Destroying Debt 1. Getting My House In Order Part 8

Title of Message: Destroying Debt 1. Getting My House In Order Part 8

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Multiple passages

 

Facts on Debt In America

1.     Average household owes more than $16,000 on credit cards

2.     Total student loan debt is over one $ trillion dollars.

3.     Average family is over $132,000 in debt!

4.     We finance car loans longer than what they are worth. Average car loan is 6 years or longer

5.     21% of Americans plan to die in debt!

Dangers/Results of DEBT

1.     Debt enslaves you and take you hostage.  You become a prisoner.

a.      Proverbs 22:7 Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.

2.     Destroys relationships; creates strife in marriages,

a.     #1 reason for divorce

3.     So easy to get into debt but difficult to get out of it.

a.     Credit is so accessible. Credit card companies target the vulnerable.

b.     Most Americans have at least one credit card before 21.

c.      Average US consumer has at least 3 credit cards

d.     Credit card companies making over $1300 off of us per year

4.     It is easy to fall into the trap of debt and we don’t know how to manage it!

a.     Proverbs 6:5 “Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.

5.     Debt hinders my ability to sow into the KINGDOM!

6.     Excessive DEBT over long periods of time show that we are POOR STEWARDS!

a.     Proverbs 27:23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds

7.     Excessive DEBT shows that we are IMPATIENT!  We jump into debt instead of waiting for the Lord to provide for us.

a.     Isaiah 40: 31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

b.     Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

c.      Psalms 37:9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

8.     DEBT shows that we lack CONTENTMENT!

a.     I Timothy 6: Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

There is a WAY OUT of Debt! (Not just hitting the powerball, lotto, etc!)

1.     Be disciplined in how we use our finances.

a.      It is helpful to also have an accountability partner if we struggle with being disciplined with our finances.

b.     Saying NO to some stuff today so tomorrow will be better!

2.     Change my thinking!

a.      Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3.     Borrow Biblically!  Be Biblical

a.      Don’t take out loans longer than 7 years!

Deuteronomy 15:1-6 (NLT) “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived. This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites—not to the foreigners living among you “There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession. You will receive this blessing if you are careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you.

4.     Be Generous!

a.      Deuteronomy 15:10  10 Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

b.     Proverbs 22:9: Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.

c.      Proverbs 11:24-25 There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered!

Bible Verses About Debt

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love on another..

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

Matthew 5:42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Proverbs 22:26–27 Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; if you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?

 

Watch Your Speech. Getting My House In Order Part 7

Title of Message: Watch Your Speech. Getting My House In Order Part 7

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: James 3:2-12 (NLT)

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

 

Introduction

Don’t just focus on what we put in our mouth (DIETS), be as equally and more concerned about what is coming out of our mouth!  There is power in what we speak.  Once we speak words, we cannot take them back.  We cannot hit the rewind button. With that said, we must be mindful of the words we speak.

 James 3:3-5: We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

 ·       Facts about horses: Horses weigh 840-2,200 pounds, 6 feet in height, 8 feet in length, can run/gallop up to 25-30 mph; fastest horse ran 55mph, can jump 6-8 feet, can jump over 27 feet

·       Facts about ships: weigh about 2,200 tons!  1 ton is about 2000 pounds!

·       Facts about tongues: average tongue is about 3-4 inches long

 In the example of the bit in the mouth of the horse and the rudder in the ship, we see that a small thing can have a great impact.  The same is true for our tongue. Though it is a small member of the body it can create great havoc if not used correctly.

 James 3:6  And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

 My tongue can be set on fire by HELL. Satan himself can influence the words in my mouth.

·       When I use my tongue to tear someone down, offer counsel that is not biblical, or bring glory to man instead of God, I am allowing myself to be influenced by Satan.

·       In Mathew 16:23, Jesus rebukes Peter and calls him Satan because Peter was speaking something that was against the will of God.  Even though Peter had great intentions, he spoke against God’s will.  This lets us know that we should pray and think before we speak. When we counsel others, we must make sure that we speak the heart of God instead of our opinions that are dictated by our feelings! Our tongues can be set on fire by hell itself and pull people away from God through the advice we give.

 Supporting Scriptures

Matthew 12:33-37  33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 James 3 :7  People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

 The staff at Sea World can tame killer whale, lion, crocodile, beast, but no one can take the tongue.

 James 3:9-12 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

 ·       We cannot claim to love God but speak ill about the very ones that were created in His image.

·       We can’t praise God with our mouth and curse men who have been made in the image of God with that same mouth!

·       Our heart is the source of our words.  Mathew 12:34 reminds us that the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart.  If our hearts are impure, our words will reflect that.

·       God is not telling us to bite our tongues, He’s telling us that we must have heart surgery so that our hearts can be purified.

·       When we focus on just biting our tongues, the ill feelings towards others are still there.  Biting our tongues doesn’t get to the root of what is going on in our heart.  Our heart is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we can then use our mouth to be used for God’s glory.

 Supporting Scriptures

Matthew 12:34 For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks

 Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

 Ezekiel 36:26 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.[b] 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

 Psalms 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me

Proverbs 15:28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

 Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else,  for it determines the course of your life.

 Colossians 1:16 God made my tongue for Him. All things created by Him and for Him.

 Avoid Using Your Tongue In The Following Ways

1.     Avoid idle talk because we will have to give an account for all that we say.

a.      Mat 12:34-37 KJV - 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

2.     Avoid gossiping

a.      Spreading rumors especially about someone private’s affairs

3.     Avoid complaining

a.      Complain: to express dissatisfaction; finding fault

b.     Complaining is the opposite of rejoicing

4.     Avoid slandering/smearing/defaming others

a.      Avoid making false statements, trying to damage someone’s character, and damage their reputation.      

How Should I Use My Tongue?

·       Sing praises to God. Use your tongue & gift of speech to praise God.

·       Use your tongue to Pray to God

·       Use Your tongue to proclaim the gospel and tell others about God.

