#171 (4/29/18 evening)                          

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

 Please read Ephesians 6:5-8.  The ultimate goal in our Christian lives is to represent Christ everywhere we go and to everyone we meet.  We are to offer hope to a lost and dying world of inhabitants who hopelessly follow the crowd toward the wide gate that leads to hell.  Somehow, someway we can reach out to those around us and let them see Christ and what He has done in us.  The "group-think" cycle is not broken until the Light of Christ shines into the ignorance of the human heart, encouraging independent thought based on the Word of God.  Jesus wants to influence those we meet by working through us and showing an opposing lifestyle that is life, light, and love.  By being a representative of Christ, we have the opportunity to display to the world around us that there is another way, a better way, a way of hope and life everlasting.  

The "chain of command", so to speak, starts with the Father and proceeds down to the Son.  Next, the master and then the servant.  In between the Son and us (servant) is the master.  We are told to be obedient to the master AS UNTO CHRIST.  The privilege of a master is to control and remove choice.  The LORD will send a master into our lives in the form of a personal circumstance which removes control and choice.  The human will tends to desperately defend itself when it is not in control and choices have ceased.  Yet, the master is the avenue upon which the human heart approaches the Son.  When we reject the master, through anger and loss of control, we reject the Son who has sent the master.  Anger causes Christians to disdain and spurn the master, thereby rejecting the Son.  If a master comes in the form of another human being, we throw him or her out on the "jerk-pile".  By regaining our control, we remove what is causing us the discomfort----throwing Jesus on the "jerk-pile".  In proper perspective, a servant has neither control nor choice.  A servant, by occupation, relinguishes both to the master.  Notice in verse 5 we are to obey the master AS UNTO CHRIST.  We are to obey the master as we would obey the Son for it is the Son who has sent us the master at the request of the Father.  He commands us to receive the master with fear and trembling.  Fear is reverential respect and trembling is a shaking, an understanding that the Originator of the master is the Son.  Respect, fear, and understanding beget obedience.  There are two types of obedience:  the LORD's obedience and the obedience of the flesh.  Please read Romans 6:16.  The LORD's obedience is unto righteousness and life.  Conversely, fleshly obedience is unto sin and death.  It is possible to obey the master out of fleshly obedience with the result of death and a poor attitude.  It is the LORD's intention that we obey because we have reverential respect and a trembling understanding that the master has been sent by God.  When we reject the master we are putting the creation above the Creator, the terrestrial above the celestial.  Fear and  trembling causes us to do the opposite, understanding that the avenue to the Son is through the master.  How many times has Jesus obeyed the Father by giving us a personal master, to be subsequently thrown out on the "jerk-pile"?  How many times has the Bridal candidate rejected and spurned the Son by angrily grasping their control and choice?  The way back to the Son and the Father is through the master.  We are to obey the master AS UNTO CHRIST.  Spoken another way, we are to use and reach past the master and accept the eternal substance that Jesus is offering us in the form of His Name.  Fear and trembling are the friends of every Christian.  


                                                                                           #170 (4/29/18)

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

Please read Ephesians 6:5-8.  The Father is ever vigilant to reach His fallen creation.  To accomplish this, He works through His Son, Who, in turn, works through Masters, and then to the servant (us).  Going the other way, the servant serves the Master, then the Son, and ultimately the Father.  A Master is someone who controls the servant.  He takes away choices by not letting the servant do as he pleases.  Yet, we are to be obedient to the masters over us as unto Christ.  A master can be a person, place, thing, or event; anything that takes away our choice and controls us.  The way back to the Son and the Father is to come through the master.  The master is the route by which we return to the Son.  The masters that are in our lives are put there by Him!  The Power to change is found in submitting to the master---as unto Christ.  Worshipping through the master allows us to have fellowship with God and His Son.  

