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Death in the Pot! (2 Kings 4:38-41)

2 Kings 4:38-41
38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. 39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. 40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof. 41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

Honoring God (Psalm 111:1-10)

Psalm 111:1-10
God is absolutely to be honored in our lives and when we do He will honor all who honor Him for He said that “those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained” (1 Samuel 2:30; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Revelations 4:11; 5:12-13; 7:12). The reward for those who seeks to live lives that are obedient and pleasing to God will find life, prosperity and honor (Proverbs 21:21; Psalm 84:11). Today I want to talk about honoring God and honoring His works, honoring Him for who He is and His love for us and His grace towards us. But how can we really honor Him?
1. Honor God by having the desire to worship Him.
  • Having a willful desire and a willful decision to worship Him.
  • People often are concerned and troubled about worship and worship styles and how we are to do it. Everybody has a ton of idea about worship and how to praise God and the way it should happen or the steps of it. It seems that everybody knows how it needs to happen but honestly worship if we bring it to its simple form is really not about how you do it but it is a life that is totally and completely surrendered to God.
  • Praise the Lord with my whole heart. (Psalm 111:1)
  • How do I honor God with my worship?
◦ What is it that really brings true worship in people’s lives?
a. Inadequacy. Realizing and seeing your own weakness. We see our inability to produce our own results.
  • God wants to remind you and me that the work that needs to be done is something that He is going to do.
  • It is important that we learn the habit of remembering what God has done and what He can do. I want to be reminded that God is a miracle working, impossible working God. And because He has a history of doing great things, then I can believe Him to do anything that He said He is going to do.
b. Confusion. Worship comes and is released in people’s lives because of confusion.
  • He takes our weaknesses and makes them strengths. (Romans 8:26)
  • In the time of my confusion when I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to respond, I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know what the remedy is. During these times it drives me to God because He is the one that can clarify every concern that I have. It seems that in my confusion is when God really shows up.
c. Worship happens because of honesty.
  • Honesty produces worship.
· What truly is meaningful is the Lord, knowing His power, knowing His glory and not what I have to offer. When we realize our own sense of weakness is when true worship is released in our hearts and then the Lord begins to produce ministry and release faith in our lives. (Philippians 3:8)
2. Honor God by taking a stand of faith and trusting His Word.
  • Faith in what God has done. (Psalm 111:2-9)
  • We honor the Lord best when we don’t worry. Rest your life in Him. You don’t worry anymore when you believe that God is a responsible God and will take care of everything that needs to happen. We need to say, “My life is in God and in God alone.”
3. Honor God by my commitment to endure.
  • What are some of the benefits of committing my life and enduring and trusting Him?
◦ We will understand the Lord better because the Holy Spirit helps us to know God.
◦ We will know God’s Word better because the Holy Spirit will reveal it to us.
◦ We will understand ministry better because the Holy Spirit will gift us.

Giving Honor (Luke 2:39-52)

When you honor people –  when you honor your father and mother as God said you should then things will be well with you (Ephesians 6:1-3). But how do you do that? How do you honor the people that you really love? The best illustration of somebody that honored their parent is no better than Jesus Himself. One of the thing that greatly moves me is that He brought great honor to His family and to His mother.
How do you honor people? In particular, how do we honor our moms?
  1. By giving.
    • By giving them peace of mind. Not just to respect and love them, but to bring some sanity to their mind. They can worry about a lot of thing, but they don’t have to worry about you.
    • Jesus grew in wisdom and knowledge. The suggestion in this word to grow is that Jesus was self-motivated, He was not pressed. He didn’t have to be demanded of everything. He brought an incredible amount of peace to His mother’s heart and mind. (v.40)
    • Jesus was the kind of son we should be, the kind of daughter we can be. There was a continuing desire in His life to grow in the wisdom and the knowledge of God.
  1. Be obedient.
    • Jesus honored his mother by being subjected and obedient to her. Subjection means to fall into rank under somebody that is over you. (v. 51)
    • You cannot disobey your mother and have life well with you. Somewhere down the road in life things will come down on you. You may be doing well now but somewhere down the line you will discover that when you don’t honor Gods ways there is always a price to pay.
  1. We honor by loving her.
    • You love someone by putting them first. I believe that Jesus through His life cared for His mother. He was so concerned about His mother even on the cross that He made sure that she was cared for. (John 19:25-27)
  1. We honor our mother more than anything else by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
    • You can love her, give to her and obey her, but there is nothing greater than you making a decision to receive Jesus, putting Him first in your heart and obeying His ways in your life.

