Tag Archives: time

Doing the Work of The Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haggai 1:1-11

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

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

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

You have planted much

but harvested little.

You eat

but never have enough to be satisfied.

You drink

but never have enough to become drunk.

You put on clothes

but never have enough to get warm.

The wage earner puts his wages

into a bag with a hole in it.

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

So on your account,

the skies have withheld the dew

and the land its crops.

I have summoned a drought

on the fields and the hills,

on the grain, new wine, olive oil,

and whatever the ground yields,

on man and beast,

and on all that your hands produce.

 

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

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

Ezra 5:1-2

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

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

Ezra 6:14

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

Ezra 7:5-6

Abishuas son, Phinehass son,

Eleazars son, Aaron the chief priests son

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

 

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

The people overcame their fear in order to obey God.

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

Haggai 1:2

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

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

 

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

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

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

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

Haggai 1:5, 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haggai 1:12-14

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

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

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

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

God’s message is “I am with you.”

Romans 8:31

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

Haggai 2:3

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

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

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


The Seven Trumpets (Part 1)

Today’s message summary of January 3, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Most people today will continue to fail to acknowledge God. Even though Scripture notes this, we are reminded by Scripture to continue to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ. It is for this reason: God is not in a hurry to do away with those who don’t acknowledge Him. He desires for all men to be saved. But make no mistake about this…there is a day that is coming when there will be the end.

God is merciful. God is putting off the death sentence for those who don’t know Him until the time that they repent and accept Christ as Savior.

God holds back His judgment until that time when there will no longer a restraint on His grace and mercy. And there will be no mistake about the presence of God and His wrath in that day.

Revelation 6:16-17

And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

Some people will decide that they do not want to have anything to do with God; however, there will be a time when God will have something to do with them.

When you examine, in Revelation, the seals, trumpets and bowls, the judgments become worse and worse over time. God’s wrath, soon after this, will be poured out. Satan uses man, at that time, to create destruction and devastation. Satan deceives the people to carry out these acts, and God, of course, allows it. It is part of His plan.

Man will use reasoning to refuse to acknowledge God. They will avoid any situation or circumstance that moves one to conclude that Satan was present; for example, we try to explain why Hitler did what he did without mentioning that Satan was involved. We do this because of fear in that we do not want to acknowledge that God and Satan are present. The reasoning of man is to give an explanation of why something happened in order to remove fear and maintain control of the situation. People are not afraid because reasoning something into natural causes or occurrences removes fear.

Note that as we move into Revelation, Chapter 8, God will move in such a way that no one will be able to explain Him away.

In Chapter 8, the angels of heaven see the real terror that is to come. People on earth have not yet seen it or know what to expect.

Hebrews 10:26-27, 30-31

For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.

For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

 

Psalm 76:7

And You–You are to be feared. When You are angry, who can stand before You?

 

Psalm 7:11

God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day.

Note that society today has tried to remove God from everything in order to make Him invisible, because of the logic that if we cannot see Him, there is no reason to be fearful of Him. If He is unseen or invisible, it gives justification for living any way one chooses.

Back to Revelation 8, there is silence in heaven once the angels see what is going to happen. There is no choir singing or praises taking place. It is the quiet before the storm.

Revelation 8:1

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Note that God is angry with the wicked every day. What holds back God from expressing His wrath? It is His mercy.

 

Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

 

Psalm 103:8-9

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.

 

The angels, in Revelation 8, see the actions of God pouring out His anger. Note that, out of the Seventh Seal come the seven trumpets.

John says that he saw seven angels:

Revelation 8:2-4

Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, with a gold incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand.

The angels are carrying out the message as direct servants of God. The message is that God will now being carrying out the judgment Himself. He will be carrying out what was already noted in Revelation 6:

Revelation 6:9-11

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had. They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on earth?” So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been.

Revelation 8:5-6

The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were rumblings of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

Now come the trumpets being blown by the angels, with God carrying out His wrath:

Revelation 8:7 (The First Trumpet)

The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Revelation 8:8-9 (The Second Trumpet)

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures of the sea dies, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 8:10 (The Third Trumpet)

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.

God is saying to those who do not trust in Him that there will be an account. There is nothing to fear as long as you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. He will keep you in fellowship with Him, but while he is merciful and compassionate, He will judge the wicked of this world.

