ONALASKA FIRST CHURCH OF GOD

"Where Your Experience In Christ, Makes You A Member"

133 3rd Avenue,  P.O. Box 245,  Onalaska,  Washington  98570     (360) 978-4161      FAX (360) 978-6941  
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A LIFE WITHOUT PAIN WILL BECOME A LIVING HELL

 AUGUST 1, 2004

SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 42:18-25 

SCRIPTURE TEXT:  Isaiah 42:25  

   Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

INTRO: If you were to lose one of your five senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching, which one would you want to lose the least? 

NOTE:  The truth about leprosy:  

   There are many skin diseases that are referred to as leprosy in the Bible, but the one that most of us think about when leprosy is mentioned is that it is not a skin disease, but rather a nerve disorder that keeps a person from feeling pain. 

   As the physical sense to feel allows us know that something is wrong physically, so the conscience that God has given us lets us know when something is wrong spiritually. 

   God has given us a conscience that we can either use to live a life that glorifies Him or we can ignore and suffer the consequences.  

   There are those who contend that the conscience is a learned process but God’s Words disagrees. 

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)  

   The conscience is the inner sense of right and wrong. 

   Every person is born with a conscience, but its value and health are determined by how well it is fed and trained with righteousness and godliness. The better it is fed and taught, the more effective, stronger and valuable it will become. 

   We are living in what is fast become an amoral society. 

   As physical pain warns us that something is wrong physically, so the pain of our conscience lets us know that something is wrong spiritually. 

   The more we ignore our physical pain the more damage is done; the more we ignore our conscience the more spiritual damage is done.  

Ephesians 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  

  A large segment of our children are being raised today with no teaching of right or wrong. 

The majority of children today in America have never been to Sunday School or church except to attend a wedding or funeral. 

I.  HOW DOES A CONSCIENCE BECOME SEARED? 

NOTE:  A good and healthy conscience comes from living a righteous and godly life before God. A bad and defiled conscience comes from living an unrighteous and ungodly life in this world. 

   A good conscience is made strong and healthy through prayer, reading God’ Word and fellowshipping with the saints. 

   The lack of prayer, reading God’s Word and fellowshipping weaken the conscience with the saints. 

   Compromising our conscience leads to compromising our faith. 

1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  

NOTE:  Five things that lead to the searing of our conscience.  

v      Departing from the Faith.

v      Giving heed to seducing spirits.

v      Doctrines of devils. (Doubting God’s Word)

v      Speaking lies in hypocrisy. (Trying to live is both worlds)

v      Replacing God’s law with their own. 

II.  HOW DOES A PERSON WITH A SEARED CONSCIENCE REACT

      TOWARDS SIN?

   A.  THEY RATIONALIZE IT AS BEING JUSTIFIED. 

Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.  

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  

   B.  THEY FAIL TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT AS A SIN. 

1 Samuel 15:13-15 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.  And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?  And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.  

   C.  THEY REFUSE TO REPENT. 

Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.  

   D.  THEY GO DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO SIN. 

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  

III.  HOW DO WE KEEP OUR CONSCIENCE FROM BECOMING SEARED?

NOTE: It is far better to keep our conscience tender before God than to try and restore a conscience that has been seared. 

   A.  WE SPEND TIME IN THE WORD OF GOD. 

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  

B.  WE SPEND TIME IN COMMUNION (PRAYER) WITH GOD. 

James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  

NOTE:  We are constantly asking God to reveal any hidden sin in our lives. 

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  

   C.  WE DEVELOP CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP. 

NOTE: When we fall, and we all will fall and some many times, it is much easier to regain our relationship with God with the help, prayers and support, of Christian friends.  

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  

NOTE: It is much harder to be restored if we have failed to develop Christian fellowship. 

Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  

CONCLUSION: Let us strive to keep our conscience tender so that we will always hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts.

WHEN GOD IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND

 August 15, 2004

SCRIPTURE READING: JOB 23:1-17 

SCRIPTURE TEXT:  JOB 23:3, 8 & 9  

   Oh that I knew where I might find Him! That I might come even to His seat! … Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: 

INTRO: Have you ever felt abandon by everyone including God? 

Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.  

   There are many things that might make us feel that God has abandoned us. 

