Scriptures: Ephesians 1:3-6, John 1:12
Everyone reading this has experienced rejection at some level: we must all recognize our rejection. We live in a humanistic society which bases acceptance on appearance, performance, relationships and conformity. The result of rejection is the inability to adequately receive or communicate love.
We must overcome the consequences of rejection:
1) Recognize the nature of rejection: rejection can cause us to search for acceptance in self effort and to find acceptance through relationships based on performance and conformity. We can operate our lives on hidden agenda's many times we do not even recognize.
2) Take Jesus as our pattern: How did Jesus handle rejection? He forgave those who harmed Him, but He did it through the Father: "Father forgive them they know not what they do." You cannot forgive on your own: it takes supernatural grace provided by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is not an emotion, it is a decision.
3) Resentment is a luxury you cannot afford: rejection can cause resentment, which can affect many of our relationships. We must decide to get rid of the bad fruit rejection has produced.
4) Believe and receive what Jesus has done for you: God loves you, chose you, adopted you and accepts you. Accept means "to receive especially with gladness and approval." Jesus is interested in you. Jesus cares for you. Jesus believes in you.
5) Accept yourself: don't criticize the work God is doing in you. You are God's workmanship: you need to accept your acceptance in Christ.
6) Proclaim your release from the consequences of rejection- release your spirit to rejoice in the acceptance you have received through Christ your Lord. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. He gave you the right to become a Child of God. You are not rejected: you are accepted by God.
Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-14
It ain't over until God says it's over! The vision in today's text is a cemetery- a place of dry bones. The symbolism is a of people whose hope has died and has been dead for a long time. This is a situation where there is no future, just bones, no body, just bones, no signs of life: just bones. The Lord asked Ezekiel a question: "Can these dry bones live?" Ezekiel saw no human solution to this situations: all he saw was hopelessness. He responded: "Lord you know."
There are situations in this life where only God knows the final outcome. Ezekiel had to go down to the cemetery and tell the dry bones that God was not finished with them yet! The transformation and restoration all started by hearing the Word of God. The Word was the beginning of the process that would bring them back to life. God's Word has power: speak the Word! Prophesy the Word! Declare the Word!
Dry bones have ears. It take the Word of God to revive what seems dead. Mountains have ears: for the Word says they can be moved! God only required Ezekiel to do one thing: speak to the dry bones. Speak His Word directly at a hopeless situation.
As soon as Ezekiel prophesied: the bones began to sort things out. When most people think it's over God asks: "Did I say it was over?" A marriage can come back together. A family can come back together. A church can come back together. A business can come back together. A dream can come back together. Hope can come back together. Why? Because it ain't over until God's says its over!
God alone has the final say: keep praying, keep giving, keep fighting, keep loving, keep believing, keep progressing, keep trying and keep trusting God. It ain't over.
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 25:4-13
In these verses we read that David and his men became a volunteer police force: protecting farmers and their flocks. It was shearing time: the time for profit! David asked Nabal to share his food and some of his profit, but Nabal was tight-fisted and refused to share his increase.
We should be careful not to overlook the blessing others are providing in our lives: David and his men had made a way for Nabal to have a successful harvest. But Nabal was a one-sided man: he only viewed life through his personal opinions. David was ordained to be the future king and he was already operating in his calling.
How did the conflict between these two men occur? It was shearing time and David had sent his men to collect a well-deserved payment. Nabal snubbed David and insulted his men, which caused David's short fuse to be lit and his anger burned against Nabal.
Nabal was a man of constant conflict: the Bible calls him "a son of Belial," which is translated to mean a son of lawlessness, worthless to others. Nabal was the personification of pride and unprofitability. Why does the Bible call him a son of Belial? Because no man could speak to him: Nabal could not take advice from anyone. Pride is a major source of natural conflicts.
David is drawn into a conflict with Nabal, because David had expectations of how Nabal should have responded to his kindness. David believed that God's blessings on a person's life would create a thankful and grateful heart. Nabal believed that whatever came his way was because of his own actions: again showing his pride! David dealt with the conflict the same way Nabal did, he allowed his pride to call for blood, but because David responds with such anger he almost affected his calling.
Conflict is a part of all relationships: it can bring change, growth and understanding. Or it can push us out of God's will. God allows conflict so that our pride can be revealed and then repented of. The road to fulfilling your calling determines how you handle conflict.
Jesus is observing how you handle conflicts. Conflicts in the home, on the job, in the church and in the world. He has great plans for your life, but how you handle conflicts will determine how God can use you in His kingdom.
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-9
"God did not direct His call to Isaiah- Isaiah overheard God saying "...who will go for us?" The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude," said Oswald Chambers.
