BLOGS -
Would you like to receive a copy of Marlene's weekly Sermonettes? Contact her through the contact page. Sermonettes are not to be sold and credit is to be given to author and website when utilised. Feedback welcome. 


SHAMGAR: Power of One –
Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au

Imagine your name is Shamgar. You are a judge for Israel at a low period of history of God’s people when true spiritual roads were abandoned with travellers taking their own winding paths and village life collapsing (Judges 5:6).  

You are known by one miraculous feat during one Old Testament battle for killing ‘600 Philistines with an ox goad' (Judges 3:31). You do not have a spear or sword in your hand but you use what you have; a sharp pointed ox goad.  
Israel’s enemies, the Philistines are making inroads into Israeli territory for the purpose of plunder, like foxes in a hen house. You pick up what weapon is at hand and lead a rising to free the land from the oppressors.  
______________________________________________________________  
In modern Israel, the ploughman still carries his goad, a farming implement of up to ten feet long, to guide or spur livestock, especially oxen. A weapon more fitted for the hand of the soldier than the peaceful husbandman. At one end an iron spear, and at the other a piece of the same metal flattened. One can well understand how a warrior might use such a weapon with effect in the battle-field. 
One man brave enough to step forward in faith. One instrument and Almighty God. The Power of God is enough if we use what we have been given. The power of God will motivate us to action that brings results far beyond what we imagine or dreamed.  
Shamgar’s actions and belief in the God of Israel are a forerunner to David killing Goliath; ‘For the battle is the Lord’s’ (1 Samuel 17:47)  and reflects Ecclesiastes 12:11, ‘tthe words of he wise are like goads’….they are given by the one Shepherd. ‘ 
If we only do what we are able in our own strength we do not live
a victorious abundant life.  
We need to be willing to allow God to do the impossible through us. 
God is continually wielding an ox-goad against believer’s enemies. He is continually using men and women with faith and courage enough to step out. He promises He will show us great and mighty things (Jeremiah 33:3) if we would call upon Him. He continually places in our hands, gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit to get the job done, to protect His people and establish His Kingdom on earth.  
Shamgar demonstrates the power of one who believes in the God of the impossible (Matthew 19L26; Luke 1:37). 
Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father’ (John 14:12) 
Posted 7-12-19
_____________________________________________________________________

 Sheep Wolves Serpents Doves 

Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au 

Matthew 10:16: ‘Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.’  

Basically we are to be as clever as the devil and as good hearted and intentioned as God in  witnessing. Ooh I can hear some reading this saying to themselves, wait a minute I don’t want anything to do with the devil. Here the Lord is not saying get involved with the devil but he is recognising that the devil does have superior intelligence and we need to not be ignorant of this fact (Ezekiel 28:11-13).  

The following verses in Matthew 10 (17-31) indicate Jesus is sending his disciples out knowing that we will be treated like wolves treat sheep. He is acknowledging vulnerability, not stupidity. He counters with saying be wise as serpents; get out of the way quickly.  

These verses are about believers sharing faith; witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus knows the nature of these four creatures because he created them and the mission appears to be impossible; something we cannot do by ourselves. 

This is why believers need the Holy Spirit. 

Sheep appear harmless, non-threatening. Wolves are intimidating and apt to attack. So, yes, go among wolves and be vulnerable as the gospel is preached, but when they lunge at you, step aside, especially if you see a pack approaching. When they open their mouths, don’t jump in, argue and dialogue. ‘But shun foolish controversies and generalities and strife and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.’ (Titus 3:9).  

And not only that, be as innocent as doves. Don’t give them any legitimate reason to accuse you of injustice or immorality. Keep your reputation clean. Both the snake intelligence and the dove innocence are designed to keep the sheep out of trouble. It takes prayer and effort to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves; striking a balance of the truth with the tender-heartedness of love.  
Jesus was aware of the dangers and hardships his apostles, and later his disciples, would face as they lived by faith. He did not hide it from them. He wanted them and all believers who would follow to know what we were getting ourselves into. He wanted us to know of the blessings and riches that would become ours in the Kingdom, but he also wanted us to know the difficulties we would face on our way.   
The good news. The stone has been rolled away. When Jesus rose from the grave the stone had to be removed first. He has done this for us. He has cleared the way before us so he could say, ‘behold I send you out’.