Please read Romans 6:16.  The human heart has a tendency to reject the master when he, she, or it, causes pain, displeasure, and anger.  When he, she, or it controls the Christian heart and takes away choice, we remove the master (or try) and throw it on the dung heap as a nuisance and impediment.  When we remove these inconveniences we are actually removing God out of our way and rejecting Him.  We are told to treat these master's AS UNTO CHRIST.  Christ puts a master in our life and we are to see it as a vehicle through which we can return to the Father.  When we reject the master, we reject the Son  and the Father.  There are two types of obedience.  One is the LORD's obedience which is unto righteousness and the other is fleshly obedience unto death.  When rejecting the master, the believer is following his own fleshly obedience and sinning unto death.  Fleshly obedience leads to death, darkness, and hate.  When we embrace the master, serving and using him to become more like Jesus, we are being obedient unto righteousness.  Becoming more like the LORD, righteous, is the purpose of the master.  The seamanship of a sailor is mediocre until it is tested in a storm.  Good seamanship comes through practice when heavy seas and storms are present.  A righteous Christian comes through surrendering to the master and becoming more like Jesus  and the Father when the master controls us through a storm.  A righteous Christian is the result when obedience to the master allows him/her to reach past the master and take eternal substance out of the outstretched hand of the Son. Storms and heavy seas produce a sympathetic, understanding, compassionate, and loving Christian who influences those around him/her.   

                                                                                                          #168 (4/8/18 morning)

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

Please read Genesis 32:1-6.  This  is the story of Jacob's return to Canaan's Land after separating from Uncle Laban.  In verse six the Hebrew translation is more specific:  Esau is armed and ready for you.  Read verse 7 in the same chapter.  In English Jacob was "greatly afraid and distressed".  In Hebrew he was terrorized, troubled in his mind to the point of torment.  Now read verses 9-12.  Despite being in a state of panic and torment, Jacob began to testify of God's goodness.  Half his brain was gripped with terror, but the other half began to recite what he knew to be real about God's Nature.  It is okay to be scared and terrified while, at the same time, testifying of God's Goodness and Greatness.  We can always testify about how wonderful our LORD is regardless of what state the other half of our brain is in.  Notice in verse 11 he confessed his fear of Esau.  He told the LORD just how he felt and how things were at that moment.  He didn't mince words; he was truthful and forthright about how he felt.  

We are a threefold being:  body, soul, and spirit.   Please read Hebrews 4:12.  The soul and the spirit have been separated by sin.  At one time, before sin, the soul, body, and spirit enjoyed unity and harmony.  Now, as a result of sin, the spirit and the soul are disconnected.  God's Plan is to work from the spirit, to the soul, and then to the body.  A change will occur outwardly, in the body, when the spirit and the soul have been changed inwardly.  The LORD works to cleanse the spirit with the intent of reaching and changing the soul.  The Holy Ghost, God's Spirit, moves on the human spirit to clean it up, then the Word comes (after the spirit is clean) to change and transform the soul.  The Holy Ghost is for the spirit and the Word is for the soul.  This is why there is a set order during a church service.  First, worship and singing to get the spirit clean, then, the Word to get the soul clean.  God's intent in every service is to eventually make a change in the soul of man through the Word of God.  Please read Proverbs 20:27.  The spirit is a candlestick when, in the upright position with the lamps lit, provides light to the soul.  Experiencing and participating in the worship portion of a service, gets the candlestick raised and lit.  This paves the way for the Word to affect the soul.  The LORD searches the soul with the candle of the spirit to provide exactly what is needed.  "Getting in the Spirit" is synonymous with raising the candlestick and receiving oil and light when the lamps are lit.  When we worship God "in spirit and truth", we are involving the spirit and the soul in a unified action that brings glory to His Wonderful Name.  The Word ministers to the soul when the spirit is connected to the LORD.  

