Tag Archives: emotional

David’s Prayer for Peace (No. 11 of the Series “Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?”)

Today’s message summary of October 15, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Psalm 4:1-8

For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Davidic psalm. Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.  How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted? How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie? Selah. Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah. Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?” Look on us with favor, Lord. You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

During our days, we often face emotional distress, and it can cause us to lose out on a good night of rest.  Even I have had nights like this.  Perhaps you have had these, as well.  They may be relational or financial, and they may even be spiritual.  There is no true rest unless there is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

David, in his prayers, is showing us a pattern to model where he was praying in the morning, throughout the day, and into the evening.

Be aware that Psalm 4 was relevant to David and his people, and it is relevant today.  Psalm 4 shows that in our prayers, only God can provide to us long-lasting peace.

Verse 1 of Psalm 4 represents when David speaking to God.  Verses 2-6 has him speaking to men and admonishing them, and the last two verses speak again to God in prayers for peace.  He prayed with intensity, and his prayers were clear in petitioning God for answers.  He prayed in such a way that he made sure that God heard him.  He prayed with a burdened heart, and he experienced peace that would allow him to rest.

David understood that he was not delivered from his circumstances under his own merit or righteousness. He understood that he was being delivered because of God’s righteousness alone.  Your own good deeds are worthless without the grace of God and your own obedience and faithfulness to Him.

David experiences relief when He is assured of God’s presence.  God provides the relief.

In Psalm 3, there is a reference to David’s prayer to God for protection from his son, Absalom. He did not fear those who opposed him, but he, nonetheless, appealed to God for help in overcoming them.  His admonishing of the people in Psalm 4 was directed to the people in a similar way.  God is still the source of his protection and his mercy.

2 Samuel 16:5-14

When King David got to Bahurim, a man belonging to the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he was yelling curses as he approached. He threw stones at David and at all the royal servants, the people and the warriors on Davids right and left. Shimei said as he cursed: Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, you wicked man! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you became king, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because youre a man of bloodshed!

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and remove his head!

The king replied, Sons of Zeruiah, do we agree on anything? He curses me this way because the Lord told him, Curse David! Therefore, who can say, Why did you do that?’” Then David said to Abishai and all his servants, Look, my own son, my own flesh and blood, intends to take my lifehow much more now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse me; the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimeis curses today. So David and his men proceeded along the road as Shimei was going along the ridge of the hill opposite him. As Shimei went, he cursed David, threw stones at him, and kicked up dust. Finally, the king and all the people with him arrived exhausted, so they rested there.

David knew that he faced enemies and there was a public display of this contention.  He knows that the opposition he experienced from Shimei was allowed by God in spite of his being anointed as the country’s future king.  It was a reminder to David to seek the Lord for guidance in the midst of his affliction, and it is also a reminder to us to remain prayerful of those who may be going through a struggle, and to not pursue any condemnation.

Our posture towards those who speak falsehoods against us (Psalm 4:2), as it was for David, is to remain focused on Him as the righteous Judge and is the true mediator who separates those who trust in Him with those who have nothing to do with Him.

Proverbs 15:29

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.

Do you recognize that God knows you, as a distinct child of God, and that he hears your prayers?  He does not want you to wallow in your own sin from unchecked anger (Psalm 4:4).  He does give those who are opposed to you to repent from evil and do what is right and proper.

Absalom, David’s son, tried to appear to others as righteous when, in fact, he was using deceit to plot against David (2 Samuel 15:1-12).  Even today, such behavior will not be viewed as honorable by God, and anything good accomplished in this way is nothing more than “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Psalm 51:16-17

You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;

you are not pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.

You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

David’s prayer in the final verses in Psalm 4 was a prayer for peace in spite of his enemies.  This attitude is crucial within our Christian walk.  There should be a joy in the heart of the believer that goes beyond the blessing one receives (Psalm 4:7).  There is joy in your fellowship with the Lord.  Nothing in this world will give you peace if has nothing to do with Jesus Christ (and certainly not worldly successes).

If you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not have at this time, or in the future (the afterlife), any peace.

Isaiah 26:3-4

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!

