The Verbs #3

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The string to a kite isn’t restrictive as some would think. In fact, it is the string which keeps the kite in flight. If the string is lost the kite crashes!

That is exactly what Solomon was telling us about instruction and correction. He states to take the commands to heart (3:1). In so doing, they’ll help you live a long time and they will allow you to have a life that is full and well.

Many people see correction and instruction as restrictive. In reality they are what keep us flying and ultimately flying high.

Solomon even goes so far as to state, make sure you live in such a way that you earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and in the eyes of people.

Over the years, I have learned the only way to fly high in any arena of influence, you must have deep roots. The higher your kite flies, the more people notice!

Yesterday we talked about digging deep. You need to dig deep so that when you are flying high, you do not lose your character. When your roots are not deep, you can and often will go off course, especially when it comes to influence, money or a position of leadership.

The string on the kite not only keeps the kite in flight, it also keeps it tied to the owner. As long as the owner holds the string the kite operates the way it was designed to. The kite flies and is directed by the string holder. The string is simply the connection between the two. That connection is how the kite is directed.  In the moments of trouble, that direction can either accelerate, lower or maneuver the kite so that despite the turbulence, the kite will stay in flight.

That is why God gave us His word. It isn’t restrictive. In fact, it is the connection between us and Him. It is what maneuvers us around and or through the trouble. It is what keeps us during the shifts in our life and it is what stabilizes us despite the currents we may be going through. In other words, it keeps us in flight.

This is why when you start living that life you’ve always wanted, or you get the answered prayer you’ve been praying for for years, you must remember Who let you fly, Who answered that prayer, remember Who blessed you! The Who is God! Remember God.

Proverbs tells us to listen for God’s voice in everything, and everywhere. He is the one that will keep you on track. He is the one that will keep you moving towards your destiny!

So don’t resent the string! It isn’t a restriction, it’s actually a blessing because it’s your connection!

The Verbs #2 – Digging Deep

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The Verbs #2 ~ Digging Deep

“That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.

And here’s why: God gives out wisdom free,
is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.
He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well,
a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.”
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: The Bible in contemporary language (Pr 2:2–7). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
Solomon tells us that if we want to know God, then we are going to have to dig deep for it. Jesus used a different term. He said you have to hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). It’s when you hunger and thirst that you will be filled. He’s willing to fill you but first, you have to have an appetite for righteousness. Likewise, He gives wisdom and understanding away freely. It’s when we cry out, or dig for understanding that it will be found.

Maybe you have had a piece of furniture and you wanted to give it away free of charge. You place an ad in the paper, on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, and or Twitter. You even run TV ads to advertise the free item. You are willing to give it away, yet no one wants to make the effort to come and get it. However, the one who does make the effort to come and get the free item, receives the piece of furniture and then uses it to make their life better. Every person who saw the ad had the same opportunity to receive, but only those that responded and gave effort were rewarded with the free item.

God has advertised for thousands of years what He has to offer! But only those that make the effort as Solomon stated, will get the reward. Solomon says if you want to know God or understand God, it requires some effort. He uses an image of a miner mining for gold. You have to dig in, dig deep into God’s word everyday! Pursue God, and when you do, you will find Him.

James 4:8 tells us that if we will draw close to God, He will draw close to us. Jesus said if you will seek me you will find me. In Hebrews 11:6, we find two keys to digging deep, or shall I say the proper tool to use in digging, faith!

1. Believe that He is!

Believe He is what? Whatever you need! He asked in the Old Testament of Moses, “who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked of Peter, “who do you say that I am?” You will find when you dig in faith, that the answer is what He said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM! I am what you need me to be.

If you are lonely, you’ll find He is a friend.

When you are struggling, you’ll find He is a help.

When you are weak, you’ll find He is strength.

Just believe He is.

2. Believe that He is the God that will meet the need in your life.

Many believe He is, but they don’t dig deep to find out ALL that He is. Here in Hebrews 11:6 we are told to diligently seek Him. Why is it so important to seek God diligently? When you go after God to find out if He is what you need, and you do that diligently, the very things that you were seeking will fade away. You will find that what you were seeking all along was Him. Everything else will fade in importance because God is what you have needed all along. He is, and He is a rewarder of them that dig deep for Him. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek after Him.

