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JANUARY 6, 2008



SCRIPTURE TEXT: Psalm 119:32 (KJV)   

    I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.  

INTRO: As you enter 2008 what are your desires or expectations or are you satisfied the way things are in your life and the life of the church? 

   Satisfaction with the wrong things and at the wrong time will bring us to ruin. 

Amos 6:1, 3-6 (NLT) How terrible it will be for you who lounge in luxury and think you are secure in Jerusalem and Samaria! You are famous and popular in Israel, you to whom the people go for help…  You push away every thought of coming disaster, but your actions only bring the day of judgment closer.

    How terrible it will be for you who sprawl on ivory beds surrounded with luxury, eating the meat of tender lambs and choice calves.  You sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and you fancy yourselves to be great musicians, as King David was.  You drink wine by the bowlful, and you perfume yourselves with exotic fragrances, caring nothing at all that your nation is going to ruin.  

   There are times when it is good to be satisfied, but we should never reach the place we are satisfied in our spiritual walk. 

Philippians 3:7-15 (NLT) I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! 

    I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

    I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.  

   Do you like Paul, hunger for more. 

Matthew 5:6 (KJV) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

(GW) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God's approval.  They will be satisfied.  

   Dissatisfaction will bring the desire for change. 

   We all have and are experiencing the results of change. 

   It is only when we become dissatisfied with our walk with God that we are willing to change. 

1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV) And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.  

   Spiritual desires will take us beyond our comfort zone. 

   Jabez desired to have more from God that what he already had. 

   Change can be very painful. 

ILL: The rebirth of an eagle. 

   We must measure the cost of the change compared to the desired results of the change. 

Luke 14:28-30 (GW) "Suppose you want to build a tower. You would first sit down and figure out what it costs. Then you would see if you have enough money to finish it. Otherwise, if you lay a foundation and can't finish the building, everyone who watches will make fun of you.  They'll say, 'This person started to build but couldn't finish the job.'  

   When considering a change there are two kinds of cost we need to think of; 

·         What will it cost to make the change and what will the change bring

·         What will be the cost if we don’t make the change

NOTE: The cost may be greater if we do nothing. 

   This is where we need our hearts opened to the will of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Psalm 119:32 (GW) I will eagerly pursue your commandments because you continue to increase my understanding. 

ILL: Cornwall Church of God, Bellingham.  

·         1983 (membership 90)

·         21 in size

·         2007 (membership 1,949)

·         1 in size

   Change for change sake will only destroy.  

   Those who refuse to change when change is needed are doomed to be left behind. 

CONCLUSION: My challenge to each of us is twofold. 

·         What am I willing to change to bring spiritual growth to myself and our church?

·         What am I not willing to change to bring spiritual growth to myself and our Church?

    Enlarge our hearts to accept Your will for my life and the life of our church.


JANUARY 13, 2009 



SCRIPTURE TEXT: Isaiah 45:22 (KJV)  

    Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  

INTRO: The sixties were the decade of searching. 

·         Searching to find themselves.

·         The meaning of life. 

   They searched in many different directions: 

·         Drugs.

·         Alcohol

·         Sex

·         Religion 

   They were all looking in the wrong direction. 

   God created us to have fellowship with Him and we will never find satisfaction until we are restored to God in fellowship. 

   The Children of Israel has done the same thing. 

   They were seeking to have a fulfilled life but they were looking in the wrong direction. 


·         Lot looked to good life to find fulfillment.

 Genesis 13:10-11 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.  

·         His wife looked back in disobedience.

Genesis 19:17,26  And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed… But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.  

ILL: Base Burglar.  

   Satchel Page said, “Don’t look behind you, someone may be gaining. 

·         Esau looked at the here and now.

Genesis 25:31-32, 34 (NLT) Jacob replied, "All right, but trade me your birthright for it."  "Look, I'm dying of starvation!" said Esau. "What good is my birthright to me now?" … Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the fact that he had given up his birthright. 

NOTE: When we focus on the here and now we soon lose sight of eternity. 

·         Achan looked at forbidden riches.

Joshua 7:20-21 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: when I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.  

NOTE: When we seek to find fulfillment in that which God has forbidden we will only find pain and sorrow and finally death. 

·         David looked for a moment of pleasure.

2 Samuel 11:2 (KJV) And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

 NOTE: These who sought to find fulfillment by looking in the wrong direction spent the rest of their lives regretting their actions. 

1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)  Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world.  

   We will never find full satisfaction by looking to this world and the things in this world. 

   We must choose between temporary gratification and eternal satisfaction. 


NOTE: Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. 

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  

   We must look to Jesus Christ to find Salvation and the blessings of eternal life. 

Isaiah 45:22 (KJV) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  

·         God desires that everyone would be restored to fellowship with Him.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

·         God does not take pleasure in the death of the ungodly.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, smith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  

Ezekiel 18:31-32 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.  

·         God invites all to come to Him.

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  

NOTE: God has provided full Salvation at no cost to those who would come. 

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.  

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  


·         Looking in the wrong direction will bring us to destruction.

NOTE: They will acknowledge their sinfulness and God righteousness. 

Isaiah 45:23-24 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.  

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  

Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  

·         When we looked in the right direction we will find eternal life.

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  

NOTE: There is no other place we can look that will bring us into the proper relationship with God. 

Hebrews 12:2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  

CONCLUSION: In which direction are we looking? 

   In which direction are our lives pointing?


JANUARY 20, 2008 


SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 48:16-22 

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Isaiah 48:18    

    O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:  

Isaiah 48:16-22 (NLT) Come closer and listen. I have always told you plainly what would happen so you would have no trouble understanding."

    And now the Sovereign Lord and his Spirit have sent me with this message:  "The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.  Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves.  Then you would have become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction."

    Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon and the Babylonians, singing as you go! Shout to the ends of the earth that the Lord has redeemed his servants, the people of Israel.  They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.

    "But there is no peace for the wicked," says the Lord. 

INTRO: Acres of Diamonds[1] (Lamar, farmer in South Africa) 

   How often do we look back and remember lost opportunities we have experienced. 

   Some were beyond our control while others were results of the choices we made. 

   There are two major reasons we suffer lost opportunities.  

·         Disobedience & sin.

·         Unbelief and fear.

NOTE: The Children of Israel were suffering greatly because of their lost opportunities. 

   They were held in captivity by the power of Babylon. 

   Many today are losing the opportunity of eternal life because they are held in the power of Satan and sin. 

   Many Christians have lost great opportunities because they are held in the power of unbelief and fear. 



Jeremiah 29:11-13 (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. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me,  

Psalm 40:5 (NLT) O Lord my God, you have done many miracles for us.  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.  If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. 

Psalm 40:17 (NLT) As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now.  You are my helper and my savior.            Do not delay, O my God. 

Psalm 139:17 (NLT) How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!  They are innumerable!  

Isaiah 55:9 (NLT) 

    For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  


Isaiah 48:16 (NIV) "Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there."  And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, with his Spirit.

 NOTE: God, throughout the beginning of time has spoken of His plan to redeem fallen man. 

   Through Himself, the prophets He has sent, through His spoken and written Word and finally through His own Son. 

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV) In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.  


Isaiah 48:17 (NIV) This is what the Lord says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Isaiah 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.  

NOTE: Even though God wants sinners to repent, many will not and therefore lose their opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. 

Isaiah 48:18-19 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:  Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.  

NOTE: Praise God that it does not end here. 


Psalm 130:3-4 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.  

   God offers another chance. 

Isaiah 48:20-21 (NLT) Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon and the Babylonians, singing as you go! Shout to the ends of the earth that the Lord has redeemed his servants, the people of Israel. They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.  

