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Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
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).
a victorious abundant life.
Sheep Wolves Serpents Doves
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.
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).
THE ROD - SUNDAY SERMONETTE by Marlene Anne Morphew
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).
JESUS WEPT - Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
I DON’T GIVE A FIG
Sunday Sermonette by Marlene Anne Morphew
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.
THE WAITING ROOM Sunday Sermonette
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?