The Lessons we’ve learned…a final review

Lessons learned

Wednesday 06/09/21 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – The Lessons we’ve learned…a final review

PDF of Outline: Harmoney of Israel’s Kingdom Books

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The Lessons we’ve learned…a final review

It has not escaped my attention, the difficulties of turning this series of 6 books into a game. First off the material is just too vast! Secondly, most of the important information is found in life lessons which can be a little more abstract. 

I am not ready at this point to forego a game night for these six books, but I am considering it. To be honest I believe the majority of you would prefer that anyway and I hate to push people into something they are uncom fortable with, so we will see.

At this point, just walk through these points I’ve bullet pointed here…have some discussion, try to learn from them and also attempt to connect WHAT you have learned with the stories from which we have learned them. That is really the big point here anyway. Yes I want you to know the truths contained in these scriptures, but the scriptures themselves…the stories the lessons are learned from are important on their own and so it is very good to attempt to maintain a connection between the lessons and the stories from which they were learned.

Relationship with God

  • God sometimes creates the very scenario that drives us to seek Him.
  • God listens to and expects us to fulfill our vows. The only exceptions are:
    • When fulfilling our vow would require us to sin.
    • When it is beyond our means to do so.
  • God expects to occupy the highest place of love, devotion and allegiance in our hearts – even above family as Jesus once said.
  • God honors those who honor Him.
  • God granted Israel a king – picked him out and even anointed him with His Spirit.
    • MANY times I’ve heard people say, “well it worked out so I guess it must have been God’s will”This event in Israel’s history is patent proof that such IS NOT TRUE!!!
  • God will often teach and/or judge you by letting you have what you want.
  • God does not judge by appearances and neither should we. Just because someone may look great, sound great, have a great “presence” about them, makes you feel good and outwardly praises God, is NO indication of a heart devoted to Him. 
    • Do not allow how mighty a ministry is, influence you to believe God has all of their heart.
  • Acting in godliness and according to God’s will needs no permission.
  • Trust in the Lord and do good and He will be your deliverance.
  • God is seeking for hearts of devotion and offers them strong support
  • God is rarely predictable. What might seem to have been the best course of action to us as humans, is rarely the one God chooses, and we may never know why. 
  • God will often empower you to run, but direct you in your running, into an encounter with Him.
  • Never question in the darkness what God told you in the light.
  • If God has not told you something new, then the last thing you heard is still the applicable.
  • Do not let a fear of man to affect your seeking of and obedience to God.
  • God always fulfills His word (He watches over it to perform it)
    • Do not allow the passage of time to cause you to question God’s faithfulness.
  • It is impossible to have and maintain “true religion” [James 4:27] without loving God with all your heart. 
  • God designed the human heart to respond in loving trust to those who have shown themselves both caring, kind and loyally devoted to us. 
    • Obedience results in the human heart who comes to know and trust God.
    • When a person consistently walks in unbelief it is reflected in a walk of disobedience to God.
  • Before worship comes purity.

Israel 

  • What does it mean that the Israelites were treating God like a trophy God?
    • The Israelites, though serving other gods, decided to take the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them because they believed that bringing God into their battle would grant them victory.
  • Why didn’t this act of “belief” or faith work?
    • It wasn’t truth faith, but rather presumptuousness and not based upon devotional worship and relationship with God. It was a mechanical belief in a system that had worked before and therefore was NOT true faith.
  • The Philistines did not have true saving faith either, but when they set up the ark for transportation on an ox pulled cart back to Israel God honored it.  
    • Why? Because they were ignorant of what was right and they at least exhibited ‘a’ fear of God.
    • You can have all the right ceremonies and no heart and it will be rejected, but you can have the wrong ceremonies and the right heart and God will be merciful.
  • What animal are people compared with – especially nations? Sheep
  • Why is this such a good comparison? Even though people like to “feel” like they are in control, they most often look to others for answers and direction.

