Pastor gave a good lesson last night at prayer meeting from Matt 14:22-33..After feeding the 5000 Jesus sent the disciples out into the ship while he went up the mountain to pray. This was in the evening and at the fourth watch which would have been about 4 am (I think) Jesus went to them on the sea. There was a storm raging, dark, disciples cant’ see, they have been rowing all night to no avail, boisterous wind blowing in their faces, they’re tired and scared…then there appears what they think is a spirit on the water…And Jesus says in Mt 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. Those three words “it is I” are the same words as “I AM” in John 8:58 ..Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. The Greek words . This is so great because the Great I AM was there on the raging sea defying gravity and any other law of thermodynamics and He can because He is the Creator God who brought all things into existence and sustains all things and existed before all things. Peter’s faith failed him a little when he said “If” in the verse Mt 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. However, the God of our Creation held out his hand and they walked together back to the ship in the storm and when they got to the ship the wind ceased.
Even though the disciples were in the dark, some distance from shore, in the midst of a storm and very afraid, Jesus still saw them toiling and laboring…We are always within sight of an Omniscient God. If our faith falters for whatever reason He is still there saying, ” Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Our ego eimi…He holds our hand and walks with us even though we think we may be sinking…It is certainly empowering to know the God of Creation who loves us so.
Nu 11-16 describes several more instances of complaining and rebellion against the LORD. In Nu 16: 41-50 we read of the Israelites rebelling against Moses and Aaron just the morning following their eye witness account of God’s wrath upon the rebels of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Now they blame Moses and Aaron for killing these groups of people. God’s wrath was hot against this new rebellion and He sent a plague into the camp to destroy them. Yet, Moses and Aaron interceded for them. Aaron as the high priest went into the midst of the people surrounded by the danger of the plague and interceding for the people. He loved this people who showed hatred toward him. Nu 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. Nu 16:47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
I see Aaron as a type of Christ. Christ our high priest came between the sins of all people and the wrath of God that we as sinners would not perish but have everlasting life through belief in Him. And now he continues to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father. Isaiah 53:10 ¶ Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Prayer of a Righteous Man…Nu 11:1-2 Complaining of the people displeased the Lord and he sent fire to consume the people. Moses interceded for the people and the fire was quenched. What a testimony for us to maintain our pure relationship with the Father so that when we intercede for others, our Father will hear us and give grace to those who need it. Pray changes things. It was God’s will to consume all those who complained, but the prayer of the righteous provoked God to grace and saved the lives of the unrighteous.
In Nu 11:10-26 Moses was so frustrated with the people complaining and the worry of God exterminating them that he tells God that he would rather die than become a wretched man and ruin his testimony and the testimony of the LORD. God intervened and gave him men to bear the burden. God’s answer was quick.
So when we experience that all consuming weariness, frustration and depleted spirit, let us lay our burdens at Jesus’ feet, our Intercessor, and He will give us grace to persevere. 1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
“Live each day for the rest of your life as tho it were your last day on earth.” Jesus is coming again, it will be sudden without warning, how will you be living and where will you be afterward…in heaven with Him or left behind subject to the wrath of God? Ac 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. This is the only way to escape God’s wrath to come in this world or eternity. Don’t wait for tomorrow, today is the day of salvation. The clock is ticking, you may not have tomorrow.
Did you ever pray and feel as though God does not hear? In Isaiah 59:1-2 God gives us an answer to that question: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Sometimes we allow sin to settle into our souls; we become complacent in our sin and no longer hear the Spirit’s chiding. Sin separates us from a holy God. He will not hear our prayers if we regard iniquity in our hearts. God also reveals the solution in 1John 1:9,” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Just as the priests of the Old Testament had to cleanse themselves before entering into God’s presence, we, too, must cleanse ourselves by confession. Keep a clean account and have the Lord’s ear when you pray.
In Sunday School class we have been studying “The Will of God” and have been using Romans 12:2( And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.) as our starting point. To better understand the verse we looked at the meanings of some significant words. First, “be not” as defined by Strong’s Concordance means never, an absolute denial: ” Conformed”, to fashion alike or mold into something: “Be ye”, always, continuously and “transformed”, to change into something distinctly different. So we could read the verse as “And never, absolutely never fashion yourself according to the philosophies of this world system, but always, continuously change into something distinctly different…” As the verse continues we are told how to be transformed or changed into something distinctly different by the renewing of your mind. And then the reason for that renewing is so you may test, examine or discern what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I will discuss the “how and the “why” at a later time. Today I am interested in sharing the idea of “transformation”. Metamorphoo is the Greek word for transformation from which we get our word “metamorphosis”. In science the word metamorphosis describes the biological change in the form of an animal during the early stages of development. A common example of metamorphosis is the monarch butterfly. If you take a milk weed leaf with a monarch egg on it and put it in a jar you will soon see the biological change occur. From an egg emerges a larvae or caterpillar which is a worm like, hairy or spiny creature. This creature transforms into a beautiful butterfly with a slender body, knobbed antennae and four broad, colorful wings. It changed from a crawling creature on the ground to one that flies above the ground. As I thought of the worm and the butterfly I remembered the song by Issac Watts, “At the Cross” and the idea that my Savior died “for such a worm as I”. Before I was saved, I was a worm, but after my regeneration I am a beautiful butterfly, no longer grovelling in my sin. 2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. I exhort all people who have become that new creature to continually change toward the image of Christ who is our example.
