Tag Archives: build

Doing the Work of The Lord

Today’s message summary of June 4, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If your focus is on the work of God, it will change you.  God should come first in your life.

If there is a lack of focus, there will be a hole in your life that cannot be filled by material things.

You can be confused over those things that you deem to be priorities.

Over time, God’s work can get lost within the course of life.  You can get so busy living and lose track of what is most important; yet, God has a plan for you each and every day.

The word of God is the most important part of your life.

Haggai 1:1-11

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 

The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.

The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways:

You have planted much

but harvested little.

You eat

but never have enough to be satisfied.

You drink

but never have enough to become drunk.

You put on clothes

but never have enough to get warm.

The wage earner puts his wages

into a bag with a hole in it.

The Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways. Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified, says the Lord. You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why? This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

So on your account,

the skies have withheld the dew

and the land its crops.

I have summoned a drought

on the fields and the hills,

on the grain, new wine, olive oil,

and whatever the ground yields,

on man and beast,

and on all that your hands produce.

 

Haggai’s words to the people of Judah was a revealing of their weakness toward the work of God.

  • Carelessness about the matters of God
  • Their sincerity concerning the things of God is small
  • Their leisure time was more important than God’s work
  • Their personal comfort was more important

Ezra 5:1-2

But when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began to rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, helping them.

When you see and hear that God is at work, it places an expectation from Him upon your life.  As you remain obedient to Him, He will affirm your efforts and even provide the support that you need in service to Him.

Ezra 6:14

So the Jewish elders continued successfully with the building under the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia.

Ezra 7:5-6

Abishuas son, Phinehass son,

Eleazars son, Aaron the chief priests son

came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of Yahweh his God was on him.

 

The workforce was made up of everyone who had returned from exile.  Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they still rebuilt the altar at its original site (Ezra 3:3).

The people overcame their fear in order to obey God.

Haggai points out the weakness of God’s people and what causes them to be distracted.  What are the distractions in your life that prevent you from serving and honoring God?

Haggai 1:2

“The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”

  • You can see it, but you won’t do the work
  • You can hear about it, but will not do the work.
  • You can receive from God the ability to do what is needed, but still choose not to do it.

 

The conflict here is your comfort versus God’s comfort (Haggai 1:3).

When is the right time to do God’s will and be obedient to Him?  The right time is when you see it, hear about it, and have received from God the ability to do it.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give youa land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plantand when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Haggai 1:5, 7

Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways.”

You need to give consideration as to your ways in life.  You need to go over how you make your decisions and reflect deeply upon how you are spending your time.  He wants you to be thoughtful as to your ways.

God challenges you with your way of thinking here.  Before God asks you to do something, you need to consider how you are going to respond to Him.  He may give you something that will pull you out of your comfort zone.

God will enable you to do many things in your life if you simply remain obedient to His will.  Take pleasure in it, you please Him and honor Him, and God will honor you.

Are you taking care of God’s business?  It remains as a priority in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Haggai gave words of encouragement only after the people were willing to obey.

Haggai 1:12-14

Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. So the people feared the Lord.

Haggai, the Lords messenger, delivered the Lords message to the people, I am with you”—this is the Lords declaration.

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the spirit of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They began work on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God.

Once the people began to fear the Lord, their own fear to proceed had subsided.  The people had to see God for themselves.

God’s message is “I am with you.”

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Haggai 2:3

Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing to you? Even so, be strong, Zerubbabel–this is the Lord’s declaration. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, high priest.  Be strong, all you people of the land”this is the Lord’s declaration. “Work! For I am with you”the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.

To build the temple was going to require strength. God’s encouragement was to say “be strong” three times.

When the Spirit of God is with you, there is no need for fear.  He will enable you to complete the task at hand.


Building the Family (Series Cont’d)

Today’s message summary of February 5, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re moving back into the study of building the family.  God is the One who does the work in building and shaping the person, and this applies within the family, as well.

Every dream that you have requires sacrifice in order to bring it into existence, and it involves yielding to the Father according to His will.  Sacrifice is giving up something good to get something even better.

A person should always have the desire to do better.  As a child of God, that is what He desires for you.

With every predicament in life, God requires a new behavior to be developed within the life of the believer.  (New believers are not given more than what they can bear by God; however, there is an expectation of growth and progression for the believer.)

Each believer should experience…

  • A deeper love for God and for others
  • A greater wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ
  • More patience
  • A desire to seek more understanding of others
  • A deeper development in his personal life

When God allows you to go through a crisis or difficulty, it is not just about facing the crisis…it is more about Him dealing with you.