Lessons from Samuel

  • The Ark was eventually taken to Kiriath-Jearim where Eleazar was consecrated to care for it. After 20 years passed, Israel as a whole began to seek the Lord. It was at this point that Samuel charged Israel to get rid of all pagan idols and dedicate themselves wholly to the Lord if indeed they were choosing now to follow Him. This is the event which led to Samuel being Israel’s last real judge.
    • God had an answer for Israel in Samuel YEARS before their change of heart.
    • God prepares pathways for us to walk in, before we even need them.
    • Consider that the entire existence and miraculous birth of a human being, like Samuel, was all the result of God working in the background to have someone ready for His people when they finally came around.
  • Consider the foreknowledge and events which God very likely set in motion to cause this to happen:
    • Hannah had to be barren
    • She had to have a heart which longed for a child – specifically a son.
    • God had to have Eli present when she was praying – which conspired together to have her prayer answered, to have her make a vow to dedicate her son to the temple and prepare Eli to mentor him.
    • God had to be working on Israel’s heart to prepare them for the time when they would seek the Lord and have it correspond to the time when Samuel was old enough and mature enough to be a judge in Israel.
  • At this time Israel asked Samuel to pray for them so that the Philistines would not defeat them. So Samuel offered a burnt offering to God as an act representing Israel’s agreement to be 100% devoted to God and at that same moment the Philistines did attack. As a result of Israel’s heart and Samuel’s offering, God “thundered loudly” against the Philistines and threw them into confusion and they fled. It was THESE events that led to Samuel setting up a memorial stone to commemorate the occasion and called the place – Ebenezer, which means “The Lord had helped us to this point”.
    • Considering the list of things God orchestrated to cause Isreal’s repentance and Samuel’s ready leadership – they didn’t know just how true those words were!
  • What hymn makes use of this event as an example? Come Thou Fount of every Blessing.
  • What is the phrase that uses the raising of Ebenezer in that song? “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here there by Thy great help I’ve come.”
  • Being a prophet does not mean you have no blind spots.
  • Samuel unilaterally placed his two sons as judges in Israel. He was unaware that they were both ungodly and perverted justice for bribes.
    • We do not sin unto ourselves – it affects everyone and this is INCREASINGLY true the more God given authority you have.
    • THIS event was the last straw which encouraged Israel to demand a king. This decision to make his son’s judges and their subsequent perversion of justice precipitated Israel’s desire for a king.

1Sam. 8:4, “(4) Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,  (5) and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 

  • We need to heed the warnings of our spiritual leaders. Samuel warned Israel against kings and their behavior, but Israel insisted which eventually played the major role in their defeat and exile.
    • Israel’s eventual defeat and exile did not happen for many generations due to God’s mercy, but it did come. Do not allow God’s slowness to anger to encourage you in a wrong path.
    • MANY times people have a hard time correlating judgment in their lives with the actions which sponsored it, BECAUSE God is SO long-suffering, and merciful that we do not reap immediately.
  • Samuel wanted Israel to know that in asking for a king to rule over them – even though God gave it to them AND gave them victory over their enemies by him – these were NO proof that God was FOR this decision. God giving you what you want is NO proof that it was His will.
  • Samuel predicted with Israel under the leadership of a king, they would not honor God with a true heart. That their kings would lead them into sin resulting in both they and their king being swept away. As we closed out the last chapters of 2 Kings and 2Chronicles we found his predictions to be true…
    • Be careful what you petition God for… Both Jesus’ prayer of “Not my will, but Yours be done” and Jame’s admonition to say, “If God will, we will live and do this or that” [James 4:13-17] is a solid example to follow. 

