Here’s someone’s definition of a father... "A father never feels worthy of the worship in his child's eyes. He never feels that he’s the hero his daughter thinks he is, and never quite the man his son believes him to be, A father is a man who carries his children’s pictures in his wallet where his money used to be. Fathers are those guys who give their daughters away to other men who are never good enough, so they can have grandchildren that are better than anybody else’s.”
Mark Twain said, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to be in the same room. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned."
I would certainly be very negligent if I didn’t thank my kids for all the wonderful sermon material they have provided me! As a matter of fact whatever it was that happened, they had a common saying as they were growing up and it was …”We’llhear about this in dad’s next sermon”!!!
In the early days of the building of Notre Dame University whenthey were still clearing the land. A superintendent asked one of the workmen, what he was doing. He said, “I’m digging a ditch”.. The next worker he asked said “I’m gathering stones to build a wall”… But the third workman he asked, who was mixing mortar, said, “Sir, my wife and I are mixing this mortar, because we’re raising up a great cathedral”
Folks, we’re not called to build junk, but we are raising up great cathedrals through the lives of men, women and children….
When the angel appeared to the father of John the Baptist, he realized that this was not just another ordinary Jewish childwhich he would father, but a special gift that God was placing in his care…
Luke1:16 “And he (John) will turn the hearts of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. v17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
I’m sure we have all heard the saying that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that shakes the world. But that is certainly true of two fathers, one was named Joseph, who was called upon to be the earthly father of Jesus, and Zachariah who was called upon to be the father of John.
We declared over all of our children, that they would be soul winners and bring others to Christ. I’m celebrating as a Dad today, that God has allowed me to see the day when they all were living that out…They’re all soul winners and they’re bringing folks to Christ!
Prophesy over your kids every day according to the word of God….Theword of God is the spirit of prophecy…
For strength, speak Philippians 4:13 “They can do all things through Christ who strengthens them”.
For Courage and boldness, speak Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.
For Peace and freedom from worry, speak Philippians 4:6 “They shall not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving may their requests be made known to God.
For provision speak Philippians 4:19 “My God will supply every need of theirs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. ~
For Direction and right choices speak Proverbs 3:5-6 “They shall Trust in the Lord with all their heart, and not lean on their own understanding. In all their ways they acknowledge him, and he will make straight their paths”.
For Protection, speak Psalm 91:1-2 ” They shall dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty. They will say of the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust”.
For Joy, speak Psalm 16:11 “You make known to them the path of life; in your presence they find fullness of joy; at your right hand they havepleasures forevermore”.
For Compassion speak, Ephesians 4:32 “ They shall be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave them”.
For Justice speak Isaiah 1:17 “They shall Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause”.
For Wisdom, speak James 1:5 “If any of them lacks wisdom, let them ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given them”.
For Hope, speak Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill them with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit they may abound in hope”.
For Love, speak 2 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”.
One father wrote this in a letter to God… “He calls me Dad and I call him Dude, With his faded old pillow and a bear named Pooh. He snuggles up close and says, "I want to be like you" I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight, Trippin' over the toys as I turn out the light, and I whisper a prayer that someday he'll see, He's got a father in God, 'cause he's seen Jesus in me. Lord, I want to be just like You, 'Cause he wants to be just like me.
I want to be a holy example, For his innocent eyes to see.
Help me be Your living word, Lord, That my little boy can read.
I want to be just like You, 'Cause he wants to be like me.
Someone has said that the best thing you can do for your children, is to love their mother totally and completely!
Proverbs 22:6 - “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
But one thing for sure, you can’t be a couch potato dad and raise the kind of kids God has called you to raise!
It reminds me of the little boy who was playing on a Sunday morning while his Dad was in a recliner reading the paper. And the father said, “Son, get yourself ready for church.” The little boy asked, “Are you coming with me today Dad?” The man replied, “No, I’m not coming. But I want you to hurry up and get ready so you can go with your momma.” The little boy then said, “Did you used to go to Sunday School when you were a boy, Dad?” The father proudly replied, “I most certainly did!” Then the little boy smiled, “Yeah, I bet it won’t do me any good either!”
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, (and that includes spiritual provision) and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”.
The shame is that there are homes where dad is uninvolved in anything spiritual in the home and if mom doesn’t do it, it doesn’t get done…..
Every Father needs a tool box… In that box, he needs to have an Adjustable Wrench - Fathers must be flexible and adaptable to any situation that arises.
Every Dad needs a Level - Fathers must be fair, balanced and level-headed.It’s not easy to love and apply discipline at the same time.
He needs a Staple Gun and Clamps – Cause God knows that Fathers will be called upon to hold things together and keep them together.
He needs Shop Towels - He must be ready to clean up some messes heencounters, wash some feet, and keep the talk clean.