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With Change Comes Opportunities for Ministry

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

One of the most difficult things that my wife and I have had to do recently is to be involved in the process and decision to put down my father-in-law’s dog.  The decision came after the realization that the dog could no longer walk on his own without assistance, and it was causing Dad a great deal of stress and strain from the lifting and moving of the dog from indoors to outdoors, and back again.  The dog was suffering from degenerative nerve damage from his spine, and the medication that he was taking was not working anymore.  For the first time that I can remember, I saw Dad become emotional because he knew that the dog was suffering and had to go (he couldn’t use the words “put down” himself), and that he was losing his friend and companion of just over 15 years.

Deep down, I knew that we would be involved with Dad managing the health care of his dog this year, and we knew that the end was approaching, but we just didn’t know the exact day or time.  Even when you know it’s coming, it’s tough to prepare for it, and knowledge that it will eventually happen doesn’t make it any less emotional or painful.

Each of us has had moments like this one where the inevitable becomes evident, and there is an adjustment process that we must go through during the transition.  Life is a series of transitions within groupings of situations and circumstances, and our challenge is successfully navigating through these transitions with steadiness and grace, and not just from our own perspective, but in reflecting a positive demeanor and presence before others.  If you are looking at this from a selfless perspective, you will certainly understand the value of living a Christlike existence and as a Christlike example before others who do not know Jesus Christ as a personal Savior.

This message is about developing your ability to deal with the many changes that you will experience throughout your lifetime.  With the recognition that not everyone handles change in the same way, or even very well, there are valuable lessons that are embedded within these experiences.  It’s up to each of us to recognize them.  I will present information to support facts that the more you rely upon God’s perspective through these changes, the more that you will feel His supernatural presence in the midst of the change and the extraordinary ability to see and successfully navigate through these changes with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

So what does this mean for those of us who have a difficult time with change?  It’s one thing to be completely surprised and caught off guard with a situation, and it’s another to see it coming, but our responses can be strikingly similar in both instances.  Whether you know something is coming or not, we are to draw upon the peace and comfort of Almighty God as we meet these challenges.

I will cover four points about change today.  Two of them are obvious to each of us, while the last two are dependent upon the response of the individual.  Before exploring these, consider Solomon’s writings in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  Change is rooted within the passage of time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is an occasion for everything,

and a time for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to give birth and a time to die;

a time to plant and a time to uproot;

3 a time to kill and a time to heal;

a time to tear down and a time to build;

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance;

5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;

6 a time to search and a time to count as lost;

a time to keep and a time to throw away;

7 a time to tear and a time to sew;

a time to be silent and a time to speak;

8 a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

With these verses in mind:

1.  Change is inevitable

2.  Change is necessary

3.  Change is perspective driven

4.  Change is an opportunity

First, change is inevitable.  Without it, nothing can occur.  From the time of God’s creation of the world through the passage of time to the world that we see today, the world has changed.

Psalm 102:25

Long ago You established the earth,

and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

God is the author and orchestrator of all change.

James 1:17

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.

From your own perspective, you have changed physically from the time you were born and through your stages of childhood into adulthood.  You have acquired knowledge as a preschooler through kindergarten, elementary and high school and through your job or profession.  All of this involved change.  Even most importantly, all of these changes had to occur to make you into the person that you are today.  The verse that shows the wisdom and value of seeking knowledge speaks for itself.

Proverbs 18:15

The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,

and the ear of the wise seeks it.

Next, change is necessary. When you are young, you need to grow in knowledge and learn about life in order to function well and survive. Many achievements over time are based upon performance, and require focus and effort in the short and long term.  Note the biblical truths that convey this message, especially when it comes to your growth as a believer in Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child,

I spoke like a child,

I thought like a child,

I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man,

I put aside childish things.

James 4:2b

You do not have because you do not ask.

Growing up is a requirement if you plan to be successful, and growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary in your spiritual growth. When change occurs, your growth and maturity will equip you with the ability to trust and rely upon the Holy Spirit with confidence.

Stop here for a moment–let’s deal with the reality that many people simply do not like change. What does change represent for those individuals?  Change represents a different, and sometimes uncomfortable movement to a place that may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar.  This has nothing to do with the end result of the change being good or bad for the person…it is the unfamiliarity of the situation that causes the discomfort.  This can be a big deal for some because there is a comfort in things that you are familiar with, and that’s even if you don’t necessary like it.  What we need to see in this discomfort is not the feeling itself, but the dependence that we truly have for God.  This discomfort should spark a desire in us to seek God in prayer, for direction, for peace in our discomfort, and–most importantly, trusting Him in the results through faith.