It is easy to run in the other direction or even quit when things get difficult, but God desires to personally develop you.

When you are really to allow God to work in your life, He will guide your steps.  He does not want to see you fail, and it is not His desire to set you up for failure.

Building your own self-worth within the family helps to build the self-worth of others within the family.  Everyone in the family contributes to the life of the family.  There is good, bad and sometimes ugly that makes up the family.

How does God accomplish all of this?

We build a healthy self-worth by seeing life through God’s eyes.  It is not about what you want.  It is about living according to His will.  Your self-worth comes from how God values you.

He sent His Son to die for you.  That is how much He values you.

Most of our lives are busy working at what we want our life to be.

Colossians 1:9-10

For this reason also, since the day we heard this (that you became a believer), we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

 

You desire to do God’s will and not your own.

How does one build his self-worth? Focus on the will of God, and desire spiritual understanding of life.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

 

Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.

 

Proverbs 2:3-6

…furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

 

God’s knowledge and understanding is the beginning of growing a good self-worth within yourself.

Your self-image (your own concept of yourself–your identity, your abilities, your self-worth) is what you outwardly want people to see.

Worth:  value, merit, honor.  It is the value that God has placed upon you.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.


God Builds People of Service

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God builds people. He builds people of strength and character. He is also building people for service to Him. He builds us in order that we may be used of Him. It is all about being God’s servant.

Today, we will look at Tabitha (also known as Dorcas).

A servant of The Lord Jesus Christ must be able to show that it is not about him or her, but all about Jesus. The primary thing that people should see is the reflection of Christ in one’s presence.

If you were to reduce the Christian’s job description to a phrase, it would be “reflect God’s glory.”

How does this occur?

John 3:30

“He (Jesus Christ) must increase, but I must decrease.”

 

1 Corinthians 3:7

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

 

Only God Himself can transform the heart of a person.

Isaiah 42:8

I am Yahweh, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another

or My praise to idols.

 

In Acts 9:32-42, Dorcas is pictured with the apostle Peter. She is ministering to people in her own way–not as a healer or as a preacher–but through sewing.

She was able to bring things together.

She was able to mend and repair

It takes a keen eye and a sturdy hand–a skill–to sew.

Dorcas had the heart and mind of service in everything she did because she saw the need before her.

Acts 9:32-42

32 As Peter was traveling from place to place, he also came down to the saints who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed,” and immediately he got up. 35 So all who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

 

Dorcas Restored to Life

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. She was always doing good works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became sick and died. After washing her, they placed her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples heard that Peter was there and sent two men to him who begged him, “Don’t delay in coming with us.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they led him to the room upstairs. And all the widows approached him, weeping and showing him the robes and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Then Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and turning toward the body said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her stand up. Then he called the saints and widows and presented her alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

 

God uses great men like Peter, but He also uses those who have the gift of kindness. People who are willing to make use of gifts that God gives are always doing good–always helping to glorify God (v. 36)

Make the use of the gift God has given to you.

Dorcas had a mind and heart to minister to the apparent needs of people. Do you see the needs that people have before you? Some people genuinely do not know what to do unless they are taught how to do it correctly. Some people do not feel appreciated, cared for, or believe they are altogether left out. Our prayer should be, “Lord, open my eyes so I can see who is in need. Help me to have a spiritual way of seeing things for you.” Pray also for a zeal to serve Him, as well.

Romans 12:5-8, 11

5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

 

If prophecy,

use it according to the standard of one’ faith;

7 if service, in service;

if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation;

giving, with generosity;

leading, with diligence;

showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.

 

Note that Satan will sometimes whisper things to you that will diminish what you are doing for The Lord. Know where that is coming from.

As we are not to do things to look for a pat on the back or for recognition, Dorcas was not seeking recognition from others.

Spirit-led people go to work for The Lord.

Dorcas ministered to the rich and to the poor. (Where did her material come from? She was able to meet provisions because of her involvement with everyone, and used what was given to her to serve everyone.)

People will see your faith in action by your deeds and your work.

James 2:14

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

 

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them.

 

Matthew 6:1-4

1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! 3 But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Titus 3:8

This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone.

 

What temptations do we face when we do kind things for others?

  • They will not appreciate it. (If it is not appreciated, we will stop serving Him.
  • It’s going to cost you too much. (This makes for a cheap ministry.)
  • How much time will it take? (I don’t have time to do this stuff!)