·       Use your tongue to Bless others by speaking words of encouragement, offering comfort, speaking life into their dead situation!

·       Confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD!

 

 Reflection Questions:

How do you tend to use your tongue? Are you a complainer?  Do you find that you both bless God and curse those made in His image? If you struggle with your tongue, we encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to give you a clean heart.

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Hearing Under Pressure

Title of Message: Hearing Under Pressure. Getting My House In Order Part 6

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Genesis 22:1-14  (NLT)

22 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

 

Introduction

It is critical to be able to hear the voice of God when you are under pressure.  We spend a lot of time focusing on speaking/talking/praying to God, as we should.  However, it is also important that we focus on how on how to HEAR and LISTEN to God!

·       In order to have an EFFECTIVE relationship, there must be EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

o   Don’t just talk to God, but also LISTEN to HIM

o   Focus on what God has to say to us

o   Must practice hearing from God (What does His voice sound like)?

·       Revelation 3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

·       Natural ears & spiritual ears (inner ear – hearing the inner voice)

o   We cannot hear God when there is so much noise!

·       Must be able to hear God if we are going to walk with Him

o   He’s our GPS! If we can hear Him, He will show us how to navigate through any situation!

·       Don’t run to phone friends or Social media. Go to God first. He will talk to us, but we must let Him in.

·       When the stakes are highest, it is important to hear God.

·       God will give us tests/assignments to see if we position ourselves to hear His voice!

 

 22 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

 Tests are opportunities for our hearing to be fine-tuned. They are training opportunities!

o   God will TEST us, Devil tempts us!

o   Tests are used to develop us, to see where we are spiritually, and they also help to develop our faith.

o   God brought Abraham through various test.  God used these tests to develop Abram into Abraham. 

§  Piece by piece, part by part, month by month, year by year!

o   Genesis 22 details the biggest test of Abraham’s life, the test to offer his promised son Isaac as a burnt offering.

§  In a burnt offering, the animal was first tied and bound and then set on fire as a sacrifice to God.  The sacrifice was burnt before the Lord.

o   God is using the test to train Abraham how to hear His voice under pressure

o   Tests are training opportunities! God uses tests to train our ears to hear His voice.

 

The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

 

GOD WILL SPEAK TO US AS WE WALK WITH HIM!

o   God may not give you all the DETAILS in the beginning.  In Genesis 22:2, God tells Abraham to go to one of the mountains that God will show him.

o   Too many DETAILS can FRUSTRATE your FAITH!

o   Too many facts can hinder/deter your faith!

·       God will use both the DESTINATION & the JOURNEY to develop our ability to hear His voice.  Too often we focus on the destination and miss that God is teaching us a lot on the journey.

o   As we walk with God, he will give us more. He will show us the way and guide us each step we take.

o   If we have courage to take a step into the unknown, God has the power to bring about the impossible!

o   Can you walk with Him? Can you trust Him even if you don’t have all the details?

o   God will give you more details as we walk with Him, as we move in faith.

o   Once we begin walking, God will fill us in on the next moves!

·       Can we ENDURE THE SILENCE? Though He speaks to us at pivotal moments in our life, there are times when God is silent. In the silence, He is developing us. He doesn’t talk just for talking sake.

o   God will put us in certain tests to train our inner ear to hear His voice

§  It can be uncomfortable and inconvenient.

o   During uncertainty, Abraham is called to trust God and he is called to hear by the inner ear. 

On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

 

CONSECRATION requires SEPARATION.

§  Consecration/separation is required during pressure situation

§  Amid difficulty, I may need to separate myself from others!

·       Not everyone will understand!

§  Abraham told his servants to stay with the donkeys so that he and his son could go higher, go to worship.

§  There comes a point where God will require us to separate from people we know so that we can go to a higher place to worship!

·       Certain relationships will hinder our ability to hear from God

§  Some people will have to stay behind with the donkeys, mules, etc, figuratively speaking.

§  You cannot have dedication without separation

·       Faith will bring us to a place where we may have to separate from others so that we can get closer to God to hear His voice.

§  The closer you get to God’s will/destination, the smaller the crowd becomes in your life.

§  God will talk and speak to you when we are alone!

So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

·       God gives you confidence as you journey with Him! 

o   Abraham shows trust when he talks to his son Isaac

o   Abraham was not worried about the provision, He knew God would provide!

o   Confidence comes from an inner knowing when you are in the center of God’s will

o   Confidence comes when I walk with Him

o   Confidence comes when I trust Him and He shows up!

·       God allow difficulties (tests, opportunities, training centers) where we learn to hear and trust him while we are walking in those dark places.

 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

Must be able to hear a NOW word

o   Abraham hears a NOW word not to kill Isaac. He heard the word at just the right time, in the moment he needed to hear it!

§  NOW words come when I am near God

§  NOW words come when I obey God

§  NOW words come when I worship God!

Don’t kill your dreams because you are deaf to the Lord’s voice!

o   As he raises his knife to slay his son, he gets a NOW word to refrain from killing Isaac (his dream/his promise)

o   If Abraham couldn’t hear God, he would have killed his son

o   Sometimes folks kill their dreams because they can’t hear God!  We get distracted and allow things to hinder our ability to hear His voice.  As a result, we end up killing our dreams because we cant hear God’s voice to get the directions we need.

God did not want Abraham’s son, He wanted Abraham’s ear.  In other words, God wanted Abraham’s obedience, his heart.

§  God wants to know that if things must change, are we willing to listen and obey?

§  God says if I interrupt your plans, will you be able to hear and will you obey? 

o   God had a ram in the push.  There was provision on the other side. Everything that Abraham needed was on the other side. Abraham was able to receive those instructions because of his ability to hear and obey God.

 

Reflection Questions

How are you responding to the test you are now facing?  Do you see it as opportunity for your faith to grow?  Are you allowing the separation to take place in your life that is necessary for you to go higher in worship?  Does God have your ear, does He have your obedience?

