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Sunday, August 30, 2015

HEEDING THE VOICE OF GOD


HEEDING THE VOICE OF GOD
 
Pastor Allan was ministering the Sunday morning message and I took notes and edited it here for you. 
 
The Azusa Street revival in the early 1900’s was a historical outpouring of the Holy Spirit and major Pentecostal groups were formed.  Today there are prophesies going forth preparing the land for Revival and a new Jesus movement. 

Thousands of young people are praying for revival over the Bay Area and a large group recently met in Sacramento to pray on the steps of the capital building for the State and Nation.

Pastor was talking with a minister friend, and he asked “Do you ever get the cart before the horse?”  His friend answered, “I try to avoid that because I don’t want to breed Ishmaels.”

Abraham had heard the voice of God promising him a son.  But time passed, and in Genesis chapter 16, Abraham heeded the voice of his wife.  He already had heard from God, but her suggestion seemed like a better idea.  “Take my maid and have a child by her and this will fulfill God’s promise.”  It is easy to second guess God, and we need to realize that today we are reaping Abraham's bad choice.

When God speaks it pays to listen to His voice.  Ishmael was basically an illegitimate child.

We have been guilty of breeding Ishmaels.  Society is a reflection of where the Church has failed to step up and obey the Voice of God.  Basically we are not united, not of one mind, and not of one accord.  We have to trust in God and his voice, and get off our prideful pedestal.  

However, God loved Ishmael and blessed him.  We need to look at people around us and see them the way God sees them.  God knows their potential and has a good plan for each person.

We need prayer warriors mobilized because we are in a spiritual battle. 

Follow your call and allow God to take you.  He wants a willing obedient heart.  God desires that we have a personal relationship with Him and walk in the Supernatural bringing forth the living water.

Jeremiah 17: 13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.”

The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their wrong choices.  They listened to the voices of the ten fearful spies instead of listening to God’s voice.

Abraham finally got it – but it took a drastic test of faith.  He was prepared to offer his son of promise as a sacrifice, but God had prepared a lamb.  This test was a picture of God sending Jesus to be the Lamb of the World.

It is important for us to pray for our spouses to be strong and not cave in and become discouraged and depressed.  There are real issues in life. 
 
Many people today struggle with infidelity, drugs and alcohol.  You may think it is not possible to get off meth, but with God it is possible.  Allow God to work on you to be an over-comer.   He can remove the taste, the appetite and bring deliverance.  Let God rebuild your relationship with Him and with your family.

We must be united – going in the same direction following God and listening to His voice.  God will make a way.

Battles are ahead and there are cities to win and mountains to be removed.  It is time to rise up and walk, perhaps to even walk on the water. 





 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lion’s Revival


LION'S REVIVAL
 
Our church has a relationship with The Bridge Ministry in a near by town.  We recently helped them set up a crusade where many souls were saved and healed.  We were privileged to enjoy as our guest speaker Dominique from the Bridge.  I took notes and present a digested sermon here for you.

“A bull dog takes hold and will not let go.  God is releasing goodness all the time, even when we can’t yet see it.  Do you need a financial break through, a healing, deliverance?  Contend for it. 

It is not a building it is the condition of our hearts, and a willingness to enter the refreshing.  Put yourself forward and maintain your earnest desire for God to move in your life.

Be reminded that Jesus always listened to the Father and then he repeated what He heard. That is how we want to minister; to listen closely and then do as we heard from God.

What is going on here in Oroville?  This place is an armory.  Before going out to battle, the soldiers came to the armory to be outfitted.  In this place is deliverance, healings, and weapons to fight our enemy.

The battle is not with flesh and blood but Spiritual forces and souls are bound with chains that hold them captive.

The enemy can’t beat Jesus, so he tries to blind us with distractions. He desires us to bounce between revival and depression. 

It is simple to win – just go to the armory and take up your spiritual equipment.  Your sword is the Word of God.

The revival in the 70’s was the lambs outpouring.  It was gentle and peaceful.  We are now stepping into the Lions Revival.  Can you hear Him roar?  As Christians you have already received all from the Lord.  Now it is time to go forward and expand your capacity to receive and give out.

Isaiah 54:3-4  “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.

For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.

There is no shame of the past; for we are the miracle that other’s need.

John 7:38  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Water is life giving.  If our dam was full and it broke; towns below would be flooded. 

