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Sermon of the Week 
Monday, July 23 2018

 (come out, come out wherever you are)                                                                                                                         We can survive forty days without food, three days without water, and eight minutes without air. But it’s hard to last a single day without hope.                       One of the most fundamental questions of life, concerns hope….is there hope for my failing health, or struggling marriage, or my business or finances, my senior years, or for my children’s future?                                                            Dr Harold Wolfe a professor at Cornell University Medical School conducted a study on the effects of hope on the human body. He studied 25,000 ex- prisoners of war over a long period of time to see what was the difference hope made in their lives. All of them experienced terrible, and inhumane treatment…. brutality, abuse and solitary confinement during their imprisonment. What Dr. Wolfe found was that the prisoners able to get on with their life, without post- traumatic stress, were those who had an extraordinary high level of hope and the ability to let go of the past and accept whatever the future held.                                                                        Isaiah 53:5  He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement (the full price) of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.                                                                      Some of us have had broken bones…Some of us have had stitches… Some of us have had knife wounds…There might even be someone here who has had a gunshot wound…wounds from accidents, and moments of carelessness ….wounds from falling or even self-inflicted wounds (doctors conclude that much of our sickness and health problems are self-inflicted over extended periods of time)

We like to talk about our old physical wounds.

We like to share the details of the experience that caused us to get the stitches or the broken bone…and we usually embellish it a little…

and we show our scars… But the wounds and the Healing that I’m talking about goes beyond the physical….They are hidden wounds…..They are wounds that can’t be stitched or stapled or bandaged.

But just a split second remembrance of a hidden wound can cause pain, which we don’t want anyone to know about, and those wounds, we cover up and hide and it’s a cycle that perpetuates itself over a lifetime.

Memories of ridicule….Memories of criticism….Memories of neglect…. of prejudice…or of hatred and the isolation of lonliness….. Memories of abuse….Physical abuse…sexual abuse… emotional abuse… even spiritual abuse.

Where do you get hidden wounds? Everywhere we live our lives.

From Society…with it’s prejudices and judgments and labeling…

From Family…our parents…our children…our brothers and sisters…our aunts & uncles…and in laws and outlaws…And of course, from Friends… and acquaintances…Oh, yeah, and from the church…..

One thing is certain…everybody has or has had our will have, hidden wounds, and emotional scars…(unless you’ve been hiding away in a cave…and you’ve not been anywhere or done anything …and it only takes one person to get you to the wounded zone!

You may be masking it by wearing a permanent fasade. but most of us have some emotional scars from someone or something in our past.

Emotional wounds are like running a lost and found department….as soon as you find and resolve one, there’s always another one to resolve….and how many have found that it’s always easier to find and solve someone else’s inner wounds than to find and work out your own….                                                             Tommy and Ray were playing golf and as they approached the first tee. Ray goes into his golf bag to get a ball and says to his friend, "Hey, why don't you try this ball." He takes a green golf ball out of his bag and says "You can't lose it, no matter what you do." Tommy replies, "What do you mean you can't lose it?" Well, says Ray, "If you hit it into the woods, it makes a beeping sound. If you hit it into the water it produces bubbles, and if you hit it on the fairway, smoke comes up in order for you to find it." Ray shows him all the possibilities until Tommy is finally a believer. This is totally incredible! Tommy literally shouts it out! Where did you get that amazing ball!" Oh, Ray replies, "I found it!!!”.

How many times have we thought we had finally lost the hurt, only to find it buried more deeply than before… 

Another thing is certain – emotional wounds often take longer to heal than physical wounds.

A soldier comes back from war – he has shrapnel in his body; he’s limping; he’s got bandages on his arms chest and around his head…

In six or nine months he’ll be physically okay. But the emotional wounds from the ravages of war will be with him for a long time.

My uncle on my mother’s side fought in WWII in the South Pacific. If you remember my cousin, Robert and his wife who visited us… it was his dad.

I remember when growing up, I would stay at their house quiet often with my cousin, and on a few occasions I remember him having nightmares of killing Japanese soldiers and in a drunken state, he would chase his wife around the house, thinking she was the enemy. And the children would be sure to hide. She often had black eyes, bruises and marks where he had caught her. He had seen many of his friends die beside him in foxholes, and on battle fields of the war.

That was in the ‘60’s – the war was in the ‘40’s….He was in his 60’s – the war was many years before – emotional scars can last a long, long time.

But no matter the source – whether it was an enemy; a friend; a family member; a spouse (former or present); a Christian; a minister; a church member… No matter the source – Isaiah declares that there is healing for every wound! …there is healing for every hurt!

For every one of the greatest needs of man – there is a corresponding name of God…

1. Jehovah-jireh is The LORD who will provide

2. Jehovah-nissi is The LORD who gives victory and deliverance

3. Jehovah-m’kaddesh is The LORD who saves and rescues

4. Jehovah-shalom is The LORD who is our peace

5. Jehovah-shammah is The Ever Present One

Exodus 15:26 “I AM Jehovah Rapha, I AM the God who heals”

Jehovah Rapha is our healer today as He has always been….

In Psalm 147:3 the Bible says “He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds”.

