REJOICE – YOUR CHOICE

 About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the (other) prisoners were listening to them, suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened. 

When the jailer, startled out of his sleep, saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was on the point of killing himself, because he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”

Then (the jailer) called for lights and rushed in, and trembling and terrified he fell down before Paul and Silas.   And he brought them out (of the dungeon) and said, “Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?”  And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into his keeping) and you will be saved, (and this applies to both (you and your household as well. 

praise 1

And they declared the Word of God (to him and to all who were in his house) .  And he took them the same hour of the night and bathed (them because of their bloody) wounds, and he was baptized immediately and all (the members of) his (Household).  Then he took them up into his house and set food before them; and he leaped much for joy and exulted with all his family that he believed in God (accepting and joyously welcoming what He had made known through Christ).  Acts 16: 25-34…the Amplified Version

  • He rejoiced.  He believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  All his household believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  His sins were gone.
  • He rejoiced.  No more condemnation.
  • He rejoiced.  His family was saved.
  • He rejoiced.  His name was written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in His life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in the lives of his family members.
  • He rejoiced.  He opened His heart to receive the Word of God.
  • He rejoiced.  He received peace everlasting.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to him.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his family.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his home.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more guilt.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sadness.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sorrowing for wrong doing.
  • He rejoiced.  He followed in obedience and was baptized.

Rejoice

  • Let us rejoice.  Our lives are changed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our hearts are made anew.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our attitudes have been reprogrammed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our family is different,
  • Let us rejoice.  Our occupation is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our walk is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our names are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • Let us rejoice.  We are different.
  • Let us rejoice.  There has been a change.
  • Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.

The shortest verse in the Bible in from the Gospel of John…”Jesus wept!”     The second shortest verse is “Rejoice always.”

Do you think there is a connection?  The Gospel of John tells us Jesus story of Lazarus resurrection from the dead.  And Jesus wept.  Why?  Because of the people’s unbelief.

Then in Paul’s writings, we are told to “Rejoice Always.”   Why?  It is the Christian’s way of life. We rejoice because of the resurrection.    We believe!   It happened!  He rose from the dead.  Christ’s resurrection is true.  And because He lives we live also.

So rejoice!

 

 

 

 

Faithfulness

 

I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, [So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination [to give you full insight into its meaning].  In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you t hat you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace [the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all.  And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  I Corinthians 1:4-8…. The Amplified Version

Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I am [a disciple] of Paul,” or “I am [a disciple] Apollos, or I belong to Cephas (Peter), or I belong to Christ.  Is Christ (the Messiah) divided into parts? Was Paul crucified on behalf of you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?  I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, Lest anyone should say that I baptized in my own name. [Yes] I did baptize the household of Stephanas also. More than these, I do not remember that I baptized anyone. For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).  I Corinthians 1:12-17….The Amplified Version

For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.  I Corinthians 1:18….The Amplified Version

For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.   I Corinthians 1:19….The Amplified Bible

  • In the fourth verse Paul states that He praises God that the Christians at Corinth are in Christ Jesus, they are saved and walking on the right path. Wow, what a great testimony of a church of believers!
  • In verse five Paul is blessed that the church is set apart or enriched in all utterance and knowledge of the word. Their understanding and testimony in obeying the word is here confirmed.
  • In verse six the testimony of Christ is confirmed in them.
  • All the ministry gifts are in operation in this church and none are lacking. There are ample gifts to go around to all in the church.  There is a work for all and here, all are working.

family devotion

But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we ]earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior.  Philippians 3:20….The Amplified Version

  • God’s confirmation of you is definite. It is a sure thing.  It is obvious to those looking on and that is as it should be.
  • God is faithful and in your calling you have been faithful. Continue to be faithful.
  • In Verses 10-19 the unity of the body is again emphasized. The ministry gifts cannot operate without that unity.

What then is faithfulness?  What would you consider faithfulness?  What margin of error would you allow?

  • 100%
  • 50%
  • 10%
  • If your automobile worked 50% of the time, would you consider it faithful?
  • If your spouse was faithful 75% of the time, would you consider them faithful?
  • If your children only loved you when they needed something, how would you feel?
  • If you only received a pay check or your retirement check half of the time, how would you feel?  Would you keep working or would you be on the phone questioning someone about the missed check?
  • What about your church?  If the doctrine or teachings of our church made a dramatic change from week to week, flip-flopping with the changing wind, would the church be faithful to the Word of God and to you?

Dr.Laura, a call-in talk-show host of sometime back, said this:

“The path to solid, supportive, healthy relationships, self-respect and a quality life starts with the usually painful decision to do the right thing.  Regardless of emotions and temptations, to be fully human and to benefit from life, you must get back to the three C’s –

  • Character
  • Courage
  • Conscience.”

What is faithfulness?  I am so glad you asked!

  • Steadfast in affections, loyal
  • Firm in following the promises made or in doing one’s duty a promised
  • Conscientious
  • True to facts, constant, faithful

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  So the LORD said, “I will destroy man who I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.   Genesis 6:5-8

  • Noah’s day – not much different as today.  People of the day were disobedient, seeking their own way.  They were unfaithful.
  • The children of Israel (God’s chosen people) again and again turned away from God.
  • Is there anything too hard for the Lord?  I am the Lord thy God, I change not.

Faithful is He who called you, who will also do it.  I Thessalonians 5:24

Let us hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering; for H is faithful that promised.  Hebrews 4:12

  • Do you waffle on your devotion/service to God?
  • There is no variableness, no shadow of turning.  “great is Thy faithfulness.

I am the same, yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 8:13

Be doer of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.  James 1:22

  • What part of “Thou Shalt Not” did you not understand?
  • God’s love is everlasting.  He is not willing that any should perish.
  • Yet, by our sin, we separate ourselves from God.
  • You say I trust in God.  What is your basis for trust/  Will your faithfulness stand the test?  You know that God will meet your needs, answer your prayers, keep you from harm, heal your body, all because of His past record of faithfulness.  What of your faithfulness to Him?
  • Let me ask you – Which one of your family members will you turn to in times of difficulties?  The one who has been most faithful to your ideals.  The one you can run to, lean on, cry on their shoulder.

Question:  If God was as faithful to you as you are to Him, where would you be today?

praying

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten-Finger Prayer

Philippians 4:13 (my wife’s favorite verse) says “I CAN (with God’s help!)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The Amplified Version says

I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing….John 15:5

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you….James 4:7

CAN

Growing up, I learned in English classes the difference between the words CAN and MAY. Repeatedly, I heard “You can if you are able.” The next time you go through a drive through to order something, note how many people on the other end of the microphone ask, “Can I help you?” That obviously tells you they did not grasp the correct grammar in English class or the teacher did not teach them properly.

I can because I am able.

THROUGH CHRIST, I AM MORE THAN ABLE.

Not in my own strength, not in my own power, but through the power of Christ Jesus, my Lord, who dwells within.

“I May” gives the impression that you may not be able. There is a doubt in your mind that you may not be able because you are too weak, you will change your mind, you question your ability to follow through.

I WILL IS THE NEXT STEP AFTER WE KNOW WE CAN.

Over and over in the Psalms we see the statement I WILL.

It was I who determined that I WOULD do these things.
It was I who put the plan in motion.

Remember the statement about Daniel:

“He purposed in his heart.”

It was Daniel who made up his mind and determined within himself that he would be who God had called him to be.

Psalm 145:1 – I will extol You my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Psalm 145:5 – I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.
Psalm 138:1-2 – I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Psalm 144:9 – I will sing a new song to You, O God; on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You.

  • It is I who must go to God when I need help.
  • It is I who must praise God when I want to thank Him.

No one else can do it for me.

  • I must.
  • I CAN.
  • I AM ABLE.

ten fingers

THE TEN FINGER PRAYER

In difficult times, hold up your hands and look at your fingers…There are ten.

Then quote “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Ten words.

Ten very positive, practical, personal, powerful words.

I CAN DO

Action word – I can do…move, talk, look, walk, think, eat and breathe and much more…all these things you and I can do without thinking. How much more do we do with our strength that God has given to us naturally? These are gifts of God.  If we  look around us there are many who may not be able to talk or walk or even breathe on their own. We are truly blessed.

I CAN DO ALL

I can do whatever I want to if I put my mind, heart and energy and will power to the task that is before me. Nothing then, can stop me…there are no exceptions…with God’s help I can accomplish more than I can even imagine…but lest I get puffed up in my own strength, I must remember that it is “God who gives me the strength.

I CAN DO ALL THINGS

  • I can praise God if I want to.
  • I can get out of bed if I want to.
  • I can be a drunk if I want to.
  • I can be a drug addict if I want to.
  • I can help others if I want to.
  • I can live a Christian life if I want to.

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH

  • It’s not me and me alone who is able to do all these things, but it is through the help of the Lord.
  • When my wife had cancer.
  • When you have financial difficulties.
  • When a loved one dies.
  • When you have surgery.
  • When you have problems in your marriage.
  • When you have problems with your kids.
  • In all areas of life…it is God who gives me (and you) strength.

THROUGH CHRIST (THE ANOINTED ONE)

It is He, Himself, He cares.

I Peter 5:7 – casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

WOW

This great God that we serve promises to show us great and mighty things but He wants us to call on Him…He wants us to fellowship with Him. You stay in touch with Him; He will stay in touch with you. You ignore Him…He will not, will NOT ignore you…why? Because He loves you, He gave himself for you. It is through Him by His anointing power that we have our being, our life, or very existence, our breath, that our heart regularly beats.

I John 5:14-15 – Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

WHO STRENGTHENS ME

The same person as the “I” in the beginning of this verse.  I am the recipient of my actions. I am the one who steps out by the faith. God has instilled in my heart and helped me to exercise the faith.

I WIN.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides (lives/dwells) in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

GO BEAR MUCH FRUIT!