Tag Archives: recognition

Prayer: What Difference Does it Make? (Part 6 of a Series)

Today’s message summary of March 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

1 Samuel 1:1-8

There was a man from Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim. His name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, the first named Hannah and the second Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless. This man would go up from his town every year to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts at Shiloh, where Elis two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were the Lords priests.

Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he always gave portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to each of her sons and daughters. But he gave a double portion to Hannah, for he loved her even though the Lord had kept her from conceiving. Her rival would taunt her severely just to provoke her, because the Lord had kept Hannah from conceiving. Whenever she went up to the Lords house, her rival taunted her in this way every year. Hannah wept and would not eat. Hannah, why are you crying? her husband Elkanah asked. Why wont you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?

In verse 10, it is noted that Hannah was depressed about her inability to conceive.  She was very upset and was praying to God that she would be remembered in her difficulty.

1 Samuel 1:9-11

Hannah got up after they ate and drank at Shiloh. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lords tabernacle. Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servants affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.

She was weeping in such a way as a woman who had lost her only child.  Her condition was one of deep despair.

The reality of infertility makes a woman feel inadequate or incomplete.  A woman’s desire is to bear children.  In Hannah’s time, women who remained barren felt worthless, and they typically would not receive an inheritance that would allow for care for themselves and family members.  A woman’s prestige was based upon her ability to produce offspring.

It should be noted that Hannah’s inability to bear children was allowed by God, and perhaps for the sole purpose that He wanted Hannah to draw closer to Him and to not dwell on her circumstances.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger[a] of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Hannah found her self-worth in God.  This is also a lesson for each of us.  We believe that the things that we do defines who we are.  All joy that we experience comes from Him, and it should remind us that we are to seek Him in everything.

When we pray to God, we are to pray with the understanding that our desires are to be rooted within a relationship with Him.  He wants us to grow more and more with Him.

In her prayer to God, we will focus on these three things:

  • Hannah’s vow to the Lord
  • Hannah asked for recognition
  • Hannah’s offering

Hannah made a vow with God not only with herself but also with her future child.  When she made this promise, it affected the course of her child’s life.  The vow was a Nazarite vow, where the person would separate and consecrate himself for service to God in the temple.  We find that Samuel would be serving the Lord diligently for his entire life.

Making a vow is not to be taken lightly, and is not recommended (Judges 11:29-40).

So, (Akron Alliance Fellowship) Church, when you are praying:

Matthew 5:37

But let your word yes be yes, and your no be no.[a] Anything more than this is from the evil one.

When Samuel was born, we know that Hannah followed her vow by keeping her commitment.  Her only child was committed to service.  Her desire to be a mother was fulfilled, but she released Samuel to serve the Lord.  This is the type of prayer that we are to focus on when it comes to our own service to Jesus Christ.

Hannah prayed to the Lord to be remembered by God as her servant (1 Samuel 1:11).  In Hannah, whose name means “grace,” you can understand her sincerity of prayer before the Lord.  Note that God heard her affliction, and we see that Hannah bore Samuel and many more children afterward (three sons and two daughters).

The lesson here is remaining prayerful.  God, in His sovereignty, does recognize your prayers, and it make take some time before He answers them.

Hannah’s offering was giving her son back to the Lord.  She offered her son as a way of serving the Lord in her desire to please God. Samuel was faithful in service and became a judge over Israel.

There is a parallel to her actions to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

John 17:9-11

I pray for them.

I am not praying for the world

but for those You have given Me,

because they are Yours.

Everything I have is Yours,

and everything You have is Mine,

and I have been glorified in them.

I am no longer in the world,

but they are in the world,

and I am coming to You.

Holy Father,

protect them by Your name

that You have given Me,

so that they may be one as We are one.

 

Jesus asked God to keep and protect His servants.  The persons that Jesus would die on the cross for belonged to the Father.

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A Fathers’ Day Message

Today’s message summary of June 19, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The task of being a father can sometimes seem to be unending. When will the kids leave? When will they take care of themselves? Upon reflection, it goes by very, very quickly.

Today, there have been fathers that have run from the responsibility because it is a heavy load to be a father; furthermore, a lot of fathers are not prepared to be a father. Fathers did not raise a lot of them.

The bible teaches how to be a father, but it is important for us to look at successful fathers and learn to live the way that they do. Our heavenly Father is an excellent example of that. He loves His children and cares for them.

We need to see more examples of fathers who know their Father.