I Will Be Devoted to the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:10-17)

I Will Be Devoted to the Word of God
2 Timothy 3:10-17
It is very interesting that when the Bible talks about the “last days” we find that it is a description of the day and time in which we live in. But during terrible times as Paul described, how are we going to live and what are we going to do? Those who lives for God is going to face persecutions, trials and troubles (v.12). It is going to come, it is just the way it is if you know God and love God. But who are you going to trust and who are you going to follow and how are you going to live your life? Paul was burdened for Timothy. He writes about ministry and leadership and principles that he has learned and hopes Timothy would have learned as he watched him live his life. Paul was telling him to be careful who to follow and give allegiance to and to follow those who are living godly lives and encourages him to live in such a way (v.10).
During terrible and challenging times in life, we are exhorted by the Apostle Paul to keep our eyes on God, to make sure we are careful as to who we are going to follow and to live godly lives.
  1. An open book. (v.10-11)
    • We are to live life where there is nothing hidden or surprises in them. We are to be a people who are not living in public one way and another way in private. We are open for everybody to see our life.
    • Timothy served with Paul and he knew how Paul lived. He lived with faith, patience, love, endurance and steadfastness for the Word of God.
  1. Life of faith.
    • Paul was a man of faith who always loved God. Always trusting and believing that nothing is impossible with God.
  1. Live life for the glory of God.
    • In everything you do, do for the glory of God.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
    • Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
  1. Be devoted to the Word of God. (v. 15)
    • Make sure you are committed to God’s Word.
    • Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
    • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you…”
    • 1 Timothy 4:13 “…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”
    • Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws of Israel.”
    • Continuing in God’s Word is what will keep you during times of trials, when things are not ideal, and you wish things are better and things would change.
  1. Be directed by the Word of God. (v. 16)
    • The Word of God is given to teach us (right and wrong), to convict us (the Bible will show things in your life that really needs help and change), to correct us and to train us.
    • Psalm 119:97- 112. The Word of God gives us a clear mind so there is no confusion of what we are to do. It will give you wisdom, insight, understanding and adjust your priorities and keep you away from evil path and preserve your life.
  1. Be a person of prayer.
    • Not just in asking but being silent before God to listen to what He is saying.
    • Pray the Word of God.
When it comes to our devotion, we need to be devoted to the Word of God. It is the only thing that will make us mature. People who know God’s Word, who are committed to His Word, walk day by day in faith and trust and confidence in God become mature. When we live life devoted to God’s Word, we are given an ability to handle sufferings and trials and any situations we face in life (v.17).

Return to God’s Word (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34)

