What Paul Thought About Easter

Romans 8:35-39

What is Easter all about?

Is it simply about bunnies, baskets, and boiled eggs? Is it about families, feast and fellowship?

Is it more about the new dress, the new duds or the new doo? 

Are you the religious type? Does Easter conjure up thoughts of the church service, cantatas, or plays? 

All the Gospels record the resurrection of our Lord, hence the gospel, the good news. If Jesus just died for our sins he would be another martyr, a name amongst many who have died for a cause. What separates Jesus the Son of God from all these false gods is He rose again and is at the right hand of God making intercession for us and waiting instruction to go gather His faithful.

But what does the death and resurrection mean for us? What does it mean for you personally? How has it, or has it affected the way you live?

Turn with me to Romans 8:35-39 and look what it meant to Paul.

Paul wrote this after he had met the living Savoir. You might think what’s the big deal about that? It’s not until the Holy-Spirit of God can convict and convince you of your spiritual deception that you can grasp what Paul is writing here. 

  • Paul the prodigy 
  • Paul was a passionate, persuasive, proponent of a false religion.
    • One that started out attempting to serve God in the effort of redeeming fallen man.
    • But became part of a self-serving, self-righteous ritualistic religion that filled the lust of fallen man of serving God apart from God.
  • Paul was doing this in what he thought was the name of God. He was sold out, he was serious.
    • He was seriously wrong.
  • The book of Acts detail his encounter with the living Christ on the road to Damascus. In this recall he was struck blind, in the spiritual aspect of this; he wasn’t stuck blind but simply the true condition of his heart was revealed.
    • We keep bringing to light how we see our condition but what have you really done about it. Why do we keep doing the same things expecting it to change us?
  • Paul the perplexed.
    • One can just imagine all the things that were going through his mind, those three days he was without sight.
      • How many he had delivered to torture even to be killed because they believed that Jesus was the Christ
      • How he tried to persuade all he could that Jesus was an imposter and those who believed in Him blasphemed the very name of God.
      • Suddenly finding out he was the blasphemer
      • How his heart must have broken to learn that he was the one doing damage to the name of the very God he said he served.
      • You might ask why God didn’t just kill him? He might have asked the very same thing. Why would God not punish him for all the evil he had committed in the pretense of serving God? How could God love him after what he had done?
    • Now your starting to get a picture of what Paul was writing to the Romans
      • Ro 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
      • Who shall separate us from the love of Christ
  • Paul the purposeful
    • What the resurrection means to you and me is the same it meant to Paul;
      • Unmerited favor with God. Grace 
    • Paul knew he didn’t deserve forgiveness, what he had done was unforgivable.
      • Paul knew all too well what he did deserve; eternal damnation where the fire is not quenched and the worm dies not.
    • Paul knew also he was experiencing unbelievable, overwhelming, abundant grace and it radically affected what he believed and how he lived
      • Paul knew what the resurrection meant to him
    • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when because of our own conceited pride won’t admit He exists.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we fight against him.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us when we create our own way of serving Him and call it right
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we refuse to extend it to others.
    • Because of grace I want to serve Him, yield to Him, follow Him
      • Tithing is not an intrusion on my lifestyle.
      • Being involved in the things of His church is not burdensome.
      • Trying to learn more about Him so I can please Him is not a chore.
      • Giving to His work is not an expenditure but an investment
    • You can choose to refuse God’s grace but you cannot prevent Him from loving you.
  • What the resurrection of Jesus means to the world is the re-righting of the relationship between God and man.
    • What Paul knew about the resurrection of the Son of God radically affected what he believed and how he lived.
      • Are you having a Paul-like Easter today?
    • You could be here today and think it’s too late, no way, God can’t forgive that. I am here to tell you on the authority of God’s Holy word, He will and He wants to.
    • You might be here today and know you have received His grace but have not been living in the realization of it. That can all change by simply committing your life to Him today.

Picture credit: https://libcov.org/christ-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed/

The God That Never Quits!

Genesis 6:1-9

Last week we looked at the fruit of sin. We were able to see where Cain’s offering was the beginning of the world’s attempt to please God. The giving of everything except self. Cain was willing to worship, but on his own terms.

We saw the difference between Cain and Abel, between the religious and the real. Is not in the person themselves but in the object they trust. The one provided for themselves. The other accepts what and how God provides for them

 When you talk about fruit we know when it becomes ripe. If it is not consumed it will continue to mature until it is over ripe, rotten. A process in most cases to preserve the species by putting seed back into the ground. 

The thought behind what we are observing today is not the preservation but perversion of the species. 