When you dig for God, you will find yourself so deep in God that the world no longer sees you, they only see Christ.

Welcome to the Verbs

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One of the most disheartening events that can happen to you is when your leader, the one you have entrusted has a moral failure. I have personally experienced such an event in my life. I trusted, followed, and served only to be shocked, saddened, and left questioning even my own faith over the matter. It is through the darkest hours of our lives, that often produces the most valuable of experiences and richness of our walk with God. You were not the first person to experience the sting of failure nor will you be the last. As far back as mankind can go, there was failure and that failure affected the future generations.

In 2 Samuel 11, we find the beginning of such a failure on the part of King David. David and Bathsheba’s relationship began in failure, but out of it a son was produced. His name was Solomon. Solomon was known as the wisest man that ever lived. Over Solomon’s forty year reign, he collected wise sayings. No doubt there were many more than what has been recorded. Many of them were recorded in a book in the Old Testament titled Proverbs.

Proverbs has become a great tool to live, guide, and instruct from. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon addresses many of the issues that were faced back in 900 BC, yet because man doesn’t really change all that much, we still face the same issues, today! Solomon addresses our intimate lives, anger, slander, business ethics, integrity, intoxication, pride, and he even dives into the topic of finances.

Proverbs literally means in the Hebrew, “to rule or to govern.” In other words reading the proverbs and then allowing them to guide your life is what is supposed to happen.

Over the next thirty-one days, we are going to highlight some of the most enlightening, challenging, and impactful Verbsout of the book of Proverbs. In other words we are going to find some words that will challenge us to make a change, keep the change, and be the change.

The wonderful thing about Proverbs is there are thirty-one chapters, one for every day of the month. Billy Graham said that he read five Psalms a day, “that teaches me how to get along with God, followed by a chapter of Proverbs, which teaches me to get along with my fellow man.”

So, welcome to the Verbs!

So many people think that church going, Bible reading and preaching are mostly about getting into heaven, getting yourself right with God, and making sure your soul is saved. Absolutely the Bible, church, and preaching is about that, but equally important as getting into heaven is how to live on Earth. Remember, when you get saved you don’t immediately get to go into Heaven. You stay here on earth. Therefore we need to know how to live here. Remember that Jesus said, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Our life here matters.

Proverbs is a path in teaching us how to have wisdom in living life here on earth. Living with each other, honoring our parents, raising up our children, handling our money, and how we are to conduct ourselves. Proverbs gives us wisdom to live by. In matters of living our day-to-day lives, nothing takes the precedence of involving God, listening to God, and obeying God.

Have a Happy New Year and may you make this the best year you’ve ever had!

Pastor J

 

The Verbs #1 – Start with God

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Start with God

 

Start

 

One of the hardest things in life isn’t finishing. Most often the hardest thing to do is to begin.

Solomon starts the book of Proverbs by telling exactly where to begin. You have to start with God.

 

“Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.” – Proverbs 1:7 (The Message)

 

The first step, the very beginning of all of our plans, dreams, and this life, must begin with God. We have been trained to trust in ourselves, to lean on our own understanding; to trust ourselves more than anyone else. In other words, we have been told to start with ourselves. In actuality it is when we come to the end of ourselves that we begin with God. It is when we start with God that real life begins. Solomon tells us that the first step in learning is bowing down to God.

 

The act of starting with God in everything that we do is the foundation upon which you can build your life. However, it isn’t just a one-time event. Starting with God is something that we should do every day.

 

There isn’t an aspect of our lives that should not begin with God. Our marriages should begin with God. We stand before Him and utter vows, that if God would help us, we would keep those vows. We dedicate our kids back to God. We start their lives off by consecrating them back to God.

 

Solomon was teaching a wise lesson because, not only is it good to start with God, God wants us to begin with Him. Starting with God in everything is vital to living a blessed life.

 

What do you think would happen if you started giving God the first hour of your day, the first day of your week, and the first dime of every dollar? I lost so many of you right there, what an hour, a day, a dime… yep, that’s exactly what I said. Your day needs to start with God. One man said that we should never see the face of man until we have seen the face of God. Starting our day with God sets the tone for the rest of the day.

 

No doubt you are aware of the Ten Commandments? In those Ten Commandments, nine of them get straight to the point, no fluff, Thou Shalt not kill. Pretty much sums it up and we all agree with it. That’s pretty much how they all go; four to ten words, and obey. However, God gives a ninety-four word instruction on keeping the first day of the week, holy. Why, so many words? It was important. It was the fourth command, “Keep the first day of the week set apart for MeMake sure you start with Me.”

 

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft stated that, “in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient… there is a lot more that I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”

 

God sees it far differently. As a matter of truth, He had Isaiah write it down for us just to be clear that we should start with Him.

 

“If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.
I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.” Yes! God says so! – Isaiah 58:12-14 (The Message)

Lastly, we should ensure that our money starts with God; the first dime of every dollar.

 

“Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.” – Proverbs 3:8-10 (The Message)

Many people want to start giving to God after they have enough. You will never have enough unless you start with God. I learned early on to start with God when it came to my finances. The more I started with God, the more I had when it was finished.

 

When will you start with God, once you start it’s hard to quit, because the blessings begin when you start.

 

If not now, when? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is start.

 

Communion

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Growing up in church, I didn’t understand Communion all that much. As far back as I can remember, we took Communion on what we called “Watch Night Service”. This was a service held on December 31st every year and we would watch the New Year come in together as a church body. However, we also had what I thought, was one of the most terrifying practices ever. Keep in mind, I was but a young boy at the time. The practice was called foot washing and Communion. We would gather tubs of water and take turns washing one another’s feet and then after that, we would take communion. Over the years that practice faded away. I now know that it didn’t just fade away in my local church, but that it faded away in a lot of churches. I read an article about a denomination that practiced Communion each Sunday, but over the last few years they have gone completely away from practicing Communion. What was once emphasized is now forgotten. I feel that we are one of the first generations in the history of the church that doesn’t emphasize Communion; however, if you want biblical results you must do biblical things. The early church, you know the book of Acts church which stands as the model church, kept Communion as being something central to life. Just read the book of Acts and you will see how the church remembered the Lord’s Supper and so should we!

As with anything, if we aren’t consistently reminded of the importance of something, that something will lose its value.

Just a little while after the initial Communion, the Apostle Paul reminds the church located at Corinth of the importance of Communion.

Look at what Paul writes about Communion:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Co 11:23–26). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Paul uses the text to remind us of what Jesus stated at the institution of Communion. Jesus asked that we remember Him. That we remember why He came, what He did for us and what that does for you. How do you remember that? It is through Communion, the breaking of bread and drinking from the cup. Paul said that as often as we do this, we are to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. We should be drawn back to this often until Jesus returns. We likewise should never get so familiar or so used to Communion or the Cross, that we fail to remember that is was the Ultimate Sacrifice. Familiarity breeds contempt.

We should at the time of Communion remember this free gift of salvation nearly bankrupted heaven of it’s most precious gift, Jesus Christ. It really wasn’t free, there was a cost associated with it. It is free to us, but Jesus paid it all. That’s what we remember through Communion.

Paul says to the church at Corinth, if you cannot remember what the Sacrifice cost or what it afforded you, there is a risk involved in that. As a matter of fact, you could be compared to those that jeered, mocked and spit on Jesus as He went to Calvary. It should be that when we take Communion, it is with reverence and remembrance or in awe that the King of kings would lay down His life for me. That what the Prophet Isaiah declared would happen, did happen and it happened for me and because of me. Here’s what Isaiah stated of Jesus:

3He is despised and rejected by men,

A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4Surely He has borne our griefs

And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten by God, and afflicted.

5But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Is 53:3–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

In that text we find the cost of every benefit that we, as the people of God, have through the Cross of Calvary.

He was smitten by God and afflicted.  He was wounded, bruised, mocked, despised, rejected and whipped. Yet He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Through each of those there was a benefit attached to us that we must remember through Communion.

He took your grief upon Himself.

He carried your sorrows.

He was wounded for your transgressions.

He was wounded or pierced by the thorns, the nails, and the spear.

He was bruised for our iniquities. The word bruised is used because there wasn’t an expression in the Hebrew language that could describe the severity of the suffering of Jesus.