Hebrews 11:1-2

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.

Romans 4:20-24

20 He (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Philippians 4:6-8

6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, and not by sight.

This is where change, whether it is positive or negative, is all about your perspective.

If you are unable to reconcile with the reality of change and its inevitability, you may get stuck in the moment without seeing the blessings that occur during and after the change.  I can’t stress enough that in moments where change is taking place, and there is movement from one situation or circumstance to the next, the believer in Jesus Christ must continually seek God in the process beyond the mere change to receive the full effects and the benefits of God’s place and position in the midst of the development.  Ask God to show you, in the midst of change, what He wants to you to see in it instead of focusing only on your own perspective.

Psalm 145:18-19

18 The Lord is near all who call out to Him,

all who call out to Him with integrity.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;

He hears their cry for help and saves them.

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Our responsibility in the change we experience is to remain loyal and faithful to God, and He will make known His presence in all things.

Micah 6:8

Mankind, He has told you what is good

and what it is the Lord requires of you:

to act justly,

to love faithfulness,

and to walk humbly with your God.

To recap, we acknowledge that change is inevitable, it’s necessary, and it is perspective-driven.  Now let’s explore the opportunity that is in the midst of change.  With change, there is the opportunity to see things from a new perspective that you would not have observed without change, including how you see others that are also part of the change that you are experiencing.  This can lead to opportunities for discussion as to how God has been in the midst of everything that has occurred.

In Acts, chapter 8, Philip listened to the direction of the Spirit and spoke to the Ethiopian about the Scriptures he was reading as to their meaning, and he was able to use the opportunity of that moment to lead the Ethiopian to Jesus Christ.  The key points here are not just the conversion, but how Philip was listening to the Spirit and his availability to hear the Spirit’s direction.  Don’t miss the lesson of hearing the Spirit speaking to you during change.  It may not necessarily lead to converting someone to Christ, but it does mean that God will show, in your obedience to His Word, how you can be viewed as a person.  Your greatest attributes will shine as you remain faithful to God.  Your words of encouragement and affirmation will be well received, and it lays the groundwork for a opportunities to witness, both in the short and long term.  This is all the more reason that we, as believers, need to be ready for those very moments.

1 Peter 3:15-16

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

To summarize, change is constant and inevitable, and it can be good or not very good for the person who is going through it; however, it is not to be feared or dreaded.  Your perspective of change goes a long way in your ability to manage it, and it starts with seeing the change through God’s perspective.  If you trust in Him completely, He will show you where you need to go and provide you with what you need to grow, learn and endure the experience.  He will also show you how you can be a positive testimony for Him before others.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines.


Sin and its Consequences

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Are you ready to hear how God speaks to you? Are you prepared to be a student of the Word?

God has often warned us about the dangers of sin, and we will not take His advice. When we ignore God, we find ourselves in sin and sometimes wonder later why we are in such a mess. Even though we cause the sin, we can see how sin erodes us and our lives.

We have to recognize the warnings that God gives each of us when it comes to sin. He will not let you off the hook if you are willfully disobedient. He will forgive you, yes, but God will always punish sin–there are consequences.

Romans 6:12-13
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.

Each of us knows when sin occurs. You are not just doing what you want to do, but in reality you are subject to the sin itself. You are actually following the desires of Satan, and they will ultimately lead to unhappiness. We often have a problem calling out sin for what it is. Sin is a choice. It is your will and you choice to offer yourself to do what is pleasing to God or what is sinful.

If you allow sin to live within you, it will effect you emotionally. It will, over time, destroy you.

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things.

There comes a point where willful sin is in direct opposition to the saving blood of Jesus Christ, and there is nothing good that comes from this. Sin, for example, will cause you to feel emotional loss and turn you away from those who are close to you. It is the emotional response that sometimes overcomes reason, wisdom and knowledge. As a result, the mind is to always focus on heavenly things, kingdom things, and godly things–not on earthly or worldly matters. God wants you to focus on His Word and His will for your life.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
4 Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God—as you are doing—do so even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 so that each of you knows how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, 5 not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification. 8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.

God gives us the instruction manual for life–the bible. It covers the basics for life. The Holy Spirit is given to all believers to help fill in the details for living that are in line with Scripture that go beyond the basics. Even with this instruction, a believer still needs to trust and believe in God’s Word in order to please God. You make the choice to live for Christ in order to please Him.

