My Evening Prayer Liturgy

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My Evening Prayer Liturgy

The Call To Prayer 

May the Lord Almighty grant and those I love a peaceful night and a perfect end.

†OPENING From the rising of the sun to its setting, Let the name of the Lord be praised. YOU, O LORD, ARE MY LAMP. MY GOD, YOU MAKE MY DARKNESS BRIGHT. Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord. THANKS BE TO GOD.

Psalm 63:7-8 When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall that you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. 

O God make speed to save me, O Lord make haste to help me. I need you.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me.

Confession of Sin

Almighty God, My heavenly Father, I have sinned against you, through my own fault in thought, and in word, and deed, in what I have done and what I have left undone. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all my offenses; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your name.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Psalm 51 NIV Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I adore You, my God, and I love You with all my heart. I thank you for having created me, for having made me a Christian, and for having preserved me this day. Pardon me for the evil I have done today. If I have done anything good, be pleased to accept it. Protect me while I take my rest and deliver me from all dangers. May your grace be always with me. Amen.

Luke 6:12 ESV In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Oh Lord, I pray you to visit our home and drive from it all snares of the enemy. Let Your holy angels dwell in it to preserve us in peace; and let Your blessing be always upon us. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety.

PSALM 131 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I DO NOT OCCUPY MYSELF WITH THINGS TOO GREAT AND TOO MARVELOUS FOR ME. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;  MY SOUL IS LIKE THE WEANED CHILD THAT IS WITH ME. O Israel, hope in the Lord FROM THIS TIME ON AND FOREVERMORE. 

Expressions of faith

Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;

and though I am poor, today I believe.

Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;

and though I am weak, today I believe.

Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day;

and though of anxious heart, today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials;

and now, tried as I am, today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day;

and though it may be hidden, today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine;

and though the night is here, today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe;

and though you be silent now, today I believe.

Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening sacrifice. My uplifted hands: the gesture of supplication.

Be present, O merciful God and protect me and my family through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are fatigued by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon your eternal changelessness. Let no sickness, disease, harm, or injury come to any of us.

Amos 5:8 NIVHe who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land – the Lord is his name.

The Lord’s Prayer 

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Concluding Prayer

O Lord, all treasures of wisdom and truth and holiness are stored up in your boundless being. Grant that through our constant fellowship with you, those graces of Christian character may more and more take shape within me:

The grace of a thankful and uncomplaining heart;

The grace to await your timing patiently and to answer your call promptly;

The grace of courage whether in suffering or in danger;

The grace to endure any hardship in the fight against evil;

The grace of boldness to stand up for what is right;

The grace of being adequately prepared for any temptation;

The grace of physical discipline;

The grace of truthfulness;

The grace to treat others as I would like them to treat me;

The grace of sensitivity, that I may refrain from hasty judgement;

The grace of silence, that I may refrain from thoughtless speech;

The grace of forgiveness toward all who have wronged me;

The grace of tenderness toward all who are weaker than myself;

The grace of faithfulness in continuing to desire that you will answer these prayers.

And now, O God, give me a quiet mind as I lie down to rest. Dwell in my thoughts until sleep overtakes me. Do not let me be worried by the small anxieties of this life. Do not let any troubled dreams disturb me, so that I may wake refreshed an ready for all that tomorrow brings. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Be A Life Giver

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Be A Life Giver

John 16:21 NIV – A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

The pain…followed by the Joy…of being a life giver. I’m sure that every mom in this room can relate to this verse. Giving life isn’t easy but experiencing the life you labor for exceeds the pain of the process!

Life giving doesn’t stop for a mom when she gives birth…she continues to BRING LIFE day in and day out. 24-7…12 months of the year…24 hours a day!

In a similar way, Scripture refers to the church as the bride of Christ…the spiritual  mother, the life giver…the life bringer in the world today. We are all children of the church…GIVEN life to GIVE life. Loved by God to love the world. Lifted by God to lift the world. Blessed by God to bless the world.

EX: In natural life…children, the recipients of life become life givers. In a similar way, children of the church… become the church…we are given life…we now give life.

John 10:10 NIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The Greek word translated “life” in this verse is zoe. Zoe is the God-kind of life.

(ZOE); life in motion and in activity, life as the principle of life – in the absolute sense of being really life; hence, God’s life, the highest life, almost always with “the eternal” life.

John 6:63 NIV –  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life.

-I pray like David…”Let the words of my mouth…”

Everything about Jesus was about being a life giver. About bringing spiritual life… When some people walk in the room it’s like they take the life out of the room… When other people walk in the room it’s like they bring life into the room…

Remember this – “You can be something that people have to overcome, or something that helps people overcome.”

Today, I want to encourage those of you who are life bringers…provide you with some perspective and help you be the best life giver you can be!

1) LIFE GIVERS ARE BUSY PEOPLE

You’re not going to be able to get around “the BUSY.” You’ve got people counting on you…You’re the resource…the provider…the one who makes things happen.

•YOUR JOB/BUSINESS/EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.

•YOUR SPOUSE/MARRIAGE/CHILDREN ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU

•CHURCH LIFE/COMMUNITY/SMALL GROUP IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

•FRIENDSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU

•HEALTH IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

>You’re not willing to negotiate your time and investment in any of these things which means you’re constantly on the go!! You’ve got people counting on you…You’re the resource…the provider…the one who makes things happen.

2) KNOW THAT BUSY ISN’T BAD

>Busy doesn’t mean you have to be stressed out!

>Some people talk about how busy they are as if it’s a bad thing.

>There are some people when you ask them how they’re doing…that’s the only way they know how to answer…”I’m busy…” (with the look of sadness and heaviness on their face).

•Remember, When you’re busy it means you’re living the dream!! You have the opportunity to receive an Education, have a Career, To be married, have kids…to have people need you…

>Don’t make any part of your blessed life the enemy…the villain…

•Your job, Your spouse, The kids, The church, The friends

When you’re tempted to…take a step back…take a deep breath remember how blessed you are!!! Busy is not bad!!

Rather than always answering… I’m busy with a sad look…answer I’M blessed OR I’m living the dream!!…with a happy look!!

But what about when I’m tired?…really tired?…

>Schedule a nap…call a time out…. But don’t go around with an “I’m so busy” mindset…don’t let yourself believe that busy is bad!!…or busy is a villain….

Keep your attitude thankful for what you have, what you’re a part of and press into work, press into love, press into church, press into the abundant life!!

3) ASSOCIATE WITH ENERGETIC, MOTIVATED PEOPLE

When you’re in your role…really busy…especially the middle years of your life…there will always be plenty of people who will tell you to take it easy, slow down…smell the roses…put guilt on you for going hard at life.

EX: If you’re familiar with the Disney movie Lion King, there are 2 characters Timone and Pumba. (fat pig and a Meer cat) who find the young lion Simba when he’s starting to feel the pressure, demands of his calling, destiny. They are fun…happy… sing a song “Hakuna Matata”…You can’t help but smile as they sing and dance.

But the problem was that they didn’t encourage him in his destiny…they led him to believe that his best life was in “Hakuna Matata”…removing himself from his responsibilities… commitments… purpose… But fortunately, he had a wake up call and after having tried to pursue an easy, trouble free life…he returns to his place, his roles, his responsibilities… as a king. Rather than listening to the Timone and Pumba, surround yourself with people who are energetic and motivated,…LIFE GIVERS…LIFE BRINGERS!

