The Scales of Faith

balance-154516_960_720Prov 11:1 “The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.”

Just being falsely balanced gives abomination to the Lord. He is happier when the scale is right.

Prov 16:11 “The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.”

A scale in Bible times was used to dictate how much was owed. A false balance cheated people, they paid more than they were supposed to. An accurate scale delights the Lord. When you are properly balanced, God is delighted. He is a God of order.

It’s important at times to take Spiritual inventory. At the doctor’s office, he checks you out physically. He evaluates your health based on various indicators. The scale will give a reflection or indication of your health. There is a scale in the Spirit that will also dictate to you what your walk with God is. This is like a dipstick to measure the oil content in your car. You might find some adjustments are necessary. You might need to do something to get into shape. This will show you whether or not you’re in balance.

What aspects of your life are out of balance, physically, work-related, relationships, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? 

When God created the universe, it was perfect. The digital clocks aren’t as accurate as the stars. All of the stars, the planets, the universe itself is spinning in perfect order.

Isa 40:12-15 “Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? 13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? 14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? 15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.”

You have a relationship with God and the Spirit world and each other that needs to be checked every once in a while. Are you in balance with God?

If you have offense in your heart, you need to balance that with forgiveness. You’ve got to let it go. There must be balance in your walk with God.

Do you have offense in your heart? Are you willing to forgive? What else might be out of balance in your walk with God?

Skinner’s box was a science experiment using rats, studying instinct. Animals seek comfort and avoid pain simultaneously. Human nature is seeking comfort and avoiding pain.

The underside of the box (part of it) had electrodes on it and hurt when the rat touched it. So, the rat went to the other side of the box, but hunger caused the rat to go the side with the electrodes.

When there is pain in your life, you will try to run from the pain. When the pain is gone, the natural tendency is to seek comfort. This is an absolute contradiction to being Christian!

Jesus didn’t need to learn these experimental things, He already knew what man was all about, avoiding pain and seeking comfort.

His very first lesson was to: Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me (do what I do). Learn how to deal with discomfort and pain.

Balance is necessary in your walk with God. Faith is the substance of things not seen. Faith is the evidence of what you can’t see. The promises of God can’t be seen, but we trust God to make them happen. Your faith dictates what happens in the Spirit realm. We don’t walk by sight, we walk by faith.

There were more experiments. Those rats tried to seek comfort and avoid pain. All of a sudden the whole box was electrified. When the rats couldn’t find comfort and relief from the pain, they turned on each other and attacked.

People do the same thing, when we’re all in pain, we seek to hurt each other. Something is off balance.

When you have a bad day at work, there’s a tendency to want to kick the dog. You’re looking for comfort and yell at your husband or wife. You’ll attack and claw because that’s all you have on the inside. The balance needed is dealing with seeking comfort and avoiding pain.

Off balance people attack people.

Have you attacked the people who love you because of something else wrong in your life?    Did you repent and apologize? Have you ever been attacked by people because of something wrong in their lives? How did you handle this? Did you act with patience and in a godly way or did you react to their attack with anger?

James 5:5-11 “You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you. 7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”

There is a need to learn the virtue of patience. James said, ‘I know stuff hurts, but I serve a God of order and balance. Endure, your day is coming and He will straighten things out for you. Don’t eat the other rats in the box!’

Endure, seek to bring balance.

People make the silliest promises when their finances are off balance, ‘Lord, let me win the lottery and after my bills are paid, I’ll give You all the rest!’

James 5:12-15 “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned. 13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”

Notice that James isn’t saying to pray for healing. Pray for patience and endurance. Can you imagine how Mrs. James (not the author of the book of James) felt, whose husband got his head cut off, and yet Mrs. Peter’s husband is still alive? Is God a deliverer or not?

How do you take your faith and believe when God doesn’t do what you want Him to? Will you believe in spite of things going against you?

Job was willing to bless the Lord even on the Dark Side of Faith.

The Scales of Faith need to speak to us.

Heb 11 is the Faith chapter, yet these are stories of people who died, some horrible deaths.

Heb 11:1 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—‘he disappeared, because God took him.’ For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. 13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. 22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. 23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. 24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”

God will show you how to deal with situations and circumstances that are contrary to His promises. Praise Him. Speak out the promises even though you can’t see them. Have faith on both sides of the scale. Of course, you want comfort and no pain, but learn to be Christian and have joy in spite of pain and lack of comfort.

‘But others’ can teach us more about faith. They wandered in desserts and obtained a good report through faith. They didn’t even receive the promise. That was faith on the other side of the scale.

We’ve got to learn to lay aside weights that cause us to be off balance. Right before a fall, you get off balance. If you’re hearing warning signs, it’s something inside of you that if you don’t get rid of it, you will end up in sin.

Unforgiveness is like saying, ‘I’m going to get back at you by me drinking poison.’ This is self-destruction and off balance. You have got to look at the scales of your life and see if your situation is because of lack of balance.

There’s a story of a man who owed so much money, he couldn’t pay it. He begged for mercy and forgiveness and the king forgave him everything. The man went home rejoicing. Then, he saw a guy who owed him a little bit. He didn’t forgive the other man the way he had been forgiven.

You have received mercy, why can’t you give it out? God has forgiven you. Look at the scales of your life.

I owe God so much. I have a debt that I can never repay to Jesus. This is off balance. What do you want me to do, God? The Lord smiles because He wants His nature in me. You don’t earn your salvation or love. If things are off balance in your life, maybe there are some things that you need to remove from one side to the other. Decrease yourself and let Him increase.

God will send an anti-comfort and painful issues and situations, not delivered. You’re afflicted, learn to pray.

Are you willing to walk by faith like Job did, enduring physical pain, the loss of his children, rejection and derision of his friends, and the ungodly advice of his wife? Will you praise and bless God even from the Dark Side of Faith?

Judges 3. People who didn’t know the wars of Canaan or the walls falling down. They had all the blessings and comfort and saw they were off balance. They needed courage and faith. They took their comfort and blessing for granted. Find a way to learn how to pray desperate prayers without being in a desperate situation.

If you remain flexible you’ll never get bent out of shape.

If you can see with the eyes of Jesus, you will see there’s something off balance in your life. You can catch things before they get off balance and keep things in balance.

We need more than converts. Jesus wants disciples. God isn’t trying to destroy you. He’s trying to build you.

Don’t bow to the things of this world. The three Hebrews refused to bow to an idol. They chose to trust God whether He delivered them from the fire or not. ‘O King, we’re not going to bow. Our God can deliver us from the fire, but if He doesn’t we will still trust Him.’

People first started calling Jesus Messiah when He first calmed the storm. If you have faith on both sides, that’s real faith. Will you praise Him no matter what? God is still good in the desert or the mountaintop, in the valley or the meadow.

