Reaching the unseen

REACHING THE UNSEEN IN 2016

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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 144 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

MISSION

Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

VISION STATEMENT

Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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We welcome you to see our New Website. http://sermonstotheworld.org

Saturday, April 30, 2016

THE SECRET OF ONE



THE SECRET OF ONE
by Pastor Mark Taylor

In I Kings 17: 8-16 God has given us an event in the life of the prophet Elijah.  In this event, God choose one person to make a big difference in the life of Elijah.

The Lord told Elijah that He had chosen a poor widow woman who had a young son to take care of him during a famine.  She was probably the most unlikely person to take care of someone else because she could not even take care of herself and her son.

When Elijah arrived at her village she was gathering sticks to cook one last meal for her and her son and then she would be completely out of food.  Elijah asked her for a drink of water, which was also scarce at that time.  The woman turn to go and find him a cup of water, and then Elijah stopped her and ask her for a small amount of bread.

The widow women, told Elijah that she only had enough food for one more meal for her and her son and that the two sticks she had was to build a fire to cook their last meal.

Then Elijah told her if she would do this one act of faith that God would bless her for many days.

There are a lot of “ones” in this message to us from God’s Word.  

First of all, there was “one” prophet.  At times He felt he was the only one left that was serving God. 

“And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” (I Kings 19:14). The Lord reminded Him, that he was not alone, that there were seven thousand other people who were still serving Him.

Maybe you feel you are the only one left trying to live right and do right.  The Lord Jesus’ message to you is that is that you are not alone.  “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”   (Matthew 28:20).

Another “one” in this story was the widow woman.  She probably felt she has fail in her life and had fail her son, because they both would soon die of hunger and there was nothing she could do about it.  What she did not know was that God was preparing a way for her to meet her needs. “For your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:8.

Then there was the “one barrel” and “one cup”.  Before Elijah got to this ladies house, they were almost empty.  After she  did what the Lord told her to do, both of them were full.  

You may not think you have much today to offer the Lord.  You may be “hanging on by a thread”.  But you still have “one thing” more you can do, one more prayer you can pray, and one more promise from God’s Word you can depend upon.

The secret of “One” is that you and God are a majority.  You have all the resources of Heaven on your side. You can become God’s partner in accomplishing things on Earth that God wants to do. You are only “one” person, but you can allow God to use you to meet the needs of another person who feels that they are only one.
A young boy went to hear the Lord Jesus speak.  He was not expecting that the little that he had could be used to bless so many.   Even the disciples did not feel he had anything to contribute. He was just one little boy.  “There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fish: but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9).  The bread and fish did not seem like much, but when Jesus blessed it, five thousand men were fed, not counting the great number of women and children.
The Lord Jesus observed a poor widow giving two of her last coins into the offering at the temple.    “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,  and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.  So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;  for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21: 1-4).
God likes to use individuals.  He likes to take “one” person to accomplish things for His glory and to meet the needs of others.  And when He chooses that “one” person, it is usually the person who others would be dismissed as weak or unable to perform the task.
Think of all the people in the Bible that God called individually to do a job.  One man named Noah decided to live a righteous life, and he saved humanity. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.. and the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth...But Noah, found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  And Noah did  according unto all that the Lord commanded him.” (Genesis 6: 5,7,8, 22). 
One boy named David, killed a giant military  soldier  who was 9’6” tall and changed the history of his country.  David told him: “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied”  (I Samuel 17:45).  
He is drawn to people who are weak and admit it, and who ask for help from Heaven.  “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”   (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  The secret of “one” is that God loves you.  You are special to Him.  Even if you have been away from God, He is looking for you today.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”  (Luke 15:4-7).

Friday, April 22, 2016

HANDS THAT ARE TOO FULL



“HANDS THAT ARE TOO FULL”
BY PASTOR MARK TAYLOR

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. (Luke 14:18)

In Luke 14: 16-24 the Lord Jesus tells us of a king who invited several people to a great supper.  They all begin to make excuses why they could not come.  They were all too busy.  This is a message to us that we can also be too busy and not have the right priorities in our lives.

