Sunday Morning 11-25-2012

Posted by Sherry


Thankful Living 
1 Thessalonians 5:18
CBC 11/25/2012

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP)

It’s clear from this passage that thankfulness is supposed to be a regular part of our lives. 
gratefulness is emphasized here because it is the perfect antidote to pride and selfishness and a host of other sins.

what is the opposite of thankfulness? 
complaining, 
arguing, 
selfishness, 
a sense of entitlement. 

Our sin nature wants to try and convince us that we deserve more, 
that we are in the right, 
that we have been taken advantage of,
that we really have it bad. 
a few people always seem to be victims, 
they always seem to feel like they should get more, 
they always complain about what they have or what they are given. 
That’s not what we are supposed to be like as believers.

Thinking thankfully 
Prayer
Philippians 4:6 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

In this passage the way in which we keep from anxiousness and worry is through prayer. 
When we present our requests to God, 
and give control over to Him, 
our load gets a lot lighter. 
When we pray with thanksgiving we are 
thanking God for the ability to pray, 
we are thanking him for answering our prayers, 
we are thanking Him for freeing us from worry. 
When we pray with thankfulness to God it has a way of adjusting our thinking so that it falls in line with what God wants. 


Worship also has a way of putting us in a mindset of thankfulness. 
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 
It’s hard to be grumpy, and bitter, and selfish when we are singing joyfully to the Lord, 
although I think sometimes we try. 
Singing:
lifts our spirits,
focuses our attention on God, 
puts us in an attitude of praise. 
* If that’s not happening to you when you sing, then you might be doing it wrong

Dwelling on the good. Our minds can sometimes be uncooperative. 
They keep wandering back to that nagging money problem, 
or some temptation
or to past failures, 
or other unproductive things. 

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you are just chilling out or relaxing or spacing out in church, how a weird, random thought will cross your mind? 
Sometimes the strangest stuff just shows up there. 
Because of natural inclination towards evil, we have to train our minds to think about good things. 
We have to purposefully dwell on the good. 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.

This is a great thought filter. 
Ask yourself; 
are my thoughts...
true, 
noble, 
right, 
pure, 
lovely,
admirable? 
If not, it might be time to make an 

Talking Thankfully. 
It is important to express our gratitude from time to time. 
Talking thankfully involves 
praising others, 
praising God, 
sharing our gratitude. 
When was the last time you told your spouse, “I’m really thankful that I’m married to you.”? 
Do you tell you kids that you appreciate them? 
Do you thank your wife for cooking dinner and doing the laundry? 

Do you let God know how thankful you are for what He has done in your life? 
If you are a believer in God, saved by grace, you have a lot to be thankful for. 
No matter how bad life gets, you still can’t complain. 

It is also important that we verbally tell others what we are grateful for. 
Do you practice the tradition to go around the table at thanksgiving time and share what you are thankful for?
We all have so much to be thankful for. 
It is so amazing what God is doing in our lives.

Acting Thankfully. 
We need to demonstrate a life of thankfulness in everything we do. 
That begins with a heart of service
Serving is a demonstration of 
appreciation, 
respect, 
and love. 
It can be done in a selfish, ungrateful way, 
but when it is done right, 
it is a blessing both to the server and the servee.
1 Timothy 1:12 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
Are you thankful for the area of service that God has called you to?
Acting thankfully also involves sacrifice. 
It requires us to give something of ourselves. 
This is best demonstrated in our financial offerings to God. 
Giving back to God is a way of thanking Him for his blessing and provision. 
Even if we don’t have a lot, or a lot to give, when we give back to God we show that we understand that He owns it all anyway. 
Don’t give out of guilt or compulsion. 
Every time you write an offering check or put a dollar in the offering plate, take a second to say, thank you God for everything you have given me. 

