Tag Archives: strength

Jesus is in Our Midst

Today’s message summary of June 11, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

It is important to note that God is the one who empowers and strengthens us.  He is in our midst with even only two of us let alone a small group (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus is in our midst, and with that realization, all fear disappears.  We want to see Him and hear from Him as we recognize His presence.

Believers gather together in the name of Jesus.  He promises that He never leaves us or forsakes us, and it is a promise for us now and in the future.

There has to be a reason for His presence.  He promises that He will be with those who desire to seek Him.  We may not physically see Him, but we believe He is present because of faith.

Jesus informed His disciples that He would not be with them much longer, but told them that He would always be with them to the end of the age.

He wants us to know that the prayer and actions of two people is more powerful than that of a thousand people, and He tells us that He is with us.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.

Genesis 4:26

A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh.  At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.

The heart of the believer has to come to a place to acknowledge His presence, and determine if he or she is in accord with God’s will.  If God is in the midst of what you are doing, He is going to speak to you, affirm you, guide you, and even correct you.

Among two people, you can have cooperation, but you can also have conflict and even destruction.  Even a small group can have trouble in accomplishing God’s will if there are differences within the group.

Malachi 3:16-18

At the time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name. “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Those who fear the Lord talk with each other. If the conversation look who is in the midst making corrections.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask Godwho gives to all generously and ungrudginglyand it will be given to him.

With God in our midst, He will speak to us, and we need to train ourselves to listen to Him.

Wisdom is needed.  God is in the conversation.

Guidance is needed.  Jesus is there.

Understanding is needed.  Jesus is there.

1 Corinthians 14:33

…since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

God is in the midst to bring about order and not to create disorder.  He provides guidance for order and proper function.

Proverbs 16:9

A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

Planning is necessary, but God is the one who must affirm the plans.  We are to be sensitive to His wisdom and guidance through the process, including making changes when and where they should be made.  As we listen to Him and remain focused upon Him, He will make us shine in the process.

Psalm 37:33

The Lord will not leave him in the power of the wicked one or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.

Think of what Jesus means to you in your life.

The name of Jesus is a name of power and authority.  He is the one who will clean up your life and order your steps.

The name of Jesus represents the Godhead.  In that name, the fullness of the Godhead (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is present.  They are all present and all of them are there when we call upon His name.  He is there to protect you…His investment.

Colossians 1:9

For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Micah 5:4-5

He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord his God. They will live securely, for them his greatness will extend to the ends of the earth. He will be their peace. When Assyria invades our land, when it marches against our fortresses, we will raise against it seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.

1 Peter 5:4

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

A group of servants within a church or organization may call a meeting, but it should be the desire of the group to have access to God.

We are to desire God’s presence, to hear His voice, and to receive His guidance. We want His favor and His peace.

No one gets to God’s presence without Jesus; therefore, we gather together in the name of Jesus.

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

John 14:6-7

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

When we come together, Jesus is with us, whether it is two people or a hundred people.

We can do whatever God has purposed for us to do (no matter the number of people).

Nehemiah learned this very lesson.  He succeeded in spite of a small group and opposition.

Faith says Jesus is with us, even though we don’t physically see Him.

He has promised to be with us.

He reveals that He is with us.

John 20:19-23

When it was evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus is in the midst of us.  He is there, and we have to trust in it.  The promise to believers in Jesus Christ is that when you meet, He is there.

  • All authority and power is in His name (Matthew 28:18).
  • Every knee shall bow to His name (Philippians 2:10).
  • He has a claim to ownership of everything within the meeting (His Lordship).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Dont you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you both according to his good purpose.


Your Declaration

Today’s message summary of January 1, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God is the One who delivers us from year to year. He is worthy of our praise throughout the year, and we want to continue to do so through to the end of this year.

God wants you to receive something from Him, but He also wants you to give something, as well.

He can, and will, give you knowledge and wisdom. In return, He desires for you to live more like Jesus.

Statements, or declarations, give you a specific purpose.  As an example, The Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal,” and the United States Constitution was born out of this declaration.

Scripture also has a number of declarations that are intended to challenge the reader.  It is important for the reader to take note of them in order to truly live in such a way that is to be more like Jesus Christ.

Look at this declaration that David makes, and then look at what follows his statement.

Psalm 18:1-3

I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.

 

David reflects the love of God and notes the value of the relationship with God that reflect His different qualities and character.

Proverbs 12:18

There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 

Proverbs 18:21

Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

It is important for you to believe that your words have a value to yourself and before others.

If you use the words, “I love you, Lord,” do you mean them?