Do you believe God is still good even from the view of the valley or the hospital bed or the sick loved one or messed up finances and/or families? Do you trust Him with your life? Are you willing to be balanced on both sides of the scale, the Light Side and the Dark Side of Faith? Will you trust God when He says, ‘yes’ AND when He says, ‘No’ or ‘Wait’?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

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It’s GO Time!

151114-D-BN624-418Matthew 28 – 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them… 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach [making disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16 – 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat…15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

In 1903, Elizabeth J. Magie first created “The Landlord’s Game,” “a practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences”. She based the game on economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed by Henry George, with the object of demonstrating how renting made property owners rich and made tenants poor. She knew that some people could find it hard to understand why this happened and what might be done about it, and she thought that if Georgist ideas were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate. Magie also hoped that when played by children the game would provoke their natural suspicion of unfairness, and that they might carry this awareness into adulthood.

What things in your life are not ‘fair?’ What can you do about it? Is sin fair? What did Jesus already do about it? What is your response to Him?

In 1935, the Landlord’s game would be published by Parker Brothers as what we now know as Monopoly, which as of two years ago, has been published in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries.  As of January 2017, there have been 300 different versions of the game.

One of the most iconic spaces on the Monopoly Board is GO.  Official rules state that whether you pass or land directly on GO, you receive $200.  Many play with house rules that award $400 for landing directly on GO.  While this space is the starting point of a game, it does not have a predetermined space on which to end the game.  There is a $200 incentive to keep going around the board, $400 if playing by house rules.

In Monopoly, your movement is at the mercy of the dice.  In order to reach GO (or any other space, for that matter) you must roll the right number on the dice.  If you’re playing by house rules, it’s even more crucial to roll the exact number to land on GO and collect your doubled salary.

In reality, your movement is not governed by chance.  You are not a pawn at the mercy of dice, forever moving in the same exact pattern.  You are a child of a merciful and loving God, who, like a proud father, thinks enough of you to commission you to GO into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

How does the fact that your life is not left to chance affect the way you view your current circumstances? What can you do to change yourself and/or your circumstance? What does Jesus want you to do? What has He called you to do?

All throughout the bible, we see the Lord telling people to GO:

  • He told Abram to GO from his country (name change, made father of many nations)
  • He told Moses to GO to Pharaoh (deliver the Israelites)
  • He told Joshua to GO over the Jordan river (en route to the promised land)
  • He told Gideon to “GO in this thy might”(deliver the Israelites)
  • He told Samuel to fill his horn with oil and GO (anoint the next king of Israel in David)
  • He told Isaiah to GO and tell the people (deliver the word of the Lord)
  • He told Jermiah to GO down to the potter’s house (receive the word of the Lord)
      • Necessity for receiving, not just ministering.  Ministering without receiving will leave you dry and empty (Isaiah was to GO and tell, Jeremiah was to GO and hear).
  • He told Hosea to GO marry a prostitute/GO back for her post-adultery (God’s relationship w/ Israel)
  • He told Jonah to GO to Nineveh (preach repentance)

All of those people who obeyed (however reluctantly) the Lord’s commands to GO, and the impact of that obedience, shaped the course of history, and led to the most relevant, most revelatory, most challenging, most impactful of the His commands to GO; we know it as The Great Commission.

What excuses have you given to God to try to avoid your calling? How has He responded? What happened when you obeyed God? How has your world changed by your obedience? How has the world changed by your disobedience?

“Preach the word,” literally.  GO is defined as:

Verb

  • Move from one point to another
    • Travel a specified distance
      • “GO ye therefore,” “GO ye into all the world”
        • Didn’t say GO until you get tired.  No cap.  No limit.  GO into all the world.  GO until you can’t GO no mo’.
    • Travel or move in order to engage in a specified activity or course of action
    • Attend or visit for a particular purpose
      • ”Teach all nations, baptizing,” “Preach the gospel”
        • God does not send people without a particular purpose
    • Begin motion
      • “GO”
    • Used to indicate how a resource is sufficient for or how much can be achieved using it
      • When Jesus is with you/in you and signs follow, that will GO a long way in spreading the gospel
  • Leave, depart
  • Leave or resign from a post
    • Before Jesus’ followers could become disciples, and later apostles, they had to leave their families and resign their posts at their jobs.  They had to GO from their previous lives before they could GO into all the world. 
      • Luke 9 – 57As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head. 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead![l]Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
      • You cannot call yourself a follower of Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) if you stay where you are comfortable.  You cannot, will not progress if you are stuck in your past.  James says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  God says he spits out the lukewarm – He’d rather you be cold or hot.
  • Be harmonious, complementary, or matching
  • Be found in the same place or situation; be associated
      • “These signs shall follow (or GO after) them that believe”
  • Function
  • Continue in operation or existence
    • “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

Noun

  • An attempt or trial at something
  • A project or undertaking that has been approved
    • “That building site is approved.  The construction project is a GO.”
      • Matthew 9 – 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
      • The Great Commission is literally a “GO!”

Adjective

  • Functioning properly
    • “All systems go.”  All miracles, signs, and wonders are a go.  Baptisms are a go.  It wasn’t too long after that, infilling of the Spirit was a GO.

Are you going? Are you following God’s leading?

John 4 – 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

1 Corinthians 3 – For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God:

Galatians 6 – So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

The harvest is ready. The fields are white, ready to harvest. The question is, ‘What are you waiting for?’ What more will it take? What more pushing and prodding will it take to get you to go? The harvest is ready.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Michael Lagle. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

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Walk in Mercy

walkingJohn 5:2-9 “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7 The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ 8 Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.”

The book of John talks about the Pool of Bethesda. There are all sorts of sick folk. Artists have depicted this scene as beautiful, but the reality is it wasn’t at all. This was a pool by the sheep market, used for washing the sheep and getting them ready for sale. It was gross and stinky. Stuff probably floated in the water. Nobody wanted to hang out there.

The Bible doesn’t say the angel actually came. It may have been only a superstition. The people had faith that it would happen. Often the people outside of the church exercise greater faith than those inside the church. Everyone has been given a measure of faith.

How have your preconceived ideas been different from reality? What are you superstitious about? What or who is your faith in?

You don’t need some beautiful place for God to show His mercy. Sometimes, it is the worst places that we see the greatest mercies. If you want to see the mercy of God truly at work, you’d better get comfortable in some uncomfortable places. God will meet us there and make us perfect in our weakness. 

You can find grace in a prison cell. Give it to God. Mercy leads you where God wants you to be. You don’t have to be worthy. Where sin does abound, grace does much more abound.

Some of the worst filth sits in our churches. It’s not the people, it’s the worst sins, the worst attitudes. It’s not about the nice places or the nice clothes. We go to church because we need Jesus.

