The Positive Nature Of God!

The Positive Nature Of God!
Reading Psalm 23v5.

Preacher Ken Humphries

Introduction:

The Devil wants us to think negatively, not positively, about God. Why? Because when we think negatively about God then the Devil can do with us, as he will.

There are two big lies that Satan has been perpetrating ever since the Garden of Eden. The first is that God is mean, vindictive, a spoilsport whose main role in life is to keep us from being fulfilled and happy--when we step out of bounds, he takes delight in making us pay.

The second lie is that God really doesn't care what we do--probably doesn't know. And if he does, his business is to forgive us. He'll always forgive no matter what, so it really doesn't make much difference how we live and what we believe.

B. Clayton Bell, "Many Happy Returns," Preaching Today, Tape No. 135.

See: Ge 3:5; Mt 4:6; 2 Co 2:11; 11:14.

Because of those two very big lies, people get to doubting that God ever wants them to be truly happy. We have adopted, without realizing it, a negative attitude about God. Christianity has become in many a Christian mind like taking medicine to get you well. You don’t like the taste but you choke it down because it’s the only alternative to being sick.

Oh, no dear friends! What a distortion of the great goodness of our great God!

Listen to Psalm 23v5.

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

In fact, here is a text to make us feel good about God and to have a positive attitude toward Him.

At any moment in life we have the option to choose an attitude of gratitude, a posture of grace, a commitment to joy. Tim Hansel

Attitudes are capable of making the same experience either pleasant or painful. John Powell.

1. The Fullness We Have Been Given By God! Psalm 23v5a.

"Thou preparest a table before me."

That means God sets the table! Who sets the table in your house? You say, well, it depends on who's coming. If we are not to have guests Isa lets me set the breakfast bar in the kitchen. Do know what? I never get it right. When I am not looking, Isa will come behind me and change everything around. Oh, I am not supposed to notice.

But when company is coming, Isa sets the table. No longer do we have the breakfast bar but the table in the dining room with the best linen tablecloth and the best place mats. No longer the glasses we were given free for petrol coupons but out comes the crystal, not now the every day dishes but the best china. Scented candles, fresh flowers and the number one recipe. When the guests arrive, seated at the table and grace said, Isa will say, well, folks, you are very welcome, I hope you won't mind but you will just have to take us as you find us. We really do love to set the table. Why? To honour the person who is coming.

Hear what the Psalmist is saying! Jehovah, the Lord of Glory, the Shepherd and bishop of my soul; has laid a table for me in the presence of my enemies. Why? To honour me in the world in which I live, to honour me where I am.

That table is laid to meet the deepest hunger of my heart and soul!

Did you know the Bible is one great feast after another; they were always having suppers, banquets and feasts, some get-together somewhere around a meal. Think with me about a few of those times.

A. Jesus Laid A Table Of Replenishment: John 6v1-14.

That great crowd had followed him unto the hillside and listened with amazing interest to all He had to say. The story before us says Jesus told his disciples to seat that great crowd and v10 says there were about five thousand men.

And Dr. G. Campbell Morgan says if there were five thousand men you can be sure there were ten thousand women and five thousand children, at least.

We read in v5-6: "when Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to test him; for he himself knew what he should do."

He was going to lay a table of replenishment in the presence of his enemies to display His power before the people. And did He do just that? Sure He did, that day He met mental needs, physical needs; spiritual needs and bodily needs.

How could you explain that amazing episode apart from God?

My brother, my sister, what is there about your life and mine that cannot be explained apart from God? I mean, if your neighbour can explain you, you are just like them and the only difference is your religion, and that will convince nobody. But when this world sees in us a God who is supernaturally meeting our every need and continually laying a table of replenishment for us then you are going to become believable.

God is the silent partner in all, great enterprises. Abraham Lincoln.

God will inevitably appear to disappoint the man who is attempting to use him as a convenience, a prop, or a comfort for his own plans. God has never been known to disappoint the man, who is, sincerely wanting to cooperate with his own purposes. J. B. Phillips.

God demands so much that only he can supply what he demands!

Erwin W. Lutzer.

B. Jesus Laid A Table Of Restoration: John 21v3-11.

Do you recall Simon Peter cursed, swore and denied the Lord Jesus? The disciples were full of doubt and fear, Peter said, I go fishing, the others went with him, back to Galilee. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until endued with power but there they were disobedient, disconsolate, out there fishing all night, never caught a thing. Oh, boy, I've been there, have you?

