lighter fluid, matches, and torches, in the passenger seat next to the driver. “Sir,” said the cop, pointing at the paraphernalia. “Can I ask why you have that stuff in the car? ”“Well officer, it’s quite simple, I’m a juggler in a circus and this is my equipment!” The cop, clearly not believing him, insisted that he come over to the side of the road and light the torches and juggle them, so he can see if his story was indeed true. Just then an elderly couple cruised by and the old man turned to his wife,and said “Mabel, I’m sure glad I finally gave up drinking! Can you believe the drinking test they are giving these days?!”
Next, be a couch potato, live a none active lifestyle…. Don’t exercise, don’t walk, just physically disengage! You can’t just put your body in neutral, it keeps processing what you eat, but the problem is that it gets confused and starts storing up what it normally burns up. So your body is trying to do something with what you’re putting in it, and it’s only solution is fat. So muscles atrophy, kidneys, blood vessels, liver, heart, and other organs become clogged up, stressed out, and inefficient….. It should shorten your life and get you to heaven about 9 or 10 yearssooner.
If you want to die early, stay away from fruits and vegetables and healthy eating habits…. Because they can actually reverse the aging process. We wouldn’t eat foods that have a poison label on them, but we Eat fatty, greasy foods, lots of sugar, and eat too much when we do eat, that way we can be guaranteed to have a shorter life.
Rosie was overweight, but she was trying to get on a weight loss diet. She told her best friend, that after her birthday party, halfthe birthday cake was left over, so she ate it, she just couldn’t help herself. It started with a small nibble and before she knew it the cake was gone! “That’s terrible, did your husband find out”? her friend asked. With a full double chin smile, Rosie said “No, he never did, I just baked another cake and ate half of it, so he wouldn’t find out !”
Oh, yes, to shorten your life, keep a lot of stress in your life, and worry, worry, worry. Take everything personally, and make sure to over work, and over achieve.. Someone said that they don’t take vacations and they don’t relax because the devil never does…..Well, I guess the Devil must be their example! And another thing is to be thin skinned and over sensitive, always feeling that everyone is out to get you. (listen, you’re not that famous) I like what CM Ward said… when he was preaching about the perils of the apostle Paul, he said ”if they run you out of town, get up front and turn it into a parade”!!!!
Some folks get depressed, and even angry about getting old, about retiring, about their job, about politics, about their kids and on and on we could go. They convince themselves they’re right and everyone else is wrong, and they get bad attitudes. They become grouchy old men and women who have fewer and fewer friends. They begin to isolate themselves. But they don’t have to worry about it long because this approach to life will cut short the number of birthdays they have to worry about.
And last, you can always avoid regular doctor and dentist visits and ignore what your body is telling you to pay attention to, and ignore what the doctor tells you, and just do what you want. Listen, this is the only physical body you will be given, take care of it! Ignore it and you will be well on your way to a shorter life. I understand that when we all get to heaven, we’re going to wish we had arrived sooner, but while we’re here, we have a God given assignment and purpose. We can live a fuller and longer life and enjoy some heaven on earth to go to heaven in! Happiness is not in things, but our attitude about things and circumstances.
People say, well, it doesn’t matter because we’ve all got to die sometime. But you don’t need to help death out, if it’s going to happen anyway.
I need to add here, that scripture says, Psalm 139:16, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
And yes, It is true that God has a blueprint for our life, but there’s only one copy and it’s locked up on the Third Floor of the Administration Building in the third heaven. I don’t know any way that you can get a copy.
We must also pay attention to Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with your getting, get understanding”.
Look at what the bible says….about how you can be guaranteed a long life span….Besides NOT DOING all the things we have already mentioned, that will shorten your life,
John 14:6 tells us “Jesus said unto him, (speaking to Thomas) I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man can come unto the Father, but by Me”.
Jesus isn’t just letting Thomas and the other disciples know how to have a long full life here, but he’s letting them know that their life isn’t just about physical living, but forever, glorified ruling and reigning w/ Christ.
We can live long and be miserable, and we can live long and be a pain in the neck to everyone around us… or we may live a life that completes our mission here even though it’s short. But in that short full life, we may accomplish more than someone who lived to see 90. 2 Timothy1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind or (self-discipline)” .
The 12 disciples could not have dreamed that they would touch the world from such an insignificant place as the region of Galilee…..
But it’s about making a difference, and making an impact on the lives of others around us, one life at a time. A mother may never do much more than raise some great kids, and still touch the lives of thousands in doing that well….
A person may only seem to accomplish little things, but as they do it unto the Lord and do it in faith, it becomes much more in God’s hands.
I know many little grandmas that touch the world everyday on their knees in prayer. They touch kings and rulers. They shake the business world as they pray for sons and daughters that God has placed there.
When I think of a full life of accomplishment, I think not only of Billy Graham but of his father, who was a farmer. God put on his heart to get together each day with some neighboring farmers from the church he attended. They would pray together each week at a certain day and time on his farm, in a grove that he had cleared out, that God would raise up a powerful voice which would speak for Him and sweep souls into the kingdom. For years they faithfully prayed. Little could he know that his son Billy, would be the answer to his prayers and millions would come to Christ. What an example of little becoming much!
As we look at long life, Jesus thought in terms of eternal life, but He also gave us a mandate to use wisdom and eternal values in the choices we make and the lifestyle we live here and now.
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hindersand the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
A Harvard public health study of 75,000 people whose lives were tracked over a twenty-year span. One of the interesting findings was that attending religious services is associated with longer life expectancy. Those who attended services twice a month had a 13% greater chance of staying alive, those who attended every week had a 26% greater chance of staying alive, and those who attended more than one church function a week had a 33% greater chance of staying alive. So we’ll see you all next Sunday.
The bottom line is that we all make decisions in our lives that will effect all the rest of our life. These are value decisions that provide the foundation for all the rest of our choices. Some folks make their value decisions based on making money, others make those decisions based on position or fame. Still others allow their hurts, offences, and failures to set their value systems, which become the foundation for their behavior and relationships.
It’s like the skydiving instructor who was answering questions from a group of first timers. And one girl asked, "If our main chute doesn't open, and the reserve chute doesn't open, how long do we have until we hit the ground?" The instructor looked at her and said, "You have the rest of your life."
