HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Genesis 50:20 (AMP) - As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day].
Psalm 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
No one likes pain.
If you do there is something wrong with the way that you are wired.
As you mature you learn to embrace pain, and to make pain work for you.
When I was playing football one of the things our coaches would tell us constantly during practice and in the weight-room was – “NO Pain, No Gain”.
While this is true and motivating it still doesn’t feel good.
Pain is important because it is a signal designed to alert us when something is wrong. Our response to pain is important because we can pay attention to it and get to the root of the problem, or we can ignore it or numb it and allow it to persist until the cause of the pain damages us. We live in a time when people want to be comforted and told that everything will be alright. The truth is that somethings are not going to be alright unless change is made.
Now in a world where hurt, depression, disappointment, and difficulty are in great supply we need encouragement, help and a lift up.
When developing soldiers into Navy Seals all of them must go through “Hell Week” before they can earn the Seal Trident.
When my son was going through Ranger School it was an intensive time of training and testing that took them to the very limits of their physical, emotional and mental endurance before they could earn the privilege of being known as member of the “Special Forces” community.
Every believer will go through seasons of pain because God has a greater purpose for their life. We must also realize and deal with the fact that God has a greater purpose when He allows some pain to come into our lives. – Remember there is a purpose that is greater than the pain.
Joseph was about 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery, and he was 30 years old when the vision that God had given Him, that He would become a great leader, was finally fulfilled.
The years in between were filled with a lot of painful experiences: the betrayal of his brothers, being sold into slavery, being falsely accused of rape by his master’s wife, and then being thrown into prison, and seemingly forgotten. Even the people that he helped and promised to help him forgot about him as their life turned to the better.
It was the dreams and promises that God had given Joseph as a teenager back in his father’s house, that assured Joseph that he had a divinely ordained purpose and destiny, that he never forgot.
As Joseph trusted God, and responded to his suffering in faith and humility, God used his painful circumstances to mold and shape him for his destiny. God didn’t cause his suffering, but God used his pain to prepare him for something much greater.
God works the same way in all of our lives. Not through the same set of circumstances and pain but through our own unique trials that prepare us for a greater work of Glory.
We must refuse to allow the intensity and frequency of our pain to keep us from seeing the activity of God in our pain.
Wherever Joseph went, as a slave in Potiphar’s house, in prison, or before Pharoah, God was with him, and gave him extraordinary favor.
In spite of his pain, God’s hand was upon him, and he experienced promotion and doors of opportunity even in the midst of his painful experiences.
The intensity of his pain did not prevent him from seeing the activity of God. – for many of us the only thing we can focus on is pain. Joseph kept his focus on God’s purpose.
Just because you are in pain does not mean that you are not in God’s will. As a matter of fact, you are probably right in the middle of His plan.
The way we respond to our pain is more important than the weight of our pain.
Often when we experience pain it consumes us and attempts to control our response.
We need to make the choice, like Joseph, to see our pain from the perspective of faith and humble ourselves before God and allow Him to have His way in us.
When you look at those used mightily by God what sets them apart is their response and how they deal with difficult situations.
They were not grumblers and complainers.
They did not blame God or curse Him. -Sometimes they did question Him.
Even when wronged they stayed humble and had a good attitude.
Joseph in his deepest trials continued to walk by faith and to stay humble before God.
God always lifts up those who humble themselves before God even in their times of pain.
There are times that God allows us to feel the pain and weight of our own shame and conviction as we reap what we sow.
There are times that the pain we feel is the sorrow of our own poor choices that lead us to the natural consequences of sin, pride, selfishness, and plain stubbornness.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Repentance is not only feeling sorry for what you have done and the results that you have gotten but to a real change of heart and mind.
Pain changes both our behavior and our way of thinking. – Once you touch a hot stove you are sorry you did it and adjust your life accordingly.
Someone said that this verse could be translated – The Pain you feel in response to God dealing with you has produces a real change and deliverance.
This is what happens at the time of Salvation. We see the depth of our sin and the pain it brought to Christ making His sacrifice necessary.
In the same way God allows us to feel Godly sorrow even after we
are saved to deal with our sinful ways and the effects it has on ourselves and others.
The impact of our pain will exceed the experience of our pain, when we allow God to use it for His glory.
Philippians 3:10 (AMP) - And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];
Paul was able to experience resurrection power because he knew what it was to die to himself. Throughout his ministry he suffered and endured the pain of many trials and tribulations sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Because of this many people came to Christ and Paul saw many incredible miracles.
There is not growth without suffering. We suffer with Christ, and we share HIS suffering and His results
Because Joseph understood that there was a purpose greater than his pain, God was able to use him to not only save Egypt from starvation but more importantly, his own family, they were the seed to the nation of Israel.
Even greater than that, it was through Joseph’s faithfulness in the pain that the Savior of the World would come just as God had promised through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This is why Joseph could look at his brothers and say.
Genesis 50:20 (AMP) - As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day].
THE PURPOSE IS GREATER THAN YOUR PAIN!
May God bless you this month. Know that there are amazing things that God is doing in and through your life.
Thank you for joining us as we fast and pray through the month of September for our church during the remainder of the year. Also make our nation a matter of prayer as we head into another election season. Our hope is not in politicians but in Jesus. How we vote is a reflection of the moral direction of our nation.
May God’s richest blessings be on you and your family.
You are Loved.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!