Can You Hear Him? Getting My House In Order Part 5

Title of Message: Can You Hear Him? Getting My House In Order Part 5

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: 1 Samuel 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, 3 and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

 15 So Samuel lay down until [c]morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He answered, “Here I am.”17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

 19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

 

Proverbs 15: 31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise. 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. 33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. NKJV

 

Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made both of them!

Proverbs 21:13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.

Proverbs 28:9 He who turns his away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination!

 

 Background  - The voice of the Lord is our GPS (Geo Positioning System). We should follow God like we follow our GPS system

·       GPS leads us, shows us how to navigate to get to our desired destination.

·       When we make the wrong turns, GPS re-routes us and guides us to our destination

·       Must have an ear to hear the voice of the Lord.

·       We cannot get our house in order if we are unable to hear the voice of the Lord!

 

Eli & Samuel

o   Eli was the priest. His eyes were growing dim & the lamp of God was going out in the tabernacle of the Lord. The ark of God which represented the presence of God was housed in this place.

o   The fact that the light was going out and the priest’s eyes were growing dim was indicative of what was going on in the nation of Israel.  They were drifting from God. 

o   The word of the Lord was rare in those days & there was no widespread revelation.

o   The priest’s vision was growing dim; Eli had lost his sight both naturally & spiritually.

o   Eli’s sons had committed many transgressions.  He was aware of their transgressions, but he did deal with it!

§  1 Sam 2:12 “Sons of Eli were corrupt taking more than what was allotted during the sacrifices

§  1 Sam 2:21 Eli sons were fornicating with the women who laid at the door

o   Eli was told by a man of God that judgment would come to his house because he honored his sons Hopni & Phineas more than God!

§  I Samuel 2:29  29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’

§  1 Samuel 2:34 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.

§   

o   While the sins of Eli’s sons are mounting up, Samuel is growing in both stature and favor with the Lord

§  1Sam2 (26 And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.)

§  Samuel is serving in the Lord’s house and serving Eli the priest 

 Serving positions us to hear from God

Although Samuel was serving in the house of the Lord, the scripture says that he did not yet know the Lord.

§  Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.

o   It is possible to do the work but not know the Lord of the work!

o   Samuel does not yet know to hear from the Lord!

o   How many of us attend church and do the work of the Lord, but don’t hear from God?

o   But as young Samuel serves, he is going to learn how to hear from God!

 

 

When I serve, I hear more!

o   You will begin to hear when you are serving!  It is in the process of serving in the temple that Samuel hears the voice of God.

o   There is a blessing when you come to church, but an even greater blessing when you serve.  

o   When we serve, more is REVEALED to us, God begins to speak to us in the process of our serving.

o   We get a greater revelation of our gifts and how to operate in them when we serve.

o   God does not want us to just come and watch. Sometimes God will fix our complex situations in the process of us serving.

o   Blessings will come not based on my talent but based on my service to the Lord!

  We can learn various lessons about hearing  God’s voice from the three times Samuel ran to Eli.

 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down. 

·       When we first begin to walk with God, the voice of God will sound like your teacher

o   When you are a servant, you become conditioned to respond to your duty. Even though it was night, Samuel ran to Eli when he thought he was being summoned.

o   Samuel was so used to his teacher’s voice and he assumed that it was Eli calling him.

o   The voice of God will sound like the one who taught you when you are first learning to hear the voice of God!

 

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

 

·       It is God who is calling us, but we are running to FLESH!

o   It was God calling Samuel but instead he ran to Eli (flesh)

§   This scenario is representative of us running to flesh when we hear the voice of God.

o   God is calling you deeper, but you are running to flesh

o   It is God who is disturbing your rest and telling you that I have more, that I have a higher purpose for your life, but we keep running to FLESH!

o   Flesh can never respond to the call of God; Flesh will leave you disappointed

o   What God is about to do, no flesh can handle! That is why we are disappointed

o   You need help from God, but you keep going to FLESH!

o   God is calling us but we are running to the wrong source (boyfriend, friend, etc.)

 

 

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

 

Samuel was young and could hear a sound that Eli could not hear!

o   Youth are sensitive!

o   Revolutions often starts with youth

o   Samuel could hear the voice of the Lord, but Eli did not.  Eli perceived that it was the voice of the Lord calling Samuel even though he no longer could hear it (indicative of his spiritual state).

Eli perceived that the Lord had called Samuel. Samuel needed an Eli in his life to instruct him on how to discern and respond to the voice of the Lord. Samuel needed a mentor!

o   Eli instructed Samuel on how to respond to God.

1. Make himself available for God to speak (Go, lie down)

·       Instead of running to ELI, Samuel instructed to lay still and listen

·       We can hear God when we are silent, and still. 

2. Respond to the word of God (Speak, Lord)

3. Humble himself before God and His word (Your servant hears!)

 

 

Reflection Questions:  Have you positioned yourself to hear the voice of God?  Do you have difficulty hearing the voice of God?  What are some things that have prevented you from hearing the voice of God in the past?  Do you respond with obedience when God speaks?  Are you still long enough to hear the voice of the Lord?

Keeping Your House L.I.T. (Liviving In Truth): Getting My House In Order Part 4

Title of Message: Keeping your house L.I.T. (Living in Truth) Getting My House In Order Part 4

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Luke 11:33-36 NLT

33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” 

  Background:

This passage takes place after Jesus heals the mute man and casts out demon.

The masses are following Jesus.  Some are excited to the point of saying, “blessed are breasts that nurse you.” Others start a smear campaign and said Jesus was able to cast out demons because He is coordinating with Beelzebub.  Then there were others who were in between, they didn’t quite know what to think of Jesus.  The crowds were growing, and they desired a sign. The vast majority wanted to see some miracles.