The definition of a father should go beyond mere financial support. The courts are only concerned about this, but children need so much more…they need emotional support.

Children without fathers will grow up and experience emotional problems, and often they result in behavioral problems.

God has a plan for fathers. The question is whether or not fathers will work according to the plan that God has laid out for them.

Using the word FATHER as an acronym:

F – Father. The fathers are to know the Father. There should be a strong relationship between the two.

Deuteronomy 6:5

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Impress upon your children that the heavenly Father will guide them even when you are not present. They are to be obedient to God, and they should see your obedience and reverence of God, as well.

Psalm 127:4

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

A – Advice. The child of a skilled father will follow his direction, take his advice and live in a capable manner.

Proverbs 4:1-2

Listen, my sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I am giving you good instruction. Don’t abandon my teaching.

If a father fails to teach his child, someone else will be teaching him something.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

A father affirms his children. He gives them recognition by simply saying, “you are mine.”

A child values a father’s affirmation. We value when God affirms us with His love and compassion for us. He does not measure us by how successful we are. We still are His.

Three things that are very important for a father to give to a child:

  1. Recognition.
  2. Acknowledgment (Acknowledge them in their accomplishments).
  3. Accepting him for who he is.

T – Teacher. Fathers are the teachers. They educate their children and impart knowledge and skills for life.

H – Hero. A father is the hero of his child. Every child needs a hero. He is a person who is highly revered (respected) for their courage (heart). A fathers is the reliable helper in the life of his child. He ministers to him and guides him, and helps him do what is right.

E – Encourager. A fathers is to be an encourager. He imparts strength and confidence to his child and gives him valuable support.

R – Readiness. A father brings about a state of readiness for his child. When this occurs, the child is ready to perform, and perform well.

A child is prepared by his father to be ready to perform in life, and this is important because life never asks if you are ready–it just comes at you. (People who are ill prepared and not ready tend to run away from life.) A father readies his child for life no matter what may come along.

Proverbs 22:6

Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Fathers are the caretakers of their children. Let’s be the best caretakers that we can be.


Change Comes from Acknowledging Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Are you ultimately in control of change in your life? The answer is no. It is not in your control at all. You will find that change happens whether you are ready for it or not.

You will not experience change by laws or by observing rules. Change comes about only by truth. The issue is whether or not one will accept truth. If you are not changing, who is keeping you from it? Are you improving? Are you better off? This is where truth comes in. Truth can bring about real change.

Why do people change? Change is undertaken when one wants to adapt to something different.

Why don’t people change? They do not see a need to do so. The conflict here is to recognize where change is needed.

What does it take to change? It requires looking at truth and the facts about your life.

When God claims “all have sinned,” it requires a person to either agree with the statement or just deny them. This requires being truthful to self.

Did you know that 80% of all fitness equipment is sold between December 15th and January 1st? Someone decided that he would make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get fit; however, the equipment may wind up sitting idle after March of the next year.

There are 10 million procedures of cosmetic surgery each year.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to change.

Change is a lot of hard work. We need help from others. We must have the help and power of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Since you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, what has changed most in your life? What has not changed in your life that should have changed? What is keeping you from changing more in your life? Are you ready for change?

Are you willing to accept the changes that God wants to make in your life?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

 

Isaiah 45:9

“Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—

one clay pot among many.

Does clay say to the one forming it,

‘What are you making?’

Or does your work say,

‘He has no hands’?

 

God will speak to each one of us about what needs to change. Obedience to God and His Word is the key to effective change.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet Lord, You are our Father;

we are the clay, and You are our potter;

we all are the work of Your hands.

 

God is our Heavenly Father. We are the true works of His hands by His grace.

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.

 

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers

because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

What is insight? It is the ability to see and understand clearly the inner nature of things. God will give you clear insight if you remain obedient to Him and stay in His Word.

What are decrees? They are statutes; a testimony that establishes a fact, affirmation or declaration. Decrees are unmovable. It establishes God’s testimony, and it will not change for you or for me.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

If you acknowledge truth, it will bring you out of difficult situations and circumstances. Failure to acknowledge truth will keep you where you are, and often that’s not a great place. Satan will keep a person in their sin to a point where he is “just trying to survive.” God wants you to do more than just survive. He wants you to exchange lies for the truth and be set free under His Word. When the truth is before you, which way will you choose to go?

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false.

 

A believer must choose to emulate Jesus Christ or to allow the flesh to prevail. Satan will attempt to deceive a person to cause you to deny God and the truth. If Satan is allowed to prevail, it will separate a person from a healthy relationship with God. The unbeliever who refuses to acknowledge God’s truth will eventually be given over to one’s own desires, for God will never tolerate sin.