Life lessons from Saul

  • We are told that God gave Saul a different heart. The word for different actually means to turn around. It was a play on words because the passage says that when Saul turned from Samuel after he had prophesied over him, God turned around Saul’s heart.
    • This means God is the creator and owner of all human hearts and the power to change our hearts comes from Him and His mercy.
    • God can do this for at least two reasons…
      • One – Sovereignly for His Own purposes – like here with Saul
      • Two – Due to our response to His influence, guiding and/or reproving us.
  • When God changed Saul’s heart, people noticed and were drawn to him seeing in him something different than before. God is able to cause those He has placed within your “sphere” to see something in you worth following.
  • The scriptures tell us that valiant men attached themselves to Saul BECAUSE God had touched their hearts – influencing them to offer their strength and skill in support of him. This helps to illustrate how it is God Who appoints a leader. 
  • Saul started off with a humble, even timid heart and seemingly good intentions, but power and most of all fame, went to his head. The tendency of the human heart to love power, influence and fame from other men is STRONG reason to seek to maintain a humble heart.
  • Saul offered a sacrifice to God being impatient to wait for Samuel and this action brought judgment on himself.
    • Do not allow pressure to lead you to compromise what you know is right.
  • When God rejects someone or something – do not devote any more of your heart to it. To do so is idolatry.
  • God is more intimately involved with the progression of our lives, and the condition of our hearts than we realize.
  • God’s judgment of Saul to allow demons to torment his mind, His provision of music to soothe him and David being brought into Saul’s presence as a musician were NOT chance events!
    • God orchestrates events in our lives in accordance with His will and purposes. 

Life lessons from Jonathan

  • Saul’s son Jonathan was an honorable man, son, warrior and a very dear friend to David Saul’s enemy.
    • Good men do not always have good sons and evil men do not always have bad sons.
    • God can rise up allies, even in the house of his enemies.
    • Some relationships are ordained by God.

Life lessons from David

  • David was not afraid of Goliath. He did not consider the size of his problems or advisories, only the size of His God. 
  • David’s focus was not on delivering Israel, but bringing honor back on God’s name which the Philistines were showing contempt for. These are just a few of the reasons why David was a man after God’s Own heart.
  • David became discouraged due to Saul’s unending attempts on his life so he fled to the Philistines and pledged allegiance to them. He almost went to war with them against Israel in fact, but God orchestrated a series of events which held back David and his men from fighting against Israel. 
    • This is another example (like that of Abigail) where Daivd was kept back from doing evil by something other than his own decisions. 
    • Proverbs 3:6 tells us that if we will “…acknowledge God in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.” 
      • What is typically understood about this passage is that God will make it clear what way we should walk – and that is of course a primary interpretation, However, it seems that God also will upon occasion, make our paths straight FOR us.  If a person’s heart is overwhelmingly towards God, He is able to make straight his steps.
  • In times of trouble, David typically did not look to himself, but strengthened himself in the Lord. The Lord WAS David’s safe place. This another way in which David was a man after God’s Own heart.
  • The laws David instituted honored God first and man second.
  • Even if a person successfully predicts the future it does not mean they are of God.
  • David was a man of honor – He honored God and man – even when those men were not kind to him and even after their death… which is at least ONE reason why God continued to show honor to David LONG after his death. It is also another reason why David was a man after God’s Own heart.
  • Sometimes those in positions of leadership have to make decisions which are BEST for the big picture and less so for the individual.
    • To quote a wise proverb from Sarek of Vulcan, “The needs of the many outway the needs of the few” 
  • When we are mistreated or slandered – if we surrender our control and allow God to right & avenge those wrongs and establish His order we are acting in trust as His true children.
  • It is during the reign of David that God makes the connection between a leader and a shepherd which continues to be among the most favorite examples given in scripture for leaders appointed by God which of course continues in the letters of Paul regarding Pastor/Elders.
  • When David became angry at God over Uzzah’s death with the Ark of the Covenant – he sought God and in the end repented of his error and drew closer to God as a result. 
    • It is also another reason why David was a man after God’s Own heart.
  • It is not enough to seek God regarding what to do, but also how.
  • David caused the death of many people under him and though he regretted this, he did not allow it to cripple him in his role as a leader. Never allow mistakes you’ve made to make the BIGGER mistake of avoiding or questioning your calling. 
  • After seeking God regarding the proper way to transport the Ark, David made a place to house it and arranged for the Ark to return to them the right way.

