I’m Offended

Mat 5:21-22 “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

The word offense is ‘scandelon,’ meaning a cage. Being offended is like being in a cage. It’s like peanut butter on a stick holding up a cage. The raccoon comes at night and chews on that stick and ends up trapped beneath the cage. Offense is a trap set up by the enemy of our soul. Anything that causes you to be offended will be a trap.

Paul said the old law will not work for today, but there’s a new law, a spirit of life. 

Rom 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

The spirit of Jesus is the Spirit of the law of life. There are people who have received that Spirit of Jesus, but who are bitter because of offense. 

James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

James 2:8-9, 12 “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”

Having respect of persons will condemn you. If you decide someone else is less than you, then you will not have this royal law. 

The reason this was dealt with so much in Scripture is because they were coming out of the old law, discrimination. James said to walk in this new law in order to be free. 

Heb 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

It’s not, ‘Follow peace with all men, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ ‘And holiness’ is part of that verse too. 

Jesus said divisions will come, disunity. This should not be so in God’s Kingdom. 

What are you following right now? If you follow the Spirit of Jesus, this liberty will free you from offense and bitterness. 

Bitterness eats up its container. 

Hatred destroys. Revenge destroys. A root of bitterness grows and turns into something very ugly. That’s why James says to follow the royal law, not allowing bitterness and offense. 

Mat 5:21-25 “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”

You can make your life a living hell because of a root of bitterness. 

Offenses are progressive. It starts out as an anger issue in your heart, but left unmanaged, unchecked, it will grow and get to a place of murder. 

Jesus said, Committing adultery is a sin, but even thinking about it causes it to grow and it’s the same thing. 

Get to a place where you can’t be offended. Offense is a strategy of the devil to cause you to be in bondage. 

You can get offended at God or others and you will have turmoil and mess up your life. 

You may not be able to ‘leave your gift at the altar and go and make it right,’ but you must repent and get rid of that stony heart. You’ve got to deal with your offense.

Mat 7:1-5 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Song of Solomon 2:15 “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

It’s the hidden things of the heart. 

Mat 15:19-20 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

You make such extreme efforts to avoid the virus in the global pandemic, washing hands, wearing masks, physical distancing, but do you avoid sin like this? 

Racism and people who are different from us, we can make fun of. We need to have a love for people like Jesus has. 

Bitterness is like a festering wound in your spirit. Clean out your heart from the spirit of offense. Take a moment and pray to be sure that you clear out any offense you might have deep in your heart and spirit. 

Prov 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What really stuck out at you in this sermon?
  2. How have you overcome offenses in the past?
  3. Read Rom 12:14-21. How do we ‘overcome evil with good’ in our daily lives? 
  4. How can you help others to work through offenses and finally overcome them?

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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Challenging Times

1 Sam 17:8-11 “And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.”

Sometimes, when you are blessed by God, a challenge comes and all hell breaks loose. 

Rom 7:21 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

There is always a challenge when we try to do good. We have to deal with our own selfishness, the world, or the devil. To gain ground against sin, the pressures of the world, and against all those things that are coming against you, you’ve got to fight. 

New levels bring new devils. The devil doesn’t want to give up ground.

How do we fight an invisible enemy? We fight with prayer, fasting, God’s Word, consistency in choosing God’s way over our own. 

There are people in Scripture that tried to challenge God’s people. Korah challenged Moses. He thought what Moses was doing wasn’t enough. Moses told him not to do this. Moses tried to help Korah. Challenging him was like challenging God. 

Moses prayed and came up with a plan to show everybody whom God had chosen. The ground opened up and swallowed Korah and his men alive. 

There is a challenge that is coming against the people of God in our world today. Jesus came to arrange our thinking. 

Mat 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus challenged His disciples. Examine not just the attitude but also what they were doing. Altitude is determined by attitude. How high are you willing to climb? The level of good isn’t good enough. The enemy of great is ‘good enough.’ The biggest obstacle to hearing the words, ‘Well done,’ is thinking, ‘this is good enough.’ 

We are not to compare ourselves. Don’t think that you are supposed to be better than others and do more. Works don’t save us. But, when we are saved, we are saved to do good works. Back in Bible times, when a soldier asked somebody to carry his stuff one mile, Jesus said that was what was obligated. Jesus asks us to go beyond and do more than what is asked of you. Go that second mile. ‘Good enough’ is not ‘good enough.’ 

God is not thrilled about your ability to do what is required of you. Checking off a list of ‘to-do’s’ doesn’t impress God. 

In areas such as prayer, what are you doing? What about separation and holiness? What about your attitude? What about outreach? Personal devotion? 

90% of the will of God is to do what you already know to do is right. The challenge from the Lord is do a little more. Is the church worth fighting for? 

On the other hand, some things aren’t worth fighting for. What’s going on behind the scenes? 

When it comes to evil encroaching, the gloves must come off. If you feel pressured and pulled, what are you waiting for? What do you need in order to recognize that the church is worth fighting for? 

Elijah had a battle with the prophets of Baal to see who had the greatest God. When each built an altar, the One who sent down fire to burn up the sacrifice was the greatest God. 

‘Contend for the Faith.’ 

In boxing, the champion always has a contender. 

There are two kinds of faith, obeying and believing faith, and ‘the Faith,’ the doctrine, teaching, the things we live in, living out what Jesus taught. This is the kind of faith we fight for. The fight should continue because some things are worth fighting for. 

Gideon was challenged by an angel sent from God. He was called ‘Mighty man of battle.’ He said, ‘You’ve got the wrong guy.’ The angel replied, ‘But the Lord is with you.’ Gideon replied, ‘If God is with me, why am I in bondage?’ The angel said, ‘Go in this thy might.’ This attitude of faith is what God was looking for. The first thing that Gideon did was tear down the altars of false gods. 

Judges 7:2-8 “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. 4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.”

Gideon and his men won against impossible odds. We serve a God who is Light. He’s everywhere present at the same time. He can go around the earth in a single second ten times. That’s how fast light moves. If we shout, God will do the rest. What is God requiring of you right now? 

It’s a crisis out there right now, but the Lord will give us victory. Our families and our church are worth fighting for. 

In the beginning, Saul wasn’t a bad guy. 

1 Sam 11:1-2 “Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. 2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.”

The evil Nahash wanted to keep the Israelites from being able to fight. 

1 Sam 11:3-7 “And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee. 4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept. 5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly. 7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.”

Saul had intentions to lead Israel to defeat the enemies. Saul wanted to fight for his people. So, he went and fought and won. 

How do we fight? 

Do something. Pray. Don’t just hop up on a hamster wheel. Do something that actually changes things. What good is it to do stuff if you don’t go with the Lord? If you do the right things and even though you’re not enough, if you put it into the Lord’s hands, He will multiply your efforts.

Are you able to pray? Are you able to read God’s Word? Are you able to post on FaceBook? Find something on YouTube that blessed you and post it. God will multiply it. Accept the challenge!

John F. Kennedy said, ‘In Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed to two symbols, one which means ‘danger’ and another which means ‘opportunity.’ 

Yes, there is danger, but there is also opportunity. If you have a dream from God, don’t let that dream die. There is opportunity. Learn the kind of faith that keeps the passion. Fight the good fight of faith. 

Winston Churchill said, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going!’ 

The devil will bring depression, point out your faults and failures, but he’s a deceiver. Jesus said, ‘He has come to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to bring you life.’ 

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

There are broken dreams, broken down walls of Jerusalem. The enemy has come and occupied and torn down the walls and your dream is dead and God has forgotten you. God has NOT forgotten you or forsaken you. He is looking for a Nehemiah that will rise up and rebuild the walls and recognize that our God is no weaker today than He was when He caused all those miracles. 

When the enemy comes in, like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. Challenging times require a response. Somebody must be willing to rebuild those walls, go further, do something that will change lives and that God will multiply. 

We may not be able to reach people physically, but we can pray, we can text people, we can make a phone call, we can encourage and love people. 

Be what God has called you to be. Do what God wants you to do. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What has been your biggest challenge during this COVID19 crisis?
  2. How has the Lord blessed you during this pandemic?
  3. Read Rom 12:18-21. What are the instructions in these verses? How can we respond to the current crisis with wisdom and love? 
  4. What are some specific things you can do to encourage someone else?

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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Mother’s Day Sermon

2 Tim 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

Rom 16:13 “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”

Paul mentioned Timothy’s mother and grandmother, not his father or grandfather. Integrity and faith were passed down through the matriarchs. 

Paul has frequently gotten a ‘bum wrap’ for being a male chauvinist, but here he mentions the significant role that women played in the church. 

So, Paul’s statement to Rufus in Romans 16 could be to two women, Rufus’s mother and his own, or it could be one woman whom Paul considered as a mother to him. What did Rufus’ mother do to cause Paul to feel this way? 

Mark says Simon of Cyrene was a black man who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. That man had two sons, Alexander and Rufus. Was that the same Rufus? If so, the wife of Simon was Rufus’s mother. A black woman, Paul considered as a mother to him. 

There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best. There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties. With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task. If the mechanic who is to work with ‘things’ must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school…how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God.” ~Anonymous

A mother changes with each child added. For the first child, the parent stares at the child just to look at him or her. For the second child, the mom makes sure the first child isn’t killing the second child. For the third, the parents tend to hide from the children. 

No matter how stressful it is, a mother keeps going. Without reward, mothers keep going. A mother knows what she is doing today will change the future of this person’s life. This is a picture of selfless love. 

The church is the mother of us all. Can the church be a picture of the love of Jesus to a world desperately in need? 

Gal 4:26 “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

The Bride of Christ is the church. 

Luke 8:21 “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”

The church is supposed to be those everlasting arms that wrap around us and love us. You may be weary and tired and running from mistakes in your past. You need change and connectedness. You don’t know who to trust. 

The church of Jesus is the refuge you are looking for. 

Politics have brought discouragement and panic. The possibility of chips inserted into our bodies can cause panic and fear. Was this COVID19 manufactured? 

How do you respond to fear? You can’t fight without the Lord. 

Of course, we don’t want to lose freedoms afforded by the constitution. Freedom doesn’t mean we won’t be attacked by other countries. 

Perhaps God has a better way to win these battles. Perhaps the way to defeat the enemy is to win them as friends. 

Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Madam, do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?’

Jesus is calling us to love our enemies and do all we can to win them to Him. 

The Old Testament had Cities of Refuge where fugitives could run and be safe. Blood was on his hands, but he had a place to escape to. Everyone was safe there. There was protection within its borders. 

Joshua 20:2-4 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: 3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.”

This was a picture of repentance. The fugitive admitted his crimes and was let in to that safe city. Today, we can repent of our sins to Jesus. 

Galilee was a City of Refuge. 

You’ve got to have a place to run. The church is meant to be a ‘City of Refuge.’ Peace will return to your heart when you find a city of refuge.

Psalm 46: 1-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. Come to Him. He makes wars to stop. He will be exalted in this world. The Lord is with us. He is our refuge. You will find Him in the church. Like a mother, the church will receive you. 

Deut 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

Refuge will fill your void. The church will fill your void emotionally, spiritually, socially. God will fill the void. 

Refuge is a shelter from danger or difficulty or a person who gives protection. This is a place where you are safe. 

Hagar’s love for Ishmael caused her not to want him to see her die. Samuel’s mom, Hannah, made him a coat every summer. Solomon found a mother who would rather let the false mother have the child than let that baby die. 

The true mother has love for the wayward, the sinner. 

Isa 25:4 “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

David understood the City of Refuge. He called the City of Refuge the Lord. 

Psalm 27:1-14 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. 9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. 11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

God is our shelter. 

Sometimes, you need a shelter that is stronger than your own abilities, like a shelter during a hail storm. The church will give her portion to the hungry and show love and comfort. 

Maybe you didn’t have a ‘Jocabed’ mother (the mother of Moses). 

Joel 1:3-4 “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”

You can be yourself and grow and change in the church. You can, through the mothering church, become who you were meant to be. 

Circumstances may have eaten away at your peace and sense of purpose, but God offers you total renewal and restoration. 

Joel 2:25-26 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.”

Come running to the church. There is hope for you today. God wants you to hear this. Hope is found in the church and in Jesus Christ. The arms of the body of Christ brings comfort like a momma. Amen! 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What is your idea of the ‘ideal mom’?
  2. If you are a mom, what has been your biggest challenge? How has your mom or a ‘mother figure’ ministered most to you? 
  3. Read Luke 1:26-38. What was Mary’s response to the angel? What can we learn from her? 
  4. How can you be a better mom or ‘mom figure’ or simply encourage someone else in the Lord?

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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Anxious for Nothing

Phil 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (KJV) “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” (TPT)

The greek word for ‘cares’ means ‘fears.’

We are all born with a fear of falling and fear of loud noises. But, other fears are learned. They are caught by us as we grow. Being anxious and fearful are things that we all deal with. 

Children need comfort at night time and storms and strange noises. As adults, we have overcome the ‘Boogie Man.’ But, we still get afraid of things. Your imagination can grip you and paralyze you with fear. 

It’s like putting a puzzle together. You can imagine what it looks like. If you don’t have the picture on the box, you imagine what it looks like. Fear is like that. You imagine what the outcome with be, yet you find out later that you were anxious for nothing. 

As you grow older, you no longer fear monsters in the closet, you fear friends talking about you behind your back. You imagine people are upset with you, but it’s not real. Anxiety comes in. 

When you get older, you think your spouse doesn’t appreciate you or you fear other things. 

Where is your focus? What are you looking at? Wherever your focus is determines your actions. If your focus is on the ‘wind and the waves,’ you will experience fear and anxiety. You will say and do things that are fear based. 

You’ve got to cast down those imaginations. The disciples asked Him, ‘Don’t You care?’

Their focus was on their situation. We can focus on our job or our finances or whatever and end up in fear. 

We want all things to work together for ‘my good,’ not just ‘good.’ ‘All things DO work together for good,’ but necessarily your personal good. God will use situations to reveal things that need to change in your life. Losing your job can cause you to be anxious or get closer to God. 

When Pastor was a young college student, he went to Lincoln Park’s zoo. The lion roared there. It was open, but separated from the people by a deep ditch. To the side, there is a place where the lion is at the same level with people with a large piece of glass separating. There is also a sign that says, ‘Do not tap on the glass.’ You can look the lion face to face, right in the eyes. If you excite the lion, she will try to scratch through the glass. 

He pounded on the glass trying to get the lion’s attention. The lion came up to the glass and stood up on its hind legs and scratched at the glass, roaring. Pastor’s focus went from the strength of the glass to the strength of the lion. He imagined he would be on the front page of the pager the next day, ‘Lion eats college student!’ 

Anxiety is the fruit, your focus is the root. 

What is your focus on?

If you have taken your focus off of God, you are anxious for nothing. If you have taken your focus off of God’s promises and power and protection, you are anxious for nothing. 

The Israelites, Caleb and Joshua saw the Promised Land and all its lush fruit. The ten other spies saw the big, scary soldiers. Joshua and Caleb focused on God’s power and remembered all that God had already done for them. 

The theme for 2020 is perfect vision. Who could have predicted this COVID19 pandemic? Who could have predicted that our pastor would be preaching to a camera instead of his congregation? 

It’s easy to get distracted by circumstances. It’s easy to say, ‘No, that won’t happen to me.’ Peter said, ‘I will never abandon You. No way!’ Jesus was like, ‘YHWH!’ When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied Him three times only a few hours later. 

Jesus said to the soldiers, ‘Who are you looking for?’ The soldiers responded, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus responded, ‘I AM,’ (YHWH). The soldiers all fell back flat on their backs.

The Assyrian army was coming to get Elisha. There was a time when they wanted to arrest Elijah and he called down fire upon all the soldiers. This happened twice and over 100 soldiers died. The third time, a smarter soldier, said, ‘Please come with us, don’t kill us,’ and Elijah went with them. 

When they came for Elisha, they brought a LOT of soldiers. Elisha’s servant was afraid. Elisha told him, ‘There are more with us than against us.’ The servant saw only the enemy. So, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes be opened. The servant was amazed and took his focus from the enemy and put it on the power of God. 

Jesus was not afraid.

There is anxiety going on right now. 

With the election coming, there are a lot of things happened. There are a lot of freedoms that will be lost following this pandemic. There are vaccines and microchips. This stuff is real, but keep your focus on Jesus and His Word. Don’t focus on the power of the enemy, but the power of God. Focus on the beauty and power of God. 

In the time of Shadrach, Meeshak, and Abednego, the government commanded them to worship a false god. They said, ‘No!’ 

An average adult can have up to 70,000 thoughts per day. The mind is always active. You are storing information and categorizing things constantly. What you ingest and what you allow to come into your mind, can pile up and cause anxiety. About 90% of the information from the world is toxic and creates anxiety, depression, discouragement. This affects your faith and your love for the Lord. When you get anxious or concerned about the enemy, it’s easy to spread. This is why the bad report spread so quickly among Israel when they first checked out the Promised Land. 

There is a remedy. There is a remedy that can carry us through anything.  

Mothers can dream up all kinds of terrible things that can happen to their babies. 

Fear can manifest as anger or offense. The enemy designed this to take our focus off of Jesus Christ. 

Work, eight hours of stress, then coming home and watching angry, aggressive, violent movies or listening to angry music can add to your mind’s imaginations. Entertainment is not wrong, but entertainment will affect you for good or evil. 

What is true? What is certain? What can we focus on? What can we talk about and spread? Let’s talk about things of God, beautiful things. 30 minutes of positive thinking can negate 4-6 hours of negative thinking. That’s why God said to pray three times a day. 

God’s Spirit is like a river moving and flowing. 30 minutes in these waters will get your brain washed and clean and filled with love and peace and hope again. 

Thoughts are the place where God will speak to you or Satan will speak to you. What does God’s voice sound like in prayer to you? What does He talk about? What happens to you when you hear His voice? When you hear Satan’s voice? Do you recognize the Lord? Do you recognize the voice of the enemy? 

Satan tried to place thoughts in Jesus’ head during His temptation. Who are You, really? 

‘Cast your anxiety on the Lord because He cares for you.’ 

Are you thankful that God cares for you? Cast your worries on Him. You go to sleep and let Him stay up all night. The hand of the Lord is close. 

‘The Lord is near.’ 

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Don’t have fear, don’t have anxiety. Humble yourself. Get rid of ‘I’ in you. Get your focus off yourself and onto Jesus. This is our day, our moment as a church. This is our moment to spread the gospel. 

Don’t fear what man can do. All man can do is kill your body. God has power over your soul and He cares about you. Remember He’s got a good plan. Be anxious for nothing. 

What are you fearing right now? Can you ‘cast it on the Lord’? 

Cast all of your cares, not just the ones that you think you can’t handle, cast ALL of them on Him. Let go of your worries and trust Jesus. If you endure, there is a good end that Jesus promises you. 

During the persecution of the early church, when they were scattered, the gospel spread throughout the world.  

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What was your biggest fear when you were little?
  2. What ‘rattles’ you now? How do you combat that fear? How has this sermon helped you? 
  3. Read Psalm 23. What is your ‘the valley of the shadow of death’? How do these verses and the sermon help you? What is the new perspective on anxiety that Jesus wants you to have? 
  4. How can you encourage yourself to adopt an ‘anxious for nothing’ mindset? How can you help others in this too?

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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Road to Pentecost

John 20:19 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus’ purpose was complete with Pentecost. The cross is not complete without Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Ghost, the new birth experience. This is to teach us what we have in Jesus Christ.

The annual calendar of the Jews in springtime is the beginning of the Jewish year. This was when Jesus came into the city on a donkey, coming as King of kings and as the Lamb of God. 

Lev 23, the seven feasts have so much. 

Passover is the first of the annual feasts. This was looking forward to Pentecost. They began cleaning their homes, spring cleaning, just as the people grabbed their things in preparation to leave Egypt. Just as then, now, we need to do a spiritual spring cleaning. 

Seven Feasts: 

  1. Passover—remembering the lamb being slain in place of the first born, Jesus dying for our sins, repentance 
  2. Unleavened Bread—representing Jesus’ body broken for us, seven days eating unleavened bread remembering their journey out of Egypt, purge out the old leaven and become new in Jesus. 
  3. First Fruits—remember their coming out of the Red Sea (finally out of Egypt) on the other side with their enemies buried under the water. Technically, the Israelites were still in Egypt until they went through the Red Sea. They came out victorious over Pharaoh’s army. Always begins after the Sabbath after Passover, Sunday, (when Jesus came out of the tomb). We are included with His resurrection and the hope and the promise to follow. We are the continuation of the church of the 1st century. 
  4. Pentecost—4th Feast in the spring of the year, remembering the giving of the Law, on Mt. Sinai, approximately 50 days after the First Fruits, they count 7 Sabbaths plus one day. So, on the Day of Pentecost, the fire descended and instead of writing the Law on tables of stone, Jesus wrote His law on our hearts. It’s not the letter of the law, it’s the Spirit of God in us. We obey out of joy and excitement. 
  5. Trumpets—this takes place in the fall, this is another call to repentance. Trumpets look ahead to the Atonement. These are yet to be fulfilled. This represents the rapture. 
  6. Atonement—remembering what it took to save us from our sins. This is a purging of the sin and a complete cleansing of the world. 
  7. Tabernacles—remembering their wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, God’s Kingdom finally established. 

We are on the road to Pentecost. Sunday, the first day of the week, God chose to pour out His Spirit. Jesus showed up out of the tomb on Sunday. The first Sunday Jesus showed up to the apostles. It was on Sunday that Jesus showed up to Thomas, then on another Sunday, His Spirit was poured out. 

The menorah is hollow, filled with oil, we’ve got to be filled with Jesus’ Spirit (symbolized by oil). This is for us. 

Don’t miss the plan of God for your life. Starting with faith in the blood, repentance of your heart, and letting that blood be applied to your life. Jesus has already shed His blood for you. Don’t stop there, walk out in repentance and follow Jesus to the Red Sea and get to the waters of baptism in Jesus’ Name and let that authority of ‘Egypt’ be drowned in your life. Through baptism, we have those sins buried, the enemy of our soul buried. 

Rom 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” 

Don’t stop there, keep going on to Pentecost. Don’t be sorrowful, enjoy the personal presence of God. Enjoy God’s time that He gave you. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What struck you most about the sermon and why? 
  2. How can you apply this sermon to your life?
  3. Read John 14:6 and Acts 2:38. Are you following Jesus’ way? Do you walk in His truth? Is He your life? What do you need to challenge in yourself to change and/or go deeper/further in your relationship with Jesus?
  4. During this COVID19 pandemic, based on the sermon how can you encourage yourself and others with the hope of Jesus?

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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The Mind of an Overcomer

Rom 12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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

One of the villains in the Batman universe is Scarecrow. He is a psychologist and his greatest weapon is turning the mind against itself. Professor Crane (Scarecrow) said, ‘I respect the mind over the body.’ 

For a horse, if you control the head, you control the body.  This is true for your own mind, get control of your own mind and you will see changes.  

It all starts with the mind. 

“At the age of 18, I made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life. I dove into an endless sea of gratitude from which I’ve never emerged.” —Patch Adams MD

William James said, ‘Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.’

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

In natural childbirth, it’s best if the head comes first. In the spiritual new birth, the mind comes first. As the mind goes, so goes the rest of you.

The mind of an overcomer is checked and isn’t burdened with sin. 

Eph 4:22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Rom 8:5 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

‘You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will have strength.’ —Marcus Arealius

Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Realize we are not in control of what’s going on outside of us. We can’t control our circumstances, but we do have power over our own minds. Once we realize this, we will find strength. 

Worry is faith in God’s ability to fail.

Luke 12:22-30 “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.”

Worry dominates the thoughts of unbelievers. 

Why do people panic-buy? It’s because they’re dominated by worry. 

We think we know what to do, but God DOES know. He knows what we really need.

Luke 12:31-32 “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

You will not run out because God is taking care of you. A little bread and a little fish will feed thousands. An overcoming mind knows that God is able.

Phil 4:4-9 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

You have the power to make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven in your mind. You have a choice in what your attitude is. Will you have the mind of an overcomer? Will you focus on Jesus? on the Kingdom of God? on the good things? 

Job 1:20 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Job had EVERYTHING taken away, but he still chose to praise God. 

When faced with adversity, the mind of an overcomer doesn’t accept failure. Job grieved for awhile, but he didn’t stay there. 

If you beg God for your need and get it, you will beg God for the rest of your life. If you praise God for your need and you get it, you will praise Him for the rest of your life. 

Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

These are not three wills of God. It’s one will—all good, acceptable, and perfect. 

You have got to get real with yourself and with God in order to test your own thoughts. If you want things to change, you’ve got to address those things that keep you from having the mind of an overcomer. There is an opportunity to hit the reset button and have the mind of an overcomer. It is your choice. 

Lord, try me and know my thoughts. 

The weapons of our warfare aren’t guns, but worship and praise. 

2 Cor 10:4-5 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

These ‘strongholds’ aren’t necessarily satanic, it’s also the fleshly strongholds in our minds. If we cast down those imaginations and seek God, we’ll have that mind of an overcomer. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What thoughts/attitudes do you need to challenge daily? 
  2. How has this sermon challenged your thinking? Why? What do you need to change?
  3. Read Psalm 118:1-9. What do these verses say about gratitude and trust? How can you apply this to your life? 
  4. How can you reach out and bless someone else?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Michael Lagle. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

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Easter Service

We don’t shelter-in-place out of fear. We do it out of wisdom. We don’t tempt God by being irresponsible. We act with wisdom by washing our hands, sheltering-at-home, and social distancing. 

Mat 28:6-7 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When they went into the tomb, they saw an angel. There was some grave clothes in a pile and the napkin that was on Jesus’ face was folded up. 

John 20:7 “And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”

The stone wasn’t rolled away so Jesus could get out, it was so Mary and the other disciples could get in. So, Peter and John ran to see if Mary was telling the truth. Peter went inside and saw the linen cloth lying there. 

In order to understand this ‘folded napkin,’ we need to understand Jewish tradition. 

Meals were done exactly as the head of the house wanted it. While the head was eating, the servant would not touch the table. When he was done, he wiped his face with a napkin, and wadded it up and threw it on the table. That was the sign that he was finished with his meal. But, if the master wanted to get up for whatever reason, he would communicate that he was coming back by folding his napkin. This communicated, ‘Don’t take the food,’ through a folded napkin. 

Back then, the message, ‘Don’t take the food,’ was a folded napkin, placed where the master was eating. Jesus got up, resurrected, and knowing this custom, He folded the cloth that covered his face. This meant that He would be back. Peter saw this and recognized it. Jesus is coming back for His faithful servants. Jesus said, ‘I’ll be back.’ Even though Jesus said on the cross, ‘It is finished,’ He is coming back.

Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

Why is christianity different? Because of the empty tomb! Founders of other religions have tombs with their bodies still in them. Only Jesus is not in His tomb.

  1. Jesus is a documented historical figure. This is practically universally accepted, including non-christian historians, even hostile historians agree that Jesus actually lived. This is documented as fact. The historical accuracy of the New Testament has been verified over and over again. 
  2. Jesus died. Of course if He lived, he died. Death is a fact of life. Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” This is also documented historically. Also, he was hanged on Passover for misleading the people. An ancient Roman historian, writing 115 AD, wrote ‘Their [christians’] originator, Christ, had been executed by Pontius Pilot.’
  3. They could not produce the body of Jesus Christ. The tomb was empty. It was also published that somebody circulated that the tomb was empty. Mat 28:13 “Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” To refute the claim that Jesus rose again, wouldn’t it have been easier to just produce a body? How hard would it really be to find a hidden body, especially with all the zeal by His enemies? 

Peter preached that the outpouring of the Spirit is a result of Jesus being raised from the dead. 

Acts 2:32 “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

Paul said his hope wasn’t just in this life. 

Rom 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostles preach that the love of God and the salvation of God were all in the cross. 

Paul was determined to not know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He was a brilliant man. 

1 Cor 1:21-24 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

There was a last supper. 

Mat 26:26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”

Instead of reciting what is normally said, Jesus changed it, ‘this is my body.’ Jesus was saying, ‘I’m the temple. 

Mat 26:27-28 “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

We partake in communion. It’s not about the bread so much as it’s about remembering what Jesus did for us. Communion is symbolic of the partaking of the Passover meal that Jesus did with His disciples before He died. 

There is a warning that whoever drinks guiltily will be cursed. It’s the telling of the Cross. Communion is telling, reliving, the story of what Jesus did. 

1 Cor 11:27-32 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

If you do this in an unworthy manner, irreverently, not concerned about the truth of this, there are consequences. 

Jesus said, ‘When you do this, do it in remembrance of Me.’

Jesus rose again and that is a beautiful story, but it is also beautiful the story of the Cross. An examination takes place. Repent of sins and do that today. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Jesus was beat with a whip that had glass embedded in it to cut His back more. Jesus was hung naked in front of everybody. He took our shame. He paid our debt. For our wrong thoughts, we have blood. He was wounded for our iniquities. 

In Passover celebrations, children would ask four questions. One was, ‘Why is this night different from any other night?’ There are four times that they drink from the cup and lift up the bread. 

Jesus lifted up the bread and broke it. Jesus Himself, raised Himself. It was His body that was broken. 

There were four cups lifted up, the third cup was the cup of redemption. Jesus said that He wouldn’t drink again until we meet Him in heaven. 

Heb 6:1-3 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.”

The Israelites’ sins were transmitted onto the sacrificed animals through laying on of hands onto the animal. Moses transmitted leadership to Joshua through touch. We can have that same transmission through the sacrifice of Jesus, our sins for His sinlessness. 

We’re not worthy, but Jesus took on our sin. The blood is applied through water baptism in Jesus’ name. We receive His Spirit through Holy Ghost baptism, all because of Calvary, everything Jesus did for us. Remember. 

Every bit of sin and shame was removed because of what Jesus did! 

Faith is really trusting completely in Jesus and what He did. There is an exchange that must be made. We must make the exchange or our will for His will. He made the exchange for us, He took our sins, so we wouldn’t be condemned. If we fail to exchange our own will for His will, His character, His way. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What did you do to celebrate Easter in light of COVID19? Were you able to watch a service online? How are you adjusting to these changes?
  2. What struck you the most in the sermon above? Why?
  3. Read Psalm 27. If you think of SIN as your enemy, how can you apply these verses to yourself? Taking these verses and the sermon above, what is our part in overcoming fear? What has Jesus already done for us?
  4. How can we better encourage ourselves to walk with Jesus (in His Spirit) every day and encourage others? 

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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s New Wine

Luke 5:36-39 “And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”

New wine must be put into new bottles. God is trying to do something new in us. We can’t receive that unless we are properly positioned. 

Isa 43:1-2, 18-19 “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

In Bible days, a bladder was used to make wine. There was a process of allowing the sediment to settle and pour it out over and over again getting rid of the waste. The new wine needed to be strained. As the fermentation process took place, gasses released caused it to expand. Therefore, a new container was needed for new wine. An old container simply didn’t have the elasticity required. 

Jer 48:11 “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

God used the analogy of wine ‘settled on his lees’. It needed to go through a necessary process. God was saying Moab was complacent and not desiring the Lord. God wasn’t pleased with them. 

The process of pouring out over and over and not allowing the wine to settle, was necessary to improve the taste. 

This process is what God is doing with the church today. The Lord wants His church to continuously change, not our doctrine, but as people to daily change to become more and more like Jesus. He intends for us to be always growing more in Him. It’s all about challenges to change us and grow us as His own. These things challenge us to grow.

Right now, God wants this church and the body of Christ to grow and let go of some things. We settle in certain practices. God can’t do something new if we are settled. The old wine skin can’t handle the new wine. He is putting us in a new container. 

2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

God’s glory ought to be reflected in us. We go from victory to victory, from revelation to revelation. It’s not the fear of death that will change you. Sometimes, fear brings us to God, but fear will not change us. 

It’s God’s love that changes us. God never uses the spirit of fear to teach us a lesson. He loves us. We must fight this fear. We are not to reject the promises and the Word of God and say they aren’t for us. God has already warned us of things to come. This is so we wouldn’t be afraid. We are to preach the gospel—the good news. 

Rev 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

Forget 5G and the Coronavirus and do what the church is supposed to do. Jesus Christ died for YOUR sins. His mercy and love is toward you in all this chaos. In the end of it all, the tender mercies of God is for you. 

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

In all of that process of Job, the end was God’s tender mercies. Job lost his health for a season. Job lost people close to him. Then, the media came and criticized him, no, his friends came and criticized him. God had all of that planned out because of the end that He had in mind. 

Here we are in the middle, not at the end, but in the middle God is trying to talk to us. He has an end in mind. He wants us to be the way He created us to be. Christ was an example of what a child of God is to think like, act like, be like. 

Jesus loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. He wants you to change. He wants you to abide in Him. 

When we talk about wine, grape juice is really what it is. It’s all about Him being the vine and we are the branches. The branches is where the juice comes from. We must be part of the vine so that juice can grow and be produced properly. Branches are pruned and then the new shoots come out. Grapes don’t grow on the same branch twice. We must be constantly pruned. Change is part of this whole process. In order for new wine to happen, there must be new branches. 

If God is doing something new in your life, God wants to show you something new, to renew your mind, to reflect Himself. 

What are some reasons why we can’t change? Why do we need to change? It’s so we can experience something new. We can’t experience new things in our old selves. 

  1. Slave Mentality, ‘I am a victim, diseased, a slave, not free.’ You can’t receive change if you have this mentality. If you identify with slavery and bondage, you can’t be set free. ‘I’ll always be this way, so these promises are not for me.’ You dig your heals in. Being a victim for so long, you can’t fathom any other reality. In Exodus 6:5-9 “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.” They wouldn’t listen because of their own anguish. They couldn’t even hear the good news of their freedom. It’s doubt. You can’t hear that God is for you. Your whole focus is on suffering, disaster, bondage. God needs to change your mentality. Remember Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” This is the mentality that God wants for us. ‘I will RISE! God is a LIGHT to me!’ You can’t have new wine in an old mentality. Jesus constantly challenged that mentality.
  2. Religion and Tradition will stop a new thing from coming into your life. We must be continually moving. We must be pliable and flexible in God. We must be willing and able to move with the Spirit of God. We’ve got to be like soft clay in His hands. Don’t get stuck in our religious ways. Don’t let yourself get stale. 

The verse in Hebrews where it says, ‘Don’t forsake the gathering together,’ was written when persecution was happening and they couldn’t gather together without risking their lives. Right now, we are not being persecuted. This is the Lord speaking to us and changing us and drawing us to Himself. 

Tradition, without caring about the purpose of these traditions, can cause us to miss what God has for us in these new days. 

You can fight the voice of God that tries to change you. There is a mentality of conforming to the ways of this world. We must beware of that. God wants to purify and cleanse us and to make something new and create a vessel worthy of the Master. 

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Prov 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Guard and protect your thought life. When we present our bodies to Jesus, that includes our minds—our thought life. 

Prov 4:24-26 “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”

Watch what you say, what you see, where you go. Choose carefully. 

When you change your thoughts, you change your attitudes; when you change your attitudes, you change your actions; when you change your actions, you change your destiny. 

We are on our way to heaven—our destiny. In order for that to happen, we’ve got to change our actions. In order for that to happen, we must have the right attitudes. In order to change your attitude, you’ve got to change your thoughts. 

God is doing something new and different. God wants you to change you. This is why daily spending time with Him through His Word and prayer is so important. 

The end result is a loving God and a tender, merciful God transforming His people to reach this lost world. 

Submit to whatever Jesus has for you. Ask Him what He wants and then do it. How can I respond to what God is asking me to do right now? We can’t go out in this quarantine time, but what does God want us to do instead? God’s Spirit is not bound by a building. His Spirit is all-powerful.

Let us be more like Him and to have a mentality that is in line with His and the change that He is working in our lives. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What are some of your daily habits? 
  2. What are some new habits you want to form in your life? Why?
  3. Read Phil 4:1-13. What is the thinking that Paul is encouraging here? How is he an example? What do you need to change in your own life?
  4. In light of the crazy times now, what creative ways can you encourage people? 

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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A Song in the Night

Acts 16:16 “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

Paul and Silas did something when they were doing what God wanted and the world hit them hard. They prayed and praised God, and the other prisoners heard them. 

Acts 16:26 “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

The church can set everyone free. The middle of the night can be a time to be depressed or a time to praise God.

Spiritually, darkness is a time for fear or questioning, things are unfair. Paul and Silas chose to sing. In the darkness, you may feel like things were taken from you. Paul felt a song. Silas felt it was time to praise. You may feel so burdened. You may be one song away from the presence of the Lord. ‘In the presence of the Lord, there is liberty.’ 

It was at Men’s Camp that I realized how noisy birds are when it is still extremely dark. Why do the birds sing before the dawn? The Lord said, ‘They’re singing of the coming sunshine.’ 

Why do birds sing in the night? They know the sun is about to rise. Even though they couldn’t see the worms, there was something that caused them to sing because they knew what was coming—the dawn. 

There is something innate in a bird that tells that something good is coming. In us, that something in us is faith. ‘I know that my Redeemer lives. He is more powerful than what is going on.’

Mal 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”

Luke 1:78-79 “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Dayspring is that which is rising up within me. In the ‘night,’ faith rises up, leading us to peace.  

Isa 60:1-3 “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

Sunrise is a quiet, tranquil beauty. It’s a new day. The darkness is over. The sun is rising up over our lives. 

The beginning of a new day is not midnight, it’s at the crack of dawn. 

There’s a place in Georgia called Stone Mountain. There’s a statue of a barefoot, confederate soldier whose caption reads, ‘Men who saw night coming down on them could somehow act as if they stood at the edge of dawn.’

What do you do at the edge of dawn? You give praise to God.

Job 35:10 “But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;”

Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.”

Isa 30:29 “Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.”

There is a place for those who criticize. It doesn’t always happen the way we envision it. When darkness closes in around us, can we be ready to sing a song to the Lord? 

‘I love you, I really love You. I will try to live my life to show it too. I really love You.’

Lam 3:40-41 “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”

The next levels of praise involve making music to the Lord through instruments and singing. 

Shout!

47:1 “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”

Sometimes, we have to engage the enemy, but we start with victory. We start and end with victory. We win. That’s how we engage. It’s not a cry for help, it’s victory.

Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”

Isa 12:6 “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

How big you see your God is how much you praise Him. We don’t need somebody to get a point in a game in order to shout.

1 Chron 16:25 “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.”

Psalm 63:7 “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”

When engaging a lion, the instructions are to stand still and shout (not in fear, but in victory). This causes confusion and fear in the enemy. Your shout will cause walls to fall down. That’s how we engage the enemy. 

Another level is ‘zamar’ playing music, touching strings and worshipping with all kinds of instruments, ‘to strike with the fingers,’ ‘to celebrate in song and in music.’ 

Where do you want God to be King in your life? When you yield up everything to Him, lift up a song of genuine praise to God. Then, God will activate His promises. His Spirit is released. God will set the prisoners free.

Isa 43:18-21 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”

Don’t dwell on the past. We are in a desert place, but that’s the time to praise the Lord. God is still our refuge. It’s time to sing a song of praise to God. It’s not about how good you sound, it’s about your praise. 

Our song of praise is powerful. It can bring water into the desert, it can set chains loose. It brings us into the very presence of God. 

Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

2 Chron 20:21-22 “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.”

Nighttime is hard for people. We are not the people of the dark. We’re people of the Light. 

In the dark, there is fear. People lash out. God will take care of things in times of darkness. We are called to trust Him and let Him do what He does best—be Who and What He is. 

When it’s time to praise God, singing should be a part of it. Praise, prayer, kneeling, worship, singing, music should be a part of it. God literally inhabits the singing, the worship. 

‘What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.’ 

Turn on the Light. We flip that switch by singing praises to Jesus. Let there be a song in your heart to Jesus. The dawn is coming. 

2 Chron 7:13-14 “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

This is what we need to do going forward. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What is your favorite worship song and why?
  2. What helps you to relieve stress? What are some of your coping strategies? Are they consistent with God’s Word? 
  3. Read Psalm 42:1-8. How does the psalmist deal with his depression? What can we copy and learn from him?
  4. How can you reach out and bless someone else?

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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Peace in the Pandemic

Mark 4:35-40 “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”

In recorded history, in that time, there has only been about 8% of that time has there been peace. Men have tried to have peace by way of rules, laws, and peace-keeping efforts. Within this last century, we’ve endeavored to align nations for the purpose of peace. There is still as much turmoil as when Ishmael was pushing Isaac around in Abraham’s living room. 

People have tried yoga and meditation to have personal peace. God’s way of meditation is filling your mind with His Word and your heart with His Spirit. 

Peace means ‘freedom for war, civil strife’ and ‘an undisturbed state of mind, rest from worry and fear, serenity.’ 

When the anti-christ regime reigns, there will still not be peace. There will not be an end to the troubles and trials of life. Outward peace is not coming. That is not very good news.

However, peace is available. 

A retired couple studied the world to find the most peaceful place. It turned out to be the Falkland Islands. Only a few months later, war broke out and their new home became a battle ground. 

Everyone has a problem, is a problem, lives with a problem, etc. 

There is still a peace that passes all understanding. 

We look out in the natural world for hope and peace. Instead of looking out, look up. Just a short distance away, lift your eyes up to the Lord. 

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Are you in this world, but not of this world? 

Isaiah 9:6 says He is ‘the Prince of Peace.’ Jesus is the Author of Peace. He brings peace to hearts and troubled spirits. 

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You can’t have the peace OF God without first having peace WITH God. 

Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. The punishment that brought us peace was on Him. 

Rom 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Eph 2:14 “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

Eph 2:17 “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

Col 1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Ralf Waldo Emerson said, ‘The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him [,] not the storm without.’

Jesus said to the storm, ‘Be muzzled,’ silencing the fear. 

When Jesus was woken He was more upset with His disciples than with the storm. If God doesn’t calm the storm around us, let Him calm the storm within us. We are commanded to control the storm internally. 

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” 

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”

Worry can cause so much damage. It can lead us outside of trust in God. It slows productivity. It can cause us to treat others poorly. We have a responsibility of concern for others. This is different from ‘worry.’ 

Concern says, ‘I will wash my hands, pray, quarantine myself.’ There is a line crossed when you worry. Worry controls you. You want to sleep, but worry keeps you from rest. That’s no longer concern. Worry does not please God. 

If you want to please God, you need peace in this pandemic. Believe that God will provide. 

Phil 4:6-9 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Worry is a Peace-Thief. The peace of God is found in the presence of God. 

If you don’t have peace, you either have unreported of sin or a misunderstanding and need to seek the presence of God. Do what you need to do in order to have peace with God, repent, get rid of sin. Then, seek Him and trust Him. Yield all control to God. 

Bowing to something other than God is something that the devil has been wanting us to do for a long time. Worry is actually bowing to the spirit of fear.

Living during the Black Death, 75 million people were killed. Fear of death rises. 

If you’ve never been afraid before, why start now? The devil has always been trying to get people to bow to him. 

King Nebuchadnezzar tried to force people to bow or die. Three Hebrew children refused and God was glorified. In the story of Esther, Mordecai refused to bow and Naaman was obsessed with forcing him. In the end, Naaman was hung on the scaffolding he meant for Mordecai.  

We must not bow to anything that comes against the peace of God. Jesus will satisfy our every need. 

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The opposite of fear is peace.

Isa 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:”

You can bring God’s presence into your home through praise and worship and reading His Word. Fill your mind with His Word. Let God’s Spirit push out the darkness. 

The lesson wasn’t how to stop the storm, it was how to sleep through the storm!

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Heb 6:17-19 “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

When God says something, it happens. He can’t lie. Even if something wasn’t before He spoke, as He starts speaking, it begins to be. The anchor still holds. 

In the catacombs in Rome, there are many symbols of Christians hiding there, a dove, a fish, and an anchor. The anchor came from the idea that Christians were going through difficult times. It was a symbol of hope. At least 66 pictures of anchors are found in those catacombs. 

There was really no warning of this global pandemic. Without question, every soul needs an anchor. This will hold firm while the winds blow. If anything is strong, it should be our anchor of hope in God. 

God is faithful. Though we have no idea what will happen, we can trust that God is still in control. 

Don’t worry about the wrath of God and the tribulation. We will go to be with Him. He cares for us. He loves us. God is faithful. 

Rom 8:24-25 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

If you can see your anchor, it’s not in the water. If you can see your hope, then it’s not where it’s supposed to be. The anchor will hold, but put it where it needs to be. Trust God. He is faithful. He will never fail. 

The raging seas of uncertainty do not need to enter your home or your heart. 

The Word of God will help fight those things that want to take your peace. Psalms brings great comfort. 

Psalm 107:23-31 “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. 28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Psalm 89:9 “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.”

There’s a story of a lady who was fearful every night because she thought there was someone under her bed. Her pastor said, ‘Tonight, when that happens, pray and ask God what to do.’ A few days later, she called the pastor and said, ‘I’m not afraid anymore.’ He said, ‘What did God say to do?’ She replied, ‘He told me to cut off the legs of my bed so no-one but Jesus could get under there.’ 

If you silence every voice, you’ll hear Jesus say, ‘Peace, be still.’  

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When was the last time you were really sick? How did you handle it? Who took care of you? How long until you felt ‘like yourself’ again? 
  2. What are the ‘bed legs’ that you need to cut off in your life in order to eliminate fear? Have you put your ‘anchor’ into the water yet?  If not, what is holding you back? 
  3. Read Psalm 23. What does the Shepherd do for you in these verses? How does this comfort you? 
  4. How can you encourage someone else in the midst of this pandemic? 

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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment