E Seed Magazine March

In Pursuit of Happiness

Pastor Jeff Hamm

 

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A teacher once asked her students a few questions. Pointing to piece of coal, to an orange, to cricket and to mouse in a cage, she asked to what kingdom each of them belong. Her students answered correctly, to the mineral, fruit, insect and animal kingdoms.

Then she asked to what kingdom do I belong? That is really a fascinating question facing every man. Some might say that we belong to the animal kingdom, because we like animals live by our appetite and are driven by our passions. However, most would think that we live above the animal kingdom, because we have the sense of right and wrong, the ability of choice and the power to make it happen.

Yet to some there is even a higher kingdom to which we can rise, the Kingdom of God. The Scripture teaches us that we can enter jointly with Christ into His Kingdom: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs —heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”[1]

Our relationship with God is often considered spiritual unseen by those around. It is somewhat like the boy who was flying his kite and it was so high that it disappeared into the clouds. A man stopped by and said, “So why are you holding that string?” the boy said, “I have a kite on the end of it.” The man gazed into the sky and said, “I don’t see anything,” the boy replied, “I know that it is there because I can still feel its tug.”  Many people may not know the joy of the “Kingdom of God.” But if you feel the tug of God on the strings of your heart it is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

In the Kingdom of God we often only consider one aspect of its facilities’, the spiritual. However God is concerned about the complete human experience. There is a connection or interrelationship between the spiritual, physical and mental well being of all creation.  When all is taken into consideration and the knowledge that the ministry of the Kingdom is to whole person, more will move in the direction of God’s total blessing in His church.

 

Physical and mental Health: Your Body the Temple of God

Paul instructing the church at Corinth, said, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves.  You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body.”[2] Paul dealing with sexual immorality brings to the discussion that physical practice and health can impact the spiritual and mental aspects of human life.

We are marvelously designed by God. He made us in a way that all our body systems work together in an incredible ways. Our Body, soul, spirit, and mind are interconnected and work together perfectly according to His design. Because of our unique design, when we live according to the principles outlined in the Bible, our life will be more full and we are likely to experience life with peace, joy and hope.  This will create an environment that favors good health.

I have a wonderful friend who has spent a number of years serving the body of Christ as a pastor in a Baptist Churches. He also smoked cigarettes for number of years and now suffers from COPD and Emphysema, a diseases associated with smoking. The affect of the disease has forced him into early retirement, leaving his position as pastor of the church that he loves and cares for dearly  has caused him depression.

All of us can do a better job at maintaining good physical health and using our bodies in ways that gives glory to God.  Jesus explained to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”[3]  The human body needs rest to function best. Proper rest, nutrition, and exercise can improve physical and mental health.  Exercise improves cognitive functioning and reduces the risk of developing Dementia. In a study, older men, aged 71 to 93, who walked less than a quarter mile a day, were 1.8 times more likely to develop dementia than men who walked more than 2 miles a day.[4] In a second study, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that women, aged 70 to 81, who walked at least 1.5 hours per week, had less cognitive decline than those who walked less than 40 minutes per week.[5]

Dr. Christina M.H. Powel teaches,nutrition affects a person’s mood is another example of physical health impacting mental health. In general, a diet that keeps sugars at an acceptable level and provides plenty of tryptophan and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is most likely to help a person make and use serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Thus foods rich in omega-3 fats — salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed — may help combat mild depression. Good food sources of tryptophan — an essential amino acid in the human diet that the body uses to make serotonin — include fish, turkey, chicken, cheese, beans, milk, eggs, and chocolate. A person who feels healthy and energetic will have greater resources for ministering to others and bouncing back from setbacks. While physical suffering and anxiety over health concerns certainly can draw us closer to God, it is easier to resist temptation and make wise choices when we are feeling well. Thus, a person’s physical health can affect a person’s spiritual well-being.[6]

            There are a lot of health compromising behaviors that we as the church often are silent about. As the church moves forward and strengthens its witness of God’s glory, it is to be expressed in various forms, including being a happy church. We should make every effort to support positive health lifestyles and appropriate life behavior suited for the Kingdom of God.