"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you," said Mother Teresa.
A person with a calling sees needs: a calling will begin as a concern. God's call will be call to meet human needs. Something will bother you about the way things are or the way things are headed. Now ask yourself the question: do you see the needs that are around you beyond your own family?
A person with a calling feels the needs: a person with a calling is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone with a calling will tell you: this is not something that could be done, instead it is something that should be done. It is something that must happen. You are never used of God to bring blessing until God has opened your heart and made you feel deep sorrow about the needs around you. Weeping happens first and then vision follows.
A person with a calling shares the needs: planning before prayer never works in God's kingdom. Prayer helps you distinguish between a good idea and a God idea. Prayer: exalts God, admits sin, admits pride, reviews truth and requests help. A person with a calling shares the need with God and with God's people.
A person with a calling meets the need: God is looking for people who care: "Here am I, Lord send me." Ask yourself: am I willing to be a living sacrifice? Everyone ends up somewhere in life and few people end up somewhere on purpose. A calling provides the ability to find answers to problems. A calling from God will help you exceed your own abilities.
Scriptures: John 11:17-27
Jesus told Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life." Martha was frustrated because Jesus did not respond to her call for help for her brother Lazarus. Jesus delayed His coming and that puzzled Martha. His plan required a different response and these verses reveal something about our God.
Jesus can handle your honesty: Martha basically said: "where were you Lord?" God is more patient and understanding that we sometimes realize. He knows the problems of our hearts but He cannot correct the problems until we admit them.
Jesus is moved by our sorrow. Jesus wept: why? He has a tender and compassionate heart. Jesus is deeply moved by our pains and sorrows.
Jesus is a Savior who will demonstrate His ability: Jesus told them to move the stone and called Lazarus to come forth with a loud voice. This was a shout of raw authority. Those present were part of the miracle: they moved the stone from the tomb and removed the grave clothes from Lazarus.
When you understand that Jesus is the resurrection then you must do something with that revelation! Connect your faith with the resurrection and watch what can come alive again! Jesus can resurrect our relationships, our health, our passion, our hope, our joy and our peace. Jesus can resurrect revival!
Scriptures: Acts 4:31-33
The church needs to be on fire! We have the wood: the cross of Christ! We have the lamb: Jesus the lamb of God. But the question remains: where is the fire? Currently "it takes on average 40 believers 1 year to win 1 person to Christ." Why is this ratio so low? Lack of fire!
In Acts 4 we have an example of a church on fire: they were endued with God's power and they would not accept any substitutes. They prayed: because nothing is born without travail. The preachers could preach with unexplained liberty. There was no judgment amongst the believers. The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul: unity overcame division.
What happens when a church gets on fire: the Bible says at least 8,000 souls were saved and God added to the church daily! The worship service is inspiring and uplifting! Complaining is replaced with prayer. Preachers can preach with great power and God's power is demonstrated. Great grace is upon all.
Are you ready to set the church on fire with passion for the Kingdom of Christ?
Scriptures: Malachi 3: 6-12
Malachi reveals spiritual laws which provide an avenue for God to bless our lives. Finances are important to all of us and how we use our finance is important to God. Today we still study principles we can learn from these verses about being financially blessed.
Principle 1: God does not change: "I the Lord do not change." He is the same yesterday, today and forever, which is our ever-changing world is hard for us to understand. But the truth is: God does not change.
Principle 2: There is only God, but there is a element competing for our attention and affection: money. The Bible tells us plainly: no one can serve two masters. We must handle money according to spiritual principles: the way we handle money demonstrates how we really feel about God.
Principle 3: God wants to bless you financially. What do you think the biggest reason people give for not paying tithes? They say they cannot afford to; the truth is: you cannot afford not to. Malachi 3:9 says you will be financially cursed. Curse is the opposite of a blessing: it is to remove God's factor. Satan's goal is to steal your blessing; he wants to have more worries with wealth. There is a simple diagnosis for being in financial bondage, ask yourself the following questions: do you tithe faithfully? Do you give generously above the tithe to support God's work in the world? If you answer no to either question- you could be separated from God's blessings.
Principle #4: Exercise your faith: Malachi 3:10-11 says to bring the whole tithe. Giving tithes and offerings are a tangible way of saying: "God I trust you." Tithing is an act of faith. The same God who died on the cross for you is the same God who promised to throw open the windows of heaven and bless you. Exercise your faith and God will meet all your needs because He loves you.
Principle #5: It's your choice! Blessings don't happen by chance. We put ourselves in a position to be blessed. God has give us His promise, but it is still our choice. When you bring your tithes and offering, God sends a little bit of heaven to earth.