So, based on the things we’ve looked at so far, how’s the rest of your life looking at this point?
A Christian’s value system has the bible as it’s source and has Christ at it’s center….
1Corinthians 6:19 “What? Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have been given by God, and you are not your own? v20 For you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's”. This attitude is the best life insurance that money cannot buy!
In the movie “Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell ran in a meet between England, Ireland and Scotland. Because of his faith, he refused to run on Sunday, and he went on to become a missionary. But in the race which the movie is based on, he ran the 100-, the 220-, and the 440-yard events. In the 440, he got off to a bad start. When the gun sounded, there was a lot of shoving to get in front to the inside lane, which was the most desiredposition. Liddell tangled feet with J. J. Gillies of England and tumbled down onto the track. He sat there dazed for a moment, not knowing whether he could get up, when the official screamed, “Get up and run!” He jumped to his feet and took off after the pack, which was now a full twenty yards ahead of him. In a quarter mile, that’s a big distance to try to make up. With his unorthodox style of running, he pulled into fourth place ten yards behind the leader. With forty yards to go in the race, he pulled into third place, then second. Then right at the tape he passed Gillies, stuck his chest out, and broke the tape, thencollapsed to the track in total exhaustion. Medical personnel had to assist him off the track. An article appearing the next day in The Scotsman newspaper said, “The circumstances in which Liddell won the race made it a performance bordering on the miraculous. Veteran runners whose memories take them back thirty-five years and in some cases longer in the history of athletics were unanimous in the opinion that Liddell’s win in the quarter mile was the greatest track performance they had ever seen.”
If you fall, TRY AGAIN!....Oh, There’s something glorious about getting up off the track after you’ve been knocked down and running again. Win or lose, you didn’t stay down.
Some of you have been knocked down. Maybe Satan has tripped you up and you’re working your way through it all. Perhaps you have made some foolish decisions. Perhaps other people have done you wrong. When we’ve fallen down on the track and everything seems like it’s flying by us, we might just feel like staying down, injured on the track. But the only real failure is to stay there and not get up.
God’s word to you is, “Get up and run!” Forget those who have wronged you. Forget what lies behind and run for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. You still have a race ahead of you. It’s like the runner who got so tired he barely finished the race. His trainer said, I wasn’t sure you would make it. He said I prayed and said “Lord I’ll keep on picking em up if you’ll keep on putting em down”.
God didn’t just give us a life to only begin this race. He didn’t just send you to only begin a noble task or a noble cause. God sent you to start and to finish well. Hear the Lord as He whispers to you once again, saying, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
May we all be able to say what Paul wrote as he sat in a Roman jail, knowing that he was soon to be martyred for the faith. You sense the incredible relief in his spirit as he says, in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day.”
Friends, I want to tell you that our wonderful Lord stands ready, willing, and able to help you make it. He is the faithful rewarderof all who put their trust in Him and your being here is not by accident, it is by Divine Appointment!
There are two groups of 4 words that can turn it all around, that can give us another chance, no matter what we have done with our lives, and those 4 words can open doors that have been locked shut. The first words were spoken to another prostitute who was dragged before Jesus, and as the accusers stood around her, He said the first four words “I don’t condemn you”…..Condemnation doesn’t give anyone hope, condemnation doesn’t motivate anyone to get up and try again. And condemnation only gives judgment, not second chances.
But Then He brings us the next 4 words….
Luke 7:36 “And one of the Pharisees (Simeon) desired that Jesuswould eat with him. And Jesus went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. v37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a prostitute, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, (worth a year’s wages) *…..v38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and kneeling down, began to wash his feet with tears, and she wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. v39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he thoughtwithin himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheshim, for she is a sinner. (there is always someone who tries to block your way) *…..v44 And Jesus turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet: but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. v45 You gave me no kiss, but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet. v46 My head with oil you did not anoint,but this woman has anointed my feet with costly ointment. v47 Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven. v48 And He said unto her, your sins are forgiven”.
Four powerful words….. Your sins are forgiven…
And Jesus hit the reset button on her life. New opportunities and new potential was loosed into her destiny.
- Friend, He has already diagnosed your problems.
- He has already prescribed the correct treatment through His Word.
- He has the knowledge that is needed because He knows everything about you, even the things you haven’t told Him or anyone else.
- He has the expertise and the ability to take you to the finish line.
You’ve been given a fresh start….The greatest thing of all is that He has a deep desire to take care of you and see you live a full, complete, long and yes, eternal life.
Would you receive those 2 groups of 4 amazing, life changing words today, and step into a fullness, and completeness that He has waiting for you….”I don’t condemn you” and “Your sins are forgiven”….
Your sins, your failures, your short comings, your bad choices, are all forgiven….
I want to begin with an article by Maureen killoran… Mothers come in many shapes and sizes. There are warm mothers, soft and round, likely to be found with flour on their nose, and always ready to pour you a glass of milk to go with the cookies on your plate. Some mothers are like bubbles of champagne; they surprise your senses, leave you giggly, and when you least expect it they break out with an unexpected funny face.There are sharp mothers, all edges and not easy to hold on to. They don't mean to, but when you need them, their hands and their hearts are always there… There are grouchy mothers, stressed mothers, exhausted mothers, their faces lined with worry and their spirits prematurely tired and grey. There are mothers who are wise and reliable, they are not prone to many words or to a lot of noise, but in your heart you know, that when you need them, they have already prepared. There are brave and courageous mothers, the ones you count on to be on your side and to love you even when you've gone wrong. There are loving mothers ... giving mothers ... save-the-world mothers ... too-busy-to-bother mothers ... mothers you cry for because you lost them. May we hold in our hearts the mothers we have known ... those who loved us ... and those who tried ... May we forgive the mothers who didn't get it right ... and let go of the disappointment... the grief ... and the pain. And may we always remember that mothering — and nurturing —and lovingis a task not just for some, but for all of us. Mothers come in many shapes and sizes and so does 'mothering.' As I thought about the message today, I thought, what can I say about mothers that has not already been said many times before? The answer is, I doubt seriously there is anything I can say that would be new to you or would be something you haven’t heard before. When it comes to the topic of Mothers, there is much to be said and many stories we can tell, but, let me be quick to add, the story of ''Mother'' never gets old. The Bible says, ''Give honor to whom honor is due.''
