Tag Archives: God’s Will

Your Choice: The Flesh or The Spirit – Part 4

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

You have the choice of living your life in a fleshly way or under the authority of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today we will cover the referred to in Galatians 5 that discusses the perils of fighting and backbiting. These will tear up homes and businesses or organizations. They will need to disappear in order for those involved to be able to effectively serve The Lord.

Galatians 5:20
…idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions…

We have witnessed people who rage or are completely out of control, and who are captured under selfish ambition. The godly attribute of self-control is what is needed to counter these behaviors.

If you believe that God’s Word is true, then you will follow His Word whether you like what it says or not. If the person of Jesus Christ is in your life, you cannot remain the same as you were before. It will be either your way or His way.

Matthew 7:16, 21
16 You8217ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

21 8220Not everyone who says to Me, 8216Lord, Lord!8217 will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

John 8:44
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father8217s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

God is our true Father, yet we can drift away from Him because of our own selfish desires. When we say the words, “Lord, Lord,” are we being truly faithful to Him? Is there a desire to please Him? If you fail to please Him, you will find yourself stumbling. God has standards that need to be met.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9 Don8217t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God8217s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God8217s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Galatians 5:21b
I tell you about these things in advance8212as I told you before8212that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We need put aside any hatred, discord, jeaulousym rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions or envy.

Hatred is hostility; a reason for opposition or strong dislike.

1 John 2:9
The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up conflicts,
but love covers all offenses.

Variance–discord: conflict; disagreement; lack of harmony.

Cain and Abel were in discord. The result was murder. We will all experience discord or be in disagreement. The key is to not let it linger.

Acts 15:37-40
37 Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. 40 Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers.

Emulations–jealousy: resentful and envious; a contentious rivalry.

Genesis 37:3-5
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him.

5 Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

Proverbs 6:34
For jealousy enrages a husband,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.

Wrath–rage: madness, uncontrolled anger; violent in anger and action.

Proverbs 14:16
A wise man is cautious and turns from evil,
but a fool is easily angered and is careless.

The fear of The Lord will counter any evil or raging out of control.

1 Samuel 20:30-32
30 Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, 8220You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don8217t I know that you are siding with Jesse8217s son to your own shame and to the disgrace of your mother? 31 Every day Jesse8217s son lives on earth you and your kingship are not secure. Now send for him and bring him to me8212he deserves to die.8221

32 Jonathan answered his father back: 8220Why is he to be killed? What has he done?8221

Strife–selfish ambition: concern about self.

Joshua 7:20-21
20 Achan replied to Joshua, 8220It is true. I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.8221

After all is said and done, our purpose is to overcome any selfish desires and seek God in order to glorify God in our actions.

Seditions–dissension: a difference of opinion; disagreement; violent quarreling.

2 Timothy 2:24
The Lord8217s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,

2 Corinthians 12:18
I urged Titus to come, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn8217t we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?

Amos 3:3
Can two walk together
without agreeing to meet?

Heresies–factions: working against others; conflict within an organization, dissension.

Matthew 26:23
He replied, 8220The one who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl8212he will betray Me.

Heresy works against the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In our next study of the fruits of the Spirit, we will see how love will conquer these behaviors that God warns us to abstain from.


Your Choice: The Flesh or The Spirit, Part 2

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan is busy trying to cause each of us to lose sight of Jesus Christ. He will do anything he can to cause each of us to falter. While he knows he can’t take away our salvation, he knows he can put us on the sidelines.

Even more specifically, Satan has used the power of sexuality to bring down nations and kingdoms. God’s Word in Leviticus is very specific about the kinds of sexual sins that destroy a person.

You have to make a choice to live either in The Spirit or in the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Debauchery or licentiousness is to be preoccupied with sexuality or sexual pleasure. It is a system of ethics that claims pleasure constitutes the greater good. Lasciviousness or lewdness means to be unlearned or unprincipled in this same area (to be unprincipled is to not have any standards).

Advertising today has much to do with sexual messages and sexual connotations. These practices mirror today’s society. Believers are to guard themselves from these behavioral practices.

To be lewd is to show oneself with the intent to excite someone sexually. Lasciviousness is behavior that promotes lustful desires.