4) CONSISTENTLY DEFRAGMENT YOUR LIFE

EX: In the world of computers and hard drives there’s something called defragging. It’s short for defragment. So, what happens is that hard drives store information in “blocks” or “files”… fragmentation happens when those blocks/files get separated and are far away from each other. Rather than making the computer more efficient…the separation of information actually slows down the computer and makes it operate less efficient. So the defragmentation is the process of pulling it together…making it faster and more efficient.

>One common tendency of people is to view life that is not separate and compartmentalized as being out of control.

>We imagine our lives are more productive and easier when they are separate files and folders.

(Integrate your life…pull your nonnegotiable values together) Don’t separate them…think of them as opposing one another…enemies of each other…When you start to do that… DEFRAGMENT YOUR LIFE!!

5) PUSH FOR LIFE

We all know that when a baby is being born…the famous words to the mom are PUSH!!…GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU GOT! PUSH FOR LIFE…PUSH TO BRING LIFE…

Colossians 3:23 NIV – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

EX: A couple of years ago Pope Francis was speaking to a group of nuns from around the world. His word to them was this: be spiritual mothers, not “old maids.” But the Pope’s remark got me to thinking a lot more broadly this week about what it means to take up the calling of motherhood.

Proverbs 16:15 (Message) says, “Good tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re life spring rain and sunshine.”

Are you Life Giving or Life Grabbing?

•    Life-grabbing people guard and protect themselves. Life-giving people risk and seize opportunity.

•Life-grabbing people do the bare minimum. Life-giving people go the second mile.

•For life-grabbing people, life is scarce. For living-giving people, life is abundant.

Let’s Speak life – Let’s Stir up life – Let’s Sing life – Let’s Bring our worship – Let’s Bring the encouragement

RESET: Making your Spiritual Life a Priority

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RESET: Making your Spiritual Life a Priority

The story is told of a young boy who asked his father what his New Year’s resolution was; and, his father told him he was going to do everything possible to make his mother happy in the coming year. The boy, then, asked his mother what her New Year’s resolution was; and, she replied: “To do everything possible to ensure that his father kept his resolution!”

Is your life locked up? Are you on system overload? Panic sets in when our phones, computers, iPods lock up. We call tech support and often it’s simply a matter of a RESET. At different times, many of us take an honest look inside and realize we need our own RESET. How many resolutions and promises do we make that we don’t end up keeping? How can this time be different?

Reset – to move (something) back to an original place or position : to put (a broken bone) back in the correct position for healing; To set again, differently; to press a special button or to make changes so that a machine will work again or work in a different way

Mark 12:30 ESV And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Revelation 3:15-16 ESV ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.You are as close to God as you chose to be! Spiritual growth happens by choice 

Critical Question

1 Timothy 4:7 ESV – Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness (Phillips) “Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.”

3 John 1:2 ESV – Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

What is Unhealthy in your life? Clean up your Spiritual Diet

• In a health screening, the Dr. will run tests & look for symptoms that might indicate ill health.

• Symptoms are red flags or warning signs that a part of your body is not functioning optimally.

• Spotting these symptoms early and making appropriated changes in diet & lifestyle can prevent a minor ailment from ballooning into a serious problem.

Spiritual growth is not determined how you act in church but how you respond to life.

•Hot – You are growing.

(2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV) We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,[a] as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing

‎”The soul’s deepest thirst is for God Himself, who has made us so that we can never be satisfied without Him.” FF Bruce

•Cold – You do not know God yet.   

(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

•Lukewarm – You are drifting.

(Hebrews 2:1 ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

How to Get There

•Grow yourself daily. 

The Secret to your spiritual success is hidden in the daily routine

Proverbs 23:12 ESV Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 ESV “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile

  1. Make Worship a Priority                                                                                                                                                                            •Psalm 100:4 ESV – Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!Give thanks to him; bless his name!                                                                           •Psalm 103:1 ESV – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!     
    1. Everybody worships something. It is the response of what you value most.
    2. In every heart there is an altar and a throne. Follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, your loyalty, your thoughts, dreams & ambitions, & your priorities. You will find who or what is sitting on the throne of your heart!
    3. •John 4:23 ESV – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
    4. Worship is from our heart – Don’t WAR over Worship Styles! It’s about GOD not music style
      1. Expressing my affection to God – Praise
      2. Focusing my attention on God – Prayer & meditation
      3. Using my abilities for God – Serving
      4. Tozer said, without worship, we go about miserable
  1. Value God’s Word 
    1. Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    2. The Bible is authoritive not bc it is a manuel for living, but bc it reveals to us JESUS who has the power to CUT through all our BOLONEY.
      1. “The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”
    3. Joshua 1:8 ESV – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success
    4. Psalm 119:11 ESV – “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

“People do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them.”

    1. Mark Twain said, “It ain’t the those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

The Bible is not just a book; it is a God breathed, God indwelt, God inspired message. We are to believe what the Bible says, not what we think it says of what someone else says that it says.

It will outlast heaven & earth (Matt. 24:35)

In our pursuit of seeking God, we must become interested in the Word of God.

John Calvin said, “We owe to the scripture the same reverence which we owe God bc it proceeded from Him alone…

Knowing God’s Word is the Pathway to Knowing God   

John 5:39 ESV-   You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Decide to start a Daily Bible Reading plan!

Spending time with God should be a lifelong habit, not a passing fancy. Research shows you need to do something for about six weeks straight to build a habit. Make God’s Word part of your life today — and for the rest of your life.

3. Be Faithful in Giving

•Over 800 verses in the Bible about the subject of Money. It’s addressed more than heaven and hell. 16 of 38 stories Jesus told were about money and man.

“Your standard of giving reflects your standard of living”

Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

•Faithfulness in Giving doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!

  • Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, ESV The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency[b] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work
  • We Put God first by GIVING Him the first of everything

Leviticus 27:30 ESV “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.

  1. Tithe – means returning a tenth (10%) to the Lord- It’s God’s idea.

(Malachi 3:8-12 NIV)  Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer[a] for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

•Tithe puts us all on the same level of sacrifice. It is worship to God. It must be returned to God. Returning not Giving.

  1. Offerings – Anything you decide to Give                                                                                                                                                             2 Cor. 9:7 ESV – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  1. Alms – Giving to the Poor and less fortunate                                                                                                                                      Matthew 6:3-4 ESV – But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you

4. Make Prayer a Priority

PRAYER IS COMMUNICATING WITH GOD.

Psalm 5:1-3  ESV – Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.2 Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 3  O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you[a] and watch

TALK TO GOD

  1. ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS TO YOU.

Philippians 4:6  ESV – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV –  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

2. CONTINUTALLY.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  ESV Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Pray, Until, Something, Happens

1 Samuel 1:12-13  ESV As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.

3. AND LISTEN FOR HIS RESPONSE.

1 Kings 19:12-13  ESV -And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

John 10:27 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Release your faith with absolute assurance in God’s Ability

I John 5:14-15 NIV – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”

•The power in prayer is not the person praying BUT God who is hearing.