Finally, we can act thankfully by sharing what we have. 
This might take the form of sharing some of our abundance with those who don’t have as much. 
It might be sharing with the homeless or needy. 
People who really understand thankfulness and appreciation usually are very good at sharing with others. 
They know how great it feels to give.
This doesn’t just apply to sharing our stuff, 
but, more importantly, sharing our faith. 
If you have a real understanding of who Jesus Christ is, 
what He has done for all mankind, 
and what He has done in your life, 
you are going to be looking for every opportunity to share that with others. 

We can best show our appreciation for our salvation by praising God and telling others. If our faith is truly transforming, and valuable, and important, we will share it with those who don’t have it. 

The best thing about living a thankful life is that it helps us put things into perspective. When we focus on the great things that God has done for us, ...
the annoying junk in life has a way of losing its importance. 
CONCLUSION:
During this thanksgiving seasons let’s begin to train our minds to think thankfully. 
Let’s take the opportunity to talk thankfully, 
and let’s demonstrate our appreciation by acting thankfully

1 Thessalonians 5:18 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you are not giving thanks, you are out of God’s will.

Sunday Evening 11-11-12

Posted by Sherry


The New Jerusalem
Rev. 21:1-8
CBC 11/11/12 SN

This is the capital of the eternal kingdom. God has, by this time, destroyed our universe, our heaven and earth, and this is a new one. And this is the capital city!

Will there be room for everyone? Sure! First of all, not as many will be there as is commonly believed. [“narrow is the way, few there be that find it.”] But it will be 1,500 miles squared…a perfect cube…in other words, it’s that high, that long, that wide! There would be room for every human who has ever lived if they had all been saved.

6. Heaven is a Place of Refreshing
v. 6 Ever been really thirsty?…maybe this week! You don’t want milk. Sometimes you want a soda or tea or lemonade, but even those won’t do when you’re REALLY thirsty…you want what? Water!

How satisfying! And in heaven, every righteous desire that we have will be perfectly and completely satisfied, once and for all!

Here on earth we pursue happiness, but don’t ever completely find it, but in heaven that thirst will be quenched!
Friendships/relationships/knowledge/more about God/wealth/health/answers to questions…why?


WHY?
By Jack Hyles

I have heard the white-tipped tapping cane,
Which leads a blinded eye.
And then a darkened, lonely voice
Cries, “Preacher, show me why.”

I have caught a fiancée’s burning tears,
And heard her lonely cry.
She held an unused wedding gown,
And shouted, “Pastor, why?”

I have heard the cancer patient say,
“’Tis gain for me to die;”
Then look into his daughter’s face,
And mutely whisper, “Why?”

I’ve heard an orphan faintly say,
Who gazed into the sky,
“Tho Mom and Dad have gone away,
My preacher will know why.”

I have sat beside a tiny crib,
And watched a baby die,
As parents slowly turned toward me,
To ask, “Oh, Pastor, why?”

I tiptoed to my Father’s throne,
So timid and so shy,
To say, “Dear God, some of Your own
Are wanting to know why.”

I heard Him say so tenderly,
“Their eyes I’ll gladly dry,
Tho they must look through faith today,
Tomorrow they’ll know why.”

And so I’ve found it pleases Him
When I can testify,
“I’ll trust my God to do what’s best,
And wait to find out why.”

And in heaven, we’ll know as we are known…all life’s thirsts quenched!

7. Heaven will be a Restricted Place
v. 8 Right here in the middle of this positive, beautiful description of heaven, God gives us a list of some who won’t be there.
Why does God include this info? Perhaps to show that the sin which has cursed and ultimately destroyed this world will NOT be allowed into the next! 

The fearful—never accepted Christ, afraid to take the stand.
The unbelieving—didn’t believe at all in Christ or the Bible.
The abominable—not just sinners…these have committed abominations. From God’s perspective, there’s no difference between big and little sins…but this is encouragement of what WON’T be there and we need to understand from a human perspective. What are some abominations?
Lev. 18:22 says homosexuality is.
Deut. 17:3 says astrology and horoscopes are abominations.
Deut. 18 says consulting a medium, fortuneteller, a wizard, or somehow communicates w/ the dead, they have committed an abomination.
Prov. 20 says cheating in business is an abomination. “false balance”
Prov. 12 says compulsive lying is an abomination.
Prov. 16 says a heart full of pride is an abomination.