NOTE: To look back on the past, and see what we have missed, is a good lesson for the future.

    God offers us the chance to change our attitudes and future by turning away from disobedience, unbelief and fear. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  

ILL: Jonah 

   We do not have to live in the shadows of lost opportunities. 

   We can find forgiveness and redemption in the Grace and Mercies of God. 

Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. [19] He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  

   God will restore even that which we thought we had missed because of lost opportunities. 

Joel 2:13, 23-25 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil…Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  

CONCLUSION: God offers us a second change if we will turn to Him but He also warns that if we dont we will never find peace. 

Isaiah 48:22 (KJV) There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.  


JANUARY 27, 2008 


SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 49:13-23

 SCRIPTURE TEXT: Isaiah 49:16 (KJV)   

    Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.  

INTRO: Have you ever felt that God has forsaken you, that He has forgotten who you are? 

   David did 

Psalm 13:1 (KJV) How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?  

Psalm 142:4 (KJV) 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.

    Elijah did

 1 Kings 19:9-10 (KJV) And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?  And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.  

   The Psalmist Asaph did, 

Psalm 73:12-16 (KJV) 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;  


Isaiah 49:13 (KJV) Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

   There is nowhere we can go that God is not already there waiting for us. 

Psalm 139:7-12 (KJV) Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.  

·         God has promised to deliver us in times of trouble.

Psalm 138:7 (KJV) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.  

·         God will strengthen us with His might hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.  


Isaiah 49:14-15 (KJV) But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  

NOTE: There are times when the Children of God face circumstances that cause them to think that God has forsaken and forgotten them. 

Psalm 88:14-15 (NLT) O Lord, why do you reject me?  Why do you turn your face away from me?  I have been sickly and close to death since my youth.  I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.  

·         God has promised never to leave of forsake us.

Deuteronomy 4:31 (KJV) (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.  

Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV) And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.  

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  


Isaiah 49:16 (KJV) Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.  

   You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands. 

ILL: Albrecht Durer “Praying Hands” 

ILL: Mother who always wore gloves.

    The hands of God reveal His love for us. 

John 20:24-29 (KJV) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said unto them, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

    And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said unto him, “My Lord and my God.”  Jesus saith unto him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  


·         God will send a great ingathering.

Isaiah 49:17-23 (NLT) Soon your descendants will come back, and all who are trying to destroy you will go away. [18] Look and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live," says the Lord, "they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.  

·         God will defeat those who wish to destroy us.

   [17b]  all who are trying to destroy you will go away.

   [19b] Your enemies who enslaved you will be far away. 

·         God will cause a great increase.

    [19] "Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land will soon be crowded with your people. Your enemies who enslaved you will be far away. [20] The generations born in exile will return and say, 'We need more room! It's crowded here!' [21] Then you will think to yourself, 'Who has given me all these descendants? For most of my children were killed, and the rest were carried away into exile. I was left here all alone. Who bore these children? Who raised them for me?' "  

·         The blessings of God will come from where we lest expect it.

[22] (KJV) Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.  [23] Kings and queens will serve you. They will care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who wait for me will never be put to shame."  

NOTE: God will even use the ungodly to fulfill His purpose. 

Isaiah 45:1-6 (NLT) This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never again to shut against him.  This is what the Lord says: "I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.  And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

     "And why have I called you for this work? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. I called you by name when you did not know me.  I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have prepared you, even though you do not know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other.  

CONCLUSION: We can rejoice and dwell in peace because we know the Hand of God is with us. 

·         If we stumble and fall we cannot fall below His hands.

Psalm 37:24 (NLT) Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. 

·         God will deliver us through the power of His right hand.

Psalm 98:1 (KJV) O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.  

·         God hand will bring great pleasure in our lives.

Psalm 16:11 (KJV) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  

[1] The Speaker’s Source Book: Glenn Van Ekeren; Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Pg 268



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