August 2014


Jeremiah 29:10-14 MORE THAN A PLAN

This is one of those parts of scriptures we like to read PART of and take the fraction for the whole.

The reality is that there are a few AWESOME declarative statements and promises found here. This text has given hope to millions. As it should!

But just as you have a promise to receive; you have a part to play!

1. There are times in our lives when we feel lost
a. Like we are wandering and no direction feels right
b. We may be hurting or broken
i. Maybe/usually by our choices
ii. Maybe by the actions of another
iii. Maybe because the enemy of our Lord is buffeting us
iv. Maybe because God is bringing conviction
c. Any way it happens, we sometimes feel bound
i. like slaves to the situation
ii. Strangers in a Strange land living a STRANGE life
iii. Unable to break free as we look anywhere EVERYWHERE for hope
2. I think God has some GOOD NEWS in the declarative statements of this text:
a. He knows your pain and struggle
b. He proclaims this time is TEMPORARY
c. There is a time of renewed relationship with Him coming
i. He has not abandoned you
1. He is close enough to know
2. Remember that it is sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1 – 2)
ii. This time of loneliness is almost over and you will find Him right there
d. He WILL keep His Word
i. Every single word, letter and punctuation mark
e. He will restore you to your RIGHTFUL PLACE
i. One of the KINGS KIDS
ii. With Him, not a LITTLE – but COMPLETELY
f. He HAS PLANS for you – PLANS – plural
1. You have purpose
2. There is a reason for you being here
3. Even this time of hurt can and will be used for God’s Glory
a. Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ESV
4. PLANS for Wholeness/Peace/Welfare/GOOD
5. Not plans for EVIL/Disaster
a. The evil in and around you is not God’s plan
b. The disaster you are facing is not God’s plan and HE WILL DELIVER YOU FROM THIS DISASTER if we SEEK Him
6. God PLANS to GIVE you a Future
7. God Plans to give you A Hope – CONFIDENT EXPECTANCY
a. We do not hope on many things (like the world)
b. We hope on ONE – GOD ALMIGHTY
i. Problems are MANY – ONE ANSWER
8. When we submit to God’s Plans GREAT THINGS HAPPEN
a. THEN:
i. You will CALL on Him
ii. You will COME to Him
iii. You will PRAY to Him
a. HE WILL HEAR YOU [God listens]
iv. You will SEEK Him
v. You will FIND Him
1. WHEN you seek Him with ALL YOUR HEART
9. There is the rub for most of us
a. We may go about this whole “Christianity” business half-hearted, half bakes, half prepared, NOT READY
i. NOT COMMITTED
10. He will RESTORE your fortunes
a. We think MONEY
b. God thinks RELATIONSHIPS
c. God brings us back into a real and fruitful relationship WITH HIM
i. That where we are, there He will also be – WITH US.
ii. More than a place – A STANDING

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1 Samuel 3                        August 17, 2014                  God IS Calling

 1 Samuel 3 “Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.  Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!”  and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.  And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.  And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.  On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.  And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”  Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.  But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.”  And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.”  And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD And the Lord  appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord  revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.  ESV

 

“And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.”

 