Just at the lowest ebb of the night and at the dawn of the new day for these downhearted disciples, Jesus steps out of the shadows and shows himself to them on the seashore. "Have you caught anything?" he asks, "well, no!" "Why not let your nets down on the other side of the boat,” he says, they did and what do you think? No sooner had they obeyed the Lord than their nets were full. Folks, it's always that way, obedience brings His reward.

Then Peter realized it was the Lord and threw of his fisherman's cloak and threw himself into the water and made his way to shore followed by the others in the boat. When they arrived on shore, there was the Lord with a fire going. They were cold so He prepared some heat; they were hungry so He prepared some food, fish and bread. Now, the fish I can understand but where did that bread come from? I don’t know, but do you know what I hope? I hope He turned those stones into bread. You see you can be sure Satan was hanging around somewhere there, for he was the cause of all this denying, doubt and disobedience in the first place. If Jesus turned those stones into bread He was just saying to Satan, Oh, no you don’t, I'll do it my way and in my time. Every time you touch my people you bring denial, doubt, disillusionment, discouragement and defeat, but I will always be there for them and will have my table of restoration set up ready to give them what they need to start over.

My friends, you are no match for Satan, and when he wants to fight you just run to your elder Brother, who is more than a match for all the devils in hell. D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25.

C. Jesus Laid A Table Of Remembrance: Luke 22v14-20.

Just before His crucifixion Jesus spread the Passover Feast with His disciples. During that Passover Feast, Jesus turned it into a Remembrance Feast. From that time on the disciples were to make this a table of Remembrance, they were to remember the death, burial, resurrection and coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then Jesus, during that special feast, said an amazing thing.

Luke 22v18. "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

You see, following the Passover He established the beautiful ordinance which has been carried on by the Church of God for two thousand years now as a memorial of His death and suffering. This was the passing of the old covenant and the establishing of the new! Just as the earthly people of God had been faithful for all of those years in commemorating the Passover, in fact until His first coming, so he now asks His heavenly people to be faithful in commemorating the Lord's Table until His Second Coming, when He will establish His Kingdom forever. Then He says, the faithful, the overcomers, will eat and drink together with me at the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Beloved, Jesus has set a table of remembrance for all those who have a connection with the Lamb. I will not drink again until I establish the Eternal Kingdom and you reign with me. But because of who you are and because of who I am, don’t you forget, this do in remembrance of me!

In Christ we can move out of our past into a meaningful present and a breathtaking future. Erwin W. Lutzer.

The past cannot be changed, but our response to it can be.

Erwin W. Lutzer.

Sir Thomas More said, "The world does not need so much to be informed as to be reminded." So the Bible says again and again "Forget not!" and "Remember! Remember! Remember!"

Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

See: Exo 20:8; Deut 8:2; Deut 32:7; Psa 77:11; Isa 46:9; Heb 10:12; 2 Pet 1:15.

These tables are prepared for us in the midst of our enemies in order that we deepen the realization of the preciousness of our wonderful Saviour, Jesus Christ. He calls us to come together to the table of replenishment and sit down and watch Him as He does the impossible. How could He feed so many with so little? Because He's God! His sufficiency is greater by far than our need.

He calls us to come together to the table of restoration. When we are defeated, deflated, defiled and depressed, come and partake of that which he has already prepared for our restoration and live and not die.

He calls us to come together to the table of remembrance. Remember His love, remember His sacrifice, and remember His death, burial, resurrection and His coming again. And remembering, partake of the fullness we have already been given by God and enjoy being His child and live life to the full. Instead of enduring life enjoy life in Christ Jesus.

What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.

A.W. Tozer in Men Who Met God. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 1.

2. The Freshness We Have Been Given By God! Psalm 23v5a.

"Thou anointest my head with oil"

In 1989 archaeologists, digging near the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, unearthed a two thousand-year-old flask filled with oil. It may have been oil that was used to anoint the kings of Israel! The oil was made from a plant now extinct and by a process now unknown. There will never be any more oil like that. But if you had that flask and were anointed with that oil, it would mean little.