Fathers need an Extension Cord – Cause Fathers must be able to stretch a bit and be able to connect to the source of power at all times.
And we can’t forget to put a bottle of Cologne in the tool box- when everything stinks, and our attitude gets stinky.. put on some of the sweet cologne of His presence! Sweeten up the atmosphere!
And what about some Pliers - Fathers must be able to keep his grip when everyone else is losing theirs.
And Oh, how about a Rubber mallet – because fathers must be able to do some persuading, without doing damage to whoever he’s persuading!!!
What does your tool box look like?
WORD OF GOD, SPEAK, SPEAK TO US, TODAY!!!
1 Corinthians 2:6 For we speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away. v7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages for our glory. v8 It is wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood, for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, v9 but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND IT HAS NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
There are no perfect fathers except the Father in heaven, with all capital
Letters! And God doesn’t expect perfection, just a teachable spirit! Chuck Swindoll said, "A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living."
One young woman was talking to her counsellor and describing her dream husband… She said, “he has to be handsome, funny, entertaining, smart, keeps me interested, romantic, doesn’t interrupt, let’s me be myself, doesn’t expect me to do all the house work, and never insults or belittles me”….. The counselor pauses for a moment and says, “My dear girl, what you’re actually shopping for a 70 inch flat screen TV”!!!
No man is going to be the TOTAL man or FATHER, but we have the total father in Father God, who will give us wisdom and Holy Spirit counselling as we need it and are open to it!
1 Corinthians 2:10 For God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. v11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. v12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, v13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. v14 But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned”.
One day a father was watching his young son play in his sandbox. Someone had placed a very large rock in it. The young boy tried to pick it up but it was too heavy. He tried to roll it but couldn’t. He even laid on his back and tried to push the rock with his legs, but that didn’t work either. The had given up, and the dad thought it was time to teach his son a life lesson.
The boy said, “Dad I have tried everything and I can’t get this rock out of my sand box. I tried to pick it up, I tried to roll it and I tried to push it and nothing worked.”
The dad bent down and lifted the rock out of the sandbox and said, “You see son, you didn’t try everything. You didn’t ask me to help you!
We all have some rocks in our sand box that we have a hard time moving. Our families and friends need to see us and hear us calling on the one that can do what we can’t do ourselves.
There are relationship rocks, those pesky work problem rocks, the rocks of circumstance, and those physical health rocks, that we’ve pushed, pulled, kicked and prodded, and we’ve tried everything, but we haven’t really tried everything until we call on Jesus. Have you knelt before Him with your spouse, with your family, with your friends?
We will always stand tallest on our knees!
Jesus came to show us what a father’s heart looked like…
He shared three stories that reveal the Father’s heart. The story of the lost sheep, shows us the length He will go to for just one person who has gone out and become lost and disoriented.(leaving the 99 in search of the one, doesn’t really make sense until you are that one!)
The story of the lost coin, reveals how much the Father cares about any area of lack or lost opportunity we may suffer. And He will be diligent until it is recovered.
The story of the lost son, clearly reveals how the Father’s heart is so connected with every son who is struggling and disillusioned, and will faithfully draw them back to the Father’s heart.
It reveals a God that is approachable, and is not out to condemn us but to continually draw us to Himself.
The bottom line is that it tells us that lost things can be found!
There is a story which I had intended to share last week, but because of time, I cut it out of my sermon. But it seems to have found it’s place in the message this week. Some of you may have seen it on Facebook, but I believe the principal is vitally important.
A warehouse property was for sale. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash all around the interior. As the owner showed a prospective buyer the property, He made it clear that he would replace the broken windows, fix the doors, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out all the garbage. The prospective buyer said "Forget about the repairs, When I buy this place, I'm going to tear it down and build something completely different. I don't want the building, I’m buying the property rights ."
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse that is going to be demolished anyway…. (old things are passed away). STOP SWEEPING! God is not as interested in what you have built as He is in having the property rights, so He can build what He wants to build!
It is so important that we all give the Lord our property rights. All our titles and positions, and influence are nothing if He doesn’t have the rights to it all.
Growing up, I’ve sat through altar calls and did not respond because I was holding on to my property rights.
Over my lifetime, I’ve heard the Spirit’s voice and struggled to obey, because I was holding on to my property rights.
I know that it will be a continual thing as God’s Spirit deals with those places in me that He wants to work in, and I will have to yield the property rights to Him, again and again.
When we hold back and hold onto what God is asking that we give to Him… When we stop when He says to go… or charge ahead when He says stay… When we make choices, even though the tender voice of the Holy Spirit is raising red flags all over the place… When we move into our day without consulting His wisdom and His counsel… Isn’t the real issue that we don’t want to turn over the property rights to Him!!!?
The old hymn says it so well…. “Just as I am, without one plea, but as Thy blood was shed for me, and as Thou bid’st me come to Thee, oh lamb of God I come, I come”….
