Weekly Seed of Faith 7/10/20

Seed of Faith – Hope and Dry Bones   By Pastor Dave  

“I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:14

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers,

It with joy that I sit down to write a Seed of Faith.  It is my prayer that during this time of uncertainty, confusion, doubts and fears that this message will bring you HOPE!  I encourage you to read Ezekiel 37:1-15.  Maybe your bones feel dried up during this time of quarantine and social distancing. During this time of staying home, I have had time to wait and read.  I have been reading a book by Dr. A. W. Tozer, author, and pastor.  Tozer wrote, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.[i]

In my reading, I was struck by verse eleven in Ezekiel, “Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’”

Do you feel like Ezekiel? Are your bones beginning to dry up? Or are they dried up already? Is your hope strong or is your hope gone? Do you feel cut off? Just today I have heard from two other men who texted me and said, “I’m really struggling, Pastor Dave. Please pray for me.” I heard from two men yesterday. The world has been dealing with the pandemic since March? Four months and it’s not over yet. I don’t know the answers but I do know the ONE who knows the answers.

I remember a time in my first church when I was going through a difficult situation. To be plain honest, I was wondering why in the world I ever went into ministry.  I had given up everything to follow Christ. I had planned to serve one church and retire in the Ozarks but things were not working out. The church I served was in conflict. Jac and I lived in southwest Missouri—30 miles from Silver Dollar City, which we dubbed “Steal Your Dollar City”.  One thing about Jac and I, we love to escape and get away where no one knows our name (opposite of “CHEERS”!) We got away just about every Sunday night. One Sunday night as the park was closing, we noticed that there were as many people flooding into the park as out of the park. “Aren’t they closing?” Being the extrovert, Jac asked someone who was heading into the gate, “Where are you headed? Isn’t the park closed? Are you the clean up crew?” The woman explained that every Sunday night there’s an open-air concert. We Turned around and followed the other crowd! We made our way into the rock-cut amphitheater and sat down in the back row. Little did we know that God had a huge blessing/gift waiting for us as we waited for the concert. The group walked out onstage and played. They were great. And, as usual, for a Christian band, the leader of the group began to witness. He said, “We’re going to sing a song and I want to ask you to remain seated until you can honestly stand and say, ‘Jesus, MY HOPE IS YOU.’” I will never forget this moment as long as I live. The band leader talked about the hope he had in God the Father, Jesus our Lord, and the Holy Spirit. The leader said, “Please don’t stand until you are 100% sure that GOD IS YOUR HOPE” and they started to play, “My Hope Is You.” The scene was holy and humble. 

One by one the crowd began to stand.  Slowly at first.  “My Hope is You” by Third Day, listen to the words.

TO YOU, O LORD, I LIFT MY SOUL.
IN YOU, O GOD, I PLACE MY TRUST.
DO NOT LET ME BE PUT TO SHAME NOR LET MY ENEMIES TRIUMPH OVER ME.
MY HOPE IS YOU.
SHOW ME YOUR WAYS.
GUIDE ME IN TRUTH
IN ALL MY DAYS
MY HOPE IS YOU.
I AM, O LORD, FILLED WITH YOUR LOVE.
YOU ARE, O GOD, MY SALVATION.
GUARD MY LIFE AND RESCUE ME.
MY BROKEN SPIRIT SHOUTS.
MY MENDED HEART CRIES OUT:
MY HOPE IS YOU…SHOW ME YOUR WAYS…GUIDE ME IN TRUTH…IN ALL MY DAYS…MY HOPE IS YOU.

I don’t know how many times they played the song. I was the last one in the crowd to stand. Yes, me, the pastor. I did not want to place all of my hope in God—I wanted to help God out. The Holy Spirit came into my life in a powerful way that night and spoke to my heart. Jac and I had given up everything we had, everything we knew in order to follow God’s call on our lives. I had actually been thinking that maybe I was not cut out for ministry after all. Maybe Jac and I should go back to selling trucks and tires. Keep our world small and comfortable.

And then the band played that song.

I knew that I knew that I knew that God had confirmed, yet again, our call to ministry. I was undone. Sitting and standing in a rock cut amphitheater, God reached down into my heart and said, “Your only job is to follow where I lead.”

I do not know WHERE your hope is. I do not know WHO your hope is in. I do know that many of us feel like the dry bones in passage from Ezekiel. The pandemic has shut us down. We can agree with Ezekiel, “Our bones are dried up. Our hope is gone. We are cut off.”

My prayer is that you will allow the power of the Holy Spirit to breathe life back into your dry bones. Here is a link for a YouTube for “MY HOPE IS YOU” by Third Day.

https://youtu.be/85XmMoYlTPU

Sit down and listen…and do not stand up until you can say, “I believe that GOD MY HOPE.” Worship our God, the healer of our dry bones. Think about all of the blessings God has showered your life with. Think of your life. It really is a wonderful life. I will be praying for you as you listen. I’m praying now!

An American with an English gentleman was viewing the Niagara whirlpool rapids, when he said to his friend: “Come, and I’ll show you the greatest unused power in the world.” And taking him to the foot of Niagara Falls, “There,” he said, “is the greatest unused power in the world!” “Ah, no, my brother, not so!” was the reply. “The greatest unused power in the world is the Holy Spirit of the living God.[i]

Our reading of the prophecy in Ezekiel tells us that the power of the Holy Spirit can bring life into dead bones. Do you remember the last verse in our reading from Ezekiel this morning?  “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”(Ezekiel 37:14)

The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring life!  The big, theological word for the work of the Holy Spirit is “regeneration.”  Regeneration: “to form again, to replace broken body parts with new growth, to restore spiritually.”  For all you computer techies, “regenerate” means “to restore signals to original wave shapes.”  I cannot tell you how to do that electronically but what I can tell you is that the Holy Spirit can! The HOLY SPIRIT’S JOB IS TO regenerate you!  The Holy Spirit wants to form you into the image of Christ!  The Holy Spirit wants to heal the broken parts of your life.  The Holy Spirit wants to heal the broken relationships between us…between you and God—all because of sin.  The Holy Spirit wants to heal the broken relationships we have and wants to heal the brokenness of the world. And, BTW–by the way–regenerate is a verb so that means that the regeneration work of the Holy Spirit is not a noun (a thing, a place, a person) but the regeneration is an action!  The third person of the Holy Trinity—the Identical Twin of Jesus—the promised Holy Spirit, wants to form us anew, wants to replace our broken parts with new growth, and wants to restore us spiritually! The Holy Spirit wants to bring life into your dry bones. Holy Cannoli—think about that!

So What?
The Holy Spirit is God’s promise of power!  The Holy Spirit is God’s promise of fullness so that we can be God’s witnesses to others! The Holy Spirit is God’s promise of hope!

We started with A. W. Tozer; we will end with Tozer:

Ninety-five percent of what the early church did was done by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What if the disciples had not listened? What if they had not waited like they were instructed?  What if they had gone out in their own power?

Here is the real “so what” for us: Put yourself in the story! You are there in the Upper Room. Plenty of your friends. You’ve just witnessed the crucifixion. Yet, Jesus has appeared to you in this very room. You were asked to wait.

What are you waiting for?

Remember the Holy Spirit? Remember the regenerating work?

WAIT.

And soon they all received the power of the Holy Spirit.  They burned with a steady, inward fire.  They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon. They turned the entire world upside down.

Will you? Will we? Will the church wait for the Holy Spirit’s wind and fire to fill them? The pandemic has all waiting in one way or another. I’m praying for the regeneration of our generation by the HOLY SPIRIT.

Join us for worship on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time.  You can go to theseedchristianfellowship.online.church at 10 a.m. Sunday and join in the fellowship with live chats and prayers.  You can join in the worship and sing your heart out.  You can joinin a study of God’s word.  If you miss the live service you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship.

May the Holy Spirit fill your heart and your “upper room”/home/work with the fire and grace and mercy of God’s love.  May the HOPE of the Lord be your strength and joy as your dry bones are healed.

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 7/2/20

Seed of Faith – Freedom   By Pastor Dave  

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Galatians 5:13

Dear “faithful & free” Seed Sowers,

This weekend we will be celebrating the freedom we have in our nation.  May we never forget the great cost of freedom and may we always remember the freedom we have in Christ.

When you hear the word “FREEDOM,” what are you are thinking? There’s all types of freedom: political freedom, economic freedom, financial freedom, there’s free speech, free will, free-lance, free-fall, free for all, and/or free agent.  This coming Saturday, our nation has a day set aside to remember our freedom: July 4th, Independence Day!