God wants to reach the world, but first He wants to reach the church. He wants to save the world, but first He wants to save the church. Your blessing is here. The fact that you come week in and week out is grace in itself. Your drive doesn’t come from yourself. God gives you that drive. God has opened your eyes. You go to church because God calls you to church. God chose you. He has ordered your steps. He has put grace and mercy into your life. Mercy causes you to get up, knowing you are imperfect, but still an apostolic believer. You’re a  believer. It is mercy!

Minus mercy, sick folk will never get better hanging out with sick folk. That’s why we can say forsake those old relationships and attitudes that cause you to be dragged down. Go to church and hang out with folks that struggle with the same stuff. It’s mercy that makes this work.

How has God shown His mercy in the worst times of your life? How has God led you to show mercy to others? What friends have you had to give up in order to get rid of bad habits and/or sin in your life?   

Jesus gave the man the choice, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ ‘Do you want to be healed?’

It’s not a physical manifestation that will change the way you live in your spirit. Don’t wait for some confirmation. It’s already in the Word, the Bible. The Word is enough. God is calling this church to something deeper. It ain’t going to happen if something happens. No, it’s mercy that keeps this going. You can’t reach this world because of you, it’s only through mercy.

You can’t do this on your own strength. It’s mercy. You need the hand of God. You’re not perfect and you’re never going to be. Stop using your faults as a crutch. You’re not perfect, but do you walk in mercy? If you walk in mercy, your imperfections won’t stop you. Your flaws will not stop mercy, but you must walk in mercy. Mercy keeps you and propels you and drives you and forgives you and cleanses you and uses you and illuminates you.

Quit trying to be perfect. Walk after mercy and it will all fall into place. You can’t help but melt at the forgiveness of God. When you know you’re flawed and have issues, but you still experience God’s Spirit, His mercy wraps His arms around you. Stop making a list for soul-winning or being holy. Just walk in mercy.

How have you tried to live up to an impossible goal (being perfect)? What does the Bible have to say about our weaknesses? How does walking in God’s mercy change the way you look at your faults and imperfections? What is the role of personal responsibility in this?

Don’t get rid of the list, but don’t beat yourself up every time you mess up. There’s mercy. Those failures teach you to walk in mercy. How would you know what grace abounding looks like if sin never tried to abound?

It’s not about complacency. Pursue mercy. God, I’m flawed, but You need me. He wouldn’t have left you here if He didn’t need you. He has called you. He could’ve used somebody else besides Esther, but He called Esther.

I don’t want God to call somebody else. I want mercy. Don’t be afraid to allow God to touch you, to forgive you, to cleanse you, to use you. God’s mercy will drive you to do great things for Him.

You can’t do powerful exploits without Him. It’s not by might or by power, but by His Spirit, says the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is God. It’s not about jumping or by shouting. It’s by God’s nature, character, Person that things happen. It’s by Who He is that you will be able to do anything in the first place. It’s not because of some energy that flows around the church. It’s because of Who He is.

Mercy and Love and Forgiveness are the center of Who Jesus is, the reason He came to seek and to save the lost.

It’s not about what you do. It’s not about you stirring it up enough, it’s about hiding yourself in His character and characteristics and Who He is and being hidden in Mercy, then the work will get done.

You can’t see you if you’re hidden!

What does hiding in His mercy look like? How do you walk in His mercy every day, day in, day out? How does this truth play out in your life?

Don’t operate in ‘if God will fix this, then…’ NO! Hide in mercy! God will put things in you and do great things in your life, but there are things that God is not going to fix.

Jesus asked, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ What was the guy’s answer? He had no idea Who Jesus was. People look for miracles, but not for Jesus. Don’t desire blessing if it doesn’t come with Jesus. The people weren’t looking for the Messiah, they were looking for something that would fix them, not for an opportunity to serve Him.

Sometimes, you’re talking to God and don’t realize it’s Him because you’re looking for something else, some natural way to fix your problems. So, when God shows up, you don’t recognize Him. It’s not till after that you realize Who showed up.

Some people aren’t looking for God, but they still have God walking into their lives ready to give a solution. God in His mercy does it anyway, just like with this man. He isn’t just ‘sir,’ He is Master, Teacher. Recognize Him. Recognize the presence before the miracle.

Jesus is here, do you recognize Him? Is He your Master? Are you looking for opportunities to spend time with Jesus and just be with Him and serve Him? Or are you looking for a ‘quick fix’ for your problems? Why is it so hard to trust Him in the midst of problems?

Jesus looked at him and said, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ Why take up the bed? If he isn’t sick anymore, why did he need it anymore? It’s because so many have God do a mighty miracle and don’t burn their bridge. Healing or not, strengthened legs or not, brand new legs will get tired. He’d never done it before.

You are experiencing mercy and grace. You will realize that the pastor and people aren’t perfect. You will get tired, that fire will start to dim. You go from, ‘It’s Sunday, let’s go to church!’ to ‘That takes the whole afternoon.’ The legs will get tired and the bed is still there, why not lay down? You need to get rid of that thing!

Jesus didn’t say, ‘Keep it.’ He said, ‘Take it.’ He didn’t want him to leave it where it was for the man to come back to. The healing was done when He said, ‘Rise.’ But, the healing stayed when he took up his bed.

How many times have you had something wrong in your life and then it was gone, but you picked it back up? Why? 

Imagine the compassion of Jesus, knowing what you know now, the mercy of God. Jesus walked through that crowd at Bethesda. Jesus had His eyes fixed on that one man, but He walked right past the others. He stepped over them. Nobody else got healed as He walked to a man who didn’t deserve anything.

There will be times when you come to church when it’s not your day of healing. It’s your day of continuance, you add another stone to the pillar. Jesus will pass by people He loves and adores to get to the one man. Don’t think that because that Jesus walked past them they didn’t have a purpose. They were supposed to be there. Sometimes, it’s just your time to gather, but one day it will be your turn.

If it’s just one that God is here for today, you don’t know that the prayers of the body together in faith are what cause that moment to come to pass. His moment might not come to pass without you.

How do you continue to trust God in spite of the fact that you haven’t received your miracle yet? What does that look like? Do you choose to walk in His mercy in spite of your circumstances?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Joe Giunta. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Ready for Eternity

Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_Jesus_and_nicodemusThe book of Revelation is known as the book of prophecy, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, something that is unveiled, something that is made known. John was banished to the Isle of Patmos where he was given this revelation. He was there for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. He had an experience where he saw God Himself in the personality of Jesus Christ. He said, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the beginning and the end. I am He which was dead and is now alive.’

John said, ‘When I saw this, I fell down as I was dead.’ He was slain in the Spirit.

When you come into contact with Jesus Christ, something happens. It’s different since Jesus saved my soul since He cleansed and made me whole. Your very walk, your very talk changes.