~ Jim Cymballa - When you’re on a mountaintop, it’s not that hard to praise God. But when you’re going through a valley, to be able to say, “I will bless your name, Lord!”—that praise and worship is the most precious to God.
We live in a negative world, a fallen world where it seems that the ungodly are getting more and more prominent.
So much of what we hear is just negative, and we have to make a deliberate effort to be positive and counter the culture we live in. Praise is a great tool to help us achieve that.
We are conditioned to complain, grumble, and find the negative in everything.
Instead of finding reasons to complain and fuss we can find reasons to rejoice and praise.
I remember something we would encourage our children to do. Find something that someone is doing well and let them know it. Sing their praises.
I promise that if we will look for and pay attention, we will always have something to praise God for. I am convinced that we have the privilege to live a life of rejoicing instead of negative rehearsing or finding the negative.
Just as negativity, discouragement and complaining bring a heaviness to anywhere it is Praise brings the glory and goodness of God into the situation.
Just as there is power in prayer, there is power in praise.
When we praise, and when we exalt God, it prepares our heart to receive His Word.
Our praise and worship of God steers our attention away from our problems and difficulties and onto His greatness. Our praise to God readies our hearts to receive what He wants to do in our lives.
Praise is powerful because it elevates us into His presence and power.
There is a way to come into God’s presence.
Psalm 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
Psalm 34:1 - I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people.
In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. This means that praise is more than a reaction of coming into His presence... praise to God is a vehicle of faith which takes us into His presence and power!
Part of walking with God, Part of being a person of presence and power means that we are a person of praise.
Praise means “to commend, to applaud or magnify.”
For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving.
No matter the situation we are in HE is WORTHY of our praise.
There are people that I know that I just can’t brag on enough. Their character, their work ethic, their integrity and love for God are outstanding. – It is easy to sing their praises.
If we need to make sure that we are not stingy in our praise to others, we need to make sure we are holding nothing back in our praise of God who is worthy of our Highest Praise.
Just like you love to be acknowledged for what you have done well. So does God.
When people sing your praises, it releases favor in their direction.
The same holds true with God. You want to walk with people who recognize your goodness and so does God.
Psalm 89:15 - Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
Nothing lifts you out of despair, discouragement, hopelessness or depression like praise.
Paul and Silas are a perfect example. They were beaten, whipped and chained to a wall.
Paul and Silas demonstrate the supernatural power of authentic, passionate praise.
Facing unimaginable conditions while being wrongly imprisoned for their faith, they chose to stop focusing on their circumstances and instead, turn their attention fully onto the faithfulness of their God.
Acts 16:23-25 - And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Their faith-filled praise was so powerful in that dark, miserable prison, that their environment suddenly changed, and they were instantly set free.
The miraculous power of God was released— shaking everything around them and releasing them, and everyone around them, from their chains!
Acts 26:26 - Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.
Something supernatural happens in the natural when we sing the praises of God. Something happens in us, and something happens to the people around us and in the situations that surround us.
Because Paul and Silas had hope in the character of God it not only set them free it set all the people around them free. --- Let that sink in for a moment.
This is why we are to “Sing the praises of God” to each other and those around us.
Paul and Silas were true worshippers. Not situational worshipers.
They loved and worshiped God no matter what situation they were in.
True worshipers – worship in Spirit and in truth.
Praise and thankfulness go hand in hand, and there is always so much to be grateful for!
If we praised Him all day, every day, we would never finish thanking Him for all of the seen and unseen ways that He cares for us and blesses us.
He is a good Father, and we will never fully understand how He is constantly working behind the scenes in our lives to love, protect, nurture and favor us.
One of the things that I believe that will be a significant part of our year of “Overflow”; is that we will overflow with praise.
God has been good to us. The truth is He has been better than we deserve.
As we come to an end to our summer lets look back and just overflow with praise for all that God is and all that He has done for us individually, in our families and as a church.
Know that you are dearly Loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 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. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ A.W. Tozer – It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.
It is necessary that God takes anyone who wants to know Him, serve Him and be mightily used by Him through seasons of pain, trials and hardships that break you, OF YOU, but won’t leave you wounded and broken.
We watch God take people in the Bible through this. David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Job, Peter and Paul. Every one of them were broken to the point where they truly wondered if they were broken beyond repair. They doubted themselves and wondered how they could ever be useful to God. Some wondered if they had wasted their life. Others just wanted their life to end.
It was in their greatest moments of despair, failure, betrayal, dismay, depression and pain that God developed them into the mighty instruments of God that they became.
Brokenness is painful, but it develops humility and dependance on God that very few experience.
In the same way that olives are crushed to produce oil, in the same way that grapes are crushed to make a fine wine and in the same way that flowers are crushed to make perfume, we must be humbled before we can be mightily used by God.
If God is breaking you, although it is challenging, painful and emotionally draining, you can rejoice knowing that God thinks that you are worth the refining process. God will take all of us through trying times to refine us, heal us, break us from things that hold us back and draw out what is valuable inside of us.
The truth is that many of us will go through several of these times during our lifetime and in our walk with God.
Broken times come in many forms and in many ways. Some of them are unique to just you and others are things that we all must experience. These times leave us weak, questioning ourselves, God and our choices. They leave us with a keen awareness of our own weaknesses, sins and shortcomings.
Brokenness is an absolutely adequate word to describe how we feel. Utterly at the end of ourselves and over almost everything.
You need to hear this. – Just because you are going through a season of brokenness does not mean you are broken. It may feel like it.
