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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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Destroying the Works of the Devil Against Relationships: Unbelief and Distrust

We are lifelong learners with the curricula of Christ.  Disciples of Jesus. 

Five primary dimensions of our discipleship are (as identified by the Barna Group):

  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Physical and mental health
  • Vocation
  • Faith

This conversation reflects upon the destruction of the works of the devil in our relationships.

Relationship between humans and God is absolutely essential to our well-being, individually, as groups and as a race.

Knowing this, the Bible opens with God revealing His relationship with and satan’s attempted destruction of the God/human relationship.

The second chapter of Genesis is written with the love of God for His creation in clear view.

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the First and Primary relationship.

In Christianity it is universally understood that God is love.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

For love to exist, there must be another.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Eternal Others loving perfectly from eternity past, present and forever.

The enemies of God would, logically, seek to undermine and destroy perfect love.

In Genesis 3 we see a battle ground of the enemies of God against the perfect love between God and the other.  The Garden of Eden is the setting and Adam and Eve are God’s beloved who are under assault.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Genesis 3:1-5

From then until now the enemies of God are opposed to every relationship in which perfect love from one to the other can be experienced and expressed.

Destroying the works of the devil against you and your relationships is of vital importance and is the exact mission of Jesus.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  1 John 3:8

It is the devil’s work to damage your knowledge and experience of God’s perfect love.

The enemy of God intends for you to believe that God’s character is tarnished by wrong motives, fear and selfishness.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

  • “You will not certainly die” suggests that God lied.
  • “For God knows” suggests that God is afraid of what He knows.
  • “Your eyes will be opened” suggests that God wants your eyes closed (figuratively).
  • “You will be like God” suggests that God doesn’t want you to be like Him.

These are always the strategy of the enemy of God against you and your relationship with God and others.

  1. Don’t believe God is who and what He says He is.
  2. Therefore, don’t trust God.

In this way we can state, “The works of the devil (that Jesus came to destroy) include unbelief and distrust of God.”

Prayer is the beginning action in our war against these works of the devil.

“Lord, I ask you to open my understanding so that I believe and trust in you.  Remove, heal or destroy every work of the devil that hinders my capacity to believe and trust you.”

We can strengthen our belief and trust in God by proclaiming the “Hand of Belief and Trust.”

  1. God is who He says He is.
  2. God can do what He says He can do.
  3. I am who God says I am.
  4. I can do what God says I can do.
  5. The Holy Spirit is actively working belief and trust into me.

Jesus destroys the devil’s work against my experience of God’s perfect love and relationship with Him by replacing my distrust and unbelief with tremendous trust and beautiful belief.

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a story of something that was harmful or no longer helpful being destroyed?
  • In what life events, situations or concepts do you tend to doubt God?  For example, “It is difficult for me to believe God in _______________.

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Believing God is a component of faith. Do you have faith?  Romans 12:3
  • With everyone given a measure of faith, why do so many people not believe God?  2 Corinthians 4:3, 4
  • What brings increased faith to the human life?  Romans 10:17
  • In light of these passages, please proclaim, out loud, together, the “Hand of Belief and Trust.”

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you destroy the works of the devil in a relationship?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we pray with you about belief and trust?
  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in a relationship?
  • Please pray for the guiding coalitions that are studying the best options for the MCA worship schedule in the era of corona virus mandates, regulations and mindsets.
Posted on 11th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  No comments yet
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From Feasting to Fasting: Destroying the Works of the Devil

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.  Ezra 8:21-23

We are seeking wisdom from God about discerning those things in our lives that are lovingly allowed by God for His eternal purposes and those that are in our lives by the intentional design of the devil.


Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  1 John 3:8

The Bible makes one posture and one behavior the most important aspects of this discernment and decision process.

  • ïThe crucial posture is humility.
  • ïThe crucial behavior is fasting.

With the exile over in Babylon, King Artaxerxes decreed the return of Ezra and his people to Israel.

The challenge?  In the distance between Babylon and Israel were many powerful enemies of Israel.  

Why is that a challenge?  Ezra had confidently proclaimed to the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” Vs. 22

Ezra was therefore ashamed and embarrassed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect them from the enemies as they traveled.

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way…Ezra 8:22

This situation required discernment.