Romans 3:23-24

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.


Guest Speaker LuAnne Baker – The Story of Esther in Dramatic Narrative

Today’s guest speaker for August 30, 2015 was LuAnne Baker.

LuAnne performed a dramatization of the Book of Esther as told by one of her maidservants.

LuAnne is the Western Pennsylvania District Director for the Alliance Women Ministries of the Christian & Missionary Alliance.

LuAnne Baker

LuAnne Baker

Audio for today’s message is available on our Audio tab or select this link.

 


What John Sees in Heaven – War Ensues (Revelation Chapter 12) – Part 2

Today’s message summary of July 19, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Most people don’t realize that we are in spiritual warfare because they are just focused on the present–just trying to survive. We should pause to reflect upon this, and even ask ourselves what is the reason behind this approach.

The enemies of Christ are the enemies of the people of God. Satan has blinded the world of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though the message is visible, they still do not see it.

When it comes to how man sees things, there will either be the influence of the Holy Spirit or that of a demonic influence.

The first victim to fail in this war was Adam. He was influenced by Satan. Eve was also influenced by Satan. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Who is influencing you?

The word “victim” refers to someone killed, destroyed, injured or otherwise harmed by, or suffering from some act, condition, or circumstance of war. (Websters Dictionary)

Luke 22:31

“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.

 

2 Timothy 3:12-13

In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.

 

First, don’t assume that everyone wants to live a godly life. People want to go to heaven and claim to know God, but they don’t really want to live it out. God still has standards of living that must be met in order to receive eternal life. Living a godly life requires a certain amount of training, and in that lifestyle there will be persecution.

Satan doesn’t know everything, including the fullness of time. He reacts to what God has presented about Jesus and has been attempting to thwart it over time.

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

 

The birth of Christ…

Galatians 4:4

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.

 

Jesus’ death on the cross brought judgment upon Satan.

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

When this corruptible is clothed

with incorruptibility,

and this mortal is clothed

with immortality,

then the saying that is written will take place:

Death has been swallowed up in victory,

Death, where is your victory?

Death, where is your sting?

Now the sting of death is sin,

and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lords work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

 

Hebrews 2:14

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.

 

1 John 3:8

The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.

 

God will never tempt one to sin. The Devil is the one who makes it possible for you to commit sin.

Satan is continually working on you and I to destroy and ruin your testimony for Jesus Christ.

Romans 16:20

The God of peace will son crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

 

The ascension of Christ is the proof of Satan’s failure.

Acts 1:9-11

After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.”

 

Not only did Jesus defeat death, but He proclaims that He is coming back. From this, Satan knows that his time is short. He does not know how long, for no one knows the day or hour of Satan’s return.

In Revelation 12, we pick up at verses 4 and 5. John covers the life of Jesus:

Revelation 12:4-5

His tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth he might devour her child. But she gave birth to a Son–a male who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter–and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

 

Satan was on the watch for the One who would be born in Israel. Satan was in charge of ruling all of the nations, but the Word declares that Christ would rule all of them. Satan has to watch and see what God is doing and then he would react in order to defeat or destroy, or hinder the work of God–but he can’t stop it.

Daniel 10:12-13

“Don’t be afraid, Daniel,” he said to me, “for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me after I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

  1. Abel was killed because he pleased God
  2. In the Great Flood, all unbelievers perished
  3. Nimrod, after the Flood, started the first great rebellion against God (Genesis 10:8-10)
  4. Abraham’s call by God but causes him to mistrust God, resulting in Ishmael (Genesis 16)
  5. The King wants all of the male children to be killed, Moses still emerged (Exodus 1:15-16)
  6. In the book of Esther, Haman wanted to kill all of the Jews (Esther 3:8-9)
  7. Herod made the decree to kill all Jewish children up to two years of age (Matthew 2:16)
  8. Satan tried to get the people to put Jesus to death, but it was not his appointed time to die (Luke 4:28-30)
  9. Satan could not keep Jesus in the tomb; guards were no match for Jesus (Matthew 27:62-66)

In Revelation 12:6, we see that God protects Israel for 3 1/2 years. Israel is fleeing from the Antichrist. All of this is taking place between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ.

Revelation 12:6-9

The woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, to be fed there for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was thrown out–the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him.

 

John tells us about the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7).