1 Samuel 10:8
Afterward, go ahead of me to Gilgal. I will come to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice fellowship offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you and show you what to do.”

Note the instructions that Saul was given to wait for Samuel…now go to 1 Samuel 13:8:

1 Samuel 13:8
He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him.

Samuel did not arrive when Saul expected him to, but if the instructions are to wait, then you should wait. Saul took matters into his own hands and committed sin because he responded to his emotions and was disobedient to God (only priests were allowed to submit burnt offerings).

1 Samuel 13:9-12
9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Then he offered the burnt offering.

10 Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him, 11 and Samuel asked, “What have you done?”

Saul answered, “When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn’t come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, 12 I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven’t sought the Lord’s favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”

Saul felt that he was compelled to respond from his own desires. He was looking at men and not at God. For his disobedience, there is a consequence.

1 Samuel 13:13-14
13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel, 14 but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man loyal to Him, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded.”

1 Samuel 15:1-3
15 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Yet Saul does not follow the instructions that God has given, and he actually begins praising himself for the things that he accomplished:

1 Samuel 15:7-12
7 Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. 8 He captured Agag king of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. 9 Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and choice animals, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, 11 “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, “Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal.”

Saul also had difficulty in taking responsibility for what he had done.

1 Samuel 15:13-19
13 When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed.”

16 “Stop!” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” he replied.

17 Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel 18 and then sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ 19 So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”

In spite of Saul’s excuses, his disobedience showed that he was not truly following God.

1 Samuel 15:20-25
20 “But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered. “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has rejected you as king.
24 Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. 25 Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.”

The Lord delights in your praises but He truly desires is your obedience. If you are obedient to Him and to His Word. Disobedience to God is indeed sin, and there is a cost for transgression. If you look at Saul’s life, you begin to see Saul’s deterioration emotionally with his fear and jealousy of David (1 Samuel 18). Saul later became angry with Jonathan and his wife (1 Samuel 20). His sin continued to progress to a point where he lost control and had a priest killed (1 Samuel 22). Finally, in 1 Samuel 28, he calls not on God, but on a medium. His sin ultimately cost the life of himself and his two sons.

1 Samuel 31:1-6
1 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me.” But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 So on that day, Saul died together with his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men.

Sin will destroy you and others if it is unchecked and unresolved. It is very important to heed the warnings that God gives us about it and provides us instructions on ways that we can live in holiness and righteousness before Him. God wants us to run from sin and hate it for what it does to us and to those we know. Sin can rob you of many things, but it is especially damaging to your relationship with God, and it robs you of having joy in The Lord. It can keep you from being all that you can be in Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that you be all you can be in Christ and to be peaceful, joyous and righteousness in your service for Him.


In Spirit and in Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

The reality of life for many people today is that they need The Lord in their lives. In the wake of tragedies that may occur, believers are to be the servants of God with our influence by showing love and compassion to those who are in need. Jesus can change the life of others, and He can change an entire community. Believers are to be the light of the world and the example for others in our practice.

In our living, believers are to live in truth. God will make each of us face the truth, and for some, it takes a while to come to understand the truth. As Christians, we need to face the reality that we are to live and worship Him in spirit and in truth. We are called to be the saints that glorify Him, and yet there are times when we hurt Him because we deny what is true and live in sin.

To God, it is not where we worship Him but rather the attitude in how we approach God–recognizing that we are operating in His presence.

John 4:19-26
19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

26 “I am He,” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.”

Remember that Samarians were not worshiping God in the same place as the Jews. God wants each of us to know that He wants us to worship in spirit and in truth and that it is not about where one worships–it is more a matter of the heart of the person.

Do we really believe the Bible is trustworthy and reliable when speaking on the subject of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? God is the one that reveals this information to us.

1. Misbelief causes emotional turmoil
2. Misbelief causes destructive behavior

To believe requires a commitment. It is more than just love by itself to believe.

Many of us will convince ourselves with self-talk. Are you telling the truth or are you lying to yourself? What we will convince ourselves to conclude will set a course for us to follow, and many times it’s not very good.

I am a failure and no good.
I am lonely and miserable.
“I know this is wrong, but God will forgive me!” (the question that should be asked is what are the consequences).
God’s Word is outdated. It’s old, and not for today.

Proverbs 16:2
All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord evaluates the motives.

