Tuesday, May 31, 2011

12 Things about the Kingdom of Heaven that should strengthen our prayer, "Your Kingdom Come"

(Adapted from Thomas Watson's work on the Lord's Prayer.)

(1) The kingdom of heaven will afford us a freedom from the necessities of nature. We are in this life subject to many necessities; we need food to nourish us, clothes to cover us, armor to defend us, sleep to refresh us. But in the kingdom of heaven there will be no need of these things; What need will there be of armor when there is no enemy? What need will there be of sleep when there is no night? Rev 22:5.

(2) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from the imperfections of nature. (Ticks and Mosquitos will not bother us!)

(3) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from the toilsome labors of this life. God enacted a law in paradise, "in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread." Gen 3:19. but in the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from our labors.

(4) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from original corruption, which is the root of all actual sin.

(5) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all sorrows. "There shall be no more sorrow." Rev 21:4.

(6) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be beyond the reach of temptation. But in the kingdom of heaven the saints shall be freed from the red dragon, who is cast out of paradise, and shall be forever locked up in chains! Jude 6.

(7) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all vexing cares.

(8) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all doubts and scruples.

(9) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all society with the wicked.

(10) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all signs of God's displeasure.

(11) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all divisions. The saddest thing in the world is to see divisions among the godly. But in the kingdom of heaven, there shall be no vilifying one another, nor censuring. Those who before could hardly pray together, shall praise God together. There shall not be one jarring string in the saints' music.

(12) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from vanity and dissatisfaction.

May we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hallowing God's Name

From Tony Evans:‎

The name of God deserves to be hallowed because God’s name is the sum total of His attributes. In the Bible, a person’s name reflects that person’s character.
‎If you know your Bible, you know that God has many names. Each name addresses a different aspect of His perfect character, and each one also speaks to any situation we might find ourselves in or any need we might have.
‎Not all of these names are readily obvious in the English text of the Bible, so let me give you the Hebrew word or words, their translation, and what they mean. Here are some of the names for God in the Bible.
‎In Genesis 1:1, God is called Elohim. “In the beginning, Elohim …” This is a plural word that emphasizes God’s majesty, power, and glory. Elohim is the mighty Creator God who can speak worlds into existence and meet you in your weakness.
‎God is also El Elyon, “God Most High.” This name means He’s the God who is high and exalted and can do great things. David wrote, “I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me” (Psalm 57:2). When everything in your life is out of order and disjointed, you need to know El Elyon.
‎In Psalm 91:1, the psalmist urges us to “abide in the shadow of the Almighty,” El Shaddai, a name for God that speaks of His strength. Even when you have no strength, you have not exhausted your resources because God says, “My name is El Shaddai.”
‎Another wonderful name for God comes from an unlikely source. Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, who bore Ishmael to Abraham, was thrown out of the house by Sarah. Hagar thought she was finished, but God came to her and promised her a heritage through Ishmael. Hagar responded by calling God El Roi, “God who sees” (Genesis 16:13). Even when you feel like you’re alone and have no hope, God sees you. He hasn’t forgotten you.
‎God is called El Olam, “the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33) who is in no hurry and will take the time to do what is best for us.
‎There are so many more names for God in the Bible, and each one has a special meaning and holds special hope for us. Let me give you a few more examples.
‎Jehovah is the most sacred name of God, which speaks of His self-existence. “I AM WHO I AM,” God told Moses (Exodus 3:14). Jehovah needs no assistance. This name was often paired with other words for even more emphasis on part of God’s character.
‎He is Jehovah-shalom, “the Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24), the only source of lasting peace. God is also Jehovah-nissi, “the Lord is My Banner” (Exodus 17:15). The banner was raised as a rallying point for an army going into battle. It was a symbol of victory.
‎We’re talking about the name of God, which Jesus said is to be hallowed. One way to avoid meaningless repetition is to think about the awesome names of the God to whom we pray. There are so many more names.
‎The Lord is Jehovah-raah, our Shepherd and Provider (Psalm 23:1) and Jehovah-rapha, the Lord our healer (Exodus 15:26), meaning you’re never alone. And when we sin, God is Jehovah-tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6), who covers us with His righteousness. And when we have a need, God is Jehovah-jireh, “the Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14).
‎This is the God who teaches us to call Him “Our Father.”
May God grow our knowledge of His Character through His Word!