John said, ‘I was dead.’ He became a different person. He had a new revelation of who Jesus was.

How has your life changed since you came into contact with Jesus?

A lot of people say, ‘God, God, God.’ You can talk about God and know about Him without knowing Him. They have a form of godliness but deny the true power thereof. A form will not do. That’s why it’s important to know that you must be a possessor of the Holy Ghost. When you have the Holy Ghost, you have the revelation of Jesus Christ, Who He is.

You can’t live any way you want to because the Bible declares you to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation. You are different. This is what God says you are. You can’t act as the world acts or speak as the world speaks. You have had an encounter with God.

There was a young man that I taught in Sunday School. He is now backslidden and just has a form. It will not work.

Isaiah the prophet had an encounter with God.

Isaiah 6:1,5 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” 5 “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.’”

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

The Word of God is like a mirror, but a mirror isn’t there to condemn you. It is there to help you get cleaned up what needs to be cleaned up.

How does the Word of God help you to get cleaned up? How can it change your life?

In order to travel, you must have many checks, I.D, passport, etc. Are you ready for eternity? Why are you questioning your salvation? Why are you doubting? You need to get right. The devil wants to play around, but you need to stop playing. What does the Word say? Be ready!

2 Chron 32:7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.”

God has given us the power over fear.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

You can’t have your way and God’s way at the same time. You’ve got to give Him all. It’s Jesus or nothing.

Are you double minded in your thinking? What do you need to do to change that? How does knowing what God’s Word says change the way you think?

As long as you’re alive, you’re going to have trouble.

Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

You have trouble, but you have Jesus!

Sometimes, you can see only one step at a time. Yet, Jesus is still there. Jesus will relieve your troubled mind. Only Jesus can truly help and deliver you.

Get out of selfish. There is no need for strife. Strife deprives you of the blessing that God wants to give you. Some people have nice things, but they’re not better than you. God wants you to be unified with the body of Christ. If the devil can keep us divided, revival can’t happen.

What thinking patterns do you have in your life that you need to change? Is there strife in your life? What can you do to change that?

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

It’s very significant that we are called to start 7 churches. There are 7 pastors, but they are asleep. In order to see who you are, rise up and do what God is calling you to do. Get up. Don’t wait for someone else to carry the burden. You do your part.

God said, ‘I know your works.’ (Rev 2:2)

God has good plans for you, but will you pursue what He wants you to pursue? Do you know what He wants you to do? What is holding you back from doing it?

Beware that you don’t lie to the Holy Ghost. Ananias and Sapphira lied not only to Peter but to the Holy Ghost. Be careful of who you’re hooked up with, who you’re close to. Why be in agreement with lies? God is a consuming fire. He is dreadful and terrible. You don’t want to see that side of Him! He is the same God that burned up Sodom and Gomorrah. 

What are your motives and agenda when you come to the house of God? When we come together, we must come to worship Him, not with any hidden agenda of your own. Don’t undermine the progress of the ministry with your own agenda.

The Bible says, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.’

If you are here today as a visitor and God has spoken to your heart, give your life to Him before it’s too late. If you are here today and you’re not sure that you possess the Holy Ghost, wake up, trim your lamp, get enough oil because the Bridegroom is going to come. The ten women were all virgins, but you must have enough oil to meet the Bridegroom. No one can check it for you. No one can give you theirs. You have to go get your own. Get it now before it’s too late or the Bridegroom might come while you’re seeking your oil.

Heaven is for everybody, whosoever will. Live for Jesus and you’ll get there. Do what you need to do to get there. If you’re afraid you won’t make it, do what you need to do to get there. Hell was not made for man. It is for the fallen angels and the devil. Because of the sinfulness of man, hell has opened her mouth a little wider. You don’t have to go to hell.

If you want to be blessed, start loving somebody. Pray for one another. Bless somebody.

Be specific in your prayers. Don’t just say, ‘Pray for me.’ Be specific in your requests. Tell Him what you need, what you want. Stop complaining. Ask, seek, knock. Prayer must be specific. Tell God what you need and He will provide. Don’t tell people, tell Jesus. Tell Him all of your trials. You weren’t meant to bear all these burdens alone.

This year, you will be bigger and better. Get everything you need in Jesus name! He is your Father and He is rich.

What changes would you like to see in your life this year? What changes would you like to see in yourself this year? What are you going to do to make that happen? What disciplines do you need in order to see those changes take place?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Everton Wellington.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from sermons by Everton Wellington, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts and Testimonies

091116-F-1616C-003Ben Nolan: Story about the Parable of the Sower

We have a little garden at our house and every year we plant stuff and about half of it grows. Finally last year, she said, ‘This is what we’re going to do, we’re going to get peat moss and all kinds of stuff to make this garden grow.’ Our plants grew so well, we couldn’t give it all away.

The Parable of the Sower is in three Gospel accounts. The seed fell on hard ground, thorny soil, rocky soil, and good ground. Distractions, the world chokes the seed out. In every one of those cases, there is good soil. It might be under the thorns, rocks, etc, but it’s there. It’s all about the Sower. He removes the stones, he fertilizes, he pulls those weeds. The birds won’t steal your seed. You are good ground! Let God run off those birds. Let Him pull those weeds and get rid of those rocks.

You are good ground! Is there something you’re holding onto that you need to allow the Lord to pull out and throw away? What do you need to allow the Lord to root out of your life? What do you need to allow the Lord to chase away?

Scott Lane: Our Pastor has a vision of starting seven churches. We’ve got a church in Arlington Heights called TLC Thrift. When I volunteer, I’m doing a service for the pastor and a service for the Lord. I can pass on my testimony and encourage others. I can ‘sow’ hope.

Mat 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

You can bless people by your testimony. Just encourage them. Love like you’ve been loved. You can glorify God by your words. It doesn’t have to be loud. It just has to be real.

When you share what God has done for you, you are being a witness. How can you encourage someone today?

Nick Prabha: Monday night in our Life Group, I shared that the last couple of months have been really rough. I let stuff get to me. Instead of leaning on the Lord, I tried to do it all myself. Because I stopped leaning on the Lord, the devil had a way in. I slid into depression. The devil told me I wasn’t good enough. I let frustration get the better of me.

During Christmas, I worked 9 days straight. I barely saw my wife. I’m on the other side of it now.

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

He delivered me from all that. At church, He told me to dance for Him in worship. I will make a fool of myself just like David did when he danced before the Lord in worship because God has chosen me, anointed me.

How has the Lord delivered you from your fears? Will you choose to trust Him more because of that? How does that change your life? How can you encourage someone else by sharing your experience?

Terry Murphy: God will give you the strength to do things you didn’t think you could do, like run. It’s a team effort to see a new soul enter the Kingdom. A young man came to the altar and received forgiveness from God. Our pastor and several men gathered around him and prayed for him. He repented of his sins and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He then got baptized in the water in the Name of Jesus.

