Monthly Archives: August 2012

Taking The First Step

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Taking The First Step

desperation - Copy    

          The first step to worshiping God is salvation. You cannot truly worship God with sin in your life because worship is a lifestyle that reverences a holy God. It is not just singing a song with your mouth – it comes from within you. Worship involves every part of you. We can follow the examples of the prodigal son, the sinful woman, and Esther to become a child of God. Like them we must:

1. Realize that we are in danger.

2. Know who can save us.

  3.Go directly to the one that can save us.

I. Realize That You Are In Danger

As the prodigal son was in the pig pen (the lowest point in his life) he realized that he had sinned against God and against his father.

Luke 15:17 NKJV    

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’ ”

          The prodigal son had to go through a lot of bad things and hard times before he would admit that he had sinned and that he was in danger. The woman with the alabaster box knew that she was a sinful woman. She knew the law and the penalty of breaking the law. She had probably been standing among the crowd as Jesus spoke before. In His presence she truly realized that she was in danger spiritually. The Holy Spirit began to convict her of her sin and within (unseen to the eye) her heart began to change. She might have even had thoughts along the same line as Isaiah when He encountered the holy presence of God.

Isaiah 6:5  NKJV     

“So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips; And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ ”

            Esther was made aware of the fact that the Jews lives were in danger. A plot had been made to kill them. It was a plot that, had it been effective, would have separated her from the king.

Esther 4:7-8  NKJV    

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for the destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.”

          Every person born is in danger of separation from the King (God) because of sin, Every person has sinned, and every person has an enemy that would love to see them thrown in the lake of fire (away from God’s presence.) The first step to salvation is admitting that you have sinned. Once we take that first step, God is there like the prodigal son’s father with arms outstretched for you.

1 John 1:8-9  NKJV    

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and top cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 3:23  NKJV   

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 

Romans 6:23  NKJV   

  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

II. Know Who Can Save You

The prodigal son knew who could save him. He knew that his father was in a position to help him.

Luke 15:18-19  NKJV 

    “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to  be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.’ ”

           The woman with the alabaster box knew who could save her. She had heard Jesus speak before and she knew the message of salvation and hope that He brought. She knew His repetition and that He welcomed everyone into the kingdom of God. Maybe she had even heard about the woman ‘caught’ in adultery or the woman at the well. Esther knew who could save her and her people. She knew that the king held the power to save them.

Esther 4:16  NKJV  

   “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

         We must know who can save us. Jesus is the only way we can be saved. It is only through His blood that our sins are washed away.

John 14:6  NKJV   

  “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Romans 10:9  NKJV  

   “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31  NKJV   

  “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

III. Go To The Person That Can Save You

The prodigal son arose from his present lifestyle and went to His father.

Luke 15:20-22  NKJV  

   “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”

         The sinful woman went to Jesus. The Holy Spirit had already began a transformation in her heart. Quiet possibly alone, at home, the woman experienced convection and true repentance. She had already had a heart change before she went to the house to anoint Jesus’ feet.  Because of her ‘new heart’ she wanted to let Jesus know how much she loved Him and what He meant to her (worship).

Esther went directly to the king to tell him about the plot to destroy the Jewish people. She did not send a message to him by someone else, she went personally to the king. Esther knew that her life would be put in danger by going to the king personally. At first Esther was not willing to do what she knew that she had to do. She did not want to go to the king. Then Esther realized that if she did not go to the king that she would be separated from his presence forever by death.

Esther 4:13  NKJV   

  “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ”

          Many times we are like Esther – when the Holy Spirit tries to draw us to the king (God) for salvation, we think of excuses not to go. We are afraid of loosing our own life. But the truth is, if we don’t go to the king (God) for salvation we will be separated from His presence forever.

At Jesus’ death the veil in the temple was torn into (from the top to the bottom) by God.

Matthew 27:50-51  NKJV    

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.”

          Today you are to go directly to God (in prayer) to receive salvation, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There is no man, church or religion that has the power (or authority) to save you. You can’t send word by someone else that you want salvation. Salvation is a personal thing. You must go directly to the King (God) yourself.

Hebrews 10:19-20  NKJV    

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”

1 John 1:9  NKJV  

   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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Proverbs 12:17

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Proverbs 12:17  NKJV   

‘He who speaks truth declares righteousness,

But a false witness, deceit.”