What is happening is you are being refined. Stop asking the questions – What is wrong with me? Why am I such a failure?
Ask instead. What is God doing in all of this? How can I cooperate with Him?
There is a great shaking going on among the body of Christ. Those who want to know God and be used mightily are being broken and those who are arrogant are being revealed.
Before David could be King, he had to go tend sheep.
He defeated giants; He was anointed but he was not released to lead until he learned how to tend.
David had to learn to be a keeper before he could be King.
Moses spent forty years in the desert before he could spend forty years leading Israel through the wilderness. You must have been there before you can take people where God needs them to be.
The Anointing that comes from brokenness will cost you.
Deep heart-searching change is painful and labor intensive as well as emotionally and physically exhausting. – Isaiah compared these times to childbirth. Isaiah 26:17 - As a woman with child Is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in Your sight, O Lord.
Someone said – There is always travail before you prevail.
It is human nature to pride ourselves in our ability to be unbroken. The British call it “having a stiff upper lip”. In America we revel in the idea of never allowing anyone to see you sweat. We become hard so no one can ever hurt us or our heart. We put on the façade of having it – “All together” – sometimes so well that we believe it ourselves. We spend much of our time trying not to appear cracked, hurt or weak. We are told to always project strength.
Half of what is taught in churches today is all about how to keep ourselves strong, intact and to be the best version of ourselves.
We come to God crying out to be whole when we would do just as well to say with all sincerity “Lord, wound me, break me, mold me, shape me, fill me and make me like you.
All of us struggle with pride on some level.
I can assure you if we do not allow God to break us of pride then pride will ruin us. Today with all the talk about achieving our dreams, on becoming self-reliant, self-sufficient and the best version of ourselves and living our best life all we have done is become self-righteous. We talk about becoming leaders, and influencers and less about becoming the servant of all.
We are so busy trying to be great that we have lost our ability to relate. We are so busy focusing on impact that we have lost the common touch that was able to transform hearts.
Humility is a lifelong struggle for all of us. All of us struggle with pride, image, accomplishment and capability. God values humility and brokenness over ability and giftedness.
It takes brokenness to rid us of pride. The sooner we realize that we are flawed, broken and utterly dependent upon God the sooner we will experience true joy and freedom.
In God’s economy it is only when we are weak, it is only when we lose our self-reliance that we are truly strong. We self-righteously try to talk ourselves right out of weakness.
I have a revelation for you. It was when Jesus was literally broken, His body whipped, physically weak. He was forsaken by God -emotionally abandoned and alone. It was when he was hanging naked on display for all to see – humiliated and dishonored –that He broke the power of sin and death.
Modern Christianity wants nothing to do with this weakness and humility stuff and we have never been weaker.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - 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.Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul said when I am weak then I am strong.
Someone needs to hear this – you have been asking to minister in the power of God, but you want to feel strong, you want to feel on top of the world, you want to feel invincible.
My friend that is where pride comes in that will destroy you.
God is bringing us to the point where we realize that we don’t need to be great. We don’t need to be strong in ourselves, He is bringing us to the point where we are STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT.
Not our own. That is where God works best.
I am excited about what God is doing in the life of those who love Him. There is a precious, powerful work that is happening in the body of Christ. It is not easy; it is not comfortable, and it certainly is not fashionable. IT IS necessary in these last days.
Know that you are loved and not alone. This work of brokenness of complete dependance on God. This thing that is completely different than the way the world works – is God doing His perfect work in us.
May it be our cry today – Lord break me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Proverbs 13:20 - He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
(AMP) - He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.
If you and I are going to grow in wisdom we need to make sure that we surround ourselves with people who have and walk in wisdom. What this means is that you need to know what wisdom looks like and what foolishness looks like.
The world defines foolishness and wisdom very differently than the Bible.
The dictionaries definition looks like this – A fool is a person who lacks good sense and judgement. Silly or senseless. One who repeatedly makes silly mistakes that could easily be avoided or someone who does or says things without thinking about the consequences.
This is good but it is really only part of what God reveals to us.
One of the first things that we need to understand about wisdom and foolishness is that the world regards Christians as fools and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 - For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not manynoble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:18 - or the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 - (NLT) - So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
When the Bible teaches on wisdom and foolishness it does so for those that have a desire to know God and to learn His ways.
God’s wisdom is spiritual, and it cannot be completely understood by the natural man.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The one thing that you will discover about God’s wisdom is that it is remarkably simple. I like to call it simple truth with deep and lasting impact. The world complicates wisdom and makes it seem unattainable. The Bible tells us that God will give wisdom to all who ask.
The first thing that makes a fool a fool is their rejection of God.
Psalm 53:1 - The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. One of the clearest ways that you know that you are dealing with a fool and a foolish person is when they tell you either they do not believe in God or that they do not have time for “religious things because they just don’t believe in that kind of thing. One thing that we must understand is that foolish does not mean goofy. All of us stereo type things including our idea of a fool. Some think of mindless non-thinkers who dismiss the idea of God outright. Others see a hard-working beer drinking party boy or woman who just wants to be left alone to live their life.
One of the things that surprised me early on in my walk with God is that many foolish people who reject God are well read, educated, articulate and calm. They have “studied” the religions of the world and have drawn the conclusion that they are all the same. Some have been hurt and disappointed by some incredible losses in life and have decided that if this is what God is like then they want nothing to do with Him. Often times a fool is not quite what we have expected.
A fool doesn’t value learning a lesson.
Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There are some people who have no real desire to learn, grow and better themselves. They have no desire for Godly knowledge and understanding and they have no real desire to be taught.
Fools are unteachable. They refuse to do anything with knowledge and understanding that someone may have just dropped into their lap. One of the things that sets the wise apart from a fool is their desire to be teachable.
Proverbs 9:8-9 - (NLT) - So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
The wise welcome teaching, correction, direction or advise. Fools have no desire to humble themselves to receive teaching or redirection.
One of the last things that we learn from fools is that there is a way you must talk with them when you realize that you are interacting with a fool.
Proverbs 26:4-5 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
(AMP) - Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
At face value this wisdom sounds contradictory but if you look at it, this is powerful.
Many people have a hard time with the idea of identifying a fool. The Bible tells us that we CAN know the difference between the foolish and the wise. This is not judging it is Biblical observation.
First of all, simply trying to reason with a fool is a fool’s errand. They believe what they think, and they are not budging from their position. If you try a reasonable approach with a mocker or even with an educated thinker, you are going to be constantly hitting your head on the proverbial brick wall. If you have ever been in one of these conversations no matter how well intentioned, you are going to look and feel just as foolish as they are.
~Mark Twain - “NEVER ARGUE WITH STUPID PEOPLE. THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL AND BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.”
We are told to answer a fool according to their own folly. – Many assume that this is permission to be sarcastic. It is not.
In the process of having a conversation with a fool it is reframing your questions to them in such a way that they realize their logic and patterns of thinking are incorrect. It is not telling a fool that they are foolish it is helping lead them to the conclusion on their own. If we do not take the time to thoughtfully correct and teach the foolish, we will leave them thinking that they are wise in their own opinion.
As we continue to move into the deeper things of God it is important that we know the difference between wisdom and foolishness.
May the Lord bless you and your family during these summer months. Take time to rest, enjoy family and be sure to stay in church and close to God.
Know that You are loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
Psalm 34:19 (AMP) - Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the Lord rescues him from them all.
A while back I ran across a sermon called – The Doctrine of Suffering. I began to sense God stirring something in my spirit. The truth is that many people are going through some pretty difficult times. The hardship and suffering are deep, painful, exhausting and you are looking forward to this season ending. I believe that God wants to do a Healing work in many of us that will be lasting and impactful.
Contrary to much of what is taught today, God never promised us a life free from trials hardship and suffering. As a matter of fact, He promised us just the opposite. John 16:33 (NIV) - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Hardship and suffering are a normal part of life, even for Christians.
Trials, hardship, and sorrow hit all of us. They are not something strange or unusual.
1 Peter 4:12-13 - Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
When we go through trials, suffering and hardship we need to realize that it is not something unusual.
~ Charles Spurgeon – The question of suffering is not a question of if we will face it, but when. Suffering is one of life’s certainties, as is the good which God produces through it.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 - In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
I don’t want you to miss that – God has appointed the one as well as the other. Another translation reads - but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Now I realize that is going to mess with some people- good times and difficult times come from God. He allows them both.
~ Carter Conlon – Of Times Square Church – There are some people who have such an aversion to the idea of hardship that they immediately shut down at the mere mention of it. If they don’t hear a message that makes them happy and assures them that everything is going to be fine, they quickly leave in search of a place where they will only hear good news.
Listen this is all fine and good until the reality of hard times come and unspeakable things happen: now not only do you have problems you have no foundation of hope on which to stand.
At the core of hardship is the mercy and goodness of God. God is always faithful to strengthen us and to strategically prepare us for whatever we will have to face.
We need to realize that hard isn’t bad but that HARD IS HARD.
There is purpose in the pain. Someone needs to hear this – God will never allow your pain to be in vain. Regardless of where our pain comes from or what it is – God will never waste your pain.
James 1:2-4 (NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
The Bible says that God blesses us with the opportunity to know the joy of growth and victory. The big key is to go through these times PAITENTLY. WE are to patiently ENDURE. Enduring means it’s not easy it is hard. Know that God is building His character in us. If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.
One of the reasons so many people are hurting is because they have decided to either ignore the pain or they just pretend that it is not really affecting their lives. On more than one occasion Jesus asked people if they wanted to be healed or what do you want me to do for you.
One of the things that we need to get settled in our spirit is that – We need to understand that it brings God joy to heal us, restore us and to set us free. You need to believe this. Healing in every aspect, Spiritual, Emotionally, Physically and Mentally is not just for others but is for you. If this is settled, you will know where to go and where to look when you need help. If not, you will find yourself constantly searching for both solutions and healing.
I believe that at HCC we are in a precious season of healing. We have seen three people in the last several years, literally come back from a death sentence health wise. We have seen many other remarkable healings. I believe we have yet to scratch the surface of what God has for our lives. In this year of OVERFLOW, I believe we are going to see not only the healing of bodies, but of depression, release from difficult situations, freedom from addiction and joy in place of tremendous sorrow.
It is the hard and difficult times. The times filled with sorrow and pain that God uses for His glory and for our benefit. Hear me – God will never waste your pain.
Thank you for your faithfulness to the Kingdom of God and to HCC.
You are precious to God and to us
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT) - For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
Resurrection Sunday reminds us of the open and empty tomb that our Lord and Savior Jesus won the victory over death, hell and the grave. – Today I want to talk about the cross. Specifically, what the cross brought forth – that is the precious blood of Jesus.