Mark 6:22
When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

Esther 5:1-3, 6
1 On the third day, Esther dressed up in her royal clothing and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace facing it. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal courtroom, facing its entrance. 2 As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his approval. The king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Esther, and she approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 “What is it, Queen Esther?” the king asked her. “Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be given to you.”

6 While drinking the wine, the king asked Esther, “Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

Esther 1:10-12
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who personally served him, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious and his anger burned within him.

Was Vashti out of line? Not at all. She was upholding her standard that she did not want to be paraded before other men. She valued herself as someone more than just being showed off before others.

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

1 Peter 3:3
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.

Matthew 5:28
But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We should examine our dress and our behaviors when we go before others. There needs to be care and concern from showing others too much. It is more about following a higher standard and reflecting a higher esteem and respect for oneself.

False worship: idolatry and witchcraft (Galatians 5:20)

Idolatry begins within the heart…you want to worship someone or something other than God, and it is always about yourself. It is rebellion to God and being obedient to Him.

Exodus 20:4
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

Idolatry is the worship of idols. It is anything that takes the place of God’s will in your life.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Anything that keeps you from being used by God is idolatry. It is the impurity of sin that keeps you from pleasing Him…sexual immorality, lust, evil desires and greed are all idols.

Idolatry is the participation in demonic activities.

Acts 19:24-27
24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods! 27 So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world adore.”

Psalm 115:2-8
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

The purpose of an idol is to be worshiped, but the idol is not heard from or is any action taken by it. With that, why is an idol preferred by some over the living God? It is the flesh that desires the things of the world but it is more about worshiping something that doesn’t give rules or regulations or standards of living. God rules (and He reigns) because God continues to show Himself in love and concern for His people; nevertheless, following Him is still a choice.


Don’t Neglect Your Salvation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, I want to be a vessel You work through. That statement should be the prayer of every believer. This is a call for obedience to everyone who desires salvation. While salvation is granted by God’s grace, the believer who is saved now must go beyond stating that he or she wants to be used by God. Now it comes down to action…doing the things that God would have us to do. God chose you to use you. He chose you to sing His praise and worship Him. He chose you to read and study His Word to impart it to others.

In Hebrew, the word “neglect” is to depart from or drift away from something. When you drift away from something and pursue your own dreams outside of God, you will find yourself not supporting the things of God. You will be caught up in your own efforts, which leads to sin, and a further departure from where God would have you grow in your faith.

It is easier to drift than to struggle, fight or stand against the one who wants to keep your from growing in faith, keep you from growing in faith, keep you from progressing in life, keep you from becoming more than you could ever believe what you can be.

God is all for your growth and development, and giving you the life that you could never dream of.

Isaiah 61:10-11
I greatly rejoice in the Lord,
I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
as a groom wears a turban
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth produces its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

The garments of salvation are God’s covering from a number of things that we encounter in this world that kept us in worldly behaviors. All of these issues are resolved through the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ in His righteousness. From there, your salvation will grow in your efforts to serve Him. There is a desire to share God’s blessing to you with others.

Philippians 1:27
Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.

God does not lie about His promises, but He has to prepare us to be ready to receive the promises that He has given. If you are not prepared in life for His promises, you can’t be honored by God. No matter what is happening in your life, you still need to stand in the faith. Only then can you realize His victory.

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

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.

The keys to these verses are being obedient to God’s will or being obedient to those matters of the world. If you are obedient and desire to please God, He will desire to please you and bless your obedience to Him.

Scripture reveals that we can neglect salvation because of a refusal to believe God. When you have chosen not to believe God, you have chosen to be an unbeliever.

A person who is saved has a genuine struggle between the desires of the flesh and the Holy Spirit that dwells within. A believer seeks God and has the desire to be faithful and obedient to Him. One who refuses to come to Jesus does not believe in Him, and will have to struggle through life the best way he or she can. We can become our own experts in living our life, only to mess it up.

John 5:39-40
39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Pay attention to what you have been taught and put it into practice. God’s Word is for our protection and for our benefit. He does not want us to slip away or drift away from Him.

