30 December 2010

Prayer is?


1 John 5:14-15

What do you find the hardest thing to do in your Christian life?.........Think about that before you answer! There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to God’s people when it comes to the matter of prayer. Many Christians today are often confused by prayer and usually ask the question: What is Prayer? Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying? How should we pray? What should we pray for? Can we be sure that God always hears our prayer? Can we be confident that He will answer our prayers? We need to take prayer seriously! Why? Prayer is our way we express our submission to the Sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness. Prayer is our way we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise Father. Prayer is not to give God information because God knows everything, but prayer brings us into reverent communion with God, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things. Prayer is our way to communicate, humble ourselves, acknowledging that without Him we can do nothing and it is also a command to all Christian’s! “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Phil 4:6. Listen to some of the comments by the saints of old and today as they talk about the importance of prayer!! Andrew Murray “The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of His omnipotent love.” D. L Moody “Prayer is a serious thing. We may be taken at our words.” Martin Luther says "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Corrie Ten Boom says "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" E. M Bounds “Non-praying is lawlessness, discord, anarchy.” Jude half brother of Jesus said “it’s very hard to stumble when you’re on your knees” (v24). John Piper says “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If you do not treasure breath, you do not treasure life. If you don’t treasure prayer, you don’t treasure eternal life. If you don’t love prayer, you don’t love GOD”. Joni Eareckson Tada “Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.”

PRAYER IS AN EXERCISE OF OUR FAITH (v14- v15)

As our text says, “this is the confidence” (means: frankness, bluntness, a boldness, by implication assurance). This phrase literally means.....freedom of speech...or an openness to the confidence found in Jesus Christ. “Before Him” is a sense of “being in His presence”. Our confidence of prayer lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. John knew this.....because he wrote this down when Jesus said "Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:13-14. In order to enjoy the fullness of these glorious promises! We must believe......Because! Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that His will is best, and saying in our hearts, "Thy will be done". How? By what Jude said “.........build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20-21. Praying through the Holy Spirit - Who alone is able to build you up. Do you realize the prayer that is not sent up through the influence of the Holy Ghost is never likely to reach heaven. so keep yourselves in the love of God. By holy living and prayer! Not by your own strength......But "in the love of God”.

PRAYER IS NOT A REQUEST LINE (V14- V15)

When we ask for something it better be in His will not ours. God always hear the prayer’s of His children when we are obedient to Him. Our request’s are not what we desire or insist what He should do for us! Remember, God is not some genie in a bottle that we can rub when we feel like it! Before we step before the throne of grace we must always ask ourselves........Am I in proper fellowship with God? Are my motives pure or defiled with unrepented sin? Are my lips sincere withg this request? We have to remember that God is under no obligation to hear our prayers if we are harbouring SIN! Why? The Bible tells me so......“If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Ps 66:18. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him.” John 9:31. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isa 59:2. REMEMBER WE must approach the Throne of Grace with confidence and humility; not self-righteousness and I motives. Prayer is not some tool or formula for personal gain or some religious ceremony. Why? Jesus warns the disciples about this very thing when it comes to prayer (TURN TO MATTHEW 6) "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matt 6:7-8
What Jesus is saying is.........................We are never to not pray like the world! Hypocrites (Job 27:8-9) “for what is the hope of the hypocrite”......Self righteous (Luke 18:11-12) “God I thank You that I am not like other men”......Proud (Job 35:12-13) “they cry out, but He does not answer,...”.....Idolaters (Rom 1:23) “and changed the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...”......Cult worshippers (1 Kings 18:26) “as the worshippers of Baal” and of Diana of Ephesus. But there is something else Jesus reminded the disciples and us when you pray in verses 9- v14 of Matthew's Gospel. When you pray remember who your praying too!
Pray to God ......................................... Our Father who is in Heaven
Exalt Him saying .................................. Hallowed be thy name
Submit to Him seeking ............................ Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
Look to Him pleading ............................ Our daily bread (sustenance)
Confess to Him pleading .......................... Forgive us our debts (sins)
Depend on Him asking .............................. Lead us not into temptation
Trust in Him requesting ........................... Deliver us from evil

 But this must always come from a sincere heart that desiring to do His will not mine (or agenda). As the Psalmist says “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4. Literally means..... “He will plant His desires into your heart”


PRAYER IS A BONDING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (V14 - V15)


(Ps 34:15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The Lord will be the protector of the righteous; he will watch over and defend them. This is the personal relationship we have with our God. When we are in trouble and in danger. He will hear our cries, and will deliver us. When we pray we may not see present results or answers, but be assure that He is listening to your cries........Oswald Chambers says "Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men."


PRAYER IS ALSO A PUBLIC AND CORPORATE DISPLAY OF OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER (v14-v15)

 It says in the earlier church they “.....devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” Acts 2:42.....Prayer is one effect of the influence by the Spirit. A genuine revival will be always followed by a love of prayer for others. We must always humble and earnestly pray. (Matt 18:20) "For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them." In My Name - That is, By My authority........acting for Me in My church. Even though this passage is speaking on discipline and restoration....we can for application sake say the same thing about prayer amoung brothers and sisters in Christ. Two born again believers shall constitute a Christian fellowship. The united prayers of this fellowship for any legitimate request shall be heard by a holy and sovereign God. (Heb 10:25) "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" - That is, for purposes of public worship and prayer.  But exhorting one another; to prayer, to attend public worship, to regard all the duties of the assembly of Believers. This is how we are to encourage one another through fellowship and praying for the saints.


Prayer can be hard work. But that should not keep us from praying, even if it requires YOU to sacrifice: T.V time, social life or functions, your comfort zone. Prayer is vital part of the Christian life...it's a vital par to our walk of sanctification. If you don’t believe this then you are already defeated in this area of your life!! And you desperately need to seek God, to help you in this vital area of your life. Remember when Jesus selected His 12 apostles "In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles" Luke 6:12-13. If our Lord....if King Jesus thought prayer was important...what makes us think we should treat it any differently? So ask yourself and be truly honest with your answer! Am I willing to pray all night long for something so important? Do I really believe that my prayer will change anything? Do I believe by faith, He will answer? Have I been experiencing a quiet, peaceable, godly and morally honest life because of the quality of my prayer life?..................... The only way to answer these questions is to do it! SO WE MUST PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...........! As John MacArthur says “Surrender your requests to God’s wise and loving plan, acknowledging your willingness to receive His answer with thankfulness”

28 December 2010

He Took My Cup


There is a story about two young brothers around the age of 10 and 11. They were always getting into trouble around the community. There wasn’t a day that would go by that these two young boys wouldn’t find something to get themselves into......After many talks and many spanks the father was at the point that he didn’t know what to do! He followed what the word of God said.....but still nothing changing in their behaviour. Then one day like clockwork! It happened again. His sons got into trouble and dad knew, and they knew it was time for another spanking........but dad did something that he never done before......he called his sons into the living room, paused for a moment and said to his sons...”you don’t seem to care about how this hurts me and your mother......the spankings don’t seem to be working, when I ground you or take things away you don’t seem to care”.........Another pause and dad said “So I’m not going to spank you or do anything!” Both brothers looked at each other and smiled until dad said “I’m not done, there is something else I want you boys to do! I want you to spank me as if I was spanking you for this punishment.” Both sons looked at each other thinking is dad serious...is he joking......Both sons were confused! So the older son said “you want us to spank you for our misbehaviour?” Dad replied “yes!” They refused and then dad’s voice got a little louder...and said “you will do what I asked.” Again both sons refused and dad said “you must!” So both sons took a paddle and then one after another they smacked their fathers backside as tears rolled down their faces........But as they spanked their father something made them stop! They saw tears rolling down their fathers cheeks.....They asked their father “why did you make us do this. We are so sorry?” The dad replied as he wipes away the tears from his eyes “I wanted you see how much your sin and disobedience grieves me.” But dad they asked “why did you take our punishment for something we did”........There was another pause and he answered “because I love you and you need to understand that I’m willing to do whatever it takes for you to see that your sins hurt not only yourselves but those who love you dearly.” Do we realize that this is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did on our behalf! Jesus Christ took our place because we are no different than those two boys in that story. Jesus Christ took my shame and punishment so that I could be forgiven by a God who loves us and desires us to follow Him; He became our substitute which brings me the greatest of all the gifts that I’ve talked about for the past few weeks! This gift means the most to me...........Why? For without this gift all the other gifts are useless they have no power or value.......Jesus took my cup! Turn to Mark 14! We must not enter this passage of scripture casually...we are trending on holy ground this morning! We are entering the garden of Gethsemane or as C J Mahaney calls it “we are entering the garden that reminds me of my sin.”. Look at (v33-v34) For the first time in Jesus’ ministry He is greatly distressed.  It wasn’t that Jesus never experienced grief or distress over sin and death. It was the fact he was becoming sin for us! When Jesus wept over Lazarus it wasn’t over his death.....it was over the power of sin and death over mankind. Why was Jesus so distressed or grieved even to the point of dying? Jesus knew he was closer at that moment then he was the day before. That ordained appointment of death was finally here! He was about to bear the wrath of almighty God. Sadly many people today take this passage of scripture to prove the non-deity of Christ. The pagan Celsus used this question in his writings as an argument against Christianity! He said “how can one who is divine mourn and lament and fear to escape the fear of death.” The answer is simple and it’s found in the Scriptures!
1. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS THE WAGE OF SIN........“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23. Jesus knew that he would pay the total wage of sin in full.
2. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS A RESULT OF THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD ........“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Rom 5:12. Jesus knew he would be that judgement

3. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BECOME SIN......“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21
4. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH WOULD BRING ON HIM THE WRATH OF GOD.........“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,....” Isa 53:10. Jesus knew that he would bear the full wrath of God
5. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BE OUR PROPITIATION.......“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. What John is saying? He is saying that without Jesus we are one breath away from facing the wrath of a holy God.

Propitiation by definition is “To make peace; to appease one offended and render him favourable”. Vines dictionary defines it in this way: “It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins. God must punish sin because He hates sin. We will never fully understand what Jesus was feeling at that moment....because His distress and anguish is a million times greater then what we will experience here in this life. His burden was the weight of the world’s sin...not just at that time in history but from the beginning of the world to the end of the world. Jesus was beginning to feel the weight of all humanity’s sin. This pending death that is grievous to Jesus that it almost kills Him in the garden! This event in history is so overwhelming it brings Jesus to the point of asking the Father this question....(v35-v36a). So the next obvious question would be! What’s in the this cup that Jesus is so distressed over? God's righteousness, justice, hatred of sin, holiness, authority, the wrath of God for the sins of the earth past, present, and future. It's interesting to note! In his book “Attributes of God” Arthur Pink said this profound statement “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner.” As the Psalmist said “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” Ps 7:11. This is what was in the cup. This is why Jesus was asking the Father if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.......Please tell me! This is where we need to pay close attention to as we read this historical account of Jesus in the garden...........Heaven is silent.....God the Father is silent! Jesus is left feeling a deep loneliness...that same kind of loneliness He felt on the Cross for those 3 hours.....If there were any other way....an alternative! The Father would have provided it as He did for Abraham when he went to slay his son.......Jesus is left with His answer.......NO!............... This is the only way to appease a holy God. Jesus got His answer by the Father’s silence. It was almost like Jesus was becoming repulsive to the Father as He was becoming sin for us. The silence must have been deafening to Jesus in the garden.....that sense of being forsaken by the intimate relationship He has with the Father.....R.C. Sproul said “from the moment of His birth, Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross. It was clearly established that Jesus was destined to die a horrible death, not simply in terms of human pain, but because He would die as a sacrifice, under the wrath of God. Jesus, even in His perfect humanity, shrank back at the utter horror of it and so cries out to His Father to remove this cup from Him.” There is only one way to reconcile us back to the Father......He must take our cup! This is how serious our sin is to a holy and righteous God. Even though Jesus asked if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.....there was something more important to Jesus despite this pending, ordained dome..... His only desire was to do the Father’s perfect will! (v36b).......Remember what He said to His disciples “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:38-40. He did this by obeying God to the very end! Even if it meant facing the almighty wrath of God on our behalf. He came to take my cup...your cup......our cup! When you read this passage you begin to ask yourself! The same question the two young boys asked their father! Why are you doing this? I doing this because you are an anathema (abomination) to God the Father! Why are you here in the garden? Because of your sin! Our only way home or forgiveness is that Jesus must bare my sin...your sin.....the world’s sin....This very moment in history, our lives hang in the balance of what Jesus Christ is about to endure on our behalf! He took my wrath that I deserve. He bore my shame and agony. He said I will take your punishment for your crime against the Father. Christ in all His humanity “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature . . . . ............went to Cross for you and me.....”Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe...” As the Hebrew writer said “When He had made purification (cleanse us) of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Though He faced this moment in garden alone! Never doubt for a moment that despite the distress...agony........... and shame.........He did all this with joy! “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2. What is the perfect gift God could ever give to us at Christmas.......................His Son! Jesus Christ!

09 December 2010

Radical Chrisitanity


Acts 3-4

Why is the proclamation of the Gospel or mentioning the name of Jesus such an offense to so many people. Not just here in Canada but around the world? What is that makes people so angry or worse yet the bitterness to cause harm to those who follow the name Jesus Christ? As we look at what the Bible calls the first incident of persecution..... I think it all boils down to this one Biblical truth that Jesus said to His disciples “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”John 14:6. Do we realize the impact that statement has made over the past few centuries and what that statement means to the future in our pluralistic world! Do we realize the severity of that bold statement......that statement is telling the world that if you are: Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Scientologist, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostic, Atheist, Evolutionist, Muslim and all other Religions by tradition, you are forever separated from God! Why? Because you have created a God in your image..........which ultimately leads to a Gospel created by man! Which in the end leaves a person such as this separated from the very One who said "I am the way, the truth, and the life” What does it mean be a radical Christian in our postmodern world? It means that you and I need to change! We cannot stay the same! We cannot be silent when so many people are one foot closer to Hell. We cannot be silent in a world that wants us to go away!The Bible says.....Jesus and His message is to be our greatest passion above everything else in this world! Above family...comfort and riches! David Platt said in his book “Radical” Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I was the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say good-bye to his family? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus? This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor. But we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives. So we rationalize these passages away. “Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give it to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…” And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. We cannot be silent as so many people have to the philosophy that we all get to Heaven on our own terms... in our own way! Shouldn’t we be radical at a time when every minute is precious to us? Isn’t that what it means to be a radical Christian!! YOU ARE PROBABLY THINKING TO YOURSELF! Mike your beginning to sound like one of those activists! Yes to some degree.......but don’t we have a reason to be concerned with our present society! Shouldn’t a radical Christian life be important to us? Shouldn’t we have zeal and passion for the proclamation of the Gospel? How can a person be silent.... when Jesus went to the Cross to face the Judge on our behalf! SERIOUSLY THINK ABOUT THAT THIS! Was David a radical Christian when he faced the Philistine Giant? Was Elijah a radical Christian when he faced the wicked women ever to walk the earth (Jezebel?) What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they wouldn’t worship anyone else other than the Lord. Was Daniel a radical Christian when he was willing to die in the lion’s den? Was Isaiah.....Jeremiah....Ezekiel....and the rest of the prophets radical Christians when they stood in front of kings.....rulers.....the rich and poor claiming “thus saith the Lord." WAS JESUS A RADICAL CHRISTIAN? Here is our Lord standing before the religious....the power and rulers of that day (the Roman’s) and declares to them! “......."Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:58-59. Radical Christians are the ones who have a passion for the Gospel and for people who are dying to be saved!! Which brings me to the passion of 2 men.......two men who had a passion for the Gospel that saves to the uttermost. Something people would declare or label in their day.......even in ours as “JESUS FREAKS” SOME BACKGROUND AS WE LOOK AT THIS WONDERFUL DISPLAY OF RADICAL CHRISTIANITY. Peter and John healed a man who was lame since birth as they went to the temple to pray. A man who was crippled for 40 years was outside the temple gates. A man who was considered a hindrance to society because he was a beggar looking for money (v2) in chapter 3 talks about many people would come to the temple to impress God with their religious good works....include offerings at the temple treasury. This poor, lame beggar of a man was completely healed.....all his muscle structure, all his mechanics to balance and the capability to walk was perfect!! This was a display of God’s healing grace though His apostles......Why I say that in (v8) of chapter 3....says “leaping and praising God” The people were amazed as the religious leaders.......but what’s more amazing is that John and Peter never once took the credit for this wonderful miracle (v12-v13) of chapter 3. Which brings me to Peter nd John...... radical Christians! (Look at Acts 4:1-3). Peter said something that struck a chord with all the religious types found in the temple area!! “they were greatly disturbed” There was a certain name that made them feel very uncomfortable.......a name that they never wanted to hear again.....especially men like Annas and Caiaphas. The bible says they laid hands forcibly on them and arrested them for speaking in the name of Jesus Christ! Do you realize that is happening today.....in our love all and to be tolerant of all religions........What I find more amazing is....... this doesn’t stop radical Peter to talk full advantage of proclaiming Christ to a large group of men who should have known better! (v8-v12). I wonder if Peter was reminding himself of what Jesus said as he walked with our Lord. "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Mark 13:9-13. Peter faced the firing squad with humility and bravery which only can come from the Spirit that lives in us. Peter chose to stand strong against the strongest opposition known to any believer; he was staring right up the barrel of the very men who said to Pilate “But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" John 19:15......They even went on to say “His blood be on us and on our children." Matt 27:25.This didn’t stop radical Peter to forsake everything for the sake of the cause!! Jesus Christ....PETER AND JOHN WEREN’T THINKING ABOUT: Comfort and rest, how this was going to affect future relationships, what his family might think him, what that present culture thought about the topic of Jesus, how to be more open to other religious views, the possibility of death or a major beating. They only cared about one thing! That Jesus gets the pre-immense in and out of our lives because of what He has done on our behalf. What are we doing to be a radical Christian like Peter and John? Is it wearing a Jesus – shirt!.....Is it by putting a Jesus fish on the trunk of our car.....Is it wearing a cross around our neck.....Is it coming to church on Sunday. Because none of these make you a radical Christian!! DO YOU REALIZE THAT! THE NAME OF JESUS NEEDS TO BE PROCLAIMED MORE TODAY! IN A GENERATION THAT NO’s NOTHING ABOUT JESUS! WHY?