-          - Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grasping the implications of God's Fatherhood

This past Sunday morning we began a series on the Lord’s Prayer and we looked at the statement, “Our Father in Heaven.” We drew out several applications from this statement. Here are five summarized applications from God being our Heavenly Father:

1) God loves us.
As God's adopted children we are loved no less than is the one whom God called his "beloved Son." As Paul said in Romans 8:39  - Nothing,...will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. To know this truth of God's fatherly love to us gives boundless confidence not merely for praying, but for living.

2) We are God's heirs.
Adoption in the ancient world was for securing an heir, and Christians are joint heirs with Christ of God's glory (Romans 8:17).To grasp this is to know oneself rich and privileged beyond any monarch or millionaire.

3) We have God's Spirit in us.
John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  And Galatians 4:6-7 says, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
4) We must honor our father by serving his interests.
The center of our concern must be "thy name...kingdom...will," and we must be like good children in human families, ready to obey instructions.

5) We must love our brothers, by constant care and prayer for them.
There are no personal pronouns in the Lord's Prayer, but instead, "Our father...give us...forgive us...lead us..." Since God is our Heavenly Father, we have a Christian family that we belong to and are accountable to.

May God bless our continued study of the Lord’s Prayer, and may we grow in our prayer life!

-          Bro. Dave

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quote from John MacArthur's Book - Alone With God

This upcoming Sunday we will begin an eight week series on the Lord’s Prayer. I invite you to come and learn more about How Jesus taught us to pray. The following excerpt comes from John MacArthur’s book, Alone with God:

Nineteenth-century pastor and author E.M. Bounds, who is well-known for his writings on the subject of prayer, said it best, “Prayer honors God; it dishonors self” (Purpose in Prayer [Chicago: Moody, n.d.], 43). The scribes and Pharisees never understood that truth, and I fear the same is true for much of today’s church.
The waves of our indulgent, selfish, materialistic society have washed ashore on Christian theology in many forms, including the prosperity gospel. Although the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and man is His servant, the prosperity gospel implies the opposite. Teaching that claims we can demand things of God is spiritual justification for self-indulgence. It perverts prayer and takes the Lord’s name in vain. It is unbiblical, ungodly, and is not directed by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer begins and ends not with the needs of man but with the glory of God (John 14:13). It should be concerned primarily with who God is, what He wants, and how He can be glorified. Those who teach otherwise are not preoccupied with the extension of Christ’s kingdom or the glory of God’s name but with the enlargement of their own empire and the fulfillment of their own selfish desires. Such teaching attacks the heart of Christian truth—the very character of God.
To believe that God is really like some genie, waiting to grant our every desire, flies in the face of Scripture’s clear teaching. Many Old Testament saints certainly had just cause to plead with God to take them out of harrowing circumstances, yet they sought to glorify God and follow His will.
And that’s just what Jesus taught the disciples when He said, “Pray, then, in this way” (Matt. 6:9). In fewer than seventy words we find a masterpiece of the infinite mind of God, who alone could compress every conceivable element of true prayer into such a brief and simple form—a form that even a young child can understand but the most mature believer cannot fully comprehend:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (vv. 9–13).

May God bless our study of prayer, and may our prayers rightfully seek his will, glory, and kingdom!
-          Bro. Dave

Monday, May 2, 2011

Upcoming Events

I would like to thank all of the workers who came out and made our Easter Egg Hunt such a great success. There were dozens of kids that were able to enjoy a great day of gathering eggs and hearing about the true meaning of Easter. I also had the joy of meeting many families who are not attending any churches. Pray for us as we follow up on these families, and come and join with us in the next few weeks as we hold special visitation meetings to go and see them. 

With so many events coming up – I would like to take the rest of this article outlining them:

Sunday, May 8 – Mother’s Day. We will dedicate the baby’s born in the past year and celebrate our moms during the Sunday Morning Service. There will be no evening service/activities so that families can enjoy the day together. 

Friday, May 13 – Lexington Legends Baseball Game. All are invited to come to a Lexington Legends Baseball game. The game starts at 7PM and we will be sitting in the 3rd base Lawn which is close to the Kids Zone that features inflatables and rides for kids. Tickets are only $3 (available from the Pastor) or $4 at the door. 

Sunday, May 29 – Ice Cream Fellowship and Hymn Sing. We will have an Ice Cream fellowship at 6PM with a contest for the best homemade icecream. We will follow that with a hymn sing in the sanctuary and celebrate Memorial Day as a church. 

Sunday, June 5 – Graduation Sunday.  If your child is graduating from High School or College, please notify the church office and please get photos of your child to Mark and Denise Edwards for this special service. 

May God bless our fellowships with incredible blessings!
- Bro. Dave