ILL:  "The Apostle": Honest Prayer 

   The greatest is when we cannot sense the presence of God in our lives. 

    It is during times like these we need the support and understanding of Christian friends. 

ILL:  Classmate Saves Schoolboy from Embarrassment 

    Instead we are often criticized when we express that we feel abandon by God even as Job was by his three friends. 

   The 23 chapter of Job is one of the great chapters in the Bible. 

v      Job’s suffering (vs. 1) 

Job 1:1-3 A man named Job lived in Uz. He was a man of integrity: He was decent, he feared God, and he stayed away from evil.  He had seven sons and three daughters.  He owned 7,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, 500 donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the most influential person in the Middle East.  

NOTE:  Job was a great man: 

1.       A great man of wealth

2.       A great family man

3.       A great man of influence

4.       A great man of integrity 

   We often feel that just because we are a child of God we should receive special treatment from God. 

ILL:  Fed X ad.  “Remind Me Why I Don’t Fire You” 

   In one day Job lost: 

1.        All his oxen and Asses.

2.        All his sheep

3.        All his camels

4.        All his children 

   Later: 

1.        He was smitten with boils

2.        His wife told him to curse God and die

3.        His three friends came and told him it was his entirely fault that this had happen to him. 

v      Job’s despair (vrs. 3-9) 

NOTE:  Job had lost all his riches, he had lost his children, he had lost the respect of his wife and friends, but the greatest lost he felt was the presence of God in his life. 

   Job wanted to stand before God and ask why all this was happening to him. 

   How often have you wanted to ask God the same question? 

ILL: Opportunity in Hardship 

   There are those who would try and tell us that this is wrong to wish to argue with God. 

Isaiah 1:18 (GW) "Come on now, let's discuss this!" says the Lord. "Though your sins are bright red, they will become as white as snow.  Though they are dark red, they will become as white as wool.  

v      Job’s confidence (vrs 10-12) 

NOTE:  There are four reasons that Job is confident: 

1.        That he has lived a righteous life and there was no reason for God’s judgment to come against him.

2.        That even if he could not find God, God knew where he was.

3.        That God was allowing him to be tested and in the end he would be vindicated.

4.        He was valuable to God. 

NOTE: Only the most precious metals are tried in the fire. 

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  

v      Job’s surrender (vrs. 13-14) 

NOTE: Job surrenders to the Sovereignty of God. 

1.       All though I don’t understand the plan of God, I will trust Him. 

Jeremiah 29:11 (GW) I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.  

2.       All though I am unable to locate the presence of God, I will trust Him. 

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.  

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.  

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.  

Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.  

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.  

3.       All though I am unable to justify what God allows I will trust Him. 

NOTE: Often times we are confused with why the wicked seem to be blessed and the righteous face difficulties. 

Psalm 73:12-17 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.  For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.  If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.  When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  

NOTE:  We like Job must lean to trust in the Sovereignty of God. 

Daniel 2:20-21 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

CONCLUSION:  The world says "seeing is believing," but God wants us to believe in order to see...Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be?

-Streams In The Desert

DESIRING JUDGMENT MORE THAN MERCY

 AUGUST 22, 2004

SCRIPTURE READING: JONAH 4:1-11 

SCRIPTURE TEXT: MATTHEW 5:43-48  

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.  

INTRO: The story about Jonah is not about Jonah.  We might think this is a story about Jonah and the whale…or about Jonah’s rebellion; …or about Nineveh’s repentance.   The story about Jonah is not about any of those things. The story of Jonah is about the mercy and grace of God.  

   Who were the Ninevites?  And who is Jonah. 

   The Ninevites were Assyrians who were the enemies of Israel. 

   Jonah was a prophet in Israel first mention in II Kings 14:25 

   We often think that Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he was afraid of the Ninevites, but this is not true, it was because he was afraid that God would be merciful to them.   

Jonah 4:2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.  

One of the most difficult things that we a Christian must do is to love and seek God’s mercy for those whom we feel justified in hating.  