Dear Father,

Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in truth. Let me be true, exact, honest, sincere and loyal. Help me to tell things as they really are. Let my words conform to Your truth. As I speak truth let me declare righteousness. Cause me to do what is right, to behave justly, to show virtue, and to act in a proper, just, and right manner. Don’t allow me to be filled with deceit or dishonesty.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Proverbs 9:10

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Proverbs 9:10  NKJV   

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

 

Hebrews 12:28  NKJV   

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Lord,    Cause me to grow in my respect and reverence for You, Your Word, Your house and for the things of God. Help me to approach You in the fear of the Lord. Let me have grace and serve You acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Luke 9:23

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Luke 9:23  NKJV   

“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ ”

 

Dear Father,     Fill me with the power and the desire to sacrifice my own desires and interest for Yours. I do desire to follow after Jesus Christ. Help me to deny myself, and take up my cross daily.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

John 16:13

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John 16:13 NKJV   

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Dear Father,     Fill me with revelation of Yourself and Your will for me. Let me be open to the truth that You reveal to me through creation, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and prophecy. Give to me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You. Let the eyes of my understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of Your calling. Cause me to grow in my revelation of You and Your kingdom, and Your perfect will for my life. I don’t want to settle for Your “permissive will” instead of Your “perfect will.”

In Jesus’ name, Amen

James 1:22-25

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James 1:22-25  NKJV “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Proverbs 6:6-11  NKJV     “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,

Which, having no captain,

Overseer or ruler,

Provides her supplies in the summer,

And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from

your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to sleep –  So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,

And your need like an armed man.”

Dear Father,     May we look at the world around us through the eyes of Jesus. May we see the multitudes and be moved with compassion for them, because they are weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. May Your body see that the harvest truly is plentiful. Let them pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into His harvest. Then may we wake up and rise up and be doers of the Word not hearers only. May each one of us truly realize that faith without works is dead. Cause us to act upon what we know and reach out to the people, even when it is not pleasant, enjoyable, or easy. May the body of Christ come out from behind it’s four walls of warmth and comfort into the cold and damp world to pick up the hurt, broken and lost, and take them into the storehouse of God. Cause us to take a personal interest in those in bondage and oppression.  May we be Your hands and arms, Your feet and Your voice to a hurt and dying world. Don’t allow us to be slothful workers. Set free those who are held captive to their own leisure and light a fire in those who have lost interest in working in the harvest field. Cause our hearts to beat for souls even when it is not always pleasant, convenient, enjoyable or easy for us. Cause us to labor in the harvest field until Your storehouse is full or until You call us home.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Return To The Lord And Be Blessed

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2 Chronicles 30:9  NKJV    

“For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”

         Throughout the Bible we see where there were times that God raised up a person or a group of people that called for the people to repent and to return to the Lord. Hezekiah called for the remnant (those who had survived the attack of the enemy) to repent. If they obeyed and repented, they were told that their brethren and their children would return to them from captivity.

2 Chronicles 30:8  NKJV    

“Now do not be stiffed-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD you God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.”

          The people were to yield themselves to the Lord, enter into His sanctuary, and to serve the Lord.

I. Yield Yourself To The Lord

The people were to yield (submit) to the Lord. When you submit to someone you willingly come under their authority. When you yield yourself to the Lord, you submit yourself to His power, control and authority.

James 4:7  NKJV    

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

A. Submit to the Lord’s power

We should submit to the Lord’s strength, might, and influence. All power belongs to the Lord and comes from the Lord. The Lord’s power is so strong that there is nothing too hard for Him.

Jeremiah 32:17  NKJV    

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by

Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”

Psalm 21:13  NKJV    

“Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!

We will sing and praise Your power.“

Psalm 62:11  NKJV   

  “God has spoken once,

Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

Revelation 19:1  NKJV    

“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!’ ”

We should seek the Lord for our strength and submit to it.

1 Chronicles 16:11  NKJV   

  “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!”

1. When we submit to the Lord, His power can save us. He has the power to make us safe from harm, danger or loss. He has the power to set us free from sin and its results.

1 Corinthians 1:18  NKJV    

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

For those who humbly accept (by faith), the gospel of the Good News, the Lord’s power will save them from death (spiritual) and impart eternal life.

2. When we submit to the Lord, His power can deliver us. When faced with desperate situations, the Lord will give you the strength that you need and His power will deliver you. His power is stronger than that of the darkness. He can deliver you from the dominion (power, rule or control) of darkness (evil).

Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV   

  “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

3. When you submit to the Lord, His power can keep you.

Ephesians 6:10-13  NKJV  

   “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the veil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Our strength alone will not keep us. We must rely the power of the Lord. We are empowered by God’s strength.

Colossians 1:10-12  NKJV    

“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualifies us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

1 Peter 1:5  NKJV   

  “Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

4.  When you submit to the Lord, His power can (and will) resurrect you into glory. By the Lord’s power, everyone will be resurrected, either  to everlasting life or everlasting damnation.

1 Peter 1:3-4  NKJV    

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

B. Submit to the Lord’s control.

He alone has the power and right to direct and guide us. If we submit to His direction, He will show us the right path and help us to stay on it. God will be our guide, if we allow Him, and He will give continuous direction for the course set before us. If we try to control our own lives in essence we are telling God that we can do a better job of it than He can.