Hebrews 2:1
We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.

God will always love you, but He will not conform to how you choose to live your life.

Hebrews 2:2
For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment.

If the angels declared this message themselves, how much more important is this statement when delivered by Jesus?

Hebrews 2:3
…how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.

Acts 28:27
For the hearts of these people
have grown callous,
their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted,
and I would heal them.

Psalm 101:4-5
4 A devious heart will be far from me;
I will not be involved with evil.
5 I will destroy anyone
who secretly slanders his neighbor;
I cannot tolerate anyone
with haughty eyes or an arrogant heart.

A believer needs to guard his heart in order to not become insensitive to the things of God.

There’s no sin that is too great that God cannot cover through His grace. The choice for the person involved is to acknowledge the need for God’s forgiveness and accept His grace.

Salvation comes from The Lord. It has value and should be readily acknowledged.

Hebrews 2:3-4
3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.

Salvation is God’s work in you. To admit that you are saved but fail to administer the fruits of salvation is to deny or neglect His great salvation. The testimony of your life will show that you are living in a righteous manner.

This truth is confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also testified to this truth through His signs and wonders. The signs were not to prove truth. They were confirmation of God’s divine presence, and they were given to show God at work to the person who witnessed it.

Don’t neglect the works of God and the power of His salvation in your life. He is worthy of your attention to His work in your life. Thank Him for keeping you away from destruction and for bringing you unto Himself.


Seeking God’s Will in The New Year

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Lord, help us to continue to seek You and to have the desire to serve You and be Your workmanship. Help us to focus and fix our eyes upon Jesus. Thank you for the ability to not grow weary and remain steadfast in the work that you would have us to do. We see the destruction that Satan has brought into the lives of people. Help us to go willingly with the mind to do your will and witness to those who are lost. As long as we have breath, we have the task before us to bring others to You. Thank you. Bless us, for we are Your people. We can do all things in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What do you have planned for the New Year? Even more than that, what would God have you to do in 2014? God has to prepare our hearts and minds for the work that needs to be done. He provides us the ability to see beyond our own personal needs, but it is something that we must seek and desire to do.
Did you choose God or did God choose you?
John 15:16
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
Somewhere along the journey of your life, God has called you and chosen you to do His work. He knows all about us, and He knows the fruit that we can bear in doing His work for His glory.Where God guides, God provides.

Who God chooses, He uses.

As God has chosen you, His plan is to use you, and in that He will provide for you as you follow Him. In all of this, it may not be how you plan it out to be, but we need to keep in mind that God’s will in your life is most important.

1 Chronicles 28:2-8
2 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. It was in my heart to build a house as a resting place for the ark of the Lord’s covenant and as a footstool for our God. I had made preparations to build, 3 but God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

4 “Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me out of all my father’s household to be king over Israel forever. For He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah, my father’s household, and from my father’s sons, He was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 And out of all my sons—for the Lord has given me many sons—He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the Lord’s kingdom over Israel. 6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he perseveres in keeping My commands and My ordinances as he is today.’

8 “So now in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and follow all the commands of the Lord your God so that you may possess this good land and leave it as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

God chose David to be king over all of Israel, but even though he had the desire to build God’s temple, God chose Solomon to build it.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10
9 “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 10 Realize now that the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong, and do it.”

Even as you are chosen by God, you still need to have the desire to seek Him and demonstrate that you have a heart for Him. In 2014, if you seek after Him, you will learn about Him in new ways and in ways you may not believe. Be strong in The Lord and don’t let anything separate you from Him–even difficult situations and circumstances.

1 Chronicles 28:20-21
20 Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished. 21 Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of God’s house. Every willing man of any skill will be at your disposal for the work, and the leaders and all the people are at your every command.”

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. This is contrary to many in today’s culture. Working is something that we need to do in order to remain vibrant and healthy in The Lord. God will provide for you as you seek Him in the desire to do the work in service for Him. You may never know who God will send along to come aside you in doing the work. You never need to fear being alone in the work, for both you and God together are in the majority.

