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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

We want to meet our King in 2014.

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 141 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”.

Friday, September 26, 2014

WHAT MORE COULD I HAVE DONE FOR YOU, THAN I HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE


Video Links For This Sermon

What More Could I Have Done? - Part One
What More Could I Have Done? - Part Two
What More Could I Have Done? Part Three
What More Could I Have Done For You, Than I have Not Already Done?
by Pastor Mark Taylor
What more could have been done to My vineyard, That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild  grapes?   Isaiah 5:4
Our Lord has described His relationship with you in many different ways. He has called you His friend. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” John 15:13-14. He has called you to a special position in His service. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In our text verse today, God is comparing you to a place He has invested a lot of time and work to receive something in return. God is asking a question: “What More Could I have Done for You, That I have Not Already Done?” to receive something good from you in return.
Many Christians today have disappointed God with the fruits of their lives. Instead of producing the fruit of the Spirit, they have produced sour grapes in their lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.
Many people have given excuses on why they are not serving the Lord with their whole hearts which is a commandment we have received. “Jesus said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
Isaiah 5:4
Matt.22:37-38. Many others have failed to show their love for others in deeds and actions.
When God looks at your life, what does He see? He wants you to know that it really matters to Him. Actions such as reading your Bible, praying, attending Church, ministering to others in need, are good fruits that a Christian should always produce.
Jesus put it this way: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.” Luke 6:45.
What more could God have done for you than to give you the desire and ability to bring Him good fruit?
He has provided a way for you to receive forgiveness of your sins through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Do you know of anyone else that cares that much for you? “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.
“What More Could I have Done for You, That I have Not Already Done?”
What more could God do for you than to reveal to you the opportunity to receive eternal life? God has given you clear instructions in His precious Word - The Holy Bible. Ifyouconfesswithyourmouththe Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10. This opportunity is offered to anyone who wants to follow God and will live a life pleasing to Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved” Romans 10:13.
What more could God do for you than to provide you with the ability to communicate with Him? “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10.
What more could God do for you than to give you other Christians to help you learn about the love of God? “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7. He has given you a Church, a body of believers who can encourage you to live for God.
What more could God do for you than to give you all the things you need? He has given you the resources of prayer and protection. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
What more could God do for you than to provide for you an eternal place to be with Him? “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’shousearemanymansions;ifitwere not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14: 1-3. You will spend eternity some place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be with God and all those people who love Him and are already with Him?
God has done a lot for you and in return He is expecting to see good fruit for all the time and energy He has put into your life. A relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is more than just mentally believing that they exist. It is a relationship. “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you not know, O foolish person, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:18-20.

God has given each of you gifts and abilities that can glorify Him and be a blessing to others. God has done His part and I don’t know of anything else He can do to show His love for you. The question then becomes: “God, What more can I do for you?”. Let that be your prayer and He will show you many ways to receive blessings from Him and be a blessing to others. Everything you do today for the Lord will count for Eternity. “Set your affections (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

Friday, September 19, 2014

MAKING BETTER DECISIONS




MAKING BETTER DECISIONS
By Pastor Mark Taylor 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If you love the Lord and are doing your best to keep His commandments, He wants to bless you.  There are some principles of life that will help you to see if the way you are living, behaving, and thinking is working or not working.  I hope today if the Holy Spirit reveals to you something in your life that is not working, you will resolve to change it.

Because you are a child of God, He wants you to make good decisions.  God’s will for your life is that you have joy and have success while you live with Him on Earth.  “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  (John 15:11).  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”  (Jeremiah 29:11).

Decision making is a very important part of all of our lives.  Some decisions are certainly more important than others, but they all have an impact on our lives.  Think about major decisions you have made - the person you have married, the career path you have chosen, the church where you have chosen to worship are all important decisions.  But you will still make more decisions in your life and the way you think can have a positive or negative outcome on what you choose.

Problems do not get better with time.  You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.  And what you do not acknowledge is going to get worse until you do.  Failure and bad decisions are the result of a lack of knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is the information we obtain, while wisdom is the ability to use it in the right way.  We get wisdom from God and we get it the same way we get our salvation, through faith.  “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and with no reproach, and it shall be given to him. But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. For do not let that person think that he/she shall receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:5-7). You don’t get wisdom without knowledge.   Learn how Jesus made decisions and what He taught about decision making and you will have the knowledge and wisdom you need.  “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).  