Gideon was the least likely person to be used of God.  He came from the poorest village, the poorest family and was the youngest child.  Besides that he was fearful.

God sees us the way He created us; A mighty person of valor – honorable – bold and courageous.  That is how He saw Gideon.  Fire came out of the rock and burnt up the sacrifice - - and the angel departed.  God spoke from heaven and said, “You shall not die, go and do your first assignment to tear down the alters of the false gods, and cut down the groves.

Relate how you can be a Gideon.  This demands a response.  Forget what your family and others think of you.  Be a part of the living river; the water of life.  Once you say yes, there is no turning back.  Step over the line and no retreat.

We need both fire and water.  Grace for today for fresh fire to go forward for God.

Be the revival, for God will impart and equip you and He will go with you."

 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Covet


 

Notes from our Bible Study, as our teacher Linda taught the lesson.

Exodus 20:17  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

The Tenth Commandment, “Do Not Covet,” can lead to sin which violates the other commandments.  To covet has a unique significance that legislates thought and behavior. 

Coveting can lead to adultery, and crimes such as stealing and even murder.

The word covet means to want to own something that belongs to someone else.

It is okay to notice  a nice house, or car, but just be happy for the person not desiring to take what they have.

We cannot allow ourselves to covet, for only evil can come of it.  Choose your thoughts and learn to think on things that are lovely and of good report.

Hebrews 13:5  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.

King David looked and then desired to take Bathsheba for a wife.  He  made plans how this would work out and considered that since he was King he could do as he pleased.  The prophet rebuked him and David repented quickly.

King Ahab looked at Naboth’s vineyard and his wicked wife used false witnesses to secure the vineyard for her husband.  Her punishment was a grisly death.

We often think we have a right to do certain things - - as long as we don’t get caught.

Who is our neighbor?  The answer is clear; Everybody.

This doesn’t mean we are to be a door mat and allow ourselves to be taken advantage of.

Genesis 2:9  And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Eve noticed that the tree of Knowledge was pleasant to look upon.  The serpent beguiled her by saying “God is keeping back from you what you should enjoy.  This fruit will make you wise and you shall be like God.” The enemy appealed to her appetite and desire for enhancement and to be WISE. 

Eve coveted the forbidden fruit and said to herself, “It looks good to me – me – me – me.

The taste of the fruit of sin was sweet as honey but sour in her stomach.   She took and gave some to Adam her husband.  Innocence was lost and their eyes were opened.

Look – Touch – Taste – and Die.  That day Adam and Eve lost eternal life and died in their spirit.  Eternal Life can only be recovered by becoming born again through believing in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is Eternal Life.

The Premise to covet is the same today,  we must not covet riches, which might lead to gambling, desiring houses or lands, or the mate of another person.  We might even covet something so simple as a parking space.

Matthew 5:27-28  Jesus warns us not to look and lust for that is adultery in the heart.

To covet is connected to lust or wrong desire.  To think and dwell on a thing.

How we live today:

There are issues of men – even Christians with pornography.  We can’t look on these things without it affecting you.   You can’t continue to dwell and not have these acted out.

The battle is in the mind and our thought life.

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

BE Sober – Consider who you have offended by actions.  Have genuine sorrow and repentance.  Make that decision to forgive and ask forgiveness.   In relationships:  “Let’s work this out.

Job 31:1  Job made a covenant with his eyes that he would not look upon a maid.  God sees everything we think and do.   It pays to keep our heart with all diligence Psalms 64:6

Some sins are passed on through blood lines and Generational Curses - - evil follows in the family.  These curses  must be renounced and broken even if you never knew they existed.  (Click on the words above “Generational Curses” and pray the prayer there.

What do I do at night?  Seek and desire God and to learn His Righteousness.

Covet to Know God and His presence in a personal way.


 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Condition and Recognition


Be planted and rooted in Jesus
 
The Sunday service at Open Door Church was sparked with a thick awareness of God’s presence.  I took notes and relay Pastor Allan’s sermon digested to fit my page.  Pastor stated that for many months, he has been seeking God’s presence.  There are different levels of God’s manifestation.  The deepest is an intimate personal level.

Pastor said, he had a relationship, but lacked the intimate intensity.  Our walk is important, and are you willing to be called crazy?  Can you handle other’s criticism of your walk with God?  Drop those things that God puts his finger on.