 

 Jesus responds by telling them this parable in Luke 11:33-36

The parables were a great way to speak to the heart of those who really wanted to know more about God.  Those in the crowd that only wanted a show would have missed the purpose of the parable. Parables contain symbols that people can relate to. Those that were truly hungry for God would be able to grasp the meaning! Those that didn’t really want God wouldn’t be able to understand. Matthew 13:13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

 

Luke 11: 33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

 

Light is important. Some will say that the Sun is the greatest light; but Jesus is the Greatest LIGHT.

·       Light is most ancient natural resource, we need light to live on this earth

·       Necessary for existence and life

·       Greatest light in the Earth is the sun; it illuminates the Earth

·       The greatest light that God has given us is JESUS

·       Jesus says they are too blind to see the greatest sign

o   No one lights a lamp and hides it

o   Jesus is talking about God; God is not trying to hide the light found in Jesus, the truth that is found in Jesus!

 

God is not hiding the truth!

o   God is not withholding truth from us, He is not being secretive about the light.  Jesus dispels this myth.  It is foolish to hide light.

o   Truth is not found in hours of selfless acts, not in rituals, not in a monastery, truth is found in Jesus alone!

·       Jesus is the greatest light: Jesus is the LAMP that God has put in the Earth! Jesus is God in the flesh and the people were missing it.

o   The people traveled far to see tricks but Jesus wanted them to understand that the greatest miracle they could have witnessed was Himself!

o   Greatest miracle of God is the incarnation of God in Jesus!

o   Jesus is the greatest light; He is the source of truth

o   God has not hidden him, God has exposed him to the world

o   God has exposed Jesus through his words, and his teachings!

o   Living in truth means that we recognize that Jesus is the greatest light!

 

 

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 

 

·       EYES PROVIDE LIGHT FOR OUR BODIES Verse 34A

o   The eye is the vehicle by which we see

o   Eye can transmit messages to our brain

o   God’s word is light and TRUTH

o   When we can see Jesus for who He is, then we can have the light!

o   Healthy eyes can see Jesus

o   Our ability to see depends on the condition of our eyes!

·       Healthy eyes see the LIGHT (TRUTH; JESUS)! Verse 34B

o   Healthy eyes are clear eyes, they are not cloudy!

o   The word “clear,” haplous in the Greek, is a word that means “single” or “holding nothing back.” 

o   Healthy eyes have single focused. Not wandering all over the place; they are focused!

o   It's sometimes translated “generous” or “generously.” It's big. When your eye is wide open is the idea; when it's big, then you see everything. 

o   Healthy eyes are able to see Jesus for who He is!

o   Psalm 119:130 Entrance of YOUR words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.

o   Healthy eyes have healthy habits!

o   Job 31:1 I have made a covenant with my eyes, how then could I gaze at a virgin?

o   Habits: what am I reading, watching, and feeding myself?

o   Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may behold the wondrous things out of your law.

 

 

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness

 

·       Unhealthy eyes (bad eyes NKJV) are filled with darkness! Verse 34C

o   Your ability to see depends on the condition of your eye

§  Unhealthy or bad eyes have bad conditions/ bad habits!

o   Unhealthy eyes can’t see light, they are blurry and filled with darkness

o   When we take in sin, it makes us have unhealthy eyes!

§  Unhealthy eyes have contaminants, debris, etc.

o   If we have unhealthy eyes, we may need to get surgery! May need to get our eyes cleaned

·       Unhealthy eyes can’t see Jesus;

o   When eye is bad our body becomes full of darkness.  We lose our ability to  see Jesus and we lack faith.

·       Unhealthy eyes are clouded by sin.

§  The only way you're ever going to see the light, is to repent and be willing to abandon sin.

·       Your ability to see depends on the condition of your eye

o   Healthy eye can fill your body with light!

o   Unhealthy eye fills your body with darkness!

o   Psalm 101:3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall way; it shall not cling to me.

·       Light reveals and darkness conceals

 

35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.

·       It is possible to think you have the light in you but it is actually darkness!

·       If you are not serving Jesus, you are walking in darkness…don’t be deceived!

o   Do you see Jesus for who He is?

o   Our light is not based on our morality, our good deeds or even how smart we are. We must have the true light in us which is Jesus!

o   Hell is full of people of people who thought they had the light, but it really was darkness.

o   Devil can turn himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)

·       Hold up all teachings, preaching, revelation to the ultimate light revealed in Jesus!

o   Use Bible as your filter. Evaluate everything by the scriptures.

o   Don’t be deceived by new doctrines that may come your way (verse 35)

 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”  (NLT)

 

·       If we see Jesus, then His light can light up our entire lives and we can be lamps!

o   If you are a child of God (accepted Jesus as your Lord & Savior), the light of God dwells in you!

o   Where Jesus dwells, there is no place for Satan

§  Demons may try to oppress you, but can’t possess you

§  If the light dwells on the inside of us, then we are lamps!

o   Jesus is the light of the world; Bible also says we are the light of the world

§  John 8:12 12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

o   We who have the spirit of God are called to be the light of the world!

o   If we have the light of Jesus within us, then light will permeate our entire being and radiate from us!

§  Called to shine before the world! Can’t keep Jesus to ourselves, can’t keep it a secret

o   We are all passionate about something.  Our greatest passion should be Jesus.

o   Are we passionate about Jesus? Can we share with others? We share what we are passionate about? 

 

Prioritizing Prayer. Getting Your House In Order Part 3

Title of Message: Prioritizing Prayer. Getting My House In Order Part 2

Speaker: Anika Jones

Text: Mathew 6:9-15 NIV

Matthew 6:9-15 New International Version (NIV)

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Background This passage comes after Jesus tells the people all the don’ts of prayer.  He says don’t make a public spectacle when praying, don’t go on babbling tyring to sound impressive, or think you will be heard for your many words. Instead, go to your secret place and pray to your Father.

1.     Know who you are praying to

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

a.     This opening sets the tone for prayer. My level of transparency in a conversation is based on the depth of the relationship with whom I am speaking.

b.     Take a deep breath and relax, you are talking to your daddy.

c.      Galatians 4:6 reminds us that we are not slaves, but we are children of God and we can call out Abba.