The LORD has a purpose for all the things we experience.  He wants to not only affect a change in individual hearts, but to also work through us to reach others for Him.  We are to become His ambassador, allowing Him to move and affect others through us.  Please read Genesis 33:4.  Because Jacob prayed and cleansed his spirit and soul, he had a tremendous effect on his maleficent, murderous brother.  Jacob got his spirit right---he allowed the power of God to flow through him and change Esau.  Many times we want God to change "Esau", as it were, and bypass the cleansing of our spirit.  The power to change "Esau" comes when the spirit is clean, personally, through the situation.  "Esau" will change when we tap into the power of God by dealing with self first.  Put differently, it is necessary to get the spirit right first, then the LORD can change the situation.  Esau went from murderous intent to embracing, kissing, and weeping.  The  closer he got to Jacob, the more intense the power of God became as it flowed out from Jacob.  The LORD changed him from a bull-in-a-china-shop to a crushed, weeping lamb.  All this happened because Jacob testified, prayed, and made the connection with his spirit to God.  Awesome!

                                                                                                     #169 (4/15/18 morning)

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

Please read Hebrews 1:6-7 and 13-14.  By these verses we understand that the angels are the LORD's ministering spirits of fire.  

Please read Genesis 28:10-12.  The Heavenly Father, ensconced in the Above, has no way to reach Earth except through a Mediator.  Sin has caused a great chasm that separates his beloved creation from His endearing presence.  Jacob dreamed about a ladder that extended from Earth to the Above with angels ascending and descending.  Jacob had a vision of the Son of God as the Grand Mediator between God and man.  Please read John 8:23, Matthew 6:9, and First Timothy 2:5.  Timothy tells us that the Mediatior is Christ Jesus.  The angels come to reveal the Nature of the Son of God.  Descending angels speak to mankind of the Crucified Christ and ascending angels reveal the Resurrected Christ.  Jesus, the Mediator, has a Nature of crucifixion and resurrection.  It is the ministry of the "ministering spirits of fire" to help man understand the Mediator.  Read further in Genesis 28, verses 13-15.  Notice Jacob sees the ladder and in verse 15 the LORD says, "I am with thee".  This confirms that the ladder was a picture of the Son of God.  Now, please read Philippians 3:9-10.  Brother Paul, in this epistle, has a desire to know God through crucifixion and resurrection.  Spoken another way, Paul desired to know Jesus, through his ministering spirits of fire (angels), revealing His crucifixion and resurrection.  

Crucifixion comes to push down the Old Man and resurrection comes to elevate the New Man.  God certainly used Jacob's Uncle Laban to push down his Old Man.  For 20 years he endured the dishonesty, deceit, and disingenuousness of Laban.  For 20 long years Jacob fellowshipped the sufferings of the Crucified Christ.  He was elevated in the New Man by experiencing the lessons of the angels about the Resurrected Christ.  He married Rachel and Leah.  He was given 12 sons and 1 daughter.  He left Mesopotamia a wealthy man.  

Please read Genesis 32:1-2.  In verse 2, Jacob saw the angels again and called the place Mahanaim:  a double camp.  He again saw the two hosts of angels ascending and descending.  In verse 6, the Hebrew meaning is more specific:  Esau is armed, and he is ready to come after you (Jacob).  He was terrified and gripped with intense fear of his brother.  Notice in verse 7 he divided his group into two bands.  He was out of his mind with confusion and dread, but he employed a spiritual principle.  As he had seen the angels in two groups, he divided his family and flocks in the same manner.  Jacob received this revelation after prayer.  Prayer pushed down his Old Man and lifted up his New Man to give him wisdom to employ a spiritual principle. He knew how to handle Esau after praying; he had the wisdom to employ the proper spiritual principle to overcome the rabid maleficence of his brother.  After prayer, the ministering angels of fire will give us the solution and the wisdom to handle any Esau (situation).  

Please read Genesis 33:4-7.  Esau was turned into a weeping mess upon meeting his brother.  Notice in verse 7 that Joseph and Rachel approached Esau and bowed themselves together.  Joseph was in front of Rachel to hide her stunning beauty so as not to tempt Esau.  Rachel bowed when Joseph did, behind him, to shield herself from Esau's vision.  Jacob received the wisdom to handle the situation and influenced Esau.  The LORD was able to work through him and melt a hard heart.  Don't ever stop praying for wisdom regarding Esau!  The LORD works FOR us by working THROUGH us.  Awesome!

                                                                                                              #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.