POWER 1: FILLED

Penticost

Pastor Barry/ The Gathering:  POWER 1: FILLED To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

PENTECOST & POWER Acts 2:1-13, 14-21  2 Timothy 3:1-5

Today we celebrate the birth of the church!  The coming of the power promised by Jesus as recorded in Acts 1:8 when He told His disciples: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Translated into the American Christian vernacular we could read: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Hawaiian Gardens, and in all of California and the United States, and to the ends of the earth.”  Today we    celebrate God’s  people filled with the Holy Spirit.  Today we lift up a shout of victory For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7   Today we celebrate the open doors of the church to any who call upon the name of the Lord as the scripture says: for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13  Today we give thanks and praise to the Lord for This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24  Amen! 

One can clearly see through the reading of Acts 2:1-13 that something supernatural had occurred among those believers gathered in that upper room.  They heard and felt the mighty wind and saw for themselves flashes of fire swirling about the room and flickering upon them. Their worship of the Lord in Hebrew tongues intensified and broke out into the tongues of the many nations present in Jerusalem that day.  Every onlooker heard the praises of Jesus in his or her own native languages!  Many were amazed and perplexed (puzzled, utterly baffled) but others were just plain stupid and actually chided, “they’ve had too much wine”:  FAKE NEWS! Pagan pundits! Celebrity air heads! Aristocratic, self-important fools and apathetic masses— in the midst of a miracle but refusing to see God in it.  Friends, these foolish people are all around us today too—mocking the church and the moving of God’s Spirit.  Hating believers and the values we espouse— written in God’s mighty word.  Labeling the church non-essential—discounting the contributions of Jesus to this nation and to this world. Discounting His people’s voice, vote, prayer and praise.  The Apostle Paul warned Timothy of such people in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and they are also among us now.

 Peter addressed these hecklers with a power he had never felt before (Acts 2: 14-21).  This man who once cowered in a crowd and denied he knew Jesus three times            (Matthew 26:69-75) rose up in boldness and perfectly quoted a prophecy once written by Joel (Joel 2:28-32). As in most prophetic writings its fulfillment covered more than one time period.  Joel’s prophecy was partially fulfilled in the first century birth of the church (as Peter quoted) but will have its total fulfillment in the “last days” of the Church on earth in you!  This prophecy is ours to own Church… God is pouring out His Spirit in these days!  Are you ready to stand up and be bold like Peter in the midst of haters?  Are you willing to be filled with the Holy Spirit to do the will of God in these “last days?” 

 A NEW LAW Romans 3:23-24, 5:1-2, Jeremiah 31:33, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3  

To the Jews, the yearly celebration of Pentecost was not what I just described. It was one of the three pilgrimage feasts of Israel during which each adult male was required to be present in Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17). The Jewish feast of  Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot shav-wote) was a thanksgiving for the first-fruits of the wheat harvest—a time where the Jews thanked God for bringing them into the promised land and vowed to give Him their very best. Later, Pentecost was associated with a remembrance of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai— once again, to give God one’s very best would be to keep His law which promised to lead Israel into God’s rest (Psalms 95:10-11; Hebrews 4:9-11).  Of course the Jews and all people have failed miserably to give God our very best at all— let alone to keep God’s law (Romans 3:23-24) —so   Jesus came to be a perfect sacrifice for our sin. It is now Christ who gave His best for our rest. Only in Christ we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2). 

Pentecost was the perfect day for the Holy Spirit to come upon the church because to receive the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the promised peace (rest) of God!  For the Christian Pentecost celebrates what Jesus did to keep the law we broke, to be the perfect offering we neglected to bring, and to secure the peace with God that we do not deserve but is given by His grace to all who believe.  We see the giving of a new Law on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, written “not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3).  We are God’s letter, known and read by everyone, written by the Holy Spirit!  

“Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”William J. Toms

BE FILLED! Acts 2:36-41, 1 John 2:15-17

Be Filled!  Be filled with the Holy Spirit!   This is not about your ability.  This is about His ability to accomplish His purpose in you for such a time as this.  You “rest” in Him while He “rests” on you!   Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord   Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).  He has done it and He will do it again!   When Peter   concluded that first Pentecost preaching people “were cut to the heart!”  He told them to “repent and be baptized” and they too would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off— Do you hear God calling?  Then receive this message and “save yourself from this corrupt generation!”  Sinner be saved and Christian be filled to accomplish all that God desires in you. 