C. Submit to the Lord’s authority.

The centurion understood authority. He knew that when someone in authority gave an order it was to be carried out immediately, without question. The person giving the order did not have to check to see that it was done or do it himself. All he had to do was speak the ‘word’ and it would be done. The centurion knew that Jesus’ ‘word’ alone was enough to heal his sick servant.

Luke 7:6-10  NKJV   

  “Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But  say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.”

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Because of his faith, in the authority of Jesus, his servant was healed.

Authority: the right to control, command, or make decisions, power to enforce obedience, or jurisdiction.

He has the right to control us, command us and make decisions for us. He also has the right to enforce obedience and to be our judge and jury.

Psalm 9:8   NKJV   

  “He shall judge the world in righteousness,

And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.”

Jesus submitted to the authority of the Father, and the Lord expects us to yield (submit) to his authority also. When we do not submit to the authority of God (or the authority that He has placed over us), it is the same as telling God that we know better than Him concerning the situation or the running of our lives. Submitting (yielding to God) and faith go hand in hand. When you do not submit to God you show a lack of faith in Him. Faith without works is dead.

James 2:20-22 NKJV   

  “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

You can not have faith in God without yielding to Him or obeying Him (works). Abraham yield to God. He submitted to God when he offered his son on the altar. Abraham was justified by his faith and obedience (works) working together. It is impossible to please God without faith.

Hebrew 11:6  NKJV  

   “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

II. Enter His Sanctuary

The people were to enter into the Lord’s sanctuary.

Sanctuary: the most sacred part of any place of worship, a place of refuge or protection.

Sacred: belonging to or dedicated to God, holy, worthy of reverence, dedicated to some person object or purpose, something that must not be violated or disregarded.

           They were to return to intimate fellowship with God again. They were to return to their first love. The sacred intimacy that they once had with the Lord was to be restored. Just like the church of Ephesus they had turned away from their love of the Lord and to the Lord.

Revelations 2:4  NKJV   

  “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

         They were to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover, Lord’s Supper, communion or love feast).

2 Chronicles 30:13  NKJV   

  “Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.

A. Sacred intimacy requires the removal of idols and alters (holiness). The people removed the altars that they had used to worship false gods.

2 Chronicles 30:14  NKJV    

“They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron.”

         The people took away the altars. They had to decide who they were going to serve. They had to make a conscious decision. We too, must decide who we are going to serve. Are we going to serve the Lord or are we going to serve an idol?

Joshua 24:15  NKJV   

  “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, wither the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 30:19  NKJV   

  “I call heaven and set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

B. Sacred intimacy requires spiritual preparation and dedication. Not only did the people make physical preparations for the Passover, they made spiritual preparations also.

2 Chronicles 30:15  NKJV   

  “Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priest were ashamed, and they sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord.”

Prior to the Passover, the people would remove all the leaven from their homes, and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread they would not eat any bread (or food) with leaven in it. Sometimes in the Bible, leaven refers to sin (the influence of sin / evil).

Exodus 12:15  NKJV   

  “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”

The people were to be sanctified (set apart for God). We also, are to sanctified and set apart for God and unto God.

Matthew 16:6  NKJV    

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

Sin (no matter how little it seems to us) has a tremendous negative influence. We are not to tolerate sin. If it is not removed from our lives (or church) it grows.

Matthew 13:33  NKJV    

“Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like

leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.’ ”

Sin is a lot like yeast. When you put yeast in bread dough it expands (rises).

Galatians 5:9  NKJV    

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

Left unchecked, sin can contaminate everything that it comes in contact with.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8  NKJV    

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

We must remove sin (the influences of sin / evil) from our homes. The church will not be any different than our homes. If there is sin in our homes, then there will be sin in our churches. God does not have a double standard.

C. Sacred intimacy requires you to return to the Lord’s table.

You must not violate or disregard what was given to you by the Lord (the Lord’s Supper).

2 Chronicles 30:21  NKJV    

“So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments.”

Communion is a very sacred and intimate time between you and God.

III. Serve The Lord

The people were to serve (minister to) the Lord. We, too, are to serve the Lord. We are to minister to Him (worship) with all our heart and all our soul.

Deuteronomy 10:12  NKJV   

  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Psalm 2:11  NKJV    

“Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.”

Conclusion:

If the people obeyed, they would be blessed and if they disobey, they would be cursed. If they obeyed, the wrath of God would be turned away from them.

2 Chronicles 30:27  NKJV    

“Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.”

          One blessing was that their voice would be heard, and that their prayers would come up to His holy dwelling place. If there is sin in our life, our prayers will not be heard (other than the prayer for forgiveness). A Christian can not have ongoing sin in their lives if they want to have an effective prayer life.

Psalm 66:18  NJKV    

“If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.”

          God is once again raising up people that are sounding a cry for God’s people to “Return to the Lord!” To yield themselves to the Lord, to enter His sanctuary and to serve Him.