Work only on those things that will truly change your life.  You need to stop saying: “Why are they doing this to me?”  You need to start asking: “What thought, behavior, and choices can I change to get a different result”.  Remember life is not about whether you are right or wrong, but whether the things you are doing are working or not working.

In life, “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequence”.  Your thoughts are behavior also.  There is a pattern. “Watch your thoughts; they become words.  Watch your words: they become actions.  Watch your actions; they become habits.  Watch your habits; they become character.  Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!”“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart  Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  (Psalm 19:14)

The second thing we have to do to become more successful in our lives is to  take action.  Good intentions are not enough.  “Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself. You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:17-20). It has been said that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  When God gives you the “right” information choose to follow it instead of your feelings or following the crowd.  Very often the window of opportunity will only be open for a time and then it is shut forever. “For He says, "In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation, I helped you;" Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2). 

The third thing we need to learn from the Lord Jesus is to be “content” with where we are until He gives us the wisdom and opportunity to change our circumstances.  This is a request for “Grace” in difficult situations.   “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Finally ask for forgiveness and learn from your mistakes.  It has been said: “If you always do what you have always done, you will get what you always have gotten.”  If you have making wrong decisions in your life or you say to yourself:  “Everything I do seems to always go wrong.”, then something needs to change.  Today, we need to get with the Lord and ask for forgiveness and accept personal responsibility for our sins.  Poor decisions either are sin, or they will lead to sin.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I confess my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight”  (Psalms 51:1-4).




Thursday, September 11, 2014

SAY GOOD-BYE TO YESTERDAY



Video Link To Sermon Below
“Say Good-bye to Yesterday”
By Pastor Mark Taylor
“For a righteous person may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. (Proverbs 24:16).  
Christians are not “perfect”.  We are forgiven and we have the presence of God in our lives through the Holy Spirit, but we will all still make mistakes and fail ourselves and others from time to time.
The first step in saying good-bye to yesterday, is to acknowledge to ourselves and to the Lord that we have failed.  “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.”          (Psalms 51:1-3).  Feeling like you are the victim and blaming others for failures in your life will not allow you to put your past behind you. Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility.  To move forward today, you must learn to say good-bye to yesterday’s hurts, tragedies, and negative events.
Next, understand that God loves you right now for who you are.  You cannot do anything to make God love you more than He does right now.  I know that it is a hard concept to accept because others do not love and accept us unconditionally, but God does.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1).  He demonstrates that love by continually forgiving us and giving us opportunities to start over.  “The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children, (Psalms 103:17).
Finally, in this process determine to release the event and move on.  You do not have control over how other people feel about you or what you have done, but you do have power to control your response to the event.  Holding grudges and repeated the event to yourself and others will only prolong the pain.  “but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” (Philippians 3:13).

Many people before you have failed in business, relationships, and in accomplishing personal goals.  The average entrepreneur fails 4 times before they make it in business.  They have learned how to lemons in to lemonade.  Thomas Edison believed “ Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.
When we don’t what to do, then we need to ask God for guidance, because He does know the solution to our problems and can help us overcome failure.   “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5).  I would like to share a few strategies that successful men and women have learned in overcoming failure.2
  • Reject Rejection.  Do not give up because others think you have failed.  The Lord has not given up on you. “For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6).
  • Don’t blame God and others for your failures.  He is the source of your help, not the source of your problem.   Remember how far you have come and give God glory for what you have.  Remember Job’s attitude about failure. “And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:21-22).
  • See failure as only a temporary problem.  “For a righteous person may fall seven times and rise again.” (Proverbs 24:16).  
  • Keep your expectations realistic and achievable.  Ask for God’s will to be done in your life. “You ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 4:15).
  • Instead of dwelling on your failure, focus on your strengths. God has made you with special abilities and made you for a special purpose. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalms 139:14).
  • Don’t be afraid to start over.  Fear will bring procrastination and eventually stop you from overcoming failure. If you have the Lord Jesus in your heart, He will help you start over. “But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27).
  • Don’t get used to failure and make the same mistakes over and over again. “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always gotten”.