Be filled with the Holy Spirit and not full of the foolishness of this world — the world is passing away.  The Holy Spirit birthed the Church in the first century and He is empowering the Church again in these “last days.”  In the weeks ahead we will learn about this power ready to be unleashed in us…and we will practice it in these “last days”.

 

 

Memorial Day: LOVE

MemorialDay

In Memory of the Freedom Fighters  Memorial Day 2020

 LOVE… this four letter word seems to be the main event of living.  Millions of songs about it have been recorded all over the world and they comprise the main subject of all songs ever written, recorded or listened to world-wide.  Love, in some fashion, is also the most written about subject in poetry, playwrights, novels, and on screen scripts.  All human beings seem to be preoccupied with the glory of it, the search for it, the struggles with it, the hope of it, and the damage from the lack of it.  Studies have even shown that all human beings need love.  Without love human beings do not develop properly and can actually die.  Today we remember the love demonstrated to us through the service and deaths of countless soldiers.  Without their combined acts of love America would not be free and its people would be enslaved.  Likewise, without the selfless love of Christ, who was tortured and died on our behalf, we would all perish in our sins and be eternally separated from God.

Jesus said: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13  Let us also remember as Christians and Americans that Jesus also said, From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded… Luke 12 :48b 

 We must never forget that freedom is never free.  A great price of love was paid to secure both America’s freedoms and your eternal security; however, you are expected to reciprocate that love.  It is our duty to both God and man.  Remember, someone died for your rights as you enjoy a barbeque today.  Remember also, that someone died for your sin as you munch down a chocolate covered egg each year at Easter time. Freedom isn’t free!

So many Americans abuse their freedoms bought by the blood of soldiers?  In fact– in this Covid19 pandemonium Americans have given them up to fear.  Many are beginning to protest now that government has far over reached in the name of “science” and “safety.” Still, so many Americans just don’t get it.  Some are spoiled and ungrateful– always expecting more and more rather than appreciating what they have been given.  Wouldn’t it be great if Americans were truly thankful and took up the attitude of the Late President John F. Kennedy who said:  “Ask Not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  President John F. Kennedy

Just as Many Americans abuse their freedoms bought by the blood of soldiers, so do many “Christians” abuse their spiritual freedom bought by the precious bloods of Christ.  Above all, Christians should be cognoscente of the fact that we have been rescued from so much more than the physical enemies of our country.  We have been rescued from the chief enemy of our soul, the devil, through Christ’s willing sacrifice.  We were once a casualty of spiritual war but are now set free.  What will we do with our spiritual freedom bought at such a price?  Will we be like so many Americans and use our freedom for evil?  The Apostle Paul urges us not to use our freedom to indulge in the sinful nature but to serve one another in love:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:13-16 

The amazing, heroic love shown to us through the sacrifices of God and the soldiers we memorialize today should prompt us to return such love to others. The best way to memorialize a soldier is to be a patriot, exercise your rights, and secure them for your posterity in love and service to others.  The best way to memorialize Christ is to love Him according to His own inspired word:

15 “If you love me, keep my commands”.  John 14:15

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:18

Dear Jesus, We give you thanks for all those soldiers who have given up all they had for the rights that we as Americans possess in our Bill of Rights.  Thank you for those in the armed forces today that continue that fight.  Thank you for those Gold Star Families who have lost the loves of their lives for the hopes of ours.  May we live a life worthy of these sacrifices.

Dear Jesus, may we follow you with unwavering gratitude for your sacrifice made to pay the eternal debt of our sin.  May we live this short span of life as agents of your mercy, grace and love.  May the actions and truth of our living be pleasing to you.  Amen.

FEAR NOT#5 (Conclusion) ANTICIPATE

AnticipationCrowd

Pastor Barry/ The Gathering:  FEAR NOT #5 (Series Conclusion) ANTICIPATE              To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

Ascension Sunday Acts 1:3-11, Philippians 3:18-21, 1 Peter 1:3-6

Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated in the church on the 40th day after Easter Sunday, in our case the Sunday closest to that time frame which is today!  Today we remember Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven as      recorded in Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:3-11!   Ascension Day reminds us that the glorious and triumphant return of Christ is nearAre you anticipating His promised return today?