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34
The neglect we have of the Word of God happens mainly because of our disobedience to Him. Often many people turn away and walk away from relationship with God because of sin, rebellion, greed, pride, lust, and worshipping false gods and idols. The neglect and a falling away from the Word of God also happens because we live such busy lives without having clear priorities of what is important. We daily live our lives consumed with worldly things, with our own ways and desires and have built our foundations on sinking sand instead of having our life’s foundation built on Solid Rock, the Word (Luke 6:46-49; Matthew 7:24-27).
1. Return to making the Word of God, the Bible to be the main foundation of our lives.
  • Truly recognize and know the value of the Word of God.
  • The Word of God is clear and foundational in everything. It removes all confusion. There is no confusion between right and wrong. The Word of God will say what is right and what is wrong. The Word of God tells us the way to walk, the way to live, the way to go.
  • Read the Word.
2. Returning to God’s Word is evidenced by our response to it.
  • 2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Kings 23:1-25
  • Once you hear and discover what the Word of God is saying, what do you do then?
  • I should not forget or willfully disregard and neglect God’s teachings, commands and principles but I need to do something about it. Obedience. (Proverbs 3:1-8; Deuteronomy 8:1; 30:20; Matthew 7:24-27)
  • Respond with a tender heart, with humility and surrender that leads you to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10) that leads to obedience that leads to commitment or recommitment and dedication or rededication to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
  • Renew your Covenant with God. (2 Kings 23:1-3; 2 Chronicles 34:29-31)
  • Live according to God’s Word (2 Kings 23:4-25).
o You and I cannot just study the Word for the sake of studying, but we must allow it to transform our life first (2 Kings 22:11).
o We must allow it to transform our church family life as well (2 Kings 23:1-3). And before we as a church can impact our community, we must come into alignment with God’s will and purpose.
o Transform a nation, our island (2 Chronicles 7:14).
  • Are we willing to follow the Lord in holiness? (1 Peter 1:13-16)
o Remove and do away with everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles you. (Hebrews 12:1; 2 Kings 23:4-25)
o Live changed lives. (James 1:19-27)
o Acknowledge the sin – repent – turn from worthless things (Acts 14:15) – turn to God. Prove your repentance by your deed (Acts 26:20). If your repentance is genuine, then it will bear fruit.
o How will I be different today because of what I have learned? What changes do I need to make? What am I going to do about it?
God’s heart is for people, for us to return to Him in obedience to His Word and genuinely love, worship Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30). As God’s people, we do turn or return to Him, but at times not as serious as we should. Then, we find corruption and rebellion sets in again. This happens to individuals, and even as an island and as a nation. We return to forsaking the true and living God, we disobey His Word, instead of truly returning to Him in relationship.
If we as individuals, as an island, as a nation would only worship God, serve Him, then we will be blessed beyond measure. There is great potential for us to be a people who lives in unity together, in prosperity and in abundance. But we often waste the opportunity because we live independent of God, we turn away from Him and His ways. Instead, we turn to other gods – the god of pleasure, the god of power, the god of materialism, etc. With the worship of the false gods, comes the weakening of the moral values of an individual, an island and a nation. Forsaking the one true God leads ultimately to downfall and His judgments.
As Believers, to those who put their trust in God, we have great hope. I believe that God will spare our island, our nation for the righteous that is here. You and I are the salt of the earth, Christians are the ones that I believe is preserving our island and our nation from the wrath and judgment of God from coming today. I believe God is going to preserve His righteous before He brings His judgment.
For the now, let us pray that people will return to making the Word of God the main foundation of their lives and live in obedience to His ways and walk after Him as did King Josiah. Lord, let it begin with me first.

I Need To Do Things God’s Way (Proverbs 3:1-8)