• The government has done a good job removing His name
• The schools has done a good job removing His name
• The Christmas season and marketing experts has done a good job removing His name
• The North American home has done a good job removing His name
• Even local churches have done a good job removing His name to be more tolerant/acceptable

When are we going to stand against this present world for the One (Jesus Christ) who loved us and gave Himself for us without questioning what it was going to cost Him!!! When are we going to stand as Peter and John and say what they said in (v19-v20) We can learn some important steps to live a radical Christian life by what we see here in the fourth chapter of Acts

1. IT BEGINS WITH A YIELDING TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD (V8)

Peter was yielding to the Spirit’s control........Paul spoke of this kind of control! “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” Eph 5:18. John MacArthur says “the filling of the Spirit occurs when the believer walks in obedience to the word and Spirit. Yielding to His control releases His power in the believer’s life. This principle is foundational to all the rest; yieldedness to the Holy Spirit is the key to successful handling of persecution and proclamation of the Gospel.”.......And he also goes on to say that “lack of being filled with the Spirit is the reason the church today has difficulty facing opposition” Radical Christianity begins with a yielding to the Spirit of God!! The more you are filled the stronger you will be in proclaiming the name of Jesus!

2. IT BEGINS WITH COURAGE IN SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES (V8-V13)

Instead of compromise or being frightened Peter displayed great courage. Look at what peter says in (v12). That statement alone takes great courage in a society of religious pluralism...who say there are more than one way to Heaven. They were uneducated men (V13)....... not bible school students.....big dumb fishermen! I like what Vernon McGee said “unlearned and ignorant...that is, these men hadn’t been to theological seminary. But the Sanhedrin noted that they had been with Jesus. How wonderful to have a life that somehow or other calls attention to Jesus.” A reflection of Christ seen in and through our lives.....Remember what Jesus said.....there are only 2 religious paths! The Broadway that leads to Hell and the narrow way that leads to Christ. Jesus warns us when John wrote "........Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, John 10:7-8. There is only one way to attain salvation. There is only one way you will ever be saved.......Jesus Christ. Peter and John were very radical in making such a statement to a powerful group of men who though much differently than they did.....

3. IT BEGINS WITH OBEDIENCE TO GOD AT ALL COSTS (V14-V22)

How can I do such a thing when I KNOW my Redeemer lives? We need to ask ourselves which court is higher............Man or God’s. Peter and John are not saying that we don’t listen to those who rule over us according to Romans 13! We as Christian’s must listen and obey our authorities.....but when government decrees are clearly contrary to God’s word......................God’s word must be obeyed FIRST..........What did Daniel do? He went to his room and prayed despite the ruling from the king...found in Daniel chapter 6:4-10. What did Peter and John do? (v19-v20) All though they didn’t obey the Sanhedrin they nevertheless treated them all with respect! I remember one time at work I had to make a huge decision........... When we were having a leaders meeting and one of my partners said “we should keep religion out of our shop.” I was stunned to say the least.....I drove home that night and my wife is my witness crying about what I was going to do. Through prayer and reading and my wife the next day after reflecting on what transpired, I confronted the group in the morning and said “If this is going to be our policy then I have no chose but to quit” I knew in my heart that what they said was wrong and I knew I wouldn’t be able to silent about the very one that saved this wretched soul. “......................"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20. But it’s no different than for Peter and John as it is today for you and me! God must come first in our lives no matter what people say or might do to us!
Peter and John weren’t frightened or discouraged...they were thankful. Why I say this! After this episode with the religious they went and found comfort and support by fellow brother and sisters which is also vital for each and every one of us (v23). When we have fellowship like that we are so thankful that we serve an amazing God! And what better way to show our gratitude to our God...then through praise (v24-v31)

This is what a radical Christian looks like! Filled with the Spirit to speak His truth. Courageous and bold to proclaim the love of Christ to a Christ- less world and bedient to God! Why? Because He commands it.We serve an amazing God who has and will never give up on you! Why? He has conquered all things for His glory! He doesn’t call us to save people ....He calls us to go out and proclaim to them that Jesus is the way the truth and the life.......As Vernon MeGee once said “We are called to fish in the fish pond, not to clean up the fish pond....Jesus said He would make us fisher of men, and the world is the place to fish. We are not called upon to clean up the fish pond. We need to catch the fish and get the fish cleaned up” We can’t change the world, but God through us we can impact a fallen world by being radical Christians. A Christians who is willing to stand at any cost for Jesus Christ. I want to be like that! I want to be radical! THE QUESTION IS........Do you? We can walk........ as Peter....John and the rest of God`s children as people who are radically in love with Jesus Christ........Why? Because there is something about that name that gives me a desire every day to be radical!! His name is Jesus Christ! .......................And don’t forget it!

08 November 2010

Antisipation of a Redeemed Ruth


                                                                             Ruth 3:1-18

What is required from everyone to receive grace and mercy through redemption? Humility!..........Humility is a freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth. In theology, humility consists in meekness of mind; a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will. Hudson Taylor was scheduled to speak at a Large Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary in eloquent and glowing terms. He told the large congregation all that Taylor had accomplished in China, and then presented him as "our illustrious guest." Taylor stood quietly for a moment, and then opened his message by saying, "Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master." “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around is trouble. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary's cross, manifested in those of His own who are definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.” Andrew Murray. THE BIBLE SAYS:
  • Those who humble themselves will be delivered by God............. Job 22:29 “When they cast you down, and you say, 'Exaltation will come!' Then He will save the humble person.”
  • Those who humble themselves will receive more grace.........James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
  • Those who humble themselves will find honor Prov 15:33 “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.”
SO WHAT SHOULD BE OUR GOAL....OR BETTER YET OUR DISCIPLINE! BELIEVERS ARE TO LIVE BY IT.....(Eph 4:1-2) “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,” BELIEVERS GROW BY HUMILITY....(Deut 8:3) “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” BELIEVERS SHOULD ALWAYS PUT ON HUMILITY.....1Peter 5:5 “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." The Bible gives many examples of humility found in the children of God.........

• Jacob (Gen 32:20)
• Hezekiah (2 Chron 32:26) “Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart,”
• David (1Chron 29:14) But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.
• Isaiah (Isa 6:5) “So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."
• The centurion (Matt 8:8) "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.
• Peter (Luke 5:8) “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
• Paul (Rom 7:24) “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

We come to Chapter 3 and we see the most amazing thing about redemption...........the first part we see the humility of Ruth and the second part we see the mercy and grace of Boaz.

