THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS: MARY'S STORY

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Text: Luke 1:46-1:55 
Introduction:
I want to start off this morning by doing an exercise. Not a physical exercise but a mental exercise.  Scholars tell us that that was the about age of Mary when the angel came and visited her and told her she was pregnant. If you were that age – and received news like this how would you respond? Let’s look and see how Mary did.  "46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name.50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)  (ILL. Show pictures of hopelessness.) We are in the time that most people lose hope already with their life.  And sometimes when Christmas come it become bad news to many and brought more hopelessness. What Christmas time really should brought us? This morning I would like for us to look at three characteristics of Mary’s Heart.

1. The SONG of Mary’s Heart
Mary’s response is a song of praise to God. It was a verbal offering from her heart – through her words to a Holy God. Let’s read our focal verses again 46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” and notice where the focus lies – not on Mary but on God. The focus of the virgin birth is not on Mary but on the power of God. If we were to take out a magnifying glass and examine our focal verse – we would see nothing less than a song of praise to God. We would see adoration – we would see exaltation – and pure praise to the Father. This is truly a song of worship. This is truly a song of praise. Praise is a verbal offering to God from our HEART. I heard someone say recently that if the only thing God has done in our lives is to save us – we should praise God from the rising of the sun through the darkness of the night. But He has done so much more for us than that. He has given you the sense of taste – so that you can enjoy your favorite food. Praise God. He has given you the sense of smell so you can enjoy flowers or bread baking in the oven – praise God. He has given you the sense of humor so you can enjoy laughter – praise God. Habacuc 3:17-19, “17 Bagamat di namumunga ang punong igos at hindi rin namumunga ang puno ng ubas, kung ang pamumunga ng olibo’y mabalam at walang anihin sa mga bukirin, kahit mamatay ang mga tupa sa kulungan at daanan ng salot ang bakahan sa mga silungan, 18 mananalig pa rin ako kay Yahweh; ako’y magagalak dahil sa Dios na aking kaligtasan. 19 Ang Dios na si Yahweh ay aking lakas; tumatakbo akong simbilis ng usa, at iniingatang ligtas kahit sa kabundukan.” (ILL. On one occasion an orchestra presented Handel’s “Messiah” so beautifully that the applause was thunderous, and everyone turned toward the composer. Handel stood up and with his finger pointing upward, silently indicated that the glory should be given to God rather than to himself.) That is exactly what Mary did. It is as if she were saying, “Don’t praise me, but magnify the Lord who is my savior.”

2. The SUBMISSION of Mary’s Heart
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” There are three key elements to humility: Do you know what they are?
A. REALIZE you’re not in Charge. "27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Matthew 6:27 (NIV)There are some things you can change – there are some things you can’t change – what you can’t change – put it in God’s hands.
B. ACCEPT your position as His Servant. "Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant."  Matthew 23:11 (MSG)
C. HUMBLE yourself before God. 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God.” James 4:6-7 (NIV) Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of yourself less” “Ang pagpapakumbaba ay hindi pagmemenos ng sarili mo kundi pag-aalis ng tuon sa sarili mo”. Mary knew that she would now live her whole life under a cloud of suspicion from her family and neighbors. Embedded in her decision to be fully submissive to God’s call was the willingness to suffer possible ridicule, loneliness and contempt. God chose her and she submitted to His will. Mary accepted God’s will. Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38 (NKJV)There is no evidence of Mary thinking that she was any different than anyone else. In fact she speaks of being a servant of the Lord and how she lived in a lowly state. She realized that among all women she was fortunate to be the one to bear the Christ child.  It is taught throughout the scriptures that God is no respecter of persons. Do you think that at the judgment seat of Christ – He will give rich people the place of honor – when it is taught in James that it is wrong to be a respecter of people because of their wealth? Do you think He will allow kings and presidents to stand before Him without bended knee – when the Bible says; Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Christ as Lord. No – absolutely not - God is not a respecter of people. He looks on the humble and the meek and He smiles with pleasure. Psalm 51:16-17, “16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” In Mary He found a humble vessel that He could use for His glory. It is wonderful that God can take a nobody and make a somebody out of them. God is not looking for rank, wealth or power. He is looking for people who have a humble heart. He is looking for one who displays true humility – like Mary.