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will fellowship with him, and he with Me. v21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to rule with Me on My throne (place of authority), as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. v22 He who has an ear (that is able to hear), let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Bob Pierce founded World Vision in 1950. His heart of compassion was birthed out of the terrible suffering of the little children which he saw first hand in Korea, during the Korean War. Pierce wrote in the flyleaf of his Bible…"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."… He returned home, knowing what God wanted him to do…. He gave God the property rights… Acts 9:1 “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest v2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way (followers of Jesus), whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem”.
Saul was a devout Pharisee (a religious person). He was a man who knew the Law as good as anyone. The first 5 books of the bible (the books of the Jewish law) were his standard for living.
He was sincere. He had a form of godliness but he denied its power source, which was Christ. The problem was, you better not disagree with him, because he put down anyone that didn’t live the way he lived and believed the way he believed. (they’re still in the church today)
The word says he breathed out threats and murder against the disciples. That means it came from him as often as the breath in and out.
Listen, whatever you breathe out is a byproduct of what you breathe in.
The person whose always sour, has a bad disposition, is always copping an attitude, they’re pessimistic and grouchy, and cannot be pleased no matter what…
That is a person who is constantly breathing in some bad stuff.
But if you’re a person who has…Joy on their lips, A pleasant attitude,
A “we can do it” outlook, A “look what God is doing” attitude, and always has a word of encouragement…
That’s a person who has given their property rights over to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:17 “Anyone who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. v18 Therefore, flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. v19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? v20 For you have been bought with a great price, therefore glorify God in your body”.
He paid a tremendous price in order to have the right to bless and prosper your life. Turn it all over to Him and receive His blessing, the wisdom of His Discipline, the promises of His Word, The plan He has for you, and the connections which He is setting up with those who will bring you there.
And when you do turn it over to Him, you will become a well-spring of blessing to everyone you meet.
How about it, is there something….some area that you’ve struggled with…. Some person you can’t let go of… we’re going to take a moment and let Him finish what He has begun in you….
The song says “leave it there, leave it there, take your burdens to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave it there”
To be pre-approved, is only possible as we realize we must be qualified. The blood of Christ is what qualifies us, and it is the grace of God which pre-approves us! I don’t need to convince God I am valuable enough to receive it, I am already welcomed “just as I am without one plea, but as Thy blood was shed for me, I come…..(as the timeless old hymn says)…
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
We cannot be good enough, holy enough, or righteous enough. That’s why it is a gift, because it is Free! If we had to earn it, it wouldn’t be free, if we had to deserve it, it wouldn’t be grace!God so loved the world that He gave…. That’s who’s included!
When we lived in Ramrod, we received a notice in the mail that we were pre-approved for a 50,000 dollar loan. The pre-approval agreement involved putting my home up as collateral… This meant that if we defaulted on the loan, they would be able to take our home in payment. I was taking all the risk, they were taking none. So, I was assured that this money was available to me, based on having something of much greater value than what it was that I was receiving.
I see this as a picture of pre-approved grace, which is available to anyone and everyone today…
Heaven has sent each of us a notice that we are Pre-approved beginning with salvation, also for deliverance, for health, for finances, for daily supplies, for all of our needs, based on assets of much greater value being provided as collateral., We are pre-approved because our Father God has provided something priceless and of greater worth as collateral so I can receive what I need! God’s unmerited love and grace, doesn’t just secure eternal salvation—it assures that grace is there for me every day that I live! An astronaut was being interviewed by a reporter just moments before he was to blast off into space. The reporter asked, "Now tell me, do you have any grave doubts about your success?" The astronaut said, "Please don't use the word 'grave.'" "Oh, I'm sorry" said the reporter. "Then tell me, what do you think you'll feel when you leave earth and pass on into space?" "Please sir", said the astronaut, "Please don't use the words 'pass on.'" "Oh, I'm sorry," said the reporter. "I have one last question: do you have any fear about this undertaking?" He said, "do you have to use the word 'undertaking?'" Listen, there is no avoiding it. One of these days you are going to be ushered into eternity. And He has a supply of grace for that moment that we pass from eternity here to eternity there…. (we’re eternal now, not just when our body dies)
But until that time, I am here and now, an heir and joint-heir in Christ!
(come on, say it with me) Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.
Our supply of grace is based on His “riches in glory” that has already been offered as collateral which more than covers the value of all of our needs and above and beyond!!
If God has provided something priceless, it more than covers what it is that you are needing today, next week and next year!
Don’t let the devil or any of his messengers talk you out of it!
We are told in Romans 8th chapter, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit….
Condemnation is an attempt to control your outcome in a negative way, to diminish your potential, to label you as unacceptable and unworthy…
I read a list of some things you should never say.. here’s a few..