The dragon (Satan) was hurled down to earth.

Isaiah 14:12-15 reflected Satan’s desire to rule all nations:

Isaiah 14:12-15

Shining morning star,

how you have fallen from the heavens!

You destroyer of nations,

you have been cut down to the ground.

You said to yourself:

I will ascend to the heavens;

I will set up my throne

above the stars of God.

I will sit on the mount of the gods assembly,

in the remotest parts of the North.

I will ascend above the highest clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.

But you will be brought down to Sheol

into the deepest regions of the Pit.

 

He continues his war on earth against God. Satan attacks the church in an effort to hurt God.

Ephesians 5:23-25

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

 

Christ loves the church (the saints) and desires to protect them from Satan, who desires to make war against God’s people.

Revelation 12:17

So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.


Jesus was Sent to Us at a Specific Time

Today’s message summary of December 21, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Why was Jesus sent to us when He was? What was the purpose for the specific place and time for His appearance.

Genesis 3:15 is the promise of Jesus’ coming–thousands of years before He was born. Why so long?

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

  1. Why not have Him sent a few years after Adam and Eve were put out of the garden?
  2. Why not have Him come after Noah’s survival of the flood?
  3. Why not right after the deliverance of the Israelites’ delivery from Egypt?
  4. Why not after God had provided the law and shared it with the people?

Matthew 1:20-21

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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

God is saving us from what?

Luke 2:8-11

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.

Why at this time?

Between the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) and the New Testament book (Matthew), there are 400 years of silence from God. Why?

Many things take place during that time:

  1. Alexander the Great
  2. His five generals fought until there were only three (over a thirty-year period).
  3. Last empire from Alexander was Seleucid, which was founded by the last general, Seleucus. His dynasty lasted from 312 to 64 B.C. The Roman general named Pompey defeated him.
  4. The Greek culture that took root beyond Greece is called Hellenism (Greek civilization). From this formed the Roman army, the Egyptian army and Mark Antony. Israel was fighting with the Roman army to defeat Egypt. From here emerged Antipates and Herod the Great. Herod built temples to worship Augustus as a god. Daniel’s Abomination of Desolation was when the god of Zeus was set up in the temple (168 B.C.). Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons started the war of the Maccabees.

In Acts 6:1, we see the results of all of these changes in the Grecian Jews (Hellenists). During this time Herod through Roma appointed the high priest. Some of these appointees were not Jewish but they were most likely in positions of wealth.

God sent His Son because of the culture of this time. Why did God go silent for 400 years? What actions were taking place. These matters were being revealed in Malachi:

  1. There was a failure to truly worship God (Malachi 1:4-8). This matter of worship was regarded as a burden (v. 12).
  1. The heart of man was set on not honoring God (Malachi 2:2).

Malachi 2:1-2

“Therefore, this decree is for you priests: If you don’t listen, and if you don’t take it to heart to honor My name,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.”

  1. The people turned away from Him, and the priests were not following Him (Malachi 2:7-9).

Malachi 2:7-9

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and the people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. “You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of Hosts. “So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in your instruction.”

  1. Those who were doing evil were regarded as good (Malachi 2:17).

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

  1. Those who are doing what is wrong have no fear of Him (Malachi 3:5).
  1. God is not worthy of our giving (Malachi 3:7-9).
  1. It is futile to serve God (Malachi 3:14-15, 18).
  1. Every evildoer will be nothing more than stubble (Malachi 4:1).

Can you see these matters today in America? Can you see how this applies to the lost generations of people who live according to what they deem is right?

2 Timothy 1:15-17

This you know: All those in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.

John 14:8-9

“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works.

Hebrews 2:14

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil.

The people who believe in God and His Word will be blessed. God held this as a promise to the people referred to in the book of Malachi and it also applies to those who have faith and trust in Him today.

Malachi 3:16-17

At that 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 Yahweh and had high regard for His name. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of Hosts, “a special 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.”


With Change Comes Opportunities for Ministry

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is an occasion for everything,

and a time for every activity under heaven:

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

a time to plant and a time to uproot;

3 a time to kill and a time to heal;

a time to tear down and a time to build;

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance;

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

a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;

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

a time to keep and a time to throw away;

7 a time to tear and a time to sew;

a time to be silent and a time to speak;

8 a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

With these verses in mind:

1.  Change is inevitable

2.  Change is necessary

3.  Change is perspective driven

4.  Change is an opportunity

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

Psalm 102:25

Long ago You established the earth,

and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

God is the author and orchestrator of all change.

