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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday - Spirit-Filled Heart - Ezekiel 36:21-27 - 9/24/17

Their restoration the work of God's mercy. Great spiritual blessings promised.

Background Scripture: Ezekiel 36-37 and Titus 3:1-11.

But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

Ezekiel 20:9,14

But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.


Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes. O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

Psalm 106:8

Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.


And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the LORD God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their (your) eyes.

Ezekiel 20:41

I will accept you with your sweet savour (savour of rest), when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.


For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Ezekiel 34:13

And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.


Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Jeremiah 33:8

And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me: and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.


A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 32:39

And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever (all days), for the good of them, and of their children after them:


And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers, Nashville, Tennessee

A New Covenant of the Heart - Jeremiah 31:31-34

God would inscribe his law upon their hearts rather than upon tablets of stone as were the Ten Commandments. This change seems to describe one experience very much like the new birth and God is making the initiative. When we turn our lives over to God he, by his Holy Spirit, builds into us the desire to obey him.

The Old Covenant, broken by the people, would be replaced by an new covenant. The foundation of this new covenant is Christ. It is revolutionary, involving not only Israel and Judah, but even the Gentiles. It offers a unique personal relationship with God himself, with his laws inscribed on hearts instead of on stone. Jeremiah looked forward to the day when Jesus would come to establish this covenant. But for us today, this covenant is here. We have the wonderful opportunity to make a fresh start and establish a permanent, personal relationship with God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nations Will Know The Lord - Spirit Filled Heart: Ezekiel 36:32-38

God said his people should be ashamed of their sins. The people had become so callous that they had lost all sensitivity to sin. First they had to remember their sins, then despise them, and finally repent of them. As we examine our lives, we may find that we too have lost our sensitivity to certain sins. But if we measure ourselves against God's standard of right living, we will be ashamed. To regain sensitivity we must recognize our sin for what it is, feel sorry for displeasing God, and ask his forgiveness. The Holy Spirit will guide us, making us responsive and receptive to God's truth.

God said that if the people asked, he would come to their aid. We cannot expect his mercy, however, until we have sought new hearts from him. We can be thankful that his invitation is open to all.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Friday, September 22, 2017

Noah Found Favor With the Lord - Genesis 6:1-8

AND it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.

Genesis 1:28 ... And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth (creepeth) upon the earth.


That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Deuteronomy 7:3,4 .... Neither shall thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD, be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.


And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man,

1 Peter 3:19,20 ... By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.

Which sometime were disobedience, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

Psalm 78:39 ... For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.


There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.


And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination (whole imagination) of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (everyday).


And it repented the LORD that he had made men on earth,

Numbers 23:19 ... God is not a man, that he should not lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hate he said, and shall he do not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

and it grieved him at his heart.

Isaiah 63:10 ... But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, he fought against them.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers, Nashville, TN

Jesus tells about remaining Watchful - Matthew 24:36-51 ... Excerpt from the Bible

It is good we don't know exactly when Christ will return. If we knew the precise dates, we might plan to keep sinning and then turn back to God right at the end. Heaven is our only goal; we have work to do here. We must keep on doing it until death or until we see the unmistakable return of our Savior.

Christ's Second Coming will be swift and sudden. There will be no opportunity for after thought., last-minute repentance, or bargaining. The choice we have already made will determine our eternal destiny.

Jesus purpose in telling about his return is not to stimulate predictions and calculations about the date, but to warn us to be prepared. Will you be ready? The only safety is to obey him today.

Jesus asks us to spend the waiting time taking care of his people and doing his work on earth, both within the Church and outside of it. This is the best way to prepare for Christ's return.

Knowing that Christ's return will be sudden should motivate us always to be prepared. We are not to live irresponsibly - sitting and waiting, doing nothing; seeking self-serving pleasure, using his tarrying as an excuse not to do God's work of building his kingdom; developing a false security based on precise calculations of events; or letting our curiosity about the end times divert us from doing God's work.

"Weeping and gnashing of teeth" is a Phrase used to describe despair. God's coming judgment is as certain as Jesus' return to earth.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, Tyndale Bible Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Master's Mind - Book Review

The Master's Mind: The Art of Reshaping Your Thoughts

In fact, the Master has a whole different list of attributes in mind for us: hope, strength, beauty, joy, love, creativity, freedom, power, peace, patience, goodness, laughter, organization, effectiveness, and purpose.

Between the flesh, the world, and the Devil, we don't know what to think, and, therefore, our lives are filled with hurt, pain, and regret.

Jesus died to save us from our sins and set us free. He made a way for our souls to be rescued from our enemies.

It's time to return to the Master's Mind.

In approximately AD 31, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was asked the seemingly impossible question: "What is the greatest commandment of God?" Jesus simply replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength."

If we can master our minds and bring our thoughts into alignment with the Lord's will and perspective, the rest of our lives will follow suit.

Praise the Lord that He has told us who He is, who we are in the light of Him, and what we have been placed on this earth to do.