THE FIRST PART OF REDEMPTION IS HUMILITY.

Ruth displays to us a woman who humbled herself before her hopeful ‘kinsman redeemer’ Look at what she does in the first (5 verses)!! Ruth forsaken it all to be with Naomi and her God. Ruth was concerned for the health and well being of her mother in-law. Ruth gleaned the field with pride and thankfulness despite being a poor widow from Moab. Ruth looked to Boaz because he is the only one who redeem her and Naomi. REMEMBER! ACCORDING TO LEVITICAL LAW THIS KINSMEN REDEEMER COULD REDEEM:

• A family member sold into slavery (Lev 25:47-49)
• Land that was sold under economic hardship (Lev 25:23-28)
• A family name by virtue of a Levitical marriage (Deut 25:5-10)

Ruth humbly went to Boaz with the hope that he would redeem her and her mother-law. Ruth knew that she was unworthy to be in the presence of a man of such honor and integrity.........but she trusted in the wisdom of her mother in-law and the Law God put in place for His children......The same goes for us! It requires humility!WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT NATURALLY GOOD! IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME

• Watch the news or read the news paper.
• Watch two children play together!!!
• Watch how co-workers treat it other in a group decision
• Watch people’s reaction as they drive in rush hour traffic
• Watch professional sports teams
• Watch the political campaign ads on TV
• Watch how many in the church treat each other

THAT’S LOOK CLOSER TO HOME........A newborn left to die in a dumpster in northwest Calgary was saved by a man who only later found out he was the boy's father. Calgary police said that the boy's mother told them she did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth to the child. She allegedly put the living baby in a garbage bag and tossed him into the dumpster. That was only 5 days ago!! THAT’S GET EVEN CLOSER TO MY HOME TOWN OF TWEED ONTARIO...... AND MY WIFE’S HOME TOWN OF BELLEVILLE ONTARIO. Russell Williams, a Canadian murderer, serial rapist, and Colonel in the Canadian Air Force. Sentencing hearing this past Monday, after standing morbidly still for the forty minutes it took to read the list of charges against him, Williams pleaded guilty to all 88 counts in the third-floor courtroom of the Belleville Superior Court. LISTEN TO WHAT PAUL WROTE! Rom 3:10-18 “As it is written: "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD. THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE; THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE." "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN TOMB; WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY HAVE PRACTICED DECEIT"; "THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS"; "WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS." "THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD; DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR WAYS; AND THE WAY OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN." "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." We are all born sinful!!! “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Ps 51:5.....We must realize that we are sinners and unworthy to come into His presence.....We must realize that we have sinned against a holy God....We must realize that we can do nothing in and of ourselves to find forgiveness......We must realize that we need Him and not the other way around. Naomi knew this! That’s why she told Ruth what she needs to do in the opening verses of the chapter. This was vital if either of them were ever to survive or continue on....This was also vital for our redemption for future things.Without this meeting we would be forever lost without a Saviour. Without this meeting we wouldn’t be able to find redemption for ourselves. Ruth humbly went to Boaz and offered herself for hand in marriage by sleeping at Boaz’s feet! A sense of adoration and modesty! (v9) “take (spread your garment over) your maidservant....” As a request for protection in marriage.....Eze 16:8 "When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord GOD.” This was a display of humility to the only one who could redeem her and Naomi

THE SECOND PART OF REDEMPTION IS GRACE AND MERCY

Boaz displays to us his mercy and grace! Boaz was flattered by Ruth’s request and kindness.....since he is much older than her (v10) REMEMBER THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF BOAZ AS:

• a man of valour and honor
• a man who was a relative of Elimelech
• a man of great standing
• His name means “in him is strength” or you could say “a mighty man of war”
• In 1 Kings 7:21 one of the front pillars of Solomon’s temple was called Boaz (it’s a powerful name of strength and stability.

Boaz was a man of great strength......a true biblical example of a godly man! Boaz was a true example of a Christ type found in the Old Testament! Boaz was a man of his word (v18) Think about for a moment!...............................He didn’t have to redeem Ruth and Naomi. He didn’t have to show kindness to a foreigner like Ruth. He didn’t have to do anything! ISN’T THAT A WONDERFUL PICTURE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! He didn’t have to redeem you or me. He didn’t have to show kindness to foreigners’ like us. He didn’t have to do anything! But He willing chose to redeem us sinful people. Remember: God the Father.....God the Son....God the Holy Spirit......... doesn’t need us to complete them........................................The Godhead would be just as happy without us! But they chose to redeem a fallen generation like us! Why? The Godhead desires our worship and obedience. MERCY is God withholding the punishment we deserve because of our sinfulness. The consequence of sin is death, yet Jesus paid this penalty for us. If it wasn’t for God’s mercy you would not be here. We are deserving of judgment, of destruction, punishment and condemnation. GRACE is the unearned gifts the Father gives to His children. The Lord relates to us by His grace. Grace has provided salvation to all who come to Him, though we deserved destruction. God knew that the man He created would sin. Titus 3:3-7 “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs (a child, by implication a possessor) according to the hope of eternal life.”
Eph 1:6-7 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” WE WILL NEVER FIND HIS REDEMPTIVE GRACE AND MERCY APART FROM HUMILITY......

• Humility shows us our sin
• Humility shows our unworthiness before a holy God
• Humility shows that we need Him desperately
• Humility guides us to Him who is full of grace and mercy

"Humble we must be, if to heaven we go; High is the roof there, but the gate is low." Robert Herrick. Ruth humbled herself to the mercy of one man named Boaz there kinsman redeemer. We humble ourselves to the mercy of one man named Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. If we didn’t have Ruth as an example of true biblical humility we wouldn’t’ be sitting here today praising our Lord for His grace and mercy in our lives. SO LET ME ASK YOU THE QUESTION.....Have you truly humbled yourself at the feet of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ? Our kinsman redeemer!

25 October 2010

Where is Your Hope?

Ruth 2:17-23

Do you realize according to the worlds standards we live in a hopeless world! Let me explain

• Approximately 23 million Americans claim to suffer from anxiety disorder
• 17.5 million Struggle with clinical depression
• 530,000 actually attempt suicide
• Airline passengers worry about the safety of their flights
• Mourners grieve pessimistically at the loss of a loved one
• Patients agonize over the dangers of surgery
• Business people worry constantly about deadlines and decisions
• Countless others endure daily feelings of fear and hopelessness

It’s no wonder we have so many suicides, depression, stress and worry in our country.This list isn’t just affecting the secular world!

• In fact 62 % of evangelical Christians are concerned about the future
• 20 % are searching for meaning and purpose in life
• Sickness, suffering and doubt are affecting the Church of Jesus Christ more than ever!

Why? Many are following the worldly minded down a hopeless path. Where do you find hope in a time like this?It’s easy to get caught up in the false hopes of this world! It’s easy to get drained by a fallen generation that has no hope outside themselves. It’s even easier to look to material things as a way of drowning those hopeless blues. Where does your hope turn to? The things of this world are only temporary hopes! They have no long term value. They have no eternal values! What do I mean?............... IS CHRIST YOUR HOPE? Is your hope in the eternal promises of God? Because they are forever, while everything on this earth is temporary! The New Testament speaks of a firm and solid expectation of what we can truly hope for.........................For example:

• The promises of Christ’s return (Titus 2:13)
• The promises that we will be like Him (1 John 3:2-3)
• The promises that we will be partakers in His glory (Col 1:27)
• The promises that we will dwell with Him forever free from the curse of sin (Rev 22:3-5)

True Biblical hope is described as trusting God at His word....a Christ centered hope must be our foundation if we are ever to survive in a world filled with no hope. See true hope stems from the unwavering confidence that God is absolutely faithful to His promises and therefore all those promises are sure and certain. Hope in the Bible is described as:

Good (2 Thess 2:16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,
Living (1 Pet 1:3) according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Blessed (Titus 2:13) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Sure and steadfast (Heb 6:19) his hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Doesn’t disappoint (Rom 5:15) But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Christ is our hope (1 Tim1:1) our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