While visiting someone on their way to the electric chair….Youdon’t say “More power to you”…
If you’re a doctor giving pre surgery counsel, you don’t say,“Please be patient, with me, I’m new at this”…
You don’t ask a woman if she has gained weight…. (or you might have other problems)….
And at a job interview you don’t say “I’ll have your job”
I think you get the idea, there are things that are just unprofitable and out of place!!!
Paul tells us that because of pre-approved grace, those condemning things that are designed to diminish, belittle, and intimidate us will all fail, because if God is your source, they can’t diminish His worth and value and your value is now rooted and grounded in Him. They can’t undo what has already been finished in your behalf, now and forever. They can’t undo what He has signed, sealed, and delivered!
Notice that Romans 8, goes on to talk about walking in the flesh or walking in the Spirit. Think of it this way… If we are producing the fruit, then the flesh is the source of what is produced. But if we are bearing fruit, then the Spirit is the source through us, of what is being produced.
If we become the delivery system to what is birthed by the Spirit, then it will reflect that source, and have the anointing and impact of it’s source! (Which is The Holy Spirit)
(If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, then it’s a duck)
(But if it looks like a dove, moves like a dove, and sounds like a dove, then it’s a dove!)
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? v33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. v34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. v35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? v39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
This is constant and unceasing grace…. Jesus is at the right hand of God’s favor, so that we may receive grace and favor. He is called “our High Priest”… He is called “our mediator”… He is “the Lamb of God”…. He is our “Sabbath rest”
He places Himself as our mediator, who has already won the battle you and I are fighting. He has already received of the father what it is we needed before we needed it. He has already made the crooked ways straight and given us the winning advantage in our circumstances and situations, before the circumstances even existed.
To intercede means “to come between”, to present yourself in place of someone else, to take the place of someone else.
Child of God, you can know that you are accepted and have the petitions you ask, because Jesus is taking your place before the Father, and the Father will not, cannot deny Him. Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”.
How we walk with the broken, speaks louder than how we sit among the great and influential…. What would it mean for you to see people as God sees them instead of only seeing them by their outward appearance? Can you see them as they would be thru the work of grace, or only according to the flesh? None of us are good enough, but we are pre-approved by grace! Perhaps instead of asking if we are good enough for God to use us, we should be asking if we are broken enough for Him to use us….
Noah was a drunk. Abraham was too old. Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar. Leah was ugly. Joseph was abused. Moses had a stuttering problem. Gideon was afraid. Samson had long hair and was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. Jeremiah and Timothy were too young. David had an affair and was a murderer. Elijah was suicidal.
Isaiah preached naked. Jonah ran from God. Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt. John the Baptist ate bugs. Peter denied Christ.
The Disciples fell asleep while praying. Martha worried about everything. The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
Zaccheus was too small. Paul was too religious. Timothy had an ulcer. AND...Lazarus was dead and the Lord used him!
God uses broken and hurting people like us to reach broken and hurting people like us!
I remember evangelist D.L. Moody, sharing that he was staying at a family friend’s home while he was in one city and was sleeping on the sofa in the living room, when at 3:00 in the morning, the lights came on, and he was awakened by the noise of drawers being opened and shut, the frig opening and slammed shut, bottles and utensils clanging. As he watched, the 5 year old was making a sandwich and getting a drink, then he was off, back to bed, leaving a big mess! As he watched, he was very aware that as a guest he could never do that, but for the son… the run of the house was his. He could come and go as he pleased and enjoy all that was in the house. The Holy Spirit spoke to Moody’s heart and said, “All that is in the Father’s house is yours to enjoy as well”!!! Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Instead of being overwhelmed by this problem and that problem, we should be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the Father’s grace and favor, shown towards us in Christ, that we will want to dedicate our lives in seeking to do whatever is pleasing unto Him. Grace is not a license to live as we please, but instead, it is a privilege which we should be so grateful for, that we will deny the flesh, and let our life be lived as an act of worship unto Him.
This is clear in John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth”.
The Father will never demand that you worship, or honor Him, because He knows that all He will get by demanding, is fear or hypocrisy… Obligation will never truly produce worship and it will never render sincere praise. The problem with religion is that it can easily become obligation and it can become a “do as I say, not as I do”, system of hyprocrisy…. Someone has said when it comes to the flesh… if you mix holy water with castor oil, you’ll get a religious movement……
Another guy said, in order to make Holy water, you are required to boil the hell out of it.
We can be committed without surrendering. 'Here is the difference between commitment and surrender. When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. You can commit to pray, to study the bible, to give your money, to making car payments, or to lose weight. What you choose to do, you then make a commitment to do. But surrender is different. We love commitment because we are still in control, but with surrender, we are no longer in charge! Surrender is where consistent Christ-living occurs. We yield ourselves to the power and grace of the Lord. We surrender all we are and hope to become. We surrender our pain and our joys. We surrender our wills to the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. We surrender to the One who holds us in his palm in the darkest of days and deepest of nights.