  •  The Godly gone. Where have all the Godly gone?
    • Seth had been born to Adam and Eve and was producing a people that feared the Lord and called upon His name. When we come here to the 6th chapter we see only one man mentioned as being righteous.
      • Sadly there are quite possibly more Christians interested in who the giants are, who the sons of God are, than the crux, or core of this story.
    • This is what I want you to notice: the Sethites were a godly people, the Caininites a worldly people.
      • As is such throughout the word of God, wherever we find the people of God compromising with the people of the world, we most often see the world’s ways rising to the top.
    • God has a tried and true plan for us to succeed in this life. 
      • What we find all too often is believers who are entrapped in a situation because they didn’t agree with God’s assessment or instruction. 
    • Paul tells the Corinthians, 2Co 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
      • Whenever we allow the devil a little space he will take it. It might seem small, insignificant, nothing to be concerned with. 
      • Imagine your life as a hundred acre field. You give the devil one acre, he will take it right in the middle giving him access to it all
    • God warns us over and over, yet we feel it won’t happen to me.
      • How many here have compromised over the years and fell into this trap?
      • Now you’re finding every excuse why you can’t serve.  Why you can’t be faithful, why you can’t…
      • The going theme right now is a recurring one, “were so busy with things”.
      • One of the devil’s greatest tools is getting us busy with everything except what God has called us to, prepared us for, and placed us to do.
    • Remember, sin is a volitional act of disobedience against the revealed will of God. Therefore the dominion sin has over you is according to the delight you have in it.
  • The Godless activity. How far had sin taken God’s creation? How did one act of disobedience affect many?
    • Look what God saw: (V5) God saw: 
      • We are pretty good on getting approval from men but what is important is what God sees.
    • Man thought all was well. 
      • The Godly line that had been compromised probably was still feeling like they were making a difference. They might not be the old bible thumpers like in times past but felt they were standing out. 
    • God saw that wickedness was abundant and even man’s thought life was totally evil.
      • The old cliché’ sin takes you farther along the way, keeps you longer than you intended to stay, costs you more than you want to pay.
      • It is a reality!
    • Where it is talking of imagination and thoughts it points towards vain philosophies.
      • The word for imagination means to mold, shape as with pottery. Men fashioned ideas that supported their lust. 
      • Not much has changed.
      • The bible says: Pr 18:2, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”
    • A period of 1,500 years lay between creation and the flood. Though the Godly had the truth the worldly fabricated a lie. How do we know this?
      •  Ro 1:20-23, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse :  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
    • How far has it gone? To the point of breaking God’s heart.
      • The stench of sin was breathtaking. The fruit was going through its natural course. Maturing, rotting, and preserving the perversion of sin.  
  • The God that never quits. In verse 6 we understand it repented the Lord, grieved him in His heart.
    • Grieve is actually a love word. How’s that?
      •  We don’t grieve over things we don’t love.
      • This is the heart of what God is showing here, it is the continual thread that runs through from Genesis to Revelation.
    • God’s offer from the beginning of the curse.
      • God had not been silent, he had His witnesses. You look back over the record in the 5th chapter you see , Adam had lived 930 yrs, Seth 912. Enos (Seth’s son) was still alive even when Noah was born. Back to our Romans scripture. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
      •  God wanted them to know Him but they refused.
    • God’s offer before the flood.
      • 1Pe 3:20, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
    • What is meant by longsuffering?
      • God didn’t have to have Noah build an ark. He simply used this as a warning and an invitation to repent.
      • In 2nd Peter 2:5, he is called a preacher
    • You can almost see it. Noah would lay down his mallet and take off his tool belt as the crowds would gather to tease him. Then he would speak of the love of God and let them know they were welcomed to come aboard.
      • Sadly you know how that turned out.
    • Isn’t that the same thing happening today? Preachers, Godly people declaring God mercy and goodness inviting them to come aboard. 
      • Yet many choose to die in their sins. 
    • When you look at the world before the flood there are a lot of similarities today. 
      • What I see is just like in the days of Noah. God still is pursuing His creation.
      • Instead of a boat He has a cross.
    •  He still uses the same instrument as in the beginning, preachers. 
      • They are still doing the same as Noah, looking like a fool in the eyes of those who think they have a handle on it.
    • Sadly much of creation is still reacting the same way. 
      • Refusing to accept the truth and instead fashioning ideas to support their lust, their ways, politicking to gain support, all because they don’t want to repent, admit they’re wrong. Wrong enough to want to change.
  • God’s invitation.
    • The invitation is still the same.
      • It is still coming from the same kind of people in the same easy to understand way.
      •  Turn from your wicked ways and turn to Him. There are those here today and watching that need to come today. Will you?
    • Others, you have been serving and serving well. 
      • The devil has snuck in and convinced you, you’re doing too much.
      •  Can we ever do too much for the One who saved us from our sins?

God has so much in store for this congregation. The hard part is keeping us going together for Him.

Image Credits: https://brucelhartman.com/jesus-the-carpenter/

The Worst/Best Day Ever

Genesis 3:11-21

It would not take much thinking to come up with a list of why 2020 was such a terrible year. And let’s face it, for MANY people it was. 

  • 2020 was a year of tremendous loss for many people, the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of dreams, as well as the lack of ability to be with our families. 
  • When you put “the previous year” into history, it was most definitely not the worst in history.
  • When I ponder some of the worst years in history, there are many candidates; from the years war started; to the years when plagues wiped out huge portions of the world populations; to the advent of Communism, the list goes on.
  • Usually we will define a year as the worst year in our lives depending on the impact the said year had on us personally.
  • Even though we do not have an official year on the calendar for when the events of Genesis three took place, we can see that indeed, whatever the year these events happened, that year has to be the worst one in HUMAN HISTORY!
  • Life was good.
    • Life was easy, Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God himself.
      •  Life is GREAT until we get to Genesis 3.
    • In chapter 3, everything goes bad. Fatally bad, terminally bad, historically bad, inescapably bad.
      • All human beings who will ever walk on this earth are affected by what happened in the third chapter of Genesis.
    • It is the explanation of why things in this world are the way they are: why there is so much evil; why there is so much sin; why there is so much corruption; why there is disease, deformity, and death; why there is conflict, hatred, war; and why there are disasters of all kinds that fall upon man. 
      • It all comes from this third chapter.
    • Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, in a state of innocence, free from sin, until they fell to the temptation of Satan,
      •  a temptation to call into question the integrity of God, the righteousness of God, the goodness of God, the wisdom of God.
      •  They became doubters of God. They fell, and with them the entire race fell.
      • I would say the year the events in Genesis 3 took place takes the crown for the worst year in human history.
    • We’ve all been plunged into a spiritual death. We’ve all been plunged into physical death; from the moment we are born we begin to die. 
      • We are all born dying and dead, dead spiritually and dying physically.
      •  We have no hope of life if all we have is the fall.  
      • The events that took place in Genesis 3, has affected ALL of CREATION, including ALL human beings.
    • We will see that even in the middle of the storm, even in the moment of our most epic failures, God has a plan! 
    • In verses 14 and 15, in the curse that God pronounces on Satan is the first expression of gospel hope, salvation hope, deliverance from sin and Satan; embedded in a curse is the hope of mankind.
      • This takes place AFTER Adam and Eve broke the ONE commandment that God clearly articulated to Adam NOT TO BREAK!

