HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Happy December and Merry Christmas!
Luke 2:25-29 (NLT) - At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So, when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
One of the most untold stories of Christmas is what happened forty days after the birth of Jesus. This was when Joseph and Mary went to the Temple with Jesus for the ceremony of purification and dedication and had an encounter with Simeon.
The Christmas story is about real people living real life who are serving a very real God. The stories we read in the Bible are perfect for life today because these people were living everyday life just as we are.
temple when he did.
I don’t want you to miss this. – Simeon was able to walk into a very precious moment with God, simply because he lived each day led by the Spirit of God. –
Don’t miss this. – It is when we walk everyday with the Spirit of God that we are led into extraordinary moments with God.
I want you to notice I said walk not stumble. Those who walk with God don’t stumble into things accidentally they are led there intentionally by the Spirit.
One of the Great Lessons we learn from this story is that being Led by the Holy Spirit isn’t really all that difficult.
Notice that everyone in this story was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.
Mary and Joseph- They came to Jerusalem 40 days after the birth of Jesus to dedicate him.
Luke 2:21-24 -And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Luke 2:27 - So he came by the Spirit into the temple.
Simeon was led at just the perfect moment by the Spirit of God into the Temple.
All of them were just doing what they should be doing.
Being in the will of God is not a matter of luck it is a matter of obedience.
Everyone was doing what God called them to be doing at that point in their lives. This obedience brought everyone together in the same place at the same time.
We get so afraid sometimes about missing the promises of God. Listen the Holy Spirit will lead you right into it.
When you don’t know what you should be doing just do what you should be doing.
I love the saying “If you aren’t doing what you should be doing then you are going to get the very things you don’t want”.
Encounters with the Holy Spirt are commonplace when you learn how to listen and are led by the Spirit of God.
Those who are filled with the Spirit of God are being led even when they don’t realize THAT they are being led.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Someone needs to get this – If we are not leaning on our own understanding then that means that we are going to be led in ways that we don’t make sense to us. What we are doing is taking each step, in faith knowing that God knows what He is doing.
When you are Spirit led you will never suffer from FOMO.
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
I want you to hear me - if you will be filled with the Spirit, you will be led by the Spirit. If you are led by the Spirit, you will not miss God and you will not miss out on His promises.
Over the years I have met people that are afraid that somehow, they will miss out on what God has for them.
Hear me – If you are living for God – you will not.
Being filled with the Spirit is not just about walking in His power but it is also about walking in His timing. He will lead you where you need to be at the very moment you need to be there.
To many times we over think things. Our obedience and God’s timing will always intersect when it should. This is the essence of being Spirit Led.
Simeon allowed the Holy Spirit to work in His life and because he did God allowed him to be a part of something truly amazing.
Simeon reminds us that we can wait with expectancy when God gives us a promise.
Scripture says that Simeon was eagerly waiting for the consolation of Israel.
It does not say that he was impatiently waiting but that as he went about his days, he did it with hope and expectancy, looking to see when God would keep his promise.
He wasn’t anxious about God’s promise, his impatience didn’t leave him weighed down a heaviness.
Expectancy – The act or action of living with the knowledge that something will happen. Hope that is certain and steadfast. The feeling that something exciting and positive is going to happen. Anticipation that comes with a promise. It is knowing that God is good and will always keep His Word and promises. An eagerness to see God proved true.
God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah or the consolation of Israel. God’s peace and comfort for the Nation of Israel and for all mankind.
Christmas reminds us that God is a promise keeper.
Christmas reminds us that if God will fulfill the promise of that first Christmas that He will fulfil every promise that He has given us in His Word.
2 Corinthians 1:20 - For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
The fact that Jesus came the first time gives us the hope that He is coming the second time.
The story of Simeon reminds us that God gave a promise of Salvation to all people, and He fulfilled that promise.
My Prayer this month is that you will have a renewed expectancy in the promises of God.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
Image by svklimkin from Pixabay
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
~ Martin Luther King JR. – Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
1 John 3:15 - Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 4:19-20 - We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
For many people what is shocking, and disheartening is the rudeness, lack of courtesy, violence, general disinterests in kindness and basic morality and a lack of civility in our conversations.
It should not come as a surprise that a nation that has killed over 63 million babies through abortion since 1973 is now seeing people walk into schools and shopping malls and murdering our children. Many of these shootings are done by other children and teenagers or those in their early 20’s.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT) - You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
What a list!
This describes people today. What sticks out to me the most is that people are self-absorbed, prideful, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and they consider NOTHING sacred or holy.
The last days will be marked by people who love things, ideas, and certain ideologies but they do not really care for people, especially those who are different than them or who do not agree with them.
We see this in the world among people who do not know Jesus.
Unfortunately, we are seeing this even among the people of God.
As Christians we are going to have to deal with hate and understand what the Bible says about hate.
The Bible tells us that hate stirs up all kinds of trouble and problems. – We see this all around us.
It also tells us that you can’t claim to love God and hate other people. You can dislike people and what they do but we are not to hate them.
Hate is not a new thing that we are dealing with.
Jesus spoke about love to a religious world that valued rules more than it valued relationships.
When Jesus confronted the religious people of His day about their hypocrisy, they hated Him for it and tried to kill Him. They eventually had Him crucified.
Today we are told that we are to hate sin and to love the sinner, yet very few of us get this correct. Much of the time we wind up hating the person instead of helping a person deal with their sin in love.
Hate is what happens when there is a vacuum of love.
What starts out as righteous indignation turns into judgment that causes us to be the jury and the executioner.
Hate feeds off itself. – It will eat you alive. It will begin to consume every thought, action and words.
Someone who was once positive, loving understanding and compassionate about the lost is now angry, suspicious of everyone and everything and poisons even good relationships and conversations.
Hate is nothing new. Cain grew Jealous of Able and hated him. This led to the first murder.
The Bible says that whoever hates a brother, or a sister is a murderer.
That is a powerful statement. Hate at its highest point will lead to physical murder. But hate truly believes that the world would be a better place without certain kinds of people in it.
Now understand the Bible does recommend the death penalty for crimes like rape, incest, and murder. – This is not what we are talking about. That is a cry for justice.
Hate – To despise, intense dislike, to detest, loathe, abhor, to shrink back in horror. To find nothing good in. It is placing no value at all in someone or something.
I find it necessary to remind people that the opposite of love is not hate it is selfishness.
The opposite of hate is worship. –
To worship - is to adore, cherish, be drawn to, to honor and reverence. It is devotion, commitment and loyalty. It is to put someone in the highest place in our life.
The reality is that we live in a world where we must coexist with evil.
People believe and do unspeakably evil and wicked things.
We will be called to speak the truth.
We are called to compassionately help those impacted by this evil.
We are to be light in the darkness.
When we are confronted with hatred, we must continue to do good and to speak the truth in love.
Romans 12:21 - Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
We are to overflow with Good words, good fruit and good deeds.
Many Christians are being overcome with the same spirit that is in the world.
We must remember that – GREATER is HE that is in us than he that is in the world.
As Christians we are overcomers. We are not to be overcome and overwhelmed with hate. We are called to overwhelm hate with Good.
By responding and living like Christ we don’t add to the problems, we disarm principalities and powers. This includes Satan’s weapon of hate. To win the world to Jesus we can’t fight battles the same way they do with the same weapons and think we will win.
Our weapons to defeat hatred are not carnal fleshly, feel-good things, they are mighty for pulling down the strongholds in people and in society.
Hear me – Hatred is a stronghold. – Make no mistake about it. But it is only a stronghold where it is permitted.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
I love this… We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Teaching happens through our words AND our example.
You can’t do that if you try to fight hate with hate. - You do that with truth, love and compassion and an unyielding commitment to holiness both – personal holiness and holiness in thought and belief.
We must respond to hate by making sure we do not give more attention to the hate than we do the harvest.
Ultimately it is God’s job to take care of the evil in the world.
Matthew 13:24-30 - Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’
29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In the process of trying to tear up what is bad many well-meaning Christians have uprooted and hurt many good people. That looked like weeds but were actually full of Good fruit.
Sometimes wheat and weeds look a lot alike in the early and developing stages.
I want to remind you that the majority of our time is not to be spent dealing with the weeds but to be nourishing the seeds and cultivating a harvest of good things.
The enemy is all about destruction and he wants to get us in on the process. God is all about life.
I love the response – let them grow and we will sort it all out at the end.
This is great wisdom. Dealing with Hate.
Know that You are dearly loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
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
Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay
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
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