Day by day we experience that other and more significant anointing described in Psalm 23, "Thou anointest my head with oil" (KJV). Day by day God's blessings pour down upon our heads to refresh us.

Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). See: Psa 20:6, 23:5; Isa 61:3; 1 John 2:20.

What was this anointing for? Why to refresh! The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 92v10.

"But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of a wild ox; I shall be anointed with fresh oil."

Psalm 45v7.

"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

This was something very Scriptural and something very special. Just as in the Eastern home a cruse or dish of oil was placed right by the door, the purpose of which was to anoint that special guest that would arrive at your home so that during their stay with you all would be reminded of the special place that guest had in your home and that guest would be aware of the honour placed upon them.

This did not happen when the neighbour came to borrow something; it was reserved for someone very special. Like Mary and the alabaster box of ointment she used to anoint the Saviour.

I wonder if David is here referring to 1 Samuel 16v1-13. Saul's utter rejection and failure through turning aside from the Word of God is a beacon of warning to every servant of Jesus Christ. Remember it was as King that Saul was rejected; it is as servants that we may become, castaways. It is in vain when we build anything for God if we are not doing what he has told us to do.

Matt. 7v26.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

The wisdom of this world is always foolishness with God.

A. Notice The Choice Made! 1 Sam. 16v1.

"I have provided me a King"

The Amazon River is the largest river in the world. The mouth is 90 miles across. There is enough water to exceed the combined flow of the Yangtze, Mississippi, and Nile Rivers. So much water comes from the Amazon that they can detect its currents 200 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. One irony of ancient navigation is that sailors in ancient times died for lack of water--caught in windless waters of the South Atlantic. They were adrift, helpless, dying of thirst. Sometimes other ships from South America who knew the area would come alongside and call out, "What is your problem?" And they would exclaim, "Can you spare us some water? Our sailors are dying of thirst!" And from the other ship would come the cry, "just lower your buckets. You are in the mouth of the mighty Amazon River." The irony of ancient Israel and the tragedy around us today is that God, the fountain of living water, is right here and people don't recognize Him! Earl Palmer. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 242.

The first thing made clear by God to Samuel is, "I have provided me a King"

This man, who is to become King in place of the failed Saul, is God's choice.

David; was being prepared for the throne of Israel by his faithfully tending and defending his father's sheep Ch.17v34-36. In the doing of the most menial tasks, was David's preparation carried out for the most important role in the land. God may choose the foolish things of this world, but He does not choose the lazy things. What we should aim at is not promotion, but faithfulness to God. You see, personal acquaintance with Him, and devotion to His will and work is the highway to success and open reward. Don’t be afraid of your gifts and abilities being over looked because you live in some obscure sphere of life; the Lord knows who you are, where you live and how you have been allowing Him to prepare the instrument for use when He needs that special work done. Make thyself a polished shaft, and God will surely hide you in His quiver.

B. Notice The Commission Mandated! 1 Sam. 16v1.

"The Lord said unto Samuel, fill thine horn with oil and go"

Since David, the son of Jesse has become His chosen one, so He chooses the method by which this commission will be administered. God's providence's; will never contradict His purposes. He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it on until its conclusion.

Now the anointing oil for the head of David is placed in Samuel's horn at the bidding of God, so it will not be put there in vain. Neither is it in vain when the Holy Spirit fills the heart of any servant of God. Samuel went, as every servant of Christ should go, in God's name, with God's message, carrying with them the Holy Anointing Power. Do we wonder that the elders trembled at his coming v4. Listen! Listen! The true servant of God will always be a person with authority and that, the authority of God.

Anyone who opens his personality to the living Spirit takes a risk of being considerably shaken. J. B. Phillips in For This Day.

Friends, there is but one thing that gets in the way of the authority of God, disobedience! Obedience stands above all other attitudes. An obedient person does whatever God says to do. He does not compromise. If God says something, that's it, there is nothing to argue about. Now that means it's important to have God's word in our minds and hearts so that we know how to be obedient. Obedience is first amongst all right attitudes. It is the all-pervasive attitude that makes other spiritual virtues possible. Behaviour without an attitude of obedience is meaningless; internal obedience is better than any external act of worship 1 Sam. 15v22. Furthermore, obedience leads to other right spiritual attitudes.