A healthy church reaches all walks of life including all ages, ministers, teachers, leaders and followers.  The church must also have a heart for those who have messed up their lives and desire to find Christ.  The church must have a love for the lost, the unlovely, and those with addictions.  To be ready to go after the backslider and bring them back to Jesus. 

When Jesus ministered on this earth, the Religious leaders “knew it all,” with their study of the scriptures, but they failed to recognize their Messiah.

Understand that God recognizes and sees potential and something greater in every soul.

God can use a small band to do great things in this city.  Let God use you where you are and make God happy.

God desires to break the chains that bind, and release the captives through you.

Isaiah 58:6-8 Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh??

When the storms come, trust in the Lord, and He will give you strength.  I am reminded of the scripture, we shall be like a tree planted by the water. 
 
God is not the author of confusion, and if He says to do it, and it seems hard, He will be with you.  If you know it is the voice of God, then trust.  God will use teachers, councilors and leaders to confirm and encourage. 

Pastor said, he was crying in the shower and his wife asked, “What is going on?”  He replied, “I am in my prayer closet.”

We realize that America is sinking, but we must pray for our leaders.  We may not agree with them or like their serious mistakes, but we can pray that they have wisdom.

Pastor said, the more he gives the more God gives back.  It is important to help one another.  God wants our church to support other ministries, such as our local Hope Center and Rescue Mission.  Pastor was made aware of two young ladies who are committed for a two year mission in the heart of ISIS.  They need prayer for protection, provision, anointing and wisdom.

The rain drops are falling, and they are getting bigger and more intense. 

Let God use you in the spirit of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls.  Our vision is to see our city restored.  It will happen one neighborhood at a time.  It is Harvest Time and time to work while you pray. 


 

This One Is for All Us Expert Worriers by guest Lisa-Jo Baker





This One Is for All Us Expert Worriers


by Lisa-Jo Baker  via (DaySpring Devotions)

I’m a lifelong Sunday School girl, and I grew  up singing the old hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
There’s one line that lingers in my head these days as the mornings come crashing down on me, and with them that old, familiar ache of fear, or worry, of not being able to control the future:
“Morning by morning new mercies I see . . .”
I was thinking about that line when I woke up today.
Most mornings when I wake up and stumble to the bathroom to put in my contact lenses and step on and off the scale and then head to the kitchen to figure out how to prepare breakfast without using the leaky sink, I’m not thinking about Christ’s mercies.

I’m thinking about my to-do list.
I’m thinking about my worries and how my hair has more gray in it than I remember from last month. I’m thinking about what we’re going to do if it turns out there isn’t actually a spot for my daughter in the preschool we’re counting on once fall rolls around. I’m googling you-tube videos to figure out how to fix the leak underneath our kitchen sink.

My mornings don’t involve a list of God’s mercies, they involve a list of my own worries.
I’m very good at it.
I’m an expert at the quiet panic that paces around my insides as the boys rush by and our little girl tells me she misses her friends.
I can rattle off all my very specific fears and worries without even having to think very hard.

There are all the boxes we still haven’t unpacked after our move last month. The shed and the kitchen projects I’m not sure when we’ll get around to tackling. The new school my boys are starting in less than three weeks and all the school supplies I haven’t bought yet.
There’s the old white minivan with the flat tires that require pumping every morning — the same minivan who long ago said goodbye to any hope of air-conditioning. There are the fish ponds we’re not sure yet how to take care of and the mouse who must have moved in while we were on vacation because the brand new bathroom mat I bought has long shreds chewed off it — shreds that now trail up and down the halls.
I can sit in the house of my dreams and miss it all because I’m so busy counting worries.

And then that old hymn rolls around in my head and today, instead of obsessing over the sink, I start to hum the tune I’ve known since childhood. And it reminds me of the God who has loved me since long before that.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

That “All I have needed” part is what makes me stop. I come to a complete standstill. Right there in the middle of my kitchen with the slightly slanted floor.

Do I really believe that?
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Do I live like I really believe that?
I look out the window, and I can hear the cicadas. There’s a lawnmower in the distance and three very loud kids right here in front of me. And slowly another list starts to take shape in my mind.

These kids are my kids, and they’re growing up into the most fascinating tiny humans. They share their weird and quirky interests with me. They invite me into their fears, and they trust me with their insecurities. At night they lie back to back with me just because it makes them feel safe.