Loving the Lord reveals God’s other attributes:

  1. My Strength
  2. My Rock (building on a solid foundation)
  3. My Fortress
  4. My Deliverer
  5. My God is my rock in whom I take refuge.
  6. My Shield
  7. My Salvation
  8. My Stronghold (KJV uses the word “Tower”)

When you lose sight of the Lord, you lose His value–His real significance in your life and all that He is to you and all that He can do for you.

Your declaration reminds you of all that Jesus is to you–His real meaning to you in your life.

There is a value in coming to church every Sunday in that it is a reminder as to who we are to serve every day.  We are not to forget who we serve and who we live for.  W. H. Brewster said, “Some things you can’t say, but you can sing.”

We also need to recognize that we make choices that we must reckon with.  We can cry and moan over them, or we can get up and go back to living!  Sometimes the situations that we are in occur well after we make the decision to put aside the Lord and not follow Him.

Psalm 137:1-6

By the rivers of Babylon–there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees, for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!

 

Don’t allow your personal feelings to determine how or when you should praise the Lord. Even in the worst moments, God wants you to have the desire to sing the praises of God.  People need to hear your voice to hear His message of hope, joy, peace and encouragement.

We, as believers, are strangers and pilgrims in this land.  We are aliens in this world.  That should not stop you from singing, preaching or telling others about Jesus.

As God has given you life for this new year, then he has a purpose for you through this year.  We are called to serve Him.

1 Peter 2:11-12

Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

No one can steal your joy of the Lord.  No circumstances can remove your joy of the Lord if you choose to rejoice in Him.

The Lord will honor your faithfulness to your declaration. He keeps His promises to us.

Psalm 132:10-14

Because of Your servant David, do not reject Your anointed one. The Lord swore an oath to David, a promise He will not abandon: “I will set one of your descendants on your throne. If your sons keep My covenant and My decrees that I will teach them, their sons will also sit on your throne forever. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home: “This is My resting place forever; I will make My home here because I have desired it.”

 

Revelation 21:10-11

He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.

 

Remember your relationship with your Lord and Savior and give Him honor and praise in the New Year.


Be Filled (Part 2: Sanctification)

Today’s message summary of May 29, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

The day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) is a day that should be celebrated! It was the day that the Holy Spirit poured out over all of the people and made His presence known. Not long afterward, Peter came forth and proclaimed that this was to happen, and that it was time for people to acknowledge the presence of the Lord and that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

What does it mean to be filled by the Holy Spirit, and what is it to be sanctified by the Spirit?

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work that it is begun in regeneration and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                                                         –New Hampshire Baptist Convention

Sanctification is a progressive difficulty of holiness, it is a difficulty that requires submission to the Holy Spirit, so that he can purge the sin out of our lives by which he shall conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

                                                                                                                         –Travis C. Jackson

If the Spirit is not sanctifying you, then something else is.

The human nature is sinful. All of us are encapsulated by our physical form–our bodies. Sin is the result of our bodies dictating how we live. It leads to death.

Romans 8:13 ESV

For if you live according to the flesh you will die.

For those who are not in the body of Christ, the death is not just physical, but also spiritual. Living in the flesh leads to this spiritual death outside of Christ. The flesh desires to live in sin–with our eyes, with the tongue, and in boasting of worldliness.

James 1:14-15

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The more that you allow sin in your lives, the more that it will but dents in your souls. Sin is nothing to play around with.

Solomon, one of the greatest and wisest of all time, was still a fool. Don’t take this the wrong way, but in a lot of ways we are a lot like Judas because of our sin and fleshly behavior.

You must acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior in order to avoid this spiritual death. You must be born again.

The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.

If there is an ongoing internal struggle between the Spirit and the flesh, then it requires a call for the presence of the Spirit to help you grow in sanctification.

We always value, in the flesh, what we feel is more important than God.

Romans 7:17-20

So now it is not longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

This message is about sanctification. We are reliant upon the Holy Spirit to grow in Christ. We are unable to do anything according to our own power and strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.

No one can ever boast of defeating sin on his own accord.

John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

The Spirit must be at the forefront of your thought life and process of thinking.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

You have to judge for yourselves by which accord you are living.

Are you living for the flesh, or for the Spirit?

Ephesians 6:17-18a

…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

The Spirit must lead in every waking moment of your life. It will allow for your ongoing sanctification in Jesus Christ with his constant presence.

The Spirit desires for each of us to be sanctified by the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

When you think of holiness, think of God’s perfect attributes. Since He commands us to “be holy,” our response is to behave in such a way where our actions are indeed matching His character. If you desire to be Spirit-led, then be holy.