There is joy in the presence of angels when one sinner repents. 

How has God caused you to do things you thought you couldn’t do? How can you be sure to do your part as part of the team? 

Layna LoCascio (Pastor’s Wife): Sometimes, the Lord unzips things for you so you can understand certain things. The Lord has already taken care of the devil for us. As a Pastor’s wife and pastor, we came here and pastored a church of ten people. But, God had given us a prophecy that we would have explosive growth. It has been very difficult spiritually, sleepless nights, binding and rebuking, and praying.

We’ve been sent to a city that is large and there’s a promise, but you don’t go at it without discipline. Use your spiritual muscle. Fight the enemy and take reign in the Spirit. You must do that in order to gain ground.

There were many nights that I had to pray over my kids. I’d feel something walk into the house and I’d have to pray and say, ‘I don’t think so!’ When you pray for people, you sometimes have to fight in the Spirit and go to battle for them. The stuff you don’t see is what’s most important.

What will happen when you die? The eternal is what really matters. There are two kingdoms, either you’re for God or against Him.

What do you need to be more disciplined about? What do you need to say, ‘yes’ to and what do you need to say, ‘no’ to? When you pray, what is Jesus leading you to pray about?

I have felt the Lord take the waters and part the waters and get rid of the enemy (Isaiah 55 and 54). Then, my husband said, ‘We declare war!’ The Lord opened my eyes.

The first two sermons were about discipline. There are two-fold people here, people have worked hard and been waiting for the fire for a long time. We will see mighty things happen in this church.

The church and the people need discipline. You get discipline through resistance, like building muscles through weightlifting.

We are going somewhere in the Holy Ghost.

The next step is through discipline. You must pray every day. The devil will lie and say you’re not worthy and you’ve messed up. You need to ignore that. Go boldly before the throne. When you ask, God will forgive you! If you feel unforgiven, either you need to repent or you’re believing a lie. You have to keep going.

The people who overcome are the ones who get back up and keep going. Your attitude is not always perfect, but keep going. Unity is of God. Forgive other people and forgive yourself!

If you do those two things, you will overcome!

You will get back up. Discipline will come through prayer every day! If you’re struggling with faith, get in the Word and read and pray. God’s Word gets inside of you and heals you. It is real and powerful. Let God do His work! Read God’s Word and Pray!

The tools to overcome in this war are through God’s Word and prayer. Do not let guilt or offense overcome you.

What lies have you believed? What is the truth? How does that change your life? How will you apply God’s Word to your life? 

The Daniel Fast for this church is different from stuff online. No sugar, no meat. You decide exactly how you want to do that. Create discipline in your life. Read your Bible and Pray every day!

Discipline will cause explosive growth.

This Bible Study excerpted from inspirations and testimonies from various members. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Inspirations (short sermons) Ben Nolan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Law of the Increase

Camille_Pissarro_-_The_HarvestGal 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

The Law of the Harvest, Reaping and Sowing, Increase—Spiritually and Naturally, the natural actually mimics the Spirit. All of us want to be disciples of Jesus, but we need to know how.

There is a law of increase or harvest. If you can apply the natural ways of agriculture, there is a concept that’s easy to grasp. The basics of sowing and reaping can be applied to the spirit and discipleship. You have to understand that you won’t get anywhere with God if you don’t give something. You won’t receive if you give nothing.

Have you ever been on a farm? Have you ever grown anything? Why do you think Jesus uses the idea of the harvest to explain Spiritual things?

John 12:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

Something has to break in order for you to be a disciple. You can’t be a Christian without discipline. If you want to be a disciple, you must know what’s in the Word of God, if you’re going to be a Christian, you must be disciplined in the ways and teaching of the Bible.

If something applies to your life spiritually, how will you focus in order to receive the increase? What disciplines do you need to add to your life in order to become more like Jesus?

We need upgrades, but it takes more than ‘belief.’ What does it take to have the anointing? Are you willing to suffer? We want the crown, but not the cross. There is a law of reaping and sowing.

Job 4:8 “Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”

If you want to receive great things, you have to give great things.

Prov 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.”

Discipleship flows from wisdom of a prophetic nature. Wisdom of a prophetic nature causes discipline to happen in your life. Wisdom of a prophetic nature activates a desire to exercise discipline in certain areas of your life.

If you want to get an ‘A’ in a certain class, you must discipline yourself in a certain way.

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

You can’t just ‘blab it and grab it!’ Now, in the power of your mouth, God can do miracles, but if you sow it, you don’t have to say a word. You don’t have to tell people that you’re holy, you can walk in it and it becomes obvious to everyone around you.

Prov 13:11 “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.”

What do you want to happen in your life this year? What will you sow for God to increase this year?

If you sow kindness, you will reap peace and joy. If you sow fasting and prayer, you will reap a devil-casting-out mind. If you do the least that you can do, God will do the least He can do.

You can’t horde something and assume you will increase in that. It doesn’t work that way. The Law of the Harvest is a Spiritual paradox. It doesn’t make sense to give and know that you will receive, but it’s the way God works.

Jacob was a man of God. He lied to his father. Then, his own sons lied to him and broke his heart. David sowed sin in his kingdom (he committed adultery). Because of David’s sin, there was never a time of peace during his reign. He had trouble in his own house, his own son rebelled and another child died.

But, you say, ‘I’ve repented of all that.’ What can you do to avoid and reverse this?

A paradox is a seemingly absurd contradictory statement that will prove to be well-founded and true. It doesn’t sound right, but it works. If you want to be exalted, you have to humble yourself. You can’t be forgiven until you repent. If you want new life, then you must die and lose everything. Transformation in the Spirit doesn’t come from logic, it comes from discipline in God’s laws and ways.

To activate this law of transformation and increase, you must first apply discipline that comes from wisdom. Discipline in the right areas so that God can give the increase.

How does something grow when it gets cut back? It’s just the way God works. You can learn from the natural. How does someone become strong in the Lord? Through weakness, ‘His strength is made perfect in weakness.’

If you want to be His disciple, deny yourself.

Mat 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”

What things or ways do you need to deny yourself?

Soil that’s good receives seed and then produces some 30, some 60, and some 100-fold. If the seed that God has put inside of you is to be 100-fold, this year, 100-fold is possible.

Lev 19:23-25 “When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. 25 And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God.”

There is a number thing in that passage, but we’re focusing on the Law of Increase for now. The first fruit shall always be consecrated to God. This time, it’s modified, it’s the fourth year that’s consecrated.

Will you be self-disciplined? Will you eat fruit that God doesn’t want you to because you want to fill your belly? Lack of self-discipline will abort a process God wants for you.

