AGAINST THE WIND

Travelers in the North Atlantic Ocean traffic have frequently observed icebergs traveling in one direction in spite of the fact that strong winds are blowing the opposite way. The icebergs were moving against the wind. The explanation is that the great icebergs, with seven-eighths of their bulk under water, were caught in the grip of mighty currents that carried them forward, no matter which way the winds raged.

Spiritually speaking, for the Christian, when the greater parts of our being is thrust down into the deep places of God, we can move toward righteousness no matter which way the winds of difficulty and temptation blow. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33). This is why the Psalmist said, “O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (Psa. 92:95).

Many in the world will be amazed as we move against these powerful winds, and will desire to understand why and how. Thus, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). “Let your light shine before me” (Mat. 5:16) as you thrust yourself deeply into the will of God and forge against the winds of the world.

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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THE WAY OF CAIN

THE WAY OF CAIN

Genesis 4:1-16

INTRODUCTION

Jude 11

  • The word “woe” is a denunciation
  • Here Jude is condemning anyone who would go “the way of Cain
  • Cain was a man who had HEART TROUBLE, he wanted to do things his own way, without any or little concern for what God wanted.

Proverbs 23:7

  • Man can never do better than his heart is good
  • Matthew 12:34-35
  • A man’s heart, in the Bible sense, is a man’s mind
  • A man is what he thinks

Matthew 15:18-20

  • It is what is on the inside that will make or break us
  • It is an impure mind that defiles a man

Matthew 23:25-28

  • The Pharisees were more concerned with outward appearances, than what was on the inside.
  • Many look good on the outside, but are dead on the inside

Therefore, we need to heed seriously Proverbs 4:23

  • We must give every effort to keep our hearts or minds pure
  • Our destiny depends on it

Because of the importance of our heart condition, let us consider the WAY OF CAIN, and discover what his heart problem led to.

DISCUSSION

CAIN’S HEART PROBLEM LEAD TO VAIN WORSHIP  

Genesis 4:3-5a

There are those who falsely contend that it doesn’t matter how we worship God as long as we do it some way.

  • Many today, even in the church, are trying to change the pattern of worship in the New Testament
  • Many are trying to bring in the instrument, choirs, singing groups, hand clapping and hand waving, etc.
  • Worshiping God is not commendable, unless it is pleasing unto God.

Are we worshipping to please ourselves or God?

The Bible tells us that all worship is not pleasing unto the Lord.

  • Matthew 15:9
  • Thus, there is worship that is pleasing unto God and worship that is not
  • John 4:24

God had no respect for nor approval of Cain’s worship

  • It was neither in truth nor spirit
  • God is more concerned in having us, than what we bring
  • 1 Samuel 15:22

Cain’s attitude was: Please me first, God second

CAIN’S HEART TROUBLE LED TO ANGER 

Genesis 4:5b  

When Cain realized that his worship was not pleasing to God, he didn’t change, he got mad.

  • He had no sorrow for sin
  • Cain was resentful and pouted, instead of being penitent
  • Too many are like this in the church today

This anger of Cain shifted to his brother

  • Isn’t that the way people usually act, when they do wrong they get mad at somebody else.
  • Anger and ill-will are like a swarm of killer bees, they attack the victim with no mercy
  • Who does anger honor?
    • The Prince of Peace?
    • Or, the prince of this world?

Cain had no reason to be angry, he had no one to blame but himself

  • Job 19:29
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9

It is true that we will all get angry from time to time, but…

  • Ephesians 4:26
  • Uncontrolled anger leads to even more sin, in the case of Cain it was murder

CAIN’S HEART TROUBLE LED TO HIS REFUSAL TO LISTEN TO GOD  

Genesis 4:7

The Lord warned Cain, but he refused to listen

Many today are refusing to heed the warning of God

  • Matthew 13:13-15  
  • Jeremiah 5:21  

Jeremiah 10:23  

CAIN’S HEART PROBLEM LED TO MURDER  

Genesis 4:8

Cain’s heart problem grew worse and worse

  • It began with vain worship, moved to anger;
  • His heart was ever hardening, and now, it came to the point of murder.

Most people would be appalled at this action of Cain

  • But consider 1 John 3:15
  • Are we murderers?

CAIN’S HEART PROBLEM LED TO DECEIT AND DISHONESTY  

Genesis 4:9

Evil hearts causes sin to multiply

Cain tries to cover his tracts

Numbers 32:23 – You might be able to hide it for a while, but sooner or later it will be made manifest

Note too that when one lies about an action, he knows it is wrong, or he wouldn’t lie

John 8:44 …those who are involved in deceit and dishonesty are children of the devil

CAIN’S HEART PROBLEM LED TO PUNISHMENT  

Genesis 4:11-12

Cain failed to count the cost of his actions

  • He, like so many, forgot … Romans 6:23
  • Hosea 8:7  
  • Galatians 6:7-8  

Punishment awaits all the disobedientRomans 2:8

CAIN’S HEART PROBLEM BROUGHT A HEAVY BURDEN  

Genesis 4:13

Unforgiven sin is a load too heavy for ANY man to bear

Matthew 11:28-30… Many realize this too late

Cain lived in the bitterness of Romans 6:23, instead of the blessings of Romans 8:1

Don’t try to bear the load yourself, it more than you can bear

CAIN’S HEART TROUBLE LED TO SEPARATION FROM GOD  

Genesis 4:16

It was a sorrowful day for Cain when he left the presence of the Lord

  • This is where heart problems ultimately lead, away from God
  • Isaiah 59:1-2

We need to rememberJude 24

CONCLUSION

Jude 11

May we never follow the way of Cain

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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DUTY

A Voice From the Past …

“The church is all-sufficient to the task God has set before it. We must do everything we can, individually and collectively, to further the cause of Christ. The path of duty is the path of safety. The weakness of the Lord’s work in the world is not in the church Jesus built. Our weakness is our failure to do our part as God would have us to do. We do not need a new church for the age, but faithful men who will live as they ought and preach as they should” (G. K. Wallace; 1903-1988).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”

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GOD SHOWING THROUGH YOU

One Sunday as they drove home from worship services, a little girl turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, there’s something about the preacher’s message this morning that I don’t understand.” The mother said, “Oh? What is it?” The little girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the whole world in His hand. Is that true?” The mother replied, “Yes, that’s true, honey.” “But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we are obedient to His will. Is that true, too?” Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the preacher had said was true. With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”

Is God showing through you? Are you letting your light shine (Mt. 5:16)? Are you an epistle of Christ (2 Cor. 3:2). Are we showing forth the God of heaven (1 Pt. 2:9)? Is God’s word in you like a burning fire and you cannot hold it in (Jer. 20:9)? Are you saturated with God and His word (Psa. 1:2)? If you are, God will be showing through you?

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”

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GET FOCUSED!

Do we have selective hearing or seeing? Sure, we all do. Every second, our brain is bombarded with sensory data from all five senses. You sit down and in just a few moments stop consciously focusing on the feel of the chair. There are all kinds of sounds that you may focus, but in a few moments you may not even hear them. Our brains would go crazy if they had to process every piece of data that our bodies sensed. We think we are seeing everything, but we are all being selective all the time. This Sunday in worship you will probably notice who is not here or who is sitting in a different spot.

When something perks our interest, though, we give it special attention. For example, you get interested in a certain car, and all of a sudden you notice them everywhere. They were there before, but you never noticed them.

The part of the brain that filters all this information is called the Reticular Activating System. It is continually at work, even though we never think about it. We need to be aware our spiritual Reticular Activating System. The goal for all of us, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, is to see the same things that He sees and be interested in and focus on what He focused on. We want to notice what is important to Him. Being unconsciously selective in our spiritual thinking can cause us to ignore and overlook some really important issues. I encourage you to read the Gospel accounts very carefully and focus on what Jesus focused on. Get focused on the things of Christ.

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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DON’T GIVE UP

By 1989, baseball player Nolan Ryan reached an incredible 5,000 strikeouts, and all those no hitters. Ryan is a phenomenal baseball player.

In his rookie year, 18 years earlier, Gil Hodges was the manager of the Mets, and was impatient with Ryan. Although Ryan could consistently throw the ball over ninety miles an hour, most of the time it didn’t go over the plate. He was walking everybody, hitting a lot of people, too. Hodges told Ryan at the beginning of a particular game that he was to pitch better in that game or he would pull him out and trade him. He would be finished. 

Ryan went into that game trying to do his best, determined that he was going to succeed. He was miserable. He walked something like seven or eight batters in four innings. Hodges took him out. Later that season he was traded to the Angels. 

After the game Richard Reeves went down into the locker room to interview the players. He noticed Nolan Ryan was apart from the others, looking into a mirror, obviously having difficulty tying his tie. Reeves got closer to him and noticed that there were tears in his eyes. He was crying. He couldn’t see to tie his tie because of the tears. 

Reeves remembered that incident on the occasion of celebrating Nolan Ryan as one of the immortals of baseball. He remembered that this legendary man, Nolan Ryan, BEGAN his long string of success thinking he had failed. But he kept on working. He kept on practicing. He kept on doing his job.

In like manner, a Christian’s life will be filled with failures and disappointments. Many Christians have “thrown up their hands” in disgust and have quit the Christian race – thinking they have failed. But friends, we must be persistent! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).  When failure and disappointments come our way, we need to remember the words of our Lord’s brother, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jam. 1:2-4).  

Beloved don’t give – don’t ever give up. Remember, the word of the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

Think About It! 

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NEHEMIAH #3

A Man of Strength

INTRODUCTION

As we continue our study in Nehemiah, I want to remind you of two passages:

  1. Romans 15:4
  2. 1 Corinthians 10:11

 In our last lesson we noted that Nehemiah was successful as God’s servant because he:

  1. Had a burdened heart
  2. Had knees that will bend
  3. Had lips that will confess
  4. Had a submissive will
  5. Had feet that will go

In this lesson we will show Nehemiah’s strengthby noticing how he confronted his fear, his enemies, reproach, and opposition.This enabled him to survey the work and get the people “fired up” and ready to build the walls around Jerusalem.

DISCUSSION

NEHEMIAH CONFRONTED HIS FEAR

Nehemiah 2:2

  1. Nehemiah was afraid because he was about to make a very important request of the king – He wanted to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls.
  2. Nehemiah did not let the fear he felt stop him from doing what needed to be done.

It is not always easy to do the right things, and one reason for this is fear

  1. Some are afraid of not being popular so they do things they know the Bible teaches against
  2. Many are afraid of being rejected or made fun of so they refuse to openly manifest their Christianity
  3. There are those who are afraid of losing a friendship so they do not correct a brother who is in sin
  4. The list could go on and on…

2 Timothy 1:7

  1. Fear” comes from deiliaand carries the idea of being a coward
  2. This kind of spirit is not given us of the Lord – we are not to be cowards
  3. How do we over comes this? … Note 1 John 4:18
  4. Illustration: Mother afraid of water – but will jump to save her drowning child
  5. Why? – Love. True love overpowers fear

To accomplish the work of God we must overcome fear as did Nehemiah

NEHEMIAH’S ENEMIES

As Nehemiah gets the okay from Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls – we see a destructive attitude developing in… Nehemiah 2:10

  1. Sanballat” would be the arch enemy to Nehemiah’s restoration efforts
  2. Sanballat, most likely the governor of Samaria, had a hatred for Israel and would use what he could to stop this restoration.
  3. Later (Ch. 4), Sanballat will use lies, mockery, deceit, cruelty, and even armed force to try to stop Nehemiah’s work

Today, we will also confront opposition

  1. Many will oppose walking in the “old paths” (Jer. 6:16), and push for change – the Change Agents
  2. Many are in great opposition to simply getting back to the Bible – and it alone
  3. Many bind where God has not bound

That’s why the Bible says we must fight:

  1. Jude 3
  2. 1 Timothy 6:12

Nehemiah was successful in his work for the Lord because he fought and stood for truth – as we will see as the book of Nehemiah unfolds

NEHEMIAH SURVEYS THE WORK

Nehemiah 2:11-16

  1. He appraised the damage
  2. This allowed Nehemiah to prepare a list of materials needed and workmanship needed in accomplishing this great work
  3. A wise builder plans his work– and such was the case with Nehemiah

We must be a prepared people as we do the work of the Lord and we do this through planning and looking to the future

  1. Proverbs 13:16there needs to be some planning, some knowledge in what we are doing
  2. 1 John 4:1…here we see investigation is important
  3. Luke 14:28-30…in doing the work of the Lord there must be appraisal, investigation, and planning

Nehemiah was successful in doing the work of the Lord because he planned his work

NEHEMIAH COUNTERED REPROACH

Nehemiah 2:17

  1. To be a “reproach” carries the idea of being a shame or a disgrace
  2. Nehemiah knew that as long as Jerusalem was in shambles – God’s people were a disgrace, and a shame to God
  3. Nehemiah would fight to resolve this shame by involving himself in the work of the Lord

Today we can be a reproach or a disgrace when we allow the church collectively – and we as individuals – to become broken down and “laid waste

  1. We are a disgrace when we do not live holy and godly lives before God and man
  2. The church is a disgrace when it does keep itself pure and unspotted from the world, and when it is weak in effort

Nehemiah countered this reproach by encouraging the people… Nehemiah 2:18

  1. They strengthened their hands for the good work” – that is, they embraced the good cause, took the good part, and set themselves to work heartily on the right side.
  2. This is what it will take for us today to remove reproach and shame… 1 Corinthians 15:58

OPPOSITION TO NEHEMIAH’S WORK

Nehemiah 2:19

  1. Sanballat and his cohorts set forth opposition to Nehemiah’s work for the Lord in three ways:
    • 1) “Laughed us to scorn,” i.e. they were ridiculed
    • 2) “Despised us” – from the Hebrew word buz– expressing contempt that proceeds from pride and wickedness
    • 3) “Will ye rebel against the king?” – charged them with rebellion, they were falsely accused
  2. Today, the Lord’s work can receive opposition through the same means:
    • When we stand for truth we can be ridiculed
    • When we stand for truth we can expect to be despised by those who would rather do as they please
    • We may even be falsely accused

But Nehemiah did not allow this opposition keep him from doing the work of the Lord

Notice Nehemiah’s Response to Opposition

Nehemiah 2:20

  1. Nehemiah responds:
    • God will be with us as we do His work
    • We will not be intimidated, you can’t stop us
    • You have no business interfering with the work of God

CONCLUSION

If we would be more like Nehemiah we would be amazed at the growth of the church and our individual growth

To have the strength of Nehemiah in doing the work of the Lord we must:

  1. Overcome fear
  2. Realize we will have opposition
  3. Prepare for and plan our efforts
  4. Remove shame
  5. Overcome opposition
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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