Remember – Don’t forget to pray today because God didn’t forget to wake you up this morning

Living the Increased Life

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Living The Increased Life

Luke 2:52 ESV – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[a] and in favor with God and man.

Increase – become or make greater in size, strength, quality, amount, intensity, or degree.

God wants YOU to increase in every area of your life!

Do dogs like bones? I don’t think so. I think they like steaks and but they settle for bones. We settle for less than what God has for us! God has so much more!

Deuteronomy 1:11 NLT – And may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised!

Psalm 115:14-15 ESV – May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! 15  May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

The desire for increase and more is not a wrong desire. It comes from God (be fruitful & multiply..)

Jesus intended for you to have an Abundant (Successful) Life

John 10:10 ESV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Abundant – existing or available in large quantities; plentiful. profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, paramount, overflowing, prolific

Back to our text – Luke 2:52 ESV – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[a] and in favor with God and man.

Increase or Growth is not automatic

•You’re only young once, but you can be immature indefinitely. Personal growth and increase is our responsibility.

•When you were a child your parents were responsible for your growth, now you are! Robert Browning wrote, “Why stay we on earth except to grow?” That is a great question yet few of us dedicate ourselves to the process. Why? Because growth requires CHANGE and most of us are uncomfortable with change.

“If we don’t change we won’t grow, and if we don’t grow we’re not really living” Gail Sheehy

Jesus grew and increased with

I. Wisdom

Definition – knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

Proverbs 4:5-8 AMP – Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation). 8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin

•We need to KNOW more than what we already know. The difference to where I am and where I want to be is what I need to know.

1. Cultivate a Teachable Attitude

Proverbs 1:5 NIV – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance

Proverbs 22:17-18 NIV – Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,18  for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.

Don’t be a know it all~ Be a learn it all~! Don’t bankrupt your mind~

2. Invest in yourself

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP – Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

“Empty the money of your wallet into your mind and your mind will fill your wallet with money” Ben Franklin

The greatest value in life is not what you get but what you become! When you improve yourself you improve your life!

When you learn you brome more than you are and then you get more than you got

It’s what you become that adds value in your life that brings – promotion, success, raise, benefits, blessing, etc…
•••Buy the books, Go to the seminars, purchase the audios and videos – GROW GROW GROW!

•Is the products worth it? I don’t know but I AM!~ (money i’ve spend on personal development)

•You always INVEST in what you find Valuable. Invest in Wisdom!

Proverbs 8:11 NIV – for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 16:16 NIV – How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

“If you think investing in yourself is expensive, you should try ignorance”

3. Right relationships Increase your Wisdom

Proverbs 13:20 NIV – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Dr. Carl Menger said, “Our environment shapes us more than our heredity”

I Corinthians 15:33 NIV – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 12:15 NIV – The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Relationships will either propel you or sustain you. People are like elevators they take you up or bring you down. So wrong relationships are thieves to your success

Pursue Wise Relationships: Those who build your faith and confidence, value who you are, challenge you to greatness, and are there when down and when your up.

Run from Foolish relationships: those who are critical then complimentary, those who belittle you and your dreams, those who humiliate and embarrass you, those who gossip, bicker, and backbite you.

Wisdom is the Master Key to ALL the Treasures of Life

II Chronicles 1:11-12 NIV – God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

II. Favor

Favor is something granted out of goodwill rather than for justice or payment. A gift. To endow, to give support or confirmation, to do a kindness for, willingness to contribute to the success or welfare of a person, group, or cause.

Psalm 84:11 NIV – For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Leviticus 26:9 NIV – ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you.

1. Whatever you recognize, you become thankful for. Whatever you are thankful for will INCREASE in your life.

Ephesians 2:7 AMP – He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

Immeasurable – too large, extensive, or extreme to measure. Not enough room to hold. David said, My cup runneth over.

2. Favor is better than money. Money can’t buy you favor, but favor will bring you money

Exodus 3:21 NIV – “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.

One day of favor is worth a thousand days of labor

3. Favor will bring supernatural increase and promotion

Genesis 39:2-5 NIV – The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.

Favor will cause you to rise to the top!

4. When you plant a seed of favor, you can expect to receive a harvest of favor

Galatians 6:7-10 NIV – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Someone said, “When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing.”

Ephesians 6:8 Living Bible – Remember, the Lord will pay you for each good thing you do, whether you are slave or free.

Make every effort to show favor in someone’s life today! It will come back to you!

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give! Winston Churchill

The Result

Luke 6:38 NIV – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

When God gave Christ to this world, He gave the best He had, and He wants us to do the same.” – D.L. Moody

Living Venti Part 2 – A Big God = A Big Life

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Living Venti Part 2 – A Big God = A Big Life

This series is all about living BIG! We serve a big God, who wants to do big things, has big plans for His Kingdom, this Church, your life, and calls us to think big along with Him

Hebrews 11:3 NIV – By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Think about How Big God Is

Size of the Universe
The Earth
– the surface is 196 million square miles; one of 9 planets revolving around the sun.

The distance from the earth to the moon is 240,000 miles

The Sun – It is the closest start to the earth it is 93 million miles away. 865,000 miles across. 109 times the size of the earth. You can fit 1.3 million earth’s inside the sun. The sun is considered an average star in comparison with others in the universe.
•It takes light from the sun traveling at the speed of light approximately 8 minutes to get to earth.
•Every object in our solar system revolves around the sun. SAY WOW!

The Galaxy – Milky Way.
•200 to 400 billion stars
•200 discovered planets outside of our solar system
•hundred of billions of other galaxies
•2,500 years to count all the stars just in our galaxy.

1 light year – 5.8 trillion miles
The distance from the sun to the nearest star – 4.3 light years

Isaiah 40:12 NIV – Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

We serve a BIG God!

Plato said, “Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards.”

Psalm 8:1-9 NIV – Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e] and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their[g] feet: all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The point is this: These incomparable and unfathomable wonders above tell us of a God who is quite simply…indescribable

“Indescribable, uncontainable, you placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name; you are amazing, God”

Isaiah 44:24 NIV – This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed
you in the womb:I am the Lord, the Maker of all things,who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself,

Isaiah 45:12 NIV – It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.

Augustine said, “The very order, disposition, beauty, change, and motion of the world and of all visible things silently proclaim that it could only have been made by God.”

2. Let’s Think Big about God’s Plans for us

God wants you to live a BIG life.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ephesians 3:20 NIV – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

•(amplified version-  “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]”

John 10:10 AMP – The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).

What God said to Abraham

Genesis 22:17 NIV – I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

God wanted Abraham to look beyond the place, conditions, circumstances he was in right then

Genesis 12:2 NIV – “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

There is nothing to hard for God

Genesis 18:13-14 NIV – Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Luke 18:27 NIV – Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

God adds His Super to our Natural. When we do our best God does the rest!

3. Let’s Think Big in our Attitude towards Life

If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. Donald Trump

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) – “Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”

Paul is encouraging us to abandon petty small thinking for us to Think BIG

“How you think determines what you become” Zig Ziglar

Proverbs 23:7 NKJV – For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
Proverbs 4:23 NCV“Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.”