If a tree is harvested too soon, it will kill the tree. God wants you to sustain. It’s time to discipline in an area of increase. Your worship now will be more fruitful than ever before. You have to wait for God’s timing! You will get stickability, but you must sow.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus is for Kings and Shepherds

Lamb_first_steps_(edited)Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The Christmas story is so powerful. It’s found in both Matthew and Luke.

Luke 2:8-20 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Have you ever read the Christmas story from the Bible? What are some of the differences between what you grew up hearing versus what is actually written?

Some people think it’s all a myth. Yet, it’s a proven fact of History that Jesus was a real person. You don’t have to be a Christian to know that. You just have to be a good historian. There is so much evidence. Anybody who says it’s a myth doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s as crazy as saying Abraham Lincoln was a myth. It’s not just Roman history that documents Jesus’ reality. Even Jewish histories document His life and death. None of them are disputed and none of these were Christian historians.

Jesus was a real person. He had a following. They knew that He did things, miracles. They say His body was stolen, but they verify the fact that He was crucified and died. There are thousands of archeological facts that support Jesus’ life, death, and burial.

Why do you think people want to believe Jesus is a myth? What do people gain by saying that Jesus never existed? What do you believe?

I was born into a Christian family. My dad was military. The worst word growing up was communism. We lived during the cold war. We had bomb drills in school, not just fire drills. At Christmas, my dad wanted all the lights you could get. We loved to drive and look at the lights. We wanted to celebrate Christmas because the atheist and the communist world wanted to get rid of it. 

I think we need to celebrate Christmas. We have Biblical precedent to celebrate it. Even the stars declared it. The angels showed up and told the shepherds. Jesus is for kings and shepherds. Jesus is for the rich and the poor and everybody in between. Thank God He came. So it is that the Lord celebrated Christmas with the angels, stars, announcements, and all that transpired that wonderful night and year.

Note: The Bethlehem Star is a free movie on Youtube. Check it out.

The shepherds, if you study this out, you can see the angels said, ‘this shall be a sign unto you,’ specific signs unto the shepherds, a babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

How does knowing that Jesus came both for the rich and the poor, the slave and the free, change your life?

In the Jewish writings, the shepherds in Bethlehem watched special lambs meant to be Passover lambs for the following year. There’s a little clue in there, they were in the fields at night. Normal shepherds brought their sheep in at night, but during lambing season, when the baby lambs are born, they stayed out. They were there to protect those little lambs from wolves, vulnerable times for the yew and the lambs. They were to protect and guard the sheep and help in the birthing process. These lambs had to be without spot or injury. They had to be well protected.

When that little lamb was born, they would wrap those lambs in swaddling clothes to protect them during the first few hours of birth so they wouldn’t fall right after birth. They also laid the baby lambs in a manger, this was a specific sign to them. So, when they went to find Mary and Joseph, they found Jesus wrapped up and lying in a manger, just like their little future Passover lambs.

Just as God protected the promise, He will protect you. He is faithful to do all He has promised. How does this knowledge change your life?

The wise men came to bring gifts for a king—gold for kings, frankincense for priests (a frank incense, frank tree, burned for its smell, very expensive), and myrrh, a spice collected for a whole year used to embalm the dead. Those wise men saw Jesus as king, priest, and sacrifice for our sins.

The shepherds understood something by these signs. They were paid to protect their lambs. Those lambs lived one year and then were sacrificed in the temple as Passover lambs. They understood clearly the mission of Jesus as the Savior—Passover Lamb. There is a Savior born in Bethlehem, Christ, the Lord. Christ is a title, Messiah, Savior. Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, this was His identity, not his last name. He was God robed in flesh. 

Lord, to the Jews, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.’ Jesus is God, the only God.

Jesus was identified as to Who He was and what His mission was in coming to earth. Those shepherds were overjoyed knowing that here was the Passover Lamb. What a special night that was at His birth. He is savior who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10)

What is the Biblical Identity of the Jewish Messiah? Who is Jesus, really?

  1. In Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” A promise was made in the midst of the curse for Adam and Eve’s disobedience. A child was promised to save us from sin right from the beginning. No one understood that women had a seed until the 19th century when finally the female egg was seen under a microscope. This is the Bible telling us and agreeing with science. Genealogies leave women out except in Scripture. The prophecy says a virgin shall conceive. That’s not possible, but it was a fulfillment of prophecy. We are set free by truth. There is a lot of talk about demons, but the nitty-gritty of spiritual warfare is every demon is linked to a lie, a manmade tradition. Jesus responded every time to the devil, ‘It is written…’ The Bible is true and we can trust it. The devil has to back down at God’s Word. He can’t argue against it. Even the devil has to submit to it. It is the highest authority. Find out the lie and find the truth in the Bible. You will get the victory in that.
  2. Jesus would be the promised seed born of a virgin, Emmanuel—God with us. That should tell us something about His identity. He was more than just human seed, he was also the seed of God. When you literally translate His Word, it means the strong God, or mighty God, with us. He would be humanity and God. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” God’s name is wonderful. His name is Counsellor, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, all rolled up into one name—Jesus. To be a Muslim, you have to read the Koran in Arabic. Their God speaks only Arabic, even though 80% don’t speak Arabic. Our God speaks every language. He speaks them all because He created them all. This God is for you. The devil speaks lies in all languages too. However, you can say, ‘Jesus’ in any language and the devil trembles. Sin understands it and is washed away, fever understands it and is healed. My God speaks it all. We have a mighty God. So, when we read this verse, it’s so powerful. Isaiah 9:6 brings out that Jesus was a man and the One true God. Stay on the foundation we’ve been given in the Bible. Jesus is both Father and Son. Isaiah 11 says He would be a stem of Jesse, and a branch grows out of his roots. Isaiah 11:2-4 “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” He is saying that He is the branch of the lineage of David, but also the root. They did not understand.

Luke 20:41-44 “And He said to them, ‘How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?’ 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ 44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Who was Jesus, really? If He is God, how does that knowledge change your life?

Jesus responded to their questions with a question. They couldn’t answer. Jesus left them with questions, but somebody heard all that and kept it in his Spirit. Peter couldn’t help himself. On the day of Pentecost, Peter went right there and Acts 2:34-36, he showed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ—Savior and God, Christ the Lord. He is both man and God, seed of woman and seed of God, the very Word of God made flesh. What a powerful declaration of Him! Over and over the prophets speak of Him.

Isaiah 12:1-2 “And in that day you will say: ‘O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”

God is my salvation. That is Hebrew—Jesus means ‘God is my Salvation’.

Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of [Jesus] salvation.”

Isaiah 40:3-5,9 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of theLord has spoken.’ 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’”

This is about John the Baptizer. Every prophecy was fulfilled concerning Jesus’ birth. ‘Behold your God.’