A Kingdom Of Joy

            The Kingdom of God is a community of love, for God is love.[7]  Paul describes a great range of godly characteristics and emotions as aspects of His Kingdom. They include “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”[8] The Bible exhorts us to be full of this Spirit

If these qualities are prevailing in our personality, we are less likely to suffer from mental aberrations.  People with this type of personality are self-controlled; they will be stable and able to endure the difficulties of life. They will be optimistic, which is a vital part of a healthy mind. “Optimistic people are more able to roll with life’s punches and slough off stress—and they live longer.”[9] On the other hand, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”[10]

At the heart of the matter, true happiness boils down to cultivating our spiritual nature – with qualities like prayer, Bible study and worship through praise. Nineteenth century spirituality and health author and Bible scholar Mary Baker Eddy believed this  to be true. She writes, “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.”[11]

Eddy also offers this advice, “If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea.”[12] She points out that we have an ability to choose which thoughts we entertain. With a little consistent work we can weed out the negative thoughts that don’t fit with those spiritual traits carefully laid out in the Bible.

Developing a regular spiritual practice of cultivating our mental/spiritual garden, either through meditation or prayer is one way to do it. Dr. Ellen L. Idler encourages taking time for the spiritual.  She writes “Transcendent spiritual and religious experiences have a positive, healing, restorative effect, especially if they are “built in,” so to speak, to one’s daily, weekly, seasonal, and annual cycles of living.”[13]

People without the Spirit of God will be vulnerable and driven frequently by negative emotions.  The accompanying problems can include adultery, sexual immorality, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, envy and drunkenness.[14] Living this type of life style has a consequence that makes one a candidate for instability, unhappiness and probable mental issues.

We have choices and those choices influence our emotions and mental capacities, and we have to live with the consequences of choices. The types of emotions that prevail in our minds will be a principal influential factor in whether or not we are doing well. “Emotions are a mixed blessing. They are responsible for many of man’s finest and greatest achievements. They are also responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in our world”[15]

Being part of God’s Kingdom also offers us a positive social support system. This support system includes God along with other believers. The 17th-century poet John Donne had a similar reflection: “No man is an island.” Good mental and spiritual health requires contact with people of faith. One of the original concepts of the Bible is that God designed humans to need other humans. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone”[16]

The need for a support team of family and the community of faith is scientifically established. “What happens if we have no close relationships? The message that emerges loud and clear from scientific evidence accumulated since the mid 1970’s is that having a reasonable quantity and quality of social relationships is essential for mental and physical wellbeing.”[17]

Jesus points out in His “Sermon on the Mount,” that the kingdom of God is a place of happiness. Eight times He references the word “blessed” also translated “happy” with certain paths that put us in a positive relationship with Him. In our pursuit for happiness we do well to heed these words of Christ.

It would be helpful to begin by dealing with this word “blessed.” There is an aspiration to translate the word with happy. However that does not seem to bring into full focus all that is intended here in the text, because of contemporary usage of the word happy it does not fit well with the Biblical meaning. The term “blessed” is an exclamation of the inner joy and peace that results from being in positive relationship with God. Happiness as we know may certainly be a part of it, but it is a happiness that transcends what is going on in our physical world, an inner joy that comes to the soul from being favored by God. This is the reason that in the heart of the Christian, while in the season of intense persecution, comes a call from deep within for rejoicing. The Lord’s announcement of “blessed” is an assurance of divine reward for the spiritual temperament of the redeemed, those have been imputed with the righteousness of God

 

[1] Rom 8: 16-17 GW

[2] I Cor. 6: 19-20 GW

[3] Mark 2:27 ESV

[4] R.D. Abbott et al., “Walking and dementia in Physically Capable Elderly Men,” JAMA 2004;292:1447–1453.

[5]  J. Weuve et al., “Physical Activity, Including Walking, and Cognitive Function in Older Women,” JAMA2004;292:1454-1461.

[6] Christina M.H. Powell, Ph.D., an ordained minister, author, medical writer, and research scientist trained at Harvard Medical School and Harvard University. She speaks in churches and conferences nationwide and addresses faith and science issues at http://www.questionyourdoubts.com.

