Tag Cloud
: Mothers Abandonment Abomination of Desolation Abortion Abuse Accounting Activism Adoption Adultery Affection Affliction Afterlife Alliances Altar America Angels Anger Anointing Apologetics Apostasy Armor of God Ascension Ashamed Atonement Authority Baal Babylon Bad Baptism Betrayal Bible Bitterness Blasphemy Blessing Blessings Blindness Boasting Body of Christ Bondage Borders Born Again Bridegroom Calling Capital Punishment Celebration Character Childbirth Children Children of God Chosen Christ Christian Life Christians Christmas Church Civil Disobedience Clay Cleansing Comfort Commands Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Complaining Conception Condemnation Conduct Confidence Conflict Conformity Confrontation Confusion Connection Conscience Consequences Contentment Conviction Cornerstone Correction Cost Counsel Courage Covenant Coveting Creation Creator Crisis Cross Crowns Crucifixion Culture Curse Darkness David Day of the Lord Death Deceit Deception Decisions Defense Delegation Demon Demons Denial Dependency Design Desolation Destruction Devil Direction Disaster Discernment Disciple Disciples Discipleship Discipline Discontentment Discouragement Disease Disgrace Disputes Distraction Diversity Divine Division Doctrine Double Fulfillment Doubt Drought Drugs Duties Duty Earth Earthly Earthquakes Easter Edom Education Elders Elect Emmaus Emotions Employment Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enemy Environmentalism Equality Equipped Eternal Eternal Life Evangelism Everlasting Life Evil Evolution Exaltation Exalted Exclusion Excuses Exorcism Expectations Eyes Failure Fairness Faith Faithful Faithful Servant Faithfulness False Christs False Doctrine False Gods False Prophet False Religion False Religions Family Famine Fasting Father Fathers Favoritism Fear Fear of the Lord Feasts Fellowship Fig Tree Finances Fire First Coming Firstborn Flesh Flock Folly Foolishness Foreigner Foreknown Forgiveness Fornication Forsaken Foundation Freedom Friends Friendship Fruit Fruit of the Spirit Fruitfulness Future Gentiles Gentle George Wood Giving Glory God God’s Word Godliness Godly God's Will Good Good Shepherd Good Works Gospel Gospels Government Grace Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guilt Hardship Harvest Hate Hatred Healing Heart Heaven Heavenly Hedonism Hell Herod Hidden Holiness Holy Holy Spirit Homosexuality Honor Hope Hopelessness Humility Husband Hypocrisy Ignorance Image Immanuel Immigration Impossibility Incarnation Individuals Indulgences Inheritance Injustice Inner Battle Instructions Insults Integrity Intercession Israel Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Temple John the Baptist Joy Judas Judgment Judgments Justice Justification Justify Key Keys Kindness King Kingdom Kingdom of God Kingdom of Heaven Knowledge Lamp Law Lawlessness Leader Leaders Leadership Leftism Legalism Leprosy Lies Life Life-Span Light Like-minded Lord Lost Love Loyalty Lust Lusts Luxury Malachi Manipulation Marriage Martyrdom Martyrs Mary Materialism Maturity Meditation Men Mentoring Mercy Messiah Metaphor Millennium Mind Mind of Christ Minister Ministry Miracle Miracles Mission Mocking Money Mothers Mystery Nations Natural Gifts Naturalism Nature Near-Far Fulfillment Necessities New Covenant New Man New Testament Obedience Obstacles Obstructions Offense Old Man Old Nature Old Testament Omnipresence Omniscience One Mind Outcast Pagan Pain Palm Sunday Parable Parables Paranormal Parenting Passion Passover Patience Patriotism Peace Peer Pressure Pentecost People of God Perception Perfect Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personal Testimonies Perspective Perversion Pestilence Peter Pharisees Philosophy Piety Pilate Politics Poor Position Possession Possessions Posture Power Praise Prayer Preaching Preparation Pride Priority Privilege Prodigal Promise Proof Prophecy Prophet Prophets Protection Protestant Reformation Proverbs Providence Provision Punishment Purgatory Purpose Questions Racism Rapture Reason Rebellion Rebuke Reconciliation Redeemer Redemption Refuge Regeneration Rejection Rejoicing Relationship Relationships Reliability Religion Remember Remnant Renewal Repentance Reputation Resolve Rest Restoration Resurrection Revelation Revenge Revival Reward Rich Riches Righteous Righteousness Rights Riot Risk Rivalry Robbery Roman Catholic Church Rule Sabbath Sacred Sacrifice Saint Salvation Sanctification Sarcasm Satan Savior Schemes Science Scripture Seasons Second Coming Secret Seed Seek Self Self Control Self-centered Self-Control Selfish Ambition Self-Righteous Servant Servant-Leadership Serve Service Serving Sexual Immorality Sexual Sin Sexuality Shame Share Sharing Shepherd Sickness Signs Signs and Wonders Simplicity Sin Sincerity Singing Singleness Sinners Slavery Sober Society Sojourner Sojourners Son Son of God Son of Man Sons of God Sorrow Soul Source Sovereignty Speech Spirit Spirit Realm Spirits Spiritual Spiritual Battle Spiritual Birth Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Growth Spiritual Rulers Spiritual Warfare Stewardship Strength Stress Strife Stumbling Block Submission Suffering Supernatural Supper Surrender Syncretism Tags: Patience Taxes Teacher Teaching Tears Technology Temple Temptation Temptations Terminal Illness Test Testimony Testing Tests Thankfulness Thanksgiving The Curse The Day of The Lord The End The Fall The Holy Spirit The Law The Way The Word The World Theology Time of Visitation Times of the Gentiles Tithing Tongues Tradition Tragedy Transfiguration Transformation Traps Treachery Treasure Tree Trial Trials Tribulation Trifles Trinity Triumphal Triumphal Entry Trouble Trust Truth Uncertainty Unity Unpardonable Sin Utopia Value Victory Vigilance Vindication Virtue Virtues Voice of God Volunteer Warning Warnings Wars Watching Water Baptism Weary Wicked Wickedness Widows Wife Wineskins Wisdom Witness Witnesses Women Word of God Word of the Lord Works World World View Worry Worship Worth Wrath Yahweh Yeast YHWH Yoke Zion