Ascension Sunday is a reminder that we are citizens of the of the Kingdom of God which is now within our hearts but will soon be our destination (Philippians 3:18-21). It is a reminder of that great and fulfilled promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit to His people (John 14:16-17)—who now watches over us, empowers us and protects us as we spread the light of the gospel truth throughout the world Acts 2:1-4). The fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave and ascended to the right hand (place of honor) of the Father is the great hope of our faith (1 Peter 1:3). We know that those who belong to Christ by faith will one day both see His return on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3-4) when He defeats His enemies and we will be with Him forever.  Are you anticipating that  promise todayFEAR NOT this present time of Covid19.  FEAR NOT the so called “New Normal!”  FEAR NOT the present state of affairs or the future prospect of your health.  FEAR NOT what man can do our what man has said—for Christ is risen and has ascended into Heaven and He is coming back again! —And as God’s word proclaims in the last two verses— in the last chapter— of the last book in our Bible— Revelation 22:20-21: He who testifies to these things says, Yes, He is coming soon— Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.  And the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.  Are you one of “God’s people” today?Then FEAR NOT!

 FEAR NOT!

As we conclude our short series on “Fear Not” —let me take us through a quick review: God commanded the disciples to STAY where they were and to bring His kingdom to earth rather than to get ready to leave it.  Are you with me Church?  Make no mistake about it, I’m ready to go— but I am willing to stay and bring God’s kingdom to earth as He so    desires, and I will Fear not because He is with me.  Stay Church… Fear not, He is with us! While we stay we are told to WATCH & PRAYWe are careful to follow the “real Jesus”, the Biblical Jesus,  our “Good Shepherd”— FEAR NOT “little sheep”—Watch and pray— He will lead us in truth.  We are to FEAR NOT—What that “Lion”, the Devil intends for evil because God will bring it to good (Romans 8:28). We are to put on the full armor of God (dress for success and read Ephesians 6:10-18). Resist the Devil Church! No weapon forged against us will prosper. Read to the end of the book brother and sister in Christ…Fear Not!  Cause’ we’re gonna’ see the VICTORY for the battle belongs to the Lord! Last week we learned to  WAIT for the Lord and be patient for Him to bring what He promises.  While we wait we are to watch out for bad company and bad things that can take our minds off of our mission.  FEAR NOT your anxious thoughts— and stay awake in your righteousness.  WAIT for the Lord Church—FEAR NOT and ANTICIPATE  the promise of God’s power from on high.  Are you anticipating what God has waiting for you and the Church in the days ahead?

 Anticipate The Spirit  Micah 7:7-9, Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Corinthians 1: 18, 2:6-10

After Jesus ascended the scripture tells us that the apostles returned to Jerusalem, went upstairs to a room and joined together “constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:12-14) They were anticipating (looking forward with pleasure) the promise of Jesus that they would receive power—especially since many of them were weak and weary from the roller coaster ride of emotions that they had been on in the previous weeks.  How about you…are you feeling weak and weary from these past months?  Could you benefit from some supernatural power from on high right now?  Are you anticipating the promises of God today or are you just barely getting by?  Look up Christian… fix your eyes on the Lord!  The “Author and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-3)— and do not grow weary in your waiting! 

Proverbs 13:12 says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. God wants us to anticipate His promises like the apostles did!  The prophet Micah knew this anticipation as he encouraged a broken Israel to hope in the promises of the Lord. His encouragement was to watch, hope and wait for the Lord—He will prevail!

The apostle Paul once said, that his preaching was considered foolishness by those who the world considered wise (1 Corinthians 1:18) but God filled him with the Holy Spirit and that made the difference (1 Corinthians 2:6-10).  The rulers of this world are coming to nothing for they refuse to hear or see the work of God.  The Church is considered non-essential in this Covid19 pandemic—But we know better—will anticipate and declare God’s wisdom, because we know what He has prepared for we who love Him.  These things we will know by His Spirit.  The power we will work in is His Spirit.  The preaching and teaching and reaching that we will do will be in His Spirit.  Power will come  upon us when we anticipate His promisesAre you anticipating His promises today?