Proverbs 3:1-8
As Christians, you and I should spend our lives seeking the wisdom of God. In the book of Proverbs, God gives us a treasure full of wisdom for living life. If we would read this book it will fill our lives with wisdom that will affect practically every area of our lives. If you have questions about life in general, especially if you have questions about the will of God in your life or maybe you are trying to figure out the will of God, and if you want to be in the center of the will of God in your life, then it begins by understanding very basic and simple principles found in these few verses of Proverbs chapter 3. I think God gives us the formula for living successfully and it always works. When it comes to God’s formula for you and I becoming what He wants us to be and moving in the direction and the path He has for you and me, these three principles will always be true.
1. The foundation of your life and mine is the Word of God.
  • “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart.” (v.1)
  • God’s Word is foundational in everything that I am going to do.
  • The Word of God draws a straight line. The Word of God is clear and foundational in everything. It removes all confusion. There is no confusion between right and wrong. The Word of God will say what is right and what is wrong. The Word of God tells us the way to walk, the way to live, the way to go. It is the answer to everything we face in life.
  • If you want to know a life with blessings and success, then ground your life on the Word of God.
2. There needs to be a response to God’s Word.
  • I should not forget or willfully disregard and neglect God’s teachings, commands and principles but I need to do something about it. Obedience. (v. 1; Deuteronomy 8:1; 30:20)
  • I need to decide that I am going to trust God and no one else and nothing else. I am not going to turn any other way. (v. 5; Psalm 37:3,5)
o Trusting is a total commitment and reliance upon God on my part. It is more than just trying God but a complete abandonment to God.
  • One of the responses, one of the points of obedience in your life and mine will be an acknowledgement of God. (v. 6)
o Acknowledge means, to know. In all my ways I should know God. I should acknowledge God. (1) To know by observation. Just to look at God and look at the situation. (2) To know by reflection. I need to think on it. I need to think what is right, what I should do and shouldn’t do. (3) To know by investigation. Studying and searching out God’s will and purpose for your life. What is God saying about the situation. (4) To know by a personal relationship with God. Spending time with God. Knowing Him.
3. Time. In all your ways. In other words, trusting and acknowledging God all the time.
  • What does “all” mean? “All” means with everything. If you want to know what real blessing is and you want to do things God’s way, then realize that all of your life, all of your opportunities, all of your comings and goings, all of your work, all of your decisions, all of your activities, when you wake up and when you go to bed, God is included. He is included in everything.
What happens when I decide to do things my own way?
  1. When I do things my way, my way is always very deceptive.
  • “Do not be wise in your own eyes.” (v. 7; Isaiah 5:21; Romans 12:16; Galatians 6:3)
  • Don’t be deceived in your own mind that you know the way to go and that you know the decisions to make. Don’t think that you know in your own eyes. It is a warning against self-sufficiency, self-conceit and self-reliance.
  • Pray to God that we are not deceived about things and decisions. We need to make sure that if we are going to choose to do something that we ask God to see if it will end well. Ask God to see things clearly.
  • Psalm 37 illustrates what happens to people who decide to live their lives without God’s help and do things their own way. No matter what you think about people who are prospering in their sin, God knows their end.
  • Jeremiah 9:5-7 God knows what happens when we venture off and go and live your own way, it’s a deceptive way. It is sin. Sin is deceptive.
2. When I do things my way, it is prideful on my part.
  • What happens when I become prideful in my own wisdom? Pride causes you and I to forget God’s promises to us and His love for us.
3. Doing things my way ultimately causes problems. It causes stress, it causes immorality, it causes times of great sin and troubles.
  • Doing things my way causes more problems that I could imagine. When I do things my way its rarely done right, but when I do things God’s way I discover that the problems that I once have seem to disappear.
4. Doing things my way causes other people to stumble.
  • Why should I make the Word of God foundational in my life? Why should I really choose to respond to God’s Word? Why trust in Him and acknowledge Him in all my ways? The reason is there are a lot of people watching how we live.
5. Doing things my way separates me from God.
  • Lean His way so that you don’t fall away from Him.
6. Doing things my way hurts the heart of God.
  • What hurts the heart of God is when we turn to other options. When we as Christians turn to someone else or other things for directions, for help and clarity on what we should do and how we should do it and when we should do it instead of turning to Him.

I Need a Fresh Touch from God (Psalm 85)