Weekly Word

Entries in Faithfulness (2)

Tuesday
May152018

How Much Must a Mother Know?

Psalm 139:13-18.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on Mother’s Day May 14, 2018.

Today as we honor mothers, I want to look at a passage that is normally reserved for proving that God sees the fetus in the womb as a human life.  The reason I want to do this is because a fetus does not lose its value when it is born, neither does it lose its value when it is completely grown and dealing with the rigors of life.  Thus moms, and frankly all of us, need to be reminded, over and over again, that God has created us, that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and that He has given a great amount of thought to our particular life.

We can lose sight of this in life.  The Psalmist who pens this psalm is not a baby in the womb anymore.  Rather, it is David and he had encountered many obstacles and difficulties in his life.  He was a man who had a heart for God, but had also failed God at times.  In this Psalm he is remembering God’s constant care, all the way back when he had yet to enter the world.  This thought fills him with the knowledge that it is still so, and he mixes it with faith at the end of the psalm where he cries out in prayer to God, “Lead me in the way everlasting!”

Moms, God has created you.  He knows you, and He is always thinking of you.  Lean upon Him today and cry out with David, “Lord Jesus, lead me in the way everlasting!”  You may not feel like you know enough to do the tasks before you.  But you only need to know this one thing: how to lean upon the Lord.

God has created us

We are jumping into this psalm mid-way through it.  If you do look at the verses leading up to this section, you will recognize that David ponders the reality that God’s Spirit is everywhere we go and knows everything that we experience, both externally and internally.  It is somewhat scary to think that there is a being who knows everything about us and from whom we can hide nothing.  David lists different places as if searching for a place to get away from God.  Heaven, nope God is there.  The grave, nope God is there.  The uttermost parts of the sea- nope, but His hand will lead me and his right hand shall hold me.  Darkness falls on me, but with God the night shall be as the light.  In the end David points out that God’s constant and inescapable presence in our life is not something to be ran from.  Regardless of where we go in life and what we end up facing, God will be there to hold us, lead us, and dispel the darkness.  How can we trust this?  David does so by remembering the most vulnerable time of his life, when he was in the womb.

David realized and sings about the amazing truth that God has created us.  Sometimes we think about childbirth as simply a natural thing that does not involve God.  But here we are told that God is just as active in the birth of every child as He was at the creation of Adam and Eve.  Sure, it is different, but God is involved nonetheless.  In fact, Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.  We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”  Thus the womb is seen by David as a secret and hidden place of this earth, where God forms each individual.  It is tragic that modern society has turned this truth into a travesty.  Childbirth is a partnership between God and humans, and as such, we should respect His involvement in the process.

As David thinks upon the amazing creation of a human being that goes on in the womb due to the work of God, he describes it with two adverbs: fearfully and wonderfully.  Humans are fearfully and wonderfully made and that includes you.  The more we contemplate and inspect the design of God in our bodies the more we are amazed with a reverent awe.  It is scary in a good way how wise and powerful God’s design is.  However, it also fills us with wonder.  Unless you work in fields that focus on the human body it is easy to lose sight of such a wonderful and fearful truth.  You are not an accident of the universe.  You are not somehow more deficient than any other human being.  You were meant to be, and God was involved in your making as much as any other human.

This becomes even more important as we enter a new era of technology, where we are discovering the processes of conception and how to manipulate them.  Our technology is leading to a point where a human being can be brought into the world, not through parents that will love and care for them, but through lab technicians.  Such a process has a dehumanizing effect, as we become a commodity that is created on demand by people rather than something that was as God fully designed.  Of course technology cannot completely throw off the design of God (it must still deal with DNA, Germline Cells, and such).  Yet, conceptually even those concepts could one day be dethroned in humanity’s unslakable appetite to remake things.  Even in the midst of such chaos, I believe that God is still there.  He sees our formation and is involved in ways we may not completely understand.  Our value as humans is not based upon the people who brought us into the world, or their particular DNA makeup.  Rather, our value is based upon the God who is the most important being involved in our existence.  Our value is not based upon what we may think or do in this life, but rather upon the sure intention of God.  He has formed you and covered you in a wonderful and amazing fashion.  You exist because of Him, period.

God knows us

In verses 15-16, David recognizes that, even more than God’s involvement in our creation, He also intimately knew us during that time.  The processes and events of the womb have become less and less hidden through technology.  But the main point is well taken.  What is a mystery to humanity, including a mother, God knows full well.  What man could not see, God could see and was working out His will, even when we were still being formed.  Yet, it doesn’t end there.

David says that before even one day had passed in our development, God has already fashioned particular days for us and had them written in a book.  Now we can attempt to make this only about fetal development, but David is clearly implying more than this.  There is a parallel between the unformed fetus, which goes through a certain amount of days that God has fashioned for it until it is fully formed, and a child who is born into the world.  Such a child has a particular number of days fashioned for it by God.  When we have fulfilled those days then we will leave this world behind and enter the next.  The knowledge that God intimately knows our formation and life is intended to be an encouragement.

God knows what the future holds, whether we are an adult facing a crossroads or a newborn whose life has yet to unfold.  Yes, a child is fully human and is as valuable as a person in their prime.  Yet, their life is not fully revealed yet.  We do not know yet what sort of substance this child has within it.  Every trial, joy, difficulty, and pleasure is part of our formation until we have fully become what we are.  Of course there are differences.  A fetus cannot make choices of what will be formed in them.  But as humans we can.  You may not know what tomorrow holds, but God does.  Instead of anxiety and worry, embrace the peace that comes from this knowledge.

I want to come back to the idea that God has written down the days determined for us before they occur.  That might be a scary thought to some, but on the other hand, when you think about God’s heart, it is an amazing encouragement.  No matter what you face and no matter what people tell you is the right path, God knows your every day and is intimately aware of all that you face.  He has made a way through it for you.  The things you fear today, may build in you the courage you will be thankful for tomorrow.  Trust God’s loving hands.  He knows your name and your very being.

God thinks about you

In verses 17-18 we see the thoughts of God.  Knowledge is directly connected to thoughts and both point to God’s care for you.  He has not forgotten you, nor is He too busy to give thought to your life.  David recognizes this as a “precious” thing.  Of all of the treasures of David’s life, the knowledge that God had given thought to his whole life is of incalculable value.  Just as childbirth is a partnership between parents and God to bring a new human being into the world, so life is a partnership between us and God to unfold to the world just who that human being is.  Just as I think about my life (and often worry), so too God thinks about it.  How precious is that?

In speaking of God we know that the quality of His thoughts is great.  One thought from God is greater than a million thoughts of the wisest man on earth.  Yet, David points out that God’s thoughts towards us are of great quantity.  If it was possible to count the thoughts that God has thought about you, it would be a great sum, more than the sand on the seashore.  That is a lot of thought.  In fact, if God gave that much thought to our life, then perhaps we spend too much time trying to imperfectly recreate all His thoughts towards us.  I am not advocating that a person give no thought about their life.  But that we can temper those thoughts with the knowledge that God has already given thought to those things that we don’t understand.  This is intended to give us peace and the freedom to trust Him and His design.  Believers must cling to this great truth rather than to worry and despair.

The last line of verse 18 says that “When I awake, I am still with You.”  Though it is a short statement, it speaks to the faithfulness of God.  He is constantly faithful to us.  When we go to sleep, we are taking a break from life and all of its worries.  But when we wake up we find ourselves still with God.  He does not sleep or slumber.  He is constantly watching over us and with us.  He is always there.  Yes, we often feel all alone, even when we are not humanly alone.  But God is always right there with you, regardless of how you feel.  Take time to develop a relationship with the One who created you, who knows you, and has given great thought to your every day.  Thus moms, dads, kids, and friends, you only need to know one thing to do what you need to do, and that is this.  You can cast your cares upon Him because He is the One who cares for you.

How much audio

Tuesday
Apr012014

The True Jesus: Jesus Teaches About John

Today we will look at Luke 7:24-28.  Jesus had sent a message back to John (who was in prison) telling him to not lose faith.  John clearly was struggling with what he believed should be and what was happening.  After John’s disciples leave to give him the message, Jesus teaches about the greatness of John because it was important for people to understand who he was and how integral he was to God’s plan.  Yet, at the end Jesus gives us a strange twist.  Let’s check it out.

Why Were People Drawn To John

In verse 24 Jesus asks the people why they went out into the barren places to listen to John.  He does so by asking a rhetorical question, of which the answer is obvious.  Did they go out to see a “reed shaken by the wind?”  This word picture is of a person who is easily moved by circumstances and the opinions of man (i.e. the winds of the time).  Though the reed may look substantial, it grows in marshy areas or along rivers, lakes and streams.  Thus it can be easily uprooted.  Clearly, this was not a picture of John the Baptist.  People were drawn to John because he was a sincere, steadfast, passionate, God-pleaser.  John stood strong even against Herod Antipas and his sins because he wanted to please God.

Another way in which this picture of the shaken reed can be understood is to read 1 Kings 14.  In that passage the prophet uses a shaken, bruised reed as a picture of how God would come upon Israel.  He would knock Israel down, and scatter it to the winds.  Thus the bruised reed is a picture of Judgment.  John was clearly a righteous man and not under judgment.  In fact you could say John is himself a dried reed in the hand of God to chastise Israel in order to draw some to repentance.  This was very different from the religious leaders of the day and drew people to him.  John seemed to be authentic and he was.  John’s passionate stand against the sins of Israel from the least to the greatest in the land culminated in his imprisonment and eventual beheading.  This gave people hope that the Messiah truly was about to come.

Next Jesus asks if they went out to John in order to see a man dressed in soft clothing.  This question is pretty much a joke.  Anyone who had seen John would laugh at the idea of him in soft clothing.  John was the ultimate picture of self-denial.  This was in stark contrast with the political and religious leaders of the day.  He is pictured as living in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey (i.e. living off the land), wearing camel hair cloak, and a leather belt.  He didn’t just abstain from luxuries.  He abstained from even the normal pleasures of life.  This again increased his authenticity in the eyes of the people.  John was not seeking to “fleece the sheep” for his own benefit.

The next question in verse 26 begins to hone in on the truth.  Did you go to see a prophet?  Definitely the answer is yes.  John was a true prophet of God.  The people went out to John recognized this about him.  But John was more than a prophet of God.  What the people couldn’t see is that John was the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy in Malachi 3.  God had promised to send a Forerunner to the Messiah whose job would be to herald the Messiah’s coming and help people be prepared for Him. 