 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.[b] And because we[c] are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”[d] Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.[e] And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

d.     We are not praying to some distant God, He is our daddy.  This should shift our approach.  There is a level of comfort and confidence and not one of performance when we know it is our daddy we are speaking to.

e.     This approach is not irreverent as the Jews thought but one that comes from a personal relationship with God.

f.      My prayers will be routine and ineffective if I approach it like a business call as opposed to an intimate conversation with my daddy.

g.     No formalities needed.  There is no need to make sure my grammar is correct, no need to make sure I have well phrased speeches,  it’s my daddy I’m talking to.

h.     Sometimes we approach prayer as if we are talking to jail warden that is ready to whip us in order as opposed to a loving daddy who wants to heal, restore,  and redeem us.

i.       The more I commune with my daddy, the more I want to come back.

2.     Acknowledge His Holiness

hallowed be your name,

a.     Hallow-sanctify, holy, set apart

b.     Acknowledge the holiness of God and treat Him as such.

c.     When we hallow His name there is a sense of trust and confidence and reverence for God.  We acknowledge that He is holy, righteous and trustworthy. 

d.      Even though this is our Father we are speaking to, be reminded that intimacy with Him doesn’t mean irreverence.  We are called to Hallow His name, having a sense of awe because of His holiness.

e.     The more I know God to be Abba the more reverence I have for Him.  My children know and love me, and we have an intimate relationship, but they also understand that there is a sense of honor and respect they should have towards me.

f.    This is why we should not take His name in vain.

  • The 3rd commandment:  Exodus 20:7 tells us You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

                                                              i.     Taking the Lord’s name in vain goes beyond  using it in a profane manner.

                                                            ii.     Another way we take the Lord’s name in vain and don’t hallow it is if we say we belong to Him but do things that are contrary to His will (i.e. Fornicating, lying, walking in unforgiveness, backbiting, steal, etc.)

 3.  Prayer Births Surrender

  10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

·       This clause right here is one of surrender. 

·       It sounds good on the surface, but the truth is sometimes God’s will for our lives is hard.  The more you pray, the more you can make the declaration “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

·       real prayer births real surrender.  You do not get to this place over night, it is a constant going back and asking God to work surrender in your heart.

·       Surrender is not automatic, it is progressive, don’t hinder the process by not praying. 

o   Paul prayed three times for the thorn to be removed

o   Jesus prayed three times for the cup to be removed. They both came to a place of total surrender!

Payer Brings us to a place of saying to God:

·       your will be done when it hurts

·       Your will be done when it is uncomfortable

·       Your will be done when it means I will be persecuted

·       Your will be done when it means carrying a cross my cross

 

PUSH-Pray until something happens, that something shouldn’t be focused on material things but that something should be SURRENDER.  We often say pray until God gives us a yes, well this phrase is letting us know we should pray until we give God a yes.  A sense of surrender.

 4. .    Petition Him

11 Give us today our daily bread.

God give me what I need.  My daily bread

·       My daily bread is not limited to material things, sometimes my daily bread is peace in my mind, stability in my emotions.

·       This is a daily thing, which signifies that I must come back each day to be filled up with Jesus because He is all I need.

·        Jesus is known as the bread of life and He is the one that fills me up.  I must come each day to feast on Jesus because Jesus is all I need.  The scripture says that we are to seek the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these other things will be added (Mathew 6:33). 

 5. Forgive to be forgiven

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

·        If unforgiveness is in our hearts, we in turn will not be forgiven. 

·       The same measure I use to forgive others is the same measure that will be used for me.  It doesn’t matter how deep you think you are or how early you get up to pray, or how much scripture you know, all those actions are null and void if you are harboring unforgiveness in your heart.

·       Jesus makes it very clear that if we bring our gift to the altar and remember that our brothers or sister have an ought against us we are to leave our gift at the altar and go and make it right with our brother or sister (Mathew 5:23).

·       As we forgive others, we can’t force others to forgive us. 

·       Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. When I make the choice to forgive others, God’s grace will meet me. 

·       We must forgive others since we have been forgiven by God (Colossians 3:12-14).

·       A few examples of those who forgave

o   Jesus on the cross, forgive them for they don’t know what they should do (Luke 23:34)

o   Stephen to his accusers (Acts 7:59).

o   Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voices of The Martyr

 6. Positioned for Victory

13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

·       James 1:13-14 makes it very clear that God does not tempt us, this scripture here is not accusing God of being the tempter but  asking God to give us the not to give into temptation that the devil brings our way.

·       Prayer positions us to have victory over the devil and all the temptations he presents.

·       James 4:7 tells us that we are to submit to God, resist the devil and He will flee from us. Prayer helps to birth submission to God and that submission strengthens us to resist the devil and his temptation and come to a place of victory.

·       1 Corinthians 10:13

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

·       Be honest with God about your areas of struggle, if its lust, if its cheating, if it is dishonesty, greed, perversion, whatever it is bring it before him. Pray honest no pretense prayer.  These are the type of prayer that brings deliverance.

 

Practical ways to make prayer a priority

·        Schedule a time to pray, don’t just wait for it to happen.

·        Don’t cancel out your prayer by praying and then going to eat spiritual junk

·        Keep a prayer journal

·        Don’t be locked into one way of praying

·        Don’t wait for perfect conditions to pray.

·        If you are saying you don’t have time to pray, take inventory of what you with your time. What one thing you can omit to make more time for prayer?