Have you ever had moments when you come to realizing and discovering times in your life that you really need a fresh touch from God? A moment when you become aware that there are things in your life that has become weak or dying or something that has become less than what it should be. A time when God is dealing with you about something that needs to be revived, to be restored to life and refreshed. It maybe with regards to your physical health, relationships in life and your faith walk with God. No matter what it might be, how do we really know when we need a fresh touch from God?
I hope that we can be honest enough to look at our own personal lives and decide on what we need God to refresh. But more specifically be honest with where we are with our walk with God. How can you tell when you need to be revived? How can you tell when there is a need for a fresh touch from God?
1. You need a fresh touch from God when the Christian life no longer blesses you. When walking with Jesus and the Christian life is no longer a joy.
  • Psalm 85:6 “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”
  • Psalm 80:18-19 “Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”
  • Isaiah 57:15 “This is what the high and lofty One says, he who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
  • All revival begins with a fresh start in someone’s life somewhere. Whether in an individual, a family, in some location, in a church, country. It always begins where somebody really discovers a fresh passion in their heart to really realize what Jesus has done.
  • Do you remember when you first genuinely gave your life to Jesus and got saved? It is your whole life. You want to be with God all the time and just love Him, you want to sing to Him, serve Him, spend time and talk with Him all the time. And then something happens. Don’t ever lose the zeal and the joy, the passion that you found in Jesus in the beginning.
2. You need a fresh touch from God when your passion and love for Jesus no longer motivates you to serve Him.
  • The love of God is what should build a foundation in your life where you don’t want to live for anyone else but for Him. You want to be harmless and blameless in your way of life that will be honoring to God.
  • Will go to the outer most part of the world for God?
  • You and I are going to need a fresh touch from God when our passion for the lost and my burden for Jesus is less than what it was when we first met Him.
3. We need a fresh touch from God when the Holy Spirit no longer convicts us.
  • The Holy Spirit is constantly convicting us, but if we are not somehow moved by Him to action then I think there is something wrong.
4. I think we need a fresh touch from God when His presence no longer moves us.
  • Have you ever been in a service and you have really been moved and stirred? I have. But the problem is a whole lot of people get stirred but not transformed and changed.
  • Am I being moved by the presence and love of God into action?
We think that lack of freshness with God is for those outside the church, but the lack of freshness in my life and maybe in your life is something that burdens God too. He is coming back for a church that is vibrant, Holy, a church that is really seeking His face. Let us ask God to help us to really seek Him with a fresh touch and make a difference.

I Need the Power of God (1 Peter 1:1-5)