There are of course some other important reasons for us to live obedient lives: to glorify God, to receive blessing, to be a witness to unbelievers, and to be an example of how a real Christian should live. Being obedient allows that power of God, that anointing of God to penetrate and permeate our beings so that what we do and say becomes effective.

Jesus said in Luke 6v46. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" If Jesus is Lord in your life the most right thing in the world to do is obey Him. Matt. 7v13-14.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The path of salvation is narrow, that's because; God’s Will and God’s Word confine it. We are to affirm Christ as Lord Rom.10v9-10 and submit to that Lordship which means we will be a people of power, otherwise we will be continually a weak and vacillating people without effect, no matter what we see happening in other churches and think it might work here!

Jesse made seven of his sons pass by the Man of God; but it was the Lord who would have placed a mark upon this young man for his early years that would set him apart from the other seven. You see, the Lord cannot be deceived with a man's countenance, the height of his stature or the amount of his bank balance. You see, it's with the heart man believes, so the Lord looks into his heart to see how he is. "The Lord looketh on the heart" v7. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he!

Because David was the last among them, he was the last they thought of; but the last shall be first, for nothing could proceed until David came. Paul puts it like this in 2 Cor.10v18."Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."

He who made himself of no reputation was exalted "far above all." Self-defense is often a confession of weakness and self-conceit. In the Judgement of men intellectual gifts and outward appearances are of great weight; but in the balance of God the scale goes down in favour of the humble and contrite heart.

Eliaab and Abinadab may beat their chests and stretch themselves to their full height but they cannot take the place of the shepherd boy upon whom God has set His mark and to whom God, although the lad did not know it, had called because his heart was right with Him.

"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." No amount of pretence or bribery will ever gain that which can only come through being called of God. Many in an Assembly of God's people have great gift and ability and are seen as the perfect person for a position needing filling but because they are not right with God, they are the worst choice you could make for that important task. It's not their gifts and abilities that set them apart for God, its a heart right with God, nothing more, nothing less, and most certainly nothing else.

C. Notice The Consecration Memorable! v13.

As soon as David came the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

So Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brethren."

You see David would know something of this anointing. At evening when the sheep were all gathered into the fold he would take each one and carefully examine to see if there were any tears, cuts, or flies nesting in the wool. On seeing anything of that nature he would take the oil and pour it on the sheep, bringing cleansing, curing, calming, and a caring attitude that said it all.

This consecration or anointing before his brothers and his father brought with it great power. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. David was a man after God's own heart 1 Sam.13v14 before he was anointed, but just because he was such a man he fitted into God's plan. Friends, we need not for one moment think that God is going to slot us into his plan if we stand aloof from him and his Ways, Will and Word. God's plans and purposes will never fail but God will use only men and women after his own heart in those plans and purposes. Where does that leave the rest of us, as spectators at the game with no hope of winning that coveted prize?

Isa. 40v29."To them that have no might He increaseth strength.”

The day of small things can become the life of biggest and best things. A small word spoken at the right time may set a whole life straight. A gentle smile may brighten the way for the man with a heavy load. The small bit of time with the Book and the knee bent will hallow the day's task. The still, small voice listened to may turn the world's tide. "The small in God's hand becomes big." A. J. Gordon in The Bent-Knee Time. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 18.

See: Ps 8:2; 1 Co 1:27; 2 Co 12:10.

3. The Freeness We Have Been Given By God! v5.

"My cup runneth over."

In Bible times they did not have the hotels and motels we have today. They had what were called Inns. Many of those Inns were not very respectable places for folks to stay. They were not at all clean in the physical sense nor in the moral sense, in fact they were what we would call dens of iniquity. Dear friends, I have often thought that that is one of the reasons Jesus was born in a stable. Not only was it the fulfilling of prophecy but I believe God would rather, a thousand times rather, have his son born in a stable with the smell of the animals about Him than the stench of the filth and immorality taking place inside that Inn.

But there was a law in the land in those days. That law was if you were travelling and you came to a person's home and you asked for food, it would have been unthinkable to have refused and let those people go hungry.