As the Ark of God’s presence entered Jerusalem David danced before the Lord without shame – even at the disdain of Michal his wife. His shameless love of God, though royalty was yet another reason why David was a man after God’s Own heart.

  • It falls to us to study to show ourselves approved workmen.
  • We are the carrier’s of God’s presence before the world – we “shoulder” that responsibility – we must do so the right way out of honor for the Presence we carry.
  • When you become angry with God – use it to pursue Him rather than avoid Him. Know that God is truly beautiful, delightful and full of pleasures – so if you are offended, it is because you are seeing things or thinking of things the wrong way.
  • Honor God, be quick to repent, worship Him and humble yourself before Him.
  • Those who disdain you for your worship of God will have to deal with Him like Michal, David’s wife, who due to her pride died childless as a result of her hard and chiding heart.
  • David used his role of leadership in ways which exalted God Him and drew attention away from himself and towards God.
    • Let the things you do – especially the things you are gifted at, honor God and lead others into a heart of honor, respect and worship.
  • The things God allows for others and not for you are not to be seen as rejection. God has His plans. 
  • Example of this are…
    • God needed David to be a warrior, but men of blood cannot build God’s house.
    • Solomon was a man of peace, but he could not be a man of peace if his father had not been a man or war.
  • We are not islands – we work together in the work of the kingdom towards the glory of God. Each person’s work builds upon the work done before him. This is not personal ministry – it is kingdom work.
    • God honors us with being torch bearers. We carry the torch until we are privileged with placing it into our replacement’s hand.
  • We are not the ONLY players on the field. God has to act in justice and mercy for EVERYONE involved and that will not always look like justice to us!

God being displeased with David seems to fall so limp around our ears – like an exceedingly lame response to so egregious a series of sins. However, this is because we do not understand Who God is nor who we are in His story.

  • Pleasing God is one of the reasons for our creation and existence – so His displeasure is a very serious matter. It need not escalate to anger or wrath for it to be important to us. A little displeasure is more than enough!

The true character of a man is not always seen by their individual actions, as much as by the total sum of them. Nearly a year passed in David’s life (perhaps more) before confronted by the prophet Nathan – his heart had made peace with his sin and he obviously felt little to no remorse, but when confronted he quickly repented.

  • No heart -regardless of how great and lovingly devoted to God is above temptation, blindness or hardening.
  • We do not sin to ourselves
  • Those under us often pay the price for our sinning.
  • God knows, sees and longs for all human hearts.
  • Do not mistake the actions of God or His apparent LACK of action as a defining of His heart towards you or anyone – there is more at play than you know.
  • Never stop believing and respectfully expecting in the Mercy of God.

When David was told he could not construct the temple, he did not view this as rejection. Instead he busied himself with what he COULD do, which included…

  • First he prepared his son
  • He prepared those to aid his son
  • He made provisions for the construction of the temple
  • He set in order the priests, the musicians and the military so all would be in order for his son to take over.
    • This is what it looks like for a good man to leave an inheritance for his children’s children. It isn’t simply about money – it is about a ordered and meaningful world to live in. A story that predates them and a dynasty that will continue after they have passed.
  • David charges all of Israel to continue in God’s ways after his passing
  • David shows public affirmation of Solomon as his son and successor
    • This is a CRUCIAL part of fathering any child, but especially a son.
  • As we learned in the last lesson David prepares for EVERYTHING – so Solomon steps into a Kingdom ready.
  • David praises and prays before Israel
  • David, took responsibility for his sins and when offering sacrifice refused to offer to God what cost him nothing.
    • What we offer to God needs to have personal value – especially our hearts and lives.

