logo

"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

post

Psalm 91: Seeing the Unseen

Psalm 91: Seeing the Unseen

The hymns and poems of Israel invite us into the realities of human condition and the presence and purposes of God.

To walk in the wisdom and revelation of the Psalms requires us to make personal decisions about how we will understand the Psalms meaning for us today.

  1. What did the author (Author) intend for the hearer, reader and singer to understand from the psalm?  What did it mean to the author?
  2. What have hearers, readers and singers understood the psalm to mean in history?
  3. What should hearers, readers and singers understand the psalm to mean today?

“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

Previously, in Psalms for All Seasons, I presented my perspective of Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 (two among many) as poetry aligning with every season of life.  All day, every day, Psalms 23 and 91 are a perfect match for the soul.

In my presentation, Psalm 91: Because He Loves Me, we looked at the poetry of Psalm 91 as though God is talking to persons whose love for Him is expansive and of His interest in rescuing and protecting those who love Him so. 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Psalm 91: A Perfect Match for Jesus considers the poem as a Psalm of Trust for the Perfect King. The poetic promises God makes in Psalm 91 are all fully experience by King Jesus.

In this teaching we will consider Psalm 91 as revelation from God opening to our seeing the unseen.

Things that are unseen feature prominently in this Psalm.

  • The fowler’s snare is unseen by the fowl.  Vs. 3
  • Terror of the night increases because one cannot see into the night.  Vs. 5
  • Plagues that destroy at midday also cannot be seen.  Vs. 6

The fear and danger of the unseen is met by the Psalmist’s announcement of God’s unseen (generally) angels who pronounce and protect God’s beloved.  Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Henry Thiessen states in Lectures in Systematic Theology, “Scripture everywhere assumes the existence of angels, good and evil.”  (1980, page 133)

Thiessen’s “Categories of Angels” is helpful in understanding Biblical revelation about angels.

Angels

In both primary biblical languages, Hebrew and New Testament Greek, angel means messenger. 

Sometimes the messengers are human (Luke 7:24) and sometime the messengers are “heavenly” messengers.

Deciding if the Bible is referring to a human or heavenly messenger is sometimes challenging.  For example, much debate happens regarding the use of “angel” by the Apostle John to the seven churches of Asia.

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:”  Revelation 2:1

The Bible reveals a gigantic angel population.

Daniel 7:9, 10

“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

Psalm 68:17

17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

Revelation 5:11

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

The Bible reveals various kinds of angels

Cherubim (singlular is Cherub) are mostly shown as the guardians of God’s throne and His glory.

24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.  Genesis 3:24

Seraphim (singular is Seraph) are mostly revealed to be the directors and worshippers of God.

Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  Isaiah 6:2

Living Creatures seem to be similar to, but different from the seraphim.  The living creatures have the unique role of administering the judgements of God.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.  Revelation 4:6-10

An archangel is directly introduced in the Bible.  Archangels are shown to guard Israel, make very important announcements, and serve as warriors or leading warrior angels.

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  Jude 1:9

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  1 Thessalonians 4:16

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back…Revelation 12:7

The watchers may or may not be a different kind of angel.  Nebuchadnezzar saw watchers in his vision who were sent to observe and give a message from God

13 “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. Daniel 4:13

17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.  Daniel 4:17

Sons of God is, at times, a reference to angels. 

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.  Job 1:6

when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:7

In this world of unseen dangers and fears, God has a FAR GREATER unseen ministry team serving Him on your behalf.  Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Personal Application

We believe all prayer is to God the Father, through His Son Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we do not pray to angels.

We understand the Bible to teach that God gives guidance to the angels for the good of those who love Him wholeheartedly.

Consider praying for God to give guidance to the angels on your behalf.

  1. Angels are messengers of God.  “Lord, I pray to receive every message you intend for me, whether by the gifts of the Spirit, the Bible, wise counsel from others or by angelic delivery.”
  2. Angels are I     nvolved in the worship of God.  “Lord, I pray to worship you at a much higher level than I do now.  May I learn from the angels a greater capacity for worship.”
  3. Angels are God’s warriors.  “Lord, I pray that you will commission your angels in the unseen war related to my life.  May your angels go to war on my behalf.”
  4. Angels guard the throne of God and His glory.  “Lord, as you increase my personal experience with your glory, may you send your angels to guard both me and your glory.”
  5. Angels “lift you up” so that your walk is steady.  “Lord, I ask you to commission your angels to lift me up so that I walk steady and holy before you.”
Posted on 6th May 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

The Good News of Living Hope: The Outcomes of Our Faith

Call to Worship

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Worship and Praise Selection One

“Lion And The Lamb”

He’s coming on the clouds
Kings and kingdoms will bow down
And every chain will break
As broken hearts declare His praise
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

And our God is the lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before Him
Our God is the lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before Him

So, open up the gates
Make way before the King of Kings
The God who comes to save
Is here to set the captives free
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

Our God is the lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before Him
Our God is the lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before Him

For who can stop the Lord Almighty
Who can stop the Lord Almighty
Who can stop the Lord Almighty
No one
Who can stop the Lord Almighty

Who can stop the Lord Almighty
Who can stop the Lord Almighty
There is no one
Who can stop the Lord Almighty
Who can stop the Lord

Our God is the lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before Him
Our God is the lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before Him

Every knee will bow

Worship and Praise Selection Two

“Living Hope”

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory, whoa!

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope…

Jesus Christ, my living hope
Oh God, You are my living hope

The Old Roman Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty;
and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord,
Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
Who under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried,
on the third day rose again from the dead,
ascended into heaven,
sits at the right hand of the Father,
whence he will come to judge the living and the dead;
and in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Church,
the remission of sins,
the resurrection of the flesh, and in
life everlasting.

Holy Communion

Matthew 26:26-29

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mother’s Day Announcement

With high esteem and great joy, we welcome Robin Schmidt as the MCA Women’s Ministry Director.

Tithes and Offerings

https://www.fellowshiponegiving.com/App/Giving/mca

Proverbs 11:24-25

24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered.

The Good News of Living Hope: The Outcomes of Our Faith

H – Heaven

O – Outcome

P – Power of God

E – InExpressible Joy

Outcomes are important in life.

When this fully develops, what will be the outcome?

Stephen Covey, in “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” believes the second habit of effective people is to “begin with the end in mind.”

“We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.”  Stephen Covey

Long before Covey’s masterpiece, the Holy Spirit inspired the author writing Hebrews to state,

 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Hebrews 13:7

Today’s primary text, 1 Peter 1:8, 9, reminds us that we are born again to living hope as we are “obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8, 9

Immediately, upon placing your trust in Jesus to birth you into His living hope, you begin obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your soul.

Knowing one’s soul is saved by God’s mercy and grace is an outstanding outcome we are receiving right now. 

A clean conscience is an outcome of our faith that we are obtaining today.

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” 
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctifyfor the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.  Hebrews 9:13, 14

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22

“Tolstoy said, ‘The antagonism between life and conscience may be removed either by a change of life or by a change of conscience.’ Many of us have elected to adjust our consciences rather than our lives. Our powers of rationalization are unlimited. They allow us to live in luxury and indifference while others, whom we could help if we chose to, starve and go to hell.” 
― Randy AlcornMoney, Possessions and Eternity

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  1 Timothy 1:5

The Fruit of the Spirit is another glorious outcome of our faith that we are obtaining today.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:22-24

Do you have Christian HOPE today?

When the way you are living fully develops, what will be the outcome?

The outcomes of trusting Jesus are:

  • The salvation of our souls
  • A clean conscience before God
  • The fruit of the Holy Spirit.