Genesis 3:11-21

Moses tells us here the story of sin coming into the human family; and its consequences are massive, incalculable. Adam and Eve, in fact, by their sin set in motion a spiritual avalanche that carries the whole human race down and buries them in death

  • The deed.
    • God had given Adam and his wife Eve everything in the garden and simply asked one thing back.
      • Do you see a principle of a tithe here or is it just me?
    • God told this couple all the great things He had in store for them.
      • He then told them one thing that would hurt them. That would bring a thing called death to them.
      • It had to be evident that God was clearly letting them know how devastating to them this would be. 
    • You know most of us are today? You tell a young’un not to touch that or turn this and even threaten them with bodily harm. Their mind starts wondering why it’s so special.
      • You reckon Eve walked by that tree every day wondering how it would taste, I mean it looked so good to the eye.
      • Temptation always does look good to the eye. 
      • I am sure Satan was watching this scene unfold and when the time seemed to be right when Eve appeared to him to be at her most vulnerable, Satan showed up to reap the harvest of Eve’s desires. 
    • Jas 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”
  • The decision.
    • In verses 14-19 we see Divine Justice rendering a perfect sentence.
      •  Obviously there are natural consequences to sin, they’re just built into it. Whatever a man sows, he reaps.
      •  If you lie, there are inevitable consequences to your lying. If God didn’t do anything, there are built-in consequences to telling lies.
      •  If you are drunk, if you are inebriated, if you are an alcoholic, there are built-in consequences. God doesn’t have to act; that kind of behavior has its own consequences. 
      • If you take drugs, that kind of behavior has its own consequences. If you are characterized by hostility and anger, that kind of behavior has its own consequences.
      •  If you engage in homosexuality, sexual sin, if you kill people, whatever it might be, whatever sin, built into those sins is the inevitability of cause and effect results.
  • But there is a far greater reality than that, and that is the reality of divine judgment on top of natural consequences. 
    • The sentence that comes down from God on sin. And here God renders a sentence, an appropriate and just sentence, in absolute, divine justice, on the serpent, on the woman, on the man and on the deceiver himself.
  • The serpent (V14) as an animal, was cursed “above all livestock, and above every wild animal,
    • It’s a selective curse. “Of all the cattle and of all the beasts, only you are cursed.” That’s what it’s saying: “Of all the cattle and all the beasts, only you are cursed.”
    • Cattle refers to domestic animals, the beasts refer to wild animals, “So of all the animals, wild animals and domestic animals, only you are cursed, only you.” 
    • This is a selective curse. Fallout came on the cattle; they die. Fallout came on the wild animals; they die. But only the snake was selected to be cursed.
    • Whatever may have been its beauty and posture before, it would henceforth glide on its belly and be an object of dread and loathing by all.
    • It is a perpetual reminder to man of the instrument of his fall and of the final destruction of Satan himself.
    • Every slithering, dust-eating snake is a symbol of the crushing curse of God and the judgment that is come on Satan. Snakes symbolize the devil degraded and defeated. 
    • They are constant reminders to human society that Satan has been declared a defeated enemy.

When God created the tree that Adam and Eve were called to stay away from, God did so in order that Adam and Eve have freedom of choice, free will if you will, which is a necessary part of love. • God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him because they loved Him.

When God was dealing with the serpent and the deceiver, both were cursed by God; however, Eve was not cursed, she was given consequences for what she did. God held her accountable, but He did not curse her for eternity. 

  • On the woman.(V16) Eve paid a high price for her sin. Childbearing pain was going to be intensified for women and because of her deception, the husband will be the head of the marriage and her desire was to be to her husband.
    • It is not as though there was to be no pain associated with birth prior to the Fall; instead that pain will be greatly increased. 
    • The discomfort and pain that comes from bringing forth new life is a reminder of the real cost of exchanging THE TRUTH for a lie.
    • Desire to the husband and he will rule over you. Thus started the great conflict between men and women.
    • At first it wasn’t so. Remember Eve was created from Adam’s side.
    • Now the consequence of her choice and the fallout to all who come after her, battle of the sexes.
    • When it speaks of her desire to her husband. Its best understood as to be over him. Wear the pants. 
    • Many today will be the first to tell you their husband is the head of the house. BUT THEY’RE THE NECK!

When God was dealing with Adam He, God cursed the ground, not Adam. Again God held him accountable. There are consequences he must face.