Rulers and Authority

  • Leaders lead by example
  • When a leader is granted great possessions, they should honor God with those possessions in a way that… 
    • Blesses the people
    • Encourages and enables them to worship God
    • Sets an example before them.
  • Honor those above you even if they are evil.
  • God can use nearly anyone – so the fact that someone is used is no proof of belonging to Him
  • Intercession for others is both good leadership and a powerful expression of loving your brother.
  • The calling and anointing of God distinguishes a person before others. This does NOT always have a positive effect, but when God places His anointing on person, delegates authority to them and influences them with a revelation of Himself…it causes them to stand out and spiritually it makes them both a light and a target.
  • Sometimes we have to take action out of zeal for God and His law (ways). Jehoiada did not have military authority, but he was moved by zeal for God to take action beyond his scope or sphere of authority – but he did it in covenant with those who DID have military authority.
    • Praying when you already know what God has to say about a matter can open you up to deception.

David placed Joab, the commander of Israel’s army, in a tricky position regarding Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. 

If David had ordered Joab to kill Uriah himself, it would have been proper to respectfully tell David that he would not participate in his sin.

As it was however, David’s decision to have Joab place Uriah on the front lines required Joab to confront David, but also honor and respect David’s decision and hand the outcome over to God.

  • Sometimes we must confront those in leadership over us, but in the end, the decision is theirs.This is a tricky truth to walk in. 
  • We MUST be careful when confronting those in authority. Never forget that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, you are still confronting someone with God’s authority – there are right and wrong ways to do this.
  • The sins of a ruler may not always be fully judged in their lifetime.

Parenting

  • You can be an outwardly good person with a love for the Lord and even be a great mentor and still fail to be a good parent.

We saw a LOT of poor fathering in these books even by men who were otherwise godly men. These are some of the takeaways from those examples.

  • Fathers NEED to know, pray for and act on behalf of their children. They are NOT to be silent regarding them.
  • Children long for and seek the approval and acceptance of their fathers.
  • Many children have lost their way in terms of right standing with God by seeking a right standing with their fathers. In the end, God will hold them both liable for what transpires.
  • If one has a good heart, they will seek to honor God and His laws (ways) above their own personal concerns.

Regarding Rulers, nations, judgments & Prayer

  • You and I are incapable of “figuring” things out in reconciling national and international happenings and the specific judgment of God without His telling us.
    • The reasons behind what happens to a nation may well be beyond your knowledge
  • Governing authorities are appointed by God for our spiritual and natural good (in that order)
  • God always judges
    • Not all judgment happens when you think it should, but it WILL happen
  • God is ALWAYS merciful
  • We nearly NEVER have all of the story
  • There are many instances in life which present us with difficult choices and responses which may, from the outside, seem contradictory, but which in fact are not. 
  • During times of trials and judgment do not fail to acknowledge God, trust in Him and expect in His mercy and deliverance. This is true whether the trial and judgment is personal or national.
    • Remember that Jesus told us that men should always seek God in prayer and never lose heart.
  • Who reigns when, where and how is in God’s sovereign power alone. 
    • “Trust in the Lord, do good, dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.” – Ps. 37:3
  • When you attempt to take matters into your own hands and do not trust – destruction will follow.
  • Always trust in God
  • Do not assume to take ownership of anything for all belongs to God
  • God is the One going ahead of us and causing certain people to be born and raise them to power in order to maintain justice and steer hearts towards loyalty.
  • He is the One who influences the hearts of Israel’s kings (and all leaders).
  • He is the One Who influences the hearts of the kings surrounding Israel
  • God commands us to submit to those He places over us – whether they are good or evil.
  • Peace keeping is always horizontal, external and superficial. It will do anything…say anything in order to avoid, dissuade or calm conflict. Most often it requires a lowering of moral convictions, wagering that the outcome of a lack of external strife is solid enough grounds for some flexibility in our moral convictions.
  • Peace making, on the other hand, is mostly vertical, internal and substantively real. It concerns itself with attempting to convince those who oppose godly living to align themselves with God’s word in agreement and obedience. The result of which is peace with God and so also, peace with man.
  • Sometimes what God calls someone to may not look like peace, but it does produce it
  • Three examples of how in womanhood there is a desire to rule, and this is often done from the side by manipulation, cunning and deceit.
    • Athaliah
    • Bathsheba (likely)
    • Jezebel
  • God’s design which best glorifies and represents Him is male authority.
  • Just because God places someone in a position of power, does not mean He wanted them there or approves of them (consider the very existence of kings in Israel as an example).
  • God considers the “Big Picture” not just individual actions in His judgments regarding us.
  • It is important to live lives of worship and humility because it is right AND because we everyone sets an example before someone.
  • If  you are in authority, those under you and those who come after you will pay the price for  your sin or reap  the rewards of your faithfulness.
  • Every calling or trade can benefit from being mentored or tutored by those who successfully have gone before us.
  • Though God is PRIMARILY concerned with His people, and that is His primary focus on earth, He is also God of the whole earth and is not limited to just those of the house of Israel.

What situations were being addressed in Solomon’s prayer?

  • When a man sins against his neighbor
  • When Israel as a nation is defeated before an enemy
  • When the skies are shut and there is no rain on the land God gave to Israel by promise.
  • When any type of national calamity like a – famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper, plague, famine, illness OR when their enemy besieges them in the Promised land.
  • When they go out to war at God’s direction
  • When God hands them over to their enemies and they are deported into another land.

What request was being made of God in times and situations like these?

  • To justify the righteous and condemn the wicked
  • To forgive sin
  • To restore them back to their land if they have been defeated and or deported.
  • To be granted victory when they go to war at God’s direction
  • And to PHYSICALLY HEAL their land (specifically their farms and homes) from famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper, plague, famine, illness

Did the prayer have ANYTHING to do with politics or the appointment of leaders? NO!

Why the difference between the way they prayed and the way we are to pray?

  • They were under a covenant of works and so their prayer was an Old covenant prayer
    • The scope and particulars were taken from Moses’s prayer after Israel rededicated themselves to God in the wilderness. So the prayer is ENTIRELY predicated upon obedience of King AND people.
  • We have a better covenant with better and spiritual promises and blessings
  • Their enemies were flesh and blood ours is satan and his kingdom
  • The land they were evicted from if they sinned was natural, the land we are evicted from is communion and likeness with Christ
  • What do the scriptures tell as Christians to think, believe and pray for regarding politics and leaders? 1Tim. 2:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:9-12; Rom. 13; Jn. 19:10-11 & Acts 26 & the Lord’s prayer.

Lessons from Solomon

  • Solomon begins his reign in humility
  • Solomon’s FIRST decisions as King were actions honoring his father.
  • Given the choice of anything – Solomon chooses wisdom that he might rule righteously and with integrity
  • He began temple construction almost immediately followed by his own household

Biblical interpretation

  • We need to understand the meaning and context of a passage before attempting to apply its meaning and promise to our situation and lives 
  • Context is king and you need to dig for all the facts before drawing a conclusion.
  • Always take all of the scriptural information available to us into account before arriving at a conclusion.
  • Allow stories that appear to overlap to do so, but also allow those passages which offer greater information to fill in the blanks so that you walk away with an accurate picture of what happened.
  • When you’ve done all you can, then referring to extra-biblical historical accounts may also offer some clarity.
  • “The one who gives an answer before he listens–this is foolishness and disgrace for him.” ~ Prov. 18:13
  • We need to own what we believe. It is a dangerous thing to believe something ONLY because someone we like, love or admire and look up to believes it. If we believe because we’ve invested time, investigation and effort into something – especially our beliefs regarding God, then when opposition against that belief arises, you will be better equipped to stand your ground.
  • We MUST be moved and led by the Word and the Spirit – NOT by our reasoning, emotions or intellect.