When Isaiah speaks of the Lord being wounded for our iniquities, the word used is ( khaw-law'….what is done to us by others, outside forces acting upon us, or, to be wounded by another) 

You see, our sin situation requires a Savior…

But our emotional situation requires a Redeemer/Healer!

When we repent and are born again of water and spirit – that takes care of our sin situation…

But what we then need is a healing of the mind, the will and the emotions!

Being born again puts us in a right relationship with God…

But there are still some hidden wounds that need to be dealt with.

God is more interested in our salvation than He is our emotions…but the truth is…We can’t be everything He wants us to be…or do everything He wants us to do…and we can’t really live a fulfilling life if we don’t receive a healing of some things that haunt our hearts and minds!                  These things are stalkers, that stalk us in the shadowy places of our memories… Stalkers, are opportunist and manipulators who seize the moments when we are most vulnerable and susceptible to their deceptions and then take advantage of us. That’s a perfect description of our mental and emotional woundedness…...Stalkers!!!  

God says, “Okay, I forgave you in an instant. I washed away your sins in a moment. I filled you with my Spirit, but there’s more to it than that…

“I want to free you from the stalkers, who stalk you in the shadowy places of your heart and soul. I want to heal the secret hurts, and the hidden wounds so that you can live a life that’s filled with joy and peace and happiness!”

Too many of us only let God deal with the sin part of our life – but never really let Him deal with the hurts that are deeply embedded within us…

And this only leads to frustration because we still have those wounds…

Those emotional scars of past abuses and criticisms and wrong doings…

And they hold us back from everything that God has for usbecause they continue to leave their stains on everything we do and every relationship we enter into…it’s what Pilate couldn’t wash off his hands when he turned Jesus over to the mob… You see 1Corinthians 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, (if He is not who He said) your faith is vain, you are left in your sins. v19  Ifin this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

We go so far…things are going well…then suddenly our adversary – the enemy of our soul – reminds us of what somebody did to us and how that has affected us… or how we reacted badly to a stressful situation that we were thrust into…and it makes us feel less of a person or dysfunctional in some way….And immediately we’re disappointed again and we don’t trust anybody and we start questioning everybody’s motives and the integrity of their Christianity…

But God is saying “I want to heal those hurts…I want to bind up those wounds… I want to help you move on and get over that…!!!”

We give God our best praise, but there are some things that clapping your hands and singing and shouting hallelujahs, and even positive words, can’t take care of…(I certainly don’t want anyone to diminish their praise,)

But that’s where a lot of us Christians have missed opportunities to let God do some deeper things in our lives…we say the right words…have all the right moves…But the hidden wounds never get healed……why?

Because being in an atmosphere where there’s been a lot of praise, and God’s Spirit is there…and everybody leaves feeling great…may be just what we think we need, and that’s all good….

But we often have mistaken the feeling for a healing!

That’s why many of our lives are a Roller Coaster ride …

We leave feeling great…we’re on top of it all… 

But by mid-week we’re back down again… Sunday, we’re back up because we were in church…

When that happens – it means your walk with God (your spirituality) is based more on your feeling than your believing…!

Based more on what you feel than what you allow God to do in you. Because you see, you don’t really believe a thing unless you are willing to act on it… and until we truly lay the hurt, the burden and the bondage of it upon Him, and we can think of the situation or the hurt without the feelings surfacing again….weare still victims of the stalker!!!

For Example…The Anointing…is awesome…powerful…and aprivilege…we don’t deserve… as Preachers, after having preached under God’s Anointing we may feel ten feet tall and bullet-proof… But the *…..next day…reality hits…and we’re back down to 5’-8” and vulnerable… time to take out the trash…. And pay the bills, and mow the yard, and repair the roof….And if we’re not careful – we’ll get on this roller coaster… And spirituality becomes more feeling than substance…

And that’s why so many ministers, who have hidden wounds, that have never been healed, begin to doubt their calling and their ministry…and like Peter and the other disciples, get so beaten up they go back fishing….

At times we wonder why we did everything so right and it turned out so wrong…. Pastor Jones, was playing golf with some of his deacons. On the first hole, he sliced into the rough. The deacons heard him mutter "Oh, Hoover !" under his breath. On the second hole, Pastor Jones’ ball went straight into a water hazard. Once again he said "On, Hoover!" but a little louder this time. On the third hole, a miracle occurred and the pastor’s drive landed only six inches from the hole, "Praise be to God !" he shouted! He carefully lined up the putt, but the ball curved around the hole instead of going in. "Oh, HOOVER” he erupted !!!! By this time, the deacons couldn't withhold their curiosity any longer, and asked why the pastor said "Hoover", when he made a bad shot. Well, said the minister, “I don’t curse, but Hoover is the only name of a dam I know."                                                                      We can easily get into the thermometer Syndrome… It’s feeling based spirituality…or you could say…It’s based on the cycle of the moon spirituality…. It’s when your mood is the mercury in your spiritual thermometer and it’s always rising and falling with the external situation.                                                                                                                         Sothe question is – what to do? How can you finally move beyond this? How can you finally get healed of those hidden wounds of the soul?    (Those wounds from the past that steal your joy…that criticism…the injustice…..that situation where you were done wrong……the verbal abuse…the emotional abuse…the physicalabuse…the sexual abuse…the backstabbing… the betrayal of a friend or someone you respected…) It might be something that somebody said to you [someone in authority like a pastor or someone you had respect for] and the words cut like a knife and you just can’t get over it…it’s filed away in your hurt library!                      God is standing ready…waiting in your “get around to it” line… and He is the one who is willing and He is the one who is able… He stands there in line as your “Jehovah Jirah”….but He won’t push his way in….