There are spiritual applications of these scriptures that apply to Salvation.  Everyone is invited to come to the the Lord Jesus for Salvation, but many people have excuses why they can’t come to the Lord right now.  This message is to Christians who are called by the Lord to serve Him with their abilities and talents the Lord has given them, but they make excuses why they can not serve Him.

Suppose a father asks his son to do something for him .  The son replies: "Father I have something in my hands.  When I am finished with what is in my hands I will do what you want me to do."  If the son really cares about His father's needs, He will put down the somethings in his hand.

It is hard for God to find someone who does not have His hands full.  Our hands can only hold so much stuff.  Therefore if there are already things in our hands, we cannot take up new things without putting down the other things.

There will be times when our Heavenly Father asks us to do something for Him within those gifts and abilities He has given us.   It may be something as simple as giving a cup of cold water in Jesus's name - some small act of kindness.  Or it may be something that requires a good deal of effort and energy on our part.  Often the request from Him is something that only we can do, and if we do not do it, it will not get done.

So how do we respond?  Do we do like the young man did, because he had too many things in his hands?  Do we tell our Heavenly Father that we will get around to it when our hands are empty?  Or do we lay down those other things, and there will always be "other things"?  

A person’s strength is limited.  No one has an unlimited supply of mental or physical energy.  A man's emotions are limited.  We cannot continue to use up our emotional strength on things we cannot change.  If a person uses up all their physical strength, emotional strength, and mental energy for causes that mean nothing, then there is nothing left for God when He is in need of your service to Him and others.

We are all here because God has been good to us.  He has given us health.  He has given us good careers, good spouses, children, and friends.  He has given us an abundance of financial blessings to enjoy.  Our Heavenly Father has also put in us gifts and abilities that other people are still trying to develop, or will never develop.

There will be times that you are like a fireman at the fire station.  The Lord wants you to just sit around at the station and learn how to be a better fire fighter, until there is an emergency and then He sends you out on a call.  There are times when He gives you daily assignments to reach out and be the person who encourages others as they go out and fight the fires.  There are times you are the mechanic who makes sure everything is working properly, so when there is a fire, people can get the help they need.  There are times you may be the dispatcher who gets the right information to the people who need to help others.  Regardless, when The Lord needs you, you have to put down those other things that are in your hands to help God accomplish what He wants to do for others.  

If you have ever asked The Lord Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and asked Him to come into your life, you are a child of God.  But you or even more than that.  God does not work on Earth to accomplish His will outside of using His Children.  You or the hands, feet, and mouth of God to your family and friends, and to others God might send into your life.

There are times when our opportunity to walk and talk for God will be an individual task.  At other times God will want you to be part of a group to accomplish His will.    There will be times we can combine our resources, talents , and abilities to make a difference in the lives of others.  This can be done through a church, a club, or a group of concerned people.

God wants to help a lot of people in this world, but He will not do it without people who love Him.  We can limit what God wants to do in the lives of our families, our friends, and others if we do not put down the things in our hands and pick up the things that will help our Heavenly Father.
The important thing for us to remember is that God loves us and has chosen us to serve Him while we have good health and good resources.  There will be times God wants us to relax and renew ourselves, and we should not feel guilty about that.  But there is also a time to give our love and service to others.

Remember you are doing it for your Heavenly Father, not for those who deserve it, or for those who do not deserve your time and energy.  Some people will not say thank you and some may not even accept your offer of love or help.  But that is ok.  God appreciates your obedience and sacrifice.  He will both reward you with blessings from Heaven, and use others to be a blessing to you in your time of need.

At the end of the story that the Lord Jesus told, He expressed that the King was very disappointed and angry towards those who made excuses and were too busy to come to the dinner and fellowship he had provided for them.  One spiritual application of this story is that if you make excuses  on why you cannot serve the Lord, He will find someone else, and you will lose your opportunity  to be  blessed by Him.  Those who are offered Salvation and forgiveness from the Lord and reject it, may also lose their opportunity to receive eternal life and go to Heaven.