A New Thing  Isaiah 43:18-19

FEAR NOT— the Lord will bring the power as you open up your heart to receive what He will bring!  Are you anticipating God’s power?  Do you want that power in you?  Jesus has ascended into Heaven but He has descended into His children.  Are you ready to receive His supernatural power? Anticipate with me— a great revival of the Church is coming and the Holy Spirit will be released anew— God is doing a new thing and fulfilling His ancient promises!  (Isaiah 43: 18-19). 

Our new series on the Holy Spirit begins next week on Pentecost Sunday. The Church is breaking out with power and I hope you will join with us! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEAR NOT #4: WAIT

WaitPastor Barry/ The Gathering:  FEAR NOT #4:  WAIT  To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

 Impatience Philippians 4:5-7, Romans 8:31-39

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling very impatient right now.  I don’t agree with the new “stay at home” mandate that governor Newsom just placed on 40 million Californians (now until July). To make matters worse I didn’t vote for him and I don’t trust him.  I believe  that our state and nation’s response to shut down schools, churches, and the economy for Covid19 is an outrageous over-reaction to inflated national and world statistics.  And before anyone judges me, let me just say: “I’ve been fact checking every bit of news that I get”—have you?  CDC numbers reveal that the coronavirus stats include presumptive deaths from the virus.  That is to say that any death with symptomatic similarities to the disease are labeled death by Covid19 without any confirmed lab reports. The reason being is  that “there just isn’t enough time or resources to do that”.  So what we are saying is  that deaths from Asthma, COPD, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Lung Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Pneumonia, Heart attack, Stroke, Cigarette Smoking, and  Type A and B Flu (just to name a few) are now being largely called death by Covid19 in America. No wonder the numbers are so high! 

I believe that powerful proponents of socialism and the mainstream media are purposefully using the public’s fear of Covid19 to take away rights in order to create a more subservient people to govern.  Our Constitutional Amendment Rights are being violated in the name of Covid19: 1.) Our freedom to peaceably assemble as a church is being violated. Many public protests have been prohibited. Much public information that disagrees with the status quo has been removed from the internet or is kept from news sources.  Social pressure has been applied by media sources against such views calling the people that espouse them as hateful, murderous and selfish. People have been fined and jailed for assembling against stay at home, social distancing or mask wearing orders. 2.) Our right to bear arms (or should I say buy arms) has been shut down due to the forced closure of “non-essential” stores that sell ammunition and guns. 4.) In the name of Covid19 our 4th amendment rights may soon to be in jeopardy with the passing of bills such as H.R. 6666 ( see: congress.gov).  Which would make a law to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, and “related activities” such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, “as necessary”, at individuals’ residences, and for “other purposes”… 5.) 5th Amendment rights are being violated as property owners are forced to shut down because they are not deemed “an essential business.”  They are being deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law; and are loosing their private property which the government has restricted from public use without just compensation.   No Stimulus check can count as payment for lost businesses! 8.) In the name of Covid19 excessive fines have been    imposed and one could certainly argue that cruel and unusual punishments have  been inflicted. 9.) And how about  our 9th Amendment right against being “disparaged” or devalued by my government or others for my choice not to wear a mask?  I can no longer buy or sell without one— or even walk along the beach!  A mask that the U.S.   Surgeon General publicly denounced on February 29, 2020: “Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS! They are not effective in preventing the general public from catching #coronavirus.”  The masks that all scientific sources say (Check them yourself!) should not be used improperly or they will increase ones chances of getting sick: Masks should not be reused unless frequently washed, they should not be taken on and off, they should never be handled except by the straps, etc.  Scientific sources also say that breathing  Carbon dioxide (CO2: exhaled breath)  over extended amounts of time can be dangerous to your health!  Re-breathing CO2 can lead to increased blood pressure, headaches, muscle twitches, rapid heart rate, chest pain, confusion, and fatigue. In extreme cases, if left untreated, it can lead to organ damage and even have long standing effects on the brain. So why are we now mandated to wear masks?  I think it is to give an invisible disease a face.  It is a way to keep the fear and the  government control alive! 

Rather you agree with me or not, we are all entitled to our own opinions, and this is mine—and such an opinion has ominous Biblical significance.  Which makes me very  impatient— quickly irritated, annoyed, snappy, anxious, restless and ill-at ease.  Perhaps you are too—Like the disciples once were —after the government and the religious leaders of their day killed Jesus.  After He resurrected and reappeared for forty days all over the place but never stuck around.  After He said “WAIT” and then ascended into heaven.  Are you impatient like that today? I know what the Apostle Paul said about “being anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:5-7)… and  “peace” does come.  I know that we are “more than conquerors” in Christ (Romans 8:31-39) yet … I’m anxious again… maybe it’s the mask! 