  • The man (V17-19) Adam KNEW better, God told him DIRECTLY not to mess with that tree, yet here comes Adam. Even worse, look at verse 6 of Genesis 3
    • Adam was with her the entire time, and he did nothing! 
    • I feel God sentenced Adam for being dumb and for not caring enough to stop Eve! Eze 3:18, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
    • Adam’s life was no longer going to be easy. 
    • (Gen 2:15) We know work was not part of the sentence or punishment of the fall. But now the world was introduced to TNT: Thorns and thistles.
    • Man had to draw life from it painfully and by the sweat of his brow
  • The deceiver.
    • Satan, apparently still in the form of the serpent, was standing before God and God had a plan for him
    • Satan’s thought was this: “I’ve turned Adam and Eve, the human race, against God.”
    • And God says, “I’m going to turn the human race against you.” That’s what it’s saying. Enmity. 
    • God denies Satan at the very moment when he assumed he had triumphed. God denies him what he thought he had gained. 
  • This situation is a mess which there seems to be no way out. 
    • Adam and Eve brought a curse to creation, they began the process of their own death as well as ushering in death to all. 
  • Childbirth was going to be more painful, the ground was going to be more difficult to harvest, the woman role in the home was changed, AND ON TOP OF IT ALL, THEY WERE GOING TO GET BOOTED FROM THE GARDEN! 
    • Is all lost? 
    • No, there is hope because of the grace of God, God has a plan
  • The great promise in Genesis 3:15 has long been known as the Protevangelium, promising the ultimate coming and victory of the Redeemer.
    • God will enable man, in his sinful condition, in his fallen condition, to be so totally transformed, that he will hate the serpent and love God.
    •  God has redeemed out of the human race, starting from that very incident in the garden through all of human history until the end of the age, a humanity that has been so transformed that that group of human beings, that massive group of redeemed human beings through all of human history, actually hate Satan and love God.
    • For this to happen there has to be a radical transformation of the human heart. There has to be a deep, deep change in the human heart to turn man back to God. 
    • It is so profound that the New Testament speaks of it as the new birth. There will be a humanity that will be so totally transformed that they will love God, and they will see Satan as the enemy and God as the friend.
  • God delights in mercy. 
    • Before He pronounces sentence on man and woman, before He expels them from the garden, He gives them salvation hope, hope of regeneration that they will hate Satan and see him as an enemy, and they will love God 
    • That there will come a Savior, that there will come One who will conquer Satan and therefore conquer sin.
    • Even though He in the conquering will be bruised, He will crush that deadly enemy.
  • It has already been done. His name is Jesus, do you really know Him?
  • Have you joined the redeemed?

Gratefulness

Luke 17:11-19

Most of us are familiar with the traditional story of Thanksgiving where William Bradford, of Plymouth Rock, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims in their second year in the New World, as well as an abundant harvest that they had reaped with the aid of the Indians.

 Most people don’t realize the first recorded thanksgiving actually took place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. Talking about the valley of the shadow of death. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. 

You would think that after seeing so many of their loved ones die due to the hardships of the New World, they would not feel that thankful. However, the opposite was true. They realized they had much to be thankful for.
We ourselves often don’t realize how blessed we are, or how thankful we ought to be, until what we have is threatened to be taken away. It is good and fitting that as Christians, we ought to celebrate Thanksgiving for God has certainly been good to every single one of us. 

Someone once said that gratitude is the source for all other Christian virtues. If that be the case, then perhaps we need to reason that ingratitude may well be the source of all, or at least many of our faults as well. When we begin to take for granted what God has done for us, then we become calloused and filled with pride and then God will no longer use us. For a Christian, every day ought to be a day of thanksgiving.

I have always been intrigued with this account of these men.

  • We see there were ten lepers who met Jesus and had a life changing encounter with the Lord.
    • They all had a life changing experience. 
      • Not salvation, but life changing.
      • Jesus met, like those He fed, a physical need in their life. It changed their life.
      • You cannot help but to notice a difference in one.
    • When you break this story down to its simplest elements, it describes mankind.
      • We are outcasts from the Kingdom of God, on our way to certain death, but God through His Holy Spirit testifies to us through different ways of His love and mercy.
      • Sometimes through healing. Other times through deliverance from bad circumstances. Sometimes simply a loved one or a servant of His introduces us to Him.
      • Then we have a life changing encounter with Jesus. But like this account. You seem to notice a difference in some. 
  • In this account what is so significant about these lepers who were healed, is that out of the ten, only one returned to say thanks. 
    • If you were to infer the truth of this story on general humanity, we could say that nine out of ten people never really pause to give thanks for where they came from and what they have. 
  • While we should never look back on the pleasures of sin, we should never forget where the Lord has brought us from.
    • The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said, Isaiah 51:1, “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”
      •  In other words, look at where God has brought you from, remember what God has done for you.

What I would like to focus on this morning is what made the difference in the one?