Preparing for His Presence. Getting Your House In Order Part 2

Title of Message: Preparing For His Presence. Getting My House In Order Part 2

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: 1 Chronicles 15 New Living Translation (NLT)

 1David now built several buildings for himself in the City of David. He also prepared a place for the Ark of God and set up a special tent for it.2 Then he commanded, “No one except the Levites may carry the Ark of God. The Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of the Lord and to serve him forever.” 3 Then David summoned all Israel to Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 4 This is the number of the descendants of Aaron (the priests) and the Levites who were called together: 5 From the clan of Kohath, 120, with Uriel as their leader. 6 From the clan of Merari, 220, with Asaiah as their leader. 7 From the clan of Gershon,130, with Joel as their leader. 8 From the descendants of Elizaphan, 200, with Shemaiah as their leader. 9 From the descendants of Hebron, 80, with Eliel as their leader. 10 From the descendants of Uzziel, 112, with Amminadab as their leader.  11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab.12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem.15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses. 16 David also ordered the Levite leaders to appoint a choir of Levites who were singers and musicians to sing joyful songs to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel along with his fellow Levites: Asaph son of Berekiah, and Ethan son of Kushaiah from the clan of Merari. 18 The following men were chosen as their assistants: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers—Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were chosen to sound the bronze cymbals. 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were chosen to play the harps.[c] 21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were chosen to play the lyres.[d] 22 Kenaniah, the head Levite, was chosen as the choir leader because of his skill. 23 Berekiah and Elkanah were chosen to guard[e] the Ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer—all of whom were priests—were chosen to blow the trumpets as they marched in front of the Ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were chosen to guard the Ark. 25 Then David and the elders of Israel and the generals of the army[f]went to the house of Obededom to bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant up to Jerusalem with a great celebration. 26 And because God was clearly helping the Levites as they carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.

 27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres. 29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

1.       PREPARING FOR HIS PRESENCE REQUIRES OBEDIENCE

·        David was careful to follow the Lord’s instructions regarding carrying the ark.  He was not sloppy with it. He followed the specific instructions the Lord gave. 

o   He prepared a special tent for the Ark of The Covenant

o   No one except the Levites were to carry the Ark of The Covenant (Vs. 1-2)

o   CAREFULLY OBEY What the Lord told you to do for His presence to show up

o   GET IN LINE WITH HIS COMMANDS. 

o   Don’t compromise. Partial obedience is disobedience. FULLY OBEY THE SPECIFIC THINGS GOD TOLD YOU TO DO!

o   Reflection: If His presence is not showing up in your life, ask yourself if you are walking in full obedience and doing what He has called you to do.

 

2.       PREPARING FOR HIS PRESENCE PURIFICATION

o   Purify Defined: remove contaminants; those things that defile me; make ceremonially clean; to free from undesirable elements

o   Sanctification Defined: set apart; consecrate; free from sin; purify

·        purification speaks of holiness

·        The ark of the covenant represented the presence of God and for them to carry the presence of God they had to be purify themselves.  The Levites in the Old Testament were the priest but the New Testament has called us all to be priests unto God. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a royal priesthood.

·        When the veil of the temple ripped in two it gave us free access to the presence of God, but we must also remember that God still requires purity.

o   Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  

·        In order to usher in and experience the presence of God, it requires that I live a certain way.  If not, I can’t carry the presence of God; I will not experience the presence of God.

 11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab.12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. o Gathers the priests: Zadok and Abiathar & these Levite

 o Leaders are not exempt from being holy/sanctified.  They are called to be an example in the pursuit of purification and holiness. (Vs. 11)

 PREPARNG FOR HIS PRESENCE REQUIRES HUMILITY

o David humbled himself and repented publicly and confessed that he messed up.

Verse 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem.15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.

 

o   David acknowledges his mistake; Levites did not carry the Ark the 1st time.  David owns what happened and owns Uzzah’s mistake as well. It was a huge mistake to not inquire of the Lord how to properly move the ark.

o    In 1 Chronicles 13 David “inquired of the captains and generals of the army” and how to carry the Ark instead of doing it God’s way and having the Levites carry it.

o   Their actions caused God’s anger to come against them & Uzzah died when the oxen stumbled and he reached out his hand to steady the Ark.

o It is a huge mistake to not seek God in all our decisions.  (Proverbs 3:5-6-Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path).

o   when we fail to ask God how to move/steward the assignment he has given us, we set ourselves up for failure.

David not only confess his mistake, but he did not repeat it, this time around He sought the face of the Lord on how to transport the Ark.

 

REQUIRES EMBRACING OUR ASSIGNMENT (Vs. 3-24)

o David solicits several men to help carry the Ark of God back to City of David  

o Over 800 Levites from the descendants of Aaron were involved in the process.

 o The men worked in unity to transport the Ark; We need to be on one accord for the presence of God to show up. In the book of Acts they were gathered together on one accord!

  • David embraced his role – wore linen ephod

    • Verse 27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres.

    • Wearing the priestly garment shows that he was making God #1

 

The Following Things Happen When We Prepare for His Presence

1.      God’s Grace helps us!

1.      God’s grace helped them carry the Ark. In verse 26, God was clearly helping them!

2.      When we prepare for His presence and God shows up, He gives us the grace to Fulfill our divine assignment and it is not overwhelming.

2.      Heaven comes down. God’s presence visits us. When we prepare for His presence and He shows up, heaven comes down and we can’t help but to praise!

 

·        David offered up praise to the Lord, not for show (not for public display)

1.      Verse 29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

2.      David danced, not for show, but to God.  David offered up crazy praise!

Reflection:  What is your response when God presence shows up?

 

 

Getting My House In Order (Part 1)

Title of Message: Getting My House In Order

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Joshua 24:14-25

14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

16 The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”

19 Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”

21 But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”

22 “You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.”

23 “All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him alone.”

25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord.

 

1.     Serve God exclusively

a.      14 So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

b.     Making the choice to serve God exclusively means turning your heart to the true God, the God of Israel and serving no other gods.

c.      Idols are objects of extreme devotion and Idolatry is the worship of something created as opposed to the worship of the Creator.  The Israelites were given a stern warning to forsake idolatry. 

