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Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise

Hebrews 6:13, When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,

2 Peter 1:3-5, As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,

Today, I would like to talk about one of the greatest blessings in our lives. That is, the blessing of a promise.

The best things in life come as fulfillment of a promise from someone who has the power to make and fulfill promises. A promise is a covenant agreement between the promise maker and the receiver of the promise. We are aware of many promises that have been made to us and kept. But we’re not aware of many more promises that people, like parents, have made on our behalf that have resulted in blessing and provision in our lives growing up.

Anybody can make a promise, but that’s not what is most important. What is most important is this: Does the one who makes the promise have the will and power to fulfill promises. In life, we have to navigate a landscape that is full of promises fulfilled and promises broken. We learned about the of a promise and we grow to appreciate the power of promises, or what a promise can produce in our lives.

The Bible talks about many severe problems in our day. We know about violence, neglect, abuse, cheating, lying, and much more. To that list we add problem of covenant breaking or breaking promises. What makes promise breaking so troublesome is that the promise maker raises the faith, confidence, and expectations of others, only to dash those hopes. We are not talking about something we are unable to do, for which we apologize. We are talking about empty promises that had not potential of being fulfilled.

The basic ability to trust is something people learn as children. When promises are made and broken, this actually hinders a persons concept of trust and faith in God.  We also understand that broken promises can inflict emotional trauma on a child. What we sometimes interpret as bad behavior is actually the conditioned response of a traumatized child or youth.

One of the great lessons in going to school is that we gain the skills of responsibility and keeping promises in the areas of our school assignments. In going to school or taking training, we essentially promise to study, learn, for complete assignments and become both skillful and confident in our learned abilities. We’ve had parents, mentors, teachers and coaches who helped us understand that we have the ability to keep our promises, including promises to ourselves. 

 

It’s always important to have faith in God and to have confidence in what God has giving you. We don’t have faith in ourselves because we don’t have to power to do what God can do. We should have confidence in what God has given us and what He has asked us to do. For all of this He gives us grace.

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Galatians 4:21 (NLT)  Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. 23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. 24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. 25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. 26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!” 28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. 30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

This story about two mothers, Hagar and Sarah, became a lesson about God’s greater purposes and grace. In your life, there is always the tension between doing things your way and doing things in a manner inspired by God.

The power of promise in your life is born out of the covenant He has made with you. The Covenant is His promise to you. You don’t want to allow human effort to spoil the promise. This is the mistake Abraham made.

 

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“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely...”  ~ Proverbs 10:9

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” ~ John 17:17

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” 

1 Tim 3:14 ...I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Webster’s Character defined: Mental, moral and spiritual qualities distinctive to an individual, strength and originality in a person's nature, a person's good reputation

Greek Definition “dokimē:”  Approved, tried character, a specimen of tried worth, proved through affliction,

Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.“

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. ~ Billy Graham

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Release the Greater One Within You

(Audio clip from "Troy" movie. @2004 Warner Brothers Pictures)

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.

Philemon1:4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

The greater one within you is your new creation nature in Christ. He is the “greater” one who is greater and more powerful than the world! Realizing “every good thing” inside of you is a key to effective faith.

Paul knew he could count on Philemon. More than almost everything else, we want God and people to have confidence in us.

Philemon1:21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 

Who is “Them” in John 4:4? 

In explaining the ways of God, John often contrasted the concept of the world and God. The world, as we have seen before, is human nature apart from, and in opposition to, God. 

The man whose source is God will welcome the truth; the man whose source is the world will reject it.

How can a man whose motivation is competition even begin to understand an whose motivation  is service? 

A man can hear only what he has fitted himself to hear and he can utterly unfit himself to hear the Christian message.

Paul’s greater one was awakened

Philippians 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Three perspectives to unleash the greater one within you: 

1. Confidence in God. 

2. A strong sense of purpose. 

3. A made up mind.

Unleashing the greater one requires resolving inward conflicts. This is essential for your progress. Paul described his inner conflict shared his resolution. Your deliverance is in your decision.

