Gems among Gems - Canadian convention, 2002

The covering Adam and Eve provided for their sin wasn't perfect--it couldn't cover their shame of consciousness of sin. Fig leaves look like a good covering but there was no comfort in them.

Psalms 92. We need to give thanks to God every morning. Verse 12-“the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.” (It grows upright and is always green) and a cedar tree (very fragrant).

On the Mt. Of Transfiguration:  Moses represents all God's people who died in Christ; Elijah represents all God's people who will be living when Christ returns (Elijah never died--he was caught up). Moses represents the old law; Elijah represents the prophets--they disappeared and the disciples saw Jesus only. The New Testament ministry teaches Jesus only.

A city in northern Europe wanted to show their people what the tropics were like. They researched, planned and planted a tropical garden. They had the heat and the water. They had a man at the door to make sure that the door to the outside was closed. They brought in the plants, but soon they were dying. After some research they realized that every time the door opened, there was a blast of cold air that came in and it affected the conditions in the garden. So, they built a corridor with another door at the end and another man who would guard that door to make sure it was kept closed. The garden thrived and soon they were able to allow visitors to see it. We are in this cold, evil, dark world, but are expected to display fruit that belongs to another climate--heavenly. We can do it if we take care of three essential things:  1) keep a constant supply of fresh water, 2) Have a warm heart and 3) keep separated, that is, keep the outside, outside and the inside, inside. If the outside gets in, we won't have fruit to display. Some in the Bible lived in worse circumstances, but produced fruit. Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, Jesus in Nazareth--they leave us all without excuse.

David had three important connections in his life:  connection with heaven and nothing hindered him form praying, connection with the word of God that gave him understanding and enlightenment, and he kept separated from what was around him.

God is still performing miracles. Just because we don't see them doesn't mean they aren't happening. Are we too busy or too hopeless or our heart too hard to see them in others or in ourselves?

In families there are misunderstandings, mistakes, faults and failures. Don't let these little things destroy fellowship.

Jesus spoke about the first being last and the last first.  Matthew 19 the rich young ruler--he was a Jewish minister and was told, to be right, he had to give away all that he had. Peter asked about those that had left all. People looking at the disciples would have thought that they would have great reward because of all they left. Jesus corrected human thinking and attitude. No one in God's kingdom is at a disadvantage. Those who leave the poorest circumstances have opportunity to be first. God bases reward on faithfulness. Matthew 20 The parable of the vineyard--All were called into the vineyard to labor. Human reasoning is that the longer one labors the more they should receive. Our reward will have nothing to do with the length of time we serve Him. Those with the least time have equal opportunity. Luke 21 the widow cast in more than they all. God doesn't look at what is given, but what it cost. The poorest soul in the land has equal opportunity with the richest. People with money have an advantage in this world, but not before God. Luke 2:29-30 Jesus a light to the Gentiles and the Jews. Nationality has no advantage with God. Our reward will depend upon our fruitfulness not how much we leave behind, not how long we've served, and not how much we give or what nationality we are.

There is close connection between praise and performing our vows. Praise needs to be more than words. One of the highest forms of praise that satisfies God's longing, is to be true to the vows we have made. Why do we praise God?  Psalms 65:2 we have a God who hears prayers. Verse 3 Wonderful provision that God has made that our sins and iniquities can be purged away. It isn't possible for the blood of bulls and goats to give remission of sins, only the precious blood of Jesus. Verse 4 We have been chosen. Paul never ceased to marvel that God would call someone with a past like his.

God's way is a way of rest; our way is a way of struggle, resistance and complaining.

Revelations 21 John was a prisoner and every door was closed until he looked up and a door was open into heaven. We can be in a place where we feel very restricted everywhere we look, but look up into heaven. See how things look from where God stands.

Repentance: We don't have to worry about our past catching up to us.

Repentance closes the door to failure and opens the door to hope.

If you find God's people and look to their leader you will find Christ. You'll find a people who love one another, a ministry that cares, a way that works and a peace that satisfies.