Watching & Waiting Acts 1:3-12, 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 4:1-5

I am sure that the disciples were very anxious after the roller coaster life that they had been living in.  Think of it: “Oh Happy Day” —Jesus is lauded as King of kings in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  One week later he is arrested, falsely charged, brutally beaten, and carries His cross down the same streets to be crucified! He dies and is buried , but three days later rises from the dead!  For forty days  Jesus randomly appears and speaks, eats and teaches them—only to vanish into a cloud from the mount of olives after saying “WAIT” for the power promised… “You will be my witnesses.”  And we think that we have stress!  No wonder they joined together constantly in prayer (Acts 1:14).  They needed the “peace” of God as they were waiting… so do we.  

What are you doing in this time as you are waiting on God?  Looking at trash on the internet?  Drinking that third bottle of wine or drinking that second six pack?  Mindlessly scrolling through Tik Tok, Instagram or Facebook? Bing-watching Netflix or the nasty news? Maybe your to busy for all of that because you’re an “essential worker” or “locked down” as a teacher with your kids—maybe both!  Still, even if you are doing all of that— when your waiting for that Amazon gift to arrive you are  always checking that front porch until it comes, aren’t you?  Are you waiting as God says?  Are you waiting for what He promised?  Are you watching and waiting or just foolishly wasting time? 

When the New Testament commands us to “watch,” it is usually the translation of one of two Greek words which mean —to “stay awake” and to “be sleepless.” Their usual meaning is spiritual —to be on guard, fully awake, aware, alert and intently focused. This is how God’s people are commanded to “wait”.  Paul was writing to the church at Corinth and said, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV). Even Christians can be spiritually asleep to varying degrees. The NIV version of this same passage says “Come back to your senses as you ought and stop sinning”.  Upon further inspection the passage advises us to avoid bad company (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Have you “lost your Christian sense” in this waiting period?  Stop sinning!  “Wait” for what God will do,  be alert in prayer, join other believers and read God’s word. Preach the word and be prepared! “WAIT!”

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day: Ordinary Mary

Mary&BabyJesusPastor Barry/ The Gathering:  Mother’s day: Ordinary Mary  To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

Hug A Mother!

This morning is mother’s day.  If you have yours with you today then get up and give her a hug right now! If she has passed on then look up to Heaven and give God thanks for her— right now.  Thank God that you were born!  Without your mother you wouldn’t be here.  In this world of demonic madness and sanctimonious selfishness , thank God that she didn’t abort you!  Thank God this morning for Grandma’s also— if you have one with you then give her a hug too— for the blessing she has been and because grandmas are the mothers of our mom’s and dad’s— Happy mothers day to all of you wonderful ladies, and especially to those of you this morning who are pregnant with your first child or are locked down with a flock of them.  And God bless you mothers with heavy hearts today— those who have wayward children or children who have passed on before you.  May you feel the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father  today and know that He loves you so.  I am also aware that some mothers today may be feeling low because of mistakes that they have made with their children— May you know and feel the  loving forgiveness of Jesus Christ and be emotionally and spiritually healed this morning.  We love you mothers, and we give thanks for you today!

 Ordinary Mary Luke 1:46-55

No one needs to explain that a mother is not perfect.  We are all well aware of that fact, but what makes a good mother great is that —mixed with her constant human effort to raise her children as a charge (or mission) from God. 

Contrary to many traditional church teachings, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also far from perfect.  She, like every mother, was an ordinary person.  She became extraordinary as she yielded herself to God’s will— and like all of us, she grew in her faith as she humbled herself and became accepting of God’s will and plan for her life…and her supernatural son’s mission.

Mary’s birth experience was unusual of course.  She and Joseph both knew that Jesus was no ordinary child— after all there was the angelic pronouncement that she— a virgin—would give birth to a son (you know, the whole Christmas story).  Mary knew from the beginning that she was bringing the promised Messiah (the anointed one of God) into the world.  The “savior” for her and her people.  We get a glimpse of Mary’s overwhelming revelation in her song recorded in Luke’s gospel (Luke 1:46-55).  Mary certainly knew that her mission was to raise up the promised Messiah but she and Joseph knew very little of what that entailed.  Mary’s song is profound, but the greatest quote of Mary’s life was in her instructions to others regarding Jesus.  She said, “Whatever He says to you, do it!” (John 2:5).  Anyone who follows those directions will be changed forever!