What is in your hands today? Are they too full?  Do you have excuses?  Will you put those things down long enough to help your Heavenly Father help others? 



Saturday, March 26, 2016

THE "NEW" JESUS AND THE "NEW" YOU


The “New” Jesus and The “New” You
Easter Sunday
By Pastor Mark Taylor


Before His resurrection our Lord had chosen to be a servant.  After His resurrection He had become the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)  

Before His resurrection He had chose to die for our sins.  After His resurrection He would never die again.  "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death. (Revelation 1:17-18)

Before His resurrection He suffered for you and me.  “Surely He has borne our griefs  And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:4-5).  After His resurrection He has promised that we will live with Him where there is no suffering.  "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (Revelation 21:4-5).

Before the resurrection He came to serve you and me.  “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28).  After the resurrection all those who love Him will get to serve Him.  “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:11-13).  We have a lot to look forward to by living a righteous life for Him and a life of good works in His name.

Just like the Lord was “new” after His resurrection, we are o be “a new creation” when the Lord gives us our “new birth”.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:5-7).

The “New You” should not include the following characteristics. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (Colossians 3:8-9).  

The “New You” should include these characteristics: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

The “New You” has the ability and power from the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. 
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”   (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The “New You” has the ability to love others. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11). “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.
 God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).  “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19-21).

The “New You” will demonstrate your faith by your good works.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10).  “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17).


This Resurrection Sunday is a time of becoming new and usable for the Lord.  I encourage you to ask God to help you become the “New You” you were chosen to become.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

LIVE TO GIVE


LIVE TO GIVE
By Pastor Mark Taylor

"Give, and it will be given to you.."
Luke 6:38

One of the greatest challenges we face is the temptation to live selfishly.  Society has taught us to look out for “number one”.  This is the “me” generation and this attitude can spill over into our relationship with God, our families, and one another.  If we want to experience God’s joy and have Him pour out His blessings in our lives, we are going to have to be interested in other people and their needs.  In the time of need, is when we should be sowing seeds.  In times of difficulty don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself, but go out each day looking for ways to be a blessing to others by helping them. 

We Were Created to Give

You may think that you can’t afford to give, when the truth is you can’t afford not to give. If you will dare to take a step of faith, and start honoring God in your finances, He will start increasing your supply in supernatural ways.“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:26-27).  God is always giving to us.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Jesus said: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28.)

We Should Look For Opportunities to Give God’s Love

We may not feel we have much to give.  But we have much more than we may realize.  Someone needs your smile today.  Someone needs your love today.  Someone needs a hug and to feel your touch of love. There is healing in your hands and voice.  God wants to use you to bring hope, healing, love and victory into the lives of others.  You can help someone by being a friend and giving them encouragement.  You can give someone a compliment or praise for something they did.  You can visit someone in the hospital or a senior citizen in a nursing home.  You can write somebody an encouraging letter.  The list goes on.  Ask the Lord how He can use you today to give of yourself to others.


Whatever You Give, Will Be Given Back To You

This is a spiritual principle. Jesus said: "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).

This is not just talking about money.  It is talking about service, love, and time.  Jesus said this about giving small things: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).  "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Mark 9:41).

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10 NKJV)

Somebody Needs What You Can Give

Somebody needs what you have to give.  It may not be your money; it may be your time.  It may be your listening ear.  It may be your arms to encourage.  It may be your smile to uplift.  We need to learn how to be givers and not just receivers.  We need to quit trying to figure out what everybody can do for us and start trying to figure out what we can do for somebody else.  We were created to be givers and we will never truly be fulfilled in our lives until we learn this simple secret of how to give our lives away.  

“Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you should bring home the wandering poor? When will you see the naked and cover him; and you will not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break out as the dawn, and your health shall spring out quickly; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall gather you” (Isaiah 58:7-8).