He was crushed by the amount of punishment inflicted upon Him.

He was chastised for our peace. This put a stop to the punishment or correction that the sin of our lives demanded. He took the punishment and the correction and put us at peace with God (Romans 5:1).

He took the stripes so that we are healed. The medical doctors state there are different types of wounds: abrasion, contusion, laceration, penetration, perforation and an incision.

Jesus suffered all of these.

The contusion happened when He was struck and beaten.

The laceration happened when He was scourged with a flagellum.

The abrasion happened when they pulled the clothing from His wounded back.

The penetration happened when they forced the crown of thorns upon His head.

The perforation happened when they drove the spikes through His hands and feet.

The incision happened when the spear was thrust through His side.

Why would He go through all of that? Why did He have to absorb every single one of those? So that you could be healed!

Communion must cause us to remember that He went through all of this so that we could escape it. He was broken, bruised, beaten and bloodied so that we wouldn’t have to be.

Paul states it like this in 1 Corinthians 11:27 – 30 (The Message):

27-28 Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.

29-32 If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. That’s why so many of you even now are listless and sick, and others have gone to an early grave. If we get this straight now, we won’t have to be straightened out later on. Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.

Paul is saying when we don’t value the cost of Calvary, or we fail to remember the cost of Calvary or when we do not take advantage of what was provided at the Cross of Calvary, then we remain in a condition that has been conquered!

Communion is not just a common tradition or ritual; it’s powerful. Communion represents the benefits of the cross by reminding us of what was paid for and how it was paid.

There is no need for you to die spiritually, emotionally or physically to things that have been conquered by the body and the blood of Jesus Christ!

I believe one reason that communion is fought so hard by our enemy is that he knows the power that is in it. I also believe that we don’t take communion because we feel that we must be perfect in order to partake in it.

We read the words of Paul and we feel unworthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We believe that if we are struggling or have succumbed to the struggle, we are disqualified from partaking in Communion. I would tell you that Communion is the answer! Communion reminds us that Jesus’ blood washes away sin’s stain!

One man said it like this, “If this passage disqualifies you from taking communion, then it would be equivalent to…

  • a doctor saying to a sick person, “Get well, and then come and see me,”
  • a loan officer saying to a poor person, “You need a loan? Get some money, and then I can help you”; or,
  • a cook saying to someone who is hungry, “Starving? Gain some weight, and I’ll give you a meal.”

 

What I see there is that all three people recognized their shortcoming, weakness and/or need. They went to someone who had the power to change their circumstance! Isn’t that what we do at Communion?

By remembering and partaking of Communion, I recognize my weakness, my sin, my failure! But I also remember that through His body and blood, I am victorious! In my weakness, He is made strong! That’s why we must remember through Communion.

 

As often as you do this, remember!

In the Arms of my Father!

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This past week my family and I traveled to New York City! This trip would be my youngest daughter’s second time flying on an airplane. Over the years I have had to overcome my own fear of flying by simply facing my fears and getting on an airplane and flying all over the country!

Each time we have flown with Zoe, she wants to sit right next to dad because that’s where she feels safe. As the plane began to move away from the terminal on the first leg of our trip, Zoe latched on to my arm, hugged it so tight and I knew right away she was having some major apprehensions! I just began walking her through what was happening verbally. I told her why it was happening and I even discussed the events that were to come! As the conversation ended, her arms loosened from my arm and I noticed she began to move about and unpack her bag that held all of her activities to keep her occupied during the flight. We landed at our destination without incident and all was well with Zoe.

On our return trip Zoe once again announced she was sitting next to dad! It was incredibly windy that morning and many flights were delayed, including our own. When we boarded and taxied out on the runway our pilot announced that we were most certainly going to have a rough beginning and a rough ending of our flight due to the incredible wind gusts! I was certain that Zoe would have a death grip on my arm. Yes, she immediately grabbed my arm, but this time she placed it in a position in which she could rest her head and off to sleep she went. She slept through the entire flight, including all the rough parts and proudly proclaimed to everyone around us, “I didn’t feel a thing because I slept through it all.”