Most people don’t like the sight of blood. Most don’t like to see their own blood or the blood of others. For the Christian we understand that the Bible tells us that the life is in the blood.
Without the blood there is no life in the natural and without the Precious Blood of Jesus being applied to our lives there is no life in the spiritual.
While we remember the Resurrected Jesus today it is also important to remember the Crucified, spotless Lamb of God. Slain from the foundation of the world so that all men and women can be saved. I want to remind us that the blood is a great many things to all of us it is – THE BLOOD OF….
First of all, it is the Blood of Forgiveness
Hebrews 9:22 - In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 (AMP) - If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].
Without the blood there is no forgiveness of sin. – It is the blood of Jesus that makes forgiveness available to us.
Resurrection Sunday has a way of allowing us to look back.
Many people look back over their lives and all that they see is regret. When we look back as Christians we are filled with Thankfulness.
Because of the blood we are no longer what we were. – We are no longer sinners we are now saints of God and Children of God.
His blood is the blood of cleansing. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. – All of this because of the blood.
We who are deserving of death have been forgiven of all of our sin and now have the promise of eternal life. Because of the blood of Jesus our relationship with God the Father has been restored. We once were distanced from God but now we are brought near by the blood of Christ. Sin brought separation… forgiveness restored relationship
It is the blood of peace Colossians 1:19-20 (NLT) - For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
The blood of Jesus was shed because without it we would still be enemies of God. Don’t miss this God made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means Christ’s blood. One of the names of God is God our peace. Jehovah shalom. The peace that comes through Jesus is known as a peace that passes understanding.
Before Jesus everything in all of creation was under the curse. It is the blood of Jesus that redeems and restores everything that had been tainted and destroyed by sin. The peace that Jesus brings encompasses everything.
Shalom- peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility - “make it good”, “shall surely pay”, “make full restitution” or to “restore”. The ancient Hebrew meaning of shalom was “to make something whole”. Not just regarding practical restoration of things that were lost or stolen. But with an overall sense of fulness and completeness in mind, body and estate. Wholeness and Well-being. The Blood of Jesus first of all brings us peace with God but with it comes all kinds of benefits that bless us completely.
It is the blood of our victory.
Revelation 12:11a - And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,
It through the blood that we become overcomers and conquerors in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:57 - “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 2:15 - “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” It is the blood of Jesus that overcame death, hell and the grave.
It is the blood that continues to give us victory in these areas every day. Remember that we are being led in Triumph and from Glory to Glory. We go from one victory to the other. Resurrection Sunday reminds us that we are not victims. Even while Jesus was being beaten, wounded, ridiculed mocked and killed He was not a victim. – He could have called legions of angels to rescue Him. – Willingly Jesus laid down His life. He looked past the trial, torture, pain and death knowing that He was greater than it all.
His blood in our life is the blood of victory.
It is the Blood of Jesus
Hebrews 13:12 - And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
Luke 22:20 - In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
This was personal to Jesus. This is personal to us.
Jesus shed His blood for you and me.
Years ago, when the movie the Passion of the Christ came out. The actors and then the audience were moved to tears when they performed and witnessed the brutality and reality of what Christ endured. FOR US. FOR ME.
The blood came with a name attached – Jesus. The blood of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. It is not nameless blood. It is the precious blood of Jesus.
Mary, the Apostle John, Peter and many others saw what He did. It was personal, excruciating, painful, unbearable, humiliating, angering and overwhelmingly humbling for them.
This Resurrection Sunday my prayer is that for us this would become not just a thing that happened to somebody. But that was the blood of our Savior, Brother, Friend that was shed for us. – That alone changes everything.
Let’s make sure that this Resurrection season is as personal to us as it is to Jesus. To all my brothers and Sisters, remember that because HE lives, WE live also.
You are Loved
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Luke 11:5-13 (NLT) - Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.11 “You fathers—if your children askfor a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
As Christians we understand the power of prayer.
Prayer is the means by which we are told we can move mountains, see the sick healed, invite God into the things we are doing and find peace in incredibly difficult situations. Prayer, even when it is quiet, even when it is contemplative is still powerful.
Prayer is not a timid act, although the timid can come to God.
Prayer is the means by which things get done in the Kingdom of God and how the Kingdom of God is advanced in this world.
Prayerful people see powerful things because they understand the forces behind prayer.
A car engine is only powerful because there are things that go into the engine that make it work.
People often describe prayer as the engine that drives a church.
It is, but just as a car engine must have gasoline, oil and coolant to make it run effectively and efficiently – There are several forces that help our prayers to be powerful and effective. James 5:16 b - The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
The Force of Worship –
Psalm 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. Never underestimate the power of your praise, worship and thanksgiving to God. The reason that many people have a hard time with prayer is that they come to God focusing more on their problems than on the problem solver. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray… that includes us, the first thing He set as the pattern is – Our Father in Heaven Holy is your name – your Kingdom Come – Your will be done.
All effective prayer starts with worship. Worship starts with our focus. – we take the focus off of ourselves and our situations and put it squarely on God. Worship is honoring God for who He is.
It is declaring our trust in Him. It is taking time to thank Him for what He has already done. Many Christians think that prayer is actually complaint disguised as a conversation. God knows our heart. – Even David poured out his complaints before the Lord. The truth is that is ok. But if you are really praying to God and not just thinking through your problem your complaint will soon become confident praise as you realize who you are talking to.
The Force of Authority.
As a child of God, we are to come boldly before the throne of Grace. This means that we can boldly and confidently speak with God. Prayer is not only about speaking to God.