  • I think we are in similar days today
    • The Word of the Lord was Rare in those days
      • Not that God isn’t speaking
        • But that we are not listening
      • There are so many voices professing the Word of God….some better than others…..some more correctly than others….but is ANYONE LISTENING?
      • Maybe God is the first to ask “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”
    • God Called Samuel but Samuel ASSUMED it was Eli.
      • Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
      • Samuel did not know God – HE FOLLOWED ELI
        • We should not follow any man – FOLLOW GOD!
      • Samuel grew up “in the presence of God” (2:21)
        • But he did not KNOW God….(3:7)
        • I believe there are many, many people like this sitting in our churches today.
      • They have been raised around God but have never LISTENED TO GOD
      • Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” ESV
      • Samuel had not yet understood the Word of God
    • We need a spiritual leader to reveal the Word of God to us
      • As Eli did to Samuel
      • Romans 10:13-16 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” ESV
      • God knows we need preachers, evangelists, teachers and Christians who take seriously their responsibility to GO TELL
    • Hearing the Word of God is one thing, FOLLOWING it is another
      • The Word of God is often hard to deal with
      • The Word digs into our lives and exposes the truth of our hearts to us in ways that we don’t want to see.
    • Hebrews 4:12-13 “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. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” ESV
      • Sometimes it is hard to share the Message with those it needs to effect the most.
      • Sometime we need to say, as Eli said: “It is the Let him do what seems good to him.”
    • Here is a key verse for believers, new and “experienced”:
      • And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground”
        • Keep God’s Word in your heart and mind
        • NEVER throw aside any Word of God
        • God said it, Samuel TREAURED IT – do you?
      • How many times has God called you?
        • Are you listening?
        • OR Are you thinking it is someone else?
        • Perhaps you are pushing His Word away because you don’t like or understand what He is saying to you?
          • ALWAYS trust God!
        • Get in the Word and HEAR FROM GOD

Joseph and his colored robe   Gen 37 and on

 We often talk of Joseph and the “Coat of many colors” his Daddy gave him.  But, this story is not about a robe Joseph got from his dad.

 This is a story about how dysfunctional and hurtful relationships can become – even in families, community and government

This is a story about bully’s and how they hurt people

 Yet, through all of the hurt we see here, this is a story of VICTORY

This is a story about staying strong and trusting God’s Vision

This is a story about God at work in our hardest times

 Joseph was bullied by his brothers, his dad, his leaders – and their wives. Why?

    • Because Daddy loved him more
      • Because of his youth – Verse 3
        • Many of his brothers were much, much older
      • Joseph came from a broken/multi- generational home
        • 12 kids from 4 moms and 1 dad
          • There was going to be some trouble
        • Because he was a tattle tale – V2
        • Because he had a God given vision – a purpose V8
        • Because he spoke out – maybe too much V8
        • Because of His looks 39:6
        • Because he was moral/righteous 39:7

 Even Reuben, the brother who tried to save him was a bully

    • He knew what was going to happen and did nothing
    • Oh, He made a plan to sneak around, be a secret friend/ally, and save Joseph – But it blew up in his face and Joseph was sold as a slave. HE REALLY DID NOTHING TO HELP!

 How was he bullied?

    • Talked about and Conspired against
    • Thrown in a hole and Sold into slavery
    • Reported as dead
    • Stalked and hunted
    • Lied about – brothers and Potiphar’s Wife
    • Thrown into prison falsely charged – 2 years
    • Used for what he had to offer
  • Did Joseph DESERVE to be treated this badly?
    • He may not have been perfect but to have his family plot to kill him and sell him into slavery? NO!!!
    • To be unjustly accused and condemned? NO!!!

 I am sure there were times Joseph wanted to:

    • Give up on God
    • Give in to the temptation to get along to get along
    • Give out – worn out from the ridicule and horrid treatment
  • If Joseph would have ran away he would have missed the greatest blessings of his life

 

  • God took all of the bullying that Joseph received and used it for His good purpose
    • Joseph was protected even if it was in a hole, a cell or palace)
    • His family was cared for
    • His country was fed
    • His family was restored
    • The lies were brought to truth

 Maybe you have been or are being bullied

Maybe you are on the verge of giving up

Learn a lesson from Josephs live

  • PERSEVERE
  • There are GREAT THINGS AHEAD IF YOU TRUST GOD
    • This world has a habit of pouring out tough times
      • Use them to Make you stronger and Build your FAITH
      • Allow God to turn what the world meant for evil into GOOD (DO NOT STAY IN THE HOLE)
        • Build relationships with those God puts in your path (baker and cup bearer)
        • Work hard to succeed even if everyone seems to be working against you!
        • God is standing with you even if everyone else is standing against you! YOU NEVER HAVE TO STAND ALONE