Speaking of giving honor….Men, use extreme caution, here’s some wisdom as you buy something for your wife on Mother’s day, unless you’ve already made the BIG MISTAKES…. Don't buy jewelry. The jewelry she wants, you can't afford. And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn't want. And Guys, don’t fall into the trap of buying her skimpy underwear. Your idea of the kind your wife should wear and what she actually wears are light years apart.Fellas, don't spend too much, or she will say. "How do you think we're going to afford that?" But if you spend too little, she'll think, "Is that all I'm worth?" And finally, don't buy clothes. The chances are one in seven thousand that you will get it right, and your wife will be offended the other 6999 times. Those of you who are mothers I want you to think for a moment of the time when you first realized that you were going to be a mom. Your baby bump could really be seen and for the first time you see the sonogram...as the outline of your unborn child’s head got clearer....and as you saw that tiny heart beating, you knew it was screaming out... “LIFE AS YOU HAVE KNOWN IT IS OVER”!!!! Hey, it was a really big deal… God was trusting you to shape and mold a life! I remember leaving the hospital with our first baby and thinking... they don’t even know us…. And they’re letting us carry this baby home???? Do they know that at the age of 22, we can hardly balance our check book???
But one thing you knew, You couldn’t let down your guard because you were now in charge of another life. Somehow you knew that everyone was depending on you to stay alert when everyone else was doing their own thing or going crazy around you….and somehow you managed not to kill them while you were learning to be a mother….
You got through the sicknesses, the broken bones and ego’s, the first day of school, the terrible two’s, The first date... when you prayed your son wouldn’t disgrace your entire generational gene pool, and you had to entrust your little princess to a guy who was a total idiot. When they went off to college and you had to take out a second mortgage on the house to cope, When they got married and they called you to ask what grandparent title you wanted to be called by…. And you realized you were going to be one!
Yuup, you knew that you were on the Motherhood roller coaster and there was no getting off, and you wouldn’t want to anyway!
As Jesus hung between two thieves, and was condemned of the horrible crime of being God, the mob jeered, the soldiers gambled, the religious leaders rejoiced, and Jesus looks down and sees His mother standing near the cross, faithful, loving, compassionate and trusting. There was a documentary about men who were going to be executed for capital crimes. They interviewed the men and their mothers, too. Invariably the moms would say, He’s such a good boy! The Interviewer would say, yes, but he killed 37 people!... The mom would say “I know, but he has a good heart!”
Jesus spoke seven times while He was upon the cross. His first words were a prayer to God, asking for forgiveness to His enemies. His second words were a promise to the dying thief. His third words were to His mother and to John, the beloved disciple.
To his mother He says, ''Behold your son,'' and to John who was the only one of the twelve to brave the hostile crowd, He says, ''Behold your Mother.'' Picture the scene for a moment. Three crosses with a condemned man on each cross. Jesus, God in flesh, hangs upon the central cross, seen by everyone as someone worthy of the worst death any person could die.
By her side is the disciple John. Jesus now lifts His voice and says to His mother, ''Woman, look at John. From now on He will be your son.'' Then He spoke to John, ''John from now on she is to be your mother.'' And from that time on, John took Mary to his own home. Jesus lived only 33 years, and yet, what a full life he lived!. He discharged fully His duties to man and to God. He was not willing to die and leave anything undone that He ought to do. So He arranged for His mother's future. Here we see Jesus setting a wonderful example.
When God gave the Ten Commandments, He gave us instructions as to how we should feel and act toward our moms. In Exodus 20:12, ''Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you”. Again we read Paul's admonition in Ephesians 6:1-2, ''Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise '' Even in the darkest hour of His life Jesus stopped long enough to do the right thing concerning His mother. Even while He was on the cross, bearing the weight of the sins of the whole world upon His shoulders He takes time to make sure His mom is taken care of.
Only one mother in all of history could be chosen to give birth to God’s own son, but every mother is chosen to give birth to one of a kind, with unique potential, and a special destiny.
It’s usually mom that draws the line in the sand for us and sets the boundaries…. -I can picture THOMAS EDISON'S MOTHER: "Of course I'm proud that you invented the light bulb, Thomas. Now turn off that light and get to bed!" ----Then there’s SUPERMAN'S MOTHER: "Clark, your father and I have discussed it, and we've decided you can have your own telephone line, if you’ll just stop spending so much time in all those phone booths!" How -about ALBERT EINSTEIN'S MOTHER: "But, Albert, it's your senior picture. Can't you do something about your hair? Styling gel, hair wax, anything.!!" -Can you picture ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S MOTHER: "What’s with the stove pipe hat, Abe? Can't you just wear a baseball cap like the other kids?"
I honestly believe that I have the second greatest job in the world. I mean, for me, there is nothing else that I could imagine myself doing. I love being a pastor. I know that God created me to be a pastor. But my doctor assures me that after thorough examination, I'll never have an opportunity to have the greatest job in the whole world and that is being a mother. No offence ladies, but my gal is the greatest!
Mothers are prepared, after all, Mothers are expected to do it all. One of the most amazing things to me is a mother's purse. My mom's purse and Winnie’s purse had everything in it. I mean, there was nothing I ever needed that couldn't be found in the almighty purse. Mom, do you have a Band-Aid? Sure, it's in my purse. Mom, do you have a sowing kit? Sure, it's in my purse. Mom, can I have a snack? Sure, let me find it…. Mom, I have a head ache, I brought something for that.. (it’s a mobile home)
Mothers are your first teachers…My Mother taught me LOGIC: "If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can't go to the store with me," "She gave me boundaries…If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you do it too?" My Mother taught me HUMOR: "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't you come running to me.".. She taught me RELIGION: ''You better pray that will come out of the carpet.''
She taught me about endurance ''Young man, You'll sit there until you eat everything on your plate''…. She taught me to appreciate life, ''I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'' She taught me, JUSTICE: ''One day you will have kids, then you'll see what it's like”!
I heard about one woman who said, ''Before I was married, I had three theories about raising children. Now, I have three children and no theories.'' Can anybody relate to that?