“He that has pity upon the poor lends unto the LORD; and that which he has given will He pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17).


Give your life to the Lord Jesus today.  He can and will give you the desire and ability to give to others.  He has already given His life for you and to you.  When you do this, you will have real joy.  He loves you today and wants you to be happy now and go to Heaven later.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and become your Savior today.  When you give your life to Him, He will take care of you!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU"



“THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU”
by Pastor Mark Taylor
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
 ( I Thessalonians 5:18)

God expects us to live a life of thanksgiving rather than offering limited thanks. And we must never lose sight of God’s goodness, and God’s hand at work in everything we face. 

In our Christian Community we often ask Pastors and other spiritual leaders about the “will of God” for our lives.  That question is usually asked in the context of “What does God want me to become occupationally, or with whom is the person He wants me to enter into a marriage relationship.  Certainly those are life changing decisions for which we should spend a lot of time and prayer, and seek Godly counsel.  But there are also many daily decisions that we should think of as “God’s Will”.  For instance many people pray the “Lord’s Prayer”, and in that we ask Him to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  That is asking Him to direct us and help us to make decisions that will not cause us harm.  This is also a good prayer to pray for our children, grandchildren, and friends.  This is called “intercessory prayer”.

There are however, scriptural principles that are given to us about “God’s Will” for our lives.  One example that is His will, is that we live a life that is “holy”.  “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, but the mercies of God, to present your bodies (dedicating all of yourselves, set apart) as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world (any longer with its superficial values and customs), but be transformed and progressively changed (as you mature spiritually by the renewing of your mind (focusing on Godly values and ethical attitudes), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His plan and purpose for you).  (Romans 12: 1-2 -Amplified Bible).   I know the word “holy” is a religious term that seems to be unreachable in our daily lives.  I will discuss it in another writing in more detail, but a brief definition would to be willing to live our lives with a lifestyle that is compatible with God’s Holy Word.  I do not view it as “sinless perfection”.  I have been a devote follower of God, our Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for over 50 years and I have not reached that level for even a short period of time.  But I strive to live my life each day in a way to please the Lord as we all should.

The scriptural principle that I would like to discuss is something all of us can do even if we don’t feel “holy”.  That principle is “Thanksgiving”.

Why is it that so many people have chosen to be negative and have an unthankful attitude towards God and others?  Possibly it is because of the way people have been raised in their childhood and the many disappointments they have  faced during their life times.  One word seems to sum up those experiences and that is rejection.  Possibly, the unthankful attitude is a result of feeling that our friends, our family, our wives or husbands, our children, or even God has rejected us.  When we feel that way it is hard to give thanks.  

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ experienced all those feelings, yet He remained thankful.  “He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.  We turned our backs on Hm and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.”  (Isaiah 53:3).  Yes, this was a prophecy that the Lord knew about 740 years before He chose to come to Earth and die for us.  He knew that not only the people of His life time would reject Him, but that you and I would reject Him, but He came anyway.  He overcame His feelings of rejection by fulfilling His purpose and demonstrating His love for you and me.  “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).  And even though the very people He came to save rejected Him, many others were saved and blessed by Him.  He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t receive Him.  He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.  But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1: 10-12)  How did he remain thankful and positive?  He knew that this was the will of God for His life and He focused upon His Father’s love for Him.

In every situation, we are to have an attitude of thankfulness toward God.  Have an “attitude of gratitude”.  How in the world is that possible?  First, recognize that although not everything is good in itself, God can and will use everything in our lives for our ultimate blessing and good.

God is good all the time but life isn’t.  God allows, (not causes), circumstances that ultimately can result in something good if we let Him work.  I don’t personally believe that God causes any evil of any kind, but He can turn bad circumstances into a blessing for us.  As Christians who love God, we should take the attitude that since God is good, then this bad circumstance can bring about some further good in or through my life, or else God would not have allowed it.  Bad things are going to happen everyone, regardless if they are a child of God or not.  But God is very concerned about His children when bad things do happen to them.