3. The SINCERITY of Mary’s Heart
Mary’s sincerity can be seen in every word she proclaims.  Mary’s sincerity brought her not only to recognize who she was before God but also to who God is in her life.  Mary knew the scriptures very well and the promises that God gave them – v. 55 shows this. Many people are sincere, but are sincerely wrong about God, about Jesus, about life, about everything. Mary’s sincerity brought her recognizing who she was before God – a sinner – v. 46, who God is to her – her savior, a forgiving and loving God - who loved her. He loves you! If you don’t know Him that can change right here - right now, if you sincerely do what Mary did. Here is what you need to do. 
A. REALIZE that God has not had first place in your life and that you have sinned.
Romans 3:23, “23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10, “10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one.” Isaiah 64:6, “6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
B. REPENT from your sins.
Psalm 7:11, “11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.” I John 1:9, “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”Acts 3:19, “19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
C. RECOGNIZE & BELIEVE God’s free gift of salvation.
 “ 3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9“If you confess that Jesus is your Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
D. RECEIVE Jesus to come into your life and take control.
Romans 10:9, “9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  John 1:12-13, 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Conclusion:
Mary’s heart of songs, of submission, of sincerity brought her to her SALVATION.  This is the hope of Christmas. Christ has come to give you hope. Jesus is the HOPE of Christmas; the first Advent of Christ brings hope to all.  But we need to admit that we are sinners, we need to believe that He died for our sins, that we need to accept the gift of salvation and that we need to make a decision in our life to invite Him to come into our life as our Lord and Savior and let Him to take control our life then and only then that you will truly exprience the hope of Jesus first advent, which is the real meaning of Christmas.

TOPIC: HONORING PARENTS

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Text: Deuteronomy 5:16 (Exodus 20:12)  16 "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

 Introduction:  (ILL. Anak ni Freddie Aguilar) Who wants to have a long and prosperous life?  This is the real meaning of a true blessed long and successful life.  God gave as the key to experience this kind of life and it is imprinted in the 5th Commandment.  Tablet #1 - To honor God as heavenly father Tablet #2 - to honor earthly father & mother  These "first" commandments at the top of each stone tablet were the starting points for all that followed on each list. First things – first! Let’s open and read Deut. 5:16.  From this verse we will discover principles that God gives to uncover the key to a long and full life.

 1.   THE REQUIREMENT “Honor your father and your mother…”
The requirement is clear; to HONOR your father and your mother.   Now I want you also to notice that God used the pronoun ‘your’ it is not other father or mother it is ‘your’ own father and mother.  Many people treat other father and mother more better than their own father and mother, the commandment is clear about this it should be your own father and mother.  Another thing to notice here is God didn’t just say ‘parents’ but ‘father’ and ‘mother’.  Sometimes we honor our father but not our mother or the other way.  God’s direction is clear, you should honor them both, no favoritism.   Notice also that God told us here to HONOR your father and mother, period! God did not say here that we should only honor those father and mother that is honorable but whoever they are whether good or bad parents, the command is for us to honor them.    Last thing I would like us to see here is the scope of this command.  Many people think that this command is only for the children, NO!  It is for everyone.  The commandment did not tell this to children, nor to young people, or to the adult.  It is for everyone, because all of us have father and mother whether children, young people or adult.  The only difference is that   Now the question is, how do we honor them? In what ways could we show our respect for them?  What are some of the practical ways we could honor them.  The verb honor here is Kābēd in Hebrew which means “to reverence, to value or prize highly”to make heavy’ ‘to bring honor’ ‘ to make weighty’ thus if we apply it to honoring our parents means make them great, place them in high regard and do not take them lightly.  So here are some practical ways to honor our father and mother. It requires us to H.O.N.O.R. them. Ways we honor our father and mother:
a.   HONOR & RESPECT them (Ex. 21:17, “17 "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”; Lev. 20:9, “  9 "'If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.”; Prov. 20:20, “20 If a man curses his father or mother, his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.”) Speak to them and about them with courtesy (Prov. 19:26, “26 He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace.”)
b.   OBEYthem (Prov. 6:20, “20 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching.” ; Eph. 6:1, “ 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”) them 1.) Listen to their advice and guidance 2.) Immediately and gladly perform assigned tasks
c.   NOTICE or IMITATEthem (Prov. 6:20, “20 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching.”; II Tim. 3:14-15, “14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
d.   OVERFLOW WITH LOVE & CARE for them (John 19:26-27, “26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”; I Tim. 5:4, “4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren,these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.”
e.   RECEIVE or ACCEPTthem (Prov. 23:22, “22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”)