Do you know that The Lord is always present and is with you in everything that you do? Your confidence in Him helps you to face others who may not be with you in what you are doing. Note that your godly living is outside of the norm of what we experience in today’s world. There will be those who come against you because of where you stand. It’s good to keep in close communication with God as you encounter difficulty to make sure that you are following His will. It is not about what you are able to accomplish; instead, it is what God can accomplish through your efforts and your obedience to Him. In Him, there is no failure. In 2014, be sure to make your mind to say that you are going to walk with Him.

1 Chronicles 29:1
Then King David said to all the assembly, “My son Solomon—God has chosen him alone—is young and inexperienced. The task is great because the temple will not be for man but for the Lord God.

Youth and inexperience are not a deterrent to God. When God chooses you to perform a task, it has nothing to do with who you are, but it has everything to do with being work for The Lord.

1 Chronicles 29:10-12
10 Then David praised the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said,

May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity.

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.

Remember that the task to build the temple was great, but God was making the provision for Solomon and the people. The same is true for you as you consecrate yourself to work for The Lord.

The result of your willingness to step out and do the work that God calls you to do will be a testimony to others as you are used of Him now and in 2014.


God’s Plan of Salvation: Mary’s Journey

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

It is indeed God’s plan for every person to be saved. He makes the provision through Jesus Christ. Consider how Mary was taken on her own journey when she learned that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to carry Jesus within her. Note that she was obedient to The Lord and noted that this was something that she was to carry out, and she praised God for it. There was a special thing inside her that she wanted to fulfill. She was now on a journey that she didn’t completely understand, but yet she was willing to do it in obedience to God.

Luke 1: 34
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

Mary asked the question that many of us ask…”How can this be done?” All that God calls for us to do is to be obedient to Him and walk with Him. We may not understand how things will be accomplished, but our challenge is to wait on The Lord. He is not asking us if we are able to do anything–He just wants us to be willing to do it. He is aware of our inadequacies and our deficiencies. He just asks us to be willing. Are you willing to say to God, “Lord, please let it be done according to your will?” That’s what Mary did–she was obedient to His will, and was ready to follow His direction. She could not do anything without the power of God through the Holy Spirit, and that is the same for us, as well.

Consider all of things that God did to communicate and reassure Mary through her journey.

Luke 1:34-38
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Mary, not long after this encounter, was ready to take a trip. She was directed to Elizabeth to see evidence of what she was told. In the same way that we sometimes need to see the physical evidence of what God is doing, Mary would go to see “the barren one” who was now pregnant.

Luke 1:39-45
39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed!

43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me! 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Note the words of encouragement from Elizabeth to Mary. She is not speaking of herself. The Spirit was speaking through Elizabeth to encourage Mary. Elizabeth had asked Mary about the blessing of her presence. When God uses you for something, do you recognize it as a blessing? When God is using you, it is a blessing indeed. It is all for His glory.

Note that God wanted Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, that God was more than able to accomplish these things according to His will. Elizabeth knows who this child is that Mary would give birth to, and it was through the Spirit.

The next person that Mary deals with is Joseph. Joseph was not aware of what was happening until the angel spoke with him in a dream:

Matthew 1:18-24
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her.

This was one of those situations where Mary could only explain so much to Joseph about her pregnancy until God had to intervene with the presence of the Spirit in all things.

God now also communicates with Joseph and Mary through Simeon:

Luke 2:22-35
22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to The Lord) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:

29 Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
31 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.
33 His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Note first that Joseph and Mary were obviously poor when they brought Jesus to be consecrated. They only could bring what they had.

Leviticus 12:6-8
6 “When her days of purification are complete, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. 7 He will present them before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf; she will be clean from her discharge of blood. This is the law for a woman giving birth, whether to a male or female. 8 But if she doesn’t have sufficient means for a sheep, she may take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. Then the priest will make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.”

God was present here with the words of Simeon to communicate to Mary and Joseph through a righteous and devout man (Luke 2:25). God was working through people who were deemed righteous in their obedience to God, and Simeon provided additional words of encouragement to both Joseph and Mary, and they were both in this together.

Also note the three Gentiles–the wise men or Magi. God directed them to go to Jerusalem. They were the first Gentiles to worship Jesus. Only after their worship could gifts be presented.

Matthew 2:1-12
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.

5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:

6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”
7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”

9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.

History dictates that the Magi heard about this Jesus from where they originated in their eastern land. How far would you go to seek Jesus Christ? God even confirmed to the wise men that what they were witnessing was His work. The signs that they had seen–the star directing them to the house–led them to the Messiah that they were told about.

2 Corinthians 5:16
From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.

Here is something very important for us to learn about these events. The wise men saw the Messiah for who He was. When we really worship God and recognize who He is, the gifts would follow suit for there is the recognition that we would not withhold anything from Him. Even more that this, but it is not what we can provide, but it is His provision that allows us to work for Him and serve Him.


Confidence in The Lord

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Do you put into practice what you read in God’s Word? Whenever you are reading your devotions, ask God to show you how to live out what you read for the day. If you ask Him, He will indeed show you how to do it.

Matthew 7:24-28 (HCSB)
The Two Foundations

24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

28 When Jesus had finished this sermon, the crowds were astonished at His teaching,

We’re continuing on with this study on confidence in The Lord. How many of you have confidence in Him? Many of us believe He exists, but confidence in Him is completely different. To have confidence in Him is to have faith in Him and trust Him that He is able to provide what we need. We lack confidence in Him, in contrast, when we only trust in our abilities to provide for ourselves.

“If being a Christian is not reflected with a life of increasing righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, love, or justice, what remains to differentiate a follower of Christ from other people?” – Skye Jethani

Instead of using symbols that reflect we are Christians, are we living in such a way that is truly different from the world? Is there a substance to your life from the inside out? What God wants to see from us is a great confidence in Him…because you believe and trust in The Lord.

Confidence gives us the ability to help each of us to prosper and distinguish righteousness each day. It is more than just confidence in eternal life…it is a way of life.

If you lack confidence, you will not have the patience or desire to wait on Him. If we continually run ahead of Him or act before He acts, you will not have contentment in your life. Your confidence is only in yourself and not in God.

God wants us to practice what James says:

James 4:13
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.

15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

If it is the Lord’s will for you to live a certain way, do you stop to consider your decisions in accordance with Him? If it is the Lord’s will, you will have the confidence to perform on His behalf.

The Lord says “be anxious for nothing” (Luke 12:29) and to wait upon Him. We are to consider God in everything we do.

Be aware that confidence in God is not having confidence in yourself. Confidence in God requires surrendering to Him and involving Him in everything, which requires asking Him and waiting for answers from Him. The more that God answers you when you yield to Him, the greater your confidence in Him and His ability to minister to you. It’s not just about how He blesses you. It is in how you live your life abundantly through Him. He wants you to build your relationship with Him and be confident in Him. God is our Heavenly Father who we can speak to anytime and anywhere.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed many who may publicly declare that they know The Lord but yet meet extremely difficulty because there is a lack of confidence in The Lord and the necessary faith in Him to be able to live successfully in Jesus Christ.

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.

Luke 1:37
For nothing will be impossible with God.

Philippians 3:3
For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh.

Confidence in The Lord is seen in the evidence of Christ in your life. When you surrender to Him, He will amaze you in what you will see Him do in your life. It is to live in such a way, as you build your relationship with Him, that you will never want to live outside of His will and purpose for you. He will give you His best counsel.

Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

To live in confidence is to overcome the desires of the flesh, which will take credit for what only God can do. The flesh will often find ways to sabotage what God does for us. Your confidence in Christ is always at war with the flesh.

In our confidence, He will have His way in your life, and it’s for our best interests. He is going to accomplish what He wants for you, even if we need to learn lessons along the way.

Philippians 2:13
For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Our confidence is not in the flesh. Always remain confident in Jesus Christ in everything that you do. We do not want to live as the world does (on earthly things) and become an enemy of the cross of Christ. Our minds are to dwell on heavenly things. Everything here on earth is temporary and won’t last.

Philippians 3:1-3
3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a protection for you.