  • The whole picture. (V.12) Ten Lepers.
    • It is possible to presume that these men were in different stages of this deadly disease, but the end result would be the same.
      • A lonely, painful, death.
      • Hey, aint that just like living in sin? Might be in different stages but the end results are the same.
    • They stood afar off because that is all they could do. According to tradition lepers couldn’t get no closer than a hundred paces.
    • (V14) This is very important. According to what is written here all ten lepers exhibited a life altering faith.
      • Lu 17:14, “And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”
    •  They heard the Word of Christ and they believed and they were healed. This was by faith. They were not healed first and then told to go to the priests, they had to act on faith.
      • So why did only one turn back?
  • The perception of gratitude: I believe the answer lies in (V15) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. 
    • He shouted, WHEN HE SAW that he was healed.
    • Now the others no doubt knew that they were healed, but there was something different here.
      •  The Greek word used is the word eido, and it means to know, see, consider, or perceive.
      •  He took the time to note that he had been blessed. He realized that something wonderful had happened to him.
      •  He was sensitive to the power of Christ working in his life.
    •  Do we really perceive the ways that God has blessed us? The devil will do his best to keep your mind off the blessings of God.
      •  He will constantly tell you how bad you have it, of how everything is wrong in your life. 
    • In the 10 chapter of 2nd Corinthians where we are instructed where to wage our battle.
      • We are given a secret that will bring success to our walk with Christ. He says “…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. 2 Cor.10:5
      • We need to ask and allow the Holy-Spirit of God to reveal to us the abundant blessings God has poured out on us. Then our outlook on the present and the future will be intensely different.
      • This is not just a positive thinking exercise to convince yourself the ship is not sinking even though you’re neck deep in water.
      • It’s when you begin to realize how much you have in the Lord that you will truly begin to be thankful.
    • Do you understand that for God to forgive you it cost the very life of His only begotten Son?
      •  His life was as precious to Him as any of our children, family or friends are.
    • Do you know the pain and the lost feeling we endure at the passing of a loved one? 
      • SO DOES GOD.
      • If you were the only one He would have still done it.
    • An unthankful Christian is a defeated Christian for he/she has lost their joy.
  • We also see the priority of gratitude (V15) “…when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,”
    • Now the Lord had given the command to go to the priest but he delayed, he turned around and went back to the Lord. Why didn’t the Lord rebuke him for this? 
      • The reason is because this man realized the priority of gratitude and worship.
    • It wasn’t that this man wasn’t going to follow through with the Lord’s directive, but he realized that he had a higher calling that must first come first. 
      • If you don’t give God thanks, it won’t be long until your obedience just becomes a job to do, you lose the meaning of what God is wanting you to do. You become unthankful. 
      • If you don’t give God thanks, it won’t be long until your obedience just becomes a job to do, you lose the meaning of what God is wanting you to do. You become unthankful. 
      • Did I repeat that?
    • Couldn’t help but notice: The leper came back praising God despite his unsolved problems. Job, family, friends, home, etc… So can we in all circumstances. Focus on the belief that God is bigger than the problem and is present right now in the middle of it.
  • The placement of gratitude.
    • Where did the others go? Speculation.
      • One could have been thinking get to the priest and then rush off to family because that is what he missed.
      • Another to his job that’s where his happiness was.
      • Another going to the ball game, the hunting woods, wherever all his friends were..
    • This one (15-16) with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks:
      •  He fell before Him in perfect submission and gave Him thanks. 
    • Then note what He told this man, “Arise, go thy way, thy faith has made thee whole.”
      • This was something that the others did not receive.
      •  I don’t know exactly what all this means. Maybe as one commentator put it. –not as the others, merely in body, but in that higher spiritual sense.
    • Many accept the physical blessing of our Gracious Lord but few will take the time to grasp the spiritual!

Our story at the beginning, how far did the suffering go?

 The sixty survivors were already loaded on a ship and headed back to England when they met the supply ships coming into the harbor.

They gave thanks!!

Are you grateful? Does it show? Today give your time to express it.

Psalms 23 (II)

I started this a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t sure that I would continue on through it. For the next few weeks I pray God uses this powerful scripture to encourage and equip you as you encounter Him.

It comes from a study that Pastor Johnny Hunt did and speaks directly to our day.

It was Charles Spurgeon who said “the Lord as our Shepherd provides ‘green pastures,’ which is the truth of the Scriptures, always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted.” 

When, by faith, we are enabled to find rest in the promises, we are like sheep that lie down in the midst of a pasture. We find peace, rest and refreshment, serenity, and Satisfaction.

What is it we all pursue?

Why do men and women alike jump at relationships? This one is it for sure. The oldie and Goldie, God brought them into my life.

Why does mankind get caught in the trap of “The kingdom of Thingdom?”

Why are we always looking for the next gadget, thingamabob, and doohickey?

We are looking for satisfaction.

We search everywhere even the scriptures but few trust them enough to really find satisfaction.

The next part of this psalm says: “He makes me to lie down”. As followers shouldn’t we want to lay down, rest, and trust in these green pastures provided?  Some know the blessedness of it, but they cannot say that this blessedness is theirs. They know the “green pastures” (His Word), but they are not made “to lie down” in them.

It is the Lord Who graciously enables us to perceive the preciousness of His truth, and to feed upon it. How grateful ought we to be for the power to appropriate the promises! 

The Psalmist David, a shepherd himself, is emphasizing that the one Shepherd (Lord Jesus) is adequate for every need the sheep may have as they are in the pasture. Primarily, they need food (grass), water, rest, and a shepherd knows where to lead them. 

The Psalmist reminds us that when God’s people follow their Shepherd, they have all that they need and will not lack the necessities of life.

The Lord desires to give His sheep rest, refreshment, relief, and restoration. However, in order to rest, the shepherd has to deal with what keeps the sheep from restfulness.  What is keeping you from rest?

