#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.  

                                                                                                         #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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                                                                                                          #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!

                                                                                                                 #162 (3/14/18)

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

Please read Canticles 5:16.  From this scripture, we can deduce that the Bridegroom can be known in two ways:  a lover and a friend.  Experiencing Him as a Lover includes the emotion, the romance and the euphoria of this level of relationship.  On the other hand, knowing Him as a Friend is simply talking and communicating with Him when all the emotion is gone. On one side we experience emotion and "feeling", on the other side the "feeling" is removed.  Along with the emotion comes the glorious influence of His presence.  When the influence is taken away, we get to know Him as a Friend we can talk to.  When we learn about these two sides of Jesus, when we experience both in prayer, we then can be a friend and a lover to our own spouse. We can be joyful with the shout (emotion), and can know Him in weeping and prayer.  

Please read Matthew 11:16-19.  Notice here that Jesus was a Friend to publicans and sinners.  He was not a respecter of persons.  He didn't pick and choose who He wanted to associate with.  He was a Friend with the Father in prayer and it influenced His personal relationships with those around Him. His private communication with the Father spilled over into His public handling of the persons around Him.  Private is manifested in public.  Our affiliation with God in private has leverage with "publicans and sinners" (those who are in the sphere of our daily lives).  Being a friend with God enables us to be a friend with humanity.  Our bond with the LORD as a Friend gives us power over humanity by being their friend.  

Please read Matthew 20:9-13.  This man was rejected and accused by those who labored for him in his vineyard.  They thought him to be unjust and unfair with their wages.  Yet, in verse 13, despite their accusation and displeasure, the owner of the vineyard called one of them Friend.  He didn't accept the spirit of accusation and anger.  He maintained his courteous demeanor while being attacked.  This only happens when a bond with the LORD is cultivated on the Friend side.  Be a friend first with Jesus and then be a friend with humanity.  We, as Christians, are to lead - - - not follow.  It is easy to follow someones bad attitude when it is force-fed along with accusation.  Being a friend with the LORD allows us to lead with a pleasant attitude by showing the accuser how to be a friend with humanity.  When we are not friendly to others it is because we are not maintaining a friendship with the LORD.  We must be steadfast and faithful in prayer and being a friend with God when all the emotion and feeling is gone.  Jesus is the Supplier of all true satisfaction.  He is fully capable of meeting all the needs of the human heart.  He made the heart with all its associated emotions and He can maintain the heart by meeting and surpassing all its complex needs.  He is All in All to the emotional needs of the heart.  By neglecting our prayer we are not having our emotional needs met.  When we are not a friend with Jesus, we turn to others to meet our needs.  The speedy consequence of this is anger, dejection, and frustration.  Another human was never created to meet and fulfill our emotional needs.  Only GOD as a FRIEND can perform this duty.  People can't meet our needs; only God can!  It all starts by being a friend with the LORD; being faithful to Him when the feeling is missing.  When Israel demanded water in the wilderness, Moses took on their attitude and called them rebels.  He smote the Rock instead of speaking to it. He wanted to be loved and appreciated by Israel.  He wanted them to meet his need of acceptance and self-worth.  When he didn't get it he got angry.  We can have no friends and be angry about it. We can point the finger and exclaim how much we are not appreciated.  Unfortunately, if this is the case, the fault lies with our lack of faithful prayer and being devoted to Him when He has withdrawn the feelings.  It all starts with Him - - - our relationship with Him directly influences our associations with humanity.  

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                                                                                                          #161 (3/4/18)

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

                                                           (Note:  This is a continuation of #160 and #159, please read them first if necessary)

Please read 2Samuel 15:24-26.  David, fleeing Jerusalem ahead of Absalom, tells Zadok and Abiathar to return to Jerusalem with the Ark of God.  David, in verses 25 and 26, does not interfere with the Purposive Will of God.  He does not have a controversy with the unfolding events.  He is neither complaining nor blaming Absalom for his present situation.  His mind is focused on the LORD and what has been written in His roll for him that day.  He simply agrees to follow what the roll says and leaves any personal vindication to the LORD.  He has tranquil trust that if God wants him back in Jerusalem, it will be revealed in a subsequent roll.  

Please read 1Kings 11:28-31.  Jeroboam was apparently minding his own business when Ahijhah, the prophet of God, caught up with him and rent his garment into 12 pieces.  Shoving 10 pieces of the garment into the hands of Jeroboam, he explained that they represented 10 tribes of Israel that God had given him.  In other words, Ahijah had read the roll for Jeroboam that stated he would be given 10 tribes.  The message was clear and concise.  This is what has been written in the Plan (roll), and this is how it affects you (Jeroboam).  Now read 1Kings 12:25-29.  Verse 26 says that Jeroboam "said in his heart".  He began to consider what had happened and decided to add to the Plan (roll) given him by Ahijah the prophet.  He didn't want the people going back to Jerusalem and potentially becoming allied again with Rehoboam.  To keep this from happening, he made two calves and forced the people to sacrifice to them - - - idols.  Holding on to his kingdom was more important than leading his subjects into idolatry.  He added to the roll by introducing idolatry to Israel.  We have to be very careful not to add to the roll with our own headship.  Human headship always has a better plan that subjugates God to an irrelevant bystander.  Jeroboam made idols.  Human headship easily sweeps God out of the way and replaces Him with idols.  Instead of blessing, praising and complying with what had been written in the roll (as David did), instead of offering gratitude for 10 tribes, he subordinated God to his own headship and went into idolatry (along with the 10 tribes).  Either we are going to embrace the Name and the Plan or we are going to make an idol.  Notice where Jeroboam put his calves - - - one in Bethel and the other in Dan.  Bethel was a very special place in the days of Jacob.  Fleeing his home to get away from his murderous brother, Jacob accepted what was in the roll and surrendered to the Plan.  He stopped in Bethel and had a mighty experience with God.  While dreaming, he saw a ladder, a way to approach to the glory of heaven.  Angels were ascending and descending this ladder bringing and taking messages to God.  This was a hallowed place of prayer.  Jeroboam desecrated this holy place with his idolatry.  

We have a choice.  On the one hand, we can praise and bless the Name of the LORD throughout our day as our personal roll unfurls and gives us exactly what we have need of. Or, we can elevate our headship above that of the LORD's and go off into idolatry.  By following our own headship, we forfeit the righteousness that is in every situation, thus, we do not fabricate the white linen garment that will be revealed at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  The Wedding Garment is made from righteous works; righteous works come from blessing His Name and making it known in EVERY situation.  We must become outstanding blessers and praisers of His Name and Plan!