God does the rescuing and the saving. Our job is to steward what He has given us.

What we think determines our action. Martin Luther King Jr. determined that he would not rest until all people were viewed as God intended - equal. Mother Teresa determined that the poor would not be forgotten. Our Lord Jesus Christ walked His entire life on earth with a focus on completely obeying His heavenly Father, including the determination to end up on the cross to save us from our sins, as we see in this passage from Luke: "When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).

The Bible tells us of an ancient high-ranking official who made a personal choice that would dictate the rest of his life and effectiveness. His name was Naaman, and he was a Syrian army commander who had leprosy, a terrible skin disease. Knowing that he was desperate for healing, his little servant girl told him of a prophet in Israel who could heal him by God's power. Figuring that it was worth a shot, Naaman went to see the prophet Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman that he would be healed if he washed seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman was furious. He believed that the prophet was simply going to "call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure" him (2 Kings 5:11). When things didn't go the way he thought they should, he stormed off in a rage.

His attendant hurried after him and convinced him to reconsider. Sure, washing seven times was unorthodox, but what if it could heal him?

He relented - and came out healed from leprosy.

Naaman's false assumptions, ignorant thoughts, and prideful heart almost cost him his healing. What are we believing today that is keeping us from God's best?

It's true of God: Isaiah 14:24 tells us, "The LORD of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand."

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. (Acts 17:26)

Before the New York firefighters and police officers ran into the collapsing Twin Towers on the fateful day of 9/11, they thought about it. Their heroic choice to risk their lives to protect others from a burning building was the result of truly stunning thoughts: Their job is to rescue others and put them before themselves. They would not let fear dictate their response.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was explaining that our characters and beliefs determine the lives we live. Doing one thing on the outside doesn't make up for thinking another on the inside.

And when it comes to matters of faith, we spend the majority of our energy on sin management, completely avoiding the core issues. We'll never experience transformation until we address the thoughts at the root of our problems.

Bad thinking is dangerous. Wrong thinking can keeps us ineffective, wasting time on things that aren't important instead of living the lives God has for us.

Paul wrote in Romans about the distorted thinking common to humans and the consequences it brings. Since our sin nature is rooted in how we think our thoughts continue to be the primary block between us and God.

Jesus spoke about lust being equated with adultery.

Adam and Eve were the best of us: unadulterated humanity, good, pure, and perfect. But the day they ate the fruit that God told them not to eat, all of that changed. With their rebellion, sin entered the world and chaos was unleashed.

If you do not know the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love He demonstrated on the cross by dying for your sins, now is the time to engage with that truth.

God knows our plight. He knows we are hopelessly lost. When Adam and Eve threw away our birth right, He launched a redemption plan. The plan came to fruition approximately two thousand years ago, when God entered humanity and joined us where we were, in all our messiness. Doing all that we could not do, the God-man, Jesus Christ, offered up His perfect life - not only to satisfy our debt sin, but also to trade with us, the lost, so that we might be found and set free. We acknowledge that He is the King and His way is right. We offer open rights in which He can dwell by the power of His Holy Spirit so that we are never alone - not now, not ever.

"The most important thing about us is not what we do, but who and whose we are in Christ."

All He asks is that we stop fighting and let Him do what He does best - be our Savior and King. Paul the apostle wrote, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" ((Romans 5:1-2).

By definition, grace is "undeserved favor." Grace isn't earned; rather, it's given out of the goodness of someone else's heart.

Grace even cuts at the heart of the oldest and greatest of sin: pride. The same sin that caused the fall of Lucifer stirs in our souls. Once grace takes hold again, we experience peace.

God is working in us, and we can have faith in that process. But we also need to be aware of the biggest enemy of them all: the Devil.

The Devil is real, and he's a bad guy. He introduced the sin that brought down our world, he's a bully who picks on us every day, and he doesn't fight fair.

Listen to the apostle Peter: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Sin takes us from where we should be to where we should not be. Sin ruins our thoughts and poisons our hearts.

Sin is godlessness.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Therefore, God will never lead someone to sin; doing so goes against His very nature. He will test believers by putting them through difficult training that will strengthen them and reveal their current conditions (like a refiner's fire).

Satan seeks to harm.

God's intention is always for believers to emerge from a trial better than when they started, either in strength or in knowledge. He promises that every situation will have a way out - an escape hatch that can be utilized through obedience.

As we've seen, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted, yet was without sin. It also says, "In your anger do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26 NIV).

Acting on sin is temptation.

Praise the Lord that He is with us and that the Holy Spirit is helping us navigate all of this!

Nebuchadnezzar made a name for himself as a warrior king. He won the famous battle of Carchemish against the Egyptians the year he was called to throne. He fused his alliance with the Medes by marriage and expanded his territory by military force until he controlled much of the Middle East and all the trade routes across Mesopotamia.