   But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: 

   Most of us have had to battle with being prejudice at one time or another in our lives. 

v      Racial

v      Political

v      Religious

v      Life style 

ILL: “Pastor’s Bitterness Overcome by God’s Love”  

Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho is pastor of the largest church in the world. Several years ago, as his ministry was becoming international, he told God, "I will go anywhere to preach the gospel—except Japan." He hated the Japanese with gut-deep loathing because of what Japanese troops had done to the Korean people and to members of Yonggi Cho's own family during WWII. The Japanese were his Ninevites.

   Through a combination of a prolonged inner struggle, several direct challenges from others, and finally an urgent and starkly worded invitation, Cho felt called by God to preach in Japan. He went, but he went with bitterness. The first speaking engagement was to a pastor's conference—1,000 Japanese pastors. Cho stood up to speak, and what came out of his mouth was this: "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you." And then he broke and wept. He was both brimming and desolate with hatred.

At first one, then two, then all 1,000 pastors stood up. One by one they walked up to Yonggi Cho, knelt at his feet and asked forgiveness for what they and their people had done to him and his people. As this went on, God changed Yonggi Cho. The Lord put a single message in his heart and mouth: "I love you. I love you. I love you."

   Sometimes God calls us to do what we least want to do in order to reveal our heart—to reveal what's really in our heart. How powerful is the blood of Christ? Can it heal hatred between Koreans and Japanese? Can it make a Jew love a Ninevite? Can it make you reconciled to…well, you know who?

 Citation: Mark Buchanan, Your God Is Too Safe (Multnomah, 2001) p. 47; submitted by Darin Reimer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I. JONAH PREACHED GOD’S LOVE WHILE HIS HEARTS WAS FILLED

   WITH HATE. 

NOTE:  It is much easier to say we love the lost then to love in reality. 

v      How can we say we love the lost yet have no desire to see them saved?

v      How can we say we love the lost yet are unwilling to do anything to       reach them with the Gospel of God’s Grace?

v      How can we say we love the lost when we can’t even get along with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ? 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  

NOTE: Love demands action not just words. 

James 2:14-17 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, “Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;” notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  

II. JONAH ASKED FOR GOD’S MERCY FOR HIMSELF WHILE HE DESIRE

    GOD’S JUDGMENT FOR THE NINEVITES. 

NOTE:  Jonah was self-centered. 

   Jonah wanted God’s blessings in his life but was unwilling to share these blessing with the Ninevites. 

ILL: “The Elder Brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son” 

   Jonah enjoyed preaching his message of doom. 

   People react to God’s pending judgment two different ways: 

v      Reject the warning and experience His judgment. 

ILL: “The Young Girl Who Reject God’s Grace”   

A young woman, who had been brought up in a Christian home and who had often had very serious convictions in regard to the importance of coming to Christ, chose instead to take the way of the world. Much against the wishes of her godly mother, she insisted on keeping company with a wild, hilarious crowd, who lived only for the passing moment and tried to forget the things of eternity. Again and again she was pleaded with to turn to Christ, but she persistently refused to heed the admonitions addressed to her.

   Finally, she was taken with a very serious illness. All that medical science could do for her was done in order to bring about her recovery, but it soon became evident that the case was hopeless and death was staring her in the face. Still she was hard and obdurate when urged to turn to God in repentance and take the lost sinner’s place and trust the lost sinner’s Saviour.

   One night she awoke suddenly out of a sound sleep, a frightened look in her eyes, and asked excitedly, “Mother, what is Ezekiel 7:8,9?” Her mother said, “What do you mean, my dear?” She replied that she had had a most vivid dream. She thought there was a Presence in the room, who very solemnly said to her, “Read Ezekiel 7:8,9.” Not recalling the verses in question, the mother reached for a Bible. As she opened it, her heart sank as she saw the words, but she read them aloud to the dying girl:  "Now I will shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.” The poor sufferer, with a look of horror on her face, sank back on the pillow, utterly exhausted, and in a few moments she was in eternity. Once more it had been demonstrated that grace rejected brings judgment at last.

v      Believe the warning and accept His Grace. 

ACCEPTING GOD’S GRACE: 

   In his book NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM THE SAVIOR, Max Lucado tells the following story to illustrate God’s love, grace and concern for those who are lost.

    Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother’s heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro. Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for streetwalkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn’t too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home." She did.

Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9.

Jonah 3:5-9 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.  For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.  Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?  

