#167 (4/4/18)

                                                                                             (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Mark 4:26-28.  If you may recall, we have learned in a prior lesson that a parable is a story that excludes the wise and prudent but is a gate to deeper truth to the humble and lowly.  We read that this particular parable is an explanation of the kingdom of God, or, the Bride and Bridegroom relationship.  The union is related to a seed, a blade, an ear, and a full ear by the LORD.  As a Bridegroom, the Bride learns to rely on Him to be her Provider and Protector.  She trusts His Headship and grows to know He will take care of her.  In the Mosaic Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant was a picture of the LORD's Head.  Inside the Ark were four things:  the broken tables of stone, the Torah, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.  All four items portrayed some form of brokenness.  The tables were smashed and broken by Moses.  The paper of the Torah was bruised as the pen wrote.  The manna was crushed to make bread.  Aaron's rod was also bruised when it smote the Rock.  As the mind of Christ was crushed and broken, so must be the mind of the Bride.  He wants our head crushed, broken, and bruised.  The images and idols of the human mind need to be destroyed and ground to powder.  Thoughts and ideas of how we think God should work need to be crushed and cast as dust at His feet.  The Bride is very familiar with His Head and knows it is all broken.  This bruising and crushing is for the purpose of allowing the Light and Power of Christ to shine forth through the head of the Bride.  Victory, healing, and miracles occur when we are broken and the power of God shines forth.  

Everything starts with a seed.  The ministry of the Bride is to defend the Name in little things (seeds).  We encouter many events throughout the day that allow us to defend and lift up the Name.  We should be going through these experiences proclaiming and defending Him!  First the seed and then the blade.  The blade is a picture of unity and fellowship among the Bride.  Instead of relying on fleshly fellowship to bring unity, it is better for Bridal candidates to "go on for God" and experience unity though each others' blade of truth.  The ear is for strength to continue in the Way we have been called.  The full ear is for the purpose of sharing and reproducing.  Please read Acts 1:8.  It was the intent of the LORD, for human beings, to not share the gospel until they were baptized in the Holy Ghost.  The diciples would receive power, light, a mist that would enable them to overflow and be a witness to the world.  Notice that the Holy Ghost comes first and then become a witness second.  The experience of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost would allow the diciples to overflow on the world.  The Holy Ghost would provide a mist that could soak and soften the hard, dry ground of a stony heart.  The Bride can discern what type of water a heart needs:  a mist, a dew, a small rain, or a shower.  Through wisdom, the people who surround the Bride become blessed by being near her.  The Bride, through her broken head, becomes a blessing and people are drawn to her.  The Bride has power and influence over the world; not the other way around.  It all starts with a broken, crushed head that relies on Him to take care of her.  

                                                                                                             #166 (3/28/18)

                                                                                             (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Luke 23:55 and John 20:11.  In Luke we read that "the women" followed Joseph of Arimathaea to the tomb where he lay Jesus to see the sepulchre and how His body was laid.  Included in this group of women was Mary of Magdala, known also as Mary Magdalene.  On this occasion, it was her first time standing in this spot; the last time she saw the body of Jesus.  In John we read that Mary returned to the sepulchre, the second time, and stood without weeping.  She stood, twice, in the same spot.  The emotion that caused Mary to stand outside the tomb was gratitude.  Gratitude causes us to stand firm and steadfast, like a living pillar, remembering what the LORD has done.  She went back to the place where she last saw Him and stood as a "gratitude pillar", unable to forget her miraculous deliverance.  Past miracles mingled with gratitude compelled her to return to a place of death and stand firm.  If we do not know where His resurrected body is (life), then go back to the place of death, where He was last seen, and be grateful for what He has already done.  Mary remembered and could stand in her "storm" as a pillar of steadfast gratitude.  

In verse 13 of John 20, by her response to the two angels, we can deduce that she believed the resurrection.  Her only problem was she did not understand what form He would take as a resurrected Christ.  She was looking for a body in a prone position; her image was He would still be laying down but resurrected.  Notice she had just talked to two angels, yet, her gratitude for Him far exceeded her spiritual experience of conversing with angels.  The Resurrected Christ was standing right behind her and she did not recognize Him. . . until He spoke her name.  He can be "dead" in our personal lives but standing firm in faith and gratitude for what He's already done will attract the Resurrected Christ like a magnet.  Being a pillar in the face of death draws life to our situation.  When He becomes crucified in our life we can stand in thanksgiving.  If resurrection life is elusive, go back to the last place of crucifixion and heave up gratitude for His past miracles.  Mary's only concern was Him; she was totally consumed with gratitude for the Crucified Christ.  Then the Resurrected Christ stepped into her "storm" and she realized He was, indeed, risen, just as He said.  

                                                                                                         #164 (3/18/18 evening)

                                                                                       (Note: this lesson is a continuation of #163)

We can know Jesus as a Lover and a Friend.  The human heart has a need for acceptance and approval.  As Christians, we have that need fulfilled by either the LORD or by other humans (which will eventually fail for humans cannot meet the emotional needs of another human).  By seeking the LORD in a Friend relationship, our hands are not extended outward toward humanity but, are lifted up in praise and adoration to Him.  When our needs are met through Jesus, we can be a friend despite others' rejection and accusation.  Being a friend to another is not contingent upon whether or not we are liked.  Friendship with others can flow FROM me; it doesn't have to flow from others TO me.  EVERYONE is a friend because the need for acceptance and approval has been met by being a friend with Jesus.  

Please read Matthew 22:11-12.  Not wearing a wedding garment was a deliberate insult to the King.  The act was insolent, contemptible, and disrepectful.   When in the presence of a King, proper attire is required.  The man showed his disdain for the King by being improperly dressed.  Despite all this, in verse 12, the King calls him Friend.  