For The Record, here are some facts about Mary that prove that she was ordinary:

  • Mary did not stay a virgin. After the birth of Jesus she had other children

Mary had at least six children.  Four sons (James [the writer of the book of James in the new testament], Joseph, Simon and Judas) who are named in Matthew 13:53-57.  Mary also had two daughters are more although they are never named, the plural form is used in reference to them.

  • Mary and Joseph lost the boy Jesus for three days.    Luke 2:41-50
  • Mary doubted Jesus’ mission and purpose (so did his family) Naturally, Mary was concerned for the welfare of “her son” especially as crowds with mixed reactions to what he preached grew around him.  It had been 30 years since her miracle birth.  She forgot, as all humans do, the supernatural plan for life.  She believed , along with the rest of the family, that Jesus was “out of his mind” and came with her sons to bring him home. (Jesus didn’t go home.) Mark 3:20-21, 31-35
  • Mary did not go to the tomb and see the resurrected Jesus  There is no record of Mary, mother of Jesus at the empty tomb.  The gopel account says it was Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (“the mother of James” the apostle).

Mother Mary was probably at the apostle John’s house.  The fact that Jesus put Mary in the charge of John ( John 19:26-27) assumes that his own family still did not believe in him at his crucifixion;  (We know of course that James, his half brother eventually did believe.)  furthermore, the fact that Mary or any of the disciples were not sitting in wait for Jesus’ promised resurrection at the tomb is proof they didn’t believe it would occur.

  • Mary did not ascend into heaven There is no Biblical record of such an event.

 Extraordinary Mary  Luke 11:27-28, Luke 1:46-55

The facts are obvious.  Mary was not a super saint.  She struggled with her faith just like we do. She had problems letting her son grow into his purposes too; but what Mary lacked in her humanness she made up in her willingness to be surrendered to God and His will.  Like Peter, she attempted once to redirect Jesus’ mission, and just like Peter she was sharply rebuked for it. (Peter: Matthew 16:21-23/ Mary: Mark 3:21, 31-34).  Unlike Peter, Mary was never recorded as failing Jesus again.  She is written of only two more times: 1.) standing near his cross (John 19:25-27) and 2.) waiting and praying in the upper-room for the Holy Spirit Jesus promised: along with her four sons who now believed… and Peter.  (Acts 1:12-14,2:1-4)  

 In  Luke 11:27-28 we read of a woman who cries out to Jesus from a crowd.  Her intent was to give Mary praise for nursing the Christ.  Mary’s correction of that woman stands as her greatest lesson for mankind.  We are not to praise Mary as the “eternal mother”, but to obey Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (Master).  Are you obeying our Lord—  as a mother, a father, a sister or brother?  Are you obeying His word?  “Whatever He says”…do you do it?

Ordinary people become part of God’s supernatural plan when they humble themselves and accept His will for their life.  Mary did just that.  Not always understanding, but always yielding, not always full of faith, but always trusting.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Mary is a fine example of motherhood but of a true disciple of Christ.  Not only did she willingly birth the object of our faith, but she kept that faith herself as well.  May we do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEAR NOT #3: Victory

VictoryPastor Barry/ The Gathering:  FEAR NOT #3:  Victory  To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

 Preparing For War Ephesians 6:10-18

This pandemic that we are in has so much conflicting news and information that any thinking person is rightfully agitated if not downright angry.  Sensible people will agree that we are dealing with a real virus, but many disagree on the way that virus is being reacted to, how and why that virus was released and who is profiting from it. One thing is sure—the virus was meant for evil and it is doing far more than biological harm—and where there is evil there is the Devil.  

God’s word tells us clearly that our struggle is not against a virus (or an attack on flesh and blood) it is against the forces of evil and the powers of this dark world; therefore,  we need to be “strong in the Lord” and put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the Devil’s schemes.  (Ephesians 6:10-18). 

