Sunday, April 5, 2020

DO NOT FEAR, YOUR KING IS HERE!

MESSAGE DO NOT FEAR, YOUR KING IS HERE!
Uncertainty is all around us today. We don’t know how this will end or when it will end or even if it will end! We all have some concern about our own lives. All of this “not knowing” breeds doubt and fear. I don’t know about you, but I would rather know the truth, even if it is bad. I can deal with truth, but not knowing makes it difficult to cope.
I want us to see today that right into the middle of the uncertainty; into the city with walls all around that is our lives; Jesus rides right in and proclaims:
John 12:15 (NKJV) “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming,”
Jesus makes a declaration: Do not fear, your King is here! Do we hear Him? Whatever circumstance we find today: Do not fear, our King is here! Whatever war and struggle we find today: Do not fear, our King is here! Whatever enemy is fighting us today: worry, finances, health, disease: Do not fear, our King is here!
We can say with King David:
Psalms 56:3–4 (NKJV) Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
Notice David said when, not if. We cannot stop fear from coming, but we can deal with it. How? By trusting in God’s promises. The promises of God are the recurring theme. Whatever the natural world brings against me, His Word stands forever!
Psalms 56:10–11 (NKJV) In God (I will praise His Word), In the LORD (I will praise His Word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Again, whatever the natural world brings against me, His Word stands forever!
Can I just summarize the theme? Whenever I feel fear coming on me, I will praise His Word, I will praise His Word, I will praise His Word!
Why? God Himself honors His own Word!
Psalms 138:2 (NKJV) I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your Name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your Word above all Your Name.
When we speak God’s Word back to Him, He honors it! In prayer we confess the promises of God back to Him and He hears and acts according to His Word.
1 John 5:14–15 (NKJV) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of him.
God’s Word is His will! When we pray the Word, we pray His will!
Let’s go back for a minute to the Palm Sunday scene. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover. On the way he has performed multiple miracles; He has healed many people; He has cast out devils; He had even raised the dead! There is a spirit of expectancy in the crowd. They start chanting Scripture:
Hosanna, Hosanna, Son of David, help us, save us, blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. What happens? Jesus shows up to help and to save! He shows up and shows off!
Where do you need God to “show up and show off” today in your life? I don’t care what you are facing, talk back to God with His promises. Take the promises of God and pray then back to God. God answers the prayers He initiates. His promises are the starter fluid to light the fire of God in your life!
For example, (read several passages from the Jesus Person Pocket Promise Book by David Wilkerson) …
As we end today, let’s make three declaration: I will not fear, my King is here! I will praise His Word, I will praise His Word, I will praise His Word!
PRAYER