Abraham Lincoln said, ''No man is poor who has a godly mother.'' There have been many mothers in the history of the world who have impacted their sons in a tremendous way. Abraham Lincoln was one of those who because of a Godly mom, changed history as we know it. St. Augustine, the great religious leader, said “If I am Your child Oh God, it is because You gave me such a mother”!! He had a mother named Monica and it was the prayers and example of his mother, Monica, that brought him to the foot of the cross, and history was changed. Augustine, left home at 16 and was immediately caught up in the sinfulness of those he joined himself with. His dad was a pagan until the time of his death when he converted to Christianity through Monica’s influence. At 30, through his mom’s intercession, Augustine’s eyes fell on Romans chapter 13:13-14 “not in rioting and drunkenness, not in carousing and impurities…but rather put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” This event marked his life, and from that time on he was firm in his resolve to live a Godly life.
Can I hear a Praise the Lord, from some moms, who are interceding!!!
On May 9th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson asked congress to declare the second Sunday in May as national celebration of Mother's Day. President Wilson said that this day has been set aside as a time for ''public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.''
After all that our mother's do for us while we're growing up and even after we get out of the house, they deserve their big day out of the year to be honored and to have gifts and flowers given to them, calls of love and honor, and special cards of appreciation and devotion sent to them. We pray for those who have lost their Moms…. we pray for those who have lost their children…and we pray for those who want to have Children…
James Dobson…."There are few assignments in human experience that require the array of skills and wisdom needed by a Mom in fulfilling her everyday duties. She must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire marshal, and occasional police officer. And if she succeeds in each of these responsibilities today, she gets to do it all again tomorrow." (All the moms say amen!)
George Washington…"My Mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my Mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."
I found an interesting insight into Mom world, in the account of the mother of James and John, who came to Jesus to ask an unusual request. Her request has been seen as selfish and shallow by most who have preached on this scripture. But I see it as a brilliant view inside every loving mom’s heart.
Matthew 20:20 “Then came to Jesus the mother of Zebedee's children (Salome) with her sons, (James and John) worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. v21 And he said unto her, What do you want of me? She answered him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Your right hand, and the other on Yourleft, in Your kingdom. v22 But Jesus answered and said, You don’t know what ye ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We are able”.
Jesus did not chastise her, he only told her that she did not know what she was asking. There was no crime in her seeking the best seats for her sons; Salome wanted her boys to excel in the Kingdom of God.
We need more mothers that will intercede on the behalf of their children, pleading with God that they may excel in their Christian walk. Interceding before God for their future and their destiny. This mom boldly stood before God on behalf of her family, desiring not only that they would do well in life, but in eternity as well.
James and John were two out of only three who were privileged to witness the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. James was the first apostle to be martyred for his faith. James is the patron saint of Spain, where his remains are buried.
John was the author of first, second, and third John and Revelation. It was John who was the only apostle who stayed by Jesus as He was crucified, and to whom Jesus entrusted His mother. He lived longer than any other apostle, being over 100 when he died a natural death.
This lets us know that John was faithful to Jesus mom, who died at around 62 years old.
Of all the grand and glorious buildings and structures that have been built, none come close to that which each mom has built. They are more magnificent than any cathedral – they are thedwelling of an immortal of soulssoul, and intended to be a place where God Himself can come to dwell. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature, as they join forces with God in performing this act of creating another human being…. What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this, to be chosen as amother?
So along with all the other magnificent things we could say about moms, we could add to the long list of accomplishments, the title of architect of souls….
Prayer….I would like all the moms to stand where you are and allow us the opportunity to bless you as you have been so much of a blessing…..
Lord, we ask your blessing on all those that You have given the high calling of motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit inspire and strengthen them. May they receive Your Grace and favor in this life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come. Lord, watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your care and give her steadfast trust for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, give her understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Give her joy in the birth of her child.Lord, may these moms continue to grow in wisdom and understanding both in the natural realm as well as the spiritual realm, that they may impart these things faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.
Stand with all "spiritual mothers", those who, may have no children of their own, nevertheless they care for the children of others -- of every age and state in life. May they know the joy andfulfillment of this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which promotes the dignity of every person created in Your image and likeness. We pray for all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, or that are ill or that are separated from their families. We pray for any who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help any mom, who may still be grieving to rely on Your faithfulness, Your mercy and Your Daddy love for all of your children. Lord, together we lift these moms as they fulfill the high calling of Motherhood. Give them strength for each day, grace for each trial, comfort in every test, wisdom in every circumstance, love that will never fail, and power over every thing that would overwhelm them, In Jesus Name….
Last Sunday we looked at the redemptive fulfillment that is in Christ.
As a result of the Christ’s redemptive work, the power of decree was made available to believers and was a mandate from the Lord to us.
Look with me at Job 22:28 “You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto you and the light shall shine upon your ways. v29 When men are cast down, then you shall say, There is lifting up; and He shall save the humble person. v30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the Godly work of your hands”.
The word “decree” in the original language is “gaw-zar”, which means to determine the outcome of something.
Webster’s Dictionary says that a decree, is to call something forth, to command, to direct, to mandate, to order…
So often we’re not sure what we want and where we want to end up….
A new business was opening and one of the owner's friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion. The flowers were beautiful and they arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card,.... "Rest in Peace." The owner was upset and called the florist to complain.
After he had told the florist of the obvious inference to the message and how upset he was, the florist said, "Sir, I'm really sorry for the mistake, but I’m right now imagining thatsomewhere, there is a funeral taking place, and they have flowers with a note saying,... 'Congratulations on your new location!'"
The Bible says “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue…” in another scripture it says “Let every man be a liar but let the Word of God be true”.
This tells me that as I bring my words more and more in line with God’s word, I will begin to decree life into all that is around and within me and overcome the downward spiral.
Parents are constantly decreeing over their families….
If a child is raised being told constantly that they are good, that they can do anything, and be anything they want to be, and that child hears nothing but positive things, then they will grow up believing that. If another child hears only negative….constantly being told they are stupid, ignorant, bad, useless, unwanted and they will never amount to anything, they are just a bad seed….That child will grow up believing it and becoming that very thing.
Because words have the power to call forth, to command, to direct or to order life or death, according to Webster.
They have the power to determine the outcome…
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love ('âhab.. to be passionately intimate with) it shall eat the fruit thereof”.