A great future is awaiting the children of God in this world and the one to come - Don't Quit – Don’t Give Up.  The Lord is on your side.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

JESUS IS MY BEST FRIEND

Video Links To This Sermon




JESUS IS MY BEST FRIEND
By Pastor Mark Taylor

“And the Lord had replied to Moses, “Yes, I will do what you have asked, for you have certainly found favor with me, and you are my friend.” (Exodus 33:17- Living Bible)


God wants you to have a best friend.  And that best friend is His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.  He wants to be your best friend and give you His friendship and bless your life.
He wants to be your best friend and give you His friendship and bless your life.

There have been times in my life when I needed a friend.  I needed someone to love me and accept me for who I was and where I was at that point in my life.  I found that friend in Jesus.  There is a Gospel song who's lyrics say:  

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus, 
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how
He changed my life completely; 
He did something no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus; 
There's no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin
And darkness from me; 
O how much He cared for me.

It is only when we know God personally that we can expect to be called His own and receive what He has in store for us.  “Let me live in your favor” was a request from Moses to God.  Once we know God’s ways and know God personally, than the favor of God can and will rest, in and on our lives.  Gods goodness and mercy will follow you, Psalms 23 says "surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life!”

While Moses was spending time with God getting the Ten Commandments and getting instructions on how to worship God. the children of Israel were at the bottom of the mountain worshiping idols.  God told Moses that He would destroy all of them because of their rebellion and sin and give him a new group of people to lead into the promised land.  But Moses asked God to have mercy and He did.  Our Lord Jesus has asked our Heavenly Father to have mercy on us and continue to lead us into our promised land called Heaven.  “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1 - NKJV).

In Exodus 33 verses 1 to 6 we learn that God will send the Israelites off to the Promised Land with an angel instead of going with them. We find that the Lord says that He wouldn’t be with them because of the hardness of their heart.  But again Moses prays to God and asks Him to go with them.  

For Moses had said, “If you aren’t going with us, don’t let us move a step from this place. If you don’t go with us, who will ever know that I and my people have found favor with you, and that we are different from any other people upon the face of the earth?”  And the Lord had replied to Moses, “Yes, I will do what you have asked, for you have certainly found favor with me, and you are my friend.” (v. 15-17 - Living Bible).

God makes a distinction between His people and the rest of the world by showing His pleasure through His divine presence.  He is with us even when we do not feel His presence.


We are created for relationship. God reaches down to us and looks for us. He came eventually, revealing Himself in Jesus. He moves in our direction, and speaks our language. Before we even took a step towards Him, God takes a giant step and moves towards us. He took our form and became a man, so that He can relate to us.

God wants us to be His friend. Not just an acquaintance. Not just one of our fans. Not just part of the crowd, but our friend. If you want to be a friend of God, you need to be a friend to God and get to know Him, up close and personnel.

Friends talk with each other and spend time with each other.  “My sheep (Friends) hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28).  We must both speak to God in prayer and listen to Him through His precious Word - The Bible.  I know it is hard to speak to someone you cannot see.  But Jesus is with you and He can hear you.  He can speak to you through His precious Word - The Bible.  He can hear you sing praises to His name through praise songs and traditional hymns.

Friends do things for each other and with each other.  We must open up to Him, learn to tell him everything, be willing to do what He asks, be concerned about the things He is concerned about, and make friendship with Him our top priority.  "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  (John 15:14-15).  

We obey because we love Him and know He has our best interests at heart. The closer we follow Him the stronger our friendship becomes.  Non-Christians think we obey because we have to, or because we are overcome with guilt if we don’t, or because we are afraid of some celestial punishment. We know, however, we obey because of love.

We are asked to love others, help the needy, live a Godly life, forgive when we don’t want to or feel like it, and lead others to Him.  The closer we get to God, the more we will Care about what He cares about; Grieve over what he grieves over; Rejoice over what brings Him pleasure.  To be a friend of God, we must care about all the people around us God cares about.  “Great opportunities may come once in a lifetime, but small opportunities surround us every day.”

Friends are proud of each other and their friendship. Friends of God tell their friends about God.  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38).  Let us share with each other and with others “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”.


Jesus is my BFF - Best Friend Forever.  He is inviting you to share that same relationship with Him.  Jesus is a Friend who “ sticks closer than a brother."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

ONE THANKFUL MAN



One Thankful Man
By Pastor Mark Taylor

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:17-19).