Our fears. A lot of a child's fears are imagination. Doubts create fears. Some of Adam's first words were, "'I was afraid.”  He didn't know God's provision for sin. Genesis 32 Isaac feared Esau--we fear our human nature. It caused him to pray. God didn't make him stronger, but weaker. He went out to face Esau with a spirit of love, humility and meekness. Proverbs 29:2 Fear of man brings a snare--we get ourselves into bondage. 1 Samuel 21 David feared Saul and Achish king of Gath. He wrote Psalms 34 in which he speaks a lot about fear. To fear God is a safe course. “He delivered me from all fear.”  Mark 10:32 Disciples were afraid of the future and the unknown. Jesus understood and drew them near and told them things that calmed their fears. Jesus' last night of his life (sorrow unto death), but he wasn't afraid because He was doing the will of His Father--though it meant suffering and death. May we have a deeper trust in God that will calm our fears.

What am I thinking? Bitterness comes from wrong thoughts, i.e. self-pity. Thoughts of foolishness is sin. Take care of our thoughts before they ever get to our hearts. Every thought that opposes, i.e. unrighteousness, self-righteousness, etc., is sin. Jesus struggled with his thoughts but He never let them get into His heart. Thoughts sneak in but they don't sneak out. How much damage they do depends on how long they stay.

A sign read, “Beware this is an accident prone area.” Every time we are on the street there is an occasion for an accident, but there was something special about this area. Jesus gave warning signs:  Beware, Take Heed. There are some areas in the journey where we need to be extra careful.  1) Mark 4:24 "Take heed what you hear."  The first accident in the Bible was with Adam and Eve because they didn't take heed to what she heard. The Devil contradicted what God said, and it appealed to her. As we listen, God will try to put precious thoughts into our hearts and a voice will be trying to tell us, “It isn't important for today.”  2) Luke 8:18 Take heed how you hear. We need to be careful what seeds we allow to be sown and the condition of our heart. Some will leave convention a different person--changed and altered because a miracle was worked. How we hear--our attitude toward the word of God.  3) Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourself when men trespass against you.”   Jesus didn't say beware of he who is trespassing, but beware of yourself. In a zoo a sign above a door said, “Open the door to see the cruelest animal.”  There was a mirror inside. No one can make me loose everything spiritual, but my reaction can. We need to react in the right way. Mark 13:9 refers to persecution that will come from the outside world when we are standing for what is right. Rejoice, because it could add to our reward in heaven. Daniel's three friends got their promotion from standing upright and not bowing before the image. We will get our promotion from pleasing God, not man. God stood by them.  4) Luke 11:35 “Take heed that the light that is in you is not darkness.” So often we think that what we think/feel must be right. We can't trust our feelings or thoughts. In Jesus was life and that life was the light of the world--The standard we should use to determine if something is right or wrong. There is no limit to wrong or false answers. The world is full of wrong teachers and doctrines. There are three possibilities when we come up with two different answers. You might be right and I wrong, you wrong and I'm right, or we are both wrong--it's impossible for both to be right.  5) Luke 12:1 “Beware of the leaven of hypocrisy.”  Hypocrisy is like leaven. A little yogurt in a pan of milk seems like a very small amount. Set it aside and it starts to work, and then it changes the whole thing. It doesn't look or taste like milk anymore--it isn't milk. Three things about little things--doesn't seem very important, easy to hide and they don't stay little, they grow. What didn't matter last year or could be hidden are evident this year. Be careful of thoughts, tendencies and desires. Hypocrisy is pretending.  6) Luke 12:15 Take heed and beware of covetousness. When I see something I like, a voice inside me says, “I want that.” Good to covet earnestly the best gifts.  7) Mark 15:33 Take heed, watch and pray for ye know not when the Son of Man cometh. It is safe to have one person drive, but dangerous when two people want to take control of the wheel. “One in heart and mind and purpose, give him absolute control” is the way to get through life without an accident.

Jesus learned through obedience, but we often learn from disobedience.

Some people are so happy serving God and others are struggling--the difference is their willingness.

Three conditions for discipleship:  1) deny ourselves and follow Jesus.  2) except a man hate (love less) father, mother etc he cannot be my disciple.  3) forsake all he has. Law of fellowship: Jesus--owner, possessor, Lord.