[7] I John 4: 8

[8] Gal. 5: 22-23

[9] Bradley Wilcox M.D., Craig Wilcox Ph.D., Makoto Suzuki M.D., The Okinawa Program, 2001, Pg. 273

[10] Pro. 25: 28 ESV

[11] Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scripture, Forgotten Books, 2007

[12] Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scripture, Forgotten Books, 2007

[13]Ellen L. Ilder, The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Practices

[14] Gal. 5: 19-21

[15] Norman Wright, The Christian Use of Emotional Power, 1974, Pg. 13

[16] Gen. 2: 18

[17] Paul Martin, M.D., The healing Mind, 1997, Pg 157

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ESEED Magazine January


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ESeed1



A Man After God’s Own Heart
Dr. Jeff Hamm
 
1 Sam. 13:13-14

13:13  And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the

commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the

LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.

 13:14  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

Introduction:
 In Paul's sermon at Antioch, in which he briefly recounts the history of Israel, he refers to the statement made by God concerning David: "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." - Ac 13:22 (cf. 1Sa 13:13-14). There is an association with fulfilling the “will of God” and being “a man after God’s heart. Saul had not kept the will of God and because of that he was removed from the king’s office. God in seeking someone who would be a righteous leader choose David because the heart of David was one that would properly honor God and His WORD. Today we will look at some these attributes of David and compare them to that of Christ and discuss how we may integrate them into our worship of God.

1.   This striking compliment, "a man after My own heart", is one that
      should characterize every person who bears the name of Christ.
                a.   David was not only the ancestor of Christ according to the flesh, But he
                      possessed many of the attitudes that were later perfected by Christ and
                      should characterize all those who are disciples of Christ.
1Pe 2:21  
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
                b.  Christ is the example for His people. In the implementation of grace, faith, love, zeal, meekness, and humility; and in His willingness to complete His Devine duty, in his regard to the will of God,
 
c.        In this study we will look at three attribute of the life of David that I 
       believe to be keys in him being a “man after God’s heart.”
                         1.   David loved the WORD of God.
                         2.   David loved to pray
                         3.   David loved to praise.

2.    DAVID LOVED THE WORD OF GOD

   a.  "OH, HOW I LOVE YOUR LAW!"
Psa 119:97 
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
       1.  In Psalms 119, David expresses his devotion to God’s Word. Like Christ, he understands the wisdom of God that is derived from the love, commitment and study of God’s Word.

Deu 17:19  (speaking of the future king of Israel)

And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may

learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law

and these statutes,

           a.   Jesus loved the Word of God and trusted its advice while in temptation.

Mat 4:1-11 

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Mat 4:2  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was

hungry.

Mat 4:3  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God,

 command that these stones become bread.”

Mat 4:4  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY

 BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE

 MOUTH OF GOD.’ ”

Mat 4:5  Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of

the temple,

Mat 4:6  and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it

is written: ‘HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU,’ and, IN

 THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT

 AGAINST A STONE.’ ”

Mat 4:7  Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE

 LORD YOUR GOD.’ ”

Mat 4:8  Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and

showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Mat 4:9  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down

 and worship me.”

Mat 4:10  Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU

 SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL

 SERVE.’ ”

Mat 4:11  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

  2.   David’s love for God's Word is due to the fact that...
  a. It proved to protect him from sin.
Psa 119:11  
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
              b. It comforts him in affliction 
Psa 119:50  
This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
  c. It gives him great peace of mind that he will not stumble
Psa 119:165  
Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

   b.    HOW IS OUR LOVE FOR THE WORD OF GOD?
      1.   Do we "hide" it in our heart?
      2.   Do we find it to be a source of comfort in times of
            trouble?
      3.   Does it give us peace of mind?
      4.   If not, we should give heed to the instructions of David in  Ps 1:1-3
             a.  Learn to delight in the Word
             b.  Learn to meditate upon it daily

3.    DAVID LOVED TO PRAY

   a.    David said "I WILL CALL UPON HIM AS LONG AS I LIVE" 

Psa 116:1-4 

I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications.

Psa 116:2  Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as

long as I live.

Psa 116:3  The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of

me; I found trouble and sorrow.

Psa 116:4  Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!"
      1.   Like Jesus David loved to pray. His love for prayer was based upon the fact God
            had answered his prayer and delivered him from the hand of the enemy.
      2.   Jesus was a man of prayer, we often forget that like all other men, Jesus struggled 
            with human weariness and depended on prayer as a source of refreshing. 
Mar 6:46  
And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.
 

Mat 26:39-42 

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it

is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

Mat 26:40  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to

 Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?

Mat 26:41  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is

 willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mat 26:42  Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.