2 Watch out for “dogs,” watch out for evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:18-19, 21
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,

21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

Jesus is in control of everything. You need to acknowledge that He is in control of your finances, your employment and your family…everything that you do. When you acknowledge these things, pray to God that you remain in accord with Him throughout your life. Speak to Him all day long and remain confident in His ability to give you everything that you need.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:31
What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?

All of this is conditional upon your love and obedience to God through Jesus Christ. Your confidence in Jesus Christ will indeed change your life. He will teach you how to wait patiently upon Him and see how He will go beyond even your own expectations.

Psalm 73:26, 28
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.

28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.


Be Confident in Jesus Christ

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

How many of you are confident in that whatever The Lord says He will do that He does it–over and over again?

The Lord is the one who calls us to prosper, give us intelligence, and the ability to impart knowledge and understanding. Our ability to succeed in this area is from being empowered by God’s wisdom. We will have difficulty when we fail to trust in Him and rely upon our own knowledge and understanding.

God has kept each of His promises to His people. We need to learn to be very confident in The Lord and His promises. We need to use this confidence in all of our undertakings–major purchases like houses, cars, or even obtaining jobs. Everything that we achieve is because of Him giving the guidance and direction in our lives–provided that we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Sometimes we have to go back and remember who we are in Jesus Christ. He is to be The Lord of our lives in everything. We need to be prayerful that our goals and aspirations are in line with His will and be prayerful about it.

1. The focus starts with God’s Word. We need to be cautious to avoid drifting away from God.

Hebrews 2:1-4
1 We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.

God promises that he will bless you or curse you. Ultimately, as it was the choice for His chosen people that He rescued from Egypt, it is the same choice for us. Obedience to God brings blessing, while disobedience to God reaps His curses.

It is important to not get stuck in life where you are not growing in the heart of The Lord. It starts with your desire for God’s word to educate us through the Holy Spirit, and it develops us where we have a heart for God and love Him. He confirms our love for Him by keeping His promises–He sends signs and miracles for everyone to see–when we keep His Word. It will come to the point where we believe He will do what He says.

2. Drifting away can cause you to doubt Him. It comes down to circling back and remembering that God is able. There’s nothing too hard for God.

If you are not in His Word, you are operating at a distance from Him. If you are far enough away from God, you can convince yourself that you are not even saved. You don’t want to get to the place where you are doubting God at every turn.

3. Avoid dullness, or a lack of sensitivity to what is going on around you. To be dull spiritually is to fail to recognize spiritual matters that you come into contact with.

Hebrews 5:11
We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand.

Young people will often claim that the bible is “boring.” Keep in mind that this is not really the case. If you are truly listening to the Holy Spirit, He will make God’s Word jump off the pages and excite you. A real student is a pleasure to a teacher because of their desire to learn more. As you get more and more into God’s Word, your confidence will grow more and more about Him.

4. Don’t despise God’s Word. When God’s Word tells the truth about us, it is sinful to despise what He has to say.

5. Rebellion is the final step that begins with drifting and doubting the authority of His Word.

2 Timothy 1:12
…and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Do you really know the One that you believe in? To know Jesus Christ is to know that Christ can accomplish whatever can be done in accordance to His will.

Here is an example of false confidence:

Luke 12:13-20
The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 “Friend,” He said to him, “who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”

16 Then He told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’

Our confidence in Jesus Christ is not in how much God gives to us because we think we our being obedient to Him. Our confidence develops from a richness from God in everything that we do.

Believing in God gives you the confidence to do what is right. If you do what is right, you have everything to gain.

Titus 1:15-16
15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.

There must be evidence in your life that God is leading you in your life.

Matthew 7:21-27
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

The Two Foundations

24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

A person who claims to be saved has to demonstrate his salvation in how he or she lives. A person who is doing the will of God will show it, and not just provide lip service. Satan is a great deceiver, and He draws many away from the faith. The true believer is sensitive to living according to God’s will and puts it into practice. The confidence is in living upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Matthew 13:10-11
10 Then the disciples came up and asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

11 He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them.

The believer in Jesus Christ has the wisdom and knowledge to live in confidence for Him. He lives for the purpose to intercede for those who love Him. He will lift you up in order that you will lift Him up before others. Amen.

Hebrews 7:24-25
24 But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.