There are some things that we have to do…because what we ignore, we only perpetrate! 

Let me share with you some Steps in this Healing Process

1. We must lay ourselves open to God… Here are two principals….                                                                                 You’ll never get beyond it until you take steps to get in front of it.          You must lead your emotions not follow them…

God already knows everything about you and me …But we need to open up and speak it out to Him…

The voice of your pain needs to be able to speak, but your will is the gate keeper of the prison of your woundedness….(repeat) The Bible talks about the problem of stuffing it down inside and not talking about it.

Psalm 39:3 “I kept very quiet but I grew even more upset. I became very angry inside, and as I thought about it, my anger burned.”                                David is saying that holding on to hurts is like carrying hot coals in your heart – you’re the one who’s going to get burned and French fried.

Hidden wounds, when you try to stuff them down, don’t heal.

They get infected and inflamed from the toxic soup, they’re soaking in.

And pushing a hurt aside doesn’t get rid of it… It just makes it worse.

In another place, the psalmist David said “When I kept things to myself, I felt weak inside and I moaned all day long.”

He’s saying that holding on to the wounds drains your energy and vitality and you walk around in a fog of discouragement and disapointment…..

People deal with these things in different ways…

1. Some people just try to forget it…and push it down inside…

2. Some go to drinking…drugs…or promiscuous relationships…

3. Some just turn their back on God…questioning what they believe…

4. People do different things – but none of them work…and somewhere it will have to be dealt with.

So part of the first step in revealing it to God – is you have to be honest…..

Honest and transparent with Three people: 

1. To yourself – (sometimes this can be scary because you can only hide from yourself for just so long….) but stop keeping it in… talk to yourself…get honest with yourself… “I need to deal with this!” (you may look strange doing all that talking to yourself as you drive down the road with an empty car….(folks may look) but who cares!)

2. be honest with God – don’t be afraid to talk about something or somebody to God… He saw it happen. (I can’t see God going “you got to be kidding Me….REALLY”!)

“God, I have resentment in my heart toward so-and-so…”(really!)

Father, I am jealous or covetous toward them…(You’ve got to be kidding) Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. v16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

3. Be honest with one person you can trust –you have to be very careful with this one, but you have to do it… Someone had a great solution for this, tell your problems to a mime because they won’t be able to talk about *….it….Seriously, we will never be trusted with responsibility until we have a sense of accountability… find someone who has a track record of confidentiality… someone who is trustworthy and doesn’t flip-flop according to the cycle of the moon….

The second step in healing, is…Release The Person Who Hurt You… (this is a run don’t walk situation)….cause it’s not even about them, but the hurt you have embraced, that is trying to destroy you….don’t mess with the bull…..You’ll never be totally “set free and full of joy” as long as you have a “mark” against somebody in your heart. (they call it “holding a mark”) Withdraw all of your IOU’s and cancel out all the hurt accounts…                                                                                        The bible says Matthew 7:1  Judge not, that you be not judged. v2  For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again. v3 And why  do you focus on the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? (in modern English…when you arrive at perfection, then you can expect it of everyone else!) 

In order to truly forgive a person, you first have to ask God to forgive you for not forgiving them…                                                                                       I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again….the only reason we won’t let it go, is because we’re getting something out of the unforgiveness… getting even, feeding on the fantasy of revenge, waiting for them to get their just deserts, or the delayed gratification of someday being able to *……say “I told you so”!  Someone said that unforgiveness is like me drinking poison and waiting for the other person to drop dead!... Resentment and bitterness is poison…Not only does it poison you – but it also poisons those that you talk to…I’ve seen it happen.

It has happened to me…hearing what someone in authority did or said to someone close to me – caused me to have less respect for that person….. I wasn’t even involved – but someone else’s resentment caused me to look at the other person differently. I was affected in my ability to see and judge clearly, by someone else’s resentment – that’s probably happened to all of us…

That’s why you have to be careful…

The Bible tells us…“pray for those who spitefully use you”. I appreciate the insight of the scripture found in Proverbs 25:21 “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he isthirsty, give him water to drink v22 For you shall heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward you”. (heaping coals of fire on someone’s head was not getting back at them, orgetting even) it was a very positive thing….in that time, there was a “fire tender”, whose job it was to keep a large fire going for the community, so they could come with their fire pots, and gather hot coals for the home fire. It was a blessing for someone to fill the fire pot,   so you could cook your food and stay warm in cold weather.                                Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. v45 That you may show that you are the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. v46 For if you only love them which love you, what reward have you? For even sinners do that? v47 And if youextend you welcome to your brethren only, what have you done, more than others? For even the sinners do the same? v48  Betherefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (again let me put this in modern English…. “Be at least as spiritual as the sinner is”)

The best way to release someone is to pray for them…                                       (Now, I mean prayers that God will bless them, not GET THEM GOOD!)