3.      A lot of the Psalms are in the form of prayers, it was not that David was a perfect man, but he was a praying man. His devotion to prayer was a key to his success as a man of God. All of like David have our own set of life issues that we must deal with. If like David, if we will call on the Name of the Lord while working through life’s struggles, God will come to our side.
4.      Jesus was a praying man. We are quick to find in the Gospels that He also encouraged the disciples to pray. He gave them a teaching prayer that we often call the Lord’s Prayer. We discover that at times he would ask some of them to go and pray with them. In John 17, we find one of the most awesome prayers in the Bible, it is truly the Lord’s prayer.  In this prayer the Lord Jesus prays for unity in the church and also for the success of future believers until the end of the ages.
5.      David found forgiveness of sin through prayer.

Psa, 50: 1-11

Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the

 multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

Psa 51:2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.

Psa 51:3  For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.

Psa 51:4  Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—

 That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Psa 51:5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived

 me.

Psa 51:6  Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You

 will make me to know wisdom.

Psa 51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be

whiter than snow.

Psa 51:8  Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may

rejoice.

Psa 51:9  Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.

Psa 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within

 me.

Psa 51:11  Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
6.       Jesus while on the cross prayed for forgiveness of those who had put Him there. 
 And, I might add, we are all guilty of the sin that put Him on the cross.

 

Luk 23:33-34 

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and

the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

Luk 23:34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
   7.   It was based upon the fact that prayer brought God close to
             him 
Psa 145:18  
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
8.        There is a sense in which God is “near” to all, for He is everywhere present; but
    there is a special sense in which He seems to be near to us. It is in prayer, in this  
          place of peace and joy which we have in communion with Him

   c.   HOW IS OUR LOVE FOR PRAYER?

          1.  Have we found it to be a source of peace "which surpasses all
              understanding"?

Php 4:6-7 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with

thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Php 4:7  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
         2.  Do we "pray without ceasing"? 
Psa 55:17  
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
         3.  If not, then let David instruct us to depend upon prayer for
             our very preservation

Psa 32:6 -7

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be

found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him.

Psa 32:7  You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

4. DAVID LOVED TO PRAISE GOD

Psa 119:164  
Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.

   a. "SEVEN TIMES A DAY I PRAISE YOU" 
      1.    We have often seen that seven was a number expressing perfection, completion,
              etc., among the Hebrews; and that it is often used to signify many, or an 
              indefinite number

      2.    Rabbi Solomon says that this is to be understood literally; for they praised God
             twice in the morning before reading the Decalogue, and once after; twice in the 
             evening before the same reading, and twice after; making in the whole seven
             times.

   b. JESUS ALSO LOVED TO PRAISE GOD...
       1.    Jesus often offered words of praise and adoration to the Father in heaven. One of
              the most notable times of praise mentioned in the gospels involving Christ was 
              the traditional hymns of praise during the Passover Sader.
Mat 26:30  
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

2.   And when they had sung a hymn – Υμνησαντες means, probably, no more  than

a kind of recitative reading or chanting. As to the hymn itself, we know, from the

universal consent of Jewish antiquity, that it was composed of Psa_113:1-9,

Psa_114:1-8, 115, 116, Psa_117:1-2, and 118, termed by the Jews הלל  halel,

from הללו־יה  halelu-yah, the first word in Psa_113:1-9. These six Psalms were

always sung at every paschal solemnity. They sung this great Hillel on account of

the five great benefits referred to in it; viz.

1.      The Exodus from Egypt, Psa_114:1. When Israel went out of   Egypt, etc.

2.      The miraculous division of the Red Sea, Psa_114:3. The sea saw it and fled.

3.      The promulgation of the law, Psa_114:4. The mountains skipped like lambs.

4.      The resurrection of the dead, Psa_116:9. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

         5.                     The passion of the Messiah, Psa_115:1. Not unto us, O Lord, not
                   unto us, etc.

   c. DO WE LOVE TO PRAISE GOD?
          1.  Do we delight in singing praises to God in song?
          2.  Do we take time to praise God in our prayers?
          3.  Once again, David has words to encourage us in this activity

Psa 147:1  
Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

E SEED DECEMBER from Great Harvest Church

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Christmas, In The Shadow Of The Cross

Dr. Jeff Hamm

 

ESeedDecember

When we have discussions about the birth of Christ we like to sing songs like “Away in a Manger,” or maybe “Silent Night.” But, we seldom think of the fact that Christ came to die. His entire earthly mission was to die a special death. Like His miracle birth of a virgin, His death was unique in that it was a sacrifice of blood, an atonement for sin. We often talk about people who are killed because of the uncontrolled anger of someone else and say “what a needless killing.” While Jesus died in the prime of His life at the young age of 33, it was not a wasted life or needless death.  By God’s grace we who believe have been made free from our sins and sanctified to God’s purpose through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.