Just last night we built Zoe’s very first big-girl bed. She’s been sleeping in the same crib her big brother first used; it’s made the trek with us from South Africa to Michigan to Virginia and now to Maryland. And last night we moved it out of her room and I watched her climb into the bed that will rock her to sleep every night between now and teenagerhood.

I add that to the list of God’s faithfulness.

Along with the stories my boys tell of new friends at soccer camp. The neighbors who fed our fish for two weeks while we were gone. The brand new friend who comes over to fix my sink (turns out the pipe wasn’t broken, just a washer was loose). So, “learning basic home maintenance” goes on the list too.

And, of course, there are the big things like a home and clothes and warm food. But I’m waking up more to the little things — the ordinary glory of kids’ backpacks and their excitement at finding their feet in this neighborhood. Walks to the mailbox holding onto a tiny hand. Fresh chocolate chip cookies. Bike rides. New markers. Coloring books. Clothes warm out of the dryer.

His faithfulness is new every morning in a hundred different ways. On the stormy days as well as the mild ones. It’s the one thing that doesn’t change. 

I so desperately want to become an expert at believing that.

When I hum my favorite hymn, it reminds me of the God who has loved me since long before childhood.

 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Truth and Lying - Bible Study


 
We are chosen by God

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are Called: 

I Timothy 6:12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Jesus heals the broken hearted

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Jesus was exalted

Philippians 1: 9-11Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Our teacher at Bible Study was discussing the commandment “Not to Bear False Witness

This includes testifying in court but do NOT lie period. 

The punishment for lying in the Old Testament was death.

At times we are more concerned with compassion and kindness than to tell the truth.

A society that has contempt for TRUTH cannot survive. 

Some are deceived into believing a lie and do horrible things acting in evil ways.  Example the treatment of the Jews by Hitler.  The mass believed a lie that evil is good for the better cause.

On the media there are exaggerations to frighten the public to get medical examinations and take medicine.  Warnings with no cause – just to line their pockets with our money.

For the benefit of the Drug Industry scare tactics are more important than truth.

Check out what you hear – do a search and use caution.  Test everything you hear on the media or internet.  Include what you hear at school, in speeches, and from the Doctor.

Lying steals your honor and defiles your character.  Damage done by lies is difficult to undo.

Jesus was humble and honored by the Father.  Jesus said “I am the Truth.

Joshua told the children of Israel, God offers you Life or Death - - Choose Life.

Daniel was exalted because he chose not to eat and drink the heathen diet; and an excellent Spirit was found in him. 
 
He was true to His God and would not bow to the Kings image.   The King had been fooled and made a law that caused Daniel to be thrown into the lions den – but God delivered him by sending an angel to shut the lions mouths.  However the wicked men who lied to the king were punished by being cast into the lions den.   On this occasion the hungry lions mouths were not shut by an angel.

Keep truth on your lips and let your ears quick to discern between a lie and the truth.


 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

REVERSALS


Come in You are Welcome Here
 
Our Pastor was on vacation and a guest minister from Jordan’s Crossings was our speaker at Open Door Church.  I took notes and digested his sermon for you here.

Lord thank you for an open door.  We open the door of our hearts as we are open to hear your Word.  Your will be done in our hearts, in our city, and in our nation.

As a body of believers we are not divided or separated as we are one BIG family of God.

Revelations 3:7-8  To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he OPENS no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an OPEN DOOR that no one can shut. (This was a quotation from Isaiah 22:20-22)

As believers we are allowed access into the very throne of God, and are encouraged as we celebrate REVERSAL.  The key of David opens the door that was shut and Jesus provided us with entrance into His presence.  Now God says no one can shut it.  The devil can’t shut it. 

What the enemy intended for evil, God turns it to Good instead.  REVERSAL turns tribulation around.

God is saying to the church, “You have kept my words, and I will keep you from the trials ahead.  Jesus tells us that He is coming quickly and to be an over-comer and hold fast to the word of our testimony.  We must lean on Jesus for He is our strength.  It is always Jesus.  Lift Him up. 

Jesus has the key to the door, and He opens up Salvation which includes deliverance, healing, provision and peace of mind.  No one can shut this door.

This key was fastened in a secure place on the cross.  The Cross of Jesus is a safe and secure place to bring your children, your family and your friends.