  • FREE FROM FEAR.
    • Only the Shepherd Himself can provide release from these anxieties. 
      • It all depends on the diligence of the Shepherd to free us from disturbing influences.
    • It is actually He who makes it possible for them to “lie down,” to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing.
      • A flock that is restless, discontented, always agitated and distracted never does well.
      • Remember, sheep are timid, easily panicked and startled. It doesn’t take much to cause one to be frightened and fleeing, with others following in its blind fear.
      • The slightest suspicion of danger and there is trouble.
    • Do you see how this analogy relates to today’s church? Today’s home?
      • Discontented, panicked people flee.
      • Live in fear.
      • Agitated and have to defend their position.
    • In the Christian’s life, there is no substitute for the keen awareness that my Shepherd is nearby
      • With sheep, nothing so quiets and reassures them as to see the shepherd in the field. His presence puts them at ease as nothing else could do
    • We live in uncertain times. Any hour can bring disaster, danger, and distress from the unknown. The unknown or unexpected can produce the greatest panic.
      • Who would have ever thought we would have already lived with what we have seen and still are reaping the repercussions.  
      • There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel fear, panic, or terror of the unknown.
      • IF YOUR TRUST IS IN HIM!
    • There are fear producers that endanger our tranquility.
      • Again, there in the midst of our misfortunes there suddenly comes the awareness that He, the Good Shepherd, is there. What a calming effect! It makes all the difference.
      • His presence in the picture throws a different light on the whole scene. The outlook changes and there is hope. Rest returns and I can relax.
    • Jesus said: Mt 11:29, “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.” 
      • The prophet Danial would say “Remember, He is the 4th man in the fiery furnace.”
      • Paul told Timmy: 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
      • “Sound mind– a mind of ease, at peace, not perturbed, harassed, or obsessed with fear.
    • It is the special office work of God’s gracious Spirit to convey this sense of Christ to our fearful hearts.
      •  He comes quietly to reassure us that Christ Himself is aware of our dilemma and deeply involved in it with us.
  •  FREE FROM FRICTION.
    • Tension, rivalry, and cruel competition within the flock itself.
      • Animals have an order of dominance or status within the group.
      •  With chickens, it’s the “pecking order. ”With cattle, it is call “horning order.” With sheep, it is called “butting order.”
      • They are trying to establish their dominance.
    • With sheep, an arrogant, domineering old sheep will boss a bunch of sheep.
      •  She maintains her position of prestige by butting and driving other sheep away from the best grazing grounds. 
      • You see it in church. Don’t step on so-so…
    • Succeeding her in precise order, the other sheep all establish and maintain their positions by using the same tactics of butting and thrusting at others.
      • It is a learned behavior. You see families who practice what they have learned.
      • You have to deal with it.
    • The word of God speaks to this.
      • Note the word pictures: Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
      • Ezekiel 34:20-22, ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: ‘Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.’”
    • Because of this rivalry, tension, friction, and competition for status and self-assertion, there are issues in the flock. 
      • The sheep cannot lie down and rest in contentment. Always they must stand up and defend their rights and contest the challenge of the intruder. 
    •  This continuous conflict and jealousy within the flock can be a most detrimental thing.
      •  The sheep become edgy, tense, discontented, and restless. They lose weight and become irritable.
    • However, good news, whenever the shepherd came into view and His presence attracted their attention.
      • The sheep quickly forgot their foolish rivalries and stopped their fighting. 
      • The shepherd’s presence made all the difference in their behavior.
    • When we focus on the shepherd our actions are different
      • Shepherds noticed that less aggressive sheep were often far more contented, quiet, and restful. 
      • It is the humble heart walking quietly and contentedly in the close and intimate companionship of Christ that is at rest, that can relax, simply glad to lie down and let the world go by.
      • When my eyes are on my Shepherd, they are not on those around me. This is the place of peace.
  • What is your life telling you your heart is set on?

To Impact Our World

Romans 2:10-11

God has created us all different. We do not have the same talents, abilities, skills or even motivations. When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent of our sins and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, these traits that God has placed innate within us begin to be applied the way they were created to be used.

Though God has created His crowning achievement with diverse talents and such, when He places us into His body we all become one. We are in the same family.  When C. Herbert Woolston penned the words to Jesus loves the little children He got it right. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight. All followers of The Way and The Truth and The Life are important.

Though we are blessed with more than anyone can imagine. Here in this verse Paul brings out three things that every believer has been granted by The One True God.

These three gifts are in stark contrast to what those who rebel against God’ gracious offer of salvation earns.

Indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish will be their wage. Understand, it’s their choice! But to those who are saved by yielding our wills and ways to His, Glory, Honor, and Peace.

