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PAY IT FORWARD – Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
Caleb was from the Israeli tribe of Issachar; a leader (Numbers 13:2, 6), He was silent in scripture for 40 years. Born to parents while his people were wandering in the wilderness. Knowing nothing but what God supplied daily to eat – manna from Heaven. Surrounded by a generation of complainers; then catapulted into the limelight. Chosen by Moses at God’s direction to go into the land of Canaan and spy out the land with eleven other leaders of the tribes of Israel.
Their instructions were to cross the land, go up into the hill country to see what the land was like and if the inhabitants were weak or strong in body and number. These spies were to learn if the cities were open or fortified, if the land was arable or harsh; with trees of fruit or not.
These twelve did all Moses instructed and brought back an enormous bunch of grapes, pomegranates and choice figs, diligently reporting all they saw and witnessed. While ten gave a negative report (Numbers 13:25-33), Caleb still is silent. But the time comes when God propels him forward saying, “We should by all means go up, for we will surely overcome it” (v30)
This stirred up a rebellion against going up as the people became filled with fear of the strength of the occupants. So incensed against Caleb and preparing to stone him, God speaks to Moses of annihilating them for their resistance. Moses intercedes in desperation and God relents. But at a great cost to the rebellious voices.
NONE OF THE RESISTERS WHO SPURNED GOD ENTER THE LONG PROMISED LAND.’ But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully’ says the Lord God, ‘I will bring him into the land which he entered and his descendants shall take possession of it’ (Numbers 14:24).
So the Israelites reluctantly decide to go up into Canaan but God is not with them and they are struck down. Then God sends a plague and everyone 20 years and up dies in the wilderness except Caleb and Joshua and the next generation of Israelites.
We don’t hear about Caleb again until the Israelites have taken the land and it is being divided up among the tribes. He is now 85 years old (Joshua 14:6-15) and comes before Joshua to remind him of God’s promise of lands. ‘So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.’
The last time we hear of Caleb is following great victories over occupiers of the land (Joshua 15:13-19. He marries a bold woman who asks for land AND springs of water to possess. Caleb grants her desires.
Caleb, a God raised leader, waits patiently 40 years then another 45 before receiving what God had promised him and put in his heart. But he did not stop there, he PAID IT FORWARD – paid the generosity of the Lord forward to his wife as he recalls the promise of the Lord concerning his descendants.
THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD
Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
Many things recorded in the Old Testament are types of the work of the Holy Spirit in the New. Many of the movements of God through His children seemed foolishness, and the messages He gave His prophets to carry, humanly speaking, seemed very foolish.
He gave Noah a plan of the ark; only one window, one door. He was a joke to his peers but He went on building and proved the wisdom of God in the end. God provided the water, more than they needed! He took those who believed Him into the ark and shut the door. The water rose, and the ark went above the treetops – as we are going one day. God is building an ark NOW, and the works of the Holy Spirit are foolishness to the people who are fighting them. (Genesis 5:32-10:1).
‘Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’ (1 Corinthians 1:25).
One time there was a great battle and the enemy had gathered like grasshoppers. God might have known there were a lot of cowards among His people and He tested them until only three hundred were left to face the battle. God can work with a few as well as many. He told Gideon to divide the men into three companies, and put a trumpet in the hand of every man, with empty pitchers and lamps within the pitchers. (Judges 7:16). God said when He gives the signal, blow the trumpets on every side of the camp and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon’ (Judges 7:18).they blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers and revealed the lamps. The enemy ran in fear of their lives and the whole army of enemy was conquered.
‘For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Jericho had great walls around it, and all the people were shut in. God told Joshua that he and his men of war should march around the city once/day for six days, seven priests bearing before the ark seven trumpets of ram’s horns; on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, the priests blowing with the trumpets, and when they made a long blast, the people were to shout, and the walls would fall down (Joshua 6). No preparation for war, only marching and blowing ram’s horns
‘We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness’ (1 Corinthians 1:23).
When these visible signs came they put the fear of God upon people. So it is with the works of the Holy Spirit. The ways of God are foolishness to the natural man.
THE BOOK KEEPER – Sunday Sermonette
by Marlene Anne Morphew
‘ and books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things that were written in the books, according to their deeds’ Revelation 20:12.
Books and THE BOOK!
The Book here is ‘the book of Life of the Lamb who was slain’ (Revelation 13:8) where even the tears of true believers are recorded (Psalm 56:8). God’s BOOK OF LIFE—the muster-roll of God—records forever all people considered righteous before God. Eternal salvation is secured for all who are written in this book. These names are not saved on the basis of their deeds but on the basis of Christ’s death on the Cross.
Revelation 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.’ This verse carries the suggestion of the possibility of someone being erased from the Book of Life. If so then to be blotted out of this book signifies a death in hell for all eternity.
Revelation 20 says the books AND the Book of Life was opened. This fulfils Daniel 7:10 who prophesied, ‘The books were opened’ at the time of final judgement. These other books appear to be books of God's remembrance, of evil and the good (Psalm 139:4) and ‘a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name’ (Malachi 3:16). In these books are those who chose to reject the Word of Christ (John 12:48), the law (Galatians 3:10) and God's eternal counsel (Psalm 139:16).
So, how then does the record of our lives contained in “the books” have a part in our judgment, if we are saved on the basis of Christ being slain? These books in contrast to THE BOOK of Life, are a reference as to what each individual has done or nor done in his/her life as a sense of being in a court of law.
John makes it clear Revelation 20:12, ‘I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Perhaps they contain enough evidence of our belonging to Christ that they function as a public confirmation of our faith and our union with Christ and show the kind of life in Christ that reveals and demonstrates the reality of faith. The reality of a changed life and union with Christ.