We are children of a new covenant. Some do not see the blessing of the cross.  It is a secure place and an open door for a personal relationship with our Lord.  Jesus carried the burdens, sins and all our problems to the cross.  He REVERSED the curse of death and offers eternal life by the shedding of His blood.

The story in Genesis 22 is the test of Abraham to allow his son to die.  Isaac carried the wood and the fire, and asked his father, “Where is the sacrifice.”  The answer given was “God will provide the lamb.”  God has done just that by providing Jesus his only son to die for the sins of the world –  for you and me, for your city, and Nation.  Pray for Godly politicians in Washington DC.

The Lord will not break His Word, and He holds the door open.  Speak and declare a REVERSAL of Satan’s power over your city, over your life.  The future is bright with God.

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

God says “I will multiply blessings, and shut down the enemy and his gate of authority. 

REVERSAL.  God says he will return the hearts of the fathers and sons, to be all that God intends you to be.  What ever problem you are going through, Jesus has a reversal.  In the midst of trouble I will praise you.

Revelations 4:1  After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.

Jesus is here for you and He will satisfy, He is still holding open the door and He says, come up here to the throne, I am waiting for you.

 

Helping someone When You've Never Been in That Situation- Guest Holly Gerth






Holly Gerth writes:
"I often get notes from people saying something like, “My friend/family member is going through a hard time but I don’t feel like I can help because I haven’t been through the same thing.” Here’s my response: “You don’t have to experience the same storm to know what it’s like to get wet.”

I’m certain you know what it’s like to feel soaked to the bone by discouragement, have fear thundering above you or watch a dream wash away. Don’t we all? It’s not our ability to duplicate details but to relate on a heart level that lets us have empathy and be able to encourage.

I once wrote a card for DaySpring that says:

I wish I had a big, yellow umbrella that would keep all the rain out of your life.
I would hold it over your head and the drops would splash, splash and you would never even feel it.
But I don’t have a big yellow umbrella, so I’ll walk through the rain with you.

When it comes to living that out, here are three ways you can walk through the rain with someone no matter what storm they’re facing:

1) Simply listen. When I did grief support groups I heard people say over and over again, “It was so comforting when someone just let me talk and cried with me.” When we’re hurting, what we need most isn’t answers; it’s to know we’re not alone.

2) Be a safe place. When someone shares their struggles with us, we’re to treat them with care like precious treasures. After all, it seems that’s what God does. “Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” {Ps. 56:8}. These three C’s can help us remember how to do so: Never criticize or condemn. Always keep it confidential.

3) Don’t try to fix it. When I got a masters degree in counseling we were told over and over, avoid giving advice. We empower people most when we trust them to figure out their own lives with God’s help. We are simply there to be an encouragement and sounding board.

Ironically, the need to prove we’re useful can push us to talk too much and try too hard. When we feel that pressure, we can take a deep breath and remember we don’t have to be anyone’s God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. It’s not within our power to resolve the problem, change the circumstance or even make the pain go away. In other words, we can’t make the sun come out again.

That reality doesn’t mean we’re a failure. It simply means we’re not God.

So what is success when it comes to helping others in our lives? After hearing from thousands of hurting people I’ve come to believe it’s simply this: Having the courage to step into the rain–even if it’s not our storm."

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. Have you seen my gift book for rainy days yet? Under God’s Umbrella: Gifts of Hope & Encouragement to Shelter Your Heart in Life’s Storms

 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS



Do Not Lie
Our Bible study teacher reviewed the previous commandments and added number nine; “Don’t bear false witness.”  Do not steal goes along with false testimonies, and both effect every other commandment.

Brilliant persons are inventing advanced technology of Spy Equipment for the Secret Service and other interested parties. 

It was a simple matter to steal someone else’s computer programs and become rich.  Names and character was damaged.

Nations steal secrets, and patents from those who should have been paid for their discoveries.

Companies have paid a pittance to employees for suggestions and legally used their ideas to make millions.

Unfair business practices have stolen Titles, land and homes. All this is legal as leaders, take by deception, and their honor is stolen.

Some steal for the thrill and not to feed their family.  Shop lifters steal.

Christians steal from God, keeping the tithe (ten percent of income) which is due to Him.

There are slave and sex traders stealing children and people even today.

Jeremiah 7:9-10 (NIV) Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?