 2.   THE REASON  “…as the LORD your God has COMMANDED you…” 
The very reason why we need to honor our father and our mother is simply because God commanded us to do so.  As the commandment said it, “…as the LORD your God…”   Fact – This command is based on God’s Sovereign authority, His Fatherhood and the fact that He values respect. And it also underlines the values God places on the family. In the Jewish tradition to “honor” meant to “serve food and drink, provide clothing and shelter and lead them “in and out” as long as the parent is alive. The command to honor parents is supplemented by another biblical verse that states we must revere (some Bibles translate this as “fear”) our parents (Leviticus 19:3, “"'Each of you must respect his mother and father”). Jewish tradition interpreted reverence as meaning that we should not “stand or sit in our parents’ reserved place, nor should we contradict their words.”Honor was demonstrated through acts of kindness and caring, while reverence meant to refrain from actions that diminished their role as parent or embarrassed them in public. These distinctions are just as relevant today. How many times have you seen children yell at their parents or mouth off to them in public or argue with them in public? This is not pleasing to God.   Honoring our parents means we will give then the proper attention and respect they deserve because of the fact they are our parents. To honor means to “to place a value on” them, not to take them lightly. It is not enough to just do what they say out of fear of punishment, but we are to value them and respect their position.

 3.   THE RESULTS  “…so that you may live long and that may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
a. It is the only commandment with a promise attached (Eph. 6:1-3, “1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.") (ILL. Idea that the meaning of this command is that if you honor your father you will have long life because he will not kill you.)  The results of the commandment are more of the quality of life rather than just having a long life.  Many people live long but not meaningful, long but not purposeful.  They just here to live and to survive.  (ILL. Genesis 4-5 talks about the family tree of Cain and Seth – Cain’s family tree is full of accomplishment but Seth’s family tree not so much of an accomplishments but age between 800 to 869 the oldest which is Methuselah. Seth’s family tree not just have long life but a quality life with good relationships to God and to their family.)
b. This commandment was critical for the existence of the nation: that you (pl.) may live long life(cf. 6:2, “2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life”; 11:9, “9 and so that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.”; 25:15, 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”; 32:47, “47 They are not just idle words for you--they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.") and that it may go well with you (pl.) in the land. Parents, especially fathers, rather than the religious leaders, were to pass the covenant values to their children.– as a nation. Maybe part of the problem with our society springs from us violating this command?

Conclusion: The time for a child to obey a parent ceases; but the requirement to honor a parent never ceases. (ILL. When we wish to be dutiful to our parents, they are no more.")

TOPIC: WISE MEN'S SUCCESS

Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Introduction:
                For almost three Sundays we discuss the wise men’s wisdom, the wise men’s gift and the wise men’s journey, I want to add more one truth that we can learn from them as we start this year of 2009, THE WISE MEN’S SUCCESS!
                People normally look forward to the coming year for blessings, for successes.  This is the reason why many people not just here in the Philippines but almost anywhere in the world that they have some belief of their own that if they will do it then prosperity, abundance and success will be upon them, such as buying round things or fruits, coconut seedlings or anything that has life in it, or wearing polka dots clothing, even the custom firecrackers comes from the Chinese to drive away evil or “kamalasan”, and other more.  You can also see at the beginning of the year on TV some fortune teller such as Madam Auring that foretell what will be for this year, and so forth and so on. They do this because they want to get success on that year.  2009 is the year of the ox according to the Chinese calendar. Year of the Ox (The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm and modest. Like his animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in his work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint. This year will no doubt bear fruit, but the motto is: "No work, no pay!" Time waits for no man; if we are too lazy to sow then we can blame no one if we have nothing to reap. We will find a great many things requiring our attention, and the list of what needs to be done will seem endless. Year of the ox they said will bring peace and harmony).  But the questions is, if this the way to get success then why many people whom we know or you might be the one who believes on those things still living in poverty and without success. This morning I would like you to open me again to Matthew 2:1-12 for the fourth time to learn from the Wise Men and see how they were able to succeed on their endeavor. “Success is not a matter of chance it’s a matter of choice!”