And heaven is off limits to all of these things. Don’t miss this truth however: any of these people can get saved, and you don’t have to commit an abomination to be lost, just 1 sin!

…and murderers. 
This would include all forms of homicide as well as infanticide. [it’s being legal doesn’t make it moral] The true Supreme Court is in heaven, and has already decided this case!
You can be saved if you’ve had an abortion, and see that child one day!
…and whoremongers.
Addicts of sinful sex.
Premarital sex/extra-marital sex/wrong gender/wrong species/pornography, etc.
They can get saved, too!

These are all people who died in their sins, never repenting!

…and sorcerers.
Could mean witchcraft, but there’s a deeper meaning. The greek word here is pharmacia, and I believe it’s talking about drugs and other chemical dependences.

…and idolaters.
You have an idol if you love something more than God. 
Matthew 6:33 
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

…and all liars.
Cat-faced liars as well as those more crafty, who lie by insinuation, and exaggeration. Heaven is the ultimate truth and no liars will be there, praise God!

Now, most of us have fit into one or more of these categories at some point in our life. Some might be convicted this moment that they are still living that way, tho’ they are saved.

1 Cor. 6:11 
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

-------------
The New Jerusalem, Pt. 3
Rev. 21:9-22:5

10 Facts about The New Jerusalem: [we’ve covered 7 so far]
1. Heaven is a Real Place
2. Heaven is a Remaining Place
3. Heaven is a Readied Place
4. Heaven is a Place of Relationship
5. Heaven is a Place of Relief
6. Heaven is a Place of Refreshing
7. Heaven will be a Restricted Place

[read 9-14, 18-21] If I was going to move somewhere, say to Wahoo, Nebraska or otherwise, I’d send off for info., search the web, etc. And we should study about Heaven, for we will spend eternity there!

8. Heaven is a Place of Riches
• Foundations=represent permanence
• Walls=protection
• Gates=provision
• Streets=praise

Foundations—building foundations are usually underground, and cannot be clearly seen, but this one is visible, and not only visible, but 12 layers thick! And each of the 12 foundations is garnished w/ a different jewel. 

The jasper will be clear crystal
Sapphire-blue
Chalcedony-greenish blue
Emerald-deep green
Sardonyx-white w/ brown streaks
Sardius—blood red
Chrysolite-yellow quartz
Beryl-green
Topaz-yellowish green
Chrysoprasus-apple green
Jacinth-blue
Amethyst-purple

Just picture this…all of these colors represent something about the character and nature of the Lord Jesus.
Blue=deity, white=purity, purple=royalty

[Just like the multi-colored veil in the holy temple]

I believe these foundations will also represent His manifold grace and His manifold wisdom. [I Pet. 4:10, Eph. 3:10]
1 Peter 4:10 
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 
Eph. 3:10 
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 

Manifold=multi-faceted, multi-colored. There are many different shades to the grace of God/wisdom of God…it’s manifold!

His ways/thoughts are high above our own. His grace is greater than our comprehension!

I believe the primary interpretation of these foundations is permanence. You see, you can build a dog house on dirt, a storage shed on a simple slab, but if you’re gonna build a house and you want it to be there in 100 years or more, you’d better have a good, strong foundation.

And every time we look upon those foundations we’ll be reminded of it’s permanence. “10,000 years, and we’ll just be started!”

Walls=protection.
v. 12 v. 18 In Bible days, walls were all about protection…an un-walled city was vulnerable, an easy target.
And the enemies of earth will be no more…sickness cannot scale those walls, heartache cannot tunnel under…no crime or perversion, nothing to harm, nothing to molest, nothing to injure, nothing to destroy, and so, nothing to fear! No viruses, no disease, no pestilence, and no public enemy #1…death!