Our government sanctions ungodly lifestyles and says it is okay; just help yourself to do what ever you want.  They have stolen Morality and innocence as they teach our children godless ways.

It is widespread today to have your ID stolen and it causes all kinds of financial and emotional damage.

Taking advantage of Bankruptcy laws steals from those persons owed.

It is good to be careful how we live and who we trust. 

Joshua chapter 7 speaks of Achan son of Karmi, of the tribe of Judah, coveted and took some forbidden items. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

Achan’s family and the entire Israeli nation suffered

Then there were and are False Prophets, giving a word as if it was from God. Twisting the scriptures and using God’s word for their gain.

Even False angels appear to people and hold conversations.  If an angel preaches anything that is not found in God’s word – do not accept them

Beware of Jim Jones sheep stealers.  Keep your Bible Handy !!

We follow Jesus the Good Shepherd and he warned us that the thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come that we might have life.
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Cloud, the Fire and the Smoke! Or What Do You Want Me to Do?



The Cloud, the Fire and the Smoke!  Or "What Do You Want Me to Do?"
 

This is the sermon I preached at Open Door Church on Sunday evening, so it is a bit longer than my usual short posts.  There is only some minor editing. 
 

I come to you today, sharing some truths about the Real God who desires to know you better. 

Understand that God is not confined to one local place and that he is everywhere at once?  By His Holy Spirit he desires to dwell in your heart.

For this teaching, I would like to have you consider God showing up in a Cloud, in Smoke, and in Fire.

First I was reminded of how God appeared to Moses in a burning bush.  The most amazing thing was that the bush was on fire, but it wasn't burned up!

"That's strange," Moses thought. "Why isn't the bush burning up? I'll go closer and see.” As Moses came closer to view this strange sight, the voice of God spoke to him out of the bush.  “Moses, Moses.”

Moses answered, “Here I am, Tell me what do you want me to do!”  (At that moment, Moses became a volunteer.)
 

Even Now the Holy Spirit will be speaking to your heart and these are the words you must say, “Here am I, Lord, Tell me what you want me to do.” 
 

God told Moses, “Take off your shoes for you are standing on Holy Ground.”  The Presence of God must be respected and treated as Holy. That means definitely to reverence God at church, but also when He walks with us.
 

Moses was chosen to rescue the Children of Israel from Egypt, and God gave him specific instructions for this deliverance.  For many days, they witnessed a variety of miracles prior to Pharaoh finally allowing them to leave.
 

The last miracle was the slaying of the first born child of every family in Egypt. 
 

God gave Moses directions how to protect the children of Israel and that was to kill a perfect lamb and apply its blood to the door posts and lentil of each residence.  When the death angel came to slay the first born, and saw the blood, the angel of death would pass over that home and they were saved.
 

I am reminded that God gave His ONLY begotten son to die for our sins so that we might be saved and inherit eternal life.
 

God appeared to the Children of Israel as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  They were in the dry desert and during the day, the cloud as an umbrella protected them from the heat of the sun.  By night even in the desert it gets cold, and the fire by night was warmth as well as protection to scare off the wild beasts. 
 

This large group had not traveled very far when God desired to teach the people how to worship Him.  Understand they had been in the “WORLD” of Egypt where many other gods were revered and worshipped.  They knew little about the True God, Jehovah and His love for them. 
 

When Moses went up on the mountain to receive the 10 commandments and other laws; the congregation saw a cloud covering the mountain.
 

So God gave Moses instructions NOT to allow the people to come near the mountain, lest they die; only Moses could enter into God’s presence.
 

WOW, aren’t you glad that was in their day and today is a new day.  When Jesus died on the cross, God took his sword and split the temple veil in two allowing anyone to come boldly into the Holy Place and receive from God what they need.  
 

Exodus 14 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.  For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud.
 

Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
 

Notice in verse 17, the glory of God now appeared as fire.  To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain, and they all trembled and were frightened.
 

After 40 days Moses returned off the mountain, he had been given plans to design and build a portable tabernacle to provide for worship of God and a place to make sacrifices for the sins of the people.
 

There was constructed the outer court where the common Israelites could enter and the inner court where ONLY the priests could enter. 
 

Inside the inner court was the most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant remained and the 10 commandments were placed inside.  The Holy Presence of God rested upon this Ark and no one was allowed to touch it lest they be stricken dead.
 