Even more, Jesus points to John as the greatest of the prophets up to that point.  Does that mean John was greater than Moses and Elijah?  Yes it does.  However, “greater” likely does not point to greater in faithfulness or love of God.  Rather John is greater in function or position.  John ministers in the presence of the Messiah.  He also successfully turns hearts from sin towards the Messiah.  Lastly he gets to witness the beginning of the promised Kingdom of God.  These are things that Moses and Elijah would have loved to have seen.  In this regard, John’s experience parallels that of Moses.  Just like Moses teaches the people to follow God and leads them to the Promised Land, but doesn’t get to go in, so John the Baptist teaches and leads the people to Jesus and His promised Kingdom.  However, John is to be executed and not allowed to enter the coming Church.  He could have been an excellent Apostle.  However, it was not the calling God had given him.  This of course leads us to the issue of the Kingdom of God.  Wasn’t Israel already a part of the Kingdom of God?  How could it be coming or at hand?

The Kingdom of God

If you study the Scriptures, you will see that Israel is part of God’s Kingdom.  Many places He is called their King.  However, both in experience and through the prophets, the people were promised a greater stage of that Kingdom.  Not a Kingdom ruled by men who variously fell short of God’s righteousness, but by God’s Anointed (Christ) who would perfectly rule the people and expand the Kingdom over the whole earth.  When Jesus came He initiated this Kingdom of God.  Since then Christians have been the citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus and Jesus is the King.  This rule in the hearts of men has gone to the ends of the earth.  However, this is not the completion of all promised.  It is now a natural people ruled by a spiritual kingdom that does not have an earthly headquarters, nor an earthly ruler.  But that is coming.  Thus the Kingdom of God was both present and future.

John was preparing people’s hearts to enter into this new stage of the kingdom of God.  He called them to repentance and spiritual cleansing, and to faith in Jesus.  They would be able to hear and respond to the Messiah’s call, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  The Good News of the Work of Jesus is that everyone is invited to join the Kingdom that had come about by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Thus John has a tremendously glorious position within the Kingdom of God.

Yet, Jesus strangely says that those who are the least in the coming kingdom of God will be greater than John.  This amazing point begs the question of how the least in the Church can be greater than John.  Our experience would beg to differ with Christ.  But again this is not about devotion or faithfulness.  It is about position.  Let’s look at the ways those who entered the Kingdom of Christ received something greater.

First, we have a greater knowledge of Christ than John.  John understood better than all up to him who the Messiah was.  But he didn’t know everything.  That is why we see him doubting in prison.  Jesus encouraged John, but He shared His teachings and prophecies with His disciples.  John did not have this.  The Holy Spirit even led the Apostles into further truth than Christ taught them because they weren’t ready for it yet.  See John 16:12.

Second, we have a greater position before God.  John participates in the transition, but never gets to participate in the life and joy of the Church.  Like I said earlier, he is like Moses in this way.  Longing to enter in and yet having to be content with the position and calling God has given you.  John the Baptist still lived under the Tutor of the Law of Moses.  However, we have become the adult sons and daughters of God, no longer under the teacher.  We are able to work alongside the Father in the freedom of love rather than under the restriction of Law.

Lastly, our privileges are greater than John’s.  John did have the Spirit in His life, but he never got to see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all God’s people.  He didn’t get to see that in operation within the Church community.  We have been given spiritual gifts that John did not get to see.  Even the fellowship of believers within a community was foreign to all that John experienced (an outcast living in the desert).  I could go on but I think you can see the point I am making.

Let me close this by saying that God isn’t done yet.  You have been given something in Christ that the prophets of the Old Testament would have longed to have seen and experienced.  You are blessed beyond belief.  What a privilege we have been given by God.  Am I thankful?  Do I treat my Christianity lightly?  Or, do I despise it and think it is worthless?  I am amazed when I see videos of people witnessing on the streets of our cities and they run into people who say they are Christians, but they don’t live any different from the world.  They are enamored with the world over the top of Jesus and His kingdom.  The apostle John warned us not to love the world or the things of the world because they are all passing away.  Do you know that the kingdom of God is on the verge of an even greater stage?  In fact it could be said that in the millennial kingdom the least will be greater than the greatest of the Church today.  God is not done yet.  He will complete all that He said he would.  Why throw all that away for some trinkets that are going to be destroyed tomorrow?  Are you living far below your position and privileges in Christ?  Maybe we need to hear John’s words one more time.  Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Jesus Teaches about John Audio