2 Corinthians 10:5
…and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Leviticus 10:1-3, 8-11
10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own firepan, put fire in it, placed incense on it, and presented unauthorized fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them to do. 2 Then fire came from the Lord and burned them to death before the Lord. 3 So Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when He said:

I will show My holiness
to those who are near Me,
and I will reveal My glory
before all the people.”

But Aaron remained silent.

8 The Lord spoke to Aaron: 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or beer when you enter the tent of meeting, or else you will die; this is a permanent statute throughout your generations. 10 You must distinguish between the holy and the common, and the clean and the unclean, 11 and teach the Israelites all the statutes that the Lord has given to them through Moses.”

It is not where we worship by how we are to worship Him. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

In spirit (your spirit is alive–the Holy Spirit enables your spirit):

Romans 8:9-10
9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

If one does not have the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit), he or she is not born again. We must be born again to make a testimony through our own spirit (not our soul or our body).

Romans 8:16
The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.

To testify is to substantiate a fact; to bear witness or give evidence; affirm, declare. In order to make a testimony of worship of God, faith is required.

Hebrews 11:6
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

James 1:6
But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

John 14:21
The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He gives us the truth that we need to live and to worship God for who He is in His character–a holy and righteous God.

John 16:13-14
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.

The Spirit of God teaches your spirit so you may worship in your spirit the one true God. The Spirit reveals who God is to you in order that you can truly worship Him.

Worship in truth is the opposite of worship in ignorance or not knowing how to worship.

We learn the truth about God and the truth about who we are.

1 Peter 1:16
…for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

1 Timothy 2:8
Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Truth is God being faithful to His Word.

Hebrews 10:22
…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

We are to be clean and washed before Him.

Exodus 30:18-19
18 “Make a bronze basin for washing and a bronze stand for it. Set it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet from the basin.

John 15:3
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

1 John 1:9-10
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

We need to face the truth about ourselves:
You can’t run a four-minute mile.
You can’t hit the ball out of the park.
You can’t be a charismatic speaker.

(It does not mean you can’t work to achieve things–the point is to seek God in everything that you do and deal with what is true in your life.)

Be an investigator of your own life. Examine yourself. Search for truth about your situations in life that you may not want to accept.

Psalm 119:59
I thought about my ways
and turned my steps back to Your decrees.

Ephesians 4:1
Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.

Philippians 3:6
…regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification.


Truth and the Reality of Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Father, we thank you for making Yourself real to each of us. The world portrays a different message to your truth. We pray that You reach those who are living in darkness and that You will draw them near to You. Thank you for your truth and your blessings, and we give you praise in Jesus’ name–Amen.

We live in a culture today that does not want to hear or accept truth. The truth is not to please us; in fact, it is to convict us. For believers, we need to read God’s Word daily and be reinforced by its truth. Truth is something that we need to be willing to acknowledge. We need God’s favor in order to accept His truth.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

We often don’t want to acknowledge truth because we deny God. We cannot worship God in Spirit and in truth if we do not accept His message. We can be deceived by thinking that following God’s truth is keeping us away from something that would deny us of what we want or need.

God is not one who lies (Numbers 23:19). For this reason alone, He is worthy of our trust. In the world, deception and skepticism is rampant.

Skepticism comes from the doctrine of Ancient Greek skeptics. They questioned the truth of all knowledge and promoted doubt of what was accepted as truth. A skeptic will question God’s truth, for example, as to whether there is eternity or if He keeps His promises. This, in turn, leads to a philosophy of doubting fundamental religious doctrines. Many people who believe the Bible can be questioned by a skeptic:
1. Don’t be so sure about the Bible
2. Don’t be dogmatic
3. You may be wrong about it
4. You need to be more tolerant and have an open mind

Agnosticism is a Greek term that represents characterizing something as being unknown, unknowable or without knowledge. This is more of a position of ignorance rather than a position of positive denial of valid knowledge. Agnosticism implies man’s ignorance of the real nature of matter, mind and God.

2 Peter 1:5-6
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

Pragmatist: Test of truth–is it workable? Will it bring about satisfactory consequences? A pragmatist claims there is no such thing as absolute truth; therefore, truth is made in the process of human adjustments in life. One set of truths for an older generation may differ with those for a younger generation.

