#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!

                                                                                                              #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.  

                                                                                                          #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.  

                                                                                                             #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.