Think about it! If the truth of God’s word gives us these eternal promises! What should be our response? We should continue in it (Ps 71:14) “But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more”. We should Rejoice because of it (Rom 5:2) “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And be ready to give an answer concerning this wonderful promise of hope (1 Pet 3:15) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” Our hope is only found in an all-sufficient Saviour.......Jesus Christ! So what keeps us focused to Christ in all this? The hope found in the Scriptures.....The hope found in the Book of Ruth........This is exactly what Ruth did when she returned home after a long day in the field gleaning the very field Boaz displayed grace a poor Moabite widow. This event in history brought about a woman who once was known for being pleasant but became bitter and empty........to find hope once again! Do you feel like Naomi sometimes? Do you have that sense of emptiness and hopeless? Naomi is about to look again with a heavenly perspective....instead of an earthly perspective. Hope is forward looking not backwards! A worldly view will erode the Christian hope....so hope is absolutely vital to Spiritual survival. John Bunyan was a great testament of this kind of hope as he was put in a prison cell for proclaiming the good news of the Gospel....John said “Hope has a thick skin, that will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as clothing, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things, if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called ‘patience of hope,’ because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and long suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown.” Ruth who is full of hope brings good news to her mother in-law....and Naomi responds with a proper heaven in view perspective in the remaining verses of chapter 2. In the remaining verses we are going to see a living hope in these two women. Especially in a woman who has gone through a terrible time these past few years......This is another display of God’s providential care for His created children........this is another example of how God deals with our lack of faith and hopelessness sometimes. Look at the transformation of a broken and empty woman as she finally looks heavenwards.....HERE ARE 3 THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN HOPE!

1. HOPE BRINGS JOY TO THE HURTING (V19)

We know that Naomi is hurting from the tragedy in her life………..But can you sense the excitement in Naomi’s voice when she asked Ruth these questions? Who showed you so much grace? Who showed you so much kindness Ruth? Hope leads us to have joy despite our circumstance or situation! When you’re all alone do you seek His face through your pain or situation or do you seek the World and its fallen wisdom? David said in Ps 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness (complete) of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” As the Psalmist wrote in Ps 147:11 “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.” Naomi who was bitter and empty was now being filled with joyful hope…that’s God’s sweet bitter providence.

2. HOPE LEADS YOU TO A GREATER CONFIDENCE IN HIS PROVIDENTIAL PLAN (V20)

Naomi says “he has not forsaken His mercy and grace to the living (her and Ruth) and the dead (Elimelech and their two sons)” Naomi began to understand God’s sovereign working……His covenant promise…His grace and mercy to her and Ruth…….despite the terrible past they just came from. Naomi was pleasant and filled once again with the hope of confidence! Why? Look what she says at the end of (verse 20)……….she finds out it was Boaz’s field Ruth gleaned. And that he is able or has the right to preserve the name of the dead by redeeming them and marrying Ruth according to Levitical Law. A close relative…..“our redeemer” it’s the Hebrew word ‘goel’ used for the first time here in the book of Ruth. SEE ACCORDING TO MOSES LAW THIS KINSMEN REDEEMER COULD REDEEM:
• A family member sold into slavery (Lev 25:47-49)
• Land that was sold under economic hardship (Lev 25:23-28)
• A family name by virtue of a Levitical marriage (Deut 25:5-10)
ISN’T THIS WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR US?

• He has redeemed us from the penalty and bondage of sin
• He has purchased….ransomed us from the slave market
• He has taken my place at the seat of God’s wrath
• He has filled us with His hope that will last for eternity

That what a redeemer does! Someone who come to the rescue to pick you from the fire and carries you into His glory and presence! The Lord Jesus Christ or redeemer! As Job said “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,” Job 19:25-26

3. HOPE LEADS TO SATISFACTION (V22)

When Jesus is over your life….you are always perfectly satisfied whether you have much or nothing. There was a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked. “Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman. “Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?’ the rich man asked. “What would I do with them?” “You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.” The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?” “You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist. “What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea. YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND COMPLETE SATISFACTION IN THE LIVING GOD OF THE BIBLE. Look at society.......read the billboards or watch the commercials on TV or the internet! Most advertisers are telling you to try their products because you won’t find satisfaction with anyone else other than them. "You only go around once, so reach for all the gusto you can." "It doesn't get any better than this!" If I am completely satisfied from having one why are they so addictive! They are lying to you because you need more and more of their product in order to get satisfied. That’s the opposite of what it means to be satisfied as these two women are! THINK ABOUT THAT STATEMENT FOR A MOMENT IN THE LIGHT OF SHOWBIZ! Take for example! Modern entertainers have achieved "the high life" to the ultimate,....................... but are they happy? If so, why are so many of them plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, mental breakdowns, early deaths, and suicide? Is that really a satisfying life? We hold the key to complete satisfaction....a hope that has eternal meanings not temporal. When we have hope in a Risen Saviour we can without a shadow of doubt find complete satisfaction in God. As Moses wrote in Psalm 90:14 “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” Moses knew that God was to be the first. Moses knew that in order to have true satisfaction it starts with God. Naomi reminded Ruth that we have been blessed by this gift of grace........they were satisfied! IN OUR POST MODERN SOCIETY

• Hope is all relative...it’s what you make or get out of it that counts.
• There is no such things as absolute hope...it’s a dream.....or by chance (luck)
• Hope is like a lotto ticket........wishing it’s the one that will have the big pay out
• Hope is like a lucky rabbits foot......falling star.........or tossing a penny carelessly in a fountain
• Hope guarantees nothing and leaves a person empty like horoscopes and fortune cookies

But that’s not the Christian hope..........That’s not true biblical hope! Our hope is living....powerful......that generates peace and leaves the believer praising God each and every day....despite the situation that we may be in. 2Cor 4:17- 18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Paul is speaking of something future. Our eternal glory and happiness is the object of the hope of every believer.....not us or what this world declares to be hope. Nathan Busenitz said “authentic Christianity is all about hope. The whole of the Christian life is infused with hope, empowered by hope, and buoyed up by hope.....no matter how fiercely the tempests of this life may assault us. That is why the character and the outlook of every Christian always ought to display hope. This is a powerful testimony to a hopeless world” This is a hope that can be only found in one person! The Redeemer............Jesus Christ! As Spurgeon said "Without Christ there is no hope." This is Naomi’s hope.......this is Ruth’s hope..........this is my hope....the question is..........is it yours?

16 October 2010

King of Peace


  • He is our King of Peace
  • He is our hope
  • He is our joy
  • He is our passion
  • He is our rest
  • He is our resurrection and the life
  • He is our redeemer
  • He is our salvation
  • He is our Lord of lords and King of kings
He is Jesus Christ!!! SDG

27 September 2010

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 3)


Ruth 1:19-22

As we continue in this wonderful story of God's providence found in the book of Ruth. Let me ask you something personal. How do you respond to bad decisions or bad outcomes in your life? BETTER YET! How do you respond to God in your bad decisions or circumstances of life?

WHETHER IT WOULD BE:
• Your finances
• Your marriage
• Your children
• Your farm or business
• Your health
• Your path that He has put you on

Sometimes it’s hard to see past the hurt...heartache and the confusion of life. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean or do things that display our inner character or feelings. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE! You’re standing at the grave sight of your 14 year old daughter. A person who by world’s standards has her whole life ahead of her. You watch as the machine lowers your daughter into the ground....a place where her body will remain until the final days of Jesus. It’s a sad time for everyone...including the preacher! Because that could be one of yours one day. What are they thinking? Are they angry with God......Are they angry at themselves?..............Are they thinking only if I could have stayed longer or hide the keys so that she couldn’t do what she did. WE CAN’T SEE THE PLAN GOD HAS FOR US...........because in reality if we did, we would run like Jonah and hide like Adam every time. God’s providence is when He displays His glory even in our darkest hour.........He takes what seems bad, uncomfortable, hurtful, and sinful and turns it out for His glory! “Providence is shaping our ends; a plan is developing in our lives; a supreme and loving Being is making all things work together for good.” F B Meyer. As the Psalmist says "Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

IN THE CASE OF THE BOOK OF RUTH...........we see:
• 4 people went out and only 1 is coming back!
• 3 deaths and 1 surviving widow
• 4 full of life and 1 left empty