Giving thanks and the word thanksgiving are mentioned over 140 times in the Bible.  All the people used by God in the Bible had the “attitude of gratitude”.  David said: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalms 103:1-2).  Daniel gave thanks: “Daniel went to his house. And his windows were open in his roof room toward Jerusalem; and he kneeled on his knees three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before” (Daniel 6:10).  Paul tells us: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

You do not have to wait until a special day like "Thanksgiving" to be thankful.  You do not even have to wait until Sunday when you go to church to be thankful.  You should be thankful everyday and every time God does something special for you.  You should be thankful for the things He has already done for you.  God loves to hear appreciative prayers of thanks from His children.

In this recorded event, Jesus stopped to help 10 seriously ill people even though He had been on a long journey and was probably very tired.  Leprosy was a disease which the Jews thought was a punishment for some particular sin.  Disease and sickness are not always related to sin, but Christ came to take away sin and demonstrated that He has power over sin and disease.  Our physical bodies are not made to last forever on this Earth.  Children of God will receive a resurrected body that will last forever and we will live with God forever: “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 will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away. And He sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write, for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:3-5).

The ten did not ask for a cure for the leprosy, but cried out “Have mercy on us”.  Sometimes we don’t know what to pray for: “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”(Luke 17:14)  When you ask the Lord to help you, He will usually ask you to do something to demonstrate your faith. 

The “One Thankful Man”, took the time to return to Jesus to thank Him.  He started out standing “afar off”, but now he was on “his face at His feet, giving Him thanks”.  He started out asking for mercy, and now he glorified God with a “loud voice”.
Those who have received mercy from God should publish it it others.  Their praise to God may encourage others and lead them to trust Christ.

 Jesus took notice of the grateful return the “One Thankful Man” made.  He also took notice of the ingratitude of those that were sharers of the mercy that did not return to give thanks.
“Where are the nine?”  Of the many that receive mercy from God, there are very few (one in ten) that return to give thanks.

Today, thank our Lord and Savior for the many times He has had mercy on you.  If you are a child of God you have much to be thankful for.  You have Heaven to look forward to.  Jesus told the “One Thankful Man” that his faith had made him whole.
He not only received a physical healing, but a spiritual healing.
He not only received a higher quality of life on earth, but he received “Eternal Life”.  Be one of the 10% that Loves God enough to give thanks to Him today!!!!

“To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever” (Psalms 30:12).

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Your name, O most High” (Psalms 92:1).

“Praise you the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever” (Psalms 106:1).

“By Him, then, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).


Sunday, August 10, 2014

TALENTS - USE THEM OR LOVE THEM



YOUR TALENTS – USE THEM OR LOSE THEM
By Pastor Mark Taylor
“Well done, good, and faithful servant” Matthew 25:14-30
When our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ returned to Heaven at His Ascension, He went into a “far country’.  He has promised to return, and He will keep His promise.  He has left you and I with “talents” that He wants us to use.  In the verses above, it states: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country..”  Our Lord is trying to show us what it means to be a Christian today.
In the parable, 5 talents equal about 2.5 million dollars, 2 talents is about a million dollars, and 1 talent is about a half a million dollars.  As you read the parable, you see the first two men double the money of their master, while the third man buried his master’s money.  The first two men were thanked, praised, and rewarded.  The third man lost his relationship with the master and was thrown out of his presence.
What did the man with the one talent do wrong?  He returned his master’s money, so what was the problem.  Some might say that he was lazy and God does not like lazy people.  Another might say he had good intentions, but forgot that he had the talent.  Another might say he lacked self-esteem and was afraid to take the risk that the other two men did.
I think it went well beyond his actions and involved his attitude.  His own words revealed the problem.  “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not planted.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground”. (v. 24-25).
The truth is that the master was very generous and trusted his servants with a lot of treasures.   He also praised the first two for their accomplishments.  He gave them power and made them rulers over many things.  And he opened up us his house to them and made them a part of his family.  Does this sound like a hard and unreasonable man?
The third man made excuses instead of repenting.  He blamed the master for his failure.  And he accused his master of being unreasonable and expecting too much from him.God has given each of us different talents depending upon what He knows we can do.  He has confidence in us that we can accomplish the tasks He has given us to do.  