We have come to a place in our society where what was deemed to be right is now seen as being wrong, and what was previously seen as wrong now becomes what is right. Our churches today–in their indecision over truth–has strengthened the hand of those who oppose the truth or are behaving contrary to God’s Word. God’s people must always seek and stand on His truth.

Jesus gives us truth for us to use within our value system. This value system leads us into a greater wholeness of life that allows for a proper life and a life of restoration, and freedom from sin.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do what is good.
Seek justice.
Correct the oppressor.
Defend the rights of the fatherless.
Plead the widow’s cause.

Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who substitute darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

Jeremiah 23:14
Among the prophets of Jerusalem also
I saw a horrible thing:
They commit adultery and walk in lies.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
and none turns his back on evil.
They are all like Sodom to Me;
Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah.

Truth has a positive effect on the following:
A. Our emotional makeup
B. Our moral life (our behavior)
C. Our expectations of life

Truth loosens a person from burdens that the world will impose and gives freedom from these difficulties and restraints.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We are God’s workmanship. He is working with us to make us complete in Him and in His truth.

We often judge a statement to be true or false on the grounds that it is or is not in harmony with what we have already decided is true.

Mark 3:22
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul in Him!” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

God’s nature is in truth (John 14:6). Without truth, there can be no authority.

Matthew 5:18
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.

Truth is what is necessary to distinguish between right and wrong.

Truth gives us:
1. A sense of reality (truth “keeps it real!”)
2. A stability to a person’s life
3. Security and confidence
4. A healing of the mind of all wrong thoughts

Jesus didn’t say “I teach the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the truth.”


Remember Nhu

A special thanks to Carl Ralston of Remember Nhu for being our guest speaker today. For more information about Remember Nhu and its ministry, please go to their website and learn how you can contribute to this important cause.

The Story of Remember Nhu

The 501(c)(3) organization known as Remember Nhu exists to eliminate the exploitation of children in the sex trade industry throughout the world.

Remember Nhu was conceived in 2003-2004 by Carl Ralston of Akron, Ohio. In November 2003, Ralston was attending a conference hosted by the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Cambodia when he was made aware of the horrific problem of child sex trafficking. Particularly striking was the story of Chup Ly, a 16 year-old who was sold into the sex-slave trade and died three years later of AIDS.

After telling Chup Ly’s story, the missionary speaker then told of Nhu, a 12-year-old girl who had committed her life to Jesus Christ, was baptized, grew as a Christian, and began to share publicly her faith. However, a Buddhist family member then sold her virginity, partly as an act of disapproval of Nhu’s conversion to Christ. At that time, the missionary did not know what had become of Nhu. Ralston felt inspired by God to “Remember Nhu” and in December of 2003 committed to God that he would do everything in his power to eliminate the use of children in the sex trade industry around the world.

In 2004, Ralston finished a master’s degree in Religion in which his final project created Remember Nhu: a ministry that would prevent children from entering the sex trade by meeting the physical, emotional, education, and spiritual needs of potential victims.

Oh, and Nhu? She is now safe and became the first official employee of Remember Nhu! She manages Agape Beauty Salon in Cambodia, which employees other young women who, without the intervention of Remember Nhu, may also have been sold into the child sex trade. Many of their customers at the beauty salon are young ladies who have been sold into prostitution, and Nhu and the others are able to share with them the amazing love of Jesus.

About Remember Nhu

Remember Nhu exists to prevent the exploitation of children in the sex trade industry throughout the world.

Four objectives keep us anchored to that vision…

  • Meeting physical needs: Children with little to no shelter or food and not even basic medical care are at risk of being sold. Meeting the physical needs of children protects them from the sex trade.
  • Meeting educational needs: When honest, sustained work is an actual possibility, the financial allure of the sex trade industry lessens immensely. A quality education and/or practical vocational training gives children the means to opportunities for a future.
  • Meeting emotional needs: Children disconnected from the loving care of concerned, responsible adults are at risk. To grow and nurture children inside the love of a family protects them from the sex trade.
  • Meeting spiritual needs: Children deprived of any real, lasting hope are at risk. When introduced to the incomparable love of Jesus Christ, children are introduced to a new and accurate vision of themselves: that they are of deep, intrinsic, and eternal value. Nurturing children into mature disciples of Jesus Christ protects them from the sex trade.

Nhu now serves with the organization that shares her name, working tirelessly to prevent other children from being trafficked.