He was so impressive that Saddam Hussein sought to claim his reincarnated personality. Hussein named one of his guard divisions after the ancient king and began rebuilding ancient Babylon in his honor, inscribing on the bricks, "To king Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Hussein."

This great and powerful king lost his mind.

God leveled Nebuchadnezzar for pride and arrogance, and once that was done, he lifted his hand immediately and miraculously. Nevertheless, his story reminds us that even the might fall sometimes, and no mind is invulnerable.

Everybody remembers Mister Rogers' Neighbor right? But did you know that it aired from 1968 to 2001, produced 895 episodes, and earned four Emmy awards?

There's a reason that a Presbyterian reverend from Pennsylvania received the coveted Peabody Award, the Ralph Lowell Award, more than forty honorary degrees, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He wanted to use children's imaginations as God intended them - to think through new perspectives.

You and I are precious - and so is every human on earth.

On the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they sold their souls to the Enemy.

Jesus Christ needed to come to set us free. We are free to become what He created us to be and not be forced into the mold of our enemies.

Our Master paid for us.

Even if we are free, we still need a Savior. We are still designed for relationship with God as our Father. We are still built for His glory. We are not our own.

We long to worship.

Christianity needs to be a thriving relationship with God filled with the Holy Spirit and all the incredible blessings He has given us. We need to be so filled up that the Holy Spirit forces out evil.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit gives us "living water."

Paul says that we have been raised with Christ, which means we are a new creation, born again with all the sin of our lives dead and gone.

Transformation always begins in our thoughts.

When Jesus told His listeners to "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), He did not simply mean "feel terrible for your wickedness now that I'm here." Repent doesn't only mean to turn away but to change one's mind and start agreeing with God.

Jesus Christ is the One who can set us free, not just when we get to heaven, but increasingly so right here on earth.

God will hold us accountable for how we manage our minds and handle our hearts.

One of the precious tools God has provided is supernatural protection for His children. The apostle Paul called it the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18.

Lance Hahn is the senior pastor of Bridgeway Christian Church in Rocklin, California. His first book, How to live in fear mastering the Art of Freaking Out, Chronicles his personal struggles with panic disorders and offers tools for thriving through fear. A popular speaker who enjoys writing, Lance is a husband to Suzi and father to two daughters.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday - Circumcision - Genesis 17:1-14 - 9/10/17

The Lord told Abram, I am the Almighty God, walk before me. He has the same message for us today. We are to obey because he is God - that is reason enough. If you don't think the benefits are worth it, consider who God is - the only one with the power and ability to meet your every need.

Twice before God had mentioned his agreement (Genesis 12 & 15). God was bringing it into focus and preparing to carry it out. He revealed to Abram several specific parts of his covenant. (1) God would give Abram many descendants; (2) many nations would descend from him; (3) God would maintain his covenant with Abram's descendants; (4) God would give Abram's descendants the land of Canaan.

God changed Abram's name to Abraham ("the father of a great multitude") shortly before the promised son was conceived. From this point on the Bible always calls him Abraham.

God was making a covenant, or contract, between himself and Abraham. The terms were simple: Abraham would obey God and circumcise all the males in his household. God's part was to give Abraham heirs, property, power, and wealth. Most contracts are even trades: we give something and in turn receive something of equal value. But when we become part of God's covenant family, the blessings we receive far outweigh what we must give up.

God required circumcision (1) As a sign of obedience to him in all matters. (2) As a sign of belonging to his covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back. The man would be identified as a Jew forever. (3) As a symbol of "cutting off" the old life of sin, purifying one's heart and dedicating oneself to God. (4) Possibly as a health measure.

Circumcision more than any other practice separated God's people from their heathen neighbors. In Abraham's day, this was essential to develop the pure worship of the one true God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Wheaton, IL

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sunday - The Peaceful Kingdom - Isaiah 11:1-9 - 9/3/17

Assyria would be like a tree cut down at the height of its power never to rise again. Judah (the royal line of David) would be like a tree chopped down to a stump. But from that stump a new branch would grow - the Messiah. He would be greater than the original tree and would bear much fruit. The Messiah is the fulfillment of God's promise that a descendant of David would rule forever.

The Messiah is Jesus Christ.

How we long for fair treatment from others, but do we give it? Only Christ can be the perfectly fair judge. Only as he governs our hearts can we learn to be as fair in our treatment of others as we expect others to be toward us.

Judah had become corrupt, and now it was surrounded by hostile foreign powers. The nation desperately needed a revival of righteousness, equity, and faithfulness. They needed to turn from selfishness and show justice to the poor and the oppressed. The righteousness that God values is more than reframing from sin, it is actively turning toward others and offering them the help they need.

It is incredible to think of hostile animals living at peace. It is even more incredible for hostile people to live at peace with one another. And one day the whole world will acknowledge that Christ is Lord.

A golden age is yet to come. Not all of this was fulfilled at Christ's first coming. For example, nature has not returned to its intended balance and harmony.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible; Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Wheaton, IL