We’re all trying to outrun death…that’s why we go to the dr, health club, eat right, etc. When we were kids, we thought life would never pass us by. If life was a book then the pages turned sooooooooooo slowly, didn’t they.
“oh, I wanna be 10 like the big kids/13 and be a teenager, 16 and be able to drive, I want to be 18 and graduate, I want to be 21 and be able to vote, and do other things! [if not saved!]”
But ever since then life has flown by! And we try to outrun death, but eventually it catches us down here, but not “up there!” Old man death won’t be allowed in!

Gates=provision.
v. 12-13, 21 Who started the stories about St. Peter standing at the gates of heaven? It’s not Biblical. But each of the 12 gates is guarded by an angel. If every gate is 1 pearl, they are gigantic…and it’s a reminder of God’s provision.

A pearl—how is it created? There’s not much to it, really. If you crush it, you’ll have a handful of powdery lime…the same substance as ordinary chalk. And the value of a pearl is not about how it’s cut, like a diamond…for if you cut a pearl you ruin it. It’s value is in the way that it’s made. 
A pearl is made in the depths of the sea in the heart of a living oyster. Something invades that oysters shell, like a little grain of sand. It begins to cut, irritate, and dig into that soft oyster. The oyster begins to secrete that white, milky substance…layer after layer, it hardens, and finally you have a perfectly formed, brilliant, round, shiny pearl.

The pearl is the oyster’s answer to that which wounded it! The pearl owes it’s existence to the will of the oyster to “cover” that which hurt it!

2 parts in the formation of the pearl: the cutting and the covering…what a wonderful spiritual lesson there is there for us. For there’s the same 2 basic parts to salvation! Sin invaded God’s perfect world, and it cut away at the heart of God, but He was willing by His own blood to cover it!

Ours was the cutting…God’s was the covering!
“Calvary covers it all, my past with it’s guilt and shame,
my sin and despair, Jesus took on Him there,
and Calvary covers it all!”

Calvary was God’s answer to man’s sin…and as we walk thru those gates we’ll be reminded of this fact! We cannot enter in and of ourselves…we won’t be there because of us, but because of Him, and He made us His pearl of great price!

Streets of gold=praise
v. 21 Gold is a symbol of the glory, honor, and majesty of God. That’s why so much gold was used in the OT temple. Won’t it be great to truly be able to lift up the Lord in the way He deserves w/out the restraints of this sinful human flesh?
Ill.—Uncle Bud Robinson, an old tongue-tied preacher of years ago, and he was often criticized for how much he shouted and got happy in Jesus. Somebody asked him why he always praised the Lord so audibly and outwardly. He said, “I just can’t hep it, when my left foot hits the floor it says hallelujah, and when my right foot hits the floor it says, praise the Lord, and so it’s hallelujah, praise the Lord, hallelujah, praise the Lord, everywhere I go!”
And that’s how it will be for us walking down those streets of gold in heaven!

So, heaven is a place of riches…

9. Heaven is a Place of Righteousness
v. 15-17 1,500 miles squared…that’s huge! From the tip of Maine to the s. tip of Florida, over to Colorado…and then, it’s that high too! I’m not even sure what that means, so, Lord, surprise me! Either way, this will make NYC look like a little village! A perfect cube stands for balance and order…perfect in it’s materials, majesty, and even it’s measurements!

It will be filled w/ the righteousness of God, and w/ the “righteous” of God, us!

10. Heaven is a Place of Refuge
v. 22-27 4 things that won’t be there:
A. No Sanctuary
v. 22 Why no temple? Because the sanctuary localizes and confines God to 1 location…but all Heaven will be filled w/ His glory!
B. No Shadows
v. 23 The light will be everywhere, the night will be vanquished!
C. No Secrets
v. 24 We live in a war-torn time where people meet behind closed doors and there’s top secret things like this movement grid the Russian sub got stuck in last week! But there will be no secrecy there, all will be out in the open and peaceful. 
A survey of 6th graders 50 years ago asked what they were most afraid of. The most common answers were “the dark”, and “mean dogs.” They repeated that survey recently, and the top 2 was “mom and dad getting a divorce” and “nuclear war” was the top one. 