Some of us have more than one talent, because the Lord knows we can do more than someone else.  He has given us opportunity to learn from going to school, being successful in a trade, or having a pleasant personality in dealing with people.  Some people can sing, some can speak in front of groups, some can teach children, some can feed the hungry, some can visit the sick, some can be mentors to young people, some can repair broken things, some can add beauty and order to a building or lawn, some can inspire and lead others in new projects, and all can be faithful in attending worship services.
If we all have talents, then why do some people choose to hide their talents like the “wicked and lazy” servant?”  Probably for the same reason he did.  Some people do not see God as a loving, generous, and rewarding God.  They see Him as “hard” and unfair, and are afraid of Him.  They get this idea of God, because they really do not know Him.  God is not going to punish you for trying and failing.
God has made us with different abilities and different personalities.  We are not all designed to serve the Lord in exactly the same way.  But you have been given talents and are responsible for using them for the Kingdom of God.  Not just in the church building on Sundays, but everyday of your life.
This parable states: “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” (v.19)  Our Lord has promised us that He will return for us or we will meet Him when we leave this world.  “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12).  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:9-10)  What a wonderful day that will be when we meet the Lord and He will say to us as this lord said to his servants:  “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (v. 21).

The Lord loves you and is encouraging you not to quit.  Don’t bury or hid you talents.  Multiply your talents by investing them into the lives of others “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”                        (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

DON'T WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BLESSING


VIDEO LINK FOR THIS SERMON

Don’t Walk Away From Your Blessing
“And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.' "Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:10-12 NKJV)
God does not always show us how He is going to bless us.  The information given to Naaman about Elisha's power to heal his leprosy was given to him be a little maid that waited on his wife.  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  When you are praying for a blessing, do not under estimate the advice or suggestions that is given to you.  God might use something you read or hear that you were not expecting.  You may attend a Sunday evening or Wednesday night service and the Holy Spirit might give you the wisdom you need to receive the blessing you have been praying about.
God does not always use the same method to accomplish His goals and bring blessings to those who ask.  In Naaman’s situation, Elisha did not even go out to meet him but sent his servant to tell him what to do.  This upset Naaman and almost cost him his healing.  This is what he wanted Elisha to do:  “But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:11).  When you receive Godly counsel, you may be told that you have to stop doing some things you are doing or start doing some things you are not doing to receive God’s blessings.  
Pride will keep you from receiving God’s blessings.  “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).  “For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17). Proud men are the worst enemies to themselves and keep themselves from receiving the blessings of God.
You are more likely to find God’s blessing when you are in God’s territory and with God’s people.   Jordan belonged to Israel's God, from whom he was to expect the cure, and not from the gods of Damascus or their rivers.  It watered the Lord's land, the holy land, and in it held a miraculous cure. The relation of the river to God was much more considerable than the depth of the channel or the beauty of the stream. That Jordan had more than once before this obeyed the commands of omnipotence.  “I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalms 122:1).
After taking the advice of his servants, Naaman yielded to make this exercise not one of faith, but of an experiment. He received his blessing and healing because he obeyed the Word of God.  Elisha told him to wash or dip himself in the Jordan seven times and he did it. “So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14).  God will always honor His Word.  “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.” (Psalms 119:89-90).  “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalms 119:160).  “It is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:18).  
When Naaman received his blessing he gave God glory and praise.  Of the ten lepers that our Saviour cleansed, the only one that returned to give thanks was a Samaritan.  “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? (Luke 17:15-17)   This Syrian did so, and here expresses himself.  Convinced of the power of the God of Israel he said: “And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, "Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant." (2 Kings 5:15).  Can’t we as God’s children give Him praise and honor when He answers our prayers.  “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8).


Don’t get angry at God or His Word when your blessing is delayed or not exactly what you wanted.  If Naaman had not turned back to the man of God and obeyed God’s Word, He would have died a leper instead of a great military leader.  Many people have walked away from God’s blessings when they were so close to getting them.  “Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (Acts 26:28).  Almost is not good enough when you are dealing with God.