Key Text:

Lev 17:11 

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’

 1.   It is the blood that makes atonement…

            a.   When man first fell from the grace of God, while still in the Garden of Eden, God’s word to them was that they will die because of this disobedience and sin. Since that time all men have sinned and have fallen short of God’s grace. As a result of sin we will all die.

b.   While we all understand the natural consequence of sin, we may not all be aware of the spiritual consequence of sin and the second death.

Rev 20:11-15

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the

heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were

opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were

judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Rev 20:13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the

dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

          c.   The physical death is not the end of the matter as some would have us believe. Those who die in Christ are in a place of rest where they await the coming of the Lord.  Our friend the Apostle Paul teaches that at the return of Lord, the dead in Christ shall rise to life and live forever (cf I Cor. 15:50).

d.   Those that die outside of God’s grace are held in a place that is called Death. Death will not give up their dead until the end and at the time of the “Great White Throne of Judgment.”

e.    Death and hell are cast into the Lake of fire, this is the second death.  That is, they can never respond to Life which is God or be among the living in Christ. The second death is an everlasting punishment held for those who do not seek the grace of God for forgiveness.

 2.  We have hope…

1Th 4:13 

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep,

lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

         a. Our assurance of everlasting life is in the Blood of the Cross of Calvary. Because of our trust in the sufferings and death of Christ we do not have to suffer the second death. We have the glorious hope of resurrection at the return of Christ.

b. Not only do we have hope of eternal life, but also we have hope of a positive relationship with God while on planet earth. The power of God’s grace towards us helps in our joy and relationships here on earth.

2Cor. 9:8 

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all

sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

         c. That all grace may abound toward you…that is every kind of blessing may come your way. Through the cross everything that you and I need to be successful as a witness of His goodness is supplied to us through His Spirit. By faith we lack nothing. Our greatest battles are because of our lack of looking to the cross in our times of needs.

d. If you are battling with issues in your life, the cross offers you away to resolve and deal with issues those that cannot be solved by any other means.

e. Our sins are left at the cross.

Isa 53:5 

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The

chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

         f. The words wounded, bruised, chastisement, and strips, comprehends all his pains and punishments. For our iniquities – For the guilt of our sins, which he had voluntarily taken upon Himself, and for the payment of our sins. We owed a dept that we could not pay. Christ Jesus paid a dept on Calvary’s cross that He did not owe so that we can have hope in this life and in the kingdom to come.

1John 2:2 

He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole

world. (GW) 

g. As believers in Christ we should remain in the shadow of the cross. Our continual growth and spiritual maturity is dependent on our relationship and association with the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ. Without His sacrifice we are nothing.

 

3.  The only way to God the Father is by the Cross and death of Christ…

John 14:6 

Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except

through me.

         a. To come to the Father is to obtain his favor, to have access to his throne by prayer, and finally to enter his kingdom. No man can obtain any of these things except by the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

Act 4:12 

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among

men by which we must be saved.”

         b. Jesus is the Lamb of God sacrificed on the altar of God.

 

Rev 7:9-10 

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of

all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,

clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Rev 7:10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits

on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 

          c. Salvation is to all who will receive the Lamb of God. Out of the world a great multitude

from every nation will receive by faith salvation.

d. May we as the redeemed of God extend our palm branches and cry out Hosanna to the

Lamb of Glory.

John 12:12-13 

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was

coming to Jerusalem,

John 12:13  took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

“Hosanna! ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ The King

of Israel!

e. It was the feast of Passover and Jesus entered the parade of the lambs. The High priest would travel to the sheep pens to retrieve a lamb for sacrifice in the Temple as a national sacrifice for the Passover. Jesus chosen by God as the Lamb of Glory entered this parade for the Feast of the Lord as an eternal sacrifice for the world.

John 1:29 

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God

who takes away the sin of the world!

