Scriptures: Psalm 127:1-5
A happy and healthy home is one of the best places on earth. We have all heard the quote from Dorothy that says: "there is no place like home." In contrast, an unhappy and unhealhy home is one of the most miserable places to be. So how we do make sure our homes are happy and healthy? With God, we can have homes that are enriching and full of love.
Jesus can help us build our families. Jesus can fix a broken family, because He is the one that created family from the beginning. He gave Eve to Adam so he would not be alone, He knew from the beginning that man needed family. His Word gives us the instruction and tools we need for a successful home environment. The Bible is the best marriage manual, the best friend's manual, and best child rearing manual. The answers are in scripture for happy relationships. It teaches us to love, offer mercy and forgive.
Jesus can help us protect our families. In today's world families need protection: protection from intruders and protection from evil. Jesus protects our families by helping us stay away from destructive things. He helps us to be faithful and comittmed to our families. He protects our families by helping us overcome our attitudes of selfishness: He helps us to look outward, instead of being inward focused.
Jesus helps us provide for our families, by teaching us the difference between luxuries and necessities. Families need attention, affection, guidance and good examples. The Word says that "He will open the windows of Heaven." God is our provider and He will place us in the right place for a blessing. He will put us in the right place at the right time and supply us with the right things we need.
Jesus wants to help us build, protect and provide for our families. Let Him in your home and see what He can do.
Scriptures: Proverbs 17:17, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Matthew 11:18-19
We all need different types of friends: casual friends, close friends, work friends, social friends, hobby buddies and long time friends. A true friend is the person who knows a lot about you and still likes you. We all need friends.
Let's look at three principles of friendship:
1) Making friends: when we need friends we must realize that we have to be willing to take the first step in the relationship. We have to be quick to meet others, greet others and help others. A person who wants friends must first be friendly. We can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in people than we can in two years by trying to get other people interested in us. An important part of making friends is listening. Ask yourself the question: how often to I listen to the needs of others?
2) Keeping Friends: True friendship is a matter of giving as well as receiving. A good friend is able to keep confidences, remain loyal and shows warmth and affection. To keep friends we must be there, be helpful, be faithful, be loving and be supportive. If we want supportive relationships, we need to offer support to others.
3) Influencing Friends: Jesus was a friend to all people. We must learn to socialize with others and not exclude ourselves. Love goes a long way in influencing other people. We as Christians must desire to influence others for good and for the Lord. God has put us here not just to have friends, but for us to be friends. We all need good company in our lives and good friends makes the trip better, more enjoyable and easier.
Scriptures: 2 Kings 6:1-7
In these verses we see that a problem has a occured: the school of prophets has outgrown their building so they go to cut down trees to expand. Elisha was asked to go along for the day and while they are there one man's axe head comes off and falls into the Jordan River sinking to the bottom. The man had lost his cutting edge, he was no longer an effective worker.
There are three principles that will help us get back our cutting edge and help us to stay sharp:
1) We must admit we have lost our cutting edge: it is very hard to admit that we might have a problem or that our efforts are not accomplishing very much. Training and planning are needed but someone's got to cut some trees down! Do not just tell others about your caling or ministry: show them! The prophets in training went to work and Elisha was an observer. We all share the responsibility of the Kingdom work: we all need to be cutting down trees. When we find that we are not being effective, we cannot make excuses, we must make changes.
2) We must remember the spot where we lost our cutting edge: the man was asked "where did you last have it?" An axe handle with no axe head makes noise, but never cuts anything. If you want your cutting edge back it is wherever you left it behind. You must narrow down where you lost your cutting edge.
3) We must act our part in recovering our cutting edge. No problem is too small to take to God. God is concerned about us as individuals. God will solve any problem if we are willing to ask. God made the axe head swim! The axe head swam but the man still have to bend over and pick it up. If he wanted the axe head again, he had to do something about it. Elisha did not retrieve the axe head for him. The young prophet needed to involved in his own recovery.
Do you want to serve God as an effective servant? It's time to take back your cutting edge and start felling some trees.
Scriptures: Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:16-17
God has promised that in the last days He would pour out His spirit upon all flesh: men, women, young, old, educated, uneducated, rich, poor, good and bad. All flesh: gender is not factor, age is not a factor, race is not a factor, education is not a factor, our righteousness is not a factor, and wealth is not a factor. The only factor is our flesh: we are the only thing that can get in the way of God's spirit moving us. The Holy Spirit is available to ALL who will receive Him!
The Holy Spirit makes Jesus real to us, because it takes the supernatural to reveal the supernatural. The Bible says that "your sons and daughters shall prophesy": meaning that they will speak the mysteries of God. "Your old men shall dream dreams": we will be seeing beyond the present. "Your young men shall have visions": we will experience the possibilites which exist in the promises of God. The Holy Spirit turns us away from unbelief, mistrust and rebellion. It teaches us to have a true reliance on God.
When we experience salvation there are three parts: private, public and supernatural. Repentance is private, its when we truly challenge the presence of sin in our lives and choose to move away from it. Baptism is public, we make a public oath to allow our sins to be wiped clean and we are released from the penality of our inquity. Finally the the Holy Spirit comes into us, the supernatural power reveals to the us the consequences of sin and changes us.
The Holy Spirit provides the tools we need to love a Christian life: the fruits of the spirit. We begin to have evidence that God is alive in our lives. Love,joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.
The Holy Spirit gives us power to make Jesus real to others: it directs us to love, to forgive and to overcome. It empowers us to have spiritual successs and increases our faith while expanding our potential!
The Bible points to the Day of Pentecost as the time when God began this our pouring of His Spirit. If 2000 years ago were considered the last days where do we stand today? Its time to experience the promise of God: allow Jesus to come into your life and fill you with His spirit.
Scriptures:. Exodus 17:10-12, Luke 19:17
"And he said unto them, well, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in very little, have thou authority over ten cities." In this verse we see that the servant was promoted because he was faithful in the small, unseen and overlooked things. The servant was the grower: he took what was given to him and multiplied it.
A connoisseur is someome who appreciates fine things. Someone who understands details and techniques: a taster and a judge of others arts. A connoisseur tastes and judges without ever learning to prepare.
A grower spends many years in the dirt planting the vineyard and picking the grapes. The grower washes the bottles and turns the grapes into juice.
Ask yourself the question: am I a connoisseur or a grower in the kingdom of God? It is easier to be a connoisseur of wine than to grow the vineyard. Growers cut new paths while connoisseurs seek the paths left by the crowd. Growers prepare the meal while connoisseurs just eat and and judge what has been prepared. Connoisseurs diagnose the details and monitor techniques while growers plant, water, pick weeds, fight off insects, protect the crop and bring in the harvest.
In Exodus we read abour Hur, who had the ministry of lifting of hands. Hur held up Moses' hands until there was victory and Amalek was defeated. Hur deteremined what he was supposed to do and put action behind his knowledge. Moses and Joshua would receive the credit for the victory, but there was no victory without Hur's actions. Hur was faithful over what God called him to do and that day he became a great man of faith.
Hur was a grower in the kingdom. He put forth the effort behind the scenes so the glory and victory could be won. Are you a grower or a connoisseur?