Now supposing strangers come to your home at evening time and you are one who abides by the law of the Land, you bring the strangers in and feed them, you have fulfilled your duty you have been respectful. Now it's time for them to travel on, but during your hospitality you have come to like your visitors, you have struck up a friendship with them and you now feel good about these people, you would like your guests to stay over rather than travel on through the night. So rather than come to them at the end of the meal and fill their cup half full, which, by the way, in the Eastern setting means it's time for you to move on. You would not have to say another word, that meant you're out of here, you would come at the end of the meal and fill their cup to the brim and allow it to run over. You were saying, my friends, you have, in our short time together, become special, I would like for you to stay dear friend!

David is saying in the Psalm, He; Jehovah; has prepared a table for me in the midst of mine enemies, giving me fullness: He: Jehovah; has anointed my head with oil and given me freshness: and now He: Jehovah; is giving to me the most precious and positive indicators of all that I am special to him, He fills my cup until it runs over, saying, Ken Humphries, whatever others may think of you or say about you, you are my special friend! Wonderful!

Listen beloved, in this life you will find all kinds of things will be said about you and maybe even said to you that hurt and don’t help one little bit. Maybe those things will be said by some of your so-called friends who call themselves Christians. Hey, Listen! Listen! Maybe you have been guilty of saying things about somebody else and causing deep hurt to others yourself even though you don’t like it one bit when it's said about you, so why not do yourself and everybody else a favour and stop it! And stop it right now!

Because listen! Listen! You have a friend that is like no other and He loves as a friend like no other can love John 15v15.

"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things I have heard of my father I have made known unto you".

Do you know why we get involved in tearing strips of each other? Because we do not really know as we should the best friend we could ever have and we don’t know the things His Father has revealed unto him.

Listen! Listen! When you hear someone tearing a strip off some other dear Christian, I challenge you dear brother or sister, withdraw from it have absolutely nothing to do with it. Now I say all of that because there is a blessing that comes to the people of God from their friendship with Jesus

Christ, which is blocked by that kind of behaviour, a blessing we need!

A. There Is An Overflowing Supply Of Forgiveness! Mark 2v9-12.

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, we never saw it on this fashion.

Two things here; Jesus not only brought wonderful forgiveness to this dear man but displayed what real forgiveness meant, by healing his body.

Listen to Martyn Lloyd Jones:

Let me put it very plainly in this way: there is no point in our saying that we believe that Christ has died for our sins, and that we believe our sins are forgiven, unless we can also say that for us old things are passed away and that all things are become new; that our outlook towards the world and its method of living is entirely changed. It is not that we are sinless, or that we are perfect, but that we have finished with that way of life. We have seen it for what it is, and we are new creatures for whom everything has become new. End Quote!

True forgiveness brings about a complete change in our function of living.

Scripture recognizes that we are not perfect. Even the Apostle Paul wrote, "Not that I have already attained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Jesus Christ. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" Phil. 3v12-14.

We all fall short of perfection--way short. Paul is teaching us, as is this message in the Gospel of Mark, it's that very imperfection that should spur us on toward the goal of having a complete change. Forgiveness brings change on the inside that should display itself on the outside.

How often we use the excuse, "well, nobody's perfect" Listen! Listen! That's walking in dangerous ground. Matthew reminds us in 5v48.

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

You are to be holy, for I am holy" 1 Peter 1v16.

It's folly to think that being imperfect somehow provides us with legitimated

excuse to exempt us from God's standard.

We have been given forgiveness that we might enjoy all the freeness of change that comes with it. Free to be like Christ! Free to have within us the mind of Christ! Free to have working daily through us the power of Christ!

I'm Free praise the Lord I'm free, to enjoy the overflow of the cup of Salvation!

B. There Is An Overflowing Supply Of Food! Matt. 15v36-38.

And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and broke them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

The verb translated here "started giving" could also be rendered "kept giving." In either case the idea is that of repeated "giving" out of the food as it was multiplied. When his basket of food was empty, a disciple would bring it back to the Lord for refilling, until all the multitudes were fed. The Lord could have miraculously distributed the food as easily as He had multiplied it. He had provided manna for the children of Israel in the wilderness fresh every morning, distributed across the entire wilderness area in which they were encamped, so that the people needed only go outside their tents and gather what was needed Exod. 16v14. But Jesus was teaching His disciples as well as feeding the multitude. He was teaching the disciples; their role was to be one of leading and feeding. Therefore because they carried out their appointed task not one went away hungry, because as we read, they all ate; and no one went away hungry, no one went away half full, all went away completely satisfied physically and spiritually. Now, here's the interesting thing! After everyone had eaten all he wanted, the disciples picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.