  • Glory.
    • This deals with dignity.
      • You want to see a picture of mankind without dignity. Turn on your TV. 
      • When you don’t have self-respect, you will never respect others.
    • We are not talking about pride.
      • Pride is based on an imaginative overestimation of one’s self.
      • You place your value on a family name. A financial holding. A culture and even education or lack of it.
      • Your respect is bound in your skin color, place of birth, or having it better than others in your family.
    • Dignity comes from simply knowing that God doesn’t create trash.
      • Because God created you just like He intended, you have admiration for your body, mind, and spirit.
      • You are grateful for who you are and others cannot belittle your existence.
    • God gives us Glory. We are created in His image.
      • It is not based on a hairstyle or color, a body image or stature. And it never oozes out in the form of arrogance or superiority but shines like the sun.
      • It radiates. People take notice. Like they said of the disciples. They could tell they have been with Jesus.
      • An old saying “if you could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth you’d be rich.” 
  • Honor.
    • This deals with value or worth.
      • Just like I said about dignity, you want to know what mankind looks like when they don’t value themselves or each other. Turn on the TV.
    • Why would abortion, legalization of illicit drugs, abuse of alcohol, homosexuality in all its forms, sex trafficking and the like, be so alluring to the human race?
      • If you don’t have any value, or think you’re of exceptional value, you see nothing wrong that devalues yourself and others.
    • History reveals man apart from God has no honor.
      • As you look at the acts of mankind it is evident we have placed an over exaggerated value on self and an under estimation of value on self- worth.
      • I.e. it’s all about me. It’s all about me. But I’m not sure I like myself.
    • God places honor upon His creation by purchasing them off the slave market with the very blood of His Son.
      • You are worth the pain and agony, the humiliation and defamation that was placed upon the King of Kings.
      • He took all that and more because He loves you.
    • Self-worth, honor creates within you the knowledge that your value is not based on what others think or feel about you.
      • It doesn’t create an over exaggerated view but allows you to see the truth. That you have a creator that loves you and cares for you and has prepared for you a life that nothing you can imagine can rival. 
  • Peace.
    • I have spoken a lot about peace lately. The main reason is it is very evident among this body of believers as well as most others you meet, a restless, nervous, intimidated persona.   
      • Many are like Joshua hanging on to a false peace, hoping to get by till something changes.
    • God grants His chosen a real peace.
      • It’s not shaken by circumstances. It’s not held together by cliché’s.
      • It’s not overcome by fear. It’s not depleted by use.
    • Because of the glory God grants to His children. Because of the honor He instills within us, we find a peace that conquers death, fear, anxiety, anger, 
      • This peace is not naive.
      •  It is not ignorant of the surrounding circumstances.
      •  It doesn’t ignore the issues but faces them head on and conquers through the power of that name that is above all names. JESUS! 
    • The reason for this is not that we can flaunt it as we are supreme.
      • But we can live it before the lost and fallen world so they can see a difference in us.
  • God so desires His creation to experience these three qualities.
    • Both here and in heaven.
      • The glorious, honorable, peaceful life doesn’t start once we die and are received in heaven.
      •  God intends for it to start here and now!
    • Christian! Are we helping or hindering the call of Christ?

No Worries (Right Living)

Philip. 4:6-9

Counselling. I have realized in my years as a pastor when it comes to counselling that no matter how schooled you are, no matter how personable you are, no matter how many you have been able to help in some way or fashion, counselling is dependent on ONE thing.  The desire of the one being counselled. 

NO AMOUNT OF COUNSELLING CAN CHANGE YOU!

You must have a desire to do, be better than what you are.

When it comes to being controlled by worry, I can be the most eloquent speaker. We can do study after study. Research every great spiritual leader. Until you put into practice what you already know it will be like most other solutions we look to God for. 

God has set forth conditions that we must meet in order to win the war with worry. Right Praying, right thinking and right living. Simply put, putting into practice what God’s word says.

  • (V9) learned.
    • Gk. Word- (mathano) learn by inquiry or observation.
      • This is really the part of Christianity that I feel the majority either have never been taught or simply don’t give a rip.
      • Something is required of you!
    • I feel the reason the Body of Christ is inundated with spiritual retards, is the majority never put into practice none of what they learn.
      • Why do you think it is so easy for many to just pick up and go?
      • Why does those who have professed to be saved for so many years struggle with the basics of what they believe? 
      • Why when trials and temptations come, so many revert back to their old nature or attempt to combine the two?
    • Not willing to learn.
      • I understand this a lot more than I want to admit.
      • I was not a good student. I had great teachers. Great parents that provided me the opportunity to learn.
      • I simply didn’t give a rip. I have suffered for it greatly.
    • I still don’t curl up with a good book. Like to study and read. 
      • But because of what God has done for me and continues to do in me, I have made it a discipline.
      • I enjoy learning how I can please the one who saved me. He means that much to me.
  • Second part of this verse is received. 
    • You cannot put into practice something you don’t buy into.
      • You don’t buy into anything you don’t see value in.
      • When you learn and receive something you take it as your own.
      • You know it inside and out.
      • It actually means to take to one’s self. Personal, intimate.
    • Paul is telling these believers he recognizes not only have they learned, but they also received. 
      • It is obvious because when you take something to heart you put it into practice.
      • It shows up in everyday situations.
    • If it is not showing up in the good times, the bad times and times in-between.
      • Could it be you never took the time to learn it or never received it as anything of value!
  • The last part of this remedy for right living is; heard and observed.
    • Reflect for just a moment. How many sermons has God allowed you to glean from?
      • How many opportunities to learn, Sunday School, life groups, training union, Wed.nite services, revivals men and women meetings.
      • He provided them rather you thought they were of value or not.
    • Jesus had His disciples three years. 
      • He poured into them, taught them, and was an example to them. 
      • Then gave them the Holy Spirit to teach, remind, lead.
    • You might not have had the Son of God physically alongside you but look at all the examples He has afforded you.
      • Parents, grandparents, siblings, kin, friends, teachers, preachers, bible teachers. The list goes on and on.
    • It is not that we haven’t heard, haven’t seen. So what made the difference?
      • In Hebrews we are told about those whom the Lord God delivered form slavery in Egypt.
      • Heb 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
      • These saw the great miracles God performed through His servant Moses. They were called God’s chosen. Yet many of them did not find His rest.
    • They refused to receive it. Have faith, buy into it, or take it as their own.
  • God has laid out for us a master plan to conquer enemies like worry.
    • I tell you a truth. If your life lines up more with those who refuse to receive. You have something far more to be concerned with than overcoming worry in your life.
      • You need to quit convincing yourself you’re alright before you get all left.
      • God dearly loves you and really wants you to know Him and his plan for your life that nothing you can dream up can rival. TODAY!
    • For those of you who have continued to grow in your love and trust for the living God, we must have right praying, right thinking, and right living to escape the snare of the devil called worry.

