Developing a picture in years past took time and a “dark room”. During the process, we could only wait and hope the pictures would turn out well. Pastor goes on to share how his great grandfather planted a tree that he, Casey, and his family now enjoy. He planted during drought and depression. This is what faith looks like. Praising God before breakthrough, before we know how it will come out.
In Acts 16, we see Paul patiently enduring the slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination, calling out for many days, waiting, before he took action. The ensuing uproar found Paul and Silas in prison. While in the darkness of the prison, in pain from a beating, they sang and prayed. It may be easy to pray or praise when things are going well. What happens with us when life is tough, days are dark? Pastor Casey points out that we must predetermine our response to life regardless of the situation.
When Paul and Silas experienced breakthrough- chains falling off, prison doors opening, people getting saved-it was no longer a sacrifice of praise. Pastor goes on to encourage us to determine to offer God a sacrifice of praise before breakthrough. Morning will come! Ps 30:5
Mother’s Day, a time to honor our mother. Pastor Casey explains as we begin today how honor blesses us and those around us–while bitterness, poisons and destroys our life and relationships. Honor brings life and fruitfulness to our relationships. He moves on to talk about a very famous “mother in Israel, Deborah”.
In Judges 4:4 it is recorded that Deborah, a prophetess and wife was judging Israel. Then in Judges 5: 6b-7, it goes on to tell us about the living conditions at the time– “The highways were deserted and travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah arose, arose a mother in Israel.” By this time in Israel, people had left the villages for walled cities (safety vs freedom) and traveled the back roads to avoid trouble on the highways. They learned to live under the rule of the enemy. When we start adjusting our life to “live” under the enemy, then he is lord. Like Deborah, we need to really listen to God. We must only bow before the One who died for us.
Deborah heard the voice of God and acted upon it. She did what God called her to do. When she rose up, others were able to step up and do what God had called them to do. Until Deborah rose up, nothing happened. There has to be an “until” moment in our lives. Listen in and be encouraged to take back the power that God has given you to do life, recognizing that in the power of Jesus, changes happen.
Pastor Casey leads us to consider God’s worthiness to be praised this morning during the worship time. Then Nona shares with us on sapphires from a Jonathan Cahn devotional before we head into the sermon.
The sermon begins in Luke 18:1-8, where we contemplate Jesus’s parable on the unjust judge and the widow. Pastor Casey begins to explain how God’s justice may not look like our justice. How is it just that a righteous man should die for an unrighteous man? It’s not right, not fair but- this is God’s justice!
Casey goes on to point out that it is unfair for Jesus to set us free, and we not walk in freedom. So, we should pursue that which Christ has provided for us and called us to. Whatever it is that we pursue shows where our passion is. Urgency demands the aggressive pursuit of the kingdom of God, Jesus will return!
The question, what are we pursuing? Are we bringing the kingdom of God to the world we live in? Do we walk in faith that God’s Word is true, and declare God’s justice in the situations we face, instead of being the widow/victim? Are we passionately pursuing Christ? Could we do just one thing this week to pursue God? Let’s find it and do it!