Friday, July 25, 2014

SUFFERING AND GOD'S CHILDREN


VIDEO LINK TO THIS SERMON

Suffering And God's Children
by Pastor Mark Taylor

 Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive bad?
Job 2:10

If you want to believe in Gods goodness and fairness, but find it hard because of the things that have happened to you and to people you care about, I want to write some thoughts I have had as I ponder that same question and thinking of others who have experienced  great loss.  You may even be angry at God as you read this, but remember that God can handle your disappointments and anger.  He is still a loving God that wants to help you.  It is my desire that the Holy Spirit take this information and speak to your heart about your hurt.
I do not personally believe that all bad things that happen to us always comes from God.  Many people do.  And I am sure you can find verses that would indicate that they might.  I am not a Bible scholar but based on my thoughts and experiences over 50 years of serving and walking with The Lord Jesus, I have some educated explanations.
 One of those explanations that is central to my understanding of God in my personal relationship with Him is that "God is love."  (1 John 4:8). Therefore I believe that most of the bad things that cause us suffering comes from another source.  I believe some of our suffering is due to poor choices we make.  Another source of our suffering comes from Satan.  My personal belief is based on one verse that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave us:  "The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10::10.  And finally, there is some suffering for which there is no explainable answer this side of Heaven.
The great theme of the book of Job-- and the one for which it is world famous -- is its treatment of the reason for suffering in the Christian life. None of us have a problem when we are told that suffering is sent by God to punish wrongdoers. We have a long list of names that we could present to God of people who deserve this kind of thing. It is eminently just for God to punish wrongdoers with suffering, we think. People who hurt others and are vicious, cruel, and wicked ought to be made to suffer for what they do. Our whole system of justice is built upon that principle. That is why we put people in jail and fine them, because we are trying to carry out justice through punishing wrongdoing. That satisfies our sense of justice -- except when we happen to be the wrongdoers getting punished. Then, of course, it is all very unfair.
But what about the times we are living right and are close to God.  The book of Job teaches us something that should have been obvious to us from our reading of the Gospels, and that is the fact that Jesus suffered. Now, obviously, 



Jesus did not suffer because he was a wrongdoer, nor did he suffer because he needed to have his attention captured by God. He was always sensitively responsive to the Father's will, and always did that which was pleasing in his sight. Yet his life was filled with suffering from beginning to end -- rejection, misunderstanding, disappointment, cruelty, harsh words, and unjust treatment -- all the way through, so that he merited the description of the Old Testament, even before the cross, that he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," (Isaiah 53:3).
If we are going to suffer, then the question may arise about “why live a righteous life and follow Jesus?”  The reason is that Scripture speaks in numerous passages about "this slight momentary affliction preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17), and of how "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us," (Romans 8:18). When that day breaks, the one thing for which we will be infinitely thankful, the one thing above all others that will thrill us and cheer us and cause us to glory, is the fact that out of all the created universe we were chosen to be the ones who bore the name of God in the hour of danger and affliction, problem and trial. There is no higher honor than that. 
That is what Jesus means when he says, "Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your honor before the Father. For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you," (Matthew 5:11-12).  You may feel as I do, and that is that I don't want to suffer.  And I hope you and I are not called to suffer.  But, if and when we do, we need to have some understanding of why it is happening.
Finally, I want to say that there are some questions that we will never know the answer to until we get to Heaven.  Who can explain a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado that sweeps across an area and good Christian people lose there lives or possessions?  Who can explain the evil events such as September 11, 2001 or shootings in elementary schools?  Who can explain why children get terrible diseases such as leukemia  or aids?  I certainly cannot and even though I have read countless books and heard many explanations, I have not found an answer.
There are some obvious explanations for some suffering.  When a person has poor health habits for many years such as excessive smoking of tobacco, use of drugs, or excessive drinking, medical science has told us what the consequences will be.  Law enforcement has told us the consequences for drinking and driving, distracted driving, and not wearing seat belts. Our parents and grandparents have told us of possible consequences for being with the "wrong crowd" and going to the "wrong places".  A reasonable person cannot blame God for the suffering brought on by these poor decisions.
There are explanations I have heard that I don't agree with, even though I have heard good people use them to explain suffering.  Below are what I view as some wrong assumptions that many people have developed as they go through suffering.  