Now, the seven large baskets mentioned here are unlike the twelve baskets left after the feeding of the five thousand. The type of basket used at the feeding of the five thousand was a small Jewish container called a kophinos, used by an individual when travelling to carry food for one or two meals. The baskets used in the Decapolis feeding, however, were spuridas, which were distinctly Gentile and quite large. They could even hold a grown man, and indeed it was such a basket that Paul was lowered over the wall in Damascus Acts 9v25. Therefore these seven large baskets held considerably more food than the twelve small baskets used in the other feeding Matt. 14v20.

Alfred Edersheim observed "the Lord ended each phase of His ministry with a feeding. He ended his ministry in Galilee with the feeding of the five thousand. He ended the ministry in the Gentile area with the feeding of the four thousand. And he ended the Judean ministry before His death on the cross with the feeding of His own in the upper room."

What I'm saying dear folk is that when Jesus is in the feeding there is always an overflowing supply for those willing to partake. Sometimes we hear of those who say, well, I'm not so sure about all this preaching and teaching, I think a lot less would do.

Several years ago a reader of the British Weekly wrote a letter to the editor as follows: "Dear Sir! I notice that ministers seem to set a great deal of importance on their sermons and spend a great deal of time in preparing them. I have been attending services quite regularly for the past thirty years and during that time, if I estimate correctly; I have listened to no less than three thousand sermons. But, to my consternation, I discover I cannot remember a single one of them. I wonder if a minister's time might be more profitably spent on something else? Sincerely.

The letter kicked up quite an editorial storm of angry responses for weeks. The pros and cons of sermons were tossed back and forth until; finally, one letter ended the debate. This letter said, "My Dear Sir: I have been married for thirty years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals--mostly of my wife's cooking. Suddenly I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet, I received nourishment from every one of them. I have the distinct impression that without them I would have starved to death long ago. Sincerely.

James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 350.

C. There Is An Overflowing Supply Of Faith! Heb 11v1.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".

What is faith anyway? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for!

Faith transports God's promises into the present tense. In other words, real faith implicitly takes God at His Word. Faith is a supernatural confidence in--and therefore reliance on--the One who has made the promises. It is not an uncertain hope for something that may come to pass in a vague, indefinite hereafter. It is a trust that brings absolute here-and-now certainty to "things hoped for."

What is faith anyway? Faith is the conviction of things not seen!

This parallel phrase carries the same truth even further. Conviction implies a deeper manifestation of the inward assurance. People of faith are prepared to live out their belief. Their lives reflect a commitment to what their minds and hearts are assured is true. They are so sure of promises and blessing that they behave as if those promises were already realized. Heb.11v7-13 and Rom.4v17-21.

Do you know beloved why most of us do not receive lavishly from the hand of God? (And if that sounds provocative it's meant to be, so that you will receive your cup full and running over). The reason many of us do not receive of God lavishly is because when God fills our cup to running over we stop the overflow. How? By getting a bigger and better cup! They are not going to let what God gives them overflow to others; they want to dig in and keep it all.

Do you recall the man who had increased greatly in his reaping from what he had sown, He had worked hard, had been a wise planner, had been fruitful.

What on earth was wrong with that? Not a thing in the wide world! It was what he was about to do with it was the problem. He was going to store it, and that was wise too, what he was not going to do, was share it. I have worked hard, I have been wise in my planning, I will enjoy my gain, I will say to my soul, you have!!!!!!!!!!! No! God had!!!!!!!!!!! Beloved, whatever we have sown it is God who gives the increase!!!!!!!!!!! And God wants, so that we may receive all the more, that we share what He has given us with others.

Oh! Friends! You have freely received, therefore freely give to others whom God lays upon your heart to give and withhold not. Be a blessing to someone today of what you have received from the hand of the Lord, He is no man's debtor!!

His love has no limit
His grace knows no measure
His power has no boundaries
Known unto man
For out of the infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

What do we have from our Sovereign, Shepherd, Saviour, Friend?
We have Fullness: He Prepares a Table!
We have Freshness: He Anoints my Head!
We have Freeness: He Fills my cup Full to Running Over!

Don’t you let the devil get you thinking negatively about God!

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