The Apostle Paul uses the illustration of a Roman soldier in full battle attire to stand against the Devil’s advances on God’s children.  He describes “Faith” in Christ as a shield against the Devil’s “flaming arrows” ( attacks) and “Salvation” (helmet) as the covering for our mind and thoughts as fear is used in an attempt to control us.  He reminds us of our mission to walk about with the gospel of peace while carrying the double edged sword of God’s word to defend ourselves.  Our mission as Christians is always one of peace, grace and mercy—to bring peace and reconciliation with God to the lost sinner, but the Devil will always stir up foes against us for which we will need to defend  ourselves.  The Bible in the hands of a well read soldier can slay an army of demons and shut the mouths of arrogant men, but we must know our weapon to use it rightly.  As I said in our last lesson, we must know well what the Bible teaches of the “real Jesus”.  Christians! This is  no time to be   distracted by civilian affairs but to be soldiers of the cross —it is time to please the one who enlisted us into His service              (2 Timothy 2:2-4). It is time to prepare for war!  Be alert, watch and pray!  

Just before His arrest Jesus prayed for His disciples and said:  “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).  This is how we are protected my friend.  Put on your armor and get ready for a fight!

 Meant For Evil 1 Peter 5:8-11

The Bible teaches that the Devil (Satan) is a real foe and not just a force or an allegorical tale.  He is a spiritual entity and he hates God and His children and has nothing but evil intent for you (1 Peter 5:8-11).  We are to be alert to that fact and stand on our faith with other believers in this world.  Satan’s personal  attacks on God’s people are recorded all throughout the scriptures from the fall of man in Genesis 3 to his temptation of Christ in Matthew 4:1-11 and his final temptation of man ending in his eternal judgment in Revelation 20.  All through scripture we can also see Satan’s evil work displayed in the wicked hearts of people who live against God.  In Genesis 50:20 we clearly see how Satan influenced the brothers of Joseph to throw him into a pit and then sell him as a slave.  Joseph goes through some terrible trials only to end up in an elevated position as second in command over all of Egypt.  In fact, God uses the evil intent of Joseph’s brothers for the ultimate good of  Joseph and all of Israel including those who tried to hurt him. Joseph later tells his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”. Genesis 50:20  Satan means to bring evil to God’s people, but when we resist him and stand firm in our faith God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28) and turns it all around!

Satan surely means to destroy us with this coronavirus pandemic and our reaction to it.  Christians are now separated from fellowship, most are without jobs, locked in their homes alone or with their kids and spouse— maybe others.  We’re loosing all of our rights and freedoms, wearing masks to shop for food.  We’re cancelling  weddings, birthday parties, graduations, outreach events and funerals— yes, even funerals.  And our elected officials, news media, doctors and even many of our clergy are reacting in fear and negativity, but I am here to remind you… what the enemy meant for evil God will turn it for good!  Resist Him and stand firm in your faith! 

Victory Isaiah 54:17, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

God promises His people in Isaiah 54:17 that “no weapon forged against us will prevail”.  God also told King Jehoshaphat who faced a mighty army:  “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s”.      2 Chronicles 20:15 — and then He led that king to victory! God also filled David with the faith and strength to take down that mighty giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:48-49.  He will give us the victory too and our giant will also fall!  Do you believe that? Then shout Amen!

There is power in the name of Jesus— the Devil dished out everything he had to take Him down and kill Him but Jesus raised up with resurrection power!  What the enemy meant for evil Jesus turned around and brought salvation and life to all who would believe (John 12:32).

There is power in the name of Jesus— and he is coming again and “every eye will see Him!” (Revelation 1:7) And every tongue confess that He is Lord: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:10-11

Speak it out on faith in your darkest hour and shout it out loud over the clamor of the fake news and the negative headlines—”I’m gonna’ see a victory cause’ the battle belongs to the Lord!”  Stand firm and let nothing move you—Your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:57-58). ”We’re gonna’ see a victory cause’ the battle belongs to the Lord!” 

Overcomers 1 John 5:4-5, Revelation 22:12-13, 17, 20-21

Are you born of God this morning (John 1:12-13)?  If you are then you are an overcomer of anything and everything that the Devil throws at you.  Proclaim your victory in advance by faith! (1 John 5:4-5)

Skip ahead in the book to Revelation and see how it ends—you know how it ends! ”We’re gonna’ see a victory cause’ the battle belongs to the Lord!”  He is coming soon and His reward is with Him— is anyone thirsty for victory?  Then come and join us. The Lord is with His people!