Webster defines “freedom”: “the state or quality of being free; exemption or liberation from control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence.”[i]

The Greek word for “freedom” that our good friend, Paul, uses in Galatians 5:1 is “eleutheria” which is pronounced “el-yoo-ther-ee’-ah.”  Paul is talking about the liberty that is found only in, and through, Jesus Christ.

The concept of freedom in the New Testament is freedom from the law, freedom from sin and freedom from death.  This kind of freedom was achieved by Christ on the cross. Christ was ultimately free from the law, from sin and death!

Atop the hill in Washington D.C. stands the Capitol building of the United States of America.  The cornerstone was laid in 1793 but the crowning touch is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” placed there in 1863.  The “Freedom Lady” stands nearly 20 feet tall and stands proudly atop the dome.  A crest of stars frames her face.  A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand. How did the Freedom Lady find her way to the top of the Capital building?

“Freedom Lady” was sculpted in Rome and brought to America aboard a sailing ship.  During the trip across the Atlantic, a fierce storm developed.  The captain ordered all cargo to be thrown overboard in order to lighten the load.  The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We will flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.”  “FREEDOM” was saved, and the statue now stands above the dome–because one man stood for “FREEDOM.”

When I think of America, I think of freedom!  In a few days people will be celebrating Independence Day.  With Covid 19, all of our normal and familiar 4th of July activities will not be taking place like they have in years past. Many people will not travel to see loved ones; most will stay home.  Some will BBQ and have their own fireworks, while others will go on picnics or hikes. My guess is there will not be very many hometown parades or fireworks displays.

This can lead us to stop and pray, and to stop and think about why we celebrate our country’s freedom in the first place. There’s a great question: Why do we celebrate the 4th of July?

In order to answer this question, we need to go back and search our US History. We celebrate this July 4th because of what happened in 1776!  We celebrate the actions of other people—people we only know about by reading history books. We celebrate the actions of Americans who lived without electricity, running water, regular mail service, internet, cell phones or Super Walmarts!  Think about it, what a stark existence these Americans were willing to fight for.

The Declaration of Independence was written to break the stranglehold of tyranny.  Oppression, abuse, removal of rights, false justice and punishment were the charges that were brought to the King. There’s a Scriptural comparison found in a writing of Paul, the apostle. For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Today I want you to think about three things:

1. the purpose of freedom,

2. the perseverance of freedom

3. the person of freedom.

THE PURPOSE OF FREEDOM
The purpose of our freedom is defined in Galatians 5:  “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  In Christ we are set free from a set of rules.  Did you know that by the time of Christ, the Jewish leaders had taken the Ten Commandments and had added over 600 rules to live by? Jesus Christ has set us free from the Law—from a set of over 600 rituals.

Over the next few weeks of this summer, I want to talk about worship.  I will use John 4 and Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well as our springboard for worship.  We are going to look at “Why We Do What We Do.”  In Michael Horton’s book, A Better Way; Rediscovering The Drama of Christ-Centered Worship, he gives an illustration of great revivals of worship.  Horton says, “When God’s people understand who God is, who they are in His presence, and what is happening to them when they come into His presence, not only their minds but their hearts are transformed.”[i]

John Calvin called worship “the great theater”[ii] in which God descends to act before a watching world.

Have you ever thought that maybe the purpose of our freedom in Christ is for us to truly accept who we are in Christ?  Do you know who you are in Christ? My last thought that I want you entertain is this: What two laws did Jesus establish for believers to obey? (Love God. Love others as you love yourself?) Doesn’t it seem foolish then to trade the freedom you now have in Christ in these two laws for a different (or former) yoke of slavery? Pray about this.

THE PERSON OF FREEDOM
“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  It is Christ who set us free–not the “Freedom Lady,” “Statue of Liberty,” “Declaration of Independence,” or the “Constitution.” Though all of these are good and give us freedom, true freedom comes from Christ alone.  In John 8:32, ?”Jesus says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and later on in John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“So what?” do these ancient words have to share with us today?  What does freedom really mean to me?  Are we free from the law?  Are we free from sin? Are we free from death?