1. One wrong assumption in my opinion is that bad things are not suppose to happen to good    people.  Let us look at a couple of many verses in the Bible that contradict that theory.  "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous But the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalms 34:18-19.  Even our Lord and Savior let us know that life is full of suffering.  "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
2.  Some people have address suffering in every generation by assuming that we somehow get what we deserve and our misfortunes come as punishment for our sins.  This is another wrong assumption in my opinion.  It creates guilt even where there is no basis for guilt.  Blaming the victim is a way or reassuring ourselves that the world is not as bad a place as it may seem, and that there are good reasons for peoples suffering.   It makes people hate God, and even makes them hate themselves.  And most disturbing of all it does not even fit the facts.  God has provided a payment and forgiveness for all of our sins, and there is no one that is without sin.  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one(Romans 3:10).  If we all got what we deserve, none of us would be alive.  It is true that there are natural consequences for sin, but that is not why bad things happen to good people.  
This does not take into account that God does chastise His children when we need it. But I personally believe that he does not hurt other people for our sins.  I do not believe that a person who loves God and is trying to serve Him will receive chastisement at the expense of others.  For instance, I do not believe God would take a child or spouse of someone because they did not live up to all the standards they felt were set for them.  Neither do I believe we get diseases like cancer and other things for our shortcomings.  We serve a merciful and loving God and Father and He is a better Father than any of us and we would not punish our children with that severity.  
"For whom the Lord loves He chastens,  And scourges every son whom He receives.  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness."  Hebrews 12:6-10
3.  Another wrong assumption in my opinion is that one of Gods reasons to make us suffer is educational.   I have heard people say Maybe God is trying to teach us a lesson.”  God does not do painful things to us as His way of helping us.  

This statement is used to defend God or give Him an excuse for the bad things that happens to His children.  God does not operate this way.  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is wrong to think that the God who loves us and sent His son to die for us would try to teach us lessons by allowing innocent children to die in accidents or through incurable diseases.
3.  Let me give you one final assumption that I think is wrong, even though it may take you awhile to believe it or process it.  God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens in the world.  Nothing happens without His willing it.  God is all powerful, but   Just because God is all-knowing does not mean He causes bad things to happen to good people.   The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”   (2 Peter 3:9).  
It is almost impossible to believe that God does not always get His way.  Bad things do happen to good people in this world, but it is not God who wills it.  God would like people to get the good things they deserve in this life, but He will not always arrange it.  God wants the righteous to live peaceful, happy lives, but sometimes it does not happen the way He wants it to.
Why?  Because He loves you and me and He has given us a license that is called free will"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live(Deuteronomy 30:19). 
 He has temporally abdicated His all-powerful ability to give you the ability to choose to love Him and receive good things from Him.  If we can bring ourselves to acknowledge that there are some things God does not control, many good things become possible.  We will be able to turn to God for things He can do to help us, instead of holding on to unrealistic expectations of Him which will never come about.  Our question should be God, see what is happening to me. Can You help me?not God, why are You doing this to me?”  Where was God when Hitler killed over 6 million men, women, and Children?  He was with the victims and not with the murderers.  Even though He does not control mans choosing between good and evil, he is sees and feels the tears and prayers and is suffering alongside the people He has created. For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin. Then let us come near to the seat of grace without fear, so that mercy may be given to us, and we may get grace for our help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:15-16).
God gets back His power when we pray and get strength and comfort from Him.  He puts that power in us to feed the hungry, fight the injustice in our world, heal the brokenhearted, and all the things that He allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus to do, now He can use us.  You become His legs, His arms, His feet, and His mouth.
When bad things happen to good people, God wants to help them.  He wants  those who are hurting to stop hurting themselves.  He wants you to pray and connect with others who have the power to get things from Him.  He wants to comfort you and love you when bad things are happening to you.  He wants you to comfort others when bad things are happening to them.  Prayer will deliver you from many bad things, but not all bad things.  But when bad things happen to Gods people, they can be assured of one thing and that is that He will give you the ability to get through it.  This is called grace.  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”                              (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Finally, when bad things happen to good people, they have a choice.  They can allow God to use them to help others or they can become bitter and angry.  You can become better or you can become bitter. I hope you will understand this one thing and that is that the bad things that happen to you are not from God.  They are either from poor choices or Satan Himself.   Our Lord said about Himself and Satan: The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.(John 10:10).

A special song that helps me when I am suffering:

His Eye is On The Sparrow - by Ethyl Waters

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

A special song that I love that helps me during suffering.
HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW