Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting ready for a NEw Year!

The Hebrews have been through a lot of pain in the 400 years of slavery.  The People were broken.  They had almost lost hope. Then, some of them realized WHO they were and called on their God for help. 
They were beginning to asked for a deliver.  From where, they just did not know.  Some remembered the Promise to their forefathers that this was going to last only for 400 years.
Moses tried to be THAT deliver but that was on his terms and in his way. 

He needed to be taught a big lesson: Trust in God.  Exodus 3:15.   _I Am Who I Am_The God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.  This is My Name forever, the Name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”
 THIS is the God we trust!  A living God!
Signs for Moses: walking stick into a snake, water into blood.
Response: not good for the Hebrews.  Need to make the same amount of bricks but need to get the straw themselves.
Chapter 6: 6-8 God used I am, and I will-11 times and one “I swore.”
Pharaoh does not listen and ten plagues hit Egypt.  Blood, frogs, gnats, flies, plague, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of first born.
It was at this time the Passover first celebrated.
The Exodus: Exodus 12:1-2 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
New beginnings.  Old things are passing away, behold the New has come.
Cutting with the past.  Old practices, worship, attitudes, old visions, old way of doing life.  A new beginning to be learned and experimented with.  FRESH!
As we look back on the past year, we too can leave the past behind.  We really don’t need to carry last year’s worries into the New Year.  We don’t need to be burdened with the past at all.  We will need to give it to Jesus.
As in Psalms 105:37-45   37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. 38 Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. 39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. 40 They asked, and He brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. 42 For He remembered His Holy promise given to His servant Abraham. 43 He brought out His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy; 44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for— 45 that they might keep His precepts and observe His laws.
- They left their sicknesses back there in Egypt!
- They left their weaknesses back in Egypt!
- They left bad memories back in Egypt!
- They left their poverty back in Egypt!
- The Bible said that they spoiled the Egyptians –
- They took most of their silver from Egypt–
- They took most of their gold from Egypt-
- They took finest of fine garments from Egypt -
- They did not leave Egypt sick -
- There was not even one weakling or sickly among their tribe…
In fact, new things were to be theirs, as they gave themselves to the One who is I AM. The one huge thing they could take with them was HOPE.  To look at this, let’s turn to 1 Peter 5:6-14
Written during a time of growing persecution.  As in our Prayer Time each week, we have been praying for the Nations and for the Believers in them.
Peter has set his heart on the good note…no matter how bad things go, there is always HOPE. 
His benediction has five points of giving us HOPE.
o   Doxology  (11) To Him be the Power forever and forever!
o   Summary  (12) Written briefly
o   Few words of greeting  (13)
o   Final command to love each other  (14a (kiss)
o   Final prayer for PEACE  (14b)
They--and us--are to press ahead, don't turn back--and press on! 
Here is our reminder that we HAVE GOD’S GRACE
(10) God is “”the God of All Grace”
o   1 Peter 4:10.
 Each one should use whatever gift He has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s Grace in its various forms.
His Grace has many forms and in various forms.  His diverse and assorted means to show Himself to be Faithful—in many ways—always different yet the same.  There is WONDER all the time!
By using the gifts His Holy Spirit gives to us—ALL of US—we NEED to be using them in the Worship of God.
o   In the Chapel, at home, at work, walking, talking, always being Faithful in our actions and mindset.  Having the Mind of Christ our Savior.
As His faithfulness is shown in the gifts He gives us, He also provided whatever we need in ANY circumstance. 

Look to Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Our dwelling place for this year and into the next is in “THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD  (12)
Stand fast in life. When the way gets rocky, painful, dark, threatening, gloomy, impossible—it is then we are to stand fast. And we get to do it together!  Not by yourself.  Need for Family.  Need for strength in numbers. 
The salvation we now have is only ours by His Grace. We have tasted that “the Lord is good.”  1 Peter 2:3
Always with us as the “God of all grace
          Another comforting thought …
For this Benediction to be realized in our walk of Faith, look at what comes first in this section of Scripture.
Verse 6  Humble yourselves under God’s mighty Hand…”
Verse  7Cast all your anxiety on Him BECAUSE He cares for you.”
Be self-controlled and alert
The great need for understanding the times.
The great need for discernment of people’s hearts
The great need for sensitivity to the Lord’s Spirit on matters of Faith and practice.
                  We are to be with self-control BECAUSE our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
More now than ever before, the world is moving into a graying of issues. 
Compromise is the battle cry and the only ones who will really be hit in the end are those who hold to the Truth.      So…
Hold fast to what you KNOW to be true. More than in a creed--in your hearts!
The Gospel in all it’s implications of life, His way is Light and Life.
But the evil one has different plans for the Church. 
Hit it hard from within, from outside, and shake it up.
Happened in Germany in the 1930 with the religion of the Nazis. 
Replace Christ with Hitler.
Seems obvious to us now but it was a slow process and those who objected to this heresy were killed off.
This passage instructs us to:
Resist him
Stand firm in the faith
Because we know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
We have been praying for over 40 countries around the world who are going through HARD spiritual times and we stand with them.

And then, once we do that, the benediction comes to us. 
First things first. 
Keeping the main thing of the Gospel the main thing.  Christ is our cornerstone and all else is not worth it.  Keeping the Cross in focus, we need to ask ourselves during the course of the week,
Is what I see of God or not?”  Does it bring Glory to God or does it not?”  Is it worthy of my attention?” "...of my time?"

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Our past is important to remember but not to hold us down.  The past is past and the things that both hurt us then and confuses us now has no hold on us now because of the Cross. 
Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.”