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Prepare The Way Of The Lord

Micah Wood

March 15, 2020 • Micah Wood

Ps Micah speaks about preparing the way of The Lord. Isaiah 40:3‭-‬5 NKJV refers....The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord ; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” In verses 3 and 4 the way of the Lord is prepared; in verse 5 the result of this is that the glory of God is revealed to all flesh. We must 'prepare the way of the Lord' in our hearts. Not so that we can be a container of God's glory, but so that we can be a conduit of God's glory to this world. God's purpose isn't to have a remnant, but to work through the remnant in order to pour out His Spirit. So, God doesn't just want a handful of believers in Family Church to see His glory; He wants to pour His glory out through His church so that the City sees His glory! The condition of Heaven is the responsibility of God, but the condition of the Earth is the responsibility of man. He has delegated authority to His Church, to His sons and daughters on the Earth. Our responsibility is to walk in such a relationship with God where He can flow through our lives. God wants to bring down the high places (pride), the crooked places (the parts of our lives that the world has warped), and the rough places (personality quirks that cause us to grate with others). As we allow God to prepare the way in our lives in this way, He will be able to pour His Spirit though our lives. God is the One who was, and who is, and who is to come.....is He the God who came, who is with us now, or who is coming? Yes! He is all of those things....He has prepared the way and is preparing the way. We live in the days of God's Spirit having been given to those who believe. Greater days than when Jesus walked on Earth! The Holy Spirit is here to prepare the way for the King who is coming. But each one in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him, ” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:23‭-‬28 NKJV). It is always the case that what God is doing in your life today is preparing the way for what God wants to do in and through your life tomorrow. Why does God need the way prepared? Certainly it is not for His sake, it's for humanity’s sake. He desires that all would come to repentance before He comes. So the preparation is not so that God can move as God can do what He likes! It’s so that people are able to receive the move of God: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5 NKJV). It is a great day for those who are ready and prepared for His coming.....but a dreadful day for those who are not prepared. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5 NKJV). God's heart is for all people to be prepared for His coming by the outpouring of His Spirit upon all flesh. "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat"? (II Peter 3:11‭-‬12 NKJV).

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God Knows What We Need

Andy Elmes • May 31, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about our needs in these uncertain times. There is plenty of fear being circulated currently, but we must choose faith in God over fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. God has given us a sound mind! Fear is often based in the thought of “I won’t have” what I need and can drive us to unusual behaviour. God’s people are not driven by fear and understand Gods promises regarding their provision. Scriptures tell us to cast our cares on Him for he cares for us (1Peter 5:7); The Father knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8); God will supply all our needs according to His riches (Phil 4:19). In these verses God speaks of meeting the needs of our body, soul and spirit. The present times challenge the belief systems regarding our needs - what do we need in order to survive and thrive, what are our priorities regarding needs? Will I have what I need when I need it? There are two ways of looking at this – the worldly way and the Kingdom way. Abraham Maslow, a well-known American psychologist summarised the worldly view in a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid - physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. He alludes to the fact that until all our basic needs are met we will not consider whether a God exists, or where we came from. He placed more emphasis on needs of body and soul before the needs of spiritual development – the person we really are. But Maslow was an atheist and did not believe in God’s wisdom. His understanding of the needs of a person was based solely on the physical not the spiritual. He did not recognise that there was a creator, someone who made creation to have needs and also would meet these needs. Jesus taught very differently. Matthew 6:25-34(NIV) teaches “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. This is a completely different emphasis to that of Maslow - seeking first the Kingdom of God and then all the other things will be met by God. Many times these verses tell us not to worry. Jesus turned Maslow’s pyramid upside down by saying seek me, seek My Kingdom first and if you do then God will meet all your other needs. For example we will never know the esteem that comes from knowing who we are in Christ, in God, until we seek first his Kingdom. Being in pursuit of God brings in everything we need as a human. Unshakeable safety comes from knowing God. As we busy ourselves in pursuing God he will busy Himself in meeting all our needs. Our greatest need is our need for God. Only when this comes into position correctly can we then stand on the promises of God’s word.