It is also about speaking to the person, situation or need.
Most Christians understand the concept of prayer that is speaking to God. Prayer also involves us boldly speaking to what needs spoken too. This means that in the natural we are to address the problem. Jesus REBUKED, (in the Greek the word rebuked means scolded), a sickness from Peter’s mother-in-law.
Luke 4:38-41 - Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.
Later that same day He rebuked the storm, and then later that day he rebuked 6,000 demons out of a man who was clearly in need of peace. Prayer is not passive. It is forceful and those who use it walk in authority. Authority simply means that we are not powerless to do things.
The force of persistence.
When it comes to prayer there are many horrible ideas that are being taught. One of the ones that actually makes me angry is one that is so unbiblical yet so easily believed. People say if you go to God about something only ask once. If you keep asking, then you are lacking faith.
While I understand the sentiment and while that SOMETIMES may be the case that is not a true biblical statement.
Luke 11:5-13 (NLT) - Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.]9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.11 “You fathers—if your children askfor a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
These verses aren’t teaching us to be annoying until we get our way. They are teaching us the power and force of persistence. In prayer we are to be shamelessly persistent. Too many people give up way to early. Not only in prayer but in life. Prayer teaches us to live a shamelessly persistent life.
The Bible says to keep asking, to keep seeking and to keep knocking10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. - Everyone.
I describe persistence as – Continual – Faithful – Insistence with positive expectancy.
A church that is powerful in ministry is forceful in prayer. The same is true for every individual believer.
There is more force behind our prayers that I will be teaching on this month. We look forward to meeting with you in person and on line. Remember it is important that we gather and worship together. While we are strong individually, we are always – better together.
Know that you are loved
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Matthew 10:16 - “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
For me this is one of the most shocking statements that Jesus ever made to His disciples. To us. The Concept of this verse is easy to understand but is filled with rich teaching to mature us and equip us.
Jesus said I am sending you out into the world and you are sheep in the midst of wolves. In the natural, you look like prey, but I want you as sheep to be wise as serpents and innocent and harmless as a dove. Jesus warned us that serving Him in this world was going to put us in difficult situations with people.
Jesus told His disciples that we were not to just be sheep or followers who depended completely on the Shepherd, but we were to have the wisdom of a serpent and the innocence of a dove.
This idea of being wise as a serpent confuses us because when we think of serpents we think of snakes, and we think of Satan in the garden. We associate snakes with slithering, biting and killing. We only understand part of the analogy.
We must remember that God made the snake the same way that He made the eagle. Too many Christians confuse the wisdom of a serpent with the character of a snake. There are characteristics that God gave it that teach us how to function in the world we live in wisely. Genesis 3:1a - Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
The serpent had a key personality trait. It was cunning.
Cunning speaks of intelligence shrewdness, cleverness and smarts.
People assume that sheep are stupid. They are not. They are vulnerable, but they are intelligent and relational.
Jesus said I am sending you out as sheep among wolves you are vulnerable. Therefore, you need to be a wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. We get the idea of sheep and doves, but most Christians do not understand the idea of being wise as serpents because there is very little teaching on it.
The world assumes that we are sheep, stupid, slow, dependent, clean and pure. We need to understand that clean, innocent and pure does not mean naïve. As a matter of fact, a dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit and one of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom.
If all we see ourselves is as sheep and doves, then we will always be prey for the enemy. Let’s be honest, all too often Christians operate in the world naively and not wisely. I want you to know that you can be innocent, pure and dependent on God for everything and still be one shrewd cookie.
The Bible tells us that we are the head and not the tail. We are not a predator, but neither are we prey. Jesus had to address the idea of His disciple acting and living in this world with greater wisdom Luke 16:8 - So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
God wants us to understand the wisdom of being cleaver, smart and shrewd when we are dealing with the world.
One of the lessons that we can learn from the serpent is that they know how to blend into their environment.
A serpent is not a chameleon, but they are a master of camouflage.
We are in the world, but we are not of the world.
It is important to understand that we are different than the rest of the world. We do not think like the world, talk like the world, believe like the world but there we are in the middle of it all. The world is our environment so we must learn to live in it.
Whenever a snake comes into a new place or interacts with a new environment it takes time to acclimate to the climate and culture.
Many Christians assume that to be a good Christian they need to announce that they are a Christian and immediately set to work changing a place.
I guarantee you that on our church property and around your home there are snakes. You don’t even know that they are there. They are laying low, getting to know the territory they are quiet, and they are blending into their surroundings. We are called to reach our world with the Gospel, but they do not even have a desire to be reached. We must get to know them, how they think and talk. What they enjoy. What hurts them and what excites them. 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 -to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Paul says I become all things to all people that I might all means reach some. Everywhere I have lived I had to learn the culture and the customs of a place. When you work at a place become like the culture there, so you have the right to speak into their lives.
Camouflage is a protective covering it helps you to settle into your environment. Helps you to move around and get to know a place. It also provides you with safety.
A sheep who acts like a sheep among wolves immediately is identified as prey. A snake that is immediately identified as a snake immediately is reacted negatively too and will experience immediate resistance. At work at school, we are to be a part of the people we are with.
– Now remember innocent as doves. This means that we are like Jesus who ate with sinners but did not sin with the sinners.
Remember in order for Jesus to save the world He had to come in the likeness of man. He became one of us but was without sin.
One of the key traits of a serpent is how slowly they move.