James 1:17

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

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

Proverbs 18:15

The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,

and the ear of the wise seeks it.

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

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child,

I spoke like a child,

I thought like a child,

I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man,

I put aside childish things.

James 4:2b

You do not have because you do not ask.

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

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

Hebrews 11:1-2

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

Romans 4:20-24

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

Philippians 4:6-8

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

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

Philippians 4:19

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

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, and not by sight.

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

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

Psalm 145:18-19

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

all who call out to Him with integrity.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;

He hears their cry for help and saves them.

Romans 8:28

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

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

Micah 6:8

Mankind, He has told you what is good

and what it is the Lord requires of you:

to act justly,

to love faithfulness,

and to walk humbly with your God.

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

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

1 Peter 3:15-16

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

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

Copyright © Melvin Gaines.


Remembering What Christ Did For Us

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we are approaching the Christmas season, the presence of Christ Himself is less and less apparent. It’s no longer about “Merry Christmas” but more about “Happy Holidays.” This is, in fact, the very time that we should be paying attention to who He is. We (believers) are the people that need to say the words “Merry Christmas” to others rather than risk offending someone for stating the name of Christ.

Christmas is the time to reflect what God did for us. It’s a time to seek God’s Word and see what it says.

We often question the evidence of God’s presence in the world, but we are reminded that God is doing His work in our lives not according to our time, but according to His time. We need to wait upon The Lord and be patient and courageous. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

It takes God’s own time to grow and mature us. He is a patient and loving God because He cares about each and every one of us. Time is not an issue with God. He provides guidance for us that He is going to act at the appropriate time. Note this in Galatians 4:4:

Galatians 4:4
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God acted in the fullness of time (according to His schedule), He sent His Son. The same thing will take place in future…Jesus will return in the fullness of time. When a fair trial has been given to all other schemes of salvation by mankind, God would send forth His Son.

The promise of Jesus’ first coming was noted in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Then God provides a little more information about this seed…

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

After the great flood, man came up with their own ways to get to heaven.

Genesis 31:19
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols.

Many historians point to this time period as the origin of Hinduism…the emergence of many different Gods. It’s origin goes back 4,000 years.

During the time of Daniel, Buddhism is growing through two branches:

Hinayana – Teaching primarily rationality
Mahayana – Exalts the individual’s salvation by faith and good works.

Through these periods in history, man gained knowledge and was developing civilizations. This additional knowledge also led people to seek their own ways rather than seek God;
1300 BC – Pharoahs
1195 BC – Saul becomes king
1155 BC – David becomes king
1115 BC – Solomon becomes king

At about the time of Solomon, China and Buddhism begins to emerge. All of these things and even more over time were taking place in history, but Jesus was not presented yet. It was only on the appointed time that God had chosen for Jesus’ emergence.

Galatians 4:1-2
1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.

Basic principles of the world were taught to the people such as reading, writing, and many inventions were taking place. At the same time, all of the different religions and philosophies (or ways to focus away from God) were also taking place (and they continue to exist today):

Galatians 4:3
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.

God sent His Son. He is coming from another place…not only to save us, but to teach us with knowledge AND truth.

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

1. God wants to bless us and provides grace (because He favors us)
2. He wants to deliver us from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13-17)
3. He is revealing the living God to us…God’s manifestation in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)
4. He would be our faithful High Priest (Hebrews 7:25)
5. He came to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8)

Galatians 4:4-7
4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”

Hebrews 2:14-18
14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17 Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

God promised to bring forth Jesus from a woman. A woman is the medium for how all of us were presented in birth. He became like us, born of a woman, to bring us to Himself. He relates to us in every way of the flesh yet He was without sin. He took on the role of a High Priest and gave of Himself as the sacrifice by shedding His blood for us.

Galatians 3:13-17
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to even a human covenant that has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God and cancel the promise.

The law constantly revealed to us as a people our sinfulness (as we are reminded each day). Christ sacrificed Himself for our sake to become the law because of his righteousness over the flesh. Without Him, we could never be righteous under the law.

Romans 8:3-11
3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live[d] according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.