You will never change your life until you change the way you think. (God has empowered you to do that)

Remember: God paints your future success on the canvas of you mind
•Abandon Pettiness – Petty Thinking;
•Petty – of little importance; trivial. not very important or serious
•petty arguments, accusations, competition, judgement = distractions of our time and attention that hinders us from thinking and doing big things! Add no value worthwhile to you or others.

Your greatest limitations are those in which you create in your mind

Isaiah 54:2-3 NIV – “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities

Enlarge – broaden / bigger view
Stretch – Go beyond, don’t stay where you are. it’s uncomfortable

Make a Decision to Live Venti

Small thinking holds you in a life of mediocrity. Your life is not small. God has done no small thing in you.

I John 4:4 NIV – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world

The Key is not to live by what people say, but what God says!

People say, “You can’t, you won’t, why try?, give up! Be real! , It’s too late! It’s never been done!”

God says:
•“I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13
•“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might..” Eph. 6:10
•“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Rom. 8:37
•“As He is, so are we in this world” I John 4:17

We all have the promise that life contains infinite possibilities…yet most of us settle for a routine that narrows our life to the dimensions of a prison cell.”

I dare you! Start Living a big life even though you may be living in a small place at the moment! We serve a Big God!

Take your eyes off your past, because your past is not your potential! Choose to liberate your future!

The Modern Family Pt.2 – Values That Build a Strong Family

Modern Family MAIN SLIDE
The Modern Family Pt.2 – Values That Build a Strong Family

Thousands of years ago God gave 10 values for family living, God’s Big Ten. They’re called The Ten Commandments. These are not values that are fads that are going to last only as long as the presidential campaign. These are values that last for a long, long time. In fact, they are the bedrock of western civilization. They are the foundation on which our entire judicial and law system has been built. The Ten Commandments are about the only thing that Jews, Muslims and Christians will agree on. All three religions accept the Ten Commandments as the
commandments from God.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV – And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

He says two things: remember them and teach them. Do your kids know the Ten Commandments? How many of you would say, I try to live by the Ten Commandments? Most of you, if not all of you, would raise your hand. What if I said, name them. How can you live by them if you can’t name them?

Why did God give the Ten Commandments? He gave them not to hurt us but to help us. Not to hamper us but to release us. Not to punish us but to protect us. When I tell a child, “Don’t touch the hot stove” am I doing that for their good or for my good? I’m doing it for theirs. Every time God says, “Don’t” in the Bible it’s always for a positive purpose. Always. The negatives that God gives are always for your own benefit. If you ignore
them, they are to your own hurt.

God has lined up the universe by universal laws. There are certain physical laws that the universe operates by like the law of gravity. If you ignore it you only hurt yourself. You have to cooperate with it. If you jump out a ten story window, and you ignore the law of gravity, you don’t break God’s laws they break you. Likewise there are spiritual laws. God says these are tracks by which to run on.

They are not the ten suggestions; they are the Ten Commandments. They’re not optional. God says, you do these things and things will go fine in your life. If you don’t do them, you’re going to really mess up. Psychiatrists now are saying in the 60s when there were no boundaries and everybody grew up during that time, do whatever you want to, they’re saying we need boundaries for emotional and mental health. We need parameters for people and
children who grow up without boundaries grow up being extremely insecure. We have an extremely insecure generation in the baby boomers. We need to know what’s right and what’s wrong — what are the parameters in life.

THE FOUNDATION FOR A STRONG FAMILY

“You shall have no other gods before me” Ex 20:2

The Principle: Put God First

God says, I demand top priority in your life. I’m not going to play second fiddle to anything. He deserves to be number one in your life because He made you. If He hadn’t made you, you wouldn’t even be around. Everything you have in life is from God because He’s given it to you. He’s allowed you to have it.

What does it mean to “have no other gods before Me”? No other gods? I thought there was only one God. There is. The word “gods” is written with a small “g”. He’s not talking about “the God”; He’s talking about little gods.

What is a god? A god is anything that dominates your life, anything that controls your life. Can a career be a god? You bet it can. Can another person be a god? Yes. Can golf be a god? Even good things that God has created for us to enjoy, become gods when you give them first place in your life. God says, “Wrong. I deserve first place in your life.” This is the foundation — put God first

Today, in America, families are dropping like flies. They’re falling apart faster than we can put them together. Why are so many marriages crumbling? Because they’re built on the wrong foundation.

The Promise:
“In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Prov. 3:6 (LB)

There’s one of the great promises of success. Do you want to be successful? Put God first. Wherever you want God to bless, you put Him first in that area.

II. HOW DO I PUT GOD FIRST?

How do I do it? What does it mean to put God first? I took the acrostic F-I-R-S-T and I’m going to give you five ways to put God first in your life and your family.

Give God priority in 5 areas

•Finances

“Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns… to overflow…” Prov 3:9-10 (LB)

God says give Me the first part back and I’ll bless all the rest. God has said that money is the number one test of your priorities.

“The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first in your lives.” Deut. 14:23 (LB)

What’s tithing? God says that the first10% of all I make goes back to Him. Why 10%? That’s just what He said. The purpose is simply to teach you to put God first.

We’re in sluggish economic times right now. If you’re in a financial mess right now, step one is put God first in your finances. Whatever you want God to bless, you put Him first in it. It teaches you to put Him first.

Why is tithing so important? God says that if I’m not tithing, God is not really first in my life. If He’s not first in your finances He’s really not first in your life.

When?
“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. I Cor. 16:2 NIV

Tithing is an act of worship and you do it when you worship.

•Interest

If God’s really going to be number one, you put Him first in your interests. That means in my fun times, my play times, my amusements, recreation, hobbies, pass times.

“Whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.” I Cor. 10:31 (GN)

Westminster Catechism – What is the primary purpose of man? To Glorify God and Enjoy Him forever

How do you do that? In everything you do, you put God first. Do it with an attitude of gratitude.

“Talk with each other much about the Lord.” Ephesians. 5:19 (LB)

What do you talk about the most? I know people who can talk for hours on end bout other people’s lives. But they couldn’t talk three minutes about the Lord.

•Relationships

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. Prov. 27:19 (LB)

People are like elevators – take you up or bring you down

The truth is if you really want God first in your life there are some relationships that are dead wrong for you. The truth is if you really want God first in your life there are some relationships that are dead wrong for you.

The Value of Life Groups at GraceTown – community

Prov. 12:26 “A righteous man is careful about his friendships.”

•Schedule

“making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians. 5:16-17 (NIV)

How do I put God first in my schedule. I ask Him to help me use my time wisely. You get up, make a TO DO list of things you have to do and you say, “God, which of these things do You want me to do? I have 17 things to do today and I only have time for 5.” You do not have time to do everything. Selection is the name of the game. How do you select? You ask God to help you. You have just enough time to do God’s will.

When you start feeling frustrated and hassled and frazzled it’s because you’re trying to do more than God wants you to do.

Make a daily appointment with God. If God is going to be first in your family, in your life, you need a daily appointment with God. It doesn’t matter when you do it. You just need to do it. Ten, fifteen minutes. Maybe you get up fifteen minutes early, drive to work and before you go into the office, you set in your car you read your Bible and pray and talk to God about all the things you’ve got to do and ask, “What do You want me to do?”
Have a quiet time.