Moses was given direction to anoint Aaron and his four sons as Priests.  They were outfitted with specific garments, breastplates, head coverings and the correct method to worship and perform the sacrifices lest they be struck dead.  Aaron and his sons slew a perfect sacrifice; washed and cut it laying it on the alter. 

Astonishing everyone, FIRE fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice.
 

Then a sad thing happened, two of Aaron’s sons with pride in their hearts moved to light incense and sacrifice not according to God’s directions.  God was angered and again fire fell from heaven, but this time it consumed the two self willed priests.
 

You can imagine the mood of the congregation and how quickly it changed from joy to fear.
 

It pays to mean business with God and to always follow His instructions.  We can’t play around with God, for serving God is serious business.
 

The Old Testament records several other times when fire came down from heaven and consumed a sacrifice.  One was the Prophet Elijah who prayed and fire fell from heaven and burnt up the sacrifice. 
 

Today, God is asking for volunteers to allow the fire of the Holy Ghost to fall on you! 
 

When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to over 400 followers for 40 days showing them that He was truly alive. 
 

During one of these appearances Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  This was when they were born again and the Holy Spirit came to reside in them, but there was MORE.
 

Before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He gave a specific commandment to go to Jerusalem to an upper room and pray and wait for the Holy Spirit who would baptize them and fill them with power to live and accomplish all they were required to do in this life.
 

John the Baptist has spoken about this FIRE when He baptized Jesus in Water, “There comes one after me, who will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and Fire.”
 

On the day of Pentecost, Suddenly God appeared with the sound of a strong WIND, and tongues of fire and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. 
 

Visitors to the city noted these men - - how these 120 persons staggered and had difficult standing up, and were speaking gibberish and the onlookers scoffed that these men were drunk.
 

Peter explained that this was prophesied by Prophets in the Old Testament, and that your sons and daughters shall dream dreams, see visions and prophesy.
 

Conviction fell on the crowd and 3000 persons gave their lives to Jesus on that day, and many were baptized.
 

It did not take long for the Religious leaders to find fault and try to stop these new Spirit Filled Believers.   Many so called righteous were quick to criticize and called them a new cult!
 

Saul, a man diligent to do God’s will, was on his way to Damascus to kill Christians.  He wrongly thought he was pleasing God.
 

Suddenly a bright light appeared and he fell to the ground.  A voice from heaven spoke and said, “Saul - Saul why are you persecuting me?”  Saul was frightened and trembled as he answered, “Who are you Lord?”
 

The response was shocking as the voice said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”
 

Saul answered, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” 

When you find yourself down on your face, it is time for you to also say those words, “Lord Jesus, Tell me what do you want me to do?” 

 
The men with Saul were speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.  When Saul was able to get up, lo and behold, he was blind and his men had to lead him into the city to lodge there with a man they knew. 

For three days he fasted and prayed and God gave him a vision of a Christian disciple coming to pray for him.  

God was also giving a vision to this man named Ananias, telling him where to find Saul and to put his hands on Saul so that he might receive his sight.   

Ananias had heard about Saul and he argued with God, because this could be dangerous.” 

God said, “Go because he is a chosen vessel and I have great plans for him.

Do you know that God has great plans for you? 
 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
 

When Ananias arrived at the house, he found Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you has instructed me to lay hands on you so you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  

As hands were laid on Saul, scales fell from his eyes and he could see.
 

Immediately Saul went to the synagogues and preached that Jesus is the Son of God proving that this was The Messiah from the Holy Scriptures.
We sing a chorus,
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord  Open the eyes of my heart -
I want to see You - - I want to see You- -
To see You high and lifted up - Shining in the light of Your glory-
Pour out Your power and love - As we sing holy, holy, holy !
 
May we pray, “Heavenly Father, Let me understand all that you have prepared for me and activate in my heart a spirit of wisdom and revelation. I ask The Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me into your truth.  Let your will be done in me.  

Remove the scales of worldliness from my eyes, and let me see Jesus the one who desires to set me free.  

Protect and keep my by covering me with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  

Lord open my spiritual eyes and anoint me to see. 

Lord I want your Holy Presence to change me - - send the FIRE to burn and purge out all that is NOT pleasing in your sight. 

Lord Send the Fire of the Holy Spirit to change me into the person You desire.