1.  THEY HAVE ONE DEVOTION
                Their devotion is towards Jesus.  Jesus is the only source of true success, of true prosperity, of true abundance – again in John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (ILL. Portrait of the son under sale – Whoever has the son has everything) People are looking for someone, for something, but the truth is Jesus already came to give is victory – “We are more than conqueror…” “Who gives us victory” Do you want to become successful this year?  Then devote yourself to Jesus, to His Word
                They also devote themselves to God’s Word.  Joshua 1:8, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Psalm 1:1-3, “1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” They carefully listen and do what God had told them, they carefully obey God in His guidance. (ILL. A beggar who meet his friend who is now and successful and gave him a cheque but not able to encash it because of his mindset that he is a beggar and no one will believe him.)  (ILL. Son who graduate from college and promise by his father a car.  On the night of his graduation received from his father a Bible, without opening it the son gets angry and left until the father dies and that it only the time the son came home and again saw the Bible on the table in his room, opening it and found a cheque inside amounted to the car that his father promised.)  God’s Word is full of riches, full of success if we will only devote ourselves to read and do it, it will guide and instruct us to a successful and abundant life – Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I heed in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”  Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”.  As a church are we having one devotion to Jesus and His Word? The Wise men are wise and succeed because all of them have one devotion:  to Jesus and to God’s Word.

2.  THEY HAVE ONE DIRECTION
                 (ILL. Merchant that whenever comes in a crossroad practice to throw his stick that will guide him to the direction of success.)   6 PowerPoint The wise men did not rely on what they know but they rely on the divine direction that God place upon them – the star!  And this star leads them to Jesus, the source of true success.  The good thing here is that the wise men probably compose of 12-14 or probably more and yet all of them takes one direction.  Having a vision is one but following that vision is another one.  We have one vision as a church and yet we can take different direction.  The wise men align themselves together in their visions and focus only to one direction.  Their passion, their energy, their determination moves toward one direction!  Jesus said, “Whoever is not for me is against me…” As a church God gave us one direction to travel, probably you are thinking of other way to take, probably you are thinking a better system, a good one, a good way but it will become a tug of war kind of journey that will not bring us to success.  As a church we have a simple process to take, it is the direction of every person who would like to experience with us the life that Jesus promised in John 10:10.  It is not an option but it is the direction that I believe God place in the heart of the church.  I am not saying that this is the only direction but as a church this is the direction that God gave us.  Like the wise men then take just one direction although probably there are different way to reach Bethlehem but it will not be a united journey, so they need to take one direction – it means sacrifice to everybody, aligning themselves to the whole, focusing themselves to one direction.  Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I taking just one direction for the good of the whole church?”  The wise men are wise because they did!

3.  THEY HAVE ONE DESTINATION
                On vs. 10-11, it said, “10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”  All journeys have a destination. We can see from these verses that they reach one destination.  Destination refers to their purpose, to the very reason why they take this journey, why they need to move, align and refocus themselves towards one devotion, one direction so that they were able to reach their one Destination.  Their destination is Jesus, their destination is to worship Him, their destination is to glorify Him, and their destination is to offer back to Him what is due to Him.  Their destination is not for themselves because if that is the matter then they will not leave their comfort zone, their family, etc.  Their destination is to fully give back to God everything.  God’s destination for Jonah is Nineveh, but Jonah has his own destination in mind (ILL. Jonah’s Destination – fish belly). Notice that when they reach their destination that they were able to offer their gift to Jesus, but actually when they start to leave their country and take the journey they already gave themselves to God, but their destination shows fully of their fruitfulness when they offer their gifts.  Our destination is total submission to His Lordship; our destination is one of fruitfulness.