I Need the Power of God
1 Peter 1:1-5
In the start of the early church, there was great persecution against the Christian believers in Jerusalem. Many of them were scattered throughout the world. And it is to both Jewish and Gentile believers who have been spread out as the result of persecutions that Peter is addressing in his letter. He was not writing to a specific church, but to the early Christian believers in general. Remember that Peter was an important and influential man in the early church and therefore, these Christians would have received his letter with a sense of importance. Peter teaches and encourages the early Christians about the power of God that is available through a relationship and faith in Christ that not only brings strength in times of persecutions but also shields and keeps them from straying from their relationship with God. How vital it is for the Christians today to come to a reliance in the power of God to keep us in the path of faith in Him until He comes again.
What does it really mean to be shielded or kept by the power of God? The word "shielded" is a military term which means to guard, protect by a military guard. It simply means that all your life from today until the day you get to heaven, God is saying, “I am going to keep you, I am going to guard you, guide and shield you all of your life.” You and I need to realize that we are kept, shielded, guarded by the power of God. I am not shielded by what I do or who I am or the skills and abilities that I have, but only by the power of God.
We need to remember that when we are in relationship and in fellowship with God, He is committed to you and me. Familia, I simply want to propose to you that we really need the power of God in our lives that He might guard, guide, keep, sustain and shield and watch over us. But the question is: when do we really need the power of God? Do we really rely on the power of God?
When are the times that we really need Him?
  1. I need God’s power when I am weary.
    • Isaiah 40:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
      and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
    • Isaiah 46:4 “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
    • God is going to make sure that you know that His commitment is to carry you, guard, keep you when you are weary and tired and when you think you cannot go on anymore. It is a picture of a God who never gets weary, who never gets tired, who never runs out of resources. A God who strengthens us when we are weak.
  1. I need the power of God when I am facing temptations.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
    • It is the power of God that help us out of those times when we are weak, and our flesh is too strong. We need the power of God when we are tempted, and when we know the way to go but our flesh wants to go another way. But if we would just call upon God and ask Him, then He will give us the power we need to overcome. There is really nothing you can face that you cannot say no to. Remember that the temptations we face is not bigger than God's abilities to make a way for you and get you out. We need God's power to help us avoid the things that we should not do.
    • In relationship with Jesus, we are given the ability and the power to say no to those things that are not pleasing to God and say yes to God and say yes to what is righteous. (Romans 7 and 8)
  1. I need God's power when I have no more resources.
    • When I feel drained or when I feel inadequate, then I am not able to bring about production of God’s goodness and grace. It is during this time of weakness is when God’s power shows up.
    • John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
    • 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.”
      • It is acknowledging that I have limits. My life is limited. Except for the power of God in my life, I know my limitations.
      • We don't like acknowledging our weakness. It is either because of pride or shame. But when we acknowledge our limitations, our weakness, we say, “this is all I have God,” it is then that God invades you and fills your life with His power and strength. It begins with the admission to God that you really need His help.
  1. I need God's power to do what I need to do.
    • I know God has given us an assignment. Whatever that may be for you, whether it's being a husband, or a wife, or raising kids or employment or business, etc. I need God’s power to do it.
    • Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
      • You will need God's power to do the things you need to do to be a witness to the world. You will need His power to live a life where people are forced to ask the question, “what is so different about you?”
How do you experience God's power in your life?
  1. I must admit that I am weak.