  • Do we travel through enemy territory trusting in Artaxerxes’ military guards?  
  • Do we travel through enemy territory trusting in God’s protection alone?

Ezra determined, surely against all recommendations, to travel through enemy territory trusting in God alone.

Here we see the crucial posture, humility and the crucial behavior, fasting with exceptional clarity.

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.  Ezra 8:21

In this verse, Ezra gives an essential insight into the crucial posture and behavior.  

It is the behavior of fasting that produces the posture of humility. 

Growth in humility is necessary for me, us, Anchorage, Alaska, the United States and the world.

Humility is the way.  Fasting is the means.

Today, with Ezra, we need God’s protection for ourselves, our children, and all our goods

This week, the Lord spoke to MCA Church through Missionary Rod Rivas.  

“With all that is going on in our world today, our response should be fasting and prayer.”  Staff Meeting, June 29

Today, I proclaim this week, July 5 through July 11, 2020, a season of fasting and prayer for MCA Church.

Please ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in deciding your fasting and prayer protocol.  Also, please follow the advice of your medical professionals.

Fasting and prayer suggestions

  • Reduce all distractions (especially media, social media and entertainment)
  • Fasting and praying one meal per day
  • Fasting and praying one day 
  • Fasting and praying more than one day
  • Fasting and praying all foods in a category (helpful for those with a strict medical diet)

For over 25 years MCA Church has hosted a July 4th community feast.  This year we host a community fast.

As we fast and pray, we seek the Lord to do again what He has done for Ezra, 

So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.  Ezra 8:23

May the Lord respond to our fasting and praying by destroying the works of the devil in our lives and world!

Posted on 4th July 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Divine Healing: Destroying the Works of the Devil, Part 3, Finances

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Divine Healing:  Destroying the works of the devil, part 3

Is there any difficulty in your life that defies natural causes, reason and normal healthy living?

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8

This verse reveals one of the devil’s works is deviating from God’s intended character, behavior and attitudes for your life.

This deviation is called sin.

Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work of sin.

Yet the devil’s works are far more than just sin.

In Luke 2:1-12, the work of the devil is sin (invisible) and paralysis (visible).  Jesus healed the visible as proof He has authority over the invisible.

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

We may make a loose comparison between The Barna Group’s Life Domains and Jesus’ revelation of His ministry purpose.

Barna Group Life DomainsJesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”  Luke 4
FinancesProclaim Good News to the Poor
RelationshipsProclaim freedom to the prisoners
Physical and Mental healthProclaim recovery of sight to the blind
VocationTo set the oppressed free
FaithTo proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

We can speak of the health or unhealth of each life domain.

Finances

Unhealthy     Mostly Unhealthy       Neither      Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Relationships

Unhealthy     Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Physical and Mental Health

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy     Neither        Mostly Healthy           Healthy

Vocation

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy          Healthy

Faith

Unhealthy      Mostly Unhealthy      Neither        Mostly Healthy          Healthy

Jesus announced the purposes and intentions of the devil.  John 10:10

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

In this life domain continuum, the purpose of the devil is to move you from right to left.

It is the purposes of God to move you from left to right.

For our consideration today, I have chosen Malachi 3:8-12.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

This is a passage about God’s blessings upon those who returnto obedience to His covenant.

In our world dominated by the “prince and power of the air (the devil)” many of processes are influenced against the goodness of God.

John, the Apostle states:

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

In the Malachi 3 passage, for example, God’s intended harmonious creation experiences the negativity of food destroying devourers.

Devourer is a way of stating, “eater.”  There are locusts, caterpillars, rodents and any number of plant diseases postured to devour the food sources of God’s people.

Nature would be very different without the influence of the devil and the agreements made between Adam, Eve and the devil.

We understand the eating of the crops and produce in Malachi 3:11 to be both directly and indirectly the work of the devil as allowed by the providence of God.

Jesus’ clearly announced that he has come “to destroy the devil’s works.”

Today, this also includes the direct and indirect works of Satan against you and your:

  1. Finances
  2. Relationships
  3. Physical and Mental health
  4. Vocation
  5. Faith.

If you are living in obedience and holiness before the Lord and……

There is a strong underlying resistance to the progress you are seeking to make in these five domains and you are having a difficult time moving from left to right on the continuum, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

Despite your prayer, wise counsel and best effort you are moving from right to left on the continuum, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

There is a sudden destruction or reversal of progress, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

There is a major issue for which no cause or solution is known, it is most likely a work of the devil against you.