I have often found myself doing the same thing as my daughter. There are have been many times when I did not understand what was happening. I really didn’t understand why it was happening and because I didn’t know what the future looked like, I was full of fear and great concern. It has been in those times that I have grabbed a hold of my Heavenly Father as tightly as I could possibly grip. Each time that I do that, He gently tells me what is happening, explains why it’s happening and assures me, and He continues to explain each step of the way! Each time I have made it through without incident because my Father has been through this before. He has faced every trial I will ever face. He’s been there before me and He will walk me through this as He has done every other time before.

So maybe the next time the trial comes, I will just simply adjust His arm so that I may rest! Even if the winds are blowing and the wind gusts causes delays and even cancellations! I will just find peace in being next to my Father! And I will make it through without even realizing all that was really going on! I choose to trust the one that I am traveling with because I am assured that I will arrive at the destination that He has planned for me!

 

 

 

The Spiritual Treadmill

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The Spiritual Treadmill

Even the great, accomplished Apostle Paul experienced resistance numerous times.

1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NLT)18 We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.

The word “prevent”=egkopto= which means “to cut a ditch across the road.”

Robbers would do this in order to get travelers to stop in the middle of the road, making them easy prey. The ditch was there to impede progress, by cutting off the path, creating a diversion, so that the travelers would take a different route.

Satan loves to use everyday life to divert from and impede progress in your life. He doesn’t want you to drink from the cup of redemption. He will hinder you and prevent you from traveling down God’s road for your life. You see when you are in the road and you see the ditch, the impediment, the block on your progress, all you see is the ditch, you don’t look for the big picture. You develop spiritual near-sightedness. The devil keeps us focused on our problems, our issues, ourselves, our own comfort and convenience. God, however, keeps bending over and picking us up, moving us forward into His big picture.

The Apostle Paul talked about this in His own ministry in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—

Here Paul is saying we face all kinds of ditches, problems, issues, and yet, we were never derailed from the mission. He gives the secret to it later in the same chapter.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Remember this: If the devil cannot keep you out of heaven, then he’d at least like you to be as ineffective as possible on your journey to get there.

The enemy would love for you to be stuck in the second cup, always struggling with deliverance and constantly needing to be delivered from self-absorption. This is the spiritual treadmill – you’re running, but staying in the same place. It’s exhausting, yet not accomplishing anything for the kingdom. So find your purpose and move forward into the third cup, and be restored to greatness.

As I mentioned in a previous article, our dog Dutch, stands as a reminder of redemption for me. We redeemed him, changed his name, and began to change the areas that we could immediately. We gave him a bath, a haircut, and then began to treat him like he was a Schnauzer, not a creature placed on this earth to take abuse. He was saved, and we did our best to move him past the memories, and the syndromes brought on by abuse (hiding syndrome).

The first step in finding your purpose is the cup of sanctification (salvation), then moving on to the second cup, deliverance, and allowing God to heal the scars of yesterday.

In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, the three individuals were not all given the same amount of talents. 1 received 5, 1 received 2, and 1 received 1. They all had the same opportunity to use the talents wisely and profitably for the master. The difference was that the one who received only one talent allowed His fear to produce failure. He developed the hiding syndrome. If you are living in fear and everything else it brings with it, you’ll bury your talent. We should bury our fear instead and invest the talent, instead of the other way around.

God designed you

Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV)

13 For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

We were all created by the same God yet we are all different. The Word states: There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV)

Three times the word “diversities” or “different” is used and “same” is used three times. We are each unique and different from everyone else, but we are all united in serving the SAME God. God has redeemed you to restore you to your purpose. Find it. Find your design and once you’ve learned it, apply it. God is omnipotent. All potential is in Him and His potential is great in you. The closer you draw to Him, the closer He will become to you.
He has redeemed you, and His desire is to take you on a journey to your destiny, your promised land.

4 Cups

set-of-four-cups-and-saucers-midwinter-by-stonehenge-made-in-england-4be0d7ea5ab0a940b74d4dc7b03f88ffThroughout Scripture, we find all kinds of meals and feasts, such as the Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering). After the exile, the Jews added memorial days for the fall of Jerusalem (eventually fixed as the Ninth of Ab), Purim, and the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). In addition, the Israelites observed the Sabbath every week and the Feast of the New Moon every lunar month. It seems as if all the Lord’s promises and covenants are sealed with a cup at the table. In the New Testament we find the Last Supper and it’s also here that the disciples are gathered in an upper room, seated at a table, while Jesus breaks bread, then takes a cup.