“A’hab… is about your desires, ambitions, will, intellect and emotions, or all that flows out of your heart…your center, the core of your being! That place in you where your true beliefs and values flow out of.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow all the issues of your life”.
And then there is….
Matthew 12:34… “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. v35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. v37 For by your words you shall be justified, and by thy words you shall be condemned”.
Two elderly people ended up at the same table, beside one another. As the meal went on they found they had much in common. That night, he called her and said, “You know, we don’t have a lot of time ahead of us, so I’ll just cut to the chase… Will you marry me”!
She thought about six seconds and said "Oh,Yes, Yes, I will!"
The next morning, he couldn’t remember.. "Did she say 'yes' or did she say 'no'?" So, he called her and explained that he didn't remember if she said “Yes, or No”?" "Oh, she said, 'Yes, yes I will' and I meant it with all my heart." Then she paused and said, "But, I am so glad that you called, because I couldn't remember who it was that had asked me."
My point here is, that as we decree a thing, we need to do it with understanding. We need to know what God’s word has said about it. So that we are speaking in alignment with God’s desires and plans….
There are many things which happen that are not God’s will, and they happen because we have overruled God’s plan with our words and actions, and desires, that are contrary to His will… When is the last time you prayed or planned something and said “If it be Your will”? Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done”…..
The power of words was set in motion all the way back at the time of creation, and we can see God bringing man in on it at the garden of Eden when God told Adam, that whatever he said, that’s what it would be….look at it with me….
Genesis 2:19 “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. v20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. v21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof v22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, he made a help meet, and brought her unto the man. v23 And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman..”
God honored Adam’s words and a horse is still called a horse, a dog is still a dog, a snake is still called a snake…a woman is still called a woman, etc.
And Adam named the help meet he was given….”Woman”… which means brought forth from man…. Hmmmmm (brought forth from man)
Your spouse will be what you keep calling them.. What have you been decreeing over your spouse… what have you been callingforth, what outcome have you been determining with your words…..
Spiritual Principles Shape Physical Things….The greatest effect upon the physical realm comes from the spiritual realm. The word of God is spirit and it is truth. When a believer aligns themselves with the word of God, they begin to operate out of a spiritual dimension which has supernatural influence over the physical dimension.
Hebrews 11:3 says it like this “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were made of (the word of God) which is not seen”.
When we align ourselves with the word of God and begin to speak forth that word, we release creative power which comes to bear upon the physical realm.
When Satan came into the garden, the first thing he did was challenge God’s word. He understood the power of decree, because it was by the decree of the word of God, that he was cast out of heaven.
Now, Satan is trying to undermine the word and take away it’spower… He begins by quoting the word of God, but then he makes an exception… (Satan knows the word, and he knows how to misquote it) Satan loves to get us to misunderstand what God is saying…. "I am more deadly than the screaming shell of the cannon. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is "Misunderstanding"
We can hear what we want to hear, and not hear what we need to hear.
A man was telling his neighbor that he had just bought a new
hearing aid. He said that it cost him four thousand dollars, but itwas the latest state of the art in technology. He was really excited to be able to hear all the things he had been missing….
His neighbor said, “That’s great, what kind is it?"
The man answered "It’s about twelve thirty."
(More money misspent) People just aren’t listening…..
Genesis 3:4 “And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not actually die. v5 For God knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”.
Satan not only neutralized God’s word but he neutralized their words by the art of compromise… and death entered where only life was before….
Satan is good at making exceptions and compromise.. so that he can put the spirit of death, where God wants to bring life, success, health and wholeness….
God sent Moses up to the mountain to bring down the commandments. Satan called Eve to the forbidden tree, to bring back the exceptions.
Someone said that If Moses had gone to Harvard Law School and spent three years working on Capital Hill, he would have written the Commandments with three exceptions, and 7 amendments. Watch out for the swirling vortex called the “Exception Zone” that wants to suck you in!
Joe Klock…. “Success, happiness, peace of mind and fulfillment - the most priceless of human treasures - are available to all among us who make "good" things happen - in the world around us, with the exclusion of those who are always making exceptions”.
As Joshua is about to enter the Promised Land, God says this to him… Joshua 1:3 “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, have I given unto you”…
Listen, sometimes you have to declare things until it just wears the devil out, and he can’t stand it anymore.
In the original language, God is saying that you keep on walking on it until you wear a path… You walk on it until nothing contrary can even grow there, and nothing that opposes it, can get a foothold!
When Jesus cursed the fig tree with His decree, He told the watching disciples, who were amazed at such a thing, that they could do the same thing….look at it with me….
Matthew 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How quickly is the fig tree withered away! V21 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, (you is me) If you have faith, and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be cast into the sea, it shall be done”.
God said in Job 22:28 “You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established…” We need to understand that it is already established in heaven, but we need to establish it in the earth where we have been given authority…
Then again, we see in Ephesians 1:22 “And He has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, v23 Which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all”.
This is what Jesus was saying when He told us to pray “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”… It is established in heaven that it might be performed in earth, through the church….
An important issue, is to know where your authority comes from. On Palm Sunday, even the Donkey was smart enough to know that it was Jesus they were applauding for, and not him….
Jesus told the disciples to go and tarry until they were endued with power. He said “You shall receive POWER”… On the day of Pentecost, Jesus was saying that they would be clothed with Power.
We have looked at this several times…. That power has 4 words in it, Dunamis, is the power to overwhelm what is overwhelming you…. Ischus, is the power of bringing forth much from a little… Kratos, is the ability to be invincible against the power of the Devil… Exeusia, is delegated authority, to act in behalf of another. Such as a policeman who has the power of the entire police force behind him.
All of these come into play as we operate in the authority to decree a thing and expect it to come to pass.
Mark 11:22 “Jesus answering said unto them, Have faith in God.v23 For verily (truly) I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass he shall have whatsoever he says. v24 Therefore I say unto you; whatsoever things you desire, when ye pray, believe that you receive, them and you shall have them”.
I understand that we won’t all be just perfect in this all the time, but we can work at it and grow more proficient as we keep at it.
How many have sat through your child’s sessions as they are learning an instrument. I mean, you want to put them in a sound proof room, because before they learn the right notes to use, it can sound pretty awful. But we applaud them and we praise them, for their effort…We encourage them to keep trying even though they’re on our last nerve! We don’t let them give up!