Is there any difficulty in your life that defies natural causes, reason and normal healthy living?  The Holy Spirit’s discernment is necessary to determine your best way forward.

1 Corinthians 2:14

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 12:10

to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Today, by faith in the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I resist the works of the devil coming against my finances, relationships, physical and mental health, vocation and faith.

With Jesus, in Matthew 4:10, we declare, “Be gone, Satan!”

In the name of above every name, we pray.  AMEN

Listen – My Story

  • What is the best part of your summer as of today?
  • What are your plans for staying active in July and August?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. When you observe our world of today, what evidences do you see that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one?
  • 1 John 5:19
  • Do you rest peacefully in John’s statement in 1 John 5:18?

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

  1. The Christian.  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning.”
    1. Jesus.  “but he who was born of God protects him”
    1. The Christian.  “and the evil one does not touch him.”
  • This week’s text, Malachi 3:8-12, connects tithes and offerings to God’s rebuking of those things that devour.  Do you see God’s resource protection as a person who tithes?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. What do you need to do to see God’s rebuking of the devourer of your finances?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in your finances?
  • Please pray for the family of Ethel Thomas in their time of grief.
Posted on 27th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalms: Preparing for the Judgment of God, Part 2

Psalms:  Preparing for the judgment of God

The Judge, finding us doing His work, will be pleased with us.

35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Luke 12:35-40

For what actions are we to be dressed and what light are we to have trimmed and burning?

The words and actions of Jesus are our guides.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Luke 4:18-19

When the King comes into His kingdom as Judge, it is essential that He finds us doing the very works He came into His kingdom to do.

  1. To proclaim good news to the poor.
  2. To proclaim liberty to the captives.
  3. To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.
  4. To set at liberty those who are oppressed.
  5. To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

For a variety of reasons, we know that every Christian is assigned ministry to the poor.

Ministry assumes relationship. Thus, every Christian must be seeking loving connectivity with people living in poverty.

2020 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

Number of Persons in HouseholdAmount of Income
115,950
221,550
327,150
432,750
538,350
643,950
749,950
855,150
https://aspe.hhs.gov/2020-poverty-guidelines

What do we learn from the hymns of Israel about God’s concern for the poor?

We are to always remember and extend hope to the poor.

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

We are to recognize the many ways the poor are plundered, hear their groans and arise on their behalf, helping place them in safety.

Psalm 12:5

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

We honor the plans of the poor and help them find refuge.

Psalm 14:6

You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.  

We deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them and from those who rob them.

Psalm 35:10

All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

We consider the poor.

Psalm 41:1

Blessed is the one who considers the poor! 

We seek righteous justice for the poor.

Psalm 72:2

May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!

We defend the poor, give deliverance to the children of the needy and ask God to crush the oppressor.

Psalm 72:4

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!

We help the poor and needy praise God’s name.

Psalm 74:21

Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.

We give to the poor.

Psalm 112:0

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor.

We raise the poor from the dust and lift the needy from the ash heap.

Psalm 113:7

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

We satisfy the poor with bread.

Psalm 132:15

I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.

May we be prepared for the judgement of God by having His love for and actions toward the poor.

Posted on 24th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Living By Faith: Father’s Day 2020

Living by Faith: Destroying the works of the devil and establishing God’s kingdom in the earth

The ministry of Jesus, who lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, rose again and is alive forever, includes establishing God’s kingdom in the earth today.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  1 John 3:8

Today’s text, Isaiah 9:6, prophetically reveals the “kingdom establishing and devil destroying Jesus” in a variety of roles.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The government of God’s kingdom is upon Jesus’ shoulders.

  • Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, is the kingdom’s wisdom.
  • Jesus, the Mighty God, is the God and power of the kingdom.
  • Jesus, the Everlasting Father, is the Father of the kingdom.
  • Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is the peace of the kingdom.

Jesus, the Everlasting Father, reveals the high value of proper fatherhood.

First, proper fatherhood is revealed as being immersed in God’s kingdom.

  • We are fathers born into the kingdom of God.
  • We are fathers formed into the character of the King of the kingdom.
  • We are fathers forming others into the character of the King of the kingdom.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:29

Second, proper fatherhood is everlasting.