Pure Joy

Steve Carey • May 24, 2020 • Steve Carey

Pastor Steve speaks about Pure Joy during trials in our lives, and continues looking at who we are becoming and how we are using our time in this season. James (brother of Jesus writing to the church he oversaw), tells the Jewish Christians to consider it pure joy when they faced trials (James 1:2). We are in a trial right now, but trials always come and always will come. Sometime we see them and sometimes they catch us unawares. Trials may be as a result of spiritual attacks (we need to open Ephesians 6 and put on the full armour of God) knowing our enemy is defeated. Sometimes trials come as a result of a lack of wisdom or something we did. Other times life may just deal out an issue, or sometimes as a result of the actions of other people. Trials have differing types of impact but the key issue is how we respond. James tells us that when we face a trial we should consider it pure joy….but do we respond in this way? Many of us will look at the words James wrote and say he did not know anything about our situation…often our response is anger or doubt. James writes as a pastor and tells the church to consider it as pure joy because the testing of faith produces perseverance (James1:3). So the journey is not so great but the destination – perseverance – we like much more. Often we are excited about getting somewhere but do not enjoy the journey. But in a spiritual context James tells us we need to embrace the journey, what God is doing for us, in us and through us in this season. James is not saying delight in the problem, but delight in what God is doing in and through us. Sometimes the journey to completeness and maturity in Christ comes as a result of times of confusion, pain and sorrow. God is not the author of these things but will use them for our good and for His glory. Often the journey to maturity comes when we are on the edge of quitting. This produces faith which is mature and pure. Jesus did not promise an easy life but he did promise an overcoming life and one of peace and hope. In the context of a classroom of positivity as we have spoken recently, maybe this is a season to look at revising the goodness of God, who he is on our lives, who we are in him, the faithfulness of God. Character is built in the circumstances of life. When we understand how God uses circumstance to develop our character we are able to respond correctly when god places us in character building opportunities. God wants us to grow and mature. His desire is for us to be complete in Him. Elsewhere in the New Testament we see similar instructions (1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:3-5). Maybe it is time for us to change our perspective even in a time of a trial…from allowing the trial to break us to allowing God to make us. Let us ask a few questions…….. 1 - What is our perspective in this trial….out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks or fingers type? Our perspective will change when we change our thinking, by renewing our minds with scriptures of hope, encouragement, peace etc. 2 - Are we praying for this trial to end or for God to mature us in this trial? Even in this season, Dear God use me and complete me. 3 - Are we enduring the journey or embracing it? Are we wishing it away or embracing who God is during this time. Now is a time to be used by God. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us use this time effectively. 4 - Is there a sound of joy in our homes and lives? Joy gives us confident hope; it does not take away the issues. Maybe start our day with the word of God and fill it with praise then when other things come into our homes we shall have a different perspective on life. Our challenge is to look at our season and consider it pure joy rejoicing in the fact that God is shaping us.

What are we becoming?

Andy Elmes • May 17, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy asks us “What are we becoming?” during this season of lock-down. Two Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) says “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”. In this season we need to ask what are we becoming? ‘Coming’ and ‘becoming’ are not the same. We cannot ‘come’ to church we as did but we can still ‘become’ more as god wanted us to be. We are still in an element of isolation and our choices will determine what we become. Some fitter, some fatter! We are all ‘becoming’ something; some wiser, some less so. Some bitter, some better! A great example is Joseph in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 37, he shared dreams with his brothers, but they threw him into a pit and later sold him. He might have become bitter and insecure. However, in his isolation he determined not to quit. In Genesis 39 the favour of God is on Joseph, he has risen to be second in charge in the house of Potiphar. He even scorned Potiphar’s wife who wrongly accuses him of improper behaviour. Joseph is wrongly imprisoned, but in this time of isolation he actually developed himself to be stronger and better. In Genesis 41 when he is released from prison God works for his good. Pharaoh asked for Joseph to interpret his dream about seven years of good and seven years of famine. Pharaoh then promoted Joseph to being second in charge of the country! So he is not broke and weak but he comes out of prison strong and ready for action. He leads the nation in a successful plan of well-being and sustainability. Why? Because in prison he chose to let God do in him what God wanted to do at that time. When others were quitting he chose to develop from glory to glory. Such decisions we can all make for ourselves when we read the word, pray and spiritually develop. God is in this moment with us. When Joseph was in prison, he was diligent – Genesis 39:21-23 speaks of God's favour being upon him, even being promoted within prison! He also stayed sharp in walking and hearing God. In Genesis 40 the Cup Bearer and Baker ask Joseph to interpret their dreams. Joseph was hearing heaven! Let us be alert and spiritually diligent also. Three things kept Joseph focused - • He knew God was with and in him and had plans for him • He had a revelation of Romans 8:28 which speaks of all things working together for those who love God (Romans wasn’t written then!). In Genesis 50 his worried brothers were brought to him when his Father Jacob had died, but Joseph showed optimism, telling them not to be afraid as even although they had intended to harm him. God had put him in the place he had been to accomplish His plans and save many lives. • He stayed submitted to God. God often leads people into wilderness or isolation in order to accomplish His plan or make that person ‘become’ something different. Jesus is the prime example in scripture. The Holy Spirit is with us now in our periods of isolation. We need to stay submitted to Gods plans for us to become as he intended.