Which brings us to this part of the letter that most scholars believe the prophet Samuel wrote? WHAT WAS NAOMI FEELING DURING THIS TIME? According to the Scripture we are going to see a woman who is hurting..........broken.........frustrated.......sorrowful......and resentment for the cards the Lord has dealt her. Remember we need to understand! Naomi can’t see the future. So she can’t see the blessings that are about to follow in the coming day or even the plan that God had for her and Ruth. Let me ask you without making Naomi the only person who feels this way at some point in your life. Have you ever been angry with God? Do you blame God for your trials or think that this is His way of punishing you? Be honest because God knows your heart! And the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I LIKE WHAT JOHN FLAVEL SAID “How often has providence convinced its observers, upon a sober recollection of the events of their lives, that if the Lord had left them to their own counsels they had as often been their own tormentors, if not executioners?”
George macDonald said “To the dim and bewildered vision of humanity, God's care is more evident in some instances than in others; and upon such instances men seize, and call them providences. It is well that they can; but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.” We as Naomi can’t see past the pain or trials sometimes. It’s better to be angry then face the facts and move on and say “Lord I surrender all because Your ways, are not my ways” Look at verse 19 they start to make that long journey home! The trip from Moab to Bethlehem would have taken between 7-10 days. It would have required them to cross the river Jordan and to climb the 2000 plus feet in elevation required to reach Bethlehem. IT’S INTERESTING TO NOTE: We don’t here of any of the events leading up to Bethlehem, but considering how dangerous of a trip for 2 unaccompanied women, and we again see God’s providential care for these two women. WHY I SAY THAT? Jeremiah called the road wicked and polluted (Jer 3:2). Remember the Good Samaritan story in (Luke 10) the man who was beaten on the road to Jericho. The same road these ladies would venture on back to Bethlehem. WHAT DO YOU THINK NAOMI AND RUTH TALKED ABOUT?

• Did Naomi tell her about her people and the Law of Moses?
• Did Naomi tell her about the customs of the land?
• Did Naomi tell her about the deliverance from Egypt?
• Did Naomi tell her about God’s wonderful plan of redemption?

Whatever they talked about is not for us to know otherwise it would be here in the pages of Scripture for everyone to see. One thing we do know from Scripture, is that Naomi’s attitude wasn’t the greatest.....Look at verse 20. Mara means “bitter”.........Naomi was bitter because of what happened to her and the family. By her husband’s compromise left this women whose name means “Pleasant” feeling “bitter” .....“It looks like Pleasant wasn’t pleasant anymore” This adventure had taken its toll on her....we all have breaking points and Naomi reached her after 10 long years of heartache and pain. Naomi attributes all her ill fortune to God as she acknowledges Him by saying “El Shaddai” .............Almighty......the All powerful One has afflicted me (Naomi)Not us but me! This is the name the patriarchs knew before He revealed himself to Moses in (Exo 6:3). Naomi was saying the Lord has made her life bitter..........not by chance or by any other gods! Now we need to be careful here! Naomi is acknowledging God’s sovereign hand in this not accusing Him of doing this...But this still doesn’t excuse the way we deal with things in life....Self pity! We are to seek His face for His yoke is light. He can carry us through even in our darkest of hours as David said in Psalm 23! Maybe this will help you understand how she feels.......There was another wife who felt the same way Naomi felt..... Job 2:9-10 “Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity (hardship, difficulty)?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” We have to understand the time and the commands that God had put in place because they are the same today for you and me! God demands obedience not compromise!

• We are not to compromise and flee for the sake of comfort.
• We are not to compromise God’s word because it might offend.
• We are not to compromise when God tells us to do something.
• We are to walk by faith and not by sight.

PRIME EXAMPLE KING SAUL.......in 1Sam 15:22-23 “So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."  Not only was Naomi feeling bitter towards her life circumstance she was also left with nothing! Look at verse 21 "I was full but know I am empty" This is a very sad statement, especially when it coming from a child of God. BASICALLY WHAT NAOMI IS SAYING IS........I have empty hands...an empty home....and an empty heart. CAN I SAY THIS! There is not one empty person in this church, or in this country or in this world! Why? No one is empty when they are breathing...that is a gift from God! Who else was full and came home empty?.............................Prodigal son. This is a prime example of how God deals with each individual when they don’t listen to wait upon Him.When we make our choices in the flesh it usually nine times out ten ends up hurting the flesh.What I find interesting about what Naomi says is true for most, if not all of us here in this church....GOD ALWAYS NEEDS TO EMPTY US WHETHER IT’S:

• a bad choice
• pride, money
• arrogance, bitterness
• hatred, selfishness
• idolatry and so on, and so on

Before we can see Him and His providential plan for our lives.....he needs to break our will sometimes........................God allowed Naomi to be bitter in time when she should have been like Job praising and thanking Him for His sovereign goodness. God was dealing with Naomi in her bitterness! LET ME ASK YOU......What is God dealing with you in your life? ARE YOU BITTER RIGHT NOW FOR THE CARDS THAT HAVE BEEN DEALT ON YOUR LIFE? I like what Warren Werisbe said in his commetary on Ruth “we cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can control how we respond to them. That’s what faith is all about, daring to believe that God is working everything out for our good even when we don’t feel like it or see it happening?” As the Scottish Preacher George Morrison said “nine-tenths of our unhappiness is selfishness” Naomi couldn’t see the future or what is going to take place in the coming days. She doesn’t have the letter that we hold in our hands today.......then at that time! She is going to be happy again! Praising God once again. Remember God always needs to empty us first, of our stubbornness and pride to make this possible. In the coming days of her present situation she is going to see the glory of God. She will finally see’s the plan that God has for her and Ruth. That’s God’s providence even in our bad decisions. He turns everything out for His glory even in your time of suffering and confusion or bitterness. If you don't agree with me, maybe you will agree with these examples:

• Abraham has he is about to plunge a knife into his son Isaac chest.
• Joseph as he sits in a prison cell for doing nothing wrong.
• Jonah in the great fish as he is about to witness the greatest revival of all times.
• Mary the chosen sinner that God looked upon with favour.
• Polycarp and the decision he had to make and the impact that he would leave behind for the people in the future.
• Ignatius and the impact he would have on people before he was feed to the lions.
• Luther and his faithfulness and how it would change the church forever.
• Jim Elliott and the sacrifice he and his team would make for the blessed Gospel that saves to the uttermost!
• Your present circumstance or situation...because He is going to get the glory whether you like it or not.

God’s Providence in Our Lives!  Despite how Naomi felt about her life and the situation she was lefty holding........God in His infinite wisdom and plan had something else in store for her and her Moabite daughter in-law. Despite how I wished or hoped things would turn out in my life God saw His plan was better than mine!Despite how you feel in your present situation God has a plan for you...and in the end it will bring Him the glory He so greatly deserves......Again as Warren Werisbe said “stop staring at the wall and by faith get up and open the door to a brand new tomorrow.” Naomi might have felt empty but she is going to find out that she is the richest person alive! Why? She has a daughter in law named Ruth! The mother that would lead to the line of David ......which ultimately leads to the Jesus Christ.........

• The King of Kings and Lord of lords....
• The Giver and Sustainer of life......
• The Great I’AM
• The Prince of Peace
• The Precious Lamb of God
• The Great Redeemer

The one that Paul said........ Eph 2:4-8 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” As we close let me say this! "We are the richest and fullest people on the planet, if you are a child of the living God."

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 2)


Ruth 1:6-18

WHAT IS USUALLY THE NUMBER 1 THING YOU DO WHEN YOU (KNOW) THAT YOU HAVE MADE A BAD DECISION. Maybe this will help you answer that question. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU TRY AND DO WHEN YOU MAKE A BAD DECISION SO THAT NOBODY FINDS OUT? You try to fix or hide it from others! Or worse try to pretend it never happened! That’s exactly what the flesh wants to do....what our sinful nature wants to do! Bad decisions or choices make us look bad on the outward appearance (At least that’s how most people feel)..... But my reply to that kind of thinking is.......to whom do you look bad to? We even do this in our Christian lives! When we deliberately sin or get caught up in a sin, we think that if we can hide it, nobody will ever know about it or talk about us or worse yet look down or different towards us; and call us hypocrites....or Pharisee’s. THE GREATEST EXAMPLE OF THIS IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE! Gen 3:7-11 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? But back in Chapter 2 we see that they had no problem being naked....but when they made that bad decision (in this case chose to sin) they were ashamed ....We try so hard to cover up our messes thinking that everything will be ok!We think that we can fix or make the problem go away and say “everything will be just fine” That’s not true. ANOTHER PRIME EXAMPLE WE FIND IN THE SCRIPTURE IS DAVID AND HIS ADULTERY! He does everything humanly possible to make things right but in the end it cost two people to lose their lives....As we continue in Ruth’s letter....we still witness the outcome of bad choices.......but we also see God’s sovereign providence in the lives of 3 women. Naomi is left holding the cards.....her husband has died.....and here two son’s (v5) She has some big decisions to make.....one is what to do, know that see is all alone! Naomi gets word that the famine has been lifted in the city of bread in the nation of praise. She starts of by making the right decision to go back......BUT her motives are wrong for returning to Bethlehem! The only reason I’m going back to my countryman is because there is food again! Her first idea to return was because they have food...not because I want to make it right with God. The underlining theme to the Old Testament has always been repent and return back to the Lord. God’s underlining theme is not return back because there is nothing left for you here and know there is food back home......Not come to me when you want something or when you have nothing left!! She decides to go back home after 10 long years away in a foreign.......despised......wicked nation that hated each other.....But this time she is going home alone without her husband and two sons.......Can you imagine the conversations of the little town of Bethlehem...the murmuring that would take place.....As she is walking home to a land that God said he would provide for and did....

• Here comes Naomi the doubter
• Here comes Naomi the one who run when times get tough
• Here comes Naomi the trader to her people

With a little sanctified imagination......I’m sure Naomi thought that! Otherwise she wouldn’t have said this in (verse 8-13) WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT THIS STATEMENT! Naomi’s sons married Moabite women!! According to Jewish Law this was forbidden especially those from Ammon and Moab
Deut 7:2-4 “and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” It was the Moabite women in Moses’ day who seduced the Jewish men into morality and idolatry. The cost of that bad decision was devastating, 24 000 people died because of this.....(recorded in the Book of Numbers 25). Naomi knew if I go back to my people what will they think...... pagan gentiles married my boys and all I’m left with is........... these gentile girls. The easiest solution is kick them lose and nobody will know. I’m really doing them a favour because I’m of age and there is no way I’m going to have more children for them to marry (v11-v13). Go back to your people and begin living out your young life! Was she doing this out of kindness and concern for her two daughters in laws? Or was she thinking that if I returned alone, the people wouldn’t see that her family broke the Law of Moses. I want to stop here for a moment! Why? Something bothers me about what Naomi says here .......How does a person who knows the truth ...in this case the true Living God. Tell these young women who she has gotten to know and love by the embrace and the emotions we see from all of them in this portion of scripture....What would bring a person to tell them to go back to their pagan idol worshipping lives. It would be like anyone of us.....telling our neighbour who worships false god’s false religions and say have fun worshipping Satan while I worship the true living God. AS I SAID BEFORE......"How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" Penn Jillette, an atheist comedian, magician. Why would you in good conscience tell the very women who married your sons go back to Satan and his crafty tricks. While I go back to the place where God protects and guides and provides for His children to those who obey His commands. Was she ashamed of her son’s choices...and her husband’s decision to come to this wicked place? Was she ashamed because she had little faith in the true Living God? Was Naomi trying to cover-up their disobedience by returning alone? AS ONE PERSON SAID “Many bad choices are made simply because we move through the decision-making process too hastily, basing our conclusions on emotions, bad information or impulses.” Naomi has lost everything and there is a sense of bitterness and selfishness as she said at the end of (v13) “the Lord has gone out against me” Whatever her motives were.........the underline message is don’t follow me!! Go back!! HOW DID THE TWO YOUNG LADIES RESPONSED? What decision did they make?

Orpah.................a person who loved her mother kissed her and went back to her pagan idolatry (v15)When I think of this...... I’m reminded of Lot’s wife who loved the city and the worldliness. It’s that person who bought into Satan’s lie and says this is far better then what Christ can offer you. The person who hears the message of salvation counts the cost and says “I can’t give up my pleasures to serve this God”. The person who looks back from the plough. The rich young man who went away weeping. The parable of sower and the seed
in Matt 13:22 “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” JOHN SAID IN HIS EPISTLE! 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Orpah had a decision to make.......what she chose would in a sense determine her fate! Her heart loved Naomi...but she loved Moab and this world more. She gave up and went the other way! Orpah chose the world......according to the Scriptures we never her named mentioned ever again! BAD DECISION!

Ruth...................a person who loved her mother by what we read here in this portion of scripture. There is something here we see that Orpah never did! (v14) “she clung to her” Clung (means) to stay by.....abide.....cleave.....to be joined together. The same example God gave us when it comes to marriage! Gen 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS REPRESENTS? Ruth was willing to forsake her own people, her father's house; her native country, the chances of never having an husband...to follow Naomi. Ruth was willing to go and abide with her forever.

HERE IS THIS:

• A Moabite woman who comes from pagan idolatry (Num 21:29)
• A woman that comes from a nation that promotes or passionately encourages immorality
• A place of child sacrifice (2 Kings 3:26-27)
• A woman who comes from worshipping false gods
• A woman who has just lost her husband....father in-law.......and brother in-law
• A woman who is left with no support and has more obstacles than the average person has had in their entire life!

WHAT DO WE SEE? A person who by worldly standards say “she has ever right to anger, hurt, and the right to curse this God”. She has ever right humanly speaking to hate this God of Israel. But she doesn’t....she shows a greater faith........ than Naomi and..... sadly than most Christian’s today!! Not only did Ruth cling to Naomi....look at what she said (v16-v17) This is God’s sovereign plan in our bad decisions. This is the heart of a woman who is being transformed by the power of God. This is a woman who desires to follow after the living God of the bible
“I will go wherever you go”
“I will lodge wherever you stay”
“Your family will be my family”
“Your God will be my God”
“I will lay down my life for you”
“My hope is in your hope”
“I love you to the end and forever”
She had a godly sorrow and passion to follow Naomi and her God.  This is a prime example of what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in his second letter....2Cor 7:9 “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Ruth is pouring her heart to Naomi....Ruth is showing us her genuine heart and concern for her soul......Ruth passion is to live with God’s chosen people......Ruth willingly leaves everything behind to follow. Luke 9:23-24 “Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”  In John's gospel he wrote in 12:25-26 “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” Ruth wants to know this Living God......Ruth makes the smartest decision out of all these 3 ladies. Naomi does it out selfishness and lack of faith, because she has nowhere else to turn. Orpah does it out blindness and worldliness. Ruth does it with a heart of anguish and adoration to know the true Living God of the Bible and to live a life by faith! LET ME ASK YOU! Which category of lady can you relate to more this morning? The one who only has a little faith because of bitterness and pride, which is ultimately is affecting your decisions. The one who has no faith and is only looking out for self and what I can get out of this life. The one whose eyes have been open to the truth of God’s word and seeks to know His face to the very end......No matter what cost!! The one who says “I don’t care what life brings as long as Christ is at the center of it” The one who says “you can kill this body but you cannot kill my soul” The one that says “I’m with Him”. The one who clings to Jesus with all their might and never let’s go! That’s God’s providence in our lives.....even in our bad decisions! A tragedy that brings hope for Ruth and for many generations to come. As we close listen to this wonderful poem by the late great Richard Baxter

THE PATH WE TRED
From valley to valley out over the hilltops,
From sunshine to fog like the darkest of night;
So we follow the Lord down life’s winding pathway,
And walk much by faith and little by sight.
‘Twould be easy to see were His presence like lightning,
And easy to hear if like thunder His voice;
But He leads in the quiet by the voice of the Spirit,
And we follow in love for we’ve made Him our choice.
The path that we tread by the cross is o’er shadowed,
And the glory at times by pain is made dim;
Temptations assail and the spirit grows weary,
Yet we’re ever sustained by the vision of Him.
The years of our lives be they few or be many,
Will soon pass away as dreams of the night;
Then we’ll step through the portals on eternity’s morning,
And greet Him in glory as faith turns to sight.

God's Providence in Our Bad Decisions (Part 1)


Ruth 1:1-5

I love the Old Testament! It’s not an old boring book that means nothing to us today. I love the Old Testament because we see average (every day) people dealing with the day to day struggles of life. I love the Old Testament because it displays the attributes of God. I love the Old Testament because it shows the patience and mercies of God. I love the Old Testament because it prevalent even in our present generation.( no matter what age you are or where you come from). I love the Old Testament because it encourages my heart to see God prevail and glorified even the toughest of decisions whether as a nation, at war or whether you are alone. I love the Old Testament for how it shows the redemption plan of God for man from the beginning of Genesis all the way to Malachi. OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS we are going to be looking at a wonderful Old Testament letter that displays.......... God’s providential blessing and care to those who trust in Him. THE BOOK OF RUTH!!

• A letter that specifically talks about a young woman who came from pagan idolatry
• A letter about a love story
• A letter that plays a pivotal part in human history
• A letter is filled with many real life situations that we can learn a great deal from

IN THIS LITTLE BOOK OF 85 VERSES WE SEE:

• A story that connects the house of David with the Tribe of Judah
• A story that connects Jesus to the line of David
• A story about making bad choices in life and the lessons you learn from them
• A story about the consequences of disobedience to a faithful God
• A story about an outcast, a despised nation without hope
• A story about choices and the results of those choices
• A story about dedication and commitment
• A story about what a virtuous women looks like
• A story about what a real man of God looks like
• A story about God’s sovereignty and providential care
• A story about the glory of God displayed to mankind!
• A story about redemption even to the worst kind of people (sinners)

AS PAUL SAID “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom 7:24. The answer is in the verse (V25) “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” That’s what this story is all about.......God’s redeeming grace to sinners and the continued blessed hope the Old Testament speaks about to the heart of every generation...even to us today! BUT THE STORY OF RUTH DOESN’T START OFF WELL! As you would read in a fairy tale or watching a Disney movie....”Once upon a time there lived this beautiful young lady.....”or “Once upon a time there was this noble king who was loved by all!” NO! THIS LETTER HAS A TERRIBLE START! The story begins with a big decision to make not only for yourself but for the whole family. As I like to call it....... a testing of your faith! Look at the first verse! “a famine in the land”. The very place Elimelech and his family lived were faced with a calamity of great proportions...........Bethlehem, Judah was without food. Bethlehem means “the house of bread” and Judah means “praise”.........“So the house of bread in the land of praise is without bread!” WHY? The very first part of the opening verse gives an indication for the reason of this famine in such a blessed land “These were the days of the judges” (v1). Time was not easy for anyone during the time of the judges ...especially for the Jewish people. Warren Werisbe said “the book of Judges is the story of Israel at one of its lowest points in history; it’s a record of division, cruelty, apostasy, civil war, and national disgrace.” You might think Warren is being a little bit too harsh!.................. BUT IS HE? Turn to the last verse of Judges.......look at what it says carefully!! “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Doesn’t this sound like the days we are living in, here in Canada today? Or.....North America for that matters? Or...... How about the whole world? SOMETIMES IT TAKES A CALAMITY TO WAKE PEOPLE UP FROM THEIR SLUMBER. It did for King David with losing of his new born son. What about Solomon when he felt empty in his letter of Ecclesiastes......Peter at his denial........Saul on the road to Damascus.........When you’re alone! Famines weren’t uncommon to these people......in the Old Testament up this point in the life of God’s chosen people. FOR EXAMPLE: Gen 12:10 “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.” Gen 26:1 “There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.” Gen 47:13 “Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.” Famines make people do some strange things as I said one time before were people would go as low as eating another person to survive. Elimelech had a decision to make stay and possible go hungry which ultimately would lead to death or find somewhere else to go that has food and be content and move on with life! The right answer would be to........wait upon the Lord and see what He is going to do!! LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION MEN.......Dad’s, husbands! What would you do if you were in that situation? If your answer would be to go and find somewhere else....... you’re wrong! What did Elimelech do? He took his family from the house of bread a place that God’ promised the patriarch of old........ a land flowing with milk in honey! All God asks in return is that they (you) put their faith and trust in Him as they did when they crossed the Jordon River with Joshua and the rest of the people. Think about this! DO WE REALLY TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY! Matt 6:25-33 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Do you beleive that? Answer seriously though! Did they forget how the Lord provided for their ancestors...those who walked before them? Did they lose heart because the chosen people had turned away from God? Did they have any faith at all? Elimelech chose the simple and easiest route for himself and his family......go where there is food......which is exactly what most of us would do!! “O you of little faith” would be the words we would her from Jesus. Their bad decision doesn’t end there...not only did he decide to leave the land of praise, but the place he choose was even worse.Where did he take his family? The country of Moab. Why is this such a bad choice Mike?........ He needed to provide for his family! YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT......But he did one thing that many of us are doing today! “Walking by sight and not by faith” It’s bad enough their lack of faith brought them to this point in life.....to doubt that God wouldn’t or couldn’t provide for their needs. (even in a time like this). Scripture makes it clear that God would have provided for Elimelech’s family if they had stayed in Judah  “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.” Ps 37:25-26. As Paul said in 2Cor 4:8 “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” By leaving they prevented God from displaying His power and care in their behalf. What’s worse is that they chose to go to a country..... and nations that God calls a “wash pot” Ps 108:9. A way you could paraphrase that verse would be to say “Moab is a garbage can” DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE DESCENDENTS OF MOAB CAME FROM? From the events that took place between a drunken Lot and his daughter (Gen 19:37) Not a very good beginning to a nation of people!

• Moab oppressed the Jews for 18 years up to this point in time during the book of Judges
• Moab were outcasts to the Jewish people (they were half breads and wicked)
• Moab is not spoken of well in God’s precious Word
• Moab tried to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num 22:4-24:25)
• Moab was a pagan and idolatrous country (1 Kings 11:7-33)
• Moab was later defeated by king Saul (1 Sam14:47)
• Moab was cursed by God (read Isaiah 15, 16......Jeremiah 28......Ezekiel 25:8-11............

Amos 2:1-3 “Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. But I will send a fire upon Moab, And it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, With shouting and trumpet sound. And I will cut off the judge from its midst, And slay all its princes with him," Says the LORD. A man whose name means “my God is King” leaves the land that God promised the patriarchs to go to a place that is described as a garbage can...... It would be the same as if anyone of us said there is no more food here..... we must go to the Grahamdale Garbage Dump to find it. Now are you starting to see that was a wrong move on the part of Elimelech? WE DO THE SAME....apply this to our lives today....We get stressed out about where our next meal comes but if asked you today did you eat yesterday....YOU WOULD SAY YES! So to that....... I would say “isn’t God providing for you then.....” Look at what happens to this family over the next ten years....Now we need to understand...This doesn’t mean God killed off all the men for their bad choices.....we don’t read that here passage! What do see here is........God who is glorious and all powerful display His providential plan for the redemption of many in the years to come! If they didn’t go to Moab we would never see later through Ruth and the birth of her children........the birth of David! SO LET ME ASK YOU! What are you going to do when you are faced with a crisis or in this case a famine? Are you going to run or stand firm in Christ that He will find a way to provide for you and your loved ones.....Because truthfully, He does every day, you just don’t take notice of it.

• Have you always had shelter?
• Have always had food on the table?
• Have you had fairly decent health?
• Have air to breathe?

Your answered would be YES.......... right! Sometimes God allows these kinds of things to happen in our lives to refine us...to strengthen to help us lean on Him more each and every day! He can always take our bad decisions and turn them out for our good. Just as He did for Jacob.....Jonah....David.......Solomon......Peter and You. He knows what He is doing! You need to walk by the faith trust Him...as Abraham had when he said to his young son Isaac......."My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.” TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST ..........when we refuse to trust Him, what we really are doing is calling God a lair and dishonouring Him! SEE TO WALK BY FAITH IS TO........ Claim (state...declare..right it down) the promises of God. Obeying His word ........in spite of how you feel or what might happen. It means committing yourself to the Lord and relying solely upon Him to meet your needs. That’s a living faith that honours God and pleasing to Him. Again as Warren Werisbe said “when we live by faith, it glorifies God...” There is wisdom of this world that leads to foolishness and sorrow.....and there is wisdom of God that seems foolish to the world but it leads to blessing! THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS........Who are you going to listen to? The world......you.........or............. God the Author and sovereign sustainer of our souls?