  • From before conception and into the everlasting a father is father.
  • Proper fatherhood is an everlasting relationship.

The three staples of children’s social and emotional diet are their mother’s love, their father’s love, and stability. When children are raised by their married parents, they have daily access to all three. These needs have nothing to do with a child’s race, and the absence of one or more of these critical staples makes children emotionally malnourished and more likely to struggle academically, suffer a host of behavioral and emotional challenges, become a teen parent, and be incarcerated. That’s why marriage is a social justice issue for children.  https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/12/to-truly-reduce-racial-disparities-we-must-acknowledge-black-fathers-matter/

  • Consider these lyrics in Pappa’z Song by the late rapper Tupac.

Had to play catch by myself, what a sorry sight
A pitiful plight, so I pray for a starry night
Please send me a pops before puberty
The things I wouldn’t do to see a piece of family unity.

In the father relationship, we are most like Jesus when we maintain an everlasting commitment.

Like our Everlasting Father we give the gift of consistently communicating our commitment.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:18

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  John 14:3

Like our Everlasting Father, in our commitment, we give the gift of mindful presence.

            And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.  Psalm 23

Like our Everlasting Father, in our commitment, we give our unfailing love.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  John 15:9

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  John 13:1

When communicating our everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love we are most like Jesus, our Everlasting Father.

Because the Everlasting Father is communicating everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love, the devil seeks to destroy them.

When communicating our everlasting commitment, being mindfully present and sharing the gift of unfailing love we join the Everlasting Father in destroying the works of the devil.

Respond to the Everlasting Father’s commitment, presence and unfailing love by placing your trust in Him for salvation.

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a story of a father’s love, either with your own father or someone father-like?
  • What are important characteristics of a father from your perspective?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. When you think of God’s everlasting commitment, what comes to mind? Jeremiah 31:3
  2. When you think of God communicating His commitment to you, what comes to mind? Romans 1:20, 2 Timothy 3:16
  3. When you think of God’s everlasting presence, what comes to mind? Deuteronomy 33:27
  4. When you think of God’s everlasting love, what comes to mind? John 3:16

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you destroy the works of the devil in your life in relationship to the father roles in your life?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of the works of the devil in your father relationships?
  • Please pray for God to establish stable homes with father, mother and children harmoniously living together to the glory of God.
Posted on 20th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalms: Preparing for the Judgement of God

The Bible reveals God as judge.

Psalm 75:6, 7

For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.

Psalm 50:6

The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah

Judgment, in Hebrew, is:

From shaphat; properly, a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty.  https://biblehub.com/hebrew/4941.htm

For instance, many do not understand that instead of one final judgment, the Bible teaches that there are a series of five to seven future judgments (depending on how they are categorized) that differ in respect to time, purpose, subjects, and circumstances. Understanding these various judgments will give insight into God’s program, but the goal here is not just information. God wants Christians to understand the truth of the judgments to both comfort and motivate them to godly living. He wants those who have not trusted in Christ to understand the judgments that this might motivate them to trust in Christ as their personal Savior because He bore the judgment for their sin in their place. The Christian will not face the final judgment because Christ was judged for us, but all believers will face a judgment called the Judgment Seat of Christ, the nature of which will be covered in the material to follow. (See Appendix A for an explanation of how to become a Christian.)  https://bible.org/article/judgments-past-present-and-future

Past Judgments

  • The judgement of satan and the fallen angels
  • The judgement in Eden
  • The judicial judgement
  • The judgement to moral degeneration
  • The judgement of Jesus for the sin of the world

Present Judgments

  • The self-judgement of the believer
  • The discipline judgements of the believer

Future Judgments

  • The judgement of the bema (the judgement seat of Christ)
  • The judgements of the tribulation.
  • The judgement and reward of resurrected Old Testament and tribulation saints
  • The judgement of living Israel.
  • The judgement of living gentiles.
  • The final judgement of satan and the fallen angels
  • The judgement of the Great White throne.  https://bible.org/article/judgments-past-present-and-future

Any serious study of the Psalms includes awareness of a theme of God’s judgement.

Psalm 1:5

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Psalm 7:6

Arise, O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.

Psalm 9:4

For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

Psalm 9:16

The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

Psalm 36:6

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.