Even Jesus felt the need for daily prayer
“Very early in the morning … Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

It doesn’t matter when you do it, but you need a daily time that you check in with God and say, “God let’s review my life. Let’s review my schedule, my goals, my priorities.

Ill.—little boys staying overnight in backyard in a tent. Dad listened to them talk… “my daddy knows the mayor!”/ “governor!”/then he heard the voice of his own little boy say, “that’s nothin’, my daddy knows God!” (top that!) They said, he does not! “does too!” How do you know? “I heard him talkin’ to him just this morning!”

I would encourage you if you are a family or married, when you set down to eat, hold hands as a family and say a brief prayer of thanks that says, “God we just remind ourselves the food came from You in the first place.” Pray aloud together as a family.

•Troubles

When you face unexpected problems and pressures, when you have a crisis, who do you turn to? God says,”Turn to Me first when you’ve got a problem.” Many people, when they’re in a tight situation, prayer is the last resort, not the first option. They do everything they can physically to try to correct the problem then they say, “I guess now all we can do is pray.” Like it must really be hopeless! Prayer should not be your last resort, it
should be your first option.

Make God your first resort in a crisis. He says He is an ever present help a refuge in time of need. God is waiting. He commands us to turn to Him first.

“Call upon Me in your day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor Me.” Psalm. 50:15

Some people get embarrassed and think, I don’t talk to God much when times are good and I don’t want to bother him with my problems. God says, “Bother Me. It’s no bother. I can handle your and every other person’s problems at the same time. Bring it to me. Don’t carry it all yourself.”

If you want to build a successful life and a strong family you’ve got to have the right foundation. You’ve got to put God first.

Joshua’s Commitment:
“As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua. 24:15 LB

Moving Forward (A New Season for GraceTown)

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Moving Forward (A New Season for GraceTown)

Genesis 26:12-13 KJV –  Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

One man said this…”If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always be what we’ve always been.”

If we desire to become great we must “Move Forward.”

Church’s Focus Must Always Be:

1. The Word of God.
•(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT) “All Scripture is inspired by God and is
useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is
wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches
us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people
to do every good work.”

•God’s Word is the the primary catalyst for transformation. You will never grow up as fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ on a diet of spiritual twinkies.

2. Worship.
•(Psalm 103:2-5 NIV) “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not
all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your
diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with
love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

•God is central. We celebrate the sacraments by participating in communion & water baptism

3. Prayer.
•(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT) “Never stop praying.”
•(1 John 5:14-15 NIV) “This is the confidence we have in
approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he
hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we
know that we have what we asked of him.”

4. People
•(Luke 14:23 LB) “Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to
come in, so that My house will be full.”
•Acts 5:14 NIV – Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number

•The church is the primary place where people come to faith in Christ and begin to live as Christians. Lost people matter to God & therefore ought to matter to the church.

The apostle Paul understood the principle of Moving Forward when he said…

Phil 3:13 TLB “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,”

Exodus 14:15 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

In this passage, God had already given Israel deliverance from the Egyptians.

And now they are headed toward the promise land after leaving Egypt.

Suddenly, they come to the Red Sea.
The enemy is behind.
They can’t go left or right.
They can’t go back.

THERE WAS ONLY ONE DIRECTION FOR THEM TO GO…FORWARD!

Moses began to cry to the Lord.

And God said… “What are you crying to me for? Tell Israel to go forward.”

But there was no apparent way to go forward.
No boats or bridges.
They couldn’t possibly swim across
But God said “Go Forward.”
And when they did, God did something He had never done before, and Israel escaped on dry land.

The unexpected happened when they began to MOVE FORWARD!
What does it take to move forward?

#1. It takes knowing and understanding that we are heading to something better.

A. Where we are now is only temporary. This is not our final destination. Don’t get Stuck.

•Isaiah 43:19 NIV – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland

•Yesterday’s excellence is today’s mediocrity & tomorrow’s failure.
•God is into moving forward and if you want to experience God in the present you can’t linger in the past!

B.Move out of your place of comfort. They were comfortable in Egypt, they were used to living as slaves, and they were used to settling for the left over. They said; “It would have been better for us to be slaves in Egypt than to die in the dessert.”

I Dream of a Church

Where People are truly loved, valued, and accepted
Where there is safety and security for people to try
Where lives are rescued, restored, and given hope
Where God’s presence flourishes in the simple and non religious
Where fun and laughter are mixed with tears & mourning, expressed with sensitivity
Where truth, honesty, and health are honored and lived out
Where people are deeply connected to God in body, mind, soul, and spirit
Where culture is met, embraced, and transformed
Where beauty, art, and creativity are valued, used, and understood as coming from being connected to the Creator
We value innovation and are willing to take risks in order to bring glory to God
Where performance is replaced by reality and truth
Where our stance is always love, and everything else is a conversation
Where judgement is left to God, who is fair, just, and true
And our place is to build, encourage, and comfort with an attitude of Grace
Where a lost and aimless people want to be, even if they are not sure why
Worship to God is full, vibrant, real, and pleasing to God
Where other churches are valued and supported
and where people’s visions and ideas of ministry come to life;
Where people are equipped for and do ministry in accordance with their gifts
I dream of a church where Jesus truly reigns as King
and His followers are dedicated to making Him the center of their lives, hopes, and dreams
Because He is our hope and the anchor of our souls, He is our security and the firm base of our lives to be built together…That’s my dream for GraceTown Church

Proverbs 3:27-28 Msg – “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

What Can I Do to Move MY GraceTown Forward?
1. Pray.

(Matthew 9:37-38 NIV) “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
(Ephesians 1:17-18 NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.

2. Serve.
(Ephesians 2:10 NIV) “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(Galatians 6:4 MSG) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”

3. Give.
(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to come.”
(Mark 8:35 LB) “If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.”

ThanksLiving

thanksliving
ThanksLiving

The following proclamation was made by Governor Bradford in 1623, 3 years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth;

To all ye Pilgrims,

“Inasmuch as the great father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the raids of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving t ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”

This Thursday is Thanksgiving. One day in which we like those early Pilgrims set aside time in our busy schedules to give thanks to God. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but the word of God tells us that this should be a continual, daily, attitude.

•In 1982, the actor Kirk Douglas flew to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He was there to do a documentary about the three million Afghan refugees who had fled to that country. He went out one day to meet with some refugees, up near the Kyber Pass. Gunfire could be heard in the background, just across the Afghan border. Douglas sat on the ground with the elders of a displaced Afghan tribe. They were eating with their fingers out of a common bowl. Through an interpreter Douglas told them, “In my country, today is Thanksgiving Day, one day every year that we set aside to give thanks for all that we have in life.” The leader of the elders, a man with a long white beard, nodded his head. Through the interpreter he said, “In my country, we give thanks every day.” Will we join them?

Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV – “Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
•Circle “all”. God says “I want you to be thankful in all circumstances.” It does not say “for all circumstances”. You cannot always be thankful for the circumstances, but you can be thankful in the situation. I know that God is working all things for good. He has a pattern and He fits even the bad things in our lives into that pattern for good. God’s purpose for my life is greater than my problems, so in everything I can give thanks. Not “for”, but “in”.
• Sometimes the circumstances of our lives are not always the best. In fact, they may be downright bad, but still, we are to look for something to be thankful for! And there is ALWAYS something positive for which we can be thankful!
•Paul’s main subject here is PRAISE, THANKSGIVING. Notice the other important words in these passages; ALWAYS, CONTINUALLY, and IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. It sounds as if Paul is talking about a church service here, especially in Eph. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart…” But he isn’t. He is talking about a continual attitude for Christians – an attitude of the heart. How we are to be to each other. But how, you may wonder, can we have this attitude continually, especially “in all circumstances?” I believe the answer lies in our perspective of thanksgiving.