Likewise He also took the cup after supper saying, “this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20) Within the church and in the world, people struggle in four major areas: freedom from sin, deliverance from bondage, finding their purpose, and living a life of fulfillment.

In amazing God-like fashion, the same four areas that man struggles with the most, God not only provides solutions, but also a way to overcome. The four cups are within the new covenant. The people of God were given four promises even though they were in captivity when they received them.

God promised them in Exodus 6:6-7 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

The four promises located here:

 

1.) I will free you from your oppression

2.) I will rescue from slavery in Egypt

3.) I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgement

4.) I will proclaim you as My own people, and I will be your God.

 

There was a celebration of Passover each year and to this day, the people place four cups of wine at the celebration to commemorate the four promises of God.

 

They are celebrating the fact that God brought them out of slavery into freedom, redemption, and fulfillment. These same four cups hold the same significant promise for us as they did the people of Israel in the first passover. By placing our faith in Jesus Christ, we become recipients of the promises of God in our lives.

 

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.

Jesus came to fulfill the promises that God made to His people. He fulfilled the promises of God to free people from oppression, to free people from slavery, and to stretch out His hand and do mighty works, but also extended these promises to as many generations as come after us (Acts 2:39)

This promise is extended through what we know as the Great Commission. Let’s compare the Exodus 6 story with Matthew 28:

Exodus 6:6 “I will bring you out from under the yoke of bondage” and in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore.”

The first cup is the cup of sanctification. Christ’s first directive is to go and rescue people who are still lost in their sin. This, therefore, is the church’s first directive: Go! Evangelism is not them coming to us, but us going to them, sharing the message of Christ’s death, His resurrection, and how He paid the price for our sins. We are called to share how we are restored to a proper relationship with God. Sanctification is being set apart as special or holy to God. Perfectly paired with evangelism, we are to welcome others into the family of God, showing them how God set them apart for His purpose as well. Even though we aren’t slaves in Egypt, we have all been in bondage and sin of some sort, in desperate need of freedom through Jesus Christ. He rescued us from that heavy yoke of bondage, the weight of sin, and removed the issues that caused separation.

The good news of the first cup remains: Christ performed the ultimate rescue, approaching us while we were steeped in sin, unlovable, and weak. He came to us when we couldn’t get to Him.

The church needs to adopt the same mentality Jesus possessed. We don’t sit in our spot, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the broken, the hurt, the addicted, and the failing to come to us. We must get up and go. Maybe they cannot make it here, but we can make it to them.

The words of Jesus as He established the church were  ”And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus tells Peter that the church is to be on the move. It is built and from that point on, it takes on the forces of hell.

Gates are designed to keep some things out and others in. If the owners of the gates are really concerned about safety, then the gates are locked and secured, and have watchmen upon them. The gates of hell were designed to keep the church out because behind those gates are what the enemy wants to keep in: people. The gates of hell are designed to keep the church out, from taking the cup of sanctification into his camp. We storm the gates of hell with the cup, proclaiming to the world locked up behind the gates, that they weren’t born to be addicted, depressed, abused, or to live a life sub par. We are set apart for the Lord, formed in our mother’s wombs.

The devil is not clueless and he has a plan to keep people under his control, under wraps, and under his authority, all the while whispering “There is no way out.” Whether this is news to you or not, you’ve been in bondage. The idea the enemy wants you to believe is that God is very far away. In reality, and if you take the time to feel it, God is very near to you. In fact, He made a promise that He is always pursuing you. He is after you. When you feel a nudge, it’s God calling you out, to drink from the cup of sanctification. The only way to find your true purpose, the purpose you’ve been set apart to fulfill, is to turn to Jesus. He is the only one with the book on your life.
Let’s charge the gates of hell, fighting, warring, battling, and declaring and decreeing the Scriptures, engaging the enemy, setting the captives free, all through the cups of the new covenant.

Does God Need My Praise?

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Does God need my praise?