    • You and I will never be filled with the power of God until we are empty of self. The emptying of the things of my life, of my self-sufficiency, self-reliance and self-dependence and deciding I want my life to know one thing and that is a life filled with God's power to do the work. 
  2. Seek God's power.
    • 1 Chronicles 16:11 “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.”
    • There needs to be a constant hunger in my life for God's power today and for tomorrows. I need His sustaining grace. Seek His power and presence day by day continually.
  3. Agree that you need God's power.
    • God is looking for people who really need Him. Independence in your life and mine without God's help will always lead to nothing. But when you are abiding, you will be a fruitful person. Remember that God will do things for you that you cannot do on your own. It is God's power that produces fruit in you. (John 15)
  4. Ask God for the power you need.
    • James 4:2 “…You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
    • I believe that one of the greatest prayer we can pray is asking God for His power in our life.
    • God is looking for people who would take the first step of faith.

The Reason Jesus Came (Colossians 3:1-17)

The Reason Jesus Came (Colossians 3:1-17)

Colossians 3:1-17
Why did Jesus come? Why did the savior come? What was the reason and purpose of His coming? God knows what this world will do to us. He knows what the gods of this world will do. When we commit our life to this world and to the things that this world promise and offer, God knows that it will rob us and leave us standing alone with nothing. I believe the reason Jesus came was to change our lives. There is something about Jesus and what He has done for us that can change all of our lives when we receive Him.
1. Jesus came that He might save us and change our lives.
  • He came that He might give us a new life, a resurrected life, that we might be raised to newness in life in Christ Jesus. (John 3:16; Romans 6:4)
  • What are some of the signs that you have been saved? What are some of the signs that your life has truly been changed?
o If you are really saved, not being religious, then you know what repentance is. Repentance is turning away from your worldly selfish way of living and turning to God and His way of living for us. You truly know what Jesus did for you. You know that He saved you by coming and giving you His life and died for you. And because of it, you are choosing to not live the old way anymore. You want to live for Him. You want to live in such a way that your life honors Him and glorifies Him. It is a turning from a lifestyle you once knew to a lifestyle that God has now given you to walk day by day with Him.
o You know a real sense of peace. You have peace with God.
§ God came to bring a peace in our lives. We have peace because God is working on our behalf and not fighting against us.
o There is a sense of power. The power to overcome. The power to know victory over sin. The power to say no to sin, no to the things that we use to say yes to (Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me").
  • Jesus came to save us and to give us power and victory to live every day and He came to take the reins in our life and start giving us directions.
o God sent Jesus to help guide and direct us. But we must let loose of the reins. We must let loose of the whole idea that I know where I want to go, and I know what I want to be. Rather we let our control down and say "Lord will you lead me, would you guide me, would you show me the way to go."
2. Jesus came to promote healthy relationships.
  • A healthy relationship with God, and with people as well.
  • When I surrender my life to Him, Jesus will make me a kind of person that I could have relationships that are healthy.
  • Colossians 3:12-13 "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
  • Jesus came to bring health and joy and blessings to all relationships by showing me how to forgive. In learning to forgive we can have a relationship with Him and a relationship with one another that is healthy and good.
3. Jesus came to develop the priority of love in our lives.
  • Colossians 3:14 "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
  • We don’t like to acknowledge flaws and we don’t like to admit failures. The Lord is not afraid of failures because He is the one that has taken those failures in our lives and brought about victories. He loves us despite of our failures. He came to show us what it means to really love.
4. Jesus came to introduce the gift of peace to our lives.
  • Colossians 3:15 "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace."
  • Let His peace rule in you and me. Peace with God and peace with my life.
  • Jesus came to bring a sense of peace that you and I haven’t had. This peace that comes and just knowing all is well. Amid my failures, my weaknesses there is a peace in my heart and soul because He always makes up the difference.