Posted 30-11-19

___________________________________________

 


THE ROD - SUNDAY SERMONETTE by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au 

Numbers 17:6, ‘Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and all their leaders gave him a rod a piece, for each leader according to their father’s households, twelve rods, with the rod of Aaron among their rods.’  
In the culture of the Israelites, the rod was a natural symbol of authority, as the tool used by the shepherd to correct and guide his flock (Psalm 23:4). 
Along with Moses's rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt that preceded the Exodus (Exodus 4:1-5, 7:19; 8:5, 16; Numbers 20:11). When Moses and Aaron appear before the pharaoh Aaron's rod is transformed into a serpent. The pharaoh's sorcerers transform their own rods into serpents, but Aaron’s swallows them (Exodus 7:8-10).  
                          Satan’s limited powers are no match for God. 
The most relevant story of Aaron’s rod for today begins with a few of the Levites becoming disgruntled about the extra authority given to Moses and Aaron. In Numbers 16, Korah, who was also a Levite, joined with two others to start a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Because of this defiance of the Lord’s authority, God caused the earth to open up and swallow these three men and their families (verses 28–33). 
Foolishly, rather than submit to the Lord, the other tribal leaders joined the revolt (Numbers 16:41) muttering against Moses and Aaron. The Lord desired to wipe out the whole company, but Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and pleaded with Him not to destroy them. God relented and, instead, sent a plague throughout the company of rebellious Israel; but the plague killed 14,700 (verse 49). 
To put an end to the unrest, God once again used Aaron’s rod for a miracle. God commanded Moses to have the leader of each tribe of Israel bring his rod or staff with his name inscribed on it, to the tent of meeting. The Lord told Moses, ‘Buds will sprout on the staff belonging to the man I choose. Then I will finally put an end to the people’s murmuring and complaining against you’ (Numbers 17:5). They left their rods before the Lord, and in the morning Aaron’s staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds (verse 8); a clear demonstration of the power of the One who gives life. And as evidence of the exclusive right to the priesthood of the tribe of Levi (Hebrews 9:4).  
                     The Rod – a testimony and warning against any rebellion 
Aaron’s rod was also a reminder; a warning. God does not ignore rebellion against Himself or His chosen representatives on earth.  
(1 Corinthians 10:9-11). ‘Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction….’. Those who murmur, complain, and cause division within the Body of Christ are to be rebuked (James 5:9; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 2:23).  
God’s plans on this earth are far beyond any single human being. He desires that we work together, to obey Him and reflect His glory.
Posted 23-11-19
_________________________________________________________________________
 
 

HIDDEN REEFS – Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au

When the book of Jude in the Word of God was written, there were many heretics and distortions of the Christian faith as there seems to be today over 2000 years later! People who profess to be a Christian but refuse to accept correct doctrine.

This half-brother of Jesus is warning the ungodly. He appeals to believers in Jesus Christ to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints’ (v3). 

He leads his readers to three strong examples from the Word which led to eternal fire, ‘for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever’(v6).

1. The Israelites died in the wilderness even after being delivered from bondage in Egypt – because they did not believe (Numbers 14:29).
2. Angels who did not keep their own domain but chose to follow the rebellious angel, Satan (Revelation 12:7-9).
3. The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the cities around them were destroyed from indulging in gross immorality (Genesis 19).

Disobedience among those who profess to know God yet do the same and rebel against their Creator God, will meet the same end. They who go the way of Cain, who murdered his brother (Genesis 4:1-16), make the same mistake as Balaam (Numbers 22) and rebel against anointed spiritual leaders will perish like the sons of Korah who challenged Moses leadership (Numbers 16) according to Jude.
Describing these souls: (v11-19)
• Like hidden reefs causing others to shipwreck
• Like clouds without water
• Having no fear of the Lord
• Carried every way by invisible winds; unstable
• Trees without fruit
• Like wild waves of the sea carrying their own shame 
• Like foam on the seashore
• Like wandering stars; aimless
• Grumblers, finding fault, ungrateful
• Following after their own lusts
• Flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage
• Mockers, causing divisions
• Worldly minded and worst of all

• DEVOID OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Finally Jude encourages true believers to: (v20-23)
Build yourselves up in the holy faith
Pray in the Spirit of God
Keep yourselves in the love of God

Wait patiently for the coming of eternal life (in heaven)
Show mercy to the doubter
Help the weak back onto the true path
But he warns – have nothing to do with those following after their own flesh

‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of  His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen’ (v24-25).

