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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Refuge

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. (Psalms 5:10-12)

If there is one thing that can be said about David, it’s that he fully understood the importance of being covered by the Lord. He also understands what life would be like if he didn’t have his refuge in Christ. All of us would be, and deserve to be, in the exact position David describes in verse ten: Bearing the weight our own guilt and shame, because of the abundance of our transgressions… But God, because of His love for us, sacrificed His own son for us, so that we could now be called sons and daughters of God – He sacrificed His one and only son, so that we could take the shelter in Him that only a son or daughter can have in their Father.

Now, as David says in verse twelve, we should be exulting in the Lord! We should be praising Him and giving Him glory for the great work that He has done through His son. We are shielded from Satan in every area, and thus should in every area of our life strive to give glory to God. Even though we still won’t live perfect lives, and even though we still stumble in our walk with the Lord, we now can say that we have a savior who will always lift us up when we ask Him to.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Today’s ‘Sermon’

Hello again!

Today’s sermon didn’t appear to come out of any one passage, per se. The verse he started out with though was Hebrews 12: 1. Also, the pastor didn’t have any “official” points, but his main point was rather obvious: We should try to live a holy life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now, while I do certainly agree that we should want to live a life holy and pleasing to the Lord, I wish he had focused in on and expounded upon what he said in his first couple of paragraphs. i.e. that we cannot possibly live a life holy, but through the work Christ did for us, we can now live a life holy and pleasing to God. Instead of doing this though, he proceeded in essence to give a lecture on living a holy life. It was a rather good lecture, mind, but it wasn’t a sermon. A sermon requires there to be an uplifting of Christ, while a lecture can often be more effective at lifting up our response to the cross as being more important.

In conclusion: There wasn’t anything all too wrong with the lecture today, but when I go to a Church, I really do hope to hear an uplifting and Christ filled sermon.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Todays Sermon

 

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God’s Holy Hill

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah. (Psalms 3:1-4)

Christians today can feel rather like David felt in those first couple of verses. There are certainly enough atheists in the World claiming that, “there is no salvation for him/her in God”. However, I love how David reaffirms his faith: Whenever people rise up against him, and claim that there isn’t any salvation for him in God, he remembers how Jesus (who is God incarnate) answered him, “from his holy hill”. David was likely referring to the “hill” he mentions metaphorically, but it has obvious meaning as well for Christians today. In other words, when people try to say that there is no salvation, God is the one that answers them from Calvary.

The assurance of our salvation is on top of Calvary. Christ’s death and Resurrection is what gives us confidence to believe that Jesus really can and does save, in spite of what other’s say – When we doubt, we must only remember God’s answer from on top of Calvary.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

Today’s Sermon

Hello again!

Today the pastor preached on Isiah 9:7. He brought several points: Mainly, though, he talked on the differences between God’s kingdom, the differences between the World’s king and our king, and on how we can become a part of God’s kingdom. To show us the main differences between God’s kingship and that of the World, he took several parts of the passage and showed us how they applied to God (of course none of the names are said in the actual passage, but are the names that we associate God with when He shows us some of His attributes):

1. Wonderful counselor.

2.  Everlasting father.

3. Prince of peace.

4. Mighty God.

No mortal king can ever be as great as God. Therefore, no mortal kingdom and can ever be as great as God’s. He went on to show us how God’s kingdom isn’t bound by time (it isn’t temporal) and how it isn’t “local” (i.e. it isn’t regulated to one little area of the World as all Earthly kingdoms are).

He finished by telling us how we can become a part of God’s kingdom: The only way we can become a part of this great and vast empire, is to accept Christ’s death and Resurrection for us. We need to realize how wicked we were, and then see how awesome Jesus is, and that He can save us and help us out of the pit we’ve dug our-self into.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Todays Sermon

 

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A Psalmist’s Perspective

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalms 2:1-3)

I love passages like this, because of how clearly they are fulfilled in the New Testament. David knows that the Lord’s “anointed” one is the one that rulers will “take counsel together” against. In verses seven and twelve David even calls the anointed one God’s “son”. He then goes on to further lengths and proceeds to paint a very accurate picture of God:

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:10-12)

David tells us, quite truly, that If we disobey the Lord, and live in a life of bondage to sin, we should fear God. The kings and rulers of the Earth, to which David addresses verses ten and eleven, were obviously doing this (something we see in the first three verses). However, if we “kiss the Son”, meaning that if we love the Son and find our refuge in Him, not only will we not “perish”, but we will be blessed. Not necessarily blessed with physical things, but certainly blessed in Spirit.

In conclusion: Even David, so many years before Christ was even born, was writing about the events leading up to Christ’s death. Christ’s death and Resurrection is the subject of the entire Bible, and it should be the subject of our lives too. It’s what gives us hope and encouragement, and sustains us when sometimes it seems like we aren’t so blessed.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Today’s Sermon

Hello again!

Today the sermon was on Acts 16:22-25, and Philippians 1:1-5. The main point was that we can find joy when we look to the cross. We were showed this by looking to Acts, where Paul and Cialis where praying and singing and worshiping the Lord in prison. They had joy, in spite of their trails, because they could see that all this was to further the work of the Gospel. Something we see did indeed happen when the jailer and his entire family was saved and baptized.

Another thing that was brought up was the, “four joy killers”:

1. Circumstances

2. People

3. Things

4. Worry

We were also shown, however, how all these things don’t have to be joy killers, thank’s to the Gospel. Our circumstances don’t have to kill our joy, because God abandoned His own son at the cross so that He wouldn’t have to abandon us. We don’t have to let people kill our joy, because no matter what other’s may say, we can always know that Christ loves and accepts us. Things (i.e. not having this or that) don’t have to kill our joy, because Jesus can make us content when we have little and when we have much. Worry doesn’t have to kill our joy either, because we can bring all of our worry to the cross, where we see that no matter what happens, Jesus will always look out for us.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Prospering in Christ

Hello again!

Yesterday we finished 2 Timothy, so today we’re moving to the Psalms. — This is what God gave me today in His word:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3)

Now, the above passage is very true. If we made the law of the Lord our delight, and meditated upon the law day and night, we would indeed prosper in every single thing we did. That would be because every single thing we did was to bring glory to God, though. Of course, we know we cannot hope to bring glory to God in every single deed, nor can we focus on Him or upon His law day and night. We humans are very self-centered, no matter how selfless we would like to believe ourselves to be: It will only be once we are in Heaven with perfect bodies and minds that we will be able to truly devote everything we have to worshiping Him.

Now, with that being said, there are some people who come awfully close to being entirely self-less. The apostle Paul was one such person, and in 1 Corinthians 11: 1 he tells us to ‘follow his example, as he follows the example of Christ’. Living in a body that is not yet perfect is no excuse in the slightest to give up on doing anything “good”. Indeed, if we don’t have a desire to help others and do “good deeds” through Christ who strengthens us, we should reëxamine our faith, and see if it truly is genuine. Jesus gives all that truly believe in Him a desire and the strength to spread the good news of His death and Resurrection. As Paul says in his Epistle to the Philippians:

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

In conclusion: Jesus can make what we do prosper, but we by our-self cannot. We can only fail, and sin in our own power; but through Christ we can do anything. The disciples wondered, once Jesus had woken up and calmed the storm in Matthew 8, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”. We know “what kind of man” Jesus is. He is our savior  protector, and our strengthener. We have to put our trust and faith in Him, and by that, and only by that, will even some of the things we do while on Earth will “prosper”.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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