In the Bible the word “law” has one of three meanings: 1) The Law of Moses: 10 commandments and do’s and don’ts. 2) A principles or reality like the “law of gravity” 3) Grace empower word of God (“law of God”).

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law [of Moses] is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law [of Moses] that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law [principle], that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law [principle] in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [principle] which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

You can have confidence without arrogance

Arrogance: Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities. Behaving as if you are better or more important than other people

I can do all things....”

Confidence: Belief in one's God-given ability to succeed. 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Arrogance undermines confidence because it is not based on God’s ability, but in our ability alone. Self-righteousness is arrogance. Arrogance does not unleash the giant. It unleashes a little guy with a big head.

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John 4:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24] God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Deuteronomy 26:9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, "a land flowing with milk and honey"; 10] and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.' Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. 11] So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house.

A. Worship is an all encompassing, all inclusive experience. It is both spiritual and physical; temporal and eternal. It involves the total person, spirit, soul, body and even our possessions.

We must challenge ourselves to worship God in fullness and in the release of everything to Him. 

It is human nature to worship according to our own preferences and pleasures—like the Samaritan woman. However, the problem with such worship is that it is unbalanced and conveniently neglects that part of worship which is undesirable. 

God requires that we worship Him at two levels at all times: “In Spirit” and “In Truth.” 

“In Spirit” addresses the supernatural dimension of our walk with God and the transcendent nature of His presence 

“In Truth” addresses the practical, everyday actions we engage in obedience to the Truth. Jesus said, “Your Word is Truth.” 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (“your act of spiritual worship” -NIV). 

The Worship / Stewardship Connection

B. True worship involves the presenting of our tithes and offerings to God. We often treat offerings as an intrusion into the service. In reality, it is integral to our worship experience.

1. In giving of our tithes and offerings, we engage in a sacrificial act that shows our submission to God’s order.

The bringing of tithes and offerings has always been a part of the worship experience of God’s people. 

When we worship “In truth” then will we bring God our bodies and our substance. 

The fact that we pay tithes and give offerings is the proof of his submission to God. 

When the “Majii” or “wise men” came to worship Jesus after his birth, they brought sacrificial gifts. It would not have been true worship if they brought nothing. 

Remember, that if you have nothing to give, He accepts your willingness as an offering. 

Worship is a sacrifice. Every true sacrifice is costly and often uncomfortable. 

Worshipping God with the tithe and offering was established before the Law as the indication of Abram’s recognition of God’s provision.
Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19] And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20] And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.”

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Colossians 3:1, If you then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Jesus resurrection changed everything. All of us have heard about the resurrection of Christ, but I wonder If we appreciate how powerful, pervasive, and precious it actually is. Sometimes, we become more fully aware of greater things in life. Let me share some examples and illustrate the scope and power of Jesus resurrection with an parable from the science of light.

 

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Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Encouragement inspires hope. Hope in the Lord renews strength. Strength causes you to soar, run, and walk victoriously.

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"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift." ~ Ephesians 4:7 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God... 1 Peter 4:10

Romans 12:6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Prophesy - Speak for the will and purpose of God

Serving - Helping others without expectation of payment or praise

Teaching - Training and empowering poeple through instruction

Encouraging & Exhorting - Lifting the hearts and minds of others. Imparting hope and courage

Giving - Supplying needs and resourcing God’s purposes

Leading - Casting vision, showing the way forward, sustaining purpose

Showing Mercy & Kindness - Helping people recover from mistakes, shame, and trouble.

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"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift." ~ Ephesians 4:7 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God... 1 Peter 4:10

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Creativity or talent, like electricity, is something I don't understand but something I'm able to harness and use. ~Maya Angelou

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"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift." ~ Ephesians 4:7

Ephesians 4:7 Amplified Bible Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.

John 1:16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Design defined: Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams, and sewing patterns).

The art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made.

Grace = God’s ability

Measure = How much God gives

Gift = What God gives

Watch music video: "We Shall Overcome: A Jazz Tribute to Black History. https://vimeo.com/257068202

 

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