I was reading 2 Chronicles 20:3-9 this morning. This is where the people of God are facing attack from the surrounding nations. Three things stood out to me as I read.
- Jehosaphat begged the Lord for wisdom and guidance.
- Jehosaphat called the people to fast. This would focus the people’s attention of God and their reliance on Him.
- Jehosaphat called everyone together and asked God to save them in a public prayer.
In his prayer we see He proclaimed God as the only God in heaven, he said He was their God and the God of their ancestors, that He is all-powerful and no-one can stand against Him, that the people built the Temple to honour Him, and that they look to Him for protection and help as they had in the past.
I love Jehosaphat’s response as leader. He looked to God for wisdom and help and He prayed publicly so the people could stand together as one in their reliance and trust in God.
I think Jehosaphat showed a lot of wisdom that we can learn from today. If we are faced with trouble on all sides we an learn from him and ask the people to fast, pray and trust in God too.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord”.
Waiting patiently is not always a strong point for us as human beings. We want things now and we want to get moving.
David who wrote this verse knew what it was to be patient. At 16 he was anointed as king by Samuel. It didn’t actually happen until he was 30.
In the time in between he was chased around the desert by King Saul who was jealous of him. David looked to the Lord and waited. In God’s time he became king.
For us as Christians it can be hard to wait patiently. We live in a world with microwaves cooking, instant finance on credit cards and the internet where we can look things up in an instant.
But God is a God who deals with His people over years, decades and centuries. He is a God who has an unfolding plan that He alone is in charge of. We may not see Him working, but He always is.
When it seems like God is silent and not answering our prayers, we can be assured He is working away in the background of our lives and putting things in place.
The above verse tells us to be brave and courageous too. At times being patient does requires us to be brave and courageous when everything else calls us to act.
It is hard to sit still at times and wait, but if we look to the example of David, we see that in His good timing God will work things out in His way. David the shepherd boy became David the King in God’s time.
If you are waiting on something to fall into place today, I would encourage you to trust God and wait patiently on Him. He is working away in the background to bring His plans to pass.
Hello all, here is the text of my sermon from today. It is titled, “Lessons from the Fiery Furnace” and looks at the three young men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3.
The three main points were…
- They were Different – they were different from their culture in that they did not bow down to the statue. Jesus was different to what people expected Him to be. Likewise as Christians are called to be different.
- They were Daring – they were daring in the way they stood up to King Neb. Jesus was daring in the he spoke out against the pharisees and turned over the tables in the Temple. We are called to be daring and make a stand for Christ.
- They were dedicated – they were dedicated t0 the point of being thrown into a fiery furnace. Jesus was dedicated to His Fathers mission in saving the world. We are called to be dedicated to God’s ways and God’s Kingdom.
You can find the text on my sermons page here, or on our church website here.
PS. The audio will follow soon.
I was reading Deuteronomy 31 today as a part of my devotions. The first part of this chapter is where Moses hands over power to Joshua. As a part of this he tells him God will go with them.
In verse 6 it says, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
This is a private ecouragement to Joshua. It is Moses giving Joshua some final words to let him know that God is with him and God will go before him.
Moses then calls the people together and says a similar thing in front of everyone. He makes his private encouragement to Joshua public. He also fomalises the handover.
In verse 7-8 he says, “7 Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. 8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
There are three important things in this passage that can help us today.
- It is important for leaders to know when it is time to handover to those who are younger to continue God’s work.
It is important for leaders to encourage those under them in private.
It is important for leaders speak publicly to encourage and proclaim the new leader and what God has called them to do.
History tells us that Joshua led the people of Israel into the promised land and God went before them. We can learn a lot about trusting God to go before us, and we can also learn a lot about godly leadership and the handover of power too.
As believers in Christ we can trust God to do all He says He will do in the Bible. As it says in Numbers 23:19…
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”
What God has said in the Bible will happen. There were over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ. So we know He is true to His word.
It is said there are over 5000 promises of help in the Bible for us today. Many millions of people hold on to the promises of God each day and He upholds them.
Because of God’s past actions, His present help and His unchanging nature, we can trust Him for the future.
When Jesus said He is going to prepare a place for us and coming back for His own in John 14:1-3, it is a promise we can hold on to. He is also bringing His rewards with Him for all we have done (Revelation 22:12).
We can trust that all will come to pass as it says in the book of Revelation. One of the great promises from Revelations is found in Revelation 21:1-4…
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Jesus IS coming back with His rewards. There WILL be a new heaven and new earth. God WILL wipe away every tear from our eyes and there WILL be no more sorrow and pain. And best of all, God’s home WILL be among His people.
I was just looking over the sermons I preached in the last year. Usually as a lay preacher I would do 5-6 sermons in a year. In 2016 I preached 19! This is because I did a four month placement at a local church.
Preaching as a lay preacher on a roster is a great thing to do. You get plenty of time to think about your message, plenty of time to research it and plenty of time to write it. You can get it “just right”.
Preaching as a Pastor each week means you have a lot less time to prepare and you don’t always feel like it is “just right”. I usually take about 8-10 hours to prepare a message each week. This includes the PowerPoint too. Compared to maybe 30-40 hours as lay preacher.
One great thing about preaching as a Pastor is you can preach in a series. This is something I have always wanted to do as I have really enjoyed it when my Pastors did it at the churches I have attended.
So far I have done two series’ since I have been Pastor. The first was a six week series on being a living sacrifice. This was based on Romans 12. The second was Great Words of the Gospel and included five messages on aspects of our salvation. Both were received well by the church.
I have found that I just pray and ask God what He wants me to say to His church. For my first series He said do an overview of Romans 12 and call it being a living sacrifice. Then He said preach a more in-depth message on each point which I did over the following weeks.
I find that if I ask God what He wants me to say on Monday morning I usually get an idea and an outline from Him that day. And as the week progresses I do the Bible study and the writing. For me that works best as the pulpit belongs to Him.
So what about 2017? In country towns like Bruce Rock a lot of people go away in January, so I have prayerfully decided not to do another series until mid February. I want to wait until everyone is back and we can journey together.
Anyway, I really enjoyed preaching as a Pastor in the second half of 2016 and I am really looking forward to 2017. I know God has great things in store for us as a church and I can’t wait to see what topics He has in store for us each week.
If you are interested in reading my sermons, you can find the text here. If you prefer to listen, you can find them here.
Here is a copy of my sermon from yesterday. It was titled, “Follow Jesus: Being a trued disciple in 2017”. In it I looked at 5 things that will help us to keep on track in 2017.
You can find the text here or listen to the audio above.