Faith and Victory

  • One does not have to be 100% right in their history or theology to trust God and obtain victory
  • Faith and Victory are not sure signs of a heart devoted to God.
  • There is no end of trouble for those who turn from God to rely upon the flesh

Things that BELONG to God

  • Power and strength belong to God
  • Faithful love belongs to God
  • When the scriptures say something belongs to God, it means so literally. 
  • He is both it’s author, origin and when it appears in man it comes from God as a source.
  • Because God is the ONLY true source of hope. We should place our trust in Him and rest in Him.

Mentors and Apprentices

Always be open to the Lord using you to both mentor others and be mentored yourself.

In our mentoring we MUST be careful to lead and invite – not do the thinking FOR another. People have got to have an encounter with God FOR THEMSELVES – they cannot be sustained on second generation faith. The best way to do this is to invite those we mentor INTO our encounters with us – live a life of conviction before them, tell them the stories of our encounters and encourage them to pursue God on their own. You’ve heard it said that you can lead a horse to water but cannot make them drink – this is true, but you can give them salt to stimulate their thirst. WE are to be salt and light!

General Life Lessons

  • Sometimes over-familiarity will lead even those closest to God in terms of position (like the priests) to show less piety than those further away. 
  • The Goal of sacrifice was LIFE. Gal. 3:21, “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, righteousness would have come through the law.”
    • When God has our hearts – laws are not necessary.
  • A good heart towards God will seek to unite as many hearts who will to come to Him.
  • God expects ministers to be well compensated for their work.
  • It is foolish to trust in ANYTHING other than God – especially money.
    • Prayer is more powerful than money, position or influence.
  • God is merciful and does not forget our faithfulness nor our labors of love for His name.
  • Pride goes before a fall
  • God is great in mercy and stands ready to abundantly forgive.
  • Even if forgiven, God still requires judgment for sin. There is always a reaping for what is sown.
  • You are NEVER too young to seek the Lord and the younger you start the better you will be.
  • The difficult days of adulthood can be faced with greater strength of heart and faith if you begin your journey with God in your youth.
  • When you obey God, do it COMPLETELY and with all your heart.
  • Giving is a sign of a heart reconciled to God. 
  • Let your obedience be acts of faithful love.
  • Not every word from God “seems” like something He would say.
  • Just because what you say is not popular and is not well received by the masses, does not make it wrong.
  • There is, most often, NOT safety in numbers. “Everybody is doing it” or “Nobody believes that” are NOT proof of what is right!
  • Some of the most powerfully used by God – lived lives of rejection, separation and difficulty.
  • God honors those who serve Him.
  • The fact that Jeremiah encouraged the people to “circumcise their hearts” reveals the truth that: 
    • God was more concerned about the heart than outward observances. 
    • The outward observances were ‘types and shadows’ of our lives in Christ under the New Covenant.
    • Paul received his knowledge and understanding of the New Covenant and how it is lived by revelations of the Holy Spirit taken from the Old Testament.
  • Darkened minds cannot see. They pervert justice and can still believe they are honored by God.
  • You cannot reason with a darkened mind.
  • A godly woman and wife will act for the benefit of her home and husband.
  • God abhors necromancy which is a practice of conjuring the dead in order to obtain answers from them. The primary reason for God’s disdain of this practice is that it sidesteps God as the focus of our life, hope and denies the power He holds regarding our future.
  • “The memorial of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.”Prov. 10:7
  • Manipulation is a form of sorcery which women are often more prone to than men.
  • No one is above the possibility of fear and intimidation
  • God is concerned even over the little things in our lives and will come to our aid if we will trust.
  • God often judges us by bringing our own decisions and desires back upon us.
  • There appears to be a connection which scripture makes between the spirit and the bones.
  • As much as it is within your power, never enter into any binding agreement with the lost.
  • We should not devote our affections towards anything or anyone who does not share our 100% allegiance and devotion to God.

Blessings!

 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. If you do not know Him, please use our ‘Contact Us‘ page and reach out so we may have the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will be mentioned.

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Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!