MCA Online Bible Fellowship Conversation Guide

Listen – My Story

  • What is one of your favorite outcomes of a decision you made?
  • What was the process of making that decision?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Read Matthew 13:53-58
  2. What was the outcome for the people of Nazareth in this passage?
  3. What has unbelief cost you?
  4. Are you willing to have the outcomes of unbelief in your life today?
  • Read Matthew 12:15
    • What was the outcome for the people in this passage?
    • Is this outcome available to people today?
    • Are you desirous of this outcome of faith in your life today?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Online Bible Fellowship help you apply this weeks’ teaching?

Lift – Prayer

  • Is there an outcome of faith for which we can pray with you?
  • Pray for those who placed their trust in Jesus for salvation this past week.
  • Receive prayer requests and pray one for the other.
  • Please pray for the MCA congregations both at home and around the world, especially for their finances.
Posted on 2nd May 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

Psalm 91: A perfect match for Jesus (or Psalm 91, part 3)

Psalm 91: A perfect match for Jesus

Poetry includes the painting of beliefs, concepts, philosophies and possibilities with words. 

Poetry invites you into the verbal scene to make personal meaning and corresponding understandings and actions.

There is no one correct meaning of a poem but there can easily be incorrect interpretations. 

Psalm 91’s history of meaning is extensive.  It may well be the most diversely interpreted poem of all time.

In this lesson, we will consider Psalm 91 as a psalm of trust depicting a king whom God perfectly cares and protects.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Ultimate King who aligns perfectly with this beloved psalm.

Psalm 91 Messianic Question
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Which king perfectly dwells in the shelter of the Most High and lived completely in the shadow of the Almighty?  King Jesus.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”   Of what king can it be totally true that God was His refuge and fortress in whom was full trust?  King Jesus.
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.
Which king did God always: DeliverCoverProvide refugeReveal His faithfulnessRemoving all fearPromising entire protection?   King Jesus.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Which king could see the recompense of the wicked?  King Jesus.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge —

Which king continuously and without fail made the Lord His dwelling place?  King Jesus.
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.   Of what king can it be said, “No evil was allowed to befall you, no plague came near your tent?”  King Jesus.
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.

Of all kings in history, who do we know to be cared for by angels, and guarded by them in all His ways?  King Jesus.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder and the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. Which king tread upon the one who “goes about like a roaring lion and who crushed the head of the serpent?”  King Jesus.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Which king holds fast to God in love?  Which king knows God’s name?  King Jesus.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Of what king may it be said, “God answered him when he called, was with him in trouble and rescued him and honored him?  King Jesus.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Which king was saved from the dead and rules eternally?  King Jesus.

What God does fully for His Son, King Jesus, He does in part for His children who are “in Christ.”

  • At salvation, we are adopted into God’s family through the advocacy of our Older Brother, Jesus.
    • For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,
    • by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15
  • At salvation, God views us as being “in Christ.”
    • So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11
    • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
    • so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Romans 12:5
  • Being in Christ, God delights to do for us in part, what He has done in full for Jesus.
  • When we arrive in the new heaven and new earth, we will experience the fullness of God’s protection and provision.
Posted on 29th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

Psalms For All Seasons: Psalm 91, Part 2

Theme:  A Psalm for Every Season

Text:  Psalm 91

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
Psalm 23
Psalm 91
  a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to
pluck up what is planted;
Birth – Psalm 20
Death Psalm 116
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to break down and a time
to build up;
Break down -Psalm 137
Build up – Psalm 127
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
Weeping – Psalm 126
Dancing – Psalm 30
  a time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time
to refrain from embracing;
  Cast away – Psalm 68
Gather together – Psalm 133  
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to
cast away;
Seeking – Psalm 13
Stopping the search – Psalm 139
  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Silence – Psalm 62
Speaking – Psalm 92
  a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
War – Psalm 144
Peace – Psalm 29

Many understand a Psalm with an unnamed author to be the composition of the author of the previous Psalm.  Psalm 90 is authored by Moses leading us to believe Psalm 91 flows from the heart of Moses also.  Psalm 91 would then be approximately 3,500 years old.

It is fair to say there have been hundreds of perspectives of this Psalm’s meaning. 

Theologian Patrick D. Miller has stated, “The Psalter’s openness to varieties of application and actualization continues through the history of interpretation into the present” (1983: page 35).

“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

A German physician was wont to speak of [Psalm 91] as the best preservative in times of cholera, and in truth, it is a heavenly medicine against plague and pest. He who can live in its spirit will be fearless, even if once again London should become a lazar-house, and the grave be gorged with carcasses.  C. H. Spurgeon

In the terms of Brennan Breed, I would like to help shape the meaning of Psalm 91 by contributing my answers.

  1. Someone is in a dangerous situation.
  2. This dangerous situation is war-like.
  3. The Most High, Almighty, LORD, God is trusted to protect and deliver.
  4. God then promises to provide that protection and deliverance.

Ultimately, Jesus is the Person fulfilling the lead role of Psalm 91.

The dangerous situation is both spiritual and physical. 

Poetically, everyone who dwells in the shelter of the Most High and abides in the shadow of the Almighty, fills the lead role of this Psalm.

Refuge Snare of the fowler
Fortress Deadly pestilence
My God Terror of the night
Deliverer Arrow that flies by day
Covering Pestilence that stalks in darkness
Shield and Buckler Destruction that wastes at noonday
Dwelling Place Evil
Director of Angels Plague
  Strike your foot against a stone
  Lion
  Adder

Both the demonic and physical forms of evil are addressed in Psalm 91.

God’s poetic promise of protection is for all who dwell in the shelter of the Most High. 

The benefits are poetically identified as the shadow of the Almighty.

The summation of the Psalm is God’s promise to those in His shadow.

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.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

So, then, these words seem to me to carry two thoughts: the first, what God delights to find in a man; and the second, what God delights to give to the man in whom He finds it. MacLaren’s Exposition

Posted on 22nd April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

The Good News of Living Hope

Text: 1 Peter 1:1-9

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Christians are a community of HOPE

Our righteousness is in Him, and our hope depends, not upon the exercise of grace in us, but upon the fullness of grace and love in Him, and upon His obedience unto death.

– John Newton

Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.

– RC Sproll

Today’s message, The Good News of Living Hope, is intended to turn our attention to the amazing work God is doing in us right here, right now.  We are filled with living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

H         Heaven                                   Vs. 4

            God is keeping an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance for you in heaven.

“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

O         Outcome                                 Vs. 9

In our fallen and sinful world we are grieved by various trials that test the genuineness of our faith.  Through this testing we are assured that we are obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

P          Power                                     Vs. 5

You and the imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance God has for you is being Guarded by the power of God.

E          InExpressible Joy                    Vs. 8

God’s presence with us and His work in our lives, especially in the middle of a season of grievous trials, is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. 

God’s presence with us and His work in us produces, right here and right now, joy that goes beyond human words.  Joy that is inexpressible.  Unspeakable joy is part of our living hope.

It must frustrate God’s enemies to see such “joy unspeakable” in the midst of their most ferocious attacks.

However, that isn’t all.  The very glory of God the enemies of God hate has been increased during the time of severe testing. 

We are filled with joy unspeakable and FULL of glory!

With Corrie ten Boom, we choose to “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

Online Bible Fellowship Guide

Listen – My Story

  • Recount a moment in which you discovered great hope.
  • What is a major source of that hope?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:13
    1. Are faith, hope and love independent or interdependent?
    1. Is it possible to have hope without faith? 
    1. Love without hope?
    1. Faith without love?
  • Read 1 Peter 1:1-5.
    • Christian conversation today seems to be almost entirely about grace.  What, however, does Peter emphasize in verse 3?
  • Read Titus 3:4-7
    • According to this passage we are saved according to ___________.
    • And we are justified by His _____________.
  • Our Living Hope of 1 Peter 1:3 is a gift of God, especially from His mercy.
    • How do you see the resurrection of Jesus from the dead connecting to Peter’s thought of “living hope?”