                                                    i.     The children of Israel were very familiar with idolatry because they saw it first hand when they were enslaved in Egypt.  The Egyptians were an idolatrous people.  Each of the ten plagues were a direct assault against the things the Egyptians had made into a god. The supreme God was making a point, that He alone was God.

d.     We can make anything into an idol if we are not careful.  Idols come in many forms and are not restricted to an object or statue.

                                                    i.     We can make our children, our careers, our spouses, our hobbies, etc. into idols.  Anything that takes the place of God in our lives is an idol!

e.      God is a jealous God and he will not share his glory with no other.  We must destroy every idol in our life.  God wants our complete devotion.  

                                                    i.     “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”  Exodus 20:4

                                                  ii.     In the New Testament, Jesus continues this warning against idolatry.  He warns us not to make idols out worldly things ( Matt 6:24 “You cannot serve both God and Money”

                                                iii.     Ephesians 5:5 For [a]this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

f.       Take some time to reflect on this point.  Do you serve God exclusively or have you made other things an idol?

 

2.     Choose Wisely

a.      In life we are presented with choices and one of those choices is who we will serve.  Choose wisely like Joshua and make the bold declaration as he did in verse 15, that he and his household will serve the Lord.

b.     This was not just a statement for Joshua, this was the way that he lived his life.  He had owned this choice! 

                                                    i.     When the 12 scouts were sent to spy out the land, Joshua was willing to reject the report of the majority and declare that God would give them the victory.  In that moment Joshua chose to walk by faith and not by sight.

                                                  ii.     Joshua was willing to embrace the call of God on his life.  He served as Moses’ assistance and when it was time to become the leader of Israel, Joshua assumed that responsibility with great courage.

c.      Joshua was the priest of his home and realized that his wise choice would have an impact on his family.  It is important for men to lead their household well by FIRST making the wise choice to serve the Lord.

d.     Do your actions reflect who you have chosen to serve? 

 

3.     Forsaking God is costly

a.     God is a loving and just God, so we must remember that there are consequences if we CHOOSE not to serve him.

b.     There is a huge cost if we choose to forsake God.

c.      God will turn against you and destroy you (verse 20)

d.     When making your choices, do you think about the fact that there is a cost for forsaking God?  How do you think your life would be different if you often considered this warning?

 

4.      Take your choice seriously!

a.      Making the choice to serve God is not a one-time decision, it is a daily decision to pick up your cross and follow Him. (Mathew 16:24)

b.     It is not just about the outward things that you have done (i.e., getting baptized, saying the sinner’s prayer).  It is about living out this decision DAILY!

c.      Do not allow compromise to dominate our lives, take your choice to serve the Lord seriously!

d.      Are you taking your choice to serve God seriously or are you in a place of compromise?

While I Am Waiting

Title of Message: “While I’m waiting”

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Luke 2:22-35

 22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”[a24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”[b] 25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” 33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

 

Merriam Webster Definition of Wait: To stay in place of expectation!

 Why does God allow us to wait (Purpose of waiting)

·       Waiting develops and matures us!

·       Waiting strengthens us:   Isaiah 40: 31 But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

·       Many times there is a waiting period between when God makes us a promise & its manifestation

o   Gen 12: Abram receives promise from God, he was 75 years old when God told him his descendants will be given the land.

o   Gen 21:1-5  Abraham is 100 years old when Isaac is born  (Had to wait 25 years)

o   Joseph had to wait 13 years for the full manifestation of what God had promised. He was 17 years old when he was sold into slavery. In Gen 41, Joseph rises to 2nd in command under Pharaoh, 13 years later.

 Why does God allow us to wait (continued)?

o   Waiting molds us and shapes us to become the servants God calls us to be!

o   In the waiting room, our trust in God develops and we learn how to depend on Him!

o   We cannot circumvent the waiting process because waiting is part of the journey of faith!

o   Many tests come during the waiting period!

o   Our response to the test determines the length of the waiting period!

·       Waiting guides us!

·       Waiting allows God to be glorified – the longer we wait, the more glory we give to the Lord

·       Waiting increases our appreciation!

o   Once God delivers, we learn to give Him genuine praise!

o   A good parent does not give a child things prematurely, the parent waits until the child is able to receive what is being given.

o  When we allow the waiting process to accomplish a work in us, we appreciate the blessing even more when we receive it.

 

Scriptures on waiting

Psalms 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

Psalms 37:9 “For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

Isaiah 40:31”But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

 

Simeon: Had to wait on the Lord

·       Hidden figure; 10 verses devoted to him

·       We don’t know much about him; devout, holy ghost filled, probably elderly

·       He received the promise that he would not die until he see the Lord’s Christ

·       The Holy Spirit speaks to him and gives him revelation that he won’t die until he see Jesus

·       God orchestrates a delay between what he declares and when it is accomplished

·       All Simeon had while waiting, was the Word that God had given him. No sign, no external cue; no angelic visitation

·       Learns to wait because he got a Word (Simeon got internal revelation)

·       Simeon didn’t need any sign, learned to trust God and take God at his Word

·       While he’s been waiting on God’s promise, he still goes to the Temple to worship God

·       God is worthy of our worship while we are waiting. Don’t abandon worshipping God in the waiting process.

·       God wants to see if we can still worship him while we are waiting

·       God wants to see if we are only willing to worship Him for what He does or are we going to worship Him for who He is?

·       When it doesn’t look like God is moving, can I still worship Him?

·       When my situation doesn’t change, can I still worship Him?

·       Simeon didn’t die until he saw Jesus!  We should be the same way. Don’t die until we see Jesus/experience Him! Say yes to Jesus!

 

 Mary & Joseph

After 40 day of purification, Mary can now go out. Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated.

 While I’m waiting…

1.     Remain committed!

a.      Simeon was righteous and devout. He remain committed to God as he was waiting for the promise. We should remain committed to God as we are waiting for our promise to manifest.

Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him

b.     Remain committed by spending time with God & His Word. Spending time in prayer and meditating on His promises!

c. We must learn to be content while waiting on the Lord.

d. While we are waiting we must remain connected to the people of God. Fellowship with like minded individuals provides encouragement.

e.       Don’t lose hope and forsake your relationship with God while waiting.

f.       Don’t try to do things in your own strength while waiting

                                                    i.     Don’t try to help God out by running ahead of him and getting in the wrong relationships, placing our careers over our pursuit of God, taking revenge on those who have wronged us, etc.                                          

2.     Don’t dismiss what God said!

a.      Don’t dismiss what God has spoken/revealed/etc.

b.     Hold on to every Word from the Lord! (Simeon held on to what the Holy Spirit revealed to him)

c.      Keep God’s promises near and dear to you, don’t forget them!

d.      Do you know what God has promised you? Do you live in that promise?

3.     Remember God is working behind the scenes!

a.      God was orchestrating and working it out for Simeon to see the consolation! The Holy Spirit moved on Simeon to be at the Temple the same time Mary and Joseph were there to dedicate the baby to the Lord!

b. This was not a coincidence, God was working behind the scenes!

c. As you wait, be encouraged and know that God is working behind the scenes. He is doing more than you can see. Walk by faith and not by sight as you are waiting for the promise to manifest.

The promise God makes Simeon, manifest while Simeon was in that place of worship. Remain connected to God and continue to worship Him as you wait!

The Road To Redemption

Title of Message: Road to Redemption

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Luke 2:10-20 NKJV

 1Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [a]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[b] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [c]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

 

Road to Redemption

1.     Redemption can shock you! The shepherds were startled by the angelic visitation.

a.      Presence of God can startle you!

b.     Move of God can shock you!

 

2.     Redemption requires seeking after Him! The shepherds had to respond to the visitation and go to the place the angels told them to go.

a.      Must get on the road to seek after Jesus!

b.     We often seek after everything else, but Jesus

                                                    i.     We can seek for the “perfect job”

                                                  ii.     We can seek for the right “boo/mate”

                                                iii.     We can seek for the right home, right car

                                                 iv.     We can even seek for the right retirement plan

                                                  v.     But can we use the same energy/effort to seek after Him?

c.      There has to be some effort on my part to know Jesus.

d.     We want CONVENIENCE! We live in a society that is all about convenience and we can treat our relationship with God the same way.

                                                    i.     We want a Microwave and Amazon Prime religion.

                                                  ii.     Can’t operate that way with God!

e.      If you seek redemption, you will find it!

f.       The shepherds had to make a decision to seek after Jesus or remain in the fields? The same is true for us, will we seek after Jesus, or stay where we are.

                                                iii.     If we stay, we will be limited to just HEARING about Jesus

                                                 iv.     If we seek after Him, we then SEE and EXPERIENCE Jesus!

g.     Redemption is not automatic, it requires effort on our part!

h.       God will give us crumbs on this journey. 

                                                    i.     It is up to us to follow the crumbs!

                                                  ii.     He gives us more when we seek after Him!

 3.     Redemption is SIMPLE– not elaborate.  (verses 11 & 12)

a.      Shepherds given simple instructions: A child has been born in the city of David (which is called Bethlehem). This child is not just any child, but the baby is CHRIST the Lord.

b.      Baby wrapped in simple clothing.

c.      No room at the inn for Mary & Joseph!  (Mary & Joseph had to make due with what they had)

g.      Baby lying in a simple crib called a Manger! It wasn't the most ideal place for a king according to our standards.    Manger is an open box or trough for horses or cattle to eat from!

                                                    i.     11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

h.     Manger is simple, nothing fancy, extravagant, or elaborate. Manger symbolizes the humility of God!

i.       Manger contained hay that was soft, the box was probably high off the ground, probably had sides tall enough to keep her child safely inside. 

j.       God could have had Jesus enter the world through different means, but He chose a stable and had the baby laid in a manger. He didn't chose the palace or the temple, but instead He chose a stable with stinky animals.                                                 

k.     Baby Jesus came in simplicity reminding us that redemption really is not that complicated!

                                                    i.     You don’t need to have a special status or be special according to society’s standards to experience redemption.

                                                  ii.     As a matter of fact, when we have that “special perspective” we miss redemption

4.     Redemption satisfies you!

a.      Manger may seem like an accident, but it wasn’t!

b.     God had a plan even in having His son laid in the manger!

c.     Animals (horses, cattle) go to the manger for natural food.

d.      Jesus laying in a manger symbolized our ability to go to Him for spiritual food.

e.       Jesus has an infinite storehouse of nourishment available for those who are looking to be redeemed!

f.     We can come to Jesus at any time and never go hungry!

g.     Jesus feeds us with His Word, His life, His teachings!

                                                    i.     Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name O Lord God of hosts.

                                                  ii.     Ezekiel 3:1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

h.       Jesus wants us to feast on Him.

i.      We must chew on His words, digest it and make it part of who we are!

j.     Jesus’ Word is like no other food! It has power to save our souls!

                                                    i.     James 1:21 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and [d]overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

k.       The babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in manger is the Bread of Life

l.    John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

m.     The babe laying in the feeding trough is the true bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever!

n.     John 6:51 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

o.     When we eat on the Words of Christ and receive the Lord’s Supper, we get well fed spiritually speaking.

p.     When we eat Jesus Words, it satisfies us! It nourishes us!

q.       Redemption satisfies us!

r.     The shepherds feasted on the child first, now it is our turn!

 

5.     Redemption sets you on fire (verses 17-20)

a.      17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

b.     How could these shepherds rejoice at a child born in the manger?

c.      How could these shepherds glorify and praise God after smelling the smells in a manger?

d.    The shepherds were able to rejoice because they saw with their own eyes what was told to them when they were in the field. Everything occurred as it was told to them.

g.     We should be set on fire when we hear about God’s redemption and we see Him at work in our lives and the lives of others! We should also be set on fire when He confirms that we can take Him at his Word and that He holds his promises!

k.     Shepherds responded to the message, retold the message and  rejoiced at the message.