Greek words: “Filled”

Pimplemi

to fill

example, if an individual is drunk with wine the consumption of the wine controls the person’s emotion (Ephesians 5:18)

Empi(m)plemi

to take one’s fill of, glut one’s desire for, satisfy, satiate (John 6:13)

Pleroo

to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full with emotion

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

To be filled with the Spirit requires your living and broadcasting these attributes. These are God’s own attributes.

Be sanctified in the Holy Spirit.

Be prayerful to do these things and defeat the flesh. Seek the things of the Spirit with His godly attributes and live for Jesus Christ.

Be filled.


When Man is at His Worst, God is at His Best

Today’s message summary of March 29, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God is at His best in man’s worst condition. You may wonder where He is at times, but He is definitely at work.

God does not refer to people in sin just to call names. He is making us aware of the fact that we are sinners. We often will not see God at His best unless we are at our worst.

In looking at this passage, someone might think that Jesus is reflecting weakness. In actuality, He is demonstrating His strength.

 

John 10:17-18

“This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to take it up again, I have received this command from My Father.”

 

In spite of those who turned Jesus over to the authorities and with Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas proclaiming that they were in control as to whether or not Jesus would be crucified, Jesus was the one in control of His destiny to die on the cross. Jesus had the authority, and the ability to act and repel His enemies, yet He chose, in His strength and authority, to be obedient to His Father unto the cross.

Ephesians 1:4-5

For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.

 

Revelation 13:8

All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.

 

Man at his worst and God and His best:

Matthew 26:47-50

While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?” They they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him.

 

Romans 8:7

For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.

 

Matthew 26:62-68

The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”

“You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future, you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Look, now you’ve heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” They answered, “He deserves death!” Then they spit in His face and beat Him; others slapped Him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit You?”

 

You are at your best when people say whatever they want to you, and that you are able use restraint and control your anger. Even when others are at your worst, you can be at your best by being obedient to Jesus Christ and following His example.

Christ was truly at His best when He gave Himself for each of us in dying on the cross.

Jesus Christ does not ask you to do anything that He has not already experienced. My denying yourself and living for Jesus Christ, you will be faithfully carrying out His will and plan for your life. You will be at your very best.

It is always a good idea for you to ask God to reveal your heart, for in reality we really don’t know unless it is shown to us. You may have good intentions, but Peter had to also learn this lesson.

Luke 22:54-62

They seized Him, led Him away, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. Meanwhile Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them. When a servant saw him sitting in the firelight, and looked closely at him, she said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it: “Woman, I don’t know Him!” After a little while, someone else saw him and said, “You’re one of them too!” “Man, I am not!” Peter said. About an hour later, another kept insisting, “This man was certainly with Him, since he’s also a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

 

Are you walking with the Lord at a distance? You may want to have a relationship with Him, but you keep Him far enough away to give others the impression that you don’t want to be seen as a “Jesus freak.”

Pontius Pilate tried to please everyone. The reality is that no one can please everyone.

Matthew 27:11-12

Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus answered, “You have said it.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.

 

Luke 23:1-2

Then their whole assembly rose up and brought Him before Pilate. They began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is the Messiah, a King.”

 

John 18:33-40

Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?” “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this words, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” said Pilate.

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no grounds for charging Him. You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

 

John 19:4-16

4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.”

5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.”

7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?”

11 “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”

13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”

15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!”

Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”

“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.

16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.

Therefore they took Jesus away.

 

Even when man is at his worst, God will continue to do His best, and He implores His chosen people to do the same as a testimony before others.

Luke 9:23

Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.


God Builds People of Service

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

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

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

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

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

How does this occur?

John 3:30

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

 

1 Corinthians 3:7

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

 

Only God Himself can transform the heart of a person.

Isaiah 42:8

I am Yahweh, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another

or My praise to idols.

 

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

She was able to bring things together.

She was able to mend and repair

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

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

Acts 9:32-42

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

 

Dorcas Restored to Life

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

 

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

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

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

Romans 12:5-8, 11

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

 

If prophecy,

use it according to the standard of one’ faith;

7 if service, in service;

if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation;

giving, with generosity;

leading, with diligence;

showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

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

 

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

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

Spirit-led people go to work for The Lord.

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

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

James 2:14

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

 

Hebrews 6:10

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

 

Matthew 6:1-4

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

 

Titus 3:8

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

 

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

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

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


God Builds People of Strength

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God does not expect you to build yourself. When God builds, He builds you on the inside, and He provides direction for you. If we are doing the building, then the Holy Spirit is not active in it.