Conclusion:
(ILL. Barack Obama –His platform of unity, change, self determination and hope was defined by the catch phrase, "Yes, we can!"and statements such asChange will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”. Obama first came to national prominence with a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, in which he called for an end to polarization along party lines, saying, There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America."  "We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don't want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential. – Obama) (ILL. Hydro ElectricA river if direct to one direction becomes useful and powerful to produce energy or electricity, but a river without direction can destroy.) 
This year our theme will be: SAMA-SAMANG PANANAW, SAMA-SAMANG PAGGALAW.  First we must have one clear understanding of our vision and the process that we need to take, and then we need to move ourselves together, align ourselves and focus ourselves on one devotion, one direction and one destination towards success that God place upon us. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”


TOPIC: HAPPY FAITH

Text: Genesis 12:1-9  

Introduction: (PowerPoint about asking for friends)
                Who among you here saw the movie “Happy Feet”?  Or saw the movie “March of the Penguin” a documentary movie by National Geographic Society.  That documentary movie talks about “emperor penguin” living in the North Pole where all you see is ice, but there are times that the ice also melts.  You will see this penguin feeding for 2-3 months and then they will take their first march for almost 70 miles just to go to their breeding ground.  So the first march will take them almost 20 days walking (even though they are bird they don’t fly – so they need to walk) just to find a partner.  Then for 2-3 days they look for mate and when they find their mate they will start mating.  And for the next 2-3 months, I think they will wait for the egg (they only lay one egg per female penguin).  After laying their egg, the mother will brood it for another 2 months and then after that they are all very starve.  The mother penguin will pass the egg to the father penguin and the mother penguin will march back to the place where they can feed and will go back again marching in time that the egg will hatch to the care of the father for almost 2 months.  Then the mother penguin will take care of the young penguin then while the starve father will go march to feed and then return after 2 months again, so they take turn marching just to feed their young, some of them died along their journey and it was not an easy journey actually but very hard, sacrificial (Like some of your parents abroad, they too work hard for you, to give you good life, etc).  But this penguin keep on marching taking the hard journey just for their young until their young can already able to stand on their own, that is the only time they will stop their march.  But the next breeding, you will see them again with the new one, happily doing the hard march, doing the very purpose that God created them to do.  Like this penguin we too are created for a very special purpose, the only question is, “Are we doing God’s purpose in your life?  It was not just a personal journey but journey of the family.
                In Genesis 12 there is man who also experiences a hard journey, and it was a journey of faith, not only personal but his whole family.  It is not only happy feet, but a happy faith too.  The man is Abraham, who this time was called Abram.  Let’s open our Bible in Genesis 12:1-9. (Let’s pray first).
                Why we can say that Abraham journey is a happy feet and happy faith at the same time?  Because his journey was:

1.  It was a journey PLANNED by the Lord
                Genesis 11:31-32 (read).  Probably the Lord’s planned for this journey is for Abraham’s father Terah.  But then after Terah leaved Ur where they native origin, Terah stops at Haran and on the way forgot God’s planned.  So when Terah died on Haran God’s planned continued and it was Abraham’s turned.  We can see here that God’s planned was not affected by dying or living of the person He called to fulfill His plan.  We can see that also with Moses and Joshua.  After Moses died, the plan of God didn’t die, it was pass on to Joshua.  That is the truth of the matter that God set a plan and each one of us was called by God to become part of this wonderful opportunity.  Even if we don’t do it I assure you it will come to pass, because God can bring another one just to fulfill His plan.  But if we respond to His calling to become part of His plan then it is a great opportunity for us.  God’s plan will come to pass whether we take part or not because He is the one who prepare the plan.  How can we make sure of it? (Show PowerPoint of earth)

2.  It was a journey PREPARED by the Lord
                Not only that He plans it but He prepared everything.  God didn’t called Abraham to this journey without preparing first the end of his journey.  Like the “emperor penguin” God prepared for their nesting place. Gen. 12:1, “to the land I will show you.” God refer here to the land of Canaan, the Promise Land.  God didn’t called Abraham for nothing; He prepared the place and everything in that land for Abraham and his descendants that is why the Promise Land was called, “land of milk and honey”.  That is our God He don’t call us for nothing, He always prepare for the place for each one of us.  Gen. 1 the creation, God created first the light, the land, the animals, the vegetables and everything then He created man, not the last of His creation but actually the first.  He thought first of us that is why He created all that we need first.  Genesis 2:8, “Now the Lord God planted a garden, and there He put the man he had formed.”  See God always prepare for us a right place.  So we should be in the right place rather than being misplace (ILL.  Fish in the land, bird in the sea, water lily in the desert, cactus in the swamp, etc.)  Bloom where you are.   Sometimes probably we don’t understand at first but for sure when God call you, He will prepare because He plan and that is why He also prepare.

3.  It was a journey PROVIDED by the Lord
                God also provided for our journey, He provides strength, wisdom, protection, favor, blessings, etc.  We can see this truth in Abraham’s journey, how God bless him while continuing the journey.  That is what good with God, he didn’t just bless us after finishing the journey but while we are our own journey God provided everything we need.  (ILL. Creation, like a mother preparing food for her children while they are in school after they get home the table is prepared for them to eat), v. 1said, “go to the land I will show you.”  This is good thing to know, God already see things before Abraham obey, go and arrived in the land.  In Genesis 22 where Abraham’s faith was tested to offer his only son Isaac, on the mountain of Moriah it was said in v. 8, “God himself will provide the lamb for burnt offering.” This is where the name Jehovah Jireh came but in truth according to a Bible scholar the name is more of God who sees rather than God provides.  Meaning before God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac and before Abraham obey God already saw everything from the start to the end.  Like an inventor or a painter when look to canvas or raw material, they already see the finish product before they start to make it.  Our own journey was already seen by God from start to finish and He already provided everything we need, strength to keep on, endurance, etc.  Just as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christi who gives me strength” and “Your grace is sufficient for me.”  (And Christ provide everything for us when he died on the cross and forgave us power point) This journey was provided and prepared by God because He planned it.

4.  It was a journey PROMPTED by Your Love and Faith in Obedience to the Lord
                Now you can know all this things and still don’t reach the end of your journey.  I can plan, prepare and provided a vacation for you and yet still don’t have a vacation because you don’t go.  This journey needs a right response from Abraham.  He needs to obey because he knew and love the one plan, prepared and provided for this journey. 
                We can see Abraham’s faith thru obedience, even though he didn’t know the place – Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” By faith!  Our faith is an expression of our love and fear for God more than anything else and it was express in our obedience to His will.  The foundation of Abraham’s faith and obedience is his love for God and for His word (ILL. Girl who said that she read a boring book).  Our love for God will make the difference in our journey of faith even in the most difficult times.  (Power point about faith – against all odds, (poem – Doubt & Faith) snail, dog, and half car running to finish journey prompted by faith)

Conclusion:
                Your journey is to fulfill God’s plan of in your life, the purpose why God place you in this earth, where he already prepare and provided when he died on the cross, but without our right response which is the foundation in fulfilling this plan will be just a vision without action, that is why the first part of God’s purpose in our journey of faith is to experience the Great Commandment in your life, this is our  passion for God (Mathew 22:37-39), then second is to fulfill the Great Commission, doing the heartbeat of God (Mathew 28:18-20).  
                God set a journey before us, it is not accident that you become part of this camp, hat you are here today, because everything in YourJourney of Faith was PLANNED, PREPARED and PROVIDED by God, but it is up to you if you PROMPTED by your love and obedience to God. (ILL. Sid the butterfly!) (ILL. When God called me in ministry.) (ILL. My daughter’s Journey of Faith – since God called her in UP, preparing her course and her desires, providing her scholarship, her needs and showing her love to God by giving her best to Him.) 


FRESH MANNA FROM THE LORD

 


Let the Word of God touch & transform you!




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