Just a side note…There are dolls in Russia that are called Matryoshkas dolls also referred to as nesting dolls. They were created in 1892 by a Russian toy maker. Each doll fits inside the next doll until they all fit in the largest doll. On the outside they appear to be one doll. The largest doll is called the “mother”, the smallest doll is called the “seed”…. Each Matryoshka is unique like each person. They say that each person has their own unique Matryoshka and in Russia they say that what’s inside you is a choice, not just chance.
Matryoshka can represent the uniqueness in each of us. We are like the outer doll with other dolls inside which represent our stories, our relationships, and our experiences. We are one person with different layers. The seed represents our core values, which is the source of our motives and our actions. It is our core values which are the real essence of ourselves.
God’s Grace, brings us through the “taking off” and “putting aside” process, which brings us to our center, so that true transformation can take place through the inner working of the Holy Spirit.
Peeling an onion will bring tears to your eyes, and as God by His Spirit, peels away the outer layers which we have allowed the sinful world we live in, to form around us, there will be tears because it’s uncomfortable to go through the process of laying aside the weights and the sins that beset us….
Listen friend, not everyone is coming into your life to love you, some are coming to teach you. The lessons may not be comfortable, but learn them anyway….
The more we allow this process to take place, the more we are able to offer pure worship and true praise unto Him.
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. v2 And be not 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”.
His joy knew no bounds, you see concert violinist, Peter Cropper was told by London’s Royal Academy of Music, that he could use the Academy’s258 year old Stradivarius for a series of concerts. But the unimaginable happened. As Peter entered the stage he tripped, landed on top of the violin and snapped the neck completely off. The priceless, one of a kind masterpiece was destroyed! In desperation, he took the violin to a master craftsman in the slim chance that he might be able to repair it. And repair it he did. So perfect was the repair that the break was completely undetectable, and more importantly, the sound was as good as before. The Academy was impressed and allowed him to continue using the Stradivarius. And so night after night, as he drew his bow across the strings, he was reminded of the fact that what he once thought irreparably damaged had been fully restored by the hand of a Master craftsman. God created us in His image and in His likeness… and when we get broken, we are never beyond repair….God’s grace and favor are working to restore that original blueprint in each of us, which was the Father’s purpose for us from the beginning.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becomenew.” 1 Corinthians 3:21: “Let no one boast in men, (of their wisdom, wealth or influence) because all things are yours.” This is not a patch on an old garment, this is a new garment, with a new design from the master designer, who knows us better than ourselves… The question we all must ask is, “Does all things mean, all things, and does it include YOUR THINGS”!!!
How long Adam and Eve were in the garden before sin entered, we won’t know until we get to heaven. Before sin entered, there was no measuring of time, there were no clocks, it was timeless. They enjoyed the image and likeness they were made for. But when they sinned the image was marred and the curse came into the perfect creation which God Himself had said “was good”…
The story of Adam and Eve was being carefully explained in the children's church session by the children’s director. And following the story, the children were asked to draw some picture that would illustrate the story. Little Bobby was listening closely and he drew a picture of a car with three people in it. In the front seat, behind the wheel was a man and in the back seat, a man and a woman. The teacher wasn’t sure what she was looking at and what it had to do with the story…. But little Bobby was quick to give an explanation. "Well teacher, you told us that God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden!"
What does it take to drive you out of the garden of His likeness? If people’s words or actions upset you and cause you to react, then anyone at any time can control you… God’s word should be more powerful in your life than the words of any person or group. As those made in His image, allowed other things to control them, they walked away from the likeness they were created for.
For thousands of years, only a few people enjoyed the kind of authority and power which the first man and woman were created for. We know of a few… Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Elisha, Ezekiel, and some others.
But something amazing called redemption took place, that changed everything…and as Jesus hung on the cross, it became redemption’s epi-center for the restoration that God had planned from the beginning. To have new creation men and women, who would experience old things passed away and all things become new!!!
For us to get to the new things….. Jesus came in the flesh to walk through our old things. He walked through, fear, lack, pain, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, loneliness, insecurity, despair, injustice, …”Hewas tempted in all ways as we are” So, He walked through our “Old things”…. so He could break their power over us and allow us to walk intoGod’s new things!!!
The song says, “Jesus of Nazareth passes by, stretch out your withered arm, the blind receive their sight, the deaf begin to hear, when Jesus of Nazareth passes by”…. When Jesus of Nazareth passes by!!!!
By the way, fear has two meanings, “Forget everything and run” or “Face everything and rise”, the choice is ours... and we are making that choice all day, every day!!
I believe this is why Jesus said in JOHN 8:32 “YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.”
Somebody say “Hello new things, Here I come”….
Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash all around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, He made it clear that he would replace the broken windows, fix the doors, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out all the garbage. The prospective buyer said "Forget about the repairs, When I buy this place, I'm going to tear it down and build something completely different. I don't want the building, I’m buying the property rights ."
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse that is going to be demolished anyway…. (old things are passed away). STOP SWEEPING!
We live in a world where men can say they identify as women, and women can identify as men. Men can now use the women’s restrooms and the women’s showers because they say that they identify as women…(That’s just messed up) A guy identifying as a girl won the marathon on a girls team…. A teen identifying as a 6 year old hit a triple in t-ball and won the game for his team….(where will this stop) SERIOUSLY!
Well, hello, I identify as a new creature in Christ… I have been redeemed, from old things and all things are made new! We are no longer identified with Adam. We are no longer identified by the old person we used to be. We are no longer identified by the world system. We are now identified with Christ.
(In the world but not of the world) is our new identity!!
Galatians 3:25:27 “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under [the control and authority of] the world system. v26 For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. v27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed] have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and His values].
SO, WHOSE REPORT WILL YOU BELIEVE, WHOSE REPORT WILL YOU RECIEVE… I WILL BELIEVE THE REPORT OF THE LORD….
He is the final word and the final authority!! We are the redeemed, the anointed for purpose, the delivery system of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord’s appointed ambassadors in the earth….
Put off the old, and put on the new…. Welcome to His image and likeness… Welcome to “all things are possible”.. Welcome to the place He has prepared for you!! …..Give Him Praise!!!
Just for clarity’s sake…, I’m not talking about how you like your steak, or how you like your eggs cooked…
One guy was furious when his steak was cooked too rare. He said, 'Waiter, I told you "well done"… Oh yes, I can't thank you enough, sir,' replied the waiter. 'I hardly ever expect a compliment when I’m still serving a customer.'
But today, I want to deal with the fact that who and what you are, is God’s gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift back to God. And should we get that right, there is a “Well Done” from the Father…. And it all starts when we receive Christ as our savior!
In the parable which Jesus shared about the talents… the bottom line is not how much you have received, but what you have done with what you received, that is the real issue.
Some questions that many have struggled with, can be asked here…. Does success look the same for everyone? Should lazy people receive the same pay as the hard worker? Should a person with more talent have greater success than a person with less talent? Do those who produce more deserve more? Should everyone share equally in everything as the socialist advocate? Should our differences place us above or below one another?
In our scripture today, Jesus has left Tyre and Sidon and is headed back to Galilee. It is a journey that could have taken as much as eight months on foot through very mountainous territory. But, Jesus and His men do not go straight back to Jewish country, they went to “Decapolis”. This is where he cast the demons out of the man of Gadara and the people rejected him. But listen, He went back to give them a second chance. He is the giver of second chances. He keeps on loving; He keeps wooing; He keeps drawing; He keeps calling. He won’t write anyone off as long as there’s a chance!
(He shares this parable)
Matthew 25:19“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. v20 And the one who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted to me five talents. See, I have [made a profit and] gained five more talents.’ v21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’
v22“Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ v23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’ v24 “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed.
v25 ‘So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’ v26 “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. v27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. v28 ‘So take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
In the parable which Jesus told of the talents, the master didn’t divide the funds evenly between the three servants. He gave five talents (about $150,000) to one, he gave two talents (about $60,000) to a second one, and about half of that to the third. It says that he had a reason for the way he parceled out the money. He gave to every man according to his individual ability. The more trustworthy the men had proven themselves to be, the more they were entrusted with.
Each of those in the parable, had a job to do. The key to the parable is not how much return each of them had on their investment, so don’t miss the point. The key is the attitude of faith or doubt which they approached their task with. The rewards were based, not on the return they gave on the money they had, but on the level of faith and obedience they exhibited as they invested and used the gifts they were given to do something with.
Remember also that the money was not theirs, it was the master’s, which he gave them to invest…He was returning to see what they had done with what was his….
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, “Those who would like to be in a place where everybody is equal, and has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and the only ones that have guns are law enforcement … Well we have that for you, It'scalled Prison. "
In the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation 22:12 Jesus said, “I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” Let this truth motivate you to live each day for Jesus Christ. Trust me, you won’t be sorry!
Somewhere in the process, have we begun to think that what we have is ours, or have we remembered, that we are stewards who are called to invest it for our Lord?
The two who invested their gifts were told the same thing, even though the results were different. They were given a congratulation and a commendation…. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things”.
We are not created equal. Some folks are more appealing, more charismatic in their personalities, some are more talented in their abilities than others. God knows that. He made us. He is not comparing us with one another, He is commending us based on what we do with what we have. So important was it that we get that truth, that He said to us, “To whom much is given, much will be required”. What we do is important, but it is secondary to our Christian character!
Paul warns the church not to compare themselves with others…. 2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”.