Isn’t that sad, how realistic those fears are? They can fit a nuke in a briefcase now and we are scanning now in major cities for it!
D. No sinners
v. 27 How do you get your name written there? By grace alone, thru faith alone, in Christ alone, plus nothing, minus nothing. Put your faith and trust in Him alone as your only hope for heaven!

If there was a place like we’ve had described here on earth, wouldn’t you do anything you could to go there? It’s real, it’s the New Jerusalem. And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Sunday Morning 11-11-2012

Posted by Sherry


HEAVEN - THE END IT ALL CELEBRATION
Revelation 21:1-5
CBC 11/11/12 SM


Human history began in paradise…the Garden of Eden. And it will all end in paradise…the New Jerusalem.

v. 5 this sums up the last 2 ch’s of Revelation…all things will be new.
v. 6 “it is done” 
What began in Genesis is brought to completion in Revelation.

GENESIS REVELATION

1:1 - heavens & earth created 21:1 - New heavens & earth
1:16 - Sun created 21:23 - No need for the sun
1:5 - Night established 22:5 - No night there
1:10 - The seas created 21:1 - No more seas [exiled on Patmos!]
3:14-17 - The curse announced 22:3 - No more curse
[satan, serpent, soil] 
3:19 - Death enters history 21:4 - No more death
3:24 - Man driven from paradise 22:14 - Man restored to paradise
3:17 - Sorrow & pain began 21:4 - No more tears or pain

Don’t you look forward to going to heaven? “What a day that will be…”
TEXT: 21 Then I saw a new [a]sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former [b]sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea.(A)
2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;
3 Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.(B)
4 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.(C)
5 And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine).
Facts about The New Jerusalem:
1. Heaven is a Real Place
liberals deny existence…say it’s a state of mind/wishful thinking…but Jesus said “I go to prepare a PLACE for you…there you shall be also” [Jn. 14]
It’s literal, tangible, described in detail. The emphasis is on what John SAW…w/ literal eyes.
v. 1 “saw”
v. 2 “saw”
Heaven is as real as Decatur is…but may smell different!

And we’ll have real bodies…glorified bodies! Jesus rose from the dead in His glorified body. He could pass thru walls, but yet he could touch people, sit down and eat…praise God!
It will be a different existence, but as real as it gets!

2. Heaven is a Remaining Place
v. 1 “passed away”
Nothing you see on this physical earth is going to last…nothing will remain. We like to have nice things and we should enjoy them, but don’t get too attached…they are not permanent. In the end, all we have left is our soul! All we will have in eternity is the treasures we send ahead.
“Only 1 life…”

Ill.—[fictitious] 2 women died. One was stingy/miserly. She was a Christian, but very greedy…and when she gave it was grudgingly. 
She had a maid working for her…she didn’t have much, but loved to give, and looked for opportunities to do so. 
Both women died. An angel escorted the wealthy woman around. He said, let me take you to your new home, and on the way we’ll pass by your maid’s house. Down the golden street they went, and as they approached a great mansion she said wow, and that’s just for my maid?! I can’t wait to see my place!
They moved on to a cardboard shanty. “What is this?”
“Sorry, we did our best w/ the materials you sent us!”
Jesus said we send ahead of us treasures--by how we serve, how we give now.

Every stain of sin, every evidence of evil will be vanquished as well when the old earth is destroyed! And all that will be left is our souls and our spiritual investments, stored up for us.

One of the most precious experiences we will have in heaven is being approached by someone who says, I got saved because of your witness, your testimony, your missions giving, your prayers, etc.!

Heaven is a real place, a remaining place…

3. Heaven is a Readied Place
v. 2 “prepared”
I’ve done a lot of weddings…and it takes the bride a long time to get ready…hours and hours…w/ someone just for dress, hair, makeup, etc.