Example: The day before Thanksgiving an elderly man in Phoenix called his son in New York and said to him, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough. We’re sick of each other, and so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” Frantic, the son called his sister, who exploded on the phone. “Like heck they’re getting divorced,” she shouted, “I’ll take care of this.” She called Phoenix immediately, and said to her father. “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” The man hung up his phone and turned to his wife. “Okay, honey. The kids are coming for Thanksgiving and paying for their flights.”

I. Conquer Complaining

Complaining is a kill-joy. It makes you unhappy, everybody else around you unhappy. The problem is that it is a hard habit to break. We are naturally negative. We tend to look at the bad things in life. We are conditioned by society. Bad news makes the headlines. We are bombarded continuously with what’s wrong with everything. By our own nature and by our conditioning we tend to develop the habit of complaining. The Bible says God wants Christians to be different.

PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

AW Tozer said, “A thankful heart cannot be cynical”

•”A lady known as an incurable grumbler constantly complained about everything. At last her preacher thought he had found something about which she would be happy, for her farm crop was the finest for miles around. When he met her, he said with a beaming smile, `You must be very happy Mary. Everyone is saying how healthy your potatoes look this year.’ `True they’re pretty good, but what am I going to do when I need bad ones to feed the pigs.’”

Complainers:
•Life is not fair. God never said it is going to be fair. It will be fair in Heaven. He will settle the score in Heaven and hell. As long as you complain about the fact that life is not fair it only makes you more miserable. But it will never change the fact that life is not always fair. Complaining does not work.

•They are pros at having pity parties. When they are sick or under pressure they want everybody to know about it. How do you react when you don’t get your way? Do you mount a complaining campaign?

ILL.- Dr. Dale Robbins writes, “I used to think people complained because they had a lot of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain. Complaining doesn’t change anything or make situations better. It amplifies frustration, spreads discontent and discord, and can invoke an invitation for the devil to cause havoc with our lives.” Complaining makes us miserable.

Psalm 77:3 says, “I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed.”

Complaining is the archenemy of thanksgiving. The two cannot co-exist in the same heart. And so I challenge you to try to quit complaining for a whole month. Just try it.

“It’s not happy people who are Thankful, It is thankful people who are happy”

II. Being Unthankful is the root cause for much sin, frustration & devastation

Romans 1:21 NIV –  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Futile – To make empty, vain, foolish, useless, confused. The word describes the perverted logic and idolatrous presumption of those who do not honor God or show Him any gratitude for His blessings.
“The worst possible moment for an atheist is when he or she feels grateful and has no one to thank”
“He who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness”

III. Reasons to Be Thankful

“If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled” – Charles Spurgeon

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; & that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

God, His Eternal Goodness

Psalm 100:4–5 (ESV) — 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 118:1 NIV says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”

Probably one of the most important reasons for us to be thankful as Christians is simply because of who God is. He is a good God, worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. David recognized this and setup some Levites to minister. Their task was simply to stand before the the Lord to thank and praise him.

1 Chron 16:34 – Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
Ps 30:4 – Give thanks to his holy name.

Ps 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

When you look at the whole of the Bible, you’ll discover that it’s not people-centric. It’s God-centric. Everything points back to who God is. And our reasons for being thankful begin, and could end, with God.

2. Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

Colossians 3:15–17 (ESV) — 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Right alongside of being thankful for God’s goodness is being thankful for Jesus Christ. We should be thankful for who he is and what he’s done for us. Paul here wrote that we should do everything in the name of Christ, which should flow out of a grateful heart.

If you’re lacking reasons in life to be grateful, maybe you’ve taken your focus off of Jesus and placed it on yourself.

3. God’s Ultimate Deliverance in Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:55–57 (ESV) — 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:4 (ESV) — 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

Something that should not exist is a grumpy Christian. But sadly many of us walk around with an ungrateful attitude. Now, I’m not suggesting for a second that any of us should be fake. If your personality isn’t bubbly, don’t act bubbly. But you shouldn’t always look at things and only see the negative. Our salvation transforms our hearts and minds into a grateful container of God’s grace and forgiveness.

4. Troubles in Life

Job 1:21 (ESV) — 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) — 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This would also include what the great theologian Garth Brooks described as “Unanswered Prayers.” We all face trials in life, some more than others, and how we respond to them will show the true condition of our hearts.

Billy Graham comments: “Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. Scripture does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside of Christ.”

Some of the most pathetic people in the world are those who, in the midst of adversity, indulge themselves by wallowing in self-pity and bitterness, all the while taking a sort of delight in blaming God for their problems.

Job’s attitude is an inspiration: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).
The sufferer will be blessed if, in the midst of great agony and despair, he can look into the face of his Heavenly Father and, because of His eternal love and presence, be grateful. Our response to suffering should lead us to look beyond it in the attempt to see God’s higher purposes

CS Lewis said, “hardships prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny”

Matt Chandler, the pastor of the Village Church in Dallas, TX had faced severe troubles. 4 yrs ago Thanksgiving he was rushed to the ER when his wife discovered him having a seizure on the living room floor. He was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor that needed to be removed. He’s battled the cancer aggressively and in a recent MRI the cancer is gone.

But what people have seen in him, more than a potential healing, is his attitude through it all. He was quoted in a Dallas Morning News article: “At the end of the day, I don’t believe God gave me this cancer, but I do believe he could have stopped it and didn’t. … God is not punishing me, but somehow, for my joy and his glory, he’s let me endure this and walked me through.”

By giving thanks to God in both good times and bad, Christians can show the world an attitude that is foreign to them. It’s normal to be thankful in good times, but it’s unheard of to be Thankful to God during troubles.

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good; if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” ~ C. S. Lewis

So, where are you this morning on the gratitude scale? Do you have a deep sense of gratitude to God for all he’s done and will do in and through you, or do you tend to find the reasons to be skeptical or negative in life?

“Happiness comes when we stop wailing about the troubles we have and offer thanks for all the troubles we don’t have”

The Blessed Life Pt.4

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The Blessed Life – Part 4
1 Chron. 4: 9-10 NIV – Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother
had named him Jabez, [a] saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out
to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let
your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
And God granted his request.

What a great proclamation!…

We’re finishing a series called The blessed life, and we’ve been seeking to answer
the question: What is a blessed life? What does a life of blessing look like? Is there
anything that God has done to bless me? What can I do to receive the blessings of
God? Does God expect me to be a blessing to others?

Regardless of your background, most of you have the heard the word “bless” for
years. When somebody sneezes, we hear, ”God bless you”, but how many people
saying that even know what it really means? Most believers have heard Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk….” They’ve heard one of the beatitudes of
Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

The word bless, or blessing, appears over 700 times in the scriptures and its’
meaning carries profound importance in our lives today.