A few years ago, TIME magazine had an article titled “Should All Be Forgiven?” The headline said: “Giving up that grudge can be good for your health. Researchers are pioneering a new science of redemption based on the old form of grace.” (that’s good…. “the science of redemption”)

(So scientists are finally figuring out what the Bible has been teaching us to be engaged in, for 2,000 years…)

You can’t hold onto a hurt and really enjoy life. You’ve got to let it go.

Not because they deserve it but because you want to get on with your life.

Whatever happened to you – Jesus went through it in the final hours of His life…Were you humiliated? So was Jesus.

Were you abused? So was Jesus.

Were you betrayed? So was Jesus.

Were you done wrong? So was Jesus.

Were you falsely accused? So was Jesus.

What did He do?

In His humanity, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” You have to release the person who hurt you….                                    I call it….“stop and drop”…

Stop the judging, because that’s what unforgiveness is…. And drop the labels you have put on them, to justify holding on to it!

So, we have said….You have to “Lay it open before God”… and 

You have to “Release the person who hurt you”…

3. REPLACE OLD DATA WITH GOD’S TRUTH…erase the old hard drive…

Your brain is like a 1 million gig hard drive!....It records everything…      Your hurts and your wounds are stored up in your knowledge, your attitudes and your beliefs files…. Somehowwe allow ourselves to get programmed to where the negative data is replayed more than the good information, and when it is played at some level we act it out…

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

That phrase… “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” could be translated in today’s terms to say…

“…but be transformed by replacing the old data on your mind’s hard drive.”

That scripture is telling us that our life can be transformed by something happening to our mind by something outside of ourselves, being embedded in our knowledge, attitude and beliefs files…

How?......First, you have to start asking God to heal your memories… Secondly, you have to start downloading more of God’s Word into your mind’s hard drive 

2 Corinthians 5:16  Wherefore from this time forth we will know no man after the flesh, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on, we do not know Him after the flesh but after the spirit. v17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. v18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation…                                                                                Hey, we have a new ministry, instead of IOU collector, we are by grace zeroing out judgments and installing Grace and mercy accounts!!!

The only way to get rid of a lot of negatives is to replace them with a lot more positives than there were negatives, and renewing the hard drive of your mind.

4th. Step to healing…Refocus On the Future from your new vantage point…Get your attention off the past and get refocused on the future, while being faithful to your present responsibilities. You’re sure to have a colossal accident if you drive, while spending too much time looking in the rear viewmirror! 

“What does God want me to be?” 

“What does God want me to do?”

“What’s my calling? ...What’s my purpose?”

“What ministry does God have for me?”

You may not know the answers yet but start driving toward the future… “forgetting about those things which are behind…reaching for the future”! [The Apostle Paul has told us]……How?

By building on your relationship with God!

How’s your prayer life?

How’s your Bible reading?

How’s your praise and worship?

How’s your attendance and participation in the House of God?

How’s your giving?

How’s your discipline with those desires and inner longings?

Those are vital questions that are indicators of your spiritual health and ability to keep landing on your feet in the rough, tough, tumble world we must live in!...Refocus On the Future, while being faithful in the present!   It no longer matters what happened in the past!

Make a commitment to God today – “for the rest of this year, (starting today) I’m going to do everything I can to get closer to God…to build on my relationship with God so that I can go into 2013 looking forward to what God has for me!”

Don’t let your past determine your future….your past is not your destination, it is your compass.

He’s got a calling…He’s got a ministry… and a purpose for you…

He’s got a level of relationship with Him that you can’t even imagine…

But hidden wounds will hold you back.

If you want to get on with life…you’ve got to learn to trust again.

Because if you don’t trust – you can’t love…

And if you can’t love – you can’t really live.

We need to let God start the healing process today.

You know, we can get it all wrong, and say it all wrong, but God will always get it right…because he looks upon our hearts….

(Let’s bow our heads…as we stand together in His presence…)

One more time today – I want us to think of that person and that situation that has adversely affected our lives…

And I want us to…

1. Lay it open before God

2. Release the person who hurt you

3. Replace those thoughts with the Goodness of God

4. Refocus on your future and leave the past in the past…

Maybe someone else’s resentment and bitterness has affected you and the way you feel about someone…

You can begin the healing today…

It doesn’t matter who you are. 

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. 

It doesn’t matter what the scar. 

It doesn’t matter what the sin. 

It doesn’t matter how you fell, somewhere along the way. 

There’s healing for your life … beginning today.

Lord, You can heal broken hearts, bitter memories and damaged self-esteem. …patterns can be erased and reversed….self-defeating life styles can be stopped and new lives can begin again. You turn nobodies into somebodies. You can touch hurting hearts and minds today with Your healing touch of love. Let the river of Your redemption flow right now.