It is wise to move slowly and deliberately through life.
James 1:19 - Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Quick, Slow, Slow - Serpents are always listening.
Many people like to jump to conclusions, instead of listening to what people are saying and really mean as they read between the lines. Many have a quick temper and a short fuse. Serpents never seem to be in a hurry. They can sit still for hours, or they will just slither along. It’s not that they cannot move fast they are just careful and know how to conserve their energy. Many times, we do life in this world by acting too fast or making spit decisions when we have plenty of time to think and gather facts.
We need this wisdom in personal relationships and in business relationships. Keen business people take their time. They don’t jump at every opportunity. People with lasting and fruitful friendships and relationships are slow to get to know people and slow to bring them close. By moving slowly, we get to understand people and situations. We get to observe the landscape and see if there are any dangers. This does not mean paralysis by analysis. But taking time to observe and learn. The truth is many times it is better to be quiet and listen, to lay low and just observe. Serpents are absolutely fine with little action and quiet. We should be as well. Moving slowly keeps us from making pour decisions and allows us plenty of time to avoid obstacles and setbacks.
Christian we are called to live wisely and shrewdly in this world. This will cause us to be victorious.
Know that you are loved
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
John 7:37-39 - On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
As I was praying over what God wanted for us in the coming year two words kept leaping into my spirit. Overflow and Outpouring.
Last year our theme was Deeper, Higher, Wider and Further. I believe that describes what happens when you follow a river and what happens when you choose to go with God spiritually.
Overflow is what happens to a river that begins to fill its banks and outgrows its natural boundaries. The only way that happens is when it rains and the amount of rain coming in is greater than the capacity of the banks of the river to contain it.
Overflow means that there is plenty for you and more than enough to share with others. There is so much to share that you don’t even think about what is leaving you because there is so much there that there is not enough of you, to contain it all.
When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He was speaking of the work that the Holy Spirit would do in and through a life that was Filled with Him. Jesus was telling the disciples that they would be so full spiritually that it would impact every area of their life and the lives of the people they came into contact with.
After the disciples received the in filling of the Holy Spirit, they went on to change the entire world. The impact is still felt today.
I believe that we are entering a new season of spiritual overflow.
The Spiritual always affects the natural. While the two are separate in many ways they are intrinsically intertwined. If you try to separate the soul and spirit and soul from the body, you can’t do it. That is like trying to separate the wet from water.
Many Christians are looking at the world around them and seeing the proliferation of sin and wondering if anything good can come.
All around us people are breaking man’s laws and God’s laws. The more the laws are broken the more that we see people are broken. Whenever sin increases the grace and unmerited favor of God also abounds. Someone needs to hear what I am saying. I believe that we are entering a season of an outpouring of the grace and mercy of God upon our lives that will be amazing as the Holy Spirit flows through us.
The Bible says that Rivers of Living water will flow through us.
First of all, Jesus called the work of the Holy Spirit in our life a river not a lake. River’s flow. Lakes collect. It is amazing how a river stays full even while it is flowing and giving out. Rivers are always moving; they are not stagnant. The dead sea is dead because it is always collecting and has no outlet. Jesus promised that He would fill us with the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit would be moving in and through our life. We are not just something that the Holy Spirit is to fill we are a vessel that He is to flow through.
A lot of people are empty even though they are so full. The reason for that is we are not meant to be a lake; we are meant to be a river.
The secret to being full is found in allowing what the Holy Spirit has filled you with to flow into others. A river overflows not because it is empty but because it is so full that it is looking for an outlet. What God is doing in you will eventually be something that He uses to impact others. The Holy Spirit is designed to flow through you, where it transforms you and it blesses those around you. Someone needs to hear this. The Holy Spirit in you is not just enough He is more than enough to fill you and to use you to bless others.
The Key to overflow is found in giving. The reason that many people withhold from God is they believe that it will leave them with less. I have found that when you give everything to God not only are we not left with less He gives us more than enough.
When we give everything that we are to God and hold nothing back we release what is blocking our path and release an overflow of His favor and provision for everything in every area.
Luke 6:38 - 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.” Just as God withholds no good thing from us. We need to understand that it is as we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us that we experience a CONTINUAL filling. Proverbs 11:24-25 - There is one who scatters yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
You can never out give God. The more you refresh others the more you will be refreshed.
Part of what rivers do is remove dead things.
If you have ever looked at a flowing, overflowing river part of its purpose is to purify. Dead things get caught up in the flow and moved out of the way. When rivers are not polluted by man, they have a way of filtering the water and keeping it pure which brings life to everything it touches. When the Holy Spirit flows through us it brings with Him purifying power. When the Holy Spirit moves don’t be surprised to watch Him do a sweeping purifying work. I believe that part of this overflow will be a purifying sin removing, getting rid of every dead thing work of God.
Rivers stir things up. One reason some Christians are hesitant to flow with and over flow with the Spirit of God is they are afraid of what it will stir up. Rivers move the sediment out of the way and build new things. You can’t build without stirring up some things. I believe one of the things God was speaking to my heart about overflow is that when a river is moving, things that used to be hard to move now get moved easily. If you have ever seen a flood, it is amazing how everything from cars, trucks, houses – really anything that is obstructing the path of the river is now easily and almost effortlessly and almost violently swept out of the way. I believe God is saying to us that as we allow the Spirit of God to flow through us and overflow into the world around us that those things that used to seem like incredible obstacles are going to move with little to no effort on our part.