In this building, you need to take Scripture seriously. Our fellowship as a body sharpens us and builds us up when God is doing the work.

You are being built to be able to handle problems that come every day. We are strengthened through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to be able to stand firm in the midst of difficulty.

When we gather together in a church that prays with each other, we actually strengthen each other. We build each other up in The Lord. He is the one that provides the strength and the energy within the body of Christ.

Today we will look at an example of strength that God provided to one of His people…Esther.

As we look at Esther, consider what position you are in as you live today. It is very important to keep your focus on life. Consider that God has kept you through any difficulty. Esther may have had a right to be bitter about the turn of events in her life because she lost her father and her mother at a very young age.

Esther 2:7

Mordecai was the legal guardian of his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther), because she didn’t have a father or mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was extremely good-looking. When her father and mother died, Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter.

 

God provided the strength to Esther to be able to withstand grief and difficulty. Consider that allowing bitterness, anger and an unforgiving spirit to prevail when things are difficult will take away from your enjoyment of life.

How was Esther strengthened through this relationship by Mordecai’s presence. Mordecai loved and cared for Esther as if it was his own daughter. He was God’s provision to her, and she accepted it. She was content in it, and built her life upon it. If she didn’t accept it, her life would have spilled into misery.

Philippians 4:11

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

 

Note that when you are content, you can learn and focus upon God and His provision. When you are distracted, you are unable to learn and see how God is blessing and keeping you. God knows what you have need of, and He cares, but it starts with contentment.

Esther learned how to win people to her cause. She was most likely born in captivity along with Mordecai under the Babylonians. The Persians came along and overtook the Babylonians and established a capital in Sousa. Esther’s nationality was kept secret throughout much of what we see in Scripture.

She was able to win the favor of others.

 

Esther 2:8-9

8 When the king’s command and edict became public knowledge, many young women gathered at the fortress of Susa under Hegai’s care. Esther was also taken to the palace and placed under the care of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9 The young woman pleased him and gained his favor so that he accelerated the process of the beauty treatments and the special diet that she received. He assigned seven hand-picked female servants to her from the palace and transferred her and her servants to the harem’s best quarters.

 

Esther 2:15, 17

15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter. When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem, suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.

17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and approval from him than did any of the other young women. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

 

Esther 4:4

Esther’s female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them.

 

Esther’s example of having favor with others should give you the desire to seek God in how you can win people to your cause and help you, even in the midst of your enemies.

Job 10:12

You gave me life and faithful love,

and Your care has guarded my life.

 

Proverbs 13:15

Good sense wins favor,

but the way of the treacherous never changes.

 

Luke 2:52

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

 

Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

 

Are you busy winning favor amongst others to reach the lost? Are you winning favor to be able to minister in your job or other areas amongst people where there is a presence of God within the relationship?

God will place people in your life in order to teach you. Do you push them away, or do you win their favor by listening to instruction? Remember, God is the one who is ultimately giving you favor and strength in what you are doing with your life as you remain sensitive to His presence.

God will put people in your life that will build you up, strengthen you and empower you.

It takes the favor of God, through the Holy Spirit, to help you work with others and witness to them, especially with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Esther listened and learned from others.

 

Esther 2:10, 15, 20

10 Esther did not reveal her ethnic background or her birthplace, because Mordecai had ordered her not to.

15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter. When her turn came to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem, suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.

20 Esther still had not revealed her birthplace or her ethnic background, as Mordecai had directed. She obeyed Mordecai’s orders, as she always had while he raised her.

 

Esther was obedient to the one who raised her with good counsel. She had already received the crown from the king; yet, she followed Mordecai’s and remained true to him. She trusted in his advice even though she was in a position far greater than where she came from.

Esther also realized when the circumstances were too great for her, and it was then when she asked for help and prayer. God will sometimes weaken us or humble us in order that we will ask Him for help.

Esther 4:12-16

12 Esther’s response was reported to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. 14 If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”

15 Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”

 

Esther learned to trust in what God had given her. God placed her in her position at that time for an important reason–the preservation of her people, the Jews.

Esther trusted in her upbringing and in her natural beauty. She knew that she was loved and cared for. She recognized the new and old friends she had in life, and she recognized that the God of Israel was always present throughout it all–from her childhood to her adulthood.

Psalm 139:14

I will praise You

because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.

Your works are wonderful,

and I know this very well.

 

God put you in your position where you are today for a reason and a purpose.

Esther learned how to face her enemies.