John 8:44

You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s 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.

 

Satan knew what truth was, but refused to acknowledge it. Change is all about accepting the truth.

Don’t make any excuses about not being able to change. If God reveals it you can do something about it. God is more than able and gracious. You need to believe it and hold onto it.

God must establish the change in one’s life. Knowing truth brings about this change. Truth is a reality that should no longer be denied or worked around. Running away from truth doesn’t change what it represents. Recognition of the need for change begins with being honest to yourself about needing it. God will graciously help you when you are ready to accept it and begin to follow His direction.

Ephesians 6:14

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,

righteousness like armor on your chest.

 

Romans 3:4

Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words

and triumph when You judge.

 

Paul had to be changed from being a self-righteous Pharisee to be conformed to a person who would serve Christ in a mighty way:

Romans 7:18, 24

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

 

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?

 

Paul would never had said these words as a Pharisee unless God was dealing with Him personally. He had to humble himself and allow for God to work in his life. He knew the truth about himself and knew that he needed to change.

Change has to be substance–it has to be real, and you need to have the ability to endure it. Satan will challenge every change you want to make in your life.

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

Ephesians 1:3, 14

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

 

14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

 

Ephesians 5:6-10

6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.


A Benefit of the Church: The Crown of Glory

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
A pastor of a church is a leader who is called to take on the duties of shepherding the flock, but today’s message is directed to everyone that is involved in ministry.
1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.The verse acknowledges shepherds or pastors. Look who is writing this letter–it’s Peter.John 21:15-16
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs,” He told him.

16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.

The reward that Peter refers to in 1 Peter 5:4 can only be received when Jesus returns. It is a reassurance that He will be here and that we will labor for Him until that time. We do not labor in vain–we labor for His glory and for His praise.

Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.

Jesus asks you to trust in Him until He returns. Your labor will be rewarded.

John 14:1-3
1 “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.

If the work is done without the joy of Christ as a goal, then the work is futile. Stand firm and stay the course with focus on The Lord. Sometimes, all you can do is trust in The Lord.

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.

Ephesians 6:8
…knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

Romans 2:10
…but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

The word “glory” in Greek (1 Peter 5:4) also stands for honor and respect. The crown of glory is won by doing something important or of value. They are achievements in life that deserve recognition. These achievements receive honor because they honor the work of Jesus Christ.

We do not seek after our own honor or respect.

Proverbs 25:27
It is not good to eat too much honey
or to seek glory after glory.

A Christian’s life is to live in every way for His glory.

1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.

God is the one who gives honor and respect.

Job 19:9, 40:9-10
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.

9 Do you have an arm like God’s?
Can you thunder with a voice like His?
10 Adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
and clothe yourself with honor and glory.

God does not share His glory with anyone (For example, He created heaven and earth on His own and not with anyone else). He will, however, give us honor and respect for our deeds in service for Him.

Exodus 33:17-23
17 The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Please, let me see Your glory.”

19 He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” 21 The Lord said, “Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, 22 and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.”

Isaiah 48:11
I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own,
for how can I be defiled?
I will not give My glory to another.

Jesus Christ will honor us for the way we serve Him. It is exciting to see when God is working and recognize that He is often working through us.

Acts 16:22-29
22 Then the mob joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely guarded. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped.

28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!”

29 Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

The word glory carries with it the meaning of dignity, elegance, gracefulness and one of good taste. it also provides for the ability to place restraints on oneself when it is needed.

Your life brings forth three elements:

1. Genuine faith
2. Faith that brings praise to The Lord
3. Faith in action that reveals glory and honor for the work of Jesus

In all of this, there must be evidence of a desire to follow a calling to serve Him, the Chief Shepherd.

1 Peter 1:7
…so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 5:1-7
1 Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: 2 Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

5 In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because

God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

This glory will not fade away. It will not diminish.

2 Corinthians 3:7-11
7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face—a fading glory— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.

Ecclesiastes 1:11
There is no remembrance of those who came before;
and of those who will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.

James 1:11
For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities.

Father, we want to praise You and thank You for your loving kindness to us. Help us to grow in our desire to live for you in obedience and faithfulness to be a witness and a servant for You that brings honor and glory to Your Name. Thank you for all that you have done through us that we receive honor and respect because of your wonderful work through us, and that You are glorified because of it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.