The Bible is very clear when it presents God as perfect and without any needs! Acts 17:24-25 says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”

So why do we praise Him if He doesn’t need it? Doesn’t He have angels to worship Him?

    God delights in the praise of His creation! Psalm 149:3-4 says, “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people…”           

    Praise helps us see and understand God in a deeper way! We take our eyes off of our circumstances and put them on the Creator of all things! Psalm 150:1-2 says, “Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.”

     Praise puts the credit where it belongs. When we fail to praise, we often take the credit instead of giving that credit back to the true Source of all blessings. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

Jesus told us that the greatest purpose for our lives is in Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) 37 … “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. When we love God with all of our being this causes us to worship, praise, rejoice, be thankful, and glorify. Each of these attributes has a different meaning but they are all closely related.

Worship is to acknowledge the presence of God. Praise is a response of worship. Thankfulness is a part of praise and a response to blessings given. To glorify is to bestow honor, praise, and admiration. Rejoicing is to have great delight and give praise.

Matthew 4:10, Jesus says, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” – Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

Justification of Praise

I Praise Because He is Great and greatly to be praised. 

1 Chronicles 16:25

25   For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 145:3-4 

3     Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
4     One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts. 

Psalm 96:4

4     For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods. 

2 Samuel 22:4

4     I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

 Revelation 4:11

11   “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Psalm 73 

14   But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
15   My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
16   I will go in the strength of the Lord God;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.

Psalm 150 

1     Praise  1the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2     Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3     Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4     Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5     Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6     Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

Praise

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*MacNeil Jordan was born in Barbados on Christmas Day in 1902. On his 100th birthday, he recited numerous pages of scripture and poetry. He could tell you the name of the ship that brought him to Ellis Island, the street where he got his first job as a garment worker, and the name of the cafeteria where he ate 70 years ago.

*A month before MacNeil’s 100th birthday, his family made a CD containing everything he wanted to say to his family, which included 8 children, 23 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-children. MacNeil’s recipe for long life is as follows: I eat well. I sleep well. I walk quite a bit. And every week there’s church, where I praise my God.’” MacNeil said thats what is most important: Give God praise every day. That’s all. That’s my life.” 

Description of Praise 

Praising God is a central theme in Scripture. We see this as the word “praise” is listed over 330 times in the Bible. It comes from the Latin word meaning to “value”. Therefore, when we praise God, we are proclaiming His greatness and His goodness. The book of Psalms means “Praises”, and comes from the same Hebrew root word as “hallelujah” which means “Praise the Lord.”

Expression of Praise

The believing community is both a fitting and frequently mentioned context for praise.

The author of Hebrews puts it this way: “In the midst of the assembly I will praise you” ( Heb 2:12 ).

The audience is enlarged beyond church when the worshiper announces, “I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations” ( Psalm 57:9 ), and more enlarged still, “In the presence of angels I will sing my praise” ( Psalm 138:1 ; nab ). We are not called to express praise to God only in our quiet time with Him. It is intrinsic that praise be publicly expressed. David appointed Levites to ensure the public praise of Israel ( 1 Chron 16:4 ; 1 Chronicles 23:41 Chronicles 23:30 ).

The Scriptures offer a language of praise and give instructions on expressions of praise.

Nehemiah leads in praise by saying, “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord” ( Neh 9:5-6a).

Asaph followed David’s cue: “Sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful Acts” ( 1 Chron 16:9 ).

Declaration of Praise  

The New Testament reveals that the name of the Lord is Jesus, so we are to Praise Jesus! This truth is declared over and over in the Scriptures and is one of the main reasons each one of us has been created. The name of the Lord is to be praised and God’s creations are created to declare praise to God! No one is excluded from praising God. When we praise, we are being obedient to God. Psalm 150:2 says, “Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.”

Further Study: Psalm 63:3-4 (NKJV), Psalm 113:1-3, Isaiah 43:21 and 150:6, songs Psalm 98:4Psalm 146:2 ) instruments ( 1 Chron 25:3 ; 2 Chron 7:6 ; Psalm 144:9 ; 150:1-5 ), and dancing ( Psalm 149:3 ), Matt 21:1-11Psalm 51:15 )  Psalm 9:1