Pray this prayer with me, that is on the screen..  Lord, I know that You see and You feel all the pain in my heart, the hurt and the resentment and the anger and guilt, fear, insecurities. You see it all. I desperately need Your healing for my hidden wounds, my emotional scars. Jesus, You are my healer and my Savior, I invite you to enter my heart and touch all those life experiences which need Your work of grace.                                                    Lord, you know me much better than I know myself. Pour your love into my heart. Cleanse me Lord with your precious blood and wipe away all negative experiences. Today, by faith, I’m taking these initial steps. Help me to admit to You the things that have adversely affected my life. Help me to release the person that wronged me. Help me to replace thoughts of that experience which wounded me inside, with thoughts of your Goodness. *…..Help me to refocus on the future and Your plan and purpose for my life, as I faithfully attend to my responsibilities in the here and now. Thank You for bringing me to the House of God today to receive Your life giving word. I commit these things to you… In Your name, I pray. Amen.”

I close with this quote…. “Dance as though only God is watching. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though only He can hear you. Praise for an audience of One. Live as though heaven has truly come into the earth.”

Posted by: AT 07:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 11 2018

 (7/8/18) Message by David and Vicki Elliott

Mt. 13:  3b There was a farmer who went out to sow seeds… 8 Someseeds fell on good, rich soil that kept producing a good harvest. Some yielded thirty, some sixty, and some even one hundred times as much as he planted!

The seeds were planted in various conditions & had various results.

The seed planted in good soil flourished.

The question that we’re going to look at today isn’t what type of soil we are, but since we all want to be good soil, what makes good soil good?

Question:  in the natural world, what are some factors that make good soil? (get responses)

Today we’re going to look at one, often overlooked key factor/quality of good soil – humus (hyoomis).

But what in the world is humus?

Humus is organic material in the soil.

Organic means it was once living.

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica Online, Humus is produced by the decomposition of plant and animal matter.

In other words, as plants & animals die and breakdown, they enrich the soil to enable plants and animals to thrive.

Humus is the root of another word/words/concept:

Humiliate/humility/humble

So for the soil of our hearts to produce 30, 60, 100 fold,…Guess what we need? Humility!

To be humble, we must submit to the process of humbling!

We all value humility!  But no one likes to be humbled – except when it’s someone we think needs or deserves it!

However:

Humble people aren’t always what we think they ought to be. 

They aren’t always modest..They aren’t always agreeable and submissive

And they aren’t always nice — at least not the way we think.

We don’t always recognize humility. 

Sometimes we mistake humility for pride and pride for humility. 

Truth be told, we don’t always like to be around humble people. 

There’s a lot we could say about humility, but I love CS Lewis’ quote.

CS Lewis’ quote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.”

Often what we have in mind is self-deprecation.

The key is, they don’t think more highly of themselves than they ought to think (Romans 12:3)

Humility is not needing “it” to be about them.

We are going to tie together over the next few moments the process and importance of humus in the soil with the process and importance of humility being worked into the soil of our hearts.

So, the process of forming & adding humus; and the process of humility, is to be fruitful.

Before we start, are we all in agreement that fruitfulness is our goal?

Can we also agree that we are going to produce something?

Can we also agree that most of what we produce is unintentional?

According to Jesus, in His parable of the talents, not being intentional about producing what the Master desires is not winked at by the master.

So we are created to produce.

We can’t help but to produce.

But to produce something valuable, and to produce it 30, 60, 100 fold, the soil of our heart must be submitted to a process to support fruitfulness!

1. For humus to be formed in the soil, something must die.

Parallel: For humility to be formed in us we must die to ourselves.

Jesus said:  “Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.” (Jn. 12:24)

I’ve heard this scripture applied to dreams, hopes, things we are believing for. And that may be true, but that’s not what Jesus is talking about.

He’s talking to the disciples about his death.

He then shifts to the disciples, including the new folks that Phillip just brought to Him!

25 “The person who loves his life and pampers himself will miss true life! But the one who detaches his life from this world and abandons himself to me, will find true life and enjoy it forever! 26 If you want to be my disciple, follow me and you will go where I am going.  And if you truly follow me as my disciple, the Father will shower his favor upon your life. (v25-26)

I’m gonna find another Church!

Paul said, “I die daily to self.”

 We all know this verse, but how does it happen?

​-Not prioritizing me and mine (But if I don’t, who will?)

You may say, “I don’t prioritize me; but do we prioritize ‘mine’”

​-Choosing not to live out of my opinions, my desires, my way ,…

You can tell this is the case when you hear phrases coming out of you like..

”me time,” “I deserve,…” “if you ask me…” “I’ve done so much,…”

or not willing to avoid that interaction on FB or a conversation without trying to make your opinion known

Technically, we die to ourselves when we’re saved.

We can’t embrace His Lordship until we let go of ourselves.

But with good motives, trying to make salvation easier and more accessible, many have skipped this part & contributed to a weak understanding of salvation.

Even so, Paul had to die daily to His own urges/impulses/self-preservation.

If we lose our life, we will save it.  If we save our life, we will lose it.

2. For humus to be formed in the soil, the dead thing must be broken down. - The breaking down is done by fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and other organisms.

A. For humility to be formed in us, we must be broken down.

First we die, then we face the process of breaking down by circumstances and individuals.

(If we were truly dead, this break down wouldn’t bother us.)

We are broken down, brought to humility, by things we wouldn’t necessarily want, just like fungi, bacteria, or earthworms

The breaking down never occurs in the ways of our choosing!

In fact, it’s almost always EXACTLY the thing or person that hits us at our weakness,… makes us feel that awful feeling of failure.

In fact, we hate failure.