It’s the same way with training your speech and becoming proficient in a vocabulary that is so powerful that you can begin to decree a thing.
I wrote this on Face Book as I was preparing this message…
“Don’t expect things to change because you did the right thing… You have to consistently do the right thing… What would music sound like if you only hit the right note only some of the time…
If what you were speaking consistently came to pass, what would you now see happening and would you even want the results of what you have been saying the most consistently?
“I can’t stand my job, I can’t stand those people, No matter how I try I just can’t get ahead, My life is terrible, How could this be happening to me, The more I try the further I get behind…. Etc.
Usually complaining gets nothing accomplished anyway… A customer stormed up to the front desk of the library and said, "I have a complaint!"
"Yes, ma'am, what is it I can do for you?" "I borrowed a book last week and it was horrible!" " Could you tell me what was wrong with it?" "It had way too many characters and there was no plot whatsoever, and the story just went in every direction!"The librarian nodded and said, "Ahh. So you must be the person who took our phone book….." What are you reading, and watching? Are you complaining or training for reigning?
Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more then, they which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) You are chosen, anointed, authorized and equipped by God to reign in life, not just be run over by life.
Decrees are the keys for opening and shutting. Scripture says, He will open and no man shall shut, He will shut and no man shall open. That is what is established in heaven, and we need to decree it in the earth.
2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. v21 Now He which establishes us (makes firm and unmovable) with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God. v22 Who has also sealed us, andgiven us the earnest spiritual down payment in our hearts”.
Again, God is saying that it is already ours (the spiritual down payment) has been made, if we will release it by giving voice and faith to His word of power.
Our decrees set up the boundaries, borders and channels whichthe answers and solutions from God’s storehouse can manifest within. Our decree protects what is inside and keeps out all that is on the outside. It is the mandate of the Spirit operating through us. Angels are sent forth to battle demons that want to keep us from what God has for us, when we make decrees!!
Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us”?
So we walk in forgiveness, we are quick to repent, we examine our hearts and we open ourselves to a fresh infilling of the Spirit.
Listen, we need to get busy decreeing some stuff and releasing things that are under the power of death, and we release life…
I decree deliverance is going to happen here….I decree habits will be broken here…..I decree souls will be saved here…..I decree healings will be done here…..I decree broken hearts mended here…..I decree families will be put back together here…..I decree financial breakthrough will be done here…..I decree jobs will come here…..I decree you will never be the same again…..I decree the devil is defeated…..I decree that spiritual famine is over…..I decree lifestyles are going to changed…..I decree increase…..I decree prosperity…..I decree wealth…..I decree that we shall live and not die…..I decree that souls will be added to the church…..I decree there is going to be a new thing here in this place…..I decree joy unspeakable and full of glory…..I decree that in 2018 we will not be afraid to step out on faith…..I decree that in 2018 dreams and visions will be accomplished…..I decree walls are coming down…I decree new facilities.
I decree overflow…..I decree and it shall be established…..I decree spontaneous worship will break out here….I decree new levels of spiritual excellence here…..I decree a new level of intimacy with God…..I decree that the Church is going to make a difference in the community….I decree that Godly love will abound.
Let’s make our confession together today…
Lord, Your word says that death and life are in the power of the tongue and I declare in Jesus' name that my life is changing. I declare that no weapon formed or fashioned against me shall prosper. I declare that God will perform that which concerns me. I speak to my physical body and I declare in the Name of Jesus that my body functions to the perfection that God created it to function. Every sickness, every disease and every germ that touches my body dies instantly, for I live the divine life and walk in divine health.
I declare and decree that I am debt free. All of my needs are met, and I have plenty more to put in store. I have preferential treatment and I walk in the favor of God and in the comfort of You, Holy Spirit. I am blessed to be a blessing. In the Name of Jesus, I am no longer the tail. I am no longer beneath. I declare that I am above only! I declare promotion in my life. Promotion on my job. Promotion in my spirit. Promotion in my soul. Promotion in my finances and it shall surely come to pass.
I declare and decree that I have the wisdom of God exploding within me. I have revelation knowledge flowing through me for God will not withhold any good thing from me. People show me great favor through the grace of God which I have received. For my tongue is my pen and I am writing on the tablets of my heart, the words of the Living God.
I am anointed. Burdens are removed. Yokes are destroyed. I walk in the glorious light of the Gospel and I walk by faith and not by sight. I have no fear because I have been given a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. I am the redeemed of the Lord, and all that I have said and all that I have declared shall be establishedin the earth, as my heart is steadfastly fixed on You Lord, in Jesus' Name.
As I prepared for this message, I read about dairy goats, Nigerian Dwarf goats, Pygmy goats, Angora goats, Cashmere goats, Fainting goats, Breeding goats, Guard goats, Farm goats, Goat mascots, and many other goats….
A couple in the church invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having for dinner.
"We’re having Goat," the little boy replied.
"Goat?" replied the surprised minister… "Are you sure about that?"
"Oh yes, I’m very sure," said the youngster. "I heard Dad say to Mom, “Today we need to have the old goat for dinner.”
Proverbs 27:26 “The lambs are for your clothing, and the goats are the price (the ransom, or redemption) of the field. v27 And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance of your women and children”.
Well, let me just say up front that goats have gotten a bad rap.. The places in the bible which refer to goats in a negative way, are referring to the wild mountain goats which were plentiful in the area, not the domestic goats which were raised from birth.
By the way, you call a goat on a mountain, a Hillbilly! A goat that listens to country music is called Billy Ray Cyrus.. A goat playing the piano, is called Billy Joel. (STOP IT, STOP IT!!)
In Matthew 25:32 when Jesus tells us that he will separate the sheep from the goats, placing the goats on his left and the sheep on his right, He is using the daily practice of the shepherd in separating the two for a head count and to check their health and condition. It is an analogy simply indicating a difference in the two by using a spiritual truth to apply it to a natural condition. It is not a term which is indicating that goats are evil or inferior to sheep in and of themselves. (I’ll explain that in a little bit) But I do see here that one of the big differences in the sheep and goats, is that the sheep tend to stay near the shepherd because they recognize their vulnerability, but the goats tend to be independent and can easily wander off on their own and are not as close to the shepherd.