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? 
  2. How can your Life Group help you apply this weeks’ teaching?

Lift – Prayer

  • Pray for those who placed their trust in Jesus for salvation this past week.
  • Would you like prayer in the area of your “living hope?”
  • Please pray for the MCA congregations both at home and around the world.
Posted on 20th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

Psalms for All Seasons

Life’s seasons come and go, sometimes change quickly and yet often stay the same. Like Alaska’s notorious weather, life can turn on a dime. The author of Ecclesiastes presents a beautiful compilation of life’s seasons.

Following is my first effort at applying specific Psalms to the Wisdom writer’s Ecclesiastes 3 seasons of life. If you have a favorite Psalm for a certain season, please share.

We can understand each verse, Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, to include parallel concepts. For example in verse 2, born and plant can be seen as similar ideas in addition to the similarities of die and pluck up.

The wise person, it seems to me, is able to recognize the various seasons of life in their different life roles. Seasons are not all or nothing. For example, you can be in a rainy season at work and a sunny season in your hobbies. The all or nothing perspective appears to be less than wise, in my opinion.

Holding contrasting seasons peacefully simultaneously is the ability of the wise. It could be time for something to be born in worship while it is also time to let the dream of being a rock star (are there any anymore?) die.

Whatever the season, God has a Psalm for you.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
Psalm 23
Psalm 91
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to
pluck up what is planted;
Birth – Psalm 20
Death Psalm 116
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to break down and a time
to build up;
Break down -Psalm 137
Build up – Psalm 127
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
Weeping – Psalm 126
Dancing – Psalm 30
a time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time
to refrain from embracing;
Cast away – Psalm 68
Gather together – Psalm 133
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to
cast away;
Seeking – Psalm 13
Stopping the search – Psalm 139
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Silence – Psalm 62
Speaking – Psalm 92
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
War – Psalm 144
Peace – Psalm 29

The Holy Spirit has inspired Psalms perfectly fitting for this season in your life and He is inspiring you through abiding in them.

Posted on 15th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

The Good News of the Journey to Living Faith

God had revealed that He would restore right relationship through Jesus.

  • 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
  • 16 For dogs encompass me;
        a company of evildoers encircles me;
    they have pierced my hands and feet—
    17 I can count all my bones—
    they stare and gloat over me;
    18 they divide my garments among them,
        and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:16-18
  • 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10

When God brought judgement on Egypt for holding His people in captivity, He would pass over the homes with the blood of lambs over their doors.  This was the first pass over.

The shedding of Jesus’ blood on the mount of crucifixion, is the blood of the second pass over.

You and I are invited to “place His blood over the doors of our lives.”

  • For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7

God’s judgement upon our sin is taken by Jesus on the cross.  Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

  • 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

John 20:1-9 shows two different journeys to the Resurrected Jesus.

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 

John and Peter journeys to the Resurrected Jesus were substantially different.

John traveled fast and quickly believed what he saw.

Peter traveled slower and believed and took extra time to reflect.

John’s journey to the Resurrected Jesus could be seen as, “I have seen and I am convinced.”

Peter’s journey could be described as, “I have seen, contemplated the evidence and I am convinced.”

Among the children of God all of them have not a like speed. Some of them get a sight of Christ before others. But whoever they be that have the life of God in them, and so are walking on towards Him, they shall, either first or last, meet with Him without doubt. Samuel Rutherford

May I encourage you to “go in” to the place of our Lord’s resurrection?

  • If, like John, you quickly arrive to belief, go into the place of God’s great triumph and celebrate.
  • If, like Peter, you reflect upon the evidence, go into the empty tomb of victory and become convinced.

Go ahead.  Step inside the empty tomb of Jesus’ triumph. Waiting for you there is….

  • 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

The Good News of Your Journey to Living Faith is that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead gives you life, here and now and Jesus, the Lamb of God becomes YOUR Passover Lamb.

Spirit life.  Soul life.  Body life.

Online Bible Fellowships

Message Title:             The Good News of Journeying to Living Faith

Primary Concept:        The journey to Jesus, the Passover Lamb, may be rapid or delayed, yet both paths find the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead available to them.

My Story

  • Is or was your journey to faith in Jesus rapid, like John or slower, like Peter?
  • Share a bit of your story.

Digging Deeper

  • Please read Luke 19:1-10.
  • Was Zacchaeus’ journey to faith in Jesus rapid or delayed? 
  • Was Zacchaeus more like the Apostle John or the Apostle Peter?
  • Please read John 3:16 and John 19:38-39.
  • Was Nicodemus’ journey to faith in Jesus rapid or delayed?
  • Was Nicodemus more like Apostle John or the Apostle Peter?

Taking it Home

  • Where are you in your journey to living faith in the resurrected Jesus?
  • Do you have a friend, relative, associate or neighbor who is journeying like the Apostle John?  Peter?

Prayer

  • Please pray for yourself and your journey to living faith.
  • Please pray for those in your bible fellowship and their journey to living faith.
  • Please pray for the financial needs of our members.
  • Please pray for many to bring God’s tithes and offerings into His local MCA house.
Posted on 13th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

There are Two Paths: Your Path is Eternally Consequential!

Christianity is the most serious matter in the Universe.

Today’s text:  Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The last verse of Matthew 25 (46) reveals the gravity of the situation.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

From the beginning of Biblical revelation God is speaking regarding the two realities.

  • In Eden there were two trees.  The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • Psalm 1 shows the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.

The earliest known Christian discipleship manual, the Didache, is a fantastic treatment of the two ways.

  • THERE are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths.  The Twelve Apostles. The Didache . Acheron Press. Kindle Edition.

In my opinion, the days ahead will include a rapidly increasing work of God in identifying your position in relationship to the two paths.

  • The person is either wise or foolish
  • Prepared or unprepared
  • Righteous or unrighteous

From my perspective, righteousness includes a very strong behavioral component.

On the matter of the two paths, there are two predominant and opposite views:

  1. The righteous path is completely by grace alone, in Christ alone.  To God’s gift of righteousness, you can add nothing and subtract nothing.  It is all, completely, God’s doing.
  2. The righteous path is completely by your own efforts and work.  You are righteous based solely upon your life choices.  It is all, completely, your doing.

In my opinion, both of these positions are dangerous to the eternal well-being of a person’s life.

Matthew 25:31-46 is one of Jesus’ teachings about the two paths.  The two paths are compared to two animals, sheep and goats.

Notice, again, the seriousness of this conversation.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

How you handle Matthew 25:31-46 determines your eternal reality.

Our eternity is at risk.

The first theological perspective suggests, “This passage has nothing to do with your eternal life.  The sheep are already eternally secure and they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, and cared for the sick BECAUSE they are elect by God to be sheep.”

The second theological perspective suggests, “This passage has everything to do with your eternal life.  You are either a sheep or a goat depending upon WHETHER you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and care for the sick.

My point today is simple, “This passage is about eternal punishment and eternal life.”

  • If you are a sheep and don’t know it or a goat and don’t know it, you are in a bad place.
  • If you are sheep and know it, but don’t behave like a sheep, you are in a bad place.
  • If you are a goat and know it, but behave like a sheep, you are in a bad place.
  • The only good place to be in this parable is a sheep living like a sheep.

Our Lord is as CLEAR as possible.  Sheep do the following.

  • you feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • welcome the stranger
  • clothe the naked
  • care for the sick.

Goat-hood is very clear as well.  Goat’s DON”T….

  • you feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • welcome the stranger
  • clothe the naked
  • care for the sick.

This goat/sheep separation is the theme of the Son of Man’s coming in glory.  The Son of Man will function, at this time, as King.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Let’s wrap up our conversation with the concluding paragraph of the Didache.