Giving thanks reminds us that God uses all our circumstances to make us more like Him   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28-29). 

God has a good, wise, and loving purpose for everything He allows into our lives, even pain and suffering. We can give thanks in the knowledge that He loves us and will never permit us any pain unless the ultimate benefit is worth the cost. That doesn’t mean we can understand His ways. We may have no idea how anything could be worth this much pain. But God’s Word tells us that it will be worth it.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (determination). Perseverance (determination) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  (James 1:2-4).  If you allow God to help you, your difficulties will make you a stronger person.

There are times we cause our own problems.  This includes health issues, financial difficulties, and relationship failures.  Certainly this is not “the will of God” for you.  Sometimes the sins and failures of others cause us hurt and hardships.  Neither are the pains others inflict upon us “God’s will”.  All of us have free will to choose positive or negative behaviors that both affect us and others.  This is why the Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for you and I that we might be forgiven and start over when we make wrong choices or others cause bad things to happen to us.  
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and cleanse us from all sin.” ( I John 1:9).
Our response can be negative, when bad things happen to us.  But that is not “God’s will concerning you”.  Our response should be thankfulness.  You may ask: “How can I be thankful for the losses in my life, the illness in my body, the rejection I feel?”  It is not easy.  
But you can start by:
Thanking God for the people you have left in your life that love you; 
Looking around and see that your health could be worse, and thank Him for the years of good health you have already received; 
You can look at the homeless, the physical and mentally disabled; the prisoners in jail, those bound by the chains of drug and alcohol addiction; and those in war torn countries around the world and thank God for your freedom and comfort;
You can thank the Lord that you have heard the Gospel, and God has chosen you to love Him and live with Him forever and that He loves you and wants a relationship with you.
Our Lord did not promise us a life without pain or difficulties. 
 He said this:
“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.”  (John 16:33).

Do you want to do God’s will today?  His will is that you be thankful.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

IF GOD PUTS YOU ON HOLD - DON'T HANG UP




If God Puts You On Hold - Don’t Hang Up”
(A Sermon on God’s Timing)
by Pastor Mark Taylor
 “Those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) 
Most of us have called a place of business and have been asked the question: “Can you hold?”
or heard a pre-recorded message say: “Please hold, while we are speaking to someone else.  Your wait time is approximately 15 minutes or less.”

I want you to know that you are not just a customer  when you dial God’s number. You are one of God’s chosen and He hears your prayers the moment they are prayed. There are many promises in the Bible that reminds us of that promise.  “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15).   “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3).  Our Lord Jesus promised this to those who love Him and serve Him: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”  (John 15:16).

When you pray, God is not busy on His prayer line just listening to someone else.  He is listening to you too.  But sometimes He puts us on hold while He is working on our prayer request.  God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time.  While you are waiting, God is working.

When God appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18, it was with the intention to tell Abraham that he and Sarah were to finally have a son. Unfortunately, Abraham was 99 years old at the time, and Sarah was 89 years old. 
They knew that it was physiologically impossible for them to have a child.  But God kept His promise and gave them a son, Isaac as He had promised.

Mary and Martha watched their brother, Lazarus, become sick and die  (John 11). They had sent desperate messages to Jesus to come and help but He did not. Four days after Lazarus’ burial, Jesus appeared.  Out of desperation, they cried, “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.”  The Lord answered their prayers.  He was right on time:  “Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”  Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”  

Lazarus lived again that day.  You and I, and all of our loved ones in Heaven, are alive today because of the Lord’s power over death.  “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die”.  (John 11:26).

While we are on “hold”,  God sees the big picture.  In Isaiah 55:8-9 God reminds us of a fundamental truth. He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways . . . As the heavens are higher that the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” This tells me that God operates on a different thought level. He has a vantage view that I am incapable of having.