   Jonah sat on the hill outside of Nineveh waiting for God’s judgment to come, all the time dreading that God would be merciful. 

   Jonah had seen the repentance of Nineveh and understood God’s mercy. 

v      Faith always precedes repentance

v      Mercy always precedes judgment 

   While Nineveh prayer for mercy; Jonah longed for judgment.

   “When people are right with God they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people.  But when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others.”

v      John Newton 

James 2:13 (NLT) For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you

III. JONAH WAS A FAILURE IN SPITE OF BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD.  

NOTE: We often consider Jonah to be successful but in reality he was a failure. 

   He had the greatest revival know to man yet he was a failure because his heart was not in tune with the heart of God. 

   Jonah was more concerned over a gourd than he was over the inhabitance of Nineveh. 

NOTE: God did several things in the book of Jonah to get Jonah’s attention: 

  1. He sent a great wind (1:4)
  2. Prepared a great fish (1:17)
  3. He gave the great fish a belly ache. (2:10)
  4. He prepared a gourd. (4:6)
  5. He prepared a worm. (4:7)
  6. He prepared a vehement east wind. (4:8)

NOTE: God will send us blessings or cursing, whatever it takes, to get His people their attention. 

   If we are not careful we can possess the same attitude that Jonah had. 

   We see someone caught in the power of sin there are several things we do not know: 

  1. We do not know the circumstances that lead them into the sin.
  2. We do not know how hard they tried to resist the sin before the fell.
  3. We do not know the power of sin that came against them.
  4. We do not know how we would have reacted given the same situation.

   The book of Jonah ends with God asking a question that each of us must answer. 

Jonah 4:10-11 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?  

How much value do we put on things that are here today and gone tomorrow, and how much value do we put on souls that will live eternally.  

CONCLUSION: “Lord, save us from the attitude of Jonah and grant us a heart of compassion for those whom we do not like and who do not like us.”

WE ARE SO BLESSED

 August 29, 2004

SCRIPTURE READING: PSALM 1:1-6 

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Psalm 1:1-2  

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  

INTRO: What does it mean when we say, “We are blessed of the Lord?” 

   At its root, a blessing refers to God’s friendly approach to those who are open to receiving divine generosity 

   Sometimes we only see the problems that surround us and fail to see the blessings that God has poured out into our lives. 

ILL: Carrying Blessing and Burdens.     

          The Cross & Your Cross. 

          My fall on Monday. 

   The blessings of God are limitless and new every day. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  (Isaiah 64:4) 

Lamentations 3:22-26 It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.  

   That which we do not deserve (mercy) He gives abundantly, that which we cannot buy (grace) He gives freely. 

   Let us consider for a moment some of the blessings we have received from the hand of God. 

I.  WE ARE BLESSED BECAUSE WE LIVE IN AMERICA. 

NOTE:  We are blessed because we live in a land of freedom. 

   There are those who can only see the negatives of our country and fail to see the blessings we have because we live in America. 

ILL: Things To Be Thankful For 

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  

   There are those who would contend that they have done it all themselves, but the Bible says differently. 

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.  But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.  

   Often times we tend to separate our material blessings from our spiritual blessings. 

NOTE: Not everybody who lives in America are as blessed as we are. 

II.  WE ARE BLESSED BECAUSE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP  WITH GOD. 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.  

   A.  HE IS OUR HEALER 

NOTE: The Lord will use many ways to provide healing for us, but what we must remember, is that all healing comes from Him. 

ILL: I Live On Borrowed Time 

Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.  

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  

   B.  HE IS OUR BURDEN BEARER 

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  

   C.  HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US. 

Genesis 28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.  

Deuteronomy 20:1 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  

Hebrews 13:5 (NASB) …for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever FORSAKE YOU,"  

   D.  HE IS CONSTANTLY WATCHING OVER US. 

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;  

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  

   E.  HE IS OUR SAVIOR. 

Psalm 32:1-2    Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  

Psalm 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  

Isaiah 43:25  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.  

Hebrews 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.  

Hebrews 10:16-17  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  

CONCLUSION:       “ WE ARE SO BLESSED”

Written by

William J. Gaither, Gloria Gaither & Greg Nelson

Pg. 795

THE CELEBRATION HYMNAL

WORD MUSIC/INTEGRITY MUSIC

We are so blessed by the gifts from Your hand,

I just can’t understand

Why You’ve loved us so much. 