We avoid it at all costs.

We do or don’t do things because we don’t want to fail.

We say failure is . . . HUMILIATING!  Same root word!

We fear/avoid humiliation.  But God can use humiliation to humble us, to create humus!

God allows people to run right against our grain, our opinions, our ways, our desires, so that we learn to give those up

Why is that?....God is breaking us (unless we harden ourselves).

The story of Joseph is a great example.

He was given a great dream; a promise, that he would be great.

He was beaten, thrown into a pit and sold as a slave (not great).  

Sounds like death to me!

But wait, there’s more!  The process isn’t done!

He was when sold into Egypt, that’s enough, right?

Falsely accused of rape.  Done right?

Imprisoned.  Ok.  Now we’re done, right?

Forgotten by those he helped.

THEN he was made great; ruler over Egypt under Pharaoh.

He was 17 when he was sold into Egypt

He was 30 when he was made overseer

13+ years of breaking down.

“Dying” was quick.  The breakdown took time.

A broken and a contrite heart, He will not despise……Why?

3. Humus changes the soil & becomes nutrients for plants and animals.

Parallel:  The same circumstances and people God may have allowed to break you down, become catalysts for us to enrich others.

Joseph wasn’t humbled so that he could be great.

He was humbled so a great nation could rise from the process in him!

He was humbled so the seed of promise would not be cut off!

We cut off the process when we think what we’re going through is just about us.

(the breaking, the exaltation is always about fruitfulness – so others, so God’s purposes can grow and thrive)

Can what you’re going through possibly benefit others?

The saying…“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Betrays the self-focus in our struggle.

It actually hardens the soil that God is trying to enrich/soften.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

This is because God has broken us down, so He can make us effective.

There’s always purpose in the process when we are about His purpose.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Rom. 8:28)

There is room for His authority when we are made low. (He can be seen, when I allow me to be lowered)

There is room for Him to use me, where there once was ‘too much of me”.

Up until now, I’ve lived out of what I thought I could produce (which isn’t effective for good growth).

His nutrients begin to be what I live off of and what others can live off of as well.

Closing

1. Humility was a core character trait of Jesus.   Phil. 2 

2. Humility allows God to grow His life in us, because it doesn’t have to compete with our life.

3. Without humility, this Grace process is closed off to us, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  If we want grace, must have humility.

4. For humility to flow through us, the mind of Christ must be in us.

5 And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.  6 He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. 7 Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human!  8 He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.  He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion! (Phil. 2:5-8)

Humility results in (among other things) an outward-focused life.

Let’s be honest, Hell isn’t really that concerned about you & me.

But Hell is terribly concerned with your impact!  With you reproducing yourself.

The Church has always been one generation away from extinction.

Hell knows that & is counting on your impact ending with you.  No fruit!

If Hell can keep us self-focused and self-protecting, more concerned with “being taken” than in giving ourselves away, Hell can keep us from nurturing & nourishing the next generation – from being fruitful.

If we cannot be an example of this humility, how can we expect our children to risk being:

Peaceful in a violent world

Kind in a competitive society

Faithful in an age of cynicism

Gentle in the face of harshness

Loving in a world of hate

Posted by: AT 12:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 04 2018

My title is not the words used by someone arguing with God… they are not the words of someone making excuses for /qw2/8disobedience, and they are not the words of someone who has a plan that is contrary to what God is presenting to them….It’s about God putting an end to the argument (But God)

This phrase which is the title of today’s message, is used over 250times in Scripture and that causes my spirit to leap for joy. It is God’s response to Satan’s challenge. It is the bottom line. It is the last word. “But God”, when viewed in relation to all the many challenges of life, it is what up is to down; what life is to death; what in is to out. “But God” stands firmly opposed to the negative roar of the world. We have a choice, to operate from the world’s perspective or from God’s perspective.

The world says no – “but God” says yes. The world says you can’t – “but God” says you can. The world says you won’t -- but God” says you will. The world says stop – “but God” says go. The world says don’t – “but God” says do it. The world says you’ll be defeated – “but God” says you are victorious!   

“But God” scales the highest mountains in your way… marches through the darkest valleys, and sings the sweet songs of victory in the midnight hour. “But God” exclaims “I’m going to the enemy’s camp and take back what he stole from me!”

As Christians, may we all be challenged to speak words which bring folks together instead of tearing us apart. (We’ve all had moments we regreted….come on be honest) Do our words heal or hurt?

The more courageously the soldiers of the cross declare the truth of God and the more faithfully they live out the truth in their own life, the more they will be subject to assault. An old Puritan saying goes “He that stands near his Captain, is sure to be a target for the archers.

He will be accused of wrongs he did not do. He will be savaged by gossip, slander and backbiting. He will be ostracized and ridiculed. This treatment will come from the world and, sadly enough, it may sometimes come from fellow-Christians.

At such times, it is important to remember that the battle is not ours, but God’s. And we should claim the promise of Exodus 14:14:"The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace". What this means is that we don’t have to defend ourselves or fight back. The Lord will vindicate us and reveal the greater truth and the greater outcome at the proper time.

The prayer of St. Augustine was "Lord deliver me from the lust of always needing to defend myself".....

The apostle John said “I must decrease that He might increase”.