Watch concerning your life; let not your lamps be quenched or your loins be loosed, but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour at which our Lord cometh.  But be ye gathered together frequently, seeking what is suitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall profit you not, unless ye be found perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; and because iniquity aboundeth they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world. Then shall the creation of man come to the fiery trial of proof, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who remain in their faith shall be saved by the rock of offence itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first the sign of the appearance in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and thirdly, the resurrection of the dead—not of all, but as it has been said, The Lord shall come and all his saints with him; then shall the world behold the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven. 

Posted on 12th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

Bible Fellowship Schedule

It is truly a joy to invite you to participate in the MCA Online Bible Fellowships. Following are twenty-nine options.

Here are the steps to participate in these life-giving Bible Fellowships.

  1. Download Ring Central Meetings from your App Store. Make sure it is Ring Central Meetings.
  2. Send an email to info@mcaonline.org letting us know which Bible Fellowship you would like to join.
  3. OR send a text to 907 337-nine four nine five letting us know which Bible Fellowship you would like to join.

We will contact you with your Bible Fellowship information. Exciting!!!

MCA Online Bible Fellowships

Sunday

            Daniel with Tracy Fick                                     10:30 AM

            Isaiah with David Wilson                                6 PM

Financial Peace University                             7 PM

Monday

            Life Group with Kent Redfearn                      6 PM

            Life Group with Simeon Yates                        7:30 PM                     

Tuesday

            Life Group with Robin Schmidt                       9 AM

            Life Group with Bryan Fick                             7 PM

            Celebrate Recovery                                        6 PM

                        Women’s group

                        Men’s group

            Champions Club Moms                                  7 PM

Wednesday

            Prayer Meeting with Pastor Rod                    9 AM

            Pastor Mark                                                    6 PM

            Kevin and MCA Children                                 7 PM

Pastor Judah                                                   7 PM

            Pastor Moe                                                     7 PM

            Pastor David                                                    7 PM

            Financial Peace University                             7 PM

            Pastor Edgardo                                               7:30 PM

Thursday

            Prayer Meeting with Pastor Rod                    9 AM

            Life Group with Pastor Blaine                        1 PM

            Life Group with Melia Tali                              6 PM

            Step Study for Celebrate Recovery                6 PM

                        Women’s group

                        Men’s group

            Champions Club for Dads                               7 PM

Friday

            Prayer Meeting with Pastor Rod                    9 AM

            Life Group with Kent Redfearn                     6 PM

Saturday

            King’s Castle with Zelda Tali                           10 AM

Champions Club for Champions                     3 PM

Posted on 3rd April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
post

Stir Yourself Up to Worship: Psalm 103

Stir Yourself Up to Worship

Psalm 103

The good news is that we can stir ourselves up to worship the glorious Living God and in so doing we align ourselves with the fundamental truth of our being.

Like a musical instrument, our lives produce musical orchestration best when we are precisely tuned to the perfect standard.  God is our “tuning standard.”

The encompassing need to “Stir Yourself Up to Worship” may be generated by:

  • Not honoring God.  Romans 1:18-21

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 

  • Personal woundedness. Job 2:9-10

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

  • Satan’s involvement, tribulation or persecution, cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things enter in and CHOKE.  Mark 4:13-19

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

David, the anointed poet, is spot on correct.  Urgent is the matter of “Stirring Yourself Up to Worship.”

The Psalmists often talk to their soul.

  • Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you in turmoil within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:5, 6
  • For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
        for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5
  • Return, O my soul, to your rest;
        for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.  Psalm 116:7
  • Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 146:1

King David gives three primary tools to “Stir Yourself Up to Worship.”

Remember God’s “benefit package” given to you.  Psalm 103:1-5

Recall the full “package of His character.”   Psalm 103:6-14

Rightly compare Almighty God’s eternal strength to our human frailty.  Psalm 103:15-19

Posted on 1st April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post