E Seed Magazine from Great Harvest Church

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ESeed

Introduction

All of us have difficult, distracting times. Often they seem to rob us of our hopes and dreams. However, if your life’s dreams and goals are righteous and from God then it becomes important to grasp the goals of the dream. If you do not have a dream or established goals, you should seek the face of God and ask for one. The dream itself can become a source of encouragement and will help one focus on what is important and cope with distractions. I do not think that every dream is from God. But some are. The idea of a dream often represents something that you personally feel that you would like to accomplish during your life time. A dream could also represent the call of God. Do you have a dream? Everyone needs one. When we look forward, we need something important to work for or to give guidance and direction for life. A dream often gives us hope for the future. The dream, the vision can display a powerful image of what life can be through Christ Jesus.

Joseph was called mockingly and critically, the dreamer. Some of his dreams were prophetic. He saw himself as a leader of men. Joseph dreamed of using his considerable talents to do great things for God and his family. Joseph’s dreams enabled him to live affirmatively. The idea of living an affirmative life means to be focused, optimistic, positive and to move forward.

This morning we will attempt to discover how good people should act in response when distractions and bad things happen. We will talk about the importance of having an optimistic, positive, attentive outlook in troubled situations. Not to deny that things are bad, but to know that by God’s Grace this to will pass and become an open door to great opportunities.

Key Text:

Gen. 37:5-10

5Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. 6So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.9Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”10So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” 11And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

 

  1. 1.   Knowing that God has a plan for your life, establishes the stage for a positive, attentive outlook and a path to the future.
    1. It is essential to recognize God’s dream or call for your life and to affirm HIS will and good pleasure for you.
    2. It is essential to discern the distinction between God’s direction for life and a self determined will, which is a distraction from those things which are important. Joseph understood that God was in control of his present situations and working out his future.
    3. The key is hearing from God.

Pro 20:12 

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both.

 

  1. Joseph knew that God had a plan for his life…he didn’t know all the details.  He knew God was shaping and molding him for greater service.
  2. Realizing that God is with us in every situation of life be it good or be it in times of great stress, will always be a great comfort. It is through the Spirit of God that we can remain focused on the important things even when life has apprehended us from our goals.

Psa 73:28 

Being united with God is my highest good. I have made the Almighty LORD my

refuge so that I may report everything that he has done.

  1. f.   Having the approval and support of God can help us overcome any circumstance of life. (Joseph is sent to prison in Gen. 39: 19-20)

Act 20:22-24

22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,  23  except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24  But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

g.   Whatever happened to Joseph never caused him to give up on God. Joseph had many distractions in his life. But none of the distractions were able to side track his focus.

1.  He was hated by his family for his dreams.

2.  He was sold into slavery because of the dream, but remained motivated for the purpose of God.

3.  Was tempted with sex outside of marriage and realized it was a distraction from God and ran from the opportunity.

4.   He was imprisoned and with no sign for freedom, he remained focused and was determined to for the dream to come true.

2Co 4:16 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the

inward man is being renewed day by day.

 

 

h.  Do you notice the presence of God in your life? Do you believe he has a plan for you? If not, you need to dare to dream again.

II.      Focused attentive living means trusting God and making the best of bad situations.

 

In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond to the distractions, and what we intend to do now that it has happened.

 

Isa 30:20-21 

The Lord may give you troubles and hardships. But your teacher will no longer be hidden from you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.

Isa 30:21  You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.”

 

  1. In the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, Israel was about to be besieged by Sennachrib, and adversity was their bread and affliction their water. But, the teacher being God will not depart. And you will see Him in the midst of your struggles.
  2. Joseph was hated by his own family and sold into slavery. What seemed to be a major distraction in his life. He was unjustly accused and placed in prison. Though forgotten, he never lost his focus on what his life was about, that always gave him hope.
  3. If we listen to the problem we will lose hope, If we remain focused our ears will be tuned to God and He will direct our path. In the previous verse, the allusion of hearing the voice from behind could be of shepherds who following the sheep would see one going in the wrong direction and would call out instructions.

Psa 23:4 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

  1. Joseph understood that God was with him through every struggle, through every distraction, and would not forsake him. He knew that what appeared to be against him God would make it good.