Saturday, March 28, 2020

SPENDING THE NIGHT

MESSAGE “Spending the Night” Gary
ME When this crisis began to break out, I struggled with how to respond. Part of me wanted to just disregard it, trusting that God would protect me. Part of me thought it couldn’t be that bad. Part of me became increasingly concerned by conversations we were hearing on both sides of the event. We all have questions. Today, I want to try to give a Biblical response to some questions that hopefully will serve us in this episode of our lives and in the challenges that we may face in the future.
WE What are we, as Bible believers and Jesus followers, to do? How do we walk in faith while obeying the recommendations, then the instructions, and finally the mandates that come to us?
GOD Some Bible passages come to mind almost immediately.
Matthew 10:16 (NKJV) Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Paul encourages us in almost the same way…
Romans 16:19 (NKJV) For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore, I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple (or innocent) concerning evil.
Here is truth #1:
God wants us to walk in wisdom and humility.
Sometimes we believe that we can do anything we want and God will always protect us. I hate to tell you this, but God doesn’t work that way. There is no guarantee that He will take care of us if we act in an unsafe or selfish manner.
Illustration: Now this is an extreme example, but if I say God will protect me and then go for a leisurely stroll in the middle of the freeway, I may get to thank God in person! God often acts out of mercy, but there is no guarantee.
However, if I live in wisdom and humility, following His will, thinking about Him and others, His promises become mine. Go back to the illustration I used earlier. If I run into the freeway to rescue an accident victim, I believe God would watch over me. Why? I am not doing it selfishly. Paul tells us:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 (NLT))
Another passage many have been claiming during this time is Psalm 91, and rightfully so! Listen to these verses.
Psalms 91:3 Surely, He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
V.5–6 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
V.10 No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
V.16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.
I believe we can pray these verses over our family, over our church, over our city, state, nation, and world and God’s mercy is there for us. But there is something even better, God has given us a fool proof way to appropriate these promises,
Many promises in the Bible are what we call conditional promises. God says, “When you do this, I will do this.” Psalm 91 is one long conditional promise. It describes the blessings of people who live in fellowship with God. Look at verse 1.
Psalms 91:1 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Can you see that the promises of this psalm all flow out of an intimate relationship with God?
“Dwell” means ’to remain in’. I come into God’s presence and just live there. I settle in and feel at home.
“Abide” literally means “to spend the night”. I remember growing up I loved spending the night at my friend’s houses. Slumber parties were the best. We would all gather round and tell stories and secrets. We might get into a little mischief too, but that’s another story for another time!
When I spend the night with God in His house, He tells me all His secrets.
Psalms 25:14 (NKJV) The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
 When I would be at someone’s house, they would feed me, care for me, protect me. I could rest easy because I knew someone was watching over me.
The ultimate expression of “spending the night” is another connotation of this word: marriage. When Alba and I got married and began to spend the night together, we shared secrets that no one else knew. We cared for each other and protected each other.
Well, maybe not all the time. Years ago, I remember a skunk in our campground at a youth retreat in Mayhill, New Mexico…
When I am married to Jesus, I seek His will in all things and He covers me, feeds me, and protects me.
This brings us to truth #2:
The promises of God serve the purposes of God.
Psalms 91:14 (NKJV) Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
Jesus said…
John 15:7 (NKJV) If you abide in Me, and My (rhema) words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Paul declares…
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
You see a pattern: because, if, in. If we fulfill the condition, we reap the benefit! And it’s all to the Glory of God through us.
YOU God wants to bless you. He’s made all His promises available to you. The way to make this happen is to dwell and abide in Christ. What does that mean?
1.    You are born again in Jesus. Plan of salvation.
2.    You are growing in Jesus.
3.    You are listening to Jesus.
4.    You are obeying Jesus.
WE So, what are some practical ways we can all apply this? When you want to do something, ask yourself some questions.
1.     Is it wise for me to do this? Does this expose me to undue risk? Is this harmful to others? Does this expose others to undue risk?
2.     Does this activity fulfill the purposes of God? Or am I claiming God’s promises for my purposes? Will this bring glory to God?
One final word: We should support the instructions of the government and health professional because they know, we don’t. It affects our testimony.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV) … be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
One last word. Paul says:
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
PRAYER

Saturday, March 21, 2020

WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?

MESSAGE “Who Are You Listening To?”
To watch this sermon online go to www.restorationep.org.
ME Is anyone getting cabin fever yet? I hope that you have not run out of some of the essentials at your house. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime and I’m sure many of you have not either. My mom talked of rationing during wartime and Alba remembers rationing in Cuba, but most of us have never known rationing. We may have known lack due to other reasons outside our control, but this is different.
WE It is this problem of the unknown that creates fear and anxiety in our lives.
Fear can entrap us and paralyze us emotionally.
Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
Listen to how Eugene Petersen translates it in The Message:
Proverbs 29:25 (MSG) The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.
GOD How we operate in this season depends on who you listen to! If you listen to what men say you will be paralyzed with fear. If you listen to what God says you can operate safely in His care.
Now, we have to listen to instructions from men and obey them, but God’s Word and His promises are greater than the hysteria that fills the airwaves.
For example: we hear that millions will be impacted and thousands will die. Is this true? We don’t know. If we ponder on what no one knows, then fear will grip us. On the other hand, the Bible tells us:
Philippians 4:8–9 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
How do we put it into practice?
Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The enemy wants us to walk in fear: fear of man, fear of the future, fear of the unknown. Fear is trusting in the words of men. God wants us to walk in faith. Faith is trusting in the Words of God!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.
YOU Now you may say, “Pastor Gary, I don’t have any faith!” But this is not true. God has given everyone of us a gift of faith.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV) For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
What is this measure of faith? It is the faith of Jesus!
Galatians 2:20 (KJV) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
So when fear attacks you, remember you have the very faith of Jesus inside of you. You can trust God the same way that Jesus trusts the Father.
Listen to His words:
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God… Isaiah 43:1–3 (NKJV)
WE What are some things we can do to build our faith during these times?
First: Go back over the points of Philippians 4: think about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report…
1.    Spend more time in truth than is opinion.
2.    Talk to your family about heroes who did noble things in tough times.
3.    Get involved in projects that promote justice.
4.    Talk to your family about pure things: pure love, pure thoughts, pure motives…
5.    Look at the good things we still have.
6.    Practice giving a good report. Don’t say ugly things about other people.
Second: Find faith for your fears…
1.             Identify your fear.
2.             Find truth to counter the fear.
3.             Memorize to build faith.
Example: Fear of not having everything we need; Faith: And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
Third: Enjoy your time. Redeem the time.
PRAYER

Sunday, March 8, 2020

WISDOM FROM THE PSALMS Help for the Soul Mind

WISDOM FROM THE PSALMS
Help for the Soul: Mind
RF, March 8, 2020

ME When I came to Christ, I experienced tremendous changes in my life. I have seen this happen to many who gave their Jesus.