The domestic goat is clearly identified by Yahweh as a kosher animal, and is one of the animals mentioned as suitable for kosher human consumption along with the ox and the sheep.
Certainly, God would not have included goats in His list, if they were unacceptable for whatever reason. The baby goat is called a kid, and as parents, we certainly don’t mean anything bad when we called our children, our kids! As a matter of fact, In the original Hebrew, both baby goats and baby sheep can be referred to as lambs.
Goats were very much a part of the wealth attributed to people in the bible. A man was counted wealthy by the number of sheep, cattle and goats that he possessed.
Goats could thrive in barren areas such as the desert and wilderness regions where Old Testament folks lived. They required very little expense or maintenance to raise and keep, and gave back milk, meat and skins for various uses.
In the account of the wilderness tabernacle, it mentions that the Holy place, and the Holy of Holies, were covered over with “Badger” skins. This puzzled bible scholars for some time, since there are no badgers in that area. Then they discovered that the translation was “goat skins, died blue” which is the color of the heavens…. So goat skins, covered the two most holy areas of the Tabernacle!
The Hebrew word for goat is “at-tood” which refers to strength, fitness and hardiness.
Let me throw this in here….The goat is a ruminant, which means it shews the cud, just as a cow does. There is a separate part of the stomach which allows it to store what it ate and then bring it back up to chew on it some more. Even though there’s nothing to eat, the goat is always chewing….
When David, throughout his writings, uses the word “Selah’ at the end of a thought, he is saying, “pause and meditate on this”, or chew on this for a while…. That is a pretty good picture, in my mind, of how we are to digest God’s Word - it can't be digested all in once but must be carefully studied again and again, and applied to daily life again and again, until it has become a part of who we are.
(tell someone, “you need to chew on it for a while”)
So while we can see that goats are provided as a blessing, there is a blessing which God provided through the goat that goes far beyond our natural needs, we have seen so far….
The scripture actually includes goats as one of the animals which were to be included as an acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord.. It mentions that the blood of bulls and goats as well as lambs were to be used in making atonement for the sins of the people.
On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which is actually called (Yom Kippurim) because (Purim means deliverance or salvation) It also refers to the act of redeeming through the offering of a substitute. The term (Atonement) is actually (at-one-ment), when the people brought themselves into alignment with the requirements of God…. On the Day of Atonement, God required that two goats would be brought before the priest. The priest would cast lots and then tie a red piece of wool on the horns of one of the goats, which was called the (EL’Adonai) meaning “unto the Lord”. This goat would be sacrificed for the sins of the people, and it’sblood sprinkled on the mercy seat or the covering of the arc. Then, while the blood was still on his hands, the priest would lay his hands on the other goat’s head, this goat was called the (Azazel), meaning taken away or sent away, and it would be set free in the wilderness and carry the sins of the people outside the camp. The goat was never allowed to enter the camp again. The Jewish Talmud says that the red cord would turn white as the goat was led away… One goat died so that the other goat could live.
Oh, yes, the Day of Atonement was a brilliant picture of God’s redemption, but in some ways it was only a prelude and a mirage. The Day of Atonement was a temporary measure that would have to be repeated year after year.
And then, it happened…. The one greater than the yearly offering of bulls and goats arrived. Jesus offered himself as our substitute and our sin offering. He fulfilled the roll of both goats, He became the “El’adoni” and the “Azazel”, by becoming our sacrifice, and by carrying away our sins, far from us…so that as we receive His sacrifice for us, we are then allowed to go free!
What was placed on Him, does not have to be carried by us…If He took it, why should we carry it!
If our past was placed on Him, we no longer need to carry it… If our failures were placed on Him, we no longer need to carry them… if our sicknesses were placed on Him, we no longer need to carry them… If our unrighteousness was placed on Him, we no longer need to carry it….He has made a transfer,and we need to see that!!
If Jesus took it as your substitute, why do you need to carry it! Listen, we serve the God of second chances, and I, for one, am enormously grateful of that reality. (We don’t live in “what if”, “what might be” or “what should or could be”, we can live in “What Is”!!!
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come!”
Our sins can never be greater than the grace of God. Our failure can never be greater than God’s love. Our failure in the past does not determine what we will become in the future. We serve a God of new beginnings!
What if we spent more time thanking and praising Him for what now is possible, because He took it all so we could go free! So we don’t have to live with what was, but we can begin to enjoy what is!
We have made the story of Jonah about a fish, but it’s actually about the God of a second chance.
We have made the story of Samson about his great failure with Delilah, but it’s really a story of the God of a second chance.
Without a second chance Peter would never have made it to Pentecost and Apostleship…
Without a second chance Paul would never have made it to the position of Apostle to the Gentile world and writer of the epistles.
Now I am told, that someone got to heaven a lot sooner than they thought they should, and went up to the Lord and said, “Lord, I don’t’ understand why I’m here, I thought if we failed and really messed up bad…. you gave second chances. The Lord said, sorry my son, that doesn’t apply to sky diving! If you fail when you’re sky diving, there are no second chances…..Heaven IS your second chance!
Robin Jones Gunn …. “When it comes to God, We can neverrun out of second chances...but we can run out of time”….
It’s like the woman who was getting married for the fourth time to a funeral director. Her first husband was a banker. The second one was a circus master and the third one was a minister. She told her fourth husband, that she married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go!
We all want to know that there is a way to erase, the bad choices,
the hurtful words, the opportunities missed, the hateful thoughts, and
the willful defiance and rebellion of our lives…
But isn’t that what the word “Redeemed” is all about!
Hebrew 10:19,20 (The Message Bible) “So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, for He now acts as our priest before God”.
He ever lives to make intercession for us…. When we mess up as believers, He points to the blood He sprinkled on the mercy seat. When we miss the mark as believers, He points to the blood He sprinkled on the mercy seat….He’s not the accuser, He’s the El’Adoni and the Azazel ….
On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl. During the first half of the game a player by the name of Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California on his own thirty-five yard line. In scrambling with the Georgia tacklers, Riegels became confused and He started running in the wrong direction, for sixty-five yards. One of his teammates, outran him and tackled him on the one yard line just before Riegels was about to score a touchdown for Georgia Tech.