In a time when the spirit of this world is dividing and tearing folks apart over everything imaginable…. Politics, religious convictions, lifestyles, and whatever wedge imaginable that can be driven between us…. Our Heavenly Father is using every means possible to bring us together to heal and restore us and bring us together for great accomplishments….

What would happen if we treated everyone, the way we would want God to treat us? 

Ephesians 2:2 "It may well be that in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience: v:3 Among whom we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even also as others. v4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which He loved us, v5 Even when we were without Spiritual life and in our sins, He has quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace ye are saved;) v6 And He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. v7 That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus".

Within the 6 chapters, 155 verses, and 3,039 words, of Ephesians, Paul challenges his spiritual son Timothy and the city church he pastors, to be open and believe for Divine intervention individually and corporately.

He wants them and us as well, to know that it’s not over until God says it’s over, and He’s waiting to have the last word. Even when it looks like we’re not making a lot of headway at times.

In the midst of a violent storm, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called everyone to the wheel house and asked, “Does anyone here know how to pray?" One man stepped forward. "Aye, Captain, I know how to pray." "Good," said the captain, "you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets - we're one life jacket short."                                                                                     (that’s when you better know about Divine intervention)

                                                                                                                               I’ve come to compel you to stand firm to the last inning, the last pitch, the last hit of the game– there may be some close calls, but the outcome isn’t decided yet….wait until the last seconds tick off the clock… until the “home team” has had its chance at bat…..If you quit too soon, you’ll leave before the victory is realized. I want to tell you that the jury is still out in your situation – all the votes are not in – The great pinch hitter of all time, has not come to bat yet!

Winnie was scheduled for surgery which would have prevented her from having any more children, BUT GOD decided that a little girl named Karen was supposed to be part of our family…. And He healed her… My son Chris stuck his tongue in an electric outlet and would have died, BUT GOD knew the lives he was supposed to impact for the kingdom, and even though his cheek was melted, by the time he arrived at the ER it was nearly totally healed….

David was a year old when he swallowed about 4 dollars worthof dimes, pennies, quarters and nickles that I had left on the couch while I was changing clothes after church. We though it was strangely silent, so I looked in the living room and he was laying on the floor, already turned blue and not breathing… Satan wanted to kill him there, BUT GOD had me grab him by the ankle and swing him up and start slapping his back. It looked like a slot machine in Las Vegas! He tried to end all of our children before they could even get started….

Satan always begins to celebrate prematurely… Don’t let all his noise and all his blustering cause you to jump to conclusions…..

In Stephen’s sermon found in Acts 7:9, he retells the story of Joseph…. “And Joseph’s brothers, moved with jealousy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him”…. We are told in Genesis that they threw him in the pit…BUT GOD sent a caravan which was on it’s was to Egypt. He was sold to Potiphar as a slave, BUT GOD promoted him to head over Potiphar’s house…. He was falsely accused and sent to prison, BUT GOD, promoted him as head over the entire prison… It looked like the prison would be how his story would end, BUT GOD brought him before Pharaoh and promoted him to the Pharaoh’s personal assistant….That he might save his people alive….

Satan thought he had defeated the plan that God had for all of us, when he sent a serpent and got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden. But he got completely blindsided, when in the midst of his celebration, a baby was born to a virgin in a little town of Nazareth! With that, Satan spent 33 years trying to stop the son of God, and finally thought he had killed him. Once again he let all the stops out in the celebration of all celebrations…. But in the midst of it… Jesus showed up in Hell and took the keys to death, hell and the grave…..

Let me read it again…. Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which He loved us, v5 Even when we were without Spiritual life and in our sins, He has quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace ye are saved;) v6 And He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.

Don’t listen to the lies and discouraging words of the enemy. Realize that God still has the final word! See things from the Father’s perspective. Incline your ear and hear it today… “BUT GOD!”

Let me give you a few BUT GODS for this time in your life….

Genesis 50:20 – “But as for you, you thought evil against me,BUT GOD meant it for good, to bring to pass the salvation of many people”.

Psalms 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail BUT GOD isthe strength of my heart, and my portion for ever”.

1 Corinthians 1:27 – “BUT GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and He has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”.

May we get a fresh look at the God who interrupts Satan’s plans, who is the problem solver before you had a problem!                                                            He’s the God of this universe…. the God that created the heavens and the earth…. the God that upholds the trillions of stars by the word of His power…. He’s the Eternal one, the God who is from everlasting to everlasting…. He’s the Omnipresent One, the God who is present everywhere, He’s the Omniscient One, the God who is full of all wisdom and all knowledge…. He is the Just One, the God who executes judgment and righteousness…. He’s the God who is full of tender mercies, the God who forgives, who knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. 

May we get a new revelation of Him, as Isaiah said,                                 Isaiah 6:1"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up." – Isaiah is saying, “the year that I saw an earthly throne vacated I saw an eternal throne that was and is and shall be forever… in the year that I saw an earthlyking come to his grave, I  saw an eternal King, seated on high, who will never die!

As we approach the July 4th celebrations that will take place around the nation…. Where we celebrate our independence… I am reminded that true liberty is not in independence but dependence on God! And true liberty here is in understanding that He sets us free to live forever with Him…. (oh grave where is your victory, oh death where is your sting?) 