Blessed – Happy, Fortunate, to be envied. To endue with power for success,
prosperity, abundant, (profuse, excessive, super, overflowing, extraordinary)
supply, long life, as to live in health, To invoke divine favor and good upon. peace.
To be blessed means to have supernatural power working for you.

MISTAKEN IDEAS OF A BLESSED LIFE

Mistake – to think that your life is not blessed because you’re still in debt, or that
your life is a blessed success because you have lots of stuff and bling-bling to go
w/it. (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?)

Mistake– to think that you have to give away everything you have, and have
nothing, be nothing, and do nothing. Jesus did not tell all of His followers to give it
all away. He told all of us to live a life of giving, but only told a few to give it all
away.(It’s not what we possess that’s important, but what possesses us)
The best thing you can do for the poor, is to not be one. We need to give people a
hand up, not just a handout.

Margaret Thatcher said, “Nobody would have remembered the good Samaritan if
he only had good intentions, he had money as well.”

Mistake – to think that we all have to think, drink, live, look and dress like
everyone else in order to have a blessed life. Not everyone is going to make the
same amount of money, drive the same kind of car, and live in the same kind of
house. Some are not interested, others are not qualified, some are not ready.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

1) IT IS GOD’S NATURE TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE.

To simply hear this is not important… but to think it and believe it will change what
you experience in your life.

If the blessing of God becomes part of your psyche… your belief system… it will
influence how you live life and what you experience in your life.

Most people live unaware of God’s nature as a God of blessing… they may know
him as a God of judgment or consider him a God of 10 commandments… But few
recognize his extravagant over the top eagerness to bless his people.

Eph. 1:3 NIV “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.”

1. God is good
a. The Bible connects the name of the Lord or God or Jesus or the Spirit
with “good” or “goodness” 370 Times.
b. Psalm 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored
up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those
who take refuge in you

c. Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See that the Lord is GOOD…(food exp)
d. God is like 100% Florida Orange Juice – He is 100% Good
God’s very nature is goodness

2. God does good things for His people

a. God’s very nature is goodness.
b. Psalm 72:18 – Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.

c. Jeremiah (31:14) prophesied that God ‘s people will be “satisfied”
with His goodness. He kept on saying that God will not turn away
from doing them good. (Jer. 32:40-42)
d. Psalm 103:4-5 – 4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires
with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

e. When God gives He always exceeds our expectations
f. God loves us; not because we are lovable but because He is love, not
because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.”- C.S.
Lewis

3. His Nature has never changed
g. HE has no need for improvement. He can’t get any better, stronger,
more loving, and kind than He already is.
h. Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and
forever.”

i. Malachi 3:6 tells us that the Lord does not change and that is why we
are not consumed!
j. When He created the world, He saw that everything He made was
“very good” (Genesis 1)
k. God cannot cease from doing good, because HE is GOOD!

> IN THE PLACE OF BLESSING, A PERSON WILL EXPERIENCE
PROTECTION, PEACE, FAVOR, PROMOTIONS, PROSPERITY… A
FRUITFUL AND FLOURISHING LIFE!

> God has something better for us… a life that is rich in every way… focused on
serving him, loving him, walking in his purpose…

Prov. 10:22-The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and he adds no trouble to it!

Ps.1:3 -Blessed is the man… he is like a tree planted by streams of water, which
yields fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers

2) BLESSINGS FOLLOW BLESSED PEOPLE.

When the blessing of the Lord is on a person’s life… the blessing on them extends
into what they do… wherever they go… their house, business, their communities,
their churches… EVEN WHEN THEY ARE IN DIFFICULT
SITUATIONS…..BLESSINGS FOLLOW THEM.

EX: JACOB WHO WORKED FOR A MAN WHO WAS UNFAIR AND SOUGHT
TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIM.

Genesis 30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please
stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.”

Genesis 30:30 (Jacob to Laban)The little you had before I came has increased
greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I
do something for my own household?”

EX: JOSEPH WHO WAS BETRAYED BY HS BROTHERS AND ENDED UP IN
A FOREIGN LAND AS A SLAVE

Genesis 39:5 From the time he (Potiphor) put him (Joseph) in charge of his
household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the
Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything
Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.

THE BLESSING OF GOD FLOWS IN OUR LIFE THROUGH OUR
“POSITIONING”. IT’S THE POSITIONING OF OUR HEARTS, MINDS,
ATTITUDES AND ACTION THAT PUTS US IN A PLACE OF CONTINUED
BLESSING.

POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR GOD BLESSINGS
1) THE POSITION OF DOMINION.

Gen. 1:28- And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon
the earth.

THE POSITION OF BLESSING IS NOT THE SIT BACK AND DO NOTHING
POSITION!! GOD’S BLESSING IS NOT TO REPLACE MAN’S INITIATIVE
TO WORK BUT TO EMPOWER HIM TO WORK.

A) God’s blessing is not a heavenly handout program. This is why when the work
ethic is replaced by charity… individuals experience poverty… nations
experience poverty…

Ex: the welfare programs in America have not worked. The welfare programs
which began in 1964 actually increased social need and the amount of people who
are poor and dependent has increased rather than decreased. After billions has been
spent, poverty has grown in America. God never intended welfare to be a way of
life…..when we feed and clothe the poor without requiring and empowering them
to work we enable them to remain poor… and miss out on God’s blessings. God’s
blessing is not found where people are visionless, idle…indifferent to
work…lazy….God’s blessing is not a heavenly handout—-God’s blessing is on
the place of vision, usefullness, ambition, initiative… God’s blessings is not
intended to replace mans initiative to work and take dominion in the earth

B) The earth is and always has been a place of abundance. There is no shortage on
natural resources. There is no good reason for poverty, homelessness and
deprivation to exist on a planet that has an abundance of everything we need.
When you see poverty it’s because of man’s ideology… corrupt government… A
violation of God’s principles…

•Random House Dictionary defines “WORK” as – “Exertion or effort
directed to produce or accomplish something.” It can be Physical,
mental, or both. The purpose of work is to produce an item or
accomplish a goal.

The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.”-
Robert Frost

C. Work is God’s Gift (Blessing), not punishment (Curse) –

Eccl. 5:19 NIV – Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and
possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in
his toil—this is the gift of God.

1. Our work is to give us a sense of purpose to create the
wealth that God intended us to have.
2. Many people see WORK as an inconvenience, drudgery,
or unimportant. Some say it is a part of the fall therefore it is a curse.
3. Folks the Marketplace (your place of employment) is
more than a job, it is a place to serve and glorify God.

Deuteronomy 28:8 NIV – The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on
everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is
giving you.

“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes
by it.”- John Ruskin

Ephesians 2:10 NIV – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God’s growing grace(in me), gives purpose/meaning to my present life. (we build
on our foundation of Christ w/good works/actions that will be rewarded.) !
Our salvation is a product of God’s love and the work of Christ on our behalf,
but God’s blessings are a product of our growth and obedience.

Nobody will argue the fact that the greatest blessing is our salvation, but God’s
design for His people includes growth and becoming fully obedient, to experience
all the blessings He has for them.

2. The Position of Obedience

God offers rewards and blessings as incentives for obedience

Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 13 ESV – And if you faithfully obey the voice of the
Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command
you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the
earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you
obey the voice of the Lord your God.