Please read Matthew 26:47-50.  Jesus, the essence of the Name, the epitome of kindness and purity, the One Who knew the Father as a Friend, called His betrayer Friend. He needed someone to betray Him to the authorities so He could redeem mankind, so, indeed, Judas was a Friend.  Betrayal is an opportunity to do the will of God and fulfill your purpose on the earth.  When adversity comes, we have a tendency to close up and retreat, withdraw into ourself.  Jesus was unaffected by Judas' rejection.  In the face of His adversity, His friendship with the Father flowed out from Him and He called Judas, Friend.  Everyone is a friend because my emotional needs have been met by knowing Him as a Friend.  

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                                                                                                          #165 (3/25/18 morning)

                                                                                              (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

                                                                                              (Sermon given for a baby dedication)

Please read Matthew 5:17.  Jesus states the reason why He came to planet earth:  to fulfill the law.  Please read next Luke 2:25-27.  In order for Jesus to fulfill the law, he needed His parents help.  Jesus was totally dependent upon Mary and Joseph to bring Him to the Temple on the eighth day to be circumcised.  They assisted the Son of God in fulfilling the law.  What law?  Please read Leviticus 12:3.  The Levirate Law commanded the mother and father of a baby boy to have the newborn circumcised; Mary and Joseph obeyed the law and, in the process, helped Jesus effectuate His purpose.  A child needs a mom AND a dad to help them realize and achieve what God has purposed for them during this earthly sojourn.  It is the job of the parents to direct and train a child to love God and His people so their purpose can be accomplished.  Please read Proverbs 22:6.  The word "train" is defined as a dedication, to set apart, to lift up the hands with an offering.  Dedicating a child to the LORD is a biblical concept.  It is an act, a covenant, between the parents and God that they will train the child to serve Him and be a servant to His people.  

Parents are to make decisions for the child until they are old enough to do so on their own.  The decision-making process is lost upon the immaturity of a child.  They must LEARN from the parent how to make a decision.  A child needs the parent to teach them how to weigh right and wrong, good and evil.  Mom and Dad are in a partnership to teach and train a young mind about the LORD.  As long as the covenant is honored by the parents the LORD honors His side by putting a fence around the child.  This fence keeps evil from overwhelming the child and gives them a fighting chance to choose God when they make their own decisions.  The LORD and the parents are also in a partnership.  The fence will remain as long as the child is trained in the things of the LORD.  It is important to realize that it is the parents who keep evil away from their offspring.  Training and teaching about God have an obvious effect upon the future decisions of a young adult.  The parents decide whether or not the fence of God stays.  

 On the other hand, when the parent(s) revoke the covenant by teaching the child to do evil, the LORD removes the fence, allowing evil to influence their decisions later in life.  An example of this is the story of Baalim.  Balak hired Baalim to curse Israel but he couldn't because God had a fence around the nation to protect it from evil.  The curses coming from Baalim were turned into blessings as they prceeded out of his mouth.  Baalim told Balak how to get the fence removed so Israel could be cursed.  Make them do evil and thereby sin; then God would remove the fence.  According to history, we know that the fence was removed from around Israel; they eventually were overwhelmed by their enemies which led them into idolatry.  

We are being watched by our kids.  They learn from us how to make right decisions so it behooves the parents to be ever vigilant in their example.  Little minds are watching and learning.  

                                                                                                          #163 (3/18/18 morning)

                                                                                              (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

                                                                   (Note:  This is a continuation of #162; please read #162 if necessary)

We have learned that the LORD can be known in two ways:  As a Lover and a Friend.  Knowing Him as a Lover involves experiencing the emotional feelings of His blessed presence.  Conversely, knowing Him as a Friend means the feelings are removed and we experience Him as a Companion.  We have a tendency to base our "victory" upon the presence of emotion and feeling.   The absence of emotion and feeling does not mean there is no victory.  He has simply moved us over to the "Friend" side so we can talk and converse with Him; get to know Him further as a Companion.  

Please read Luke 14:7-10.  Notice in verse 10 He calls His Friend to come higher.  His Friend (the Bride) was sitting in her most comfortable spot; the place she felt most familliar with.  She had learned on planet earth to take the low place as a servant to Him and others.  Notice also He did not say, "Lover, come higher".  It's the Friend relationship that qualified the Bride to come higher.  The Bride must experience Jesus as a Companion and Friend.  This means she is not enamored with the emotion and feeling, but, with Him!  Please also note in verse 10 that the Bride will be the recipient of worship by those called to this event.  She has been so transformed by Him that she has become like Him, to the point where she will receive praise and worship just  like her Friend.  

Please read John 15:9-11.  Here He is presenting to us the qualities of being His Bride (Friend).  He is expecting her to be faithful, devoted, friendly with Him minus the euphoric feelings of emotion.  Simply put, keep the commandments!  The Bride is steadfast, committed, and loyal to her Wonderful Friend through prayer and staunchly walking in the light of His commandments.  Remember, no feeling does not mean no victory.  We can walk a very victorious spiritual walk, without the sway of emotion, by being unwavering in our practice of His commandments.  Jesus has NOT forsaken the human heart just because it does not "feel" Him.  He has simply moved us over to the Friend side for the purpose of knowing Him as a Comrade and Companion.  Once we understand these two types of relationship, we can move freely from side to side, as He purposes, and not accuse Him of any wrongdoing.  He desires for us to know Him BOTH as a Lover and a Friend.  We no longer engage in mental gymnastics trying to figure out where He went.  He didn't go anywhere - - - He moved us over to the Friend side!  Glory be to God!