WE This is the promise that Christ makes to all who come to Him by faith. You don’t have to live your life in the same way you always have; you can be changed!

The question is: What changes? You do; your soul does. What you really are is now different.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Last week we looked at how the wisdom of Psalms impacts our emotions.  Today I want to explore how wisdom from the Psalms instructs our minds and makes a huge difference in how we think. Right thinking leads to right living; stinking thinking leads to stinky living.

Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… PRAYER

GOD There are many Psalms that are called Wisdom Psalms because they give us practical instruction on how to live by the wisdom of God and His Word.  Some of the most well known are Psalm 1, Psalm 37, Psalm 73, Psalm 91, Psalm 119 and Psalm 139. Psalm 1 is considered an introduction or a forward to the entire book. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible.  It is an acrostic tribute to the Word of God. It contains 176 verses arranged in 22 sections of 8 verses each.  The verses in each section all begin with the same Hebrew letter in alphabetical order.  All of the verses except two have a reference to the Word of God.

There are eight direct references to wisdom in the Psalms. Let’s look at them and see how they can help learn wisdom.

1.    Psalm 37:30–31 (NKJV) The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

If a man walks in right standing with God (righteousness) he will speak wise words and seek justice for others.  He does this because the law of God is in his heart.  He has memorized it and meditated on it.  His steps will be secure because they are led by the Word. Listen to these other verses from Psalms.

Psalm 40:8 (NKJV) I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 119:165 (NKJV) Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.

2.    Psalm 49:3 (NKJV) My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.

We speak wisdom because we have been meditating on the Word of God.

Psalms 1:2 (NKJV) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

I know that you may get tired of me coming back again and again to this truth, but this has been the difference maker in my life and the lives of others who have put it into practice. Putting the Word in our heart is transforming to our heart and mind! The Word of God has a practical and a mystical quality to it. It is not just a moral code to be obeyed but it is alive! It is living and active and literally changes us from the inside out, reprogramming our minds and rewriting our spiritual DNA to conform to the image of Jesus!

James 1:21 (NLT) So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

To save means to bring to perfect health your mind, your will, and your emotions!

3.    Psalm 51:6 (NKJV) Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

The wise man knows who he really is. He is honest about his shortcomings. God teaches us in our spirit and changes us from the inside out. Christianity is literally “an inside job.”

4.    Psalm 90:12 (NKJV) So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90 was written by Moses; take time to read it. If anyone knew about the frailty of life, it was him! Moses was called the meekest man who ever lived. Meekness is not weakness; it is knowing who we are and who God is. Two things I know: God is God and I’m not!

5.    Psalms 104:24 (NKJV) O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—

Wisdom comes from knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for everything and everyone. God is in control.

Psalms 24:1 (NKJV) The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

6.    Psalms 105:22 (NKJV) To bind his princes at his pleasure, And teach his elders wisdom.

This verse is about Joseph. He learned wisdom by the things he suffered. He was chosen by Pharaoh to teach wisdom to his leaders. When we walk in God’s wisdom, even the world will take notice.

7.    Psalm 111:10 (NKJV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

This is one of the foundational verses in the Bible about how to become a wise man. First, fear the Lord.

Psalms 25:14 (NKJV) The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Proverbs 8:13 (NKJV) The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.

The opposite is true of the world.

Psalms 36:1 (NKJV) An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes.

Second, keep His commandments. This Psalm says if we understand how God’s Kingdom works then obedience is essential.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (NKJV) Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

It is not that God turns His back on us but sin hardens our heart and reduces our sensitivity to His voice.

8.    Psalms 136:5 (NKJV) To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever;

The Bible teaches us that God created the world by wisdom. When we speak his words of wisdom, we have creative power. This is the power of prayer.

Matthew 16:19 (NKJV) And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

The final word is this: God’s mercy never ends. All we have to do is move His way and He is right there for us. He doesn’t hold grudges.

YOU What changes do you need to make in your life? Follow these steps.

1.    Search areas of struggle.
a.    Failings
b.    Family and Friends
c.    Rebuffs
d.    Rebukes

2.    Seek God’s wisdom about that area.
a.    Scripture
b.    Counsel

3.    Speak God’s wisdom.
a.    Confession
b.    Prayer
c.    Proclaiming

4.    See the change come.
a.    You see it.
b.    Others see it.
c.    God sees it.

WE Celebrate the change we see in others: encouragement, testimony, documentation…