13 – And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only
go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God,
which I command you today, being careful to do them,

A) When you live your life submitted to God… careful to know and obey his plan,
you can expect him to be with you and bless you in what you do…

**Once you experience God’s blessing on your life you don’t want to settle for a
life without it… Its there for you in city, field, house, work… visions, oppositions,
challenges, adversity

The strength of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and
going in that way too.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but
obedience.” – Oswald Chambers

God wants us to Obey Him in order to produce good seasons of blessings
and reward in our lives

•Isa. 1:19 NIV – If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good
things of the land;

When the seeds of disobedience are planted, The blessings of God begin to
shut down.

Obedience is the only thing God will ever require of you. When you ask God
for blessings He will always give you an instruction. Your obedience is the
only proof that you truly believed His instructions to you.

3. The Position of Right Words – GOD INSTRUCTED HIS PRIEST/PASTORS
TO DECLARE BLESSINGS OVER HIS PEOPL
E

Proverbs 11:11 NIV – Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroy
ed.

Words are what carry and extend blessings… or hinder and stop blessings…
This is why God told Moses what he wanted the priest to say over the people… Its
not just for the priest… Its for everyone… the congregation, parents… !
Numbers 6:22-27 “The Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons, this is
how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep
you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord
turn his face toward you and give you peace. So they will put My name on
the Israelites and I will bless them.”

In 40 of the 68 NT uses of the word blessing, the word used is “eulogia”, a word
which means: To speak well of, and to praise. This is where we get our English
word eulogy, which is looking to speak well of another person who has passed
away; like at a funeral.

A) Our words serve as conduits of life’s struggles or Gods goodness &
Blessings…

Proverbs 18:21 NIV – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who
love it will eat its fruit.

You wont experience victory talking defeat… you’ve got to talk victory.
You won’t experience joy talking sadness… singing sadness… you’ve got to talk
joy.

You wont experience peace talking about the chaos… confusion… you’ve got to
talk about peace.

If you want to experience more blessing talk about your blessings, elaborate and
celebrate your blessings… magnify your blessings and minimize your
disappointments…

To live a life of blessing means to not only realize that God has spoken well of us,
but to realize that we should speak well of others also.

I Peter 3:9 NIV “Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult, but with
blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing.”

WRAP UP
I want to encourage you to position yourself for God’s blessings to flow
unhindered in your life… Don’t leave openings for the enemy to enter your life.
Live in the protection and favor of God.

The Blessed Life Pt.3

Tithing
The Blessed Life Part 3
(Proverbs 10:22 NIV) “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil
for it.”

Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT – Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose
everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be
refreshed.

Introduction:
•The Bible doesn’t ignore this subject. In fact, it speaks to the subject head on, with
eyes open and no holds barred. The Bible claims to be the single best guidebook on
Finances ever written. Some 2000 passages in the Bible refer to the use of money.
Two Thirds of Jesus’ parables make some reference to it. Because it reveals a
major area of our lives. What we do with $ reveals our hearts.

We are not talking about this subject today because we want to get something from
you, we want to get something to you! I’m hesitant of talking about it because of
how some preachers perverted the subject. But you can’t talk about “The Blessed
Life” with out talking about wealth, money, riches, & generosity.
This principal I am going to talk to you about has radically changed our lives!

The Key to the Blessed Life is DEDICATE IT ALL TO GOD.
Proverbs 3:6 says “In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and
crown your efforts with success.”

How many of you would like to be Blessed? There it is! In everything you do put
God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
Here’s the principle: whatever you want God to bless in your life dedicate it to
Him. If you want God to bless your marriage, dedicate your marriage to God. If
you want God to bless your kids, dedicate your kids to God. If you want God to
bless your career, dedicate your career to God. If you want God to bless your
finances, your money, dedicate your money to God. Whatever is dedicated to
God, He blesses. It’s simple.

Rom. 12:1 (Mes)“Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, goingto-
work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.”

(Matthew 6:21 NIV) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Notice what most people do with their money.
1. they spend it. Actually they overspend it.
2. they worry about it.
3. they start repaying it.
4. if they’ve got any left over they save a little.
5. Finally they give it.

God says no, this is the order that I will bless.
1. dedicate it all to Me.
2. tithe it.
3. save it.
4. repay it.
5. enjoy it.

I. The Blessed Test – If God is going to BLESS us, He’s first going to TEST us.
Why?
Luke 16:10-11 NIV – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted
with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with
much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will
trust you with true riches?

1. God must be first.
(Genesis 4:2-5 NIV) “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the
course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his
flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his
offering he did not look with favor.”

(Exodus 20:2-3 NIV) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out
of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

2. We put God first by giving Him the first of everything.
(Leviticus 27:30 NIV) “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the
soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

A. Tithe – means returning a tenth (10%) to the Lord- It’s God’s idea.

•Tithe puts us all on the same level of sacrifice. It is worship to God.
It must be returned to God. Returning not Giving.

Tithing is not a mosaic innovation, but it is a legalization of what
Abraham had done VOLUNTARILY 400 years before the Law came. He tithed to
the Lord as a lifestyle principle, not a ritual or rule.

-A commandment is something you obey as long as it is in effect.
-A principal is something that you live by on a constant basis.
-The duration of a commandment is subject to change, but a principal
is unchangeable.

Years ago John D. Rockefeller was the Bill Gates of America. He was the
wealthiest man in the world, president of Standard Oil. He was asked, “What is
the secret of your prosperity?” He said this. “Tithe ten-percent, save ten-percent
and live on the rest.” That’s the 10-10-80 principle.

John G McCoy, Banker of Banc One told Les Wexner when he was a young man
and just starting out, that he should start Tithing financially and with his time and
he did. Les said he was so nervous he thought they were calling in his loan and he
was on the verge of passing out. 🙂

(Exodus 23:19 NIV) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the
Lord your God.”

(Deuteronomy 14:23 LB) “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God
in first place in your life.”

3. The first blesses the rest.

Tithing is giving God my first and best so He can bless the rest
How much can God bless you with?

It requires Faith to give first. If you give last, it doesn’t require faith.

(Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV) “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of
all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will
brim over with new wine.”

(Malachi 3:98-12 NIV) “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How
do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse because you are
robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in
my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw
open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be
room enough to store it. Then all the nations will call you blessed.”

•Tithing Provides & funds for God’s Work through the Church (Our Budget)

Benefits:
Builds my Faith in God , The Lord will prove himself to you.
The windows of heaven will open for you, The Lord will pour you out a blessing
The blessing will be larger than you can contain, God will rebuke the devourer for
you, You will be fruitful and have increase, All people will call you blessed
You will be a delightful household, You will be in the Book of Remembrance
before the Lord, The Lord will give you power to get wealth
The Lord will delight in your prosperity, Your house will be filled with plenty
You will be given the opportunity to declare your independence from the world’s
economic system

(Matthew 6:24-33 NIV) “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the
one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your
life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life
more than food, and the body more than clothes?…If that is how God clothes the
grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he
not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall
we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run
after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to
you as well

As Christians we don’t serve money, We serve God.
Remember: What you do with what you have reveals what you believe about God!
What steps will you take this week to pass the blessed test?