With the shut-down, I have a lot of time to think and pray.  I’m thinking about this SEED OF FAITH.  I’m deep in thought about the true meaning of worship. I really want you to read John chapter four this next week. It’s been since March that we have not been able to go into our physical buildings in order to attend church.  This is what I’ve been pondering: WORSHIP. Did I go to church on Sundays prepared to worship God?  Do I honestly  understand that I have been set free from 600+ rituals?  Do I realize that my great God entered my life by sending Christ to set me free?  Isn’t this the truth of why we worship?

This week don’t just celebrate our country’s 244th birthday as a free nation! Celebrate your freedom in Christ! Celebrate your freedom from adhering to 600+ rules and regulations! Celebrate loving God and loving others! And truly stop and think about this: am I honestsly ready to return to worship?

This whole covid-19 has deeply affected each one of us. One thing I know, God is God. I am not. I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart when I was 12. My oldest brother had been killed in a car accident. Thirteen years later, I rededicated my life to Christ and have followed these two laws: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS AS I LOVE MYSELF. I am forgiven and I am set free because of the cross of Christ.

Join us live on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific time for worship at

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

You can chat, pray and fellowship with others as we worship in the freedom of Christ.  If you miss the live worship on Sundays, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch the weekly service or just the Sunday Message. This Sunday my wife is back giving the kid message because our awesome Miss Sherri is traveling home from vacation. What I want you to know is that the Holy Spirit is still busy working in the body of Christ–even as we are apart from one another. Miss Jac is doing a July 4th message on cupcakes: same but different…and different is okay. JOIN US!

See you Sunday

God loves you and so do i,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

[i] Michael Horton, A Better Way; Rediscovering the Drama of Christ-Centered Worship, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mi.; 2002

[ii] John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, Psalms III:12, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mi.; 1998

[i] David Guralnik, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York,; 1972

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 6/25/20

Seed of Faith – Surely – Goodness and Mercy  By Pastor Dave  

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” Psalm 23:6

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers and SHEEP brothers and sisters in Christ,

For the past five weeks, we have been  taking a journey with our Good Shepherd. We have been sharing together a slow, but wonderful, walk through the six verses of Psalm 23. I pray that our walk with the Good Shepherd has given us a fresh, new and life-giving perspective on the goodness and mercy of our Great Shepherd.

Psalm 23 is about security!  Security found in the promises of God.  Security found in the provision of God. This Psalm also speaks to me of confidence — the kind of “Tarzan chest thumping, end-zone dancing, we will ROCK you” confidence.  This Psalm oozes with confidence.

Why is this Psalm so confident? 
How can it be so confident? 
What is the secret to the confidence found in this Psalm?

The answer is found here in verse six.  There is one word that summarizes the entire Psalm: “SECURITY!”

Where does this security come from? Our security is found in the goodness and mercy of God! This Psalm is all about being secure in God’s love and care as we journey through green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness, valleys of the shadows, dining at the table in the presence of our enemies, and finally going home with our Good Shepherd eternally, forever and ever.

Listen to the verse again, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.”   Did you catch it?  Did you hear it?  It is the very first word.  Surely.

Heads up: don’t miss this word: “SURELY!”

The psalmist did not say, “ Well maybe, it could be, or possibly.” The writer didn’t say, “I have a hunch, or this sounds like a good idea.” Nope. Nada. The psalmist said, “SURELY!”

I like Webster’s definition, “surely”: “safe, secure, will not fail, always effective, can be relied on, depended on, trustworthy —cannot be doubted, questioned, or disputed; absolutely true.”[ii]

The Hebrew word for “surely” is “awkal,” and it is used as a marker for emphasis in the Hebrew language.  This marker wants to tell us something important: God is SURELY with YOU and because God is with you, YOU can be secure!  David is telling us: What goes before this word and what follows this word (surely) can be relied on, depended on and is trustworthy! In other words that you might understand better:

TAKE IT TO THE BANK! THIS PROMISE IS 100% BACKED UP BY GOD’S SECURE PROMISES!

What words follow “surely”?  Goodness and mercy. Go through this entire Psalm and know:  God is your shepherd and you shall not want. You will lie down in green pastures; you will be led beside still waters; you will be restored! Our good shepherd will leads you in right paths. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death—you will fear no evil because God’s rod and staff– will comfort you. There will be a table prepared for you in the presence of your enemies. You will be anointed with oil; and your cup is promised to overflow.  And…if you’re not certain of all of this…the psalmist says the one word above all the others: SURELY! Take it to the bank, dear sheep, because GOD’S goodness and mercy will follow each one of us all the days of our lives, and we are promised that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord our whole life long. SURELY! I think of, “I PROMISE.”

In his book God’s Psychiatry, Dr. Charles L. Allen told of a man who came to see him. This fellow had risen to the top of his company, but along the way he had lost his peace of mind. He was a worried, tense, sick man. He had been to doctors and taken bottles of pills, but nothing helped. Dr. Allen took out a sheet of paper and wrote a “prescription” for the man. He prescribed the Twenty-third Psalm five times a day for seven days. He insisted the man carry out the assignment to the letter. Upon awakening each morning, the man was to read through the psalm carefully, meditatively, and prayerfully. Immediately after breakfast, he was to do the same, then after lunch, again after dinner, and finally the last thing before going to bed. Allen gave the prescription with the confidence that it would work, because he had given out that same advice many times, and it had never failed. “That prescription sounds simple,” he wrote in his book, “but really it isn’t. The Twenty-third Psalm is one of the most powerful pieces of writing in existence, and it can do marvelous things for any person. I have suggested this to many people, and in every instance where I know it was tried, it always produced results. It can change your life in seven days.”[iii]

Now listen to the promise from Paul in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

SURELY…be convinced…take God’s word to the bank of heaven…and be convinced that there is nothing in all creation that can separate you from the love of God—found in Christ, our good Shepherd! You see, this psalm has nothing to do with us being anything but sheep! We are sheep, we are always going to be sheep. God is the action maker:  GOD is our GOOD SHEPHERD…GOD WILL LEAD US, FEED US, GUIDE US, ANOINT US, and CARE AND LOVE US…and nothing can ever separate us from our Good Shepherd–not death, not a motorhome trip from Florida to California, not covid 19. NOPE. NOTHING.

Speaking of a 2,600 mile motorhome trip,  I had some great alone, driving time! I was reminded of the first time I came to California in the summer of 1999. I came to do an interview for a church in Upland, California.  I had been interviewing with other churches at the time, in fact, I was getting close to accepting a call from a church in Boca Raton, Florida. Then the Upland church called and asked me to fly out and do an interview with them. I am going to tell you the truth, I did not want to go to California but our oldest daughter was in graduate school at BIOLA in Southern California.  The church said, “We think you’re the guy, so come and stay a week and visit your daughter on us. We only want three days of your time.” It was the week of her birthday.  I thought it was a good idea, even though I thought for sure that I was going to Boca Raton, Florida. I will tell you the church in Boca Raton called me and offered me a “signing” bonus if I did not go to California for this visit.  I told them I had given the church in Upland my word and I will fulfill my word. We landed in Ontario, CA, for our interview.  The church put us up at the Doubletree Hotel.  That next morning I was reading my Psalms, Psalm 92. I got to verses12-15, and the Holy Spirit told me to look up. Right outside my second-story, outdoor balcony were tall, majestic palm tress. I know that this will sound strange but the Holy Spirit spoke right to my heart. “How do these palm trees grow? They grow straight and point their branches to heaven.”  Then I read the next part of the Psalm 92 where it talked about the cedars of Lebanon. Again, the Holy Spirit interrupted my reading and said, “Look higher.”  It was a clear morning and you could see the cedar trees standing strong up on Mt Baldy and Cucamonga Peak.  The next part of Psalm 92 is that the righteous will be planted like those palm trees and cedar trees–in the house of the Lord … they will bear fruit even in their old age. I started weeping. What you don’t know is that I had told God a long time ago that I would go anywhere he called me to go except to Alaska, New York or California. I knew at that moment that God was calling me to California. You see, I don’t boss my shepherd. My shepherd bosses me. I don’t tell my shepherd where I will or won’t go. My shepherd finds the right pastures, and still waters for me. Following my shepherd is my job. My shepherd’s job is to lead me, protect me, guide me–all the way home.

The Final word of Psalm 23 is “forever” and it literally means “from sunrise to sunset.” What I hear is that from my first breath to my last breath, from my first sunrise to my final sunset–I am surely safe in my Good Shepherd’s care…not just yesterday, not just today, but I am safe FOREVER! (Think about that the next time you enjoy a sunrise or sunset.)

SURELY and FOREVER what wonderful words!

So What
So what do these ancient words written thousands of years ago have to do with me today?

What are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” 

I cannot guarantee what your future holds, or what mine holds.  I cannot open the palm of my hand and tell you the length of your days, or how things will work out.  I cannot tell you who you are going to marry, how many children or grandchildren you will have.  I cannot tell you if you will succeed in your business, if you will be rich or in debt.  I cannot promise that you will not have your heart broken, that you will not be hurt or suffer physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually or spiritually. I cannot tell you that you will not panic or face a pandemic. But I do know that I can trust the living words of our Good Shepherd.

What I can tell you is that you have a Good Shepherd who holds your future in His loving hands.  Listen, Psalm 139 states that you are wonderfully made. The GOD who thought you up cared so much about you that you’ve been provided a Good Shepherd to lead you home. The Good Shepherd’s goodness and mercy that this psalm talks about is the embrace of GOD around your past, your present and your future.

TAKE THAT TO THE BANK!

The LORD IS OUR SHEPHERD — that is all we need.

In this very unpredictable and unstable season, we can be secure. We have all the security we will ever need: Jesus Christ, a cross, and an empty tomb–talk about a GOOD SHEPHERD.

Join us this Sunday for our online worship service at 10 A.M. Pacific.  You can chat and offer up your prayer concerns.  The link for the online service is  — theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

If you miss the online service you can always watch our complet service or just the Sunday message on our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship

May the Lord bless you with His goodness and mercy as you go this week, and as you go each day of your wonderful life. You are loved.

God loves you and so do i,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

[ii] Guralnik, David, Editor, Webster’s New World Dictionary, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970), 1432

[iii] Allen, God’s Psychiatry,13-14

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 6/20/20

Seed of Faith – My Cup Overflows   By Pastor Dave  

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers, and Lovers of GOD:

It is my prayer that as we go through this world-wide pandemic, with it’s shutdowns, slowdowns and stay-at-home times, that we will come to know one thing: our Good Shepherd will never leave nor forsake us. Are you having a difficult day? Pick up your bible and read Psalm 23, turn on a Christian radio station. PRAISING GOD will lift your heart, mind and spirit! In our home I say, “Alexa, play Christian piano music.” It’s the background music for most of my day.

We have been in Psalm 23 for weeks now!  I think it is providential that we are walking with Good Shepherd during this season of life.  Last week, we took a few minutes to look at the first part of verse five. Today we study and learn that our Good Shepherd wants to anoint our heads with oil and have our cup overflow.

Hear the Good News!  Hear or read the promises in the LIVING WORD that God has promised us repeatedly. As I have reflect on this passage, I have asked myself a few so what questions — maybe they are for you too!

Why do we settle for little chunks of dog food when there is a great and grand Feast prepared for us? 

How often do we hold ourselves back from experiencing the wonderful, amazing, and life-changing love of Christ?  Why?  Why do we hold back? 

Have you ever thought about these things?

Have you ever stopped to ponder this part of verse five?

“You anoint my head with oil.”
I wonder if many of us miss out on the great banquet table of the Lord because we do not know, understand, or are afraid of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “In ancient Israel shepherds used oil for three purposes: to repel insects, to prevent conflicts, and to heal wounds.” Jesus gives us wonderful promises of the work and power of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John during the Upper Room Discourse found in chapters 14 through 17.  The promise of the Holy Spirit is that He will anoint us with His power.  The moment that we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the moment you say that you believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into us to dwell within us.  We are sealed with this anointing.  Have you ever tried to unseal a coat of wax from a freshly sealed floor?  How hard would it be to unseal a freshly heated road of blacktop?  The word (bible) tells us that we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. It is this promised Holy Spirit who comes to comfort us, convict us, and guide us into all truth.  The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is a gentleman and anoints us with grace to live in the present, to reconcile our past and to hope for our future. If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit has come in to dwell within you and will guide you.  My prayer is that each one of us reading this message has been anointed with the gift and the person of the Holy Spirit. If so, you have Spiritual Gifts that are important to the body of Christ. (You may not know what you Spiritual Gifts are! Our website has a FREE Spiritual Gifts test on our website … www.theseedchristianfellowship.com  Go to the website and take your Spiritual Gift test.)