And the Lord has spent a lot of time, and is sparing no expense in readying heaven for us. [2,000 years compared to 6 days of creation! And there’s some great beauty in this earth…even tho’ it’s been cursed!]
R.G. Lee—“Heaven is the most marvelous place the wisdom of God could conceive and that the power of God could prepare.”

The butterfly, the sculpted rose, the stars and planets…all in 6 days…and by comparison to heaven, the Grand Canyon will be an infected wound!

Ill.—little girl born blind/only beauty she knew came from her mother’s descriptions/flowers in spring, trees in fall, snow in winter, ocean in summertime/girl could only imagine/at 10 years of age, had experimental surgery to help her see/bandages for several weeks/moment of truth came…bandages removed and she saw/ran to the window and stood breathless/ “mother, why didn’t you tell me it was so beautiful?”/ “I tried to, but words just wouldn’t suffice!”
I believe that in heaven we’ll run around breathless, and when we see the apostle John we’ll say, “why didn’t you tell me?” and he’ll say, I tried, but words wouldn’t suffice!
1 Cor. 2:9 
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 

4. Heaven is a Place of Relationship
v. 3 This is what makes heaven heaven! If the streets were not gold but gravel, if the walls were particle board and not jasper, if mud was knee deep and weeds over our heads, it will still be heaven because Jesus is there!
If you’re lost, this thought should terrify you, not just that you would go to a fiery hell, but that you would go somewhere cut off from God! A lost person would be terrified even in His presence at the Great White Throne, but being face to face w/ Him is a precious contemplation for the believer…that’s what Heaven is!

And there we’ll see the only “man made” thing in heaven. As we study about all God is preparing for us, let’s not forget the paralyzing sight we’ll behold in the nail scarred hands and feet of Christ! [a constant reminder of how we got there!]

Heaven is not a reward for those who are faithful…we can’t work our way to heaven. We’ll be elated, yes, but only because we’re RELATED! Heaven is a place of relationship…

5. Heaven is a Place of Relief
v. 4-5 no more crying, sighing, or dying! No hospitals or graves! And Satan will not be able to get a passport. He will be in the bottomless pit. All the fallen angels will be chained up. There will be no aging, wrinkles. The fountain of youth will be there. One drink and all signs of age gone. Nothing will ruin, rot, or rust. There will be no thirsting, or hungering. No itching, no blindness, no deafness, no diabetes, no cancer, or heart attacks, or scars, no witchcraft, no drugs, no alcohol, or tobacco! No divorce, child abductions, accidents…and no more bills!

Ill.—5 year old girl had never stayed the night w/ a friend before/was nervous, but gave it a try/she did fine during the daytime, but when it got dark she got nervous in a strange place/ friend’s mother perceived this: “honey, are you getting homesick?”/with childlike innocence she replied, “no ma’am, I’m getting here sick!”

And the more you may go thru down “here”, the sweeter heaven will be for you!
Romans 8:18 
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

Some call it heaven/new Jerusalem/pearly white city/Glory/and some call it “home”.
“I’m kinda homesick for a country…”

COPchurch: The Cure for Conflict

Posted by Sherry


Sunday Evening 11-4-2012

Posted by Sherry


SECOND GUESSING GOD...DON’T DO IT!
2 Kings 3:1-24 
CBC 11/4/12 SN

Ever felt like God wanted you to do something, & you didn’t do it?
Why don’t we obey?
God never asks us to do something beyond our means or capability
  • Usually....WE DON’T WANT TO BE EMBARRASSED 
    • afraid of the reaction we might get
    • we don’t want to cast a “bad light” on ourself 
    • we go to great lengths to “look good” in front of people
      • clothes
      • make up
      • diet & exercise (Vanity: instead of doing that for health reasons)
  • Sometimes we don’t do what God asks, “BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!”
 2 KINGS 3:1-10
Joram had just become king of Israel, and the king of Moab rebelled against him.
So Joram contacted Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and he also contacted the king of Edom, and they all formed together to battle the king of Moab.
These three kings combined their armies together and started off on a journey.
Now, they traveled seven days into their journey, and they ran out of water.
They had no water for their horses or their men.
And they pretty much felt like God had handed them over to the king of Moab.