We are so blessed we just can’t find a way

Or the words that can say,

Thank you Lord, for Your touch. 

When we’re empty You fill us ‘til we overflow,

When we’re hungry You feed us and cause us to know;

We are so blessed, Take what we have to bring;

Take it all, everything, Lord, we love you so much. 

 THE CROSS

 

Author Unknown

 

   A young man was at the end of his rope, seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer.  "Lord, I can't go on," he said.  "I have too heavy a cross to bear."

   The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room.  Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

   The man was filled with relief and said, "Thank you Lord," and he did as he was told.  Upon entering the other room, he saw many crosses; some so large the tops were not visible.  Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall.  "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. The Lord replied, "My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

   When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with.  You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.

 

 

YOUR CROSS

 

Author Unknown

 

Whatever your cross

Whatever your pain

There will always be sunshine

After the rain.

 

Perhaps you may stumble

Perhaps even fall

But God's always there

To help you through it all. 

 CARRYING BLESSINGS AND BURDENS 

   There is an old legend about three men and their sacks. Each man had two sacks, one tied in front of his neck and the other tied on his back. When the first man was asked what was in his sacks, he said, "In the sack on my back are all the good things friends and family have done. That way they're hidden from view. In the front sack are all the bad things that have happened to me. Every now and then I stop, open the front sack, take the things out, examine them, and think about them." Because he stopped so much to concentrate on all the bad stuff, he really didn't make much progress in life.

   The second man was asked about his sacks. He replied, "In the front sack are all the good things I've done. I like to see them, so quite often I take them out to show them off to people. The sack in the back? I keep all my mistakes in there and carry them all the time. Sure they're heavy. They slow me down, but you know, for some reason I can't put them down."

   When the third man was asked about his sacks, he answered, "The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I've experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn't a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward.  "The sack on my back is empty. There's nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I can think about myself or hear about others. They go in one end and out the other, so I'm not carrying around any extra weight at all." 

   What are you carrying in your sacks? 

Citation: H. Norman Wright, The Perfect Catch (Bethany House, 2000), pp.28-29; submitted by Bonne Steffen, editor, Wheaton, Illinois

 THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR 

   Someone writing in Christianity Today several years ago said, "Shall I thank God at this Thanksgiving? Why was I born at this particular time in the history of the world? Why was I born in a spotless delivery room in an American hospital instead of a steaming shelter in the dank jungle of the Amazon or a mud hut in Africa? Why did I have the privilege of going to school with capable instructors while millions around the world, without a school book, sit or squat on a dirt floor listening to a missionary?

   "How does it happen that my children are tucked into warm beds at night with clean white sheets while millions of babies in the world will lie in cold rooms, many in their own filth and vomit? Why can I sit down to a warm meal whenever I want to and eat too much when millions will know all of their lives the gnawing pangs of hunger? Do I deserve to share in such wealth? Why me and not other millions? Why was I born in a land I didn't build, in a prosperity that I didn't create and enjoy a freedom that I didn't establish? Why an American sitting comfortably in my own living room this Thanksgiving rather than an Indian squatting in the dark corner of some infested alley in Calcutta, shivering in the cold, or a Cambodian in the rubble of what used to he my home, or a terrified, running Nicaraguan in the jungle? Do I deserve it? By what right do I have it?" 

Citation: Joel Gregory, "The Unlikely Thanker," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110 

I LIVE ON BORROWED TIME 

Alice Hansche Mortenson

 

I have been healed not instantly,

But through a surgeon’s skill;

God often uses human hands

To carry out His will.

 

So I shall thank Him more, not less,

For every trying hour

That made me draw unceasingly

On His unfailing power.

 

I thank Him, yes, for nights of pain

When Heaven seemed to bend

Above my bed with songs of praise

And God Himself would send

 

Such sweet assurance to my soul,

Such evidence of care,

That, though I could not see His face,

I knew that He was there.

 

So as I rise again to serve

And live on “borrowed time,”

I pray that I shall not forget

My days are His, not mine.

 

¨       Received from CATHEDRAL PRESS,

Long Prairie, MN 56347

 

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