Learning to Pray & Fast

Learning to Pray & Fast
How many of us today have a desire or even a need for greater power in our prayers? Have you been sensing that God wants to do great things in your life, but your own prayer life is just not up to the challenge? Are you unable to lay hold of certain things God wants to give you? I know for myself, I have. I understand how important it is to pray through a situation until there is spiritual break through but being able to pray with conviction that change is really taking place is another matter. Yes, I have had those moments of break through prayers and so have you, but not enough of them. I still see too many needs going unmet and the enemy’s power seems too strong in some situations.
I know that I am growing in the discipline of prayer, but for a long time now, God has been calling me to go deeper in another discipline that I had only practiced on occasions. God wants me to learn how to fast. Familia, I want to share with you some of the things I have learned and still discovering and invite you to times of prayer and fasting. I am no way an expert in this, but I have already seen enough to know regular fasting is a missing piece in my prayer life.
Three Christian Disciplines (Matthew 6:1-18)
  • The intent of this portion of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus correcting our attitudes about three basic disciplines which He assumes are part of our lives: giving, praying, and fasting. His point in this passage is faith. He is challenging us to believe that God is there, even though we can’t see Him. So:
    1. When we give we are not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, which means, don’t brag about it to others. We can be confident that God sees our gift and will reward us. (v. 1-4)
    2. When we pray, we are not to try to impress people with our eloquent words, but trust that “The Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” And we are not to use a lot of words when we pray. We should say what we want to say, briefly and to the point, because He already knows what we need before we ask Him. (v. 5-13)
    3. When we fast, we are not to go around looking hungry, so people will be impressed by how spiritual we are, but we are to trust that God sees our fast and will reward us. (v. 16-18)
      • Jesus does not expect His followers to stop fasting any more than He expects us to stop giving or praying. He simply wants us to do these things with a right attitude, so we will please God and be effective. Yes, He did acknowledge His disciples were not fasting during the years He was still with them (Matthew 9:14-15) but He went on to say they surely would fast in the future after He went to heaven.
Familia, once we open our hearts and minds to the idea that fasting is not one of the requirements of the Law that passed away when Jesus came, but is a gift God has given us to help us draw close to Him, then we are ready to understand some of the benefits fasting can bring us.
Why fast? Here are four benefits of fasting that I have been learning:
  1. It is a loud, wordless prayer.
    • The Bible often talks about “calling upon the Lord” (Acts 2:21) or “crying out” to Him (Psalm 5:1-2), but for a long time I have wondered how to do that. Am I supposed to shout my prayers or cry with tears while I am praying? I know I have done both. Sometimes that was helpful, other times not. But on those occasion when I was fasting, desperately needing God to move in a situation, He revealed to me that my fasting was a way of calling or crying out to Him. In other words, it is wordless prayer.
      • By fasting I am saying to God “I hunger for you more than food. I choose to humble myself, deny myself, to prepare my spirit to hear from you. I attentively wait in faith for you to act, not trying to make you do my will, but desperately pursuing yours.”
    • “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).” I have always loved this promise in Jeremiah, but rarely felt I was able to do my part. This promise was originally given to Israel assuring them that God would deliver them from exile, but because every promise is ours in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20), it is now true for us as well. When we seek Him or search for Him with all our heart, we too will find Him. And I believe fasting can help us do that. It helps us humble our pride, quiet our flesh, and clear our minds. It gives us a practical way to wait on God for an extended period of time.
  1. It prepares us for spiritual warfare. (Mark 9:14-29 NKJV; Matthew 17:14-21 NASB)
    • You don’t fast a demon out of somebody, you fast to prepare yourself to pray with authority. The fasting itself is for us, not the demon. Jesus was mentoring His disciples. He had already given them authority over demonic powers (Matthew 10:1, 8), but in this case they had encountered a situation too difficult for them. So, He explained to them why they failed. He told them they had been spiritually unprepared for the challenge. They had not been Spirit-led or empowered at that moment. They had ministered only in their own authority against the demon and had lost. This is a precious insight that we should not let pass by unnoticed. Don’t try to minister without first preparing yourself spiritually.
  1. It opens our spiritual ears to hear God’s guidance (Acts 13:1-3; 14:21-23)
    • Luke shows us how these leaders in the early church waited for God’s guidance. When sending out missionaries, selecting elders or preparing themselves to lay hands on someone, they fasted as a part of their preparation. This means we, too, should learn to fast when making key decisions, selecting leaders or seeking God’s will in a difficult situation. Jesus will guide us as surely as He guided them.
  1. It is a way to find peace of mind.
    • Some of us deal with a lot of anxiety, depression, or mental temptation, and trying to escape it has been exhausting. We can find momentary relief, but the thoughts or heaviness comes back, and we return to that same condition. There can come a peace of mind, a quiet, restful feeling while fasting.
What fasting is and is not.
  • Fasting is one of those disciplines that can be used wrongly. If we are not careful, we can turn it into a self-righteous work. We can decide we are going to fast more than others just to prove we are more spiritually hungry than they are. 
  • Let’s remember: It is not a hunger strike to force God to act. It is not a form of self-inflicted suffering to impress God. It is not a weight loss system.
  • Fasting is:
    • A way to humble myself. It is essentially a form of mourning (Daniel 10:2-3). We are so sad over the situation, or our own sin, we have lost our appetite.
    • A way for my spirit to take authority over my flesh, to weaken the control of my appetites and the thoughts generated by my flesh.
    • A wordless prayer which God hears loud and clear. By my actions I am “praying without ceasing” for a season.
What do we fast?
  • Food. There are many levels of fasting (how much, how long), but God will guide each of us on how and when we are to fast. The main point we need to remember is that God sees our heart. Some will fast by restricting the amount they eat, or the kinds of foods. Some will not eat a meal or two, or maybe more. The point is we should start somewhere and let this discipline mature over time.
An invitation
  • I would like to invite you to pray and fast for the next two weeks in preparation for Resurrection Sunday. I would like us to cover this important moment in serious Spirit-led prayer. We would like to “call upon the Lord” as a spiritual family, asking Him to do greater work in our island community than we have ever seen before, to bring in the harvest, souls saved for the kingdom.
  • Would you consider at least one meal or one type of food for as many days as you feel you are able over the course of the next two weeks, and asking God in prayer to:
    • Bring us people who are hungry for God.
    • Open doors of opportunities to proclaim the Gospel message and that many will come to hear the truth of who Jesus is, what He has done for them, how much He loves them, and they would turn to Him, believe and be saved.
    • Spiritually awaken the churches (Believers) in our island.
    • Breakdown spiritual strongholds of darkness over our island.
    • Bless our island.
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