Rewards For Faithfulness

NunI unabashedly tell anyone who asks me what my favorite book is … It’s the Bible. I have yet to find such a collection of writings that work every single time they’re applied.

Two summers ago we began a series of messages on the 119th Psalm. It appears that the psalmist shares my passion for God’s Word, as he writes time and time again the difference Scripture makes in his life.

The other thing that makes this psalm so cool to me is the organization of the 176 verses into twenty-two 8-verse segments, with each verse in a segment beginning with the the same Hebrew letter as its title. In the Hebrew language, the letters in the alphabet had their own meaning. In English an “n” is simply spelled “n.” It has no other definition or meaning. But in Hebrew the letter nun has both a spelling and a meaning. Nun is spelled nun-vav-nun (final), and it means both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness.

Look at the three Hebrew characters that spell nun. Reading right to left it tells a story and gives the meaning of the letter/word—the one who is humbled in faithfulness will be the one who stands in righteousness. The perfect example of this is Jesus, Who humbled Himself when He came to earth and to the Cross, and then was exalted by the Heavenly Father to wear the crown of righteousness (see Philippians 2:5-11 and Revelation 14:14). Paul starts this passage by calling on us to “have the same attitude as that of Jesus” (v. 5), and concludes with the call to stick with it all the way to the end (see vv. 12-13).

RewardsThe psalmist calls us to this same thing in nun (Psalm 119:105-112). The “bookend” verses say, “Your Word is a lamp for me… so my heart is set on keeping Your Word” (vv. 105 and 112). In between the psalmist commits himself to a life of humbly persevering to God’s ways, and reaps the rewards of a changed heart, the joy of the Lord, and a heritage to pass on to others.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day—and not only to me, but also TO ALL who have longed for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).

My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end (Psalm 119:112).

Rewards here (new heart, joy, heritage) AND rewards in Heaven (a crown of righteousness). How awesome is that!!

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, I will be continuing our series through Psalm 119 next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us.

A Healthy P119 Workout

P119Two summers ago I began a series of messages on Psalm 119. Since this psalm provides a pretty strenuous spiritual workout, I entitled the series The P119 Workout. I have had so many positive comments on this series, that we are continuing our workout again this summer.

The 119th Psalm is unique is several ways: it is the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses) divided into 22 eight-verse segments. Each one of these segments starts with the same Hebrew letter of that section. And this chapter is totally devoted to the life-changing power of God’s Word.

Each week we’ll look at a new 8-verse segments to learn how to apply the principles to our daily lives. I will also share some on-your-own spiritual stretches you can do following each lesson.

I am really excited to continue this series! Please join me this coming Sunday and throughout the rest of the summer at 10:30am to get spiritually fit. (And if you want to get a little head start for this week, read Psalm 119:105-112.)

4 Quotes About Witnessing Empowerment

AuthenticityThese are the quotes I shared in my message this morning as we wrapped up our series on Pentecost Power. Any of the emphasis in the quotes is mine.

“The strength of the church is not the strength of its institutions but the authenticity of its witness.” —Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

“The Pentecostal believer is to be something, not just experience something. He or she must become a living witness of Christ on earth.” —Charles Crabtree

“Your very presence should bring such a witness of the Spirit that everyone with whom you come in contact would know that you are a sent one, a light in the world, a manifestation of the Christ, and last of all, a biblical Christian.” —Smith Wigglesworth

“If I may be baptized with the Holy Spirit, I must be. If I am baptized with the Holy Spirit then will souls be saved through my instrumentality who are not so saved if I am not so baptized. If then I am not willing to pay the price of this baptism, and therefore am not so baptized, I am responsible before God for all the souls that might have been saved but were not saved through me because I was not baptized with the Holy Spirit. … There is nothing more deadly than the Gospel without the Spirit’s power. ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.’ It is awfully solemn business [witnessing] either from the pulpit or in quieter ways. It means death or life to those who hear, and whether it means death or life depends very largely on whether we do so without or with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We must be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” —R.A. Torrey

Thursdays With Oswald—Character Development

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Character Development 

     God can put a saint into a right relationship with Himself, but He cannot make him work out that relationship, the saint must do that himself. … 

     God alters our disposition, but He does not make our character. When God alters my disposition the first thing the new disposition will do is to stir up my brain to think along God’s line. As I began to think, begin to work out what God has worked in, it will become character. Character is consolidated thought. God makes me pure in heart; I must make myself pure in conduct.

From Conformed To His Image 

I like to think of the word sanctification this way: saint-ification. Through His Holy Spirit, God is making me a saint, by making it possible for me to demonstrate Christlike conduct.

Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to make a saint out of you? What’s holding you back?

(If you are in the Cedar Springs area this Sunday, I will be talking more about the Holy Spirit’s role in this saint-ification process. Please join me!)

Pentecost Power

PentecostPentecost was just a date on the calendar. A celebration that the Jewish people had observed for nearly three millennia that occurred 50 days after the Passover. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, this celebration came and went.

Until that first Pentecost after Christ’s ascension into Heaven.

On that Pentecost, a group of His followers had been in prayer for 10 days, waiting for what Jesus had promised them.

They were praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit. They were waiting for a baptism with fire. They were waiting for a special empowerment.

On that Pentecost, everything changed.

The followers of Jesus were transformed from ordinary workers into extraordinary witnesses. They received a new boldness, a deeper faith, a more profound joy, and a burning desire to take the news of Jesus to everyone.

But the best news is that Pentecost is not just a historical event of the past. Pentecost power is for every follower of Jesus Christ. Today! Right now!

Join me at Calvary Assembly of God as we learn more about the power that God has in store for our lives right now through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit.

Prayer Partners

Had a fellow pastor who is on vacation stop by Calvary Assembly of God today. One of our leaders felt led by the Holy Spirit for us to pray for them, so we gathered around this couple and prayed for God’s blessing on their lives. I ♥ my church, and I love their passion for all of the Body of Christ!

Prayer

Counter Culture

Counter Culture [web]counter culture [koun-ter kuhl-cher] noun the culture and lifestyle of those people, especially among the young, who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.

What are the “dominant values and behavior” of today? Many Christians would say that what is “dominant” today appears to be those values and behavior counter to the teaching of the Bible. Can that be true?

If that is true, then how are Christians supposed to live? Are Christians supposed to adapt or modify what we believe to match the “dominant” behavior of the day?

Actually, I believe Christians are to live out a biblical worldview, and that doing so actually makes those Christians the ones who are living true counter culture lifestyles. It is that counter culture lifestyle which pleases God and attracts others to Him.

Join me this Sunday as we explore what the Bible teaches about being counter culture.

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