God allows and arranges situations to bring about changes. Joseph in the pit didn't lose his testimony, in the dungeon he didn't lose his faith; in Pharaoh's house he didn't lose his head. God allows these experiences so he could be the savior of a nation.

Joseph was a type of Jesus the savior. Moses was a type of Jesus as a mediator. Elihu was a type of the ministry who was close to God and spoke and then God was able to speak. Jonah was a type of the resurrected Christ.

Worship. Hebrew definition: “Bow oneself down.”  Greek definition: to “kiss the feet of.”  True worshipping is within the reach of everyone. Abraham and Isaac were two true worshippers. Job bowed to what God allowed.

Ox in the yoke: in accepting the yoke the Ox is willing for the Master's mind to control its mind and body.

God will lead us beyond our comfort zone. Luke 13:33 danger ahead but Jesus said I must journey today and tomorrow--going on beyond what is comfortable and familiar.

When something is fixed there is no bargaining. David's heart was fixed. We can be a help and useful in any situation if our heart is fixed on things above.

Calvary or nothing. It was not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. Micah 6:6-7 the answer to all the sacrifice was “not enough.” God accepted the whole burnt offering only as a type. One olive tree produces about 25 gallons of oil. It would take many trees to produce 10,000 rivers of oil, but it wasn't enough. Giving the firstborn wasn't enough. God stayed Abraham's hand because Isaac had sinned and his sacrifice wasn't enough. Human sacrifice is an abomination to God. Fruit of the body is the whole family, but it wasn't enough. Calvary for all time. Calvary for all people. Jesus died for sinners. Matthew 29:18 unlimited commission. Acts 1:8 gospel to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Purpose of Calvary? We do not believe in salvation by works but "salvation that works.” We'll be judged by our works. We don't work for salvation, but because of salvation.  1) Redemption--sin separates us from God, but redemption reconciles us.  2) Deliverance from the power of darkness Galatians 1:4.  3) Our cleansing. Three kinds in Psalms 51 wash, cleanse and purge (deep inner cleansing).  4) Unity Ephesians 2:12-16 we are brought into fellowship by the blood of Jesus.

Students practiced to perform a play perfectly. Afterwards they were sorry for all their mistakes, but it didn't matter because they'd done their best. Matthew 25 All slumbered and slept, even the wise. Though they had slept they had done their best and the door was open to them. The foolish made mistakes too, but they weren't trying as hard. Just because we make mistake, we aren't to lower the standard--just look to Jesus.

The voice of God softens our hearts. No other voice can comfort, strengthen or give hope like the voice of God.

Mark 4:30, Matthew 13:23, Luke 8:15 receive it, understand it and keep it. Receive God like a child that is happy. God wants to give us a personal message. Do we gladly receive it or say, “I don't want it.” Understand it--concentrate on what we do understand, not on what we don't. Keep it--we don't want to treat God's word as though it were small or unimportant. If we are small He is big and important. If we are big he is small and unimportant. When a seed is rooted and grounded, the birds have no more interest in it.

What's in our heart is going to come out. If we don't have peace in our heart, peace can't come out.

We can make good servants when God is in control, but terrible masters if we are in control.

Judas loved money. Matthew 26:14 Maybe there was some resentment working in his heart. Twice he gave entrance to Satan: once when Satan sowed the thought in Judas heart and he went to see about betraying Jesus, and secondly when Satan entered into Judas heart and he went to betray Jesus. It doesn't say that he knew what was working in his heart. Satan had to work on Job from the outside. Nehemiah 13 Tobiah had permission to live outside the court of the temple. He opposed restoration, grieved when there was someone to seek the welfare of the children of Israel, despised the work, was angry when the wall was finished, and sent false prophets and sent letters of opposition. We can't afford to entertain or give place to the enemy.

No one willingly lies on the cross to be crucified. It takes strength to crucify our flesh.

Seven stronger nations were living in the Promised Land. Matthew 5:7 Jesus identified seven enemies we need to conquer: envy, jealousy, carnal nature (lusting), dishonesty (lies and deceit), revenge, doing things to be seen of others, and condemning/judging others.