 Verse 11-18
11 But King Jehoshaphat of Judah asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord with us? If there is, we can ask the Lord what to do through him.”
One of King Joram’s officers replied, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to be Elijah’s personal assistant.[b]”
12 Jehoshaphat said, “Yes, the Lord speaks through him.” So the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom went to consult with Elisha.
13 “Why are you coming to me?”[c] Elisha asked the king of Israel. “Go to the pagan prophets of your father and mother!”
But King Joram of Israel said, “No! For it was the Lord who called us three kings here—only to be defeated by the king of Moab!”
14 Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I wouldn’t even bother with you except for my respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah. 15 Now bring me someone who can play the harp.”
While the harp was being played, the power[d] of the Lord came upon Elisha, (WASN’T A PIANO & ORGAN...LOL) GOD CAN USE OTHER INSTRUMENTS ALSO!!)16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! 17 You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. 18 But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab!


  • “This is what the Lord says, make this valley full of ditches.”
    • Military men digging ditches (Just like the LORD!)

I. God’s plan for us requires our response.
  • What’s the normal way to get water...probably thought it would be easier to just “rain”
    • God’s plan for us requires a response
    • they had to get busy & dig ditches in the valley
    • they (& us) had to participate in a “FAITH PROJECT”

II. God’s Plan for Us Tests our trust in Him.

V20 The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere.
  • See what obedience gets us?
    • God rewards our faith with supernatural power
    • What if they were embarrassed to dig ditches?
    • What if digging ditches wasn’t their “preference”?
    • What if they didn’t think they were “qualified” to dig ditches?
    • What if they had said, “We’ve never done it like that before”?
    • THEY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD ANY WATER & DIED!!!
  • How much do we really trust God...
    • as opposed to how much we trust in TRADITION?
    • If God told us to “dig a ditch” today...would we do it?
  • Remember the “battle plan” for taking down the walls of Jericho?
  • Remember the “act” for parting the Red Sea?
  • Remember where the water to quench the thirst of a starving nation came from? (rock)
    • time after time God instructs His children to do the seemingly “irrational”
    • it goes against everything we can understand
    • it goes against the laws of nature
    • it may be something BIG or something SMALL
    • GOD’S PLAN tests our trust in Him.

III. God’s power will exceed our expectations.

V 21-24 21 Meanwhile, when the people of Moab heard about the three armies marching against them, they mobilized every man who was old enough to strap on a sword, and they stationed themselves along their border. 22 But when they got up the next morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it appear red to the Moabites—like blood. 23 “It’s blood!” the Moabites exclaimed. “The three armies must have attacked and killed each other! Let’s go, men of Moab, and collect the plunder!”
24 But when the Moabites arrived at the Israelite camp, the army of Israel rushed out and attacked them until they turned and ran. The army of Israel chased them into the land of Moab, destroying everything as they went.

  • What did the kings want God to give them?
    • Water
    • God gave them the water they needed & much, much more
    • Victory beyond their imagination
    • The hardest thing the armies had to do was “DIG DITCHES”...
    • God’s power will exceed our expectations
CONCLUSION

God’s plan for us, requires our response, 
We need to get busy and do what God says, even if it does sound silly to us.

God’s plan tests our trust in him,
We need to rely on God’s supernatural power, we cannot do it. Only God can

God’s power, will exceed our expectations.
He wants to give us even more than we are asking for.

Are you willing to do something for God even if it makes absolutely no sense at all to us?
That is what the people of the Bible did, time and time again.

Friends, we don’t have to understand,… we just have to obey…..

Let us be completely willing today, 
Let us be ready ....
To dig that ditch.

Hey, if you see me in the near future, out here digging a ditch, don’t think twice about it.