2 Peter 3:8 says, that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Obviously, God runs by a different clock. He functions on a totally different time scale. His time is not our time.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God makes a wonderful promise. “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  You see, God functions at a very different level of intentionality. Unlike you and I, He has only good plans.  Romans 8:28. Paul writes, “We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” This forces a conviction upon us that says that whatever happens to us fits a design. God is in control of our lives and He alone knows what is truly for our best.  Armed with this truth, we can now turn to the most important lesson of faith. Isaiah 40:31 states:  “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be wearied; they will walk and not faint.”

The question is “What do we do while, we are on hold?”  What do we do while we are waiting upon the Lord? 
 Hang in there…don’t hang up. Too often we are impatient when a business puts us on hold, we just hang up. Remember the words of Scripture, “Faithful is He that calls you who also will do it” (I Thessalonians. 5:24). 
Believe that God is working on your behalf.  He is busy working for you, while you are waiting.  
While you are on hold, look at yourself and see if there is a reason that God has you on hold.  Is it possible that there are known sins in your life that God is waiting on you to turn away from?  “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1,2).  Sin will keep you on hold for a long time.  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).  While you are waiting, confess your sins to the Lord and ask Him to give you power over them.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9). 

While we are on “hold”, we need to be more serious about our prayers and conversation with the Lord about our problems.   When the disciples could not cast a demon out of a child, they asked the Lord Jesus why.   “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”  (Matthew 17: 19-22).


Finally, remember and remind yourself that He loves you and is listening to you.  “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” (Psalm 116:1).  If God puts you on hold, don’t hang up!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"HIS NAME SHALL BE CLLED WONDERFUL"




“HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL” 
ISAIAH 9: 6
By Pastor Mark Taylor

When you were planning a name for your child, you may have looked at many names and the meaning of those names.  God told the prophet Isaiah 740 years before the birth of Christ what His names would be.
Today, I would like to examine one of those precious names of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – “Wonderful”

Why do you think Jesus’ name would be called “Wonderful”?  I am sure there are many reasons, but I would like to express some of the reasons I think His name was and is still called “Wonderful” today.

Every ordinary thing He touched became “Wonderful”.  When He touched water it turned into the best wine and became wonderful.  When He touch ordinary bread and wine, it became the extra ordinary symbols of His Body and His Blood that would be broken and given for us, and it became wonderful.  When His Body touched the “Old Rugged Cross”, it turned a dreadful sight into the wonderful picture of sacrifice and love.  When His Body touched the empty tomb, it became our wonderful symbol for our hope of the resurrection. 

Everyone He touched changed from ordinary into “Wonderful”.  At His presence, the blind would see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk, and the dead could be raised from the dead.  When Jesus came by, people felt His “wonderful” presence and everyone He touched received something “Wonderful” from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus said this about Himself: 

"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; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." (Luke 4:18-19).  

Everything He did was “Wonderful”.  He fed thousands of hungry people with His “Wonderful” miracles.  He ate and fellowshipped with the outcasts and unlovable in His community.  He brought the message of eternal life to all who would hear and receive it.  He received and ministered to children, tax collectors, demon possessed people, social outcasts, and anyone who would come to Him.  They would have certainly described their time with Jesus as “Wonderful”.

Everything He said was “Wonderful”.  He talked about living forever with Him in Heaven.  He talked about having rewards for living a good and righteous life.  He talked about forgiveness for all the sins we have committed.  He talked about His love for us and the need for us to love others.  His words made  everyone that followed them feel “Wonderful”, as it will for you and me.  He said His words would last forever: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Everything He has planned for our future is “Wonderful”. He has planned on giving you and me eternal life that we would never die.  "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26).  “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12).  

He has planned on giving us a “Wonderful” place to live with Him: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

I hope all of us will not just think about how “Wonderful” He is.  He is “Wonderful” all the time, because that is His name.  If He is living inside of you through the Holy Spirit, you too can live a “Wonderful” life.  He will allow your words, your relationships, and your actions be “Wonderful” to others as you go through this next year.  The next time you hear someone say that you are “Wonderful”, then you can know it is because Jesus is living inside of you.  “His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful”!!