Psalm 48:11

Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!

Psalm 75:7

but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

Psalm 76:8

From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still,

Psalm 76:9

when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah

Psalm 105:7

He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

Psalm 110:6

He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.

Psalm 119:120

My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

Psalm 149:9

to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!

This week, I have a sentence churning in my spirit.  I wonder if it is from the Holy Spirit?

Prepare for the judgment of God.

Let’s begin our preparation for the judgment of God with Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

Walk

Stand

Sit

Delight

Meditate

Posted on 17th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Divine Healing: Destroying the Works of the Devil

Living by Faith

Divine Healing: God, In Christ, is Destroying the works of the devil

Let us keep Jesus’ exceptionally clear purpose before us at all times.

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”  Genesis 3:15

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  1 John 3:8

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, Hebrews 2:14

Immediately following Jesus’ baptism and wilderness testing, Jesus pronounced His ministry and message.

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

Into the kingdom of the prince of the power of the air, the Kingdom of God has come.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3

Matthew quickly reveals the proof that Jesus is God and that the kingdom of heaven is inaugurated by the King.

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.  Matthew 4:23-24

It is abundantly obvious to even the casual reader of the New Testament that the evidences that the kingdom of heaven is at hand include:

  1. Replacing the work of the devil (disease) by healing every disease.
  2. Replacing the work of the devil by healing every affliction.

Matthew reveals the ministry of the King of the kingdom of heaven is the work of divine healing.

  1. All the sick.
    1. Those afflicted with various diseases.
    1. Those afflicted with various pains.
  2. Those oppressed by demons.
  3. Those having seizures.
  4. Those who are paralyzed.

AND HE HEALED THEM!

The Kingdom of God is here!  The King extends His Kingdom by healing today!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

Listen – My Story

  • Is there an image that comes to mind when you recall something that was destroyed?
  • What work of the devil has God destroyed in your life?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Are there works of the devil in our world of today?
  • If so, what are some of the seen works of the devil?  Matthew 9:32-33
  • What are some of the unseen works of the devil?  Ephesians 6:12
  • The works of the devil are so prevalent, Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance.
  • Matthew 6:9-13
  • Do you pray for deliverance from the evil one daily?
  • What might that deliverance look like?
  • What would one include in that prayer?
  • Save plenty of time for praying through the list below.  :0)

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you destroy the works of the devil in your life?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we join you in prayer for the destruction of a work of the devil that is against you?
  • Please pray for the destruction of the devil’s work in Anchorage, Alaska and the United States.
Posted on 13th June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Psalm 91: Longings for Heaven

The ninety-first Psalm is one of Christianity’s most beloved poems.  Poetry intentionally invites us into the verbal landscape the poet is painting.

“Thus, the Psalm invites readers from diverse contexts to help shape the meaning of the Psalm by contributing their own answers….”  The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms, Brennan Breed, page 298

This lesson is designed to view Psalm 91 through the lens of a deep longing for heaven.

Fundamentally, within every human is the God placed longing for ideal condition.

Ideal condition is revealed in the Bible as heaven.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  2 Corinthians 5:1-5

The Apostle Paul reveals two foundations of our longings for heaven.

  1. We long (groan) for the beauty of God’s eternal building where we will dwell.  Vs. 1-2
  2. We long (groan) for the ending of the current burdens of our earthly home.  Vs. 4
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say to the Lord,   “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  













The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27  

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah  Psalm 46  

























For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.  
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.               Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—  
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.  
and death shall be no more – Rev. 21:4        









 
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, Rev. 22:5






















10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev. 20:10      

The dwelling place of God is with man – Rev. 21:3      




neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Rev. 21:4    
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.

 
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3  
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Rev. 22:5  

Place your trust in Jesus for salvation today.

Follow your deepest longings and they will lead you to God.

Rejoice, with great anticipation, the amazing future God has prepared for those who trust in His Son.

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be by Bland and Bridgewater

  1. We read of a place that’s called heaven,
    It’s made for the pure and the free;
    These truths in God’s Word He hath given,
    How beautiful heaven must be.
    1. Refrain:
      How beautiful heaven must be,
      Sweet home of the happy and free;
      Fair haven of rest for the weary,
      How beautiful heaven must be.
  2. In heaven no drooping nor pining,
    No wishing for elsewhere to be;
    God’s light is forever there shining,
    How beautiful heaven must be.
  3. Pure waters of life there are flowing,
    And all who will drink may be free;
    Rare jewels of splendor are glowing,
    How beautiful heaven must be.
  4. The angels so sweetly are singing,
    Up there by the beautiful sea;
    Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
    How beautiful heaven must be.
Posted on 3rd June 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Pentecost Sunday: The New Community of the Spirit

Pentecost Sunday 2020

Texts:  Acts 1:8 and 2:1-4

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

MCA’s favorite Lukan theologian, Dr. Robert Menzies writes:

The message is clear: Just as Jesus was anointed by the Spirit to fulfill His prophetic vocation, so also Jesus’ disciples have been anointed as end-time prophets to proclaim the Word of God. Menzies, Robert. Pentecost: This Story is Our Story . Gospel Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

The prophetic message Jesus’ Spirit anointed disciples are to proclaim is:

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.  Acts 2:22-24

32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. Acts 2:32-33

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  Acts 2:36-39

As end time people of the Spirit, we have the message given by God through the Apostle Peter.

Immediately following the declaration of our empowered witness through proclamation, we see the revelation of our empowered witness through social structures.

People of the Spirit are empowered with a message and ministry and empowered within a brand-new community of the Spirit.

It is the Spirit’s ministry on the day of Pentecost from which the Apostle Peter writes, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”  1 Peter 2:10

Because of the Spirit’s ministry on the Day of Pentecost, we are now the newly reconstituted people of God, a Spirit empowered community.

Joining God’ end time community of the Spirit includes repentance, water baptism and results in the promise of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

The Spirit empowered message, without the Spirit empowered community is only philosophy.

The Spirit empowered community without the Spirit empowered message is only relationship.

The Spirit empowered message and the Spirit empowered community is the newly reconstituted people of God.

The Community of the Spirit is God’s better provision for the health and wellness of His people.

The Community of the Spirit shines spectacularly bright in today’s dim and dark world.

1.  The gigantic unrest related to the corona virus situation. (After all these years of study and research, there is no effective vaccine (I have been told) for ANY of the many strains of corona virus).
2. The financial unrest is at tsunami level.
3. The racial unrest is expansive.
4. The political unrest is pervasive.
5. The emotional (suicide) unrest is the highest in measured history.
6. The domestic violence unrest is hard to measure, but reports are high.

Acts 2 42-46 reveals the life-giving values and behaviors of this new Community of the Spirit.

There is no mention of perspectives and positions on:

The Community of the Spirit is for everyone who repents and is baptized.

This Community of the Spirit is mentioned in Revelation 5:9

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation.

This map indicates the huge variety and diversity in the Community of the Spirit even at the beginning.

A close up of a map

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https://visualunit.me/2020/05/25/the-nations-of-pentecost/

Let’s end our teaching time together with thinking about The Community of the Spirit and the social isolation of our world today.

Social distancing, YES!  Relational distancing, NO!

The Community of the Spirit is perfectly postured as a safe haven in these socially turbulent times.

Would you like to join this God inspired “Community of the Spirit?”  Acts 2:38

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

MCA specific responses:

  1. Frequent local businesses owned and operated by people from various ethnic backgrounds. 
  2. Please spend a growing percentage of your budget in Mt. View.
  3. Make a new best friend with someone very different from you.  Maybe from a different economic situation or a different ethnicity or a different religion or from a different political perspective or from a different generation.
  4. How long has it been since you spent meaningful time with someone very different from you?

Listen – My Story

  • What experience comes to mind when you remember receiving God’s love through someone very different from you?
  • What experience comes to mind when you remember giving God’s love to someone very different from you?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Read Romans 12:9-21
  2. What might Paul mean in verse 9, by saying “Love must be genuine?”  Does the next sentence, “Hate what is evil and cling to what is good,” shed light on this question?
  3. As you read the passage, make a list of “Things Love Does,” and a list of “Things Love Does Not Do.”
  4. What must happen in your heart to get to obedience of “If you enemy is hungry, feed him” Romans 12:20
  5. What other Bible passages come to mind regarding The Community of the Spirit?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Bible Fellowship help you excel in the Community of the Spirit?