I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart – Take the limits off of God. We need to quit trying to control the way the Holy Spirit moves through us and just go with the flow and surrender ourselves to Him. Someone needs to hear this – if you will release control, you do not need to fear chaos because God is in control. I want to say it again we need to take the limits off of God. He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think. Often people are accused of small thinking.
It’s not that most Christians are small thinkers they are just natural thinkers. What is within our ability to think, see or dream of.
Just know that God has a much higher way of thinking. Something happens when you allow the Holy Spirit to flow though you. You stop thinking and asking in a limited way and start to know HIS WAYS that are exceedingly, Abundantly above all. –
I am excited about what God has for us in the coming year. Thank you for joining in on these 21 days of prayer and Fasting.
You are dearly Loved
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Genesis 2:2-3 - And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Rest is so important that God has woven it into the very fabric of creation. Rest is part of the cycle of life. It is literally in the DNA of everything. We need to rest daily. We need a day of rest weekly, and God even designed the land to need to rest every seven years.
If we want to walk in personal peace and in sound emotional and mental health, then rest must become a regular part of our life cycle. We were created by God to sleep a third of our lives away each day. He also commands that we stop from normal activity one day a week. God created summer for when things are in full bloom and winter for the land to rest. God created our lives and nature to have a rhythm of being active and then times for quiet and recovery. It is through this that God brings a necessary balance to our lives and to nature.
The Bible tells us that God blessed the day of rest and made it holy. To be made holy means to be sanctified or literally set apart as unique and special and dedicated for the purposes that God designed. The Hebrew word for rest is Sabat. It means to cease and desist from labor. God worked then He rested from all of His work. God put such a high value on rest that He made it part of the Ten Commandments. While God has blessed our times and seasons of rest the world curses it as unproductive and intrusive. While we talk about vacations and down time few of us actually practice it.
We talk about how we can work 8-10 hours a day. Read at least 10 books a month. Spend time playing with our families. Exercise every morning, binge watch our favorite shows, keep up with the news, teach our children, cook healthy food every day, keep our house clean and updated and work at the local soup kitchen as we pay it forward.
The world does not praise rest it mocks it as unnecessary and people who flow with the rhythm that God created and commands us to follow are deemed lazy and unproductive. God blesses and even commands us to work hard but He also desires us to rest and enjoy life.
Many people’s idea of a vacation is to fit a years’ worth of adventure into a single week. Most of us come back needing a vacation from our vacation. The truth is we have totally missed the point. Others of us think that we can fit an entire years’ worth of rest into a one- or two-week vacation. Again, we have completely missed the point.
Even the most-high energy, type A personalities and young and physically fit need times to rest. As a matter of fact, if you fit into that category, you probably have a greater need for rest.
Isaiah 40:30-31 - Even youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. Everyone gets tired, weary and loses strength, stamina and focus. The secret to keep going is to rest and wait on the Lord. This is how we gain new strength, renew our energy and refresh our spiritual anointing.
Rest is the secret to staying close to God and rising like an eagle.
Rest is the secret to being able to run and not grow tired and to walk and not grow faint. We need to understand that rest is a pause. It is not quitting; it is not lazy it is necessary.
~ Someone made this important observation – “All Physical strength is spiritual in cause.” All true rest starts inside of us. We have not truly rested until we have rested within.
How do you know that you need inner rest – that is actually pretty easy to gage. All of us have gotten a full night’s sleep but have woken up having not feeling rested in the least. Our minds and our emotions are still going, we are still thinking, we are still trying to work everything out. Far too many of us shut down but don’t ever turn off. Tiredness affects more than just our bodies. If that was all then a simple nap would solve all of our problems.
While a nap will fix many things. It is vital that we learn to rest in the Lord, Spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Resting in God is a spiritual discipline much like prayer and fasting. It is not meditation where you empty yourself of everything. You are already on empty. It is where you intentionally fill up Spiritually. It is where we put ourselves in a position to be filled new with all that the Holy Spirit offers.
A car isn’t tired because it ran out of gas, it needs a fill up. There is nothing wrong with the car except it needs an exchange of fuel from another tank into its tank.
When a car is on empty it sputters and spurts. Finally, is shuts down. Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I am gentle and humble, learn from me and you will find rest for your souls. When you can’t physically sleep because you are spiritual drained, exchange your emptiness and hurt for his healing and filling.
When you need inner peace, you don’t just need calm you need the Holy Spirit who is the comforter. He is our peace and the Spirit of peace.
We also need outward physical rest. People used to not be so hurried and hassled. This is a historically new thing in many ways.
Those who live by the new rules wear out, burn out and fizzle out.
I hear people say I would rather go out in flames than just burn out and fade away. I have news for you those are not the only two options. You don’t have to go out at all. This is utter foolishness.
Jeremiah 6:16 - This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
Many times, we are tired because we are so busy chasing the new.
The old Godly ways are not passe they are a place of rest. So many people respond like Israel did to God’s invitation of rest. – “No, we don’t want it”. God says when you are at the cross roads and you have a choice stop and choose the old Godly ways. You can’t go wrong, and you will have peace inside and out instead of turmoil and chaos and confusion inside and out.
As we are getting ready to enter the new year, I want to challenge all of us to make sure we make rest, both Spiritually and Physically a part of our normal routines. As we do I believe that we will find ourselves accomplishing what God desires AND living a life of peace.
You are Dearly Loved- Have a very Merry Christmas
Pastor Marvin & Dawn