Then, when California attempted to punt out of the end zone, Georgia blocked the kick and scored a safety, which gave them a shot at the victory. Everyone watching the game was asking the same question: "What will the coach do with Riegels in the second half?" The players filed off the field and into the dressing room with the “Booing of the fans in their ears. They sat down on the benches and on the floor. But Riegels pulled his blanket around his shoulders, and sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and wept like a baby.
That afternoon in the dressing room, coach Price was quiet. When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before getting back on the field. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, "Men, the same team that started the first half will start the second."
The players got up and started out – all but Roy Riegels. He didn't budge. The coach looked back and called to him again. Still Riegels didn't move. Coach Price walked over to Riegelsand said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that started the first half will start the second."
Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with tears.
"Coach," he said, "I can't do it. I've disgraced you. I've disgraced the University of California. I've disgraced myself. I couldn't face that crowd to save my life." Then Coach Price put his hand on Riegels shoulder and said, "Roy, get up and get out on that field. The game is only half over." Riegels did go back, and those Tech players testified that they had seldom seen a man play as Riegels did in that second half. He was determined to take advantage of a second chance!
From that day, he had the nick name “Wrong Way Roy”…Aren’t you glad grace doesn’t call you the name of your failures, but it calls you by the name Jesus gave you…. “More than conquerer”, “Joint Heir”, “The redeemed”, “New creature in Christ”, “Overcomer”…..
Yes, we may take the ball and run in the wrong direction. Yes, we may stumble and fall. And we're so ashamed of ourselves that we never want to try again.
But Jesus Christ puts a nail-pierced hand on our shoulder and says, "Get up; go on back. The game is only half over." I took that failure for you, I covered that fumble, and that stumble, so you go back out there and be the best you ever could be! So you could fulfill the promises you made when you were up against the wall.
The goat has gotten a bad rap, and maybe you feel you have gotten a bad rap too…. Injustice, misunderstanding, lies and being wronged…
But you’re exactly what God is looking for, to show his glory to you, and show you the power of the second chance! To let you see redemption at work….That’s what the grace and favor of God is all about!
Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their wrong doing and I will remember their sins no more.”
If God forgets, shouldn’t we!
Our confidence rests in the reality that Jesus’ sacrifice was presented not in an earthly tent or temple, but it was presentedin Heaven, where nothing can touch it to diminish it or in any way, take away from it.
Second, He did not use the blood of bulls and goats, but His own blood
Third, His sacrifice cleanses us inside and transforms us outside.
Fourth, His sacrifice was once and for all time. There is no expiration date, it is eternal, unfading and unmovable.
(Tell someone)…. “Aren’t you glad the Lord came up with your solution, long before the devil came up with your problem”!
I love the story of “The Count of Monte Christo”.. as portrayed by Jim Caviezel. In the story, Edmond Dante was wrongly accused and imprisoned. A fellow prisoner, gave him the map to a fabulous treasure. When the prisoner died, Edmond took his place in the body bag and escaped. With the treasure, He was able to have a new life, far beyond anything he could have dreamed.
Suppose you had a great debt that you owed that you could not pay. The creditors were foreclosing and you were helpless to stop the process. Now suppose someone came and paid your debt? But suppose they not only paid your debt but also eliminated every trace of that debt from your financial record. It was removed from your credit rating, it was removed from bank records. And suppose this someone promised you that when you ran into trouble again, He would make sure, you would not be foreclosed on.
That is what Christ has done for us.
We see something else that took place when Christ fulfilled the Day of Atonement. In Matthew 27:51 we read, "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."
The curtain that blocked the way to the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies was ripped apart. In other words the way into God's presence was now opened. Not only was sin removed, but we now have access into the presence of God. It’s not about how we feel, or how we see ourselves, but how God now sees us, through the finished work of Christ. We don't have to wait for the priest to go to God for us. We can go ourselves. We don't have to wait for Yom Kippur, we can go at any time. We are not restricted to a certain time or place. We can come into His presence regularly, any moment of any day.
Hebrews 10:21-24 (New Living Testament) “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near”.
I read a story about a lighthouse keeper whose son was on a whaling vessel that had been out at sea for several months. This was in the time when the light had to be tended by hand and one night he struggled to stay awake, but fell fast asleep. A terrible storm came up and when the lighthouse keeper woke up, the light had gone out and the ship which his son was on, had been caught in the storm, and while trying to find the harbor, had capsized and sunk and his son was lost. He had watched for months, and at the critical moment, when he was needed the most, he had fallen asleep and it cost him his son.
We are told to be diligent, to be watching and waiting…. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard at the critical moment. Be vigilant and stay focused on your mission.
Don’t be caught up with distractions, and unrest and preoccupied with things that are not eternal….
So often it is not bad things but good things that pull us away from our first love. Things which elbow their way in so that we are no longer seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness.
Let’s be sober and alert, for our enemy, Satan is busy making sure we’re too busy with the wrong things.
Romans 13:12 “The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the work He began when we first believed. v13 We can’t afford to wast a minute, we must not squander these precious hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. v14 Get up and get ready! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Prepare yourselves in Christ, and be up and about”!
Chris Tomlin, sings a song titled “The way I was made”… it says.. “I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
I wanna dance like no one's around
I wanna sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I wanna give like I have plenty
I wanna learn like I'm not afraid
I wanna be the one I was meant to be”.
When I read that God has given us the goats, for the price of the field, I am thinking, the field is about my home, my family, my livelihood, my responsibilities, and my daily needs.
And God is telling me that in His redemption, all of this is included and it will come in unexplained ways, if I will be responsible and be diligent in the things he has committed into my care.
He will place in my reach, those things at the right time, which will meet my needs and those I am responsible for.
“My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus”.
Grace and favor are about sufficiency and adequate provision.
He is the Lord my provider!
My shepherd is leading me if I will follow…. He leads me to His provision, He leads me to places of refreshing, to places of restoration, to places of anointing, to places of safety, to places of overflow, and to places of His shaping and molding in my life. It’s all paid for in full… All I need to do is believe it and receive it!
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, HE LEADS ME,
HE RESTORES, HE REFRESHES, HE ANOINTS, HE PRESERVES, HE GUIDES, HE PROVIDES, SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY, GRACE AND FAVOR SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE!!!
Hallelujah, let’s do some declaring today…. Because He has done it, let us declare it and live like it!