Lift – Prayer

  • May we pray with you to become a member of the Community of the Spirit?
  • Which component of love as seen in Romans 12:9-21 may we pray for growth within you?
  • May we receive your prayer requests?
Posted on 30th May 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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A Psalm for When I am Angry

The global response to the Novel Corona Virus of 2020 significantly and dramatically altered the lives of virtually every person on the planet.

From my perspective, our planet is in psychological shock.  The following is from a March 2018 Psychology Today article by Alice Boyes, PhD.

Psychological shock is when you experience a surge of strong emotions and a corresponding physical reaction, in response to a (typically unexpected) stressful event.   

The types of events that can trigger psychological shock reactions include:

  • A car accident or near miss.
  • Being broken up with.
  • Your child having an accident or near miss.
  • Situations that provoke fear, such as being in an airplane with severe turbulence.
  • Witnessing something scary.
  • Hearing a story that makes you feel traumatized, such as learning a friend’s child has drowned.
  • Consuming a news stories that provokes a trauma reaction, such as hearing a story about people being separated from their children. 
  • Getting sued or some other financial related stressor.
  • Being stopped by the police.
  • Being at the dentist.

What are the symptoms of psychological shock?

  • The hallmark symptom of shock is feeling a surge of adrenalin.  
  • You may feel jittery or physically sick, like you’re going to vomit or have diarrhea.
  • Your mind will likely feel very foggy, or like you can’t think straight.
  • Your chest may feel tight.
  • You may feel a disconnection from what’s happening, like you’re watching a movie of events unfolding rather than actually being there.
  • You may feel intense anger and want to scream or yell—for example, if your child is injured while someone else is supposed to be watching them.
  • You may feel like you want to run.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201803/what-is-psychological-shock-and-5-tips-coping

This talk is designed as a conversation about the possibility of the intense anger a person may experience as part of possible psychological shock.

Psychological shock is when you experience a surge of strong emotions and a corresponding physical reaction, in response to a (typically unexpected) stressful event. 

Elyssa Barbash, PhD, stated, “As a trauma specialist, it is exceedingly clear to me just how traumatic this situation is for nearly every single person in the world.”

In many ways, Israel’s book of hymns and poems addresses every season of one’s life.  We are pursuing the Psalms for every season and time addressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-7.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

This is a season of unprecedented global change.  The near sudden speed of almost total life interruption is accompanied by a variety of deep emotions.

  • ïGrief – the proper response to loss
  • ïAnger – the proper response to injustice 
  • ïSorrow – the proper response to disappointment

The holy and inspired Word of God addresses unwanted life change, disappointing loss, traumatic experiences, injustice, sorrow and shock.

Psalm 137 may be helpful to us in this season and time.

137 By the waters of Babylon,
    there we sat down and wept,
    when we remembered Zion.
ïBabylon isn’t their home.  They are captives living in exile.  The river Jordan is their river, not the waters of Babylon. ïSitting is the posture of official mourning. ïWeeping is the soul’s deep response to loss. ïRemembering reveals the distance between what is and what should be.
On the willows there
    we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
    required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song
    in a foreign land?
ïThey literally “hung up” their song.  They silenced their song. ïThe “hung up” song is a response to captors and tormentors mockingly requiring “songs of Zion.” ïWe will not pretend. Everything isn’t ok.   ïWe won’t sing temple songs following your destruction of the temple. ïWe won’t sing God’s glorious song amid your ungodly idols.
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
    down to its foundations!”
ïThey express the GIGANTIC danger of losing the memory of the way it should be. ïMay my voice be silenced if I do not remember you, God and your holy city, Jerusalem. ïMay I not forget…..AND Lord, do not forget the wickedness with which we have been treated.  As they destroyed Jerusalem with their “song,” “Lay it are, lay it bare, down to its foundations.”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
    blessed shall he be who repays you
    with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rock!
ïRaging anger is expressed… ïDoomed to be destroyed ïBlessed is the person who repays you WITH what you have done to us! ïBlessed is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

The 137th Psalm reveals the great value in truthfully, understanding, experiencing and expressing our deepest emotions WITH God.

Understanding my emotions is necessary and good. Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Experiencing my emotions is necessary and good.  Ecclesiastes 3:4

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Expressing my emotions TO God is necessary and good.  Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Posted on 27th May 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post