Gen 50:20 

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

e.   Therefore, whatever happened to Joseph, he kept on making the best of it. He was sold into slavery only to become the head servant. Sent to prison, he took over the administration. Brought before the king, he became Pharaoh’s right hand man.

Gal 6:7-9 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also

reap. 8  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who

sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9  And let us not grow weary

while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

  1. Sometimes life brings people through some very difficult times. Often during those times it is easy to lose focus of the dream that God has put in your heart. It is often important to remember and rehearse the call of God.

Gen 49:22-24 

“Joseph is a fruitful tree, a fruitful tree by a spring, with branches climbing over a

wall. 23  Archers provoked him, shot at him, and attacked him. 24  But his bow

stayed steady, and his arms remained limber because of the help of the Mighty One

of Jacob, because of the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

  1. The blessing of Joseph is very full. What Jacob says of him, is history as well as prophecy. Jacob reminds him of the difficulties and fiery darts of temptations he had formerly struggled through. His faith did not fail, but through his trials he bore all his burdens with firmness, and did not do anything unbecoming. All our strength for resisting temptations, and bearing afflictions, comes from God; his grace is sufficient.
  2. i.

III.    Affirmative living means maintaining your principles even when inconvenient.

a.   Joseph may have faced one of his biggest challenges when tempted by his master’s wife.

1Co 10:13 

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

 

1Co 15:33 

Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad people will ruin decent people.

A DREAM BECOMES A REALITY

Restoration Fellowship International
2013 Mexico Bible College Accreditation Mission Trip

August 7-13, 2013

ADreamBecomesAReality_page1_image12A Dream Becomes A Reality!

Restoration Fellowship International is making plans to fulfill a dream which began in 2004 with the founding of a Bible college. Our goal is to finally have the school and its TPI curriculum fully accredited through the international accrediting network of ACI and its President & Director, Dr. John Scheel. RFI, in partnership with The Timothy
Program International; Dr. Karl D. Coke, Chancellor of TPI; Bishop Daniel Salamanca, Mexican Overseer of RFI’s sister congregations and pastors of the Community of Family Restoration; and in conjunction with the Timothy Bible College in Puebla, Mexico, and its President & Director, Pastor Yohanan Salamanca, are working to see this dream through to
completion.

THE NEED

ADreamBecomesAReality_page1_image10In order to fund this worthy 2013 missions venture, the RFI Board of Directors has established a budget of $6,000 to be raised between May to August of
2013.

OPEN YOUR HEART

We need your help to reach this goal. Would you consider being one of RFI’s
2013 Mexico Missions Partners by contributing a generous gift toward this worthy project? Currently the Bible College averages 300 students per quarter. Our vision has always been to train, empower and release pastors, teachers, missionaries and lay leaders to reach Mexico and Latin America with the Judeo-Christian heritage and ethic of the Gospel and the Holy Scriptures.

HERE’S HOW YOU HELP

ADreamBecomesAReality_page1_image13Please consider giving a gift for this cause and help spread the Gospel throughout
Mexico and Latin America. Mark your gift as Mexico Missions Partners and send to:

Restoration Fellowship International
P.O. Box 5822
Cleveland, TN 37320-5822

REMEMBER – Together We Can!

New Temple Grove Ministries YESHIVA 2013

Join Dr. John Looper and Pastor Connie McDonald as they lead the discussion on “WOMEN IN MINISTRY!pastor connie mcdonaldPastor Connie McDonald serves as the Senior Pastor of New Temple Grove Ministries here in Chesapeake; Pastor Connie is a woman of prayer and integrity and has been in the ministry for over forty-five years. Come and see what the word of God says concerning women in ministry.

TO Register click the following link to download a pdf with more information. yeshiva2013

hampton inn virginiaThe Yeshiva will be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites 4449 Peek Trail Chesapeake, Virginia 23321. Take I664 Exit 11B, it will be on your right (take a right at the light).close to Chesapeake Square mall Registration will be $15.00 per person which includes breakfast buffet, and outline etc. Space is limited RSVP as soon as possible Late registration will be $20.00 at the door providing space is available.

Registration Information: Contact: DeeDee Shelburne 757 651-3266 or Pastor Connie McDonald 757 652-9142. Send your contact information and Registration fee to NTGM: 3972 South Military Hwy. Chesapeake, Va. 23321 Attention : Yeshiva Early Registration cutoff date is August 11th , Fee will be $20.00 after August 11th.

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