Neck – Sunday sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
The neck connects the head to the body; Christ to believers, joining the higher to the lower… (Colossians 1:18, 24).
Not to walk erect is not to look to higher things, that is, to those which are of heaven. ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect’ (Leviticus 26:13).
It is Isaiah 30:28 which reveals a deeper meaning. ‘His breath is like an overflowing stream which reaches to the neck , to shake nations back and forth in a sieve’ – God will deal with godless powers. God will intercept communication when spiritual good and truth are not received. ‘You have smitten the head of the house of the wicked, laying bare the foundation even to the neck ‘(Habakkuk 3:13). He will destroy all falsehood and punish the transgressors of disobedience '(Lamentations 1:14).
The neck is where Satan holds us bound in darkness until the Light of Jesus Christ sets us free. In literal terms it is the part of the body where the yoke, an emblem of labour and hardship, dependence and subjection, is borne (Deuteronomy 28:48; Jeremiah 27:8, 11, 12; 28:14; Acts 15:10). "To shake off the yoke," "to break the yoke," or "to take it off" expresses what happens when we gain our independence from Satan and take upon ourselves the yoke of Jesus, ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my load is light’ (Matthew 11:29-30).
The Lord Jesus speaks of certain persons for whom it were better to have had a millstone put around the neck and to have been drowned in the sea. The meaning is that even the most disgraceful death is still preferable to a life of evil influence upon even the little ones of God's household (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2). When the influx of good and truth is intercepted, what is evil and false is served.
Not to draw forth the neck from evil is not to allow truth to flow.
Therefore ‘Shake yourself from the dust, arise, sit down O Jerusalem open the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion' (Isaiah 52:2).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NOTE – there are many other references to the neck in the Word of God. I have only brought together some on evil and truth.
Kings and Servants – Sunday Sermonette
by Marlene Anne Morphew
In Genesis 41 we read Pharaoh of Egypt is troubled by a dream. His cupbearer had previously had some dreams and Joseph who was in prison with him at the time, interpreted them. So when the cupbearer was restored to his former position by Pharaoh he was able to tell him of Joseph’s ability. God had set up this whole situation for such a time as this.
Now Pharaohs were known to consult all kinds of manner of magicians, soothsayers and the like but when Joseph was called to interpret this dream concerning seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, Pharaoh believed him and did as Joseph recommended which placed Joseph as the chief overseer of all the land. God once again set up this situation for such as time as this, for during the famine in Israel, Joseph’s family representing all the Israelites came to Egypt begging for food and Joseph was ready to satisfy their hunger.
Many years later in Daniel we see a similar situation arise. The Israelites were at that time in bondage to the Babylonians when king Nebuchadnezzar consulted magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans, diviners who could not interpret a dream that troubled him. He hears of young Daniel and calls him ,’htell me the interpretation, in as much as none of the wise men of my kingdom is able to make known to me the interpretations, but you are able, for a spirit of the holy gods is in you.’ Again God had set up this situation and positioned Daniel for such a time as this.
In both cases, the leaders were mighty kings in the eyes of the world. In both cases worldly spirits were not able to interpret the dreams. Then why Joseph and Daniel? The secret was that the Holy Spirit was IN them. Several times in the Old Testament the Spirit comes UPON people for mighty acts but in both Joseph (Genesis 41:38) and Daniel (Daniel 5:14) the Holy Spirit was IN them, indicating the favour of God was upon these two young godly men.
And so we fast forward to the New Testament. Peter and John are baptising people with the Holy Spirit by laying on hands. Simon, a new believer who formerly practiced magic asks to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit power (Acts 8:19). Peter answers with a resounding NO and reveals Simon’s wrong motive through a word of knowledge (Acts 8:21-23).
What is the connection between Joseph, Daniel and Peter?
the Holy Spirit was IN them.
To receive the gifts of God, we need to surrender our lives to God completely, trust Him no matter what happens in our lives and act upon what he has endowed us with – the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38, ‘And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
(Inspired in part by a sermon by Brian Houston DREAMS AND VISIONS, Hillsong Sydney 4th January 2020) Posted 25-1-2020
THE STING OF DEATH - Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
Dying to our self is like the sting of a wasp. Yet the Apostle Paul explains in Romans 6:23 why it is vital we die now. Death stings because we know, whatever the immediate cause, the root cause is our sin.
Death is the wages of sin. That's what Paul means when he says in 1 Corinthians 15:56, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Death to self on this side of heaven or the final death before we take all our sin to hell. Which is the greater sting? Which causes the most suffering? Yet we fight the death to self-daily.
Yes death has a sting for sin is the cause of death. Sin caused death to arise (Genesis 3). It entered into the world by it, and is supported in its empire reign through it. It gives it its resistless power, which reaches to all sorts of persons, young and old, rich and poor, high and low, bond and free. It gives it all its bitterness, agonies, and miseries; and it is by that it does all the hurt and mischief in the world. Thus it may be compared to a sting, for its poisonous and venomous nature.
‘….and the strength of sin is the law’
Sin is a transgression of the law of God. The strength of sin, its evil nature, and all the dreadful pain of it, and sad consequences are discovered and made known by the law; the Word of God. The strength of sin through the corruption of human nature; which is tempted and provoked the more to sin, through the law's prohibition of it. The more it is forbidden, the more appealing it becomes.
All sin is committed against the great lawgiver, God Himself, who is able to save and to destroy. Sin tramples on God’s governing power and authority, which makes the transgression the more horrible.
Yet it is the very law of God and His Word which binds sin upon a man's conscience, accuses him of it, pronounces him guilty and judges him to death for it.
‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). What hope of escape from this sting?
‘Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account’ (Romans 4:8) by confessing, turning away from sin and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.