Also consider 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. v7 So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters but God that gives the increase. v8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. v9 For we are God’s fellow-workers.”
Time magazine decided that once a year they would give us the "Man of the Year" the person who, for better or worse, had the most influence on the course of history over that particular year. From their "Man of the Year" lists they have put together a book titled “Great People of the 20th Century”. These are people who because of what they have done or accomplished are considered great in their area of influence around the world.
The book lists the following outstanding people who have each contributed in a significant way to their individual field of endeavor…
Computers - Bill Gates
Generals - Douglas Mac Arthur
Inventors - Henry Ford
Entertainment - Walt Disney
Scientist - Albert Einstein
President - Franklin Roosevelt
Preacher - Billy Graham
Writer - Leo Tolstoy
Jesus recognized spiritual greatness in people. His list would have included..
The woman with the issue of blood, in Luke 8:43, who pushed through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment. She stopped Him in His tracks, as by faith she pulled the virtue out of him…. (Well done)
He would have been included, the Roman centurion in Matthew 8, who believed Jesus had the authority to heal his son just by speaking a wordand it would be done. Jesus was amazed at his faith and commended him for it. (Well done)
Another person who Jesus praised for his spiritual greatness was
John the Baptist because of his character which was revealed in how he lived and his ministry which placed the kingdom above his comfort or popularity. (Well done)
He would have honored the widow woman who only had a little oil and a little meal, but gave them to the prophet at the word of the Lord. (Well done)
He would have honored Stephen who saw the Lord as he was being stoned by Paul… and refused to back down….(Well done)
I believe Paul would have been on the list because He forsook all to follow the Lord…(well done)
John the beloved would be there, who boldly took a stand at the foot of the cross, and who Jesus committed the care of his mother, that is no small honor…(well done) Others are listed in Hebrews 11, as God gives tribute to the faithful… Your opportunities are unlimited. They are as far-reaching as the power of the Spirit who lives in you. Your success in the kingdom will not be measured by someone else, but by how you too, use what you have been given by the Lord.
When Paul describes the 5 fold gifts to the church, he didn’t place them all in one person, but each gift was placed in the church for the benefit of all of us….I am here for you and you are here for me, and all of us together use our gift in building the kingdom….
Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. v12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. v13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
A school teacher was taking her first golf lesson. She got to the green and was given instructions about putting. She asked her instructor if it was spelled “PUT”… He said “well, let me put it this way… “PUT”, means to place something where you want it. “PUTT”, is a useless attempt to do the same thing” !!
Well, we are not putting, we are going to put all the honor on Him, all the glory and all the credit! It’s all His, so we ask that He would guide us a direct us in using what He has given!
How many times are we tempted to gauge our spirituality by what others think of us, rather than by what God thinks of us. God looks on the heart. The praise of people can be deceitful and lead you down a path where God stops getting all the glory and the honor. Every time someone applauds your work in the kingdom or your abilities in the church, be sure that you offer the compliment to Him, and give all the credit to Him. Dr. Choe who pastors a 100,000 member church in Korea says that people actually throng to touch him, but it’s up to him to quickly pass the glory and the credit to the Lord.
If you are one who has a great deal of time, but you don’t have time to pour your life into others or into Gods work, you need to be a faithful servant. If you have been gifted with prosperity, but you are slow to invest it in eternal things, you need to be a faithful servant. If you are hesitant to do anything that will make you take a risk and become vulnerable, even though God has called you to do it, you need to be a faithful servant. If you have time to use them for your own desires or your business or your hobby, but cannot find the time or take the risk to use them for the kingdom, then you need to be a faithful servant..
We long to hear, “Well done,” because that means we have brought joy to His heart. And one thing that thrills Him, I am convinced, is when the character qualities only He can produce in us: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control, are so manifested in us that they are reproduced in those we invest our lives into. What joy that brings to His heart. And oh the joy thatcomes back into ours.
As parents, or siblings, or coworkers, we usually underestimate the power of a timely “Well done”….We all want significance and we want to be relevant. There are plenty of things to knock us down and wear us out, and a timely “well done” can go a long way to lift the spirits and validate a person’s efforts…. Students and teammates love to hear it, Golfers love to hear, "Well done" when they sink a putt. Baggers in the grocery store love to hear it from the customers. Husbands love to hear it from their wives and wives long to hear it from their husbands. Executives love to hear from employees. Preachers love to hear it after a sermon. Doctors love to hear it from their patients, and patients love to hear it from their doctors. Writers love to hear it from readers, and on and on….
Listen to this encouragement from the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. v8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap the harvest if we do not faint and quit”..
For those Christians who have served Him week in, week out, for many years, obediently, sacrificially, but have seen so little results.. this is your message… “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s joy” We don’t give up, because there are rewards waiting in this life and the life to come! The unfaithful servant got so focused on the risks, that he lost his reward….