“One small stone in one small hand of a willing prayer warrior is more than a match for a 17 pound warhead propelled by a large hand of a giant adversary,” said Pastor Kaminski in our prayer meeting this week. That statement gives great potential for prayer. If we refer to the story of young David in 1Samuel 17, we see a willing, small boy in comparison to the giant Goliath. David knew that God was able to win this battle and deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines if only there was a willing servant. Noone in the camp was willing to fight the Giant, they were all scared. On the other hand, David a young lad, remembered how God had delivered him from the lion and the bear and trusted God to deliver him this time. He hasted to the battle. With one small stone , a sling and a willing warrior, God killed the Giant.
The prayer life of the born again believer is the small stone which God will use to defeat the Giants in our day. Prayer or prayer meetings are the battlegrounds which revivals can be ignited. There is much potential in prayer. Jesus said, ” And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
The challenge for us is to pray. Take time each day throughout the day and pray. Nothing is too hard for the LORD.(Ge 18:14,Jer 32:17,Jer 32:27) We must pray if we are going to see change in our lives, others, this nation or this world. Take time out of your schedule to attend prayer meeting and pray corporately with other believers.
HASTE to the battle and PRAY.
Tonight’s Bible study was taken from Jeremiah 42. The remnant of Israel was imploring the prophet Jeremiah to pray to God and inquire His will for them. The whole chapter should be read in its context to get the full understanding. Actually, a full reading of the whole book would reveal a more complete understanding of what was happening to Israel. However, the main thought of tonight’s study was summed up by this quote from Pastor Kaminski, “God will most graciously reveal His will to anyone who wants to know His will providing they are willing to do His will before they know what His will is.” Think about the meaning and implications of that quote and decide how it relates to you. As a Christian are you fully surrendered to God? As an unsaved person God’s will is that you “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”(Acts 16:31).
I try to walk everyday, and I take my dog Jug with me. He hears my voice inside the house, and he stands by the door until I come out. He is visually impaired, yet somehow he knows I am taking him for a walk. He must smell the leash in my hand. Immediately he starts to yelp, bark and run in circles around me. He is so happy. It almost seems that there is a smile on his face when he is barking. He continues to run two feet in front of me and return to me barking and jumping in the air. It is quite evident how happy he is to go walking with me. Eventually he calms down and trots happily out the driveway because he is walking with his master.
As we walked, the verse from Philippians came to mind, “Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say rejoice.” It is interesting how the Lord used the actions of my dog to teach me about a simple attitude of rejoicing. I decided to do a word study on the phrase, “rejoice in the Lord.” Here are some of the results. It is amazing how these definitions describe my dog’s behavior when he was anticipating my presence with him.
Ps 33:1 Rejoice -i.e. to shout (usually for joy):–aloud for joy, cry out, be joyful (greatly, make to) rejoice, (cause to) shout (for joy), (cause to) sing (aloud, for joy, out), triumph.
Ps 97:1 and Isa 41:16- Rejoice-a primitive root; properly, to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion), i.e. usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear:–be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice.
Isa 61:10 Rejoice- a primitive root; to be bright, i.e. cheerful:–be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice.
Joe 2:23 rejoice- a primitive root; probably to brighten up, i.e. (figuratively) be (causatively, make) blithe or gleesome:–cheer up, be (make) glad, (have, make) joy(-ful), be (make) merry, (cause to, make to) rejoice, X very.
Hab 3:18 rejoice- primitive root; to jump for joy, i.e. exult:–be joyful, rejoice, triumph.
We learned from the sermon series on “Christ is All, Christ is All in All” that Christ is ever present with us. He resides within the believer. He is wholly present, everywhere and all the time. He is our sufficiency. As believers our attitude should be one of “shouting or singing with joy.” Knowing that Christ dwells within us should make us spin around with such happiness. We should have an attitude of victory over sin and allow no opportunity for self defeat. Our countenance should reflect bright cheerfulness. As believers we can rejoice in the fact that our Master is always with us, and He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our All! He is All we need, All we want and All we have.
Ps 46:1,”God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This verse helps demonstrate the theological truth that “Christ is All and in All”. As discussed in a previous blog we discovered that Christ is the believer’s refuge, and that God had established “cities of refuge” for people who had accidentally killed someone. We also see that Christ is a very “present” help in trouble. He was “present” when David’s life was being threatened by King Saul, his son Absalom and in battle. He was “present” when David as a lad volunteered to fight Goliath, the Philistine giant.
God tells Joshua in Jos 1:9″ Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” What a very comforting and encouraging thought to know that God is with you wherever you are.
Another example would be when God led the Israelites out of Egypt. He went before them in the day with a pillar of cloud and at night with a pillar of fire. They could see his presence.
In John 14: 18-23, Christ promises not to leave us comfortless, but to make his abode with us. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. While He can’t be seen, He is there because scripture says so. There is no reason to fear because the Eternal, Holy God indwells the believer. When the trials of the world are overwhelming flee to Christ who is the believer’s refuge. He is a very present help in trouble. There is no need to feel pinned in, overwhelmed or defeated. Christ is always near and always hears the cry of the saint. Scripture testifies of that intimate, personal assurance that Christ is present.