Dorcas’ reward for ministry…her ministry touched many people, and it was evidenced by the number of people (all of the widows) who cherished her life, her work and her ministry. She was healed and raised up before them all, and God was glorified…once again, she was used by Him for the praise and testimony of Jesus Christ. (v. 36-42).


God Builds People of Faith

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are times when we need to learn how to face our enemies and deal with them. Today, we will look at Rahab.

God is the One who desires to do the work in each of us and builds us up. He wants us to grow to a higher standard for the sake of His kingdom. It’s not about where you are, but where you are going.

Rahab is most often known as a prostitute and is not Jewish, but she also happens to be Jesus Christ’s great-grandmother.

Matthew 1:4-6

4 Aram fathered Amminadab,

Amminadab fathered Nahshon,

Nahshon fathered Salmon,

5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,

Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,

Obed fathered Jesse,

6 and Jesse fathered King David.

 

This higher standard also applies to Rahab, because she saw God differently. She stepped out in faith and supplied for her need as she exercised it. Interestingly, her name meant “boldly disrespectful or prideful.” Her name stood for one thing, but her faith made her distinctive from those around her.

 

Hebrews 11:1-2, 31

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.

 

James 2:22-25

22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

 

She is an example of one’s faith in action.

Rahab recognized the God of the Israelites was no ordinary god. He is powerful. She saw that God could defeat the armies across the Jordan River.

Isaiah 44:24, 46:6-11

24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says:

I am Yahweh, who made everything;

who stretched out the heavens by Myself;

who alone spread out the earth.

 

6 Those who pour out their bags of gold

and weigh out silver on scales—

they hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god.

Then they kneel and bow down to it.

7 They lift it to their shoulder and bear it along;

they set it in its place, and there it stands;

it does not budge from its place.

They cry out to it but it doesn’t answer;

it saves no one from his trouble.

8 “Remember this and be brave;

take it to heart, you transgressors!

9 Remember what happened long ago,

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and no one is like Me.

10 I declare the end from the beginning,

and from long ago what is not yet done,

saying: My plan will take place,

and I will do all My will.

11 I call a bird of prey from the east,

a man for My purpose from a far country.

Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.

I have planned it; I will also do it.

 

She saw what God did and responded to Him.

Joshua 2:1-7

1 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.”

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the gate was shut.

 

Rahab was fearful of her life and the life of her family. She recognized that God was able to defeat the enemy and she was determined to keep the men who came under her roof as a secret. Yes, she lied about the presence of the men to those who were looking for them (and there is no justification for lying), but Rahab was in a predicament that only God could address with her. She did what was necessary to protect herself and her family.

Rahab tried to negotiate with the spies, even from a bad position.

Joshua 2:8-11

8 Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.

 

Rahab was insightful in her discussion. She knew that God was mighty and capable of destruction. The other people did not change their way of thinking, but she did.

Joshua 2:12-14

12 Now please swear to me by the Lord that you will also show kindness to my family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.”

14 The men answered her, “We will give our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

 

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

It’s not what Rahab had seen of God but what she had heard about Him. From that, she believed in Him. She confessed that God was the One true God on heaven and earth.

Even when we ask God for help, God will challenge us to follow His instructions and be obedient to Him in your step of faith.

Joshua 2:15-19

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city. 16 “Go to the hill country so that the men pursuing you won’t find you,” she said to them. “Hide yourselves there for three days until they return; afterward, go on your way.”

17 The men said to her, “We will be free from this oath you made us swear, 18 unless, when we enter the land, you tie this scarlet cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your father’s family into your house. 19 If anyone goes out the doors of your house, his blood will be on his own head, and we will be innocent. But if anyone with you in the house should be harmed, his blood will be on our heads.

 

1.) She had to follow the instructions of the men (from God), which means she needed to be obedient.

2.) She had to get her entire family under her roof in order for them to be spared.

3.) She had to keep the invasion a secret; otherwise the guarantee for safety would have been broken.

 

Joshua 2:15

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city.

 

Note tha Rahab’s house was on the outer wall of Jericho. While the walls came down, her house was preserved. Rahab had to see that God kept His Word. She trusted God and saw that He could destroy everything around her but kept her and her family.

 

Joshua 6:24-25

24 They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.

 

Rahab started out as a prostitute, but look where she wound up because of her faith! It was credited to her for righteousness. It’s not where you start from, but it is all about where you finish in Jesus Christ. Amen.