Being faithful may mean that we will do things and go places we never dreamed we would ever do or go to … But God always has rewards for the faithful…. Look at his list…
“Blessed are those with a servant heart, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who are contrite, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”.
Notice that as Jesus shares the parable of the talents, when he gets to the servant who did nothing with his talents, he tells us of the servant’s response…. “I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you”.
In the parable, Jesus describes a bighearted master, who entrusts all that he has into the hands of his servants. The amounts Jesus mentions stagger the imagination! By conservative estimates, just one talent in His time was worth twenty years of daily labor. Yet the unprofitable servant imagined a different sort of master—one whom he describes as a ―hard man, harvesting where [he] had not sown and gathering where [he] had not scattered seed. Because of His misconception of the master, he allowed his fears to override his trust.
We were on a trip through Alabama and I was having a hard time finding an attraction we wanted to see, so I turned on the GPS and it told me to take a turn which seemed to go in the opposite direction from where we wanted to go. I took the turn anyway and it took me right there. I had to trust that someone had gone before me and mapped out the area. How many times have we felt God was allowing us to go in the opposite direction from where we needed to go, but He had gone before us and prepared the way. We just needed to trust Him!
What are the fears in your life that are overriding your trust in the Master? What are the fears that are holding you back from using your gifts? What fears are keeping you back and holding you hostage, but deep inside you so want to hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
That’s why the bible tells us to “cast down every vain imagination and all knowledge that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”….
A revolutionary Christian chooses to believe in spite of what they see or feel– They are obedient In heart – They are Christ like In character - In relationship they are sons -- In conflict they are warriors - In the world they are pilgrims - In the darkness they are light – In society they are salt - In example they are living epistles - In expectations they are heirs - At all times they are sold out for Christ.
Someone said that there are three kinds of people in the church.. Booers, gawkers and doers. Your life will always be a sufficient explanation of what you believe…. No other explanation is needed. Be the person who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. If you were shamed, choose compassion. Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what tried to overwhelm you. Bring healing instead of becoming bitter, so you can live from your redemption, not your pain!!
A man went to heaven and the angel says follow me and I will take you to the area where people who share your faith are gathered. As they’re walking, they pass one door where there is a lot of shouting and the place is really rocking. The angel tells him that those are the Charismatics, they make a lot of noise but they’re fairly harmless. They think they’re the only ones here. They walk by another door and wonderful assortment of delicious smells are coming out into the hall. He is told that these are the Methodists and they are always having church dinners… They think everyone should be here. A little further down they come by a room that is very quite and He is told that these are the Holiness folks. They don’t bother anyone and pretty much stick to themselves. And they are really surprised that they are even here”!!
It’s just a joke folks… I have no authoritative source for that…..
(If you laugh at yourself, you’ll always have something to laugh about!)
The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10-11… “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God‘s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
One Christian lady, who knew that her time was short upon this earth wrote the following verse….
“My prayers have all been answered, I’ve finally arrived. The healing that has been delayed, has now been realized. No one’s in a hurry, no schedule to keep. We’re all enjoying Jesus, just kneeling at His feet.
If you could see me now, I’m walking streets of gold, if you could see me now, I’m standing tall and whole, if you could see me now you’d see the pains erased, if you could see me now you’d know I’d seen His face. You wouldn’t want me to leave this place if you could see me now”.
May we be able to say with the apostle Paul….2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.
I want to read the lyrics to a Christian song that I’m hearing everywhere lately…
“I'm waiting my whole life for that day, I will live my life to hear You say
Well done, well done, My good and faithful one. Welcome to the place where you belong. Well done, well done, My beloved child, You have run the race and now you're home. Welcome to the place where you belong, Well Done”!!
`Well done, good and faithful servant! Rejoice and share your master’s joy, now and forever!’ PRAYER…..
“Lord, help us to fix our hearts and minds on Your eternal and unchanging truth and to wash ourselves daily in the cleansing water of Your Word. May we endure joyfully the hardships that we may be called upon to face. Develop in us a true attitude of praise and worship, no matter what the circumstances, and help us to build ourselves up in the most holy faith, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior. Lord, by Your grace may we help many others to come to the saving knowledge which your sacrifice on the cross has made available. May You be lifted up in the hearts and lives of many who we see and know each week. Lead and guide us by Your spirit in bringing about a deep longing that will result in an intimate knowledge of You. Lord we declare that this is the time of seedtime and harvest, and we ask that we may seize the opportunity to see them redeemed and transformed. Lord I ask that You would give me a wise and understanding heart –a heart that discerns Your will so that I make the best choices for my life and be able to give the best help to those in need. Give me an obedient heart - a heart that is ready and willing to say “Thy will be done” and not to insist that my will is best.Open my heart I pray to listen to Your still small voice and give me discernment to know when to speak and when to remain silent – direct and govern my steps I pray in the name of Jesus Christ”.