It’s true: You have been anointed by the Spirit of God. I love to think of the Holy Spirit as the spiritual identical twin of Jesus, that is comforting to me.  May this holy anointing help you to repel the enemies of your soul.  May this holy anointing help you to prevent conflicts in your life.  May this holy anointing heal your wounds.  A simple prayer you can pray every morning or at any time … “Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your love. Guide me and teach me. Give me wisdom and understanding for today.  Amen”

Let us look at this portion of this verse in Psalm 23,  “my cup overflows.”
Not only is the table spread for us in the presence of our enemies, not only does the Holy Spirit anoint us with the oil of gladness to guide us, comfort us and convict us but the final promise of verse five is that we will be blessed with an overflowing cup.  In the Sacrament of Communion, we are reminded of the cup of redemption that was poured out in the blood of Christ during his crucifixion. “This cup is the cup of the new covenant poured out in my blood for the forgiveness of sin.”

Did you hear it, can I comprehend this?

This overflowing cup is the cup of forgiveness!

We are told to remember this every time we drink from the cup. We are made one (that is atonement—at one-ment) with God through the sacrifice of the Great Shepherd of the sheep who laid down His life.  This atonement (our at one-ment) takes care of our past, present, and future sin.  I believe that if you could grasp, comprehend, come to understand the idea that our cup of life is full and overflowing, that your life would change. May your cup overflow this day.

Maybe the so what question today is “How do you see your cup?” Is your cup half full or half empty!  Is your cup overflowing so much that you are drinking from the saucer? Truth is: your cup of life is overflowing with forgiveness.  Forgiveness of sin!  Forgiveness that will overflow into the lives of our enemies as we forgive them as Christ has forgiven us. I believe if we learn to live in the forgiveness of the overflowing cup for us then we will learn to become more and more forgiving of others, and we will learn to live as forgiven people.

Our cup overflows with unfailing, unending, and everlasting love.  God has loved us before we were created, and God will continue to love us throughout all eternity.  God’s love never end. and never fails. My prayer today that you will come to comprehend and, hold deeply in your heart, this overflowing cup that the Good Shepherd offers you.  If we would see this overflowing cup extended into our lives, we would be totally and radically changed. We would live our lives with a fresh kingdom view. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been made ONE with God.  Christ’s blood has filled our cup to overflowing.

So What?
So what do these ancient words written over two thousand years ago have do with us today?  Since we didn’t grow up in ancient Israel, and since most of us didn’t grow up on a sheep farm, we really don’t know much about sheep. We don’t understand about being a shepherd.   My guess is that we know a lot about computers, engineering, and education, but not about sheep.  The idea of sharing a meal is largely lost in our western culture.  In the day of David and Jesus when you were invited to share a meal, it was an invitation to dinner.  Their saying was “mikdash me-at” which literally translates intocome into my miniature sanctuary, my dining room and we will celebrate the most beautiful experience that life affords — it is called friendship.”[ii]  The invitation from the Great Shepherd is for each one of us to become friends, to come into the miniature sanctuary and sit at the banquet table prepared for us.  It is the wedding feast of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and this Great Shepherd anoints us with the power, comfort, and grace of the Holy Spirit. Best of all, there is a chair reserved just for you with your name written on it!

I am reminded of my little grandson so many years ago who wanted to play in the dog’s bowl.  Friends, we have so much more prepared for us.  Our Great Shepherd has painstakingly prepared a banquet table for each one us in the presence of our enemies.  Will you come to the table each day and allow the Holy Spirit to anoint you?  Our cup will surely overflow with forgiveness—for Christ has nailed our sin to His cross. Our debt is paid and we are forgiven. It is our turn now to begin living as a forgiven person.

There is an old hymn called “Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us”.  It is my prayer that we will allow our shepherd to lead us through the valleys of our life to the banquet table, the mikdash me-at, the miniature sanctuary of friendship with God.  God has provided for us in our past.  God is providing for us today and God will provide for us in the future.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

My closing prayer is verse two of our closing hymn.
“Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou has mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse us, and power to free us:
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Early let us return to Thee;
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Early let us return to Thee.” [iii]

Join us this Sunday online at 10 A.M. for our live interactive worship service.  You can chat with others and send your prayer concerns. the link for the live online service is theseedchristianfellowship.online.chuch

If you miss the live online service, you can always go and watch the whole service or just the message (hint) on our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship.

I have a friend who always tells me, “I’m so blessed, Dave, that I’m drinking from my saucer.” That, my friend, is my prayer for YOU!
God Loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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