Posted 16th November 2019
_______________________________________________________________________

 

JESUS WEPT  - Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
ruastyalang@westnet.com.au
 

Twice in John 11 is written, ‘a certain man’ and ‘the man who was dead’. 
Twice Jesus asks Martha, ‘If you believe’. 
Twice Jesus is told, ‘if you were here Lazarus would not have died.’ 
Twice it is written ‘Jesus was deeply moved’. 
It is easy to assume Jesus as fully human was deeply grieved that His friend, Lazarus, had died. But when you read this chapter with the heart of the Father, the eyes of Jesus and the ears of the Holy Spirit we begin to understand the deeper spiritual event recorded here. 
Jesus is drawing attention to the power of resurrection life in the Spirit of God from the Father in heaven that is coming for all who believe. 
He wept for the helplessness of man without the Holy Spirit.  
He wept because He knew He would not always be present in the flesh. 
He wept because he knew he had to leave this earth so others would have the Holy Spirit power. 
Jesus wept because people lacked the faith to exercise the same power and authority he had. 
He wept because death was necessary to have resurrection life. 
He wept too for the ignorance of God’s people, the Jews.  
He wept floods of tears at sin in the world. 
He did not weep for His own loss as the religious visitors assumed. Jesus thoughts were always with others. He knew His death was the only way to bring full salvation to mankind; to live an abundant life through resurrection power. 
When Martha went to meet Jesus on the road as He was coming to her house, Jesus said, ‘ I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. “Do you believe this?” Martha said to Him, “Yes Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 
In this passage Martha makes the declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the first person to state this (though later Peter did also) – the Messiah, the One who would come and save His people.  
This is not only a passage about raising someone from the dead, marvellous and awesome as the miracle is. It is a grand lesson on what was to come. It demonstrated to man who believes we will have the same power and will be raised out of darkness into new life. 
When Jesus says ‘unbind him’ – here we see the new birth in faith. We come from death to life to be delivered from all the past trappings and cultural bindings. 
Yes, Jesus wept. 
Posted 9-11-19
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 

 I DON’T GIVE A FIG

 Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew

rustyalang@westnet.com.au

In the vision, as I spoke out the Gospel message, I heard a whisper from the back of the crowd. “I Don’t Give a Fig”. Thinking the person had not been heard, but my spiritual antennae picked it up loud and clear. 

This contemptable saying told me what was being said was not important to this person. So I stopped, knowing this person was important to God, and looking directly at him, “God does”, I said. 

Picking up his direction of thought, I told him, figs appear 24 times in the Old Testament and 16 in the New. By this time I had his attention and with smiles from many of the crowd I went closer to him. The Holy Spirit held him firm in his stance as everyone else faded into a distant fog. There I preached to him as though he were the only person on earth. 

I told him the fig tree along with the Pomegranate are prevalent in Israel and Israeli history. It appears in the first book of the Word of God and the last. It appears in the historical book Judges and even in a hymn of the wonderful works of the Lord God on behalf of His people and the prophet Isaiah included it in an end times prophecy.

But then I told him, there was a time Jesus was walking along a road and becoming hungry He saw a fig tree. Expecting fruit when He approached but it only had leaves. Since it was all show and no produce, He said, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.’ And at once the fig tree withered. Demonstrating God has all power and as a sign for the judgement to come. 

In the vision, I turned and walked away with these words echoing in his ears. “Time and opportunity happen to everyone. We don’t always control the events that can happen to us with the rush of everyday life. .”  Looking back I saw the person still standing where he was, then falling on his knees, weeping in deep conviction. The Holy Spirit had breathed on him.

_____________________

‘Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water become fresh. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.’ 

References: Genesis 3:7, Judges 9:10-11, Psalm 105:33, Proverbs 27:18, Ecclesiastes 9:11, Isaiah 34:4, Matthew 21:19-21; 24:32, James 3:1, Revelation 6:13. 

Posted 2-11-19 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 


 THE WAITING ROOM Sunday Sermonette

by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au

You received a word from God?. And now He is making you wait in transition and you want another word. But what did you do with the last word you received?

Waiting can be hard work (Psalm 27:4). The frustration mounts. We don’t like delays. We want every promise NOW. Every blessing NOW. Every prayer answered NOW. We expect our plans to be fulfilled NOW. Our goals met NOW. And when this does not happen we chase after another word from God; a sign of our own choosing. 

But God’s time table is not as ours. He is not bound by the hours on the clock or the days in a week. God is expecting us to carry that word to a time of birthing. 

DON’T WASTE THE WAIT TIME

Unproductive ways hinder His word being formed in us (John 15:8). Pray for that word. Prepare for the next step. Speak faith over that word. Speak the language of heaven over that word. The waiting time is not passive. Reveal you value that word as you are tested on your willingness to act in faith and obedience. Don’t let natural, demonic, destructive unbelief steal that word. Study the WORD.

     The level of preparation will determine your next level of influence.

Zacharias and Elizabeth, a barren couple wanted a child desperately. The angel Gabriel visited the husband and told him they would have a son, what his role would be in history and even his name. What did Zacharias do? He questioned the angel. He did not receive the word of the Lord in faith. The result was he became mute. Why? He was not ready, not prepared to carry the word to its birthing time. His thoughts would not be spoken out his mouth to others, he would be mute for the entire gestation period. 

When the promised child was born, Elizabeth wanted to name the child after his father but at that moment Zacharias mouth was opened, he said, the child would be called John, the forerunner for Jesus the Messiah coming to earth (Luke 1). 

Zacharias received a word from the Lord but he needed to be prepared to carry it. From a fearful and feeble faith man to a man of great faith and bold voice. During his silent waiting time, Zacharias was changed, transformed and matured in his faith. Instead of fear and uncertainty, ‘…..his (John’s) father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied.’

                                            Don’t get shipwrecked in your season of delay.

(Isaiah 54:2-3). Let the Holy Spirit grow your heart, widen your vision, firm up your foundations to spread to the right and the left in due season; at the birth of God’s word growing within you (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Let the Lord build a firm, unshakable resolve in your heart. He is deepening your trust; your intimacy with Him. 

The whole earth is pregnant with waiting for the return of Jesus. "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8b). For faith is believing in the unseen (Hebrews 11:1-2).

Posted 19-10-19
_____________________________________________________________________


CYRUS – Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
rustyalang@westnet.com.au

Isaiah 45:9, ‘Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” or the thing you are making say, “He has no hands”’?

530 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s people, the Israelites, were in captivity in Babylon due to their rebellious ways. Cyrus, the king of Persia, was the monarch under whom the Babylonian captivity ended. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and any Jews who wanted might return to their land for this purpose.

Cyrus was a great military leader and led several military campaigns against the most powerful kingdoms of the time, including Media, Lydia, and Babylonia. 

Cyrus was relatively liberal. While he himself ruled according to an ancient Persian religion and beliefs, he made no attempt to impose his beliefs on the people of his subject territories. The Jews benefited greatly from this. Many who followed this religion later fled Muslim persecution in Iran by immigrating to India. 
 
According to historical records, Cyrus met an untimely death on the battle field. He was killed by armies of a woman who were defending an attack by Cyrus. Tomyris ruled an Iranian people from a pastoral-Nomadic group of central Asia, in parts of the modern-day Turkmenistan. When it was over, Tomyris ordered the body of Cyrus brought to her, then decapitated him and dipped his head in a vessel of blood in a symbolic gesture of revenge for the death of her son, who apparently died in the battle
.
 
In Isaiah 45:1-7, we learn several important facts about Cyrus. He was chosen by God and anointed by Him to subdue nations. God opened doors before him that no one could shut. God even mentions revealing deeper revelations of Himself to Cyrus.. ‘treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places in order that you may know it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.’ Why? He did this, ‘For the sake of Jacob, My servant and Israel My chosen one.’  

God says twice that Cyrus did not know Him yet he was used mightily by Him for the sake of His own people, the Israelites. ‘I have given you a title of honour though you have not known Me’. This place of honour was inclusion in the WORD of God.

God uses people who do not know Him to perform His will. Who are we to argue with God whom He wants to honour and use to fulfil His plans?  

Posted 12-10-19
________________________________________________________________________