Listen to the words of Revelation 11:15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, Thekingdoms of this world are now become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and forever”. Satan says, this is my world, the hearts of men are following me, I have deceived them into believing “Live like hell, cause when you die, it’s all over”…

Our Lord is going to have the final “BUT GOD”… when this earth is under assault by Hell, like it has never been before…. When Satan seems to be unstoppable and his power invincible…. The truly unstoppable and irresistible One is going to step forward and show who’s in charge and has always been.                                                              Isaiah 59:19 “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him”.

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t finish the Devil off when He cast him out of heaven…. I’m glad you asked!!! Now the Deist believe that there is a God, that He created everything, but then He backed off and is just watching what we do with it all, without intervening in our actions… Surely they haven’t read the bible, to believe something like this!!!

Luke 10:17 “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. v18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. v19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (no expiration date)v20  Never the less, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. 

 You need to believe and demand that your trials start workingfor you, and stop working against you. If God is for us then what can stand against us!!! 

All through the bible we see that there were good and bad, faithful and flawed people that God used to accomplish His plan. As someone has said, "God can draw straight lines with crooked sticks."

In the words of William Cowper, a poet and hymn writer from the late 1700’s…. “God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in the hidden reservoirs, Of never failing skill, He opens up His plans Divine, And works His sovereign will. Letfearful saints fresh courage take! The clouds you fear and dread ,Are filled with mercy, and will break In blessings on your head.Do not judge the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace, Behind a storms of Providence, behold his smiling face.His purposes will come to pass, Unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower. Blind unbelief is sure to fail, as it scans His work in vain. God is His own interpreter, And He soon will make it plain”.

When God intervenes, it may not look like you thought it aughtto….

Here’s some letters to God from children on that subject….                              Six year old Joyce, wrote a letter to God about that…. “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother You sent, but what I prayed for was a puppy. Love you anyway…Joyce”

Little seven year old Peter wrote, “Dear God, Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp than mine this year. I would really appreciate it, your friend Peter”

We don’t always get what we want, but we get what we need!!! The Devil may have a plot but God has a plan!

Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented defeat – and turn it into a symbol of victory?

Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented guilt – and turn it into the symbol for grace?

Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented condemnation – and turn it into a symbol of freedom?

Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented pain and suffering – and turn it into symbol of healing and hope?

Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented death – and turn it into a symbol of life?

This is what Paul is saying, when he says 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed… we are perplexed, but not in despair v9 We are persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed”.

And with this as his perspective, Paul was able to say at that day of final accounting…. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. v8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing”. 

Now notice those words… “that love His appearing”… I somehow think that Paul is not only speaking about the evacuation of Christians from this planet at the rapture, but he’s saying …. In all those things that I went through… beatings, shipwreck, stoning, left for dead, prison, and persecution… I would not have made it BUT GOD was always there to bring me out and bring me through it all! I made it because He always showed up!

Think about it church, we just may be the strongest at the moment we feel the weakest, for that is when we are more about the Lord and less about ourselves...He must increase, I must decrease.

The things that rattle the cages of the world, should have no effect on the disciple of Christ…. Because what looks like the end for them, is only the beginning for us! 

2 Corinthians 4:16 “For this cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day”.

I like the idea of leasing a car instead of owning it… The lease company takes care of the regular service calls and check up(That’s what the Lord does for me as I stay in the word and prayer and obedience). He said he would renew my mind, renew my strength, recharge my spirit, and renew my vision. Listen, this body is on loan from God…I just need to bring it before him on a regular basis for check ups and service…He makes sure I get renewed on a regular basis! (Not retired…. But RENEWED! ) In my lease program, I get a new lease car every 3 years! And when this thing is over I’m going to get a brand new model!

Jesus said… Just ask me….and it would be given….

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. v11 Give us this day our daily bread”. Someone say with me,    (I have daily bread, that renews me day by day!) That’s daily renewal! 

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”.

Deuteronomy 33:25 “As the length of your days, so shall yourstrength be”. 

Get re-fired, get re-energized, get re-inspired, get renewed and know that He who has anointed you is God, and the anointing breaks every yoke….and frees you from the spirit of weariness, the deception of abandonment, and the lie that “this is the way its always been so this is the way it will always be”!!! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!

STAND AND GIVE HIM PRAISE AND GLORY…. HALLELUJAH! 

Behold the Lord says… “I will do a new thing, put out of your mind what happened before, or the way it was before. That is behind you, this is yet to come… Do not diminish what I am about to give you by comparing it to anything behind you. This is a new thing that I am breathing life into. You can’t wrap your head around it now, but when you see it and know it, then you will handle what you have only touched by faith and faith shall become sight. Even now it is springing forth. And my words to Thomas are my words to you… “handle it and know that it is of me, and it is glorious in your sight”… I will make a way where there is no way, I am straightening out the crooked places and making them straight. And the dry place shall be a place of rivers and fountains. I will honor you because you have honored me. I have chosen you before you chose me and I have honored you before you honored me…You shall yet understand why things were the way they were, and through it you shall give me greater praise… I have formed it just as I have shaped and molded you, that you should show forth my Praise!

Posted by: AT 09:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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