Esther 7:1-8

1 The king and Haman came to feast with Esther the queen. 2 Once again, on the second day while drinking wine, the king asked Esther, “Queen Esther, whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you seek, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

3 Queen Esther answered, “If I have obtained your approval, my king, and if the king is pleased, spare my life—this is my request; and spare my people—this is my desire. 4 For my people and I have been sold out to destruction, death, and extermination. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. Indeed, the trouble wouldn’t be worth burdening the king.”

5 King Ahasuerus spoke up and asked Queen Esther, “Who is this, and where is the one who would devise such a scheme?”

6 Esther answered, “The adversary and enemy is this evil Haman.”

Haman stood terrified before the king and queen. 7 Angered by this, the king arose from where they were drinking wine and went to the palace garden. Haman remained to beg Queen Esther for his life because he realized the king was planning something terrible for him. 8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the house of wine drinking, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Would he actually violate the queen while I am in the palace?” As soon as the statement left the king’s mouth, Haman’s face was covered.

 

Stand and face your enemies. God will strengthen you.

Ephesians 4:12

for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.

 

God builds people of strength to live a life as a conqueror.

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than victorious

through Him who loved us.


The Fruits of the Spirit – Joy

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

In ministry, it is important to remain focused on Jesus Christ. We should be cautious when we lean on our own wisdom instead of continuing to seek God’s wisdom. We should avoid leaning on our own strength, which can also lead to failure. It is best to depend on the wisdom of God. Another hindrance in ministry is failure to lean on the Holy Spirit.

 

Deuteronomy 4:12

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice.

Are you able to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit?

True joy can’t be artificially induced. Joy comes from being in the presence of God. While there may be a fair amount of pain experienced in ministry, the real joy is in seeing God at work in the ministry.

 

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

It’s the presence of God that brings joy.

 

Leviticus 9:23-24

23 Moses and Aaron then entered the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell facedown on the ground.

 

1 Chronicles 29:20-22

20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the Lord your God.” So the whole assembly praised the Lord God of their ancestors. They bowed down and paid homage to the Lord and the king.

21 The following day they offered sacrifices to the Lord and burnt offerings to the Lord: 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, along with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 They ate and drank with great joy in the Lord’s presence that day.

Then, for a second time, they made David’s son Solomon king; they anointed him as the Lord’s ruler, and Zadok as the priest.

 

Luke 1:44

For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!

 

Acts 2:28

You have revealed the paths of life to me;

You will fill me with gladness

in Your presence.

 

Psalm 16:11

You reveal the path of life to me;

in Your presence is abundant joy;

in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

 

Joy is not in the ministry itself, but in the discovery of the work of God in the midst of the ministry.

 

Our joy is in the work of The Lord through us by the Holy Spirit.

 

Psalm 92:4-6

4 For You have made me rejoice, Lord,

by what You have done;

I will shout for joy

because of the works of Your hands.

5 How magnificent are Your works, Lord,

how profound Your thoughts!

6 A stupid person does not know,

a fool does not understand this.

 

It is what The Lord does that makes one glad.

samach (saw-makh) – to brighten up, cheer up

make glad, joyful, to rejoice

 

God wants us to know His presence. Even with the problems of life, you will experience joy in His presence!

 

Psalm 118:13-17

13 You pushed me hard to make me fall,

but the Lord helped me.

14 The Lord is my strength and my song;

He has become my salvation.

15 There are shouts of joy and victory

in the tents of the righteous:

“The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly!

16 The Lord’s right hand is raised.

The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly!”

17 I will not die, but I will live

and proclaim what the Lord has done.

 

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”

 

The joy of The Lord is your strength.

 

Luke 10:17

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

 

John 15:9-11

9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

 

Obedience in God’s Word brings joy.

Jesus wants us to have His joy.

 

John 17:11-19

11 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.

12 While I was with them,

I was protecting them by Your name

that You have given Me.

I guarded them and not one of them is lost,

except the son of destruction,

so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.

13 Now I am coming to You,

and I speak these things in the world

so that they may have My joy completed in them.

14 I have given them Your word.

The world hated them

because they are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

15 I am not praying

that You take them out of the world

but that You protect them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them by the truth;

Your word is truth.

18 As You sent Me into the world,

I also have sent them into the world.

19 I sanctify Myself for them,

so they also may be sanctified by the truth.

 

Acts 13:48-52

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 So the message of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the prominent women, who worshiped God, and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. 51 But they shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 10:13-14

13 and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town.

 

Romans 14:17

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:6

and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.

 

This joy is in spite of severe suffering.

 

Hebrews 12:2

keeping our eyes on Jesus,the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Himendured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

God indeed focuses on our real need and allows us to look past our problems in order to experience His joy within His presence.

 

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!