1 Tim 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”

What do you need saving from? Is it drugs, alcohol, sickness, stress, financial troubles, relationship issues? Will you allow Jesus to help you? Will you trust Him? Will you get to know Him and do what He tells you to do (He will never go against what He’s already written in the Bible) and watch a miracle happen in your own life?

How could it be this baby born like you and I could be the very God of heaven wrapped in flesh, to live like you and me? He’d never been human before. He was tempted in all points, yet had no sin. He suffered and knows what suffering and hardship are. He’s been there. He was rejected and made fun of. He understands. You don’t have to be afraid of Jesus. No wonder the world rejoiced when it was declared that Jesus was born in a stable, Christ the Lord.

Over and over again we can go through the prophets, His identity is the Lord God, yet a man. How could this be? Yet, it’s true.

1 Cor 15:47 “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.”

Col 2:6 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”

Jesus came for shepherds, kings, and you. Will you walk with Him and get to know Him and do things His way? You will never be the same.

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Missionary Evangelist Monty Showalter. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Living in the Overflow

overflowing cupEph 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God is a superabundant God. He is superabundant in that if you need water, He doesn’t give you just a glass, He gives you rivers. God is an infinitely resourceful. Giving cannot reduce God in any way. He has an abundance of whatever we need.

Do you believe God is the ultimate in power and abundance? Does He care about you? Do you believe He is able? If your answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ how does that change your life?

God is not only abundant in quantity, He is abundant in quality. He gives and does better than new, He gives brand new, perfect, superior, the best of the best. He does more.

Living in this is the overflow.

Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

He causes your cup to run over. He causes your life to run over. David was saying that He had an overflow of God in his life, so much so that he decided to live in that overflow.

Jesus is a Shepherd, the Door, the Life, the Truth. Jesus came to bring life and life more abundantly. Jesus didn’t promise length of days, but a great quality of life. He doesn’t want you to just barely make it, but to have the kind of life that overflows everywhere. Your quality of life is so abundant in life that there is an overflow.

How has God blessed you and/or those around you?

What do you do with the excess? Give it to someone else!

God is able to do not just more than you ask, He is able to exceed more than you ask, and not just exceed more than you ask, but exceedingly abundantly more than you ask.

He doesn’t just barely exceed the more, He does it exceedingly abundantly more. This is through the power that He works in us, through His Spirit. This is an explosive, dynamite-like power in you. This is miraculous, abundant, ability power.

‘Worketh’ is energy, active energy of the Holy Ghost.

Had King Solomon cashed in the amount of gold he had today, he would’ve had $7.7 billion every year. The Queen of Sheba came to visit and brought a gift, five tons of gold and spices. She gave about $52 million. Yet, that wasn’t the half of what he already had.

Solomon didn’t have human bodyguards. He had trained gorillas that would kill anything or anyone that tried to hurt him. His gorillas couldn’t be bribed.

Solomon had so much gold that silver was worthless to him. People paid to hang out with him. When God gets to blessing you, it’s super, abundant, above.

Psalm 36:8 “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.”

Are you living in the abundance that God wants to give you? Why or why not? What do you need to change in your attitude or actions in order to live in God’s overflow?

‘Fatness’ is blessing, goodness, satisfaction. God isn’t about merely surviving. He wants you to thrive! He overdoes it with the blessing. He never runs out. You can even live in someone else’s overflow.

John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

The purpose of the overflow is to have so much that you have extra and can bless others.

Do you have God’s joy overflowing in your life? Do you have His peace that passes understanding? God will bless you physically, emotionally, and spiritually if you will allow Him. What can you do to partner with Him more fully so you can have that overflow and abundance to turn around and bless others?

God didn’t need to put pipes in the ground to have water for the children of Israel. He could just speak it and there was water for over a million people.

Overflow with love and joy and peace and wisdom and self-mastery, maturity, and new life.

There were around five thousand people that Jesus was preaching to. Jesus took three days to complete His messages. The disciples said, ‘Lord, the people need food.’ Jesus replied, ‘How much do we have?’ The disciples found enough for just a few people, about five loaves and two fish. Jesus said, ‘Give it to me and I will do my thing with it and I will give it to you and you will do your thing with it and everyone will be satisfied.’

When someone says you are ‘less-than’, you can rise up in the Holy Ghost and say, ‘I am filled with God’s Spirit. I am not enough by myself, but with my God, I am more than enough!’

What kind of power do you have that will ignite God? How do you get there and experience the fatness of a superabundant God? How do you activate this?

Eph 1:18-20 “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

There is an abundance of air, plenty of oxygen for everyone. God doesn’t run out of resources. The things of the earth will not run short for you and me. Trees are renewable. There are plenty of mountains. His faithfulness will never run out.

The reason why you see lack or insufficiency is because the devil has come to steal or destroy or kill your vision of God. Jesus came to cause you to see quality of life. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Your lifestyle needs to rise up to the abundantly that you can have and no devil can stop you.

Step 1 is you’ve got to see it. What are your relationships like? What does God want them to be like?

It’s not about lots and lots of money or things. It’s not wrong to have lots of money. It is more blessed to give because you have it to give!

The blessing is living in the overflow of God. Look at how wonderful my life is, my marriage, my relationship with my children, my church, my relationships with my friends.

Your eyes must be opened to the riches that God has for you—not just stuff, but also, love, joy, peace, etc.

Are your eyes open to this? Do you see it? Do you believe it? What can you do to change your beliefs? What are you focusing on, Jesus and His superabundance or your situation?

Step two: Partner with God. You’ve got to do your part. You can have the best car, and you can put the key in the ignition, but not go anywhere without power. That is our partnership with God.

Psalm 36:7 “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.”

Col 1:29 “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

You have an ability in you to show up and activate the power that works in you. Pray! Just ask God. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Show up! Open your mouth and let God speak through you. Tithe. Put God to the test. Just try to out-give God.

How do you partner with God? Are you willing to trust Him enough to partner with Him? What do you need to let go of in order to partner with Him?

Give of your time. When you give time to God, you will have more time for your family. Invite people to your home. Take people out to eat. Let God replenish. He will.

‘What do you more than others?’

Mat 5:46-48 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

John 21:5 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ 6 And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”

They went from zero fish to too many fish because they chose to partner with Jesus. Obey God and see miracles. That’s how you partner with Him. Pray and do your part and God will release His miracles and power into your life.

Will you choose to partner with Jesus in this? Will you allow God to work in your life to give you that overflow? What do you need to change/give up? What do you need to add to your life/priorities?

Note: In the Lord’s prayer, it says, ‘Lead us not into temptation’. Turn that around and ask the Lord to ‘Lead us into something else, like love, joy, peace, faith, truth, etc.’

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Too Little for the Lamb

lamb-2100396_960_720Exo 12:1-4 “Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 ‘This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.’” 

When I was little, we would go to amusement parks and I was a daredevil. Sometimes, I was told I was too little to ride certain rides or play certain games or to carry certain things.