Sunday School Outline

July 5, 2020

Luke 18: 9-14

  • And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
  • Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
  • The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
  • I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
  • And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
  • I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Verse 9 

  • Jesus was talking to certain people who…
  • Trusted in themselves – that they were righteous – despised others
  • Self-righteous: convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others:  narrow-mindedly moralistic
    • Take a minute and look up the synonyms for Self-righteous.  Too many to list! 
    • We may camp here for a while – ouch! 
    • It sure hurts when you realize that you are more like the Pharisees than you ever care to admit.  
  • Despised:  feel contempt for; to look down on with disrespect; to regard as worthless;
    • Synonyms:  hate, detest, loathe, be repelled by, not to be able to bear/stand/stomach, find intolerable, dislike, scorn, look down on, shun……

Verse 10-14

  • Two men
  • Two postures
  • Two prayers
  • Two results

Sunday School

Outline for June 28, 2020

Mrs. Joyce Hicks

Luke18:1-8

  • And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
  • Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
  • And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
  • And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
  • Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
  • And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
  • And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
  • I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

To this end…..(in light of what He had been talking about in the last chapter – the coming kingdom)

Men ought always to pray and not to faint

  • Prayer and persistence
  • Be thinking about your personal prayer life.  How would you describe it to someone and would God agree with that description. (ouch!) What would be an acronym that describes your personal prayer life?   For example ACTS….or would it be SSSS?  Are you persistent or are you a “one and done” kind of pray-er?
  • The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God. – GotQuestions.org
  • Prayer is the Christian’s way of communicating with God. We pray to praise God and thank Him and tell Him how much we love Him. We pray to enjoy His presence and tell Him what is going on in our lives. We pray to make requests and seek guidance and ask for wisdom. God loves this exchange with His children, just as we love the exchange we have with our children. Fellowship with God is the heart of prayer. Too often we lose sight of how simple prayer is really supposed to be. – GodQuestions.org
  • Psalm 19:14 – wonderful verse to pray each morning
  • Philippians 4:6-7 – worry about nothing, pray about everything
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing

Unjust judge – hmmmm

  • did not fear God
  • did not regard man

Widow

  • Prevailing and persistent prayer

God will avenge his own elect

  • AMPC – And will not (our just) God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night?  Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?
  • NIV – And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

Shall He find faith?

  • AMP – However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find (this kind of persistent) faith on the earth?
  • EASY – I the Son of Man, will return to earth, but will I find many people that still believe in me then, or not?

Will we finish well?

Honoring THE Father

Romans 8:14-15

Many people think that if God exists, He is simply a distant entity in the sky, unreachable, unknowable, and disinterested in our lives. It is obvious in the New Testament writings that even the Children of God, the Jews, saw God as a faraway figure that watched over them and deserved worship but wasn’t meant to be intimate and personal. This couldn’t be further from the truth. God wants to be known and to have a relationship with the people He created. He sent us an in-depth letter—the Bible—reaching out to us, telling us about Himself and how He made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might be able to have a personal relationship with Him.

The Bible attributes many characteristics to God—Savior, Healer, Friend—but perhaps the most personal is our heavenly Father. When we accept God’s gift of salvation, He adopts us into His family. Ro 8:14-15, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

God the Father adopts us and makes us co-heirs with His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. God treats us as His own, giving us full access to His riches and bestowing upon us a great inheritance, including eternal life with Him.

This morning, I want to Honor THE FATHER.

I believe when we have a right perspective of God as Father, then we can be more of what a father should be and even bring honor to that lofty position of Fatherhood.

When we think of God, we should remember these fatherly qualities. Consider how He is our:

  • Life Guide. Jas 1:5, “ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
    • Our heavenly Father helps us find our way in life, and discover who we’re meant to be. 
      • We can always come to him for advice and wisdom and share our deepest desires.
      •  Following His guidance will never lead us astray.
  • Encourager. 2Co 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
    • When we feel alone, or are faced with hardships and discouraging circumstances, God reminds us to stand strong. 
      • He has given us every skill we need and teaches us every applicable truth to get us through the tough times.
      •  His Word strengthens us and His grace sustains us in our struggles.
  • Provider. Php 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
    •  Our heavenly Father takes care of our every need—physical, emotional, and spiritual. 
      • Of course there are times we have to wait or don’t receive something we feel we need, but God always supplies our needs at just the right time, in just the right way.
    •  Not only that, He wants us to live an abundant life Joh 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
      •  He longs to bless us and has bestowed upon us a great spiritual inheritance as His children.
  • Protector. Ro 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    • No one can take us from the Father’s hand. When we join His family, He seals us with His Holy Spirit, guarantees our eternal life, and neither we nor anyone else can take it away. 
      • As Paul said., “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God” 
  • Educator. Heb 12:5-6, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
    • Because He loves us He corrects us: Pr 3:12, “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
      • To protect us from our worst enemy, ourselves, God the Father patiently disciplines us.
      • To strengthen us, that we not fall into buying into the world’s demise.
  • Our Heavenly Father who wants us to know Him and loves us immensely. He has gone to great lengths to be with us, and longs to spend quality time with His children.
    • In recognizing and understanding the basics of God love and desire towards us, His unruly children. Does it stir within you a desire father the children God has placed in our care the same way He fathers us? 
      • The cares of this world, the drain of real life, often distorts our view of god and the purpose He has given us His creation.
    • What lengths do you go to in order to spend time with your heavenly Father? 
      • How well do you honor Him and listen to His wisdom? 
    • If it’s been a while, or if you’ve rebelled against His divine parenting, there is good news. 
      • He is always willing to welcome you back with open arms and restore you to your position as His beloved child.