When you were a child, what did you want to do that you were too small for? As an adult, what are you facing today that is too big for you?

Even as an adult, there are situations and circumstances that you’re too small for, that you can’t handle. When it comes to those kinds of things, because we have God, He is big enough for everything. He is able.

If you feel adequate, that is not a good thing. Recognizing that you’re too small is an open door for God to work.

Gideon was approached by an angel, ‘Gideon, thou mighty man of valor.’ He thought of himself as the least. Because he felt inadequate, God was able to use him to do great things for Israel.

We can’t get ourselves to heaven. We must depend on God to take our sins and get us to heaven.

When Israel was in drought and Egypt in famine, God spoke through Moses, ‘Let my people go.’

When God removed the locusts, none were left in the land. When God caused darkness to cover the land, Israel had light.

Why did God do all those mighty miracles? What was His purpose in that?

There is a true Passover Lamb—Jesus.

In Genesis, the prophecy says that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, a ram was given in his place. God provided Himself a sacrifice.

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Jesus was without sin. There was unleavened bread used in the Passover was pierced and striped, holes in it and cooked on a grill—striped. Jesus was pierced for our sins. He was beaten and His back striped. Jesus had to die in order for us to have eternal life.

When Jesus comes into our lives through repentance, baptism in His name, and filled with His Holy Spirit, He is our Passover Lamb.

Who is Jesus to you? What part does He have in your life?

‘If the house is not big enough for the lamb, invite your neighbors to share in that lamb.’ Others need to partake in the Lamb.

Jesus is too big for just one. He is for everyone.

I can’t forgive you for a wrong you did to another person. Only that person can forgive the wrong you did to them. Only God can forgive the sin that was done to Him.

We serve a great and awesome God.

He is the Lamb, the Shepherd, the door to the sheepfold.

Although Jesus died for all, only those who come to Him can receive that forgiveness. If you don’t partake of the Lamb, you can’t be saved. Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone wants what He has to offer. He is big enough to take away all of their sin. He’s not too small to take care of your situation or your sin. He is big enough for the whole world. This Lamb has to be shared with everyone.

What holds people back from receiving forgiveness and hope that Jesus offers? What holds you back from following Him fully all the time?

If everyone is our neighbor, we need to share the Lamb with our neighbor. The world needs to experience and partake of the Lamb.

Is Jesus just enough to take care of you? Or do you see Him as a Lamb that’s bigger than your house? Is He big enough for all for all of Chicago? There is no one too bad, that He isn’t bigger than.

God doesn’t just save you and then take you. It’s bigger than just you. He saves you for everyone that you come into contact with. He will get glory through you and your mistakes. He loves you and everyone else that much.

God had a plan—the Lamb.

Jesus was born in a manger, born in a stable and placed in a manger. He lived 33 years, died on a cross, and rose again. That is the Lamb given for you and me.

The number 1 reason people don’t become Christians is because no one ever asked.

78% of all non-churched people would come to a church service if a friend asked.

What holds you back from talking about Jesus to the people around you? Will you overcome that and invite them to ‘Come and see’?

It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus and everybody else. If you knew the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share that? The disease of sin is much worse than cancer. Jesus is the answer.

“Under the shadow of our steeple, With all the lost and lonely people, Searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me, Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?” —Mark Hall, lead singer for Casting Crowns

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Mark Blackburn.

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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It’s Not Common

Peter's_vision_of_the_sheet_with_animalsActs 10:9-20 “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 14 But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. 17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’”

Peter had been taught to not break God’s laws. He had never broken his kosher diet. A tradition and a belief stood in the way of what God was trying to do.

You have the ability to stop God from what He wants to do because of a way or pattern in your mind.

What patterns in your mind have kept God from what He wants to do in you and through you?

God had to tell Peter three times. God had cleansed these people. There was a mental block in Peter’s mind that had to do with people, not food. Peter was prejudiced. God addressed that through this vision, a distinction between clean and unclean food. This is very Jewish and Apostolic as well. There is a distinction between the holy and the unholy.

Common means ‘pertains to all’. This is opposed to ‘sacred’. The Lord ran against Peter’s previous training. Peter didn’t understand and didn’t want to eat that stuff. It was never really about food. It was about those souls, those people. Salvation came through the Jews, but God always wanted to reach everyone.

Peter had to do the preaching because angels don’t tell the gospel. They aren’t given that authority by God.

The salvation message must be brought by people. The message of salvation has been entrusted into human hands. Peter had something inside of him that God was dealing with.

Turn and shift whatever God is dealing with in you and see something amazing.

What shifts has God made in your mind and life? How has that changed the way you view yourself and everyone around you?

Lev 20:25-26 “You shall therefore distinguish between clean animals and unclean, between unclean birds and clean, and you shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or by any kind of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”

Acts 10:28 “Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’”

Jesus wanted to make sure that the Gentiles would be received by Peter. He wanted to get rid of that wall in Peter’s mind. Peter’s thought process could literally stop the flow of blessing on an entire family, an entire city, an entire nation.

Col 2:8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

If God has cleansed you, you are not common! You are precious. You belong to Him. God thinks you are worth dying for. You are worth saving!

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Don’t call it common if God has done something in your life. If you have been baptized in His name, filled with His Spirit, you are cleansed by His blood, not common, no longer unclean, bought and loved and cherished.

How do you look at your own past sin? Do you recognize that God has, indeed, cleansed you and you are washed, sanctified and justified? How can you use this as a witness to others of the joy and freedom you now experience?

The Ark of the Covenant was revered, sacred. Uzzah had seen the Ark every day for a while because it was in his father’s house. He became a little too familiar with the Ark, no longer special. This was never meant to be touched. Instead, it was to be carried on special poles.

What God has called sacred, don’t call it common. You are sacred now, don’t YOU be touching things that are unclean. 

To forget what God has done in your lives is wrong. Treat this as holy.

REMEMBER YOUR SINS…ARE UNDER THE BLOOD!

It’s wrong to take your thoughts and think evil of your brother or even yourself. If God has touched something, don’t you call it dirty.

Never come into the House of God with a common frown. You should look touched by God, because you have been, filled with the joy (calm delight) of salvation.

How is your attitude? Do you live in a way that shows the world that you’ve been touched by God? Are you displaying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control?

Psalm 21:1 “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!”

Rejoice means ‘to spin around under the influence of a violent emotion.’

Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.”

Hab 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Psalm 9:14 “That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.”

Rejoice—spin, sing, rescued, delivered.

If you want to see salvation (for someone else), stand still, but if you want to experience it, you’ve got to MOVE!

How is your daily ‘walk’ with Jesus? Do you lean on Him for your strength or try to do the ‘right thing’ in your own strength? Do you invite others to join you in your ‘walk’ with Jesus?

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment