Dec 28

Praises to our God

Christmas has come and gone, we had all of our kids and grandkids home this year and it was great.

Our kids gave us a gift this year that when we opened it, Im not the kind that gets choked up too often, but this time I had to hold back the tears.

I was very touched that they would pay for us to take a weeks vacation.

my wife and I work almost 7 days a week, and we’ve been doing that for the past 4 years, and it does catch up with us.

I had put a lot of hours in this past month, and at Christmas, it had caught up with me, and I was exhausted.

Today I’m finally feeling rested, it only took 4 days, I’m not as young as I use to be.

 

I think our kids were sending us a message though, that we need to take a break.

Jesus at times took a break, although he was God in the flesh, that human flesh that he wrapped himself in got tired at times.

He would go off by himself to talk to his Father and get rejuvenated, get rested and then get back to work.

we need that too, step back, talk to our Father in Heaven, get rested and then go back to work.

we’re not machines that can continually produce goods, if we’re not rested, our production suffers.

When a Christian is over tired, it reflects in our attitude and it’s very difficult telling someone about the joy of the Lord, when all you want to do is scream!

take the time to back off, get some rest, and take a vacation.

 

i can’t tell you what a blessing it Is to me and my wife, to have grown children who think about their parents, we love our kids and are thankful for the relationship we have with them.

they respect and love us, and we respect and love them.

I watch other parents and the horrible relationship they have with their kids and it’s heart breaking.

why did God bless us so richly?

I don’t know, other than, we loved the Lord first,  my wife and I then loved each other and put our relationship first before our Children.

And then we loved our children, and it’s always been in that order. And all 3 were loved the same, we never had a favorite child, all 3 are loved equally.

we then corrected them equally, one could do one thing and then the other couldn’t, we had the same consistent rules for each one.

We were far from perfect, and there was times I had to admit I was wrong to my kids and even apologize.

We are so thankful for how each one grew up to be responsible hard working and faithful to the Lord and to his church

I’ve come to realize that it really wasn’t what we did as parents, although we assisted, it was what God did For our family, it was because of his love for us that he worked in our family.

So I have nothing to be proud of, I had no achievements, God is to be praised, he alone blessed us and I’m nothing but thankful to my Father in heaven.

Dec 21

Christmas is family

In Arnies class we have been studying about the crucifixion of Jesus
And we have been going through it step by step of how each event took place

 
Each week we look at the last days he was on earth physically

 
And this morning we visit once again where his life began physically

 
Allot of people don’t understand certain things about the birth of Jesus

 

Or why God could only do things in a predetermined way

First of all, people will say that a child being born through a virgin is impossible

 

Of course it’s impossible, that’s why only God could achieve it

 

Second of all, only a virgin, a woman who had never been with a man sexually could be used

 
The sin nature is passed on through the seed of man
So Jesus could not be conceived through human means
otherwise he would have had a sin nature

 

Luke 1:35

Jesus is referred to here as holy,
if he had been born through human means, and have a sin nature
He could not be called holy, he could never be our Savior

 
Some have said, he was still conceived through a sinful woman
They look at women and say, if it wasn’t for a woman, the world wouldn’t be in the shape it is today!

 
It’s true, a woman had a part in bringing sin into the world
But a woman had a part in bringing the Savior into the world too

 

But more importantly although Mary was just an ordinary woman she was also extra-ordinary
Luke 1:28
Angel said she was highly favored

 

Many Christians have a tendency to downplay Mary, while others like Catholics over play her

 
Mary was a godly woman and she must have had a great testimony before the Lord

 
God didn’t just randomly pick any able body who was capable of having a child

 
No, he chose someone who could understand that the child she was having was the son of God
Says here she was Highly Favored

 

Do you think Mary went around bragging? Saying I’m so special God chose me to carry his son!

 

 

In our world, if anything happens to someone out of the ordinary

 

Their out there shouting about it, how God gave them a miracle

 
I know Mary or even Elizabeth never told anyone

 
Because first of all, no one in town ever said anything about it
It wasn’t until Jesus himself claimed that he was the son of God,
That the people said, wait a minute isn’t this the son of Joseph and Mary?

 
It says Mary was highly favored which means she stuck out from other Godly women

 

But although she was just an ordinary woman, we should have great love and respect for her

 
We need to love her because she did bring into this world our Savior

 
The Catholics however, overplay her, They have made her deity, making her the God of Jesus
They pray to her to intercede on their behalf

 

Some have claimed she appears to people like a man named Guadalupe

 

He said Mary appeared to him and told him to build a shrine to her

 

I do believe he had a vision, but most visions that people have today are Satantic

 

Anything that takes us away from worshipping Christ
and a relationship with Christ as the only Savior is Satanic

 
The shrine of Guadalupe is visited by thousands every year
and yet no one claims to have received Christ as Savior through their visit

 
Mary apparently has quite an ego to want a shrine built for herself

 
But the bible describes her as a very humble person, not some ego maniac

 

Even at the cross, Mary was in the background

 
Mary had her place in history, God used her for a wonderful purpose

 

But at the end of her life, she left this earth to be with her Lord in heaven the same way every believer will
You and I will someday stand and talk with her, as well as the OT prophets like Moses and Abraham

 

We will stand and talk with the Apostles, John the Baptist and Paul

 
I can’t imagine what it will be like to talk with Adam and Eve

 
I believe we will know who everyone is by name

 
Christmas is not only about Jesus being born
It’s about the family of God

 

The birth of Christ brought both the OT believers and the NT believers,
together into one giant family

 

We became brothers and sisters in Christ

 
Christ is the glue that bonds us together

 
Think about the manger scene

 

You have the mom, Joseph who’s not the father,
and then there’s Jesus who brings all three into a family

 
There’s Shepards, and then later wise men all coming to Jesus and becoming apart of his family

Then there’s you and me, coming to Jesus and becoming apart of his family

 

Jesus is the focal point of this heavenly family

 

 

But look at the difference between Gods family and the worlds family

 

In Gods family, women are loved and respected, like Mary and used for Gods glory

 
The worlds family, women are often used and abused

 
In our country, I believe because of the woman’s liberal movement
Women have been so dehumanized that men no longer respect them

 

A man will fulfill his flesh with a woman but he won’t marry her, protect her, or honor her

 

 

In Gods family, children are loved, protected and valuable

 

In the worlds family, 125 are shot dead in a school,

 

fathers stone their daughters or rape them

 

 

In Gods family, fathers are the examples of Jesus Christ
They have compassion and love their family as God loves them

 
The comparison between Gods family and the worlds family is stark

 
When you have a mom and dad who loves the Lord
are faithful in serving him and faithful every week to church

 

How that family functions will be very different from one that doesn’t

 

 

Not only did the birth of Jesus bring each of us into a relationship
He brought us into a relationship with God

 
If Jesus had not been born, a relationship between man and God would have never been accomplished

 

The cross never would have happened

 
You and I would be lost and there would be no escape from hell

 
The manger is far more than a baby being born

 
It’s relationship, it’s family, it’s salvation, And it’s heaven
Why does the world hate the manger scene?
Because it reminds them about God and family

 
The world has been working overtime trying to remove both God and family

 

And they might succeed someday of removing every physical manger, tree and lights

 
But they’ll never succeed at removing Christmas from our hearts

 

We have been given this wonderful gift that came through a woman to a manger
And that gift is our Savior Jesus Christ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 11

The life of Elisha pt7

Last week we were looking at how Elisha and his servant was surrounded by Syria’s army
And God sends his own army of angels to deliver them

 

But I also concluded that, it is not Gods normal policy to send an army to protect us when we are in trouble

 

Although God will never leave us,
there will be many times when he will allow us to go through our suffering and trials

 
And the number one reason why God allows us to go through things without him rescuing us is

 

He wants our faith to increase and the only way that happens is if we mature
We have to learn how to handle trials, suffering and temptations without losing our faith

 
However, What happens way too often in Christian circles is

 

A believer begins to go through a tough time, and instead of drawing closer to the Lord

 

They begin to question and blame God for their trouble

 
And the Lord looks at them and says, I guess their not going to learn and grow in their faith

 

We will not grow until we take personal responsibility for our choices

Far too many blame other people for the problems they have

 

We have all been watching the news with all these blacks being killed by white cops

 

And according to the families and the news, and even our government
It’s always the cops fault, they can never admit what led to these things is the actions of the black guy

 

Not every cop is innocent, and some times they do react too quickly

 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone said, yep you caught me I was breaking the law?

 

Even all these people who are out rioting and looting

 

According to them, it was because of white cops that are forcing them to do these criminal acts

 

Their not responsible, as they carry out TVs & clothes

 

 

Elisha held people responsible for their decisions

 

He never allowed them to make excuses for themselves or get rewarded for evil that they had committed

 

someday God is going to hold every human being accountable for their decisions

and for the evil They have committed
Israel had been miraculously delivered from their enemies but they quickly forgot who delivered them
And they returned to their sin

 

II Kings 8: 1-2
Elisha tells this woman whose son God had raised from the dead

That a famine was upon the land for 7 yrs and that she should leave

 
Israel had every opportunity given to them from God to be a great nation

 

But their decisions led to them coming under Gods judgement
This famine was a wake up call to their nation, to either repent of their sin

 

Or suffer its consequences

 
You have to wonder when it comes to certain storms, sickness or a terrorist attack

 

If this isn’t a warning shot from God, to us, to repent ?

 
In America, thousands have been murdered in the womb
Homosexuality has been embraced by many

 

Marriage has been disregarded

Lawlessness by our leaders has become normal

 
Lying is so prevalent that you have to wonder if anyone in leadership is capable of telling anything that is truthful

 
Just this past week an attack on the CIA by the democrats was front and center on torcher

 

These people who were up there saying how the CIA was involved in criminal acts

 

We’re the same ones who had approved it under Bush

 
It was continually repeated that these actions goes against our American morals

Let me ask you a serious question
What are Americas morals?

 

I thought I use to know them, obeying the law,

 

standing up for what was right
Protection for those who were oppressed
Defending our nation and its people’s freedom

 

I tried to think and think about what our Americas morals are and to be truthful I came up empty

 

What does that say about a nations future when you can’t think of one thing that it stands for?

I have to wonder, what would God have to send to this nation in order to get its attention?

 

When 911 happened, it woke people up for about 2 weeks

 
I was pastoring Allegan bible at the time, and I remember saying

 

It would take a whole lot more than that to change the heart of this country

 

And sadly I was right

 

 

Nothing will change much in a persons heart, until it hits them directly

When the twin towers went down, it was like watching a TV show

 

But it only affected those that were there, because it was personal to them

 

 

How can a person watch a loved one die of cancer and they continue to smoke?

 

It wasn’t them that got cancer, it wasn’t personal

 

 

When Israel was hit with a famine, everyone was affected personally

 

It got so bad that they were eating their own children
II Kings 6: 26-30

 

Here these women make an agreement that they would eat one son
And the next day they would eat the other woman’s

 
But one mom couldn’t go through with it,

 

so the other mom goes to the king and says hey make her boil her son so we can eat
How would you have liked to be that guy?

 

No one has ever seen a famine of that proportion ever,
now you would think that the entire nation would repent
God is going to hold nations, leaders and every individual accountable for their sin

 

When Elisha was Israels prophet, Ben-hadad was the king of Syria
He was the king who tried to kill Elisha when he took over for Elijah and during this famine

 

But after the famine was over, the king got sick

 

And he calls for Elisha to come and help him
II Kings 8:7
It is so true that no one needs the Lord or a preacher until they want to get married or become ill
Then all of a sudden they know who to call
Vs8
The king sends Hazael who is actually the Kings successor to the throne
He was the captain of the Kings army
Hazael would take the throne since the king had no sons
And Hazael goes to Elisha and he takes a bribe (I mean present).
Vs9
And he asks Elisha will the king recover, in other words will you heal him?
Vs10
This sounds like double talk, you will live, but you will not live
Elisha tells us a fact, that although this body will no longer live
We will continue to live after death

 

God has told us this since the creation of the world

 

That this life on earth is only temporary, the real living is after we leave this body

 

But where we spend that eternal life is a decision we must make before we leave this earthly body

 

Elisha is sending the king a message, your going to die physically but then your going to be judged

 

Now how would the king know he had to repent?

Elisha had been telling the king and his nation for years
He knew, who did he call when he got sick?

 

So Hazael had the task of going back to the king and telling him that he was going to die
Do you think Hazael was feeling bad?

 

Nope that was good news for him, he’ll finally be the king and I’ll bet he was ready to jump for joy
But then Elisha begins to cry

 

But look at vs11

 

Elisha stares at Hazael until it gets very uncomfortable

I remember when I would do something wrong as a kid that only happened once since I was almost an angel
But my dad would just look at me without saying anything

 

And it was uncomfortable and you begin to feel ashamed

 

Hazael was being stared at by Elisha and he becomes ashamed
He also had rejected God, he had rejected what Elisha had preached also
He knew the truth, but power and wanting to do things his way was more important to him

 

Vs12
Hazael asks Elisha why are you crying,
the king never liked you, he wanted you dead why are you sad about him dying
Elisha says to him, I’m not crying over him, but over what your going to do to the Israelites

 

King Ben-hadad was bad enough.
But the evil that Hazael would bring upon Gods children would devastate them

 

History records that over the next 5 yrs Hazael attempts to wipe out the Isrealites
He burns their homes down and kills men, women and children

 

Elisha was alive during this time that Hazael attempted to wipe out Israel

He actually died before Hazael did
Elisha had an amazing life, but it was not an easy life
He preached to a nation that was determined not to listen
And because of it, the nation suffered famine and death

 

How many times has God tried to warn us to listen
To soften our hearts and be a person of grace and faith?
There’s an old saying we can either learn the easy way or the hard way

 

I see America, and American Christians as people who have to learn the hard way
And God would rather that we learn the easy way,
but he’s willing to take us down the hard way
It’s our choice of which road we want to travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 1

The life of Elisha pt5

This morning we will be in II Kings 6

 

When you first read this ch. it will seem as though it’s a very simple story

and not really much you can take away from it

 

But as I’ve tried to show you over the years, you got to dig a bit deeper

 
You probably find it amazing as I do, when you’ve read something in the bible

 

And you think you got it, and then you go back and re read it something new jumps out again

 
I’ve come to believe that you and I cannot exhaust the depth of Gods word
There are 2 main differences between Elijah’s ministry and Elisha’s

 

Elijah’s ministry was very much out in the public

 
Everything he did was usually seen by a group or crowd of people

 

Miracles were done before Kings, and armies

 

 

He brought down fire from heaven, drought to a nation
and openly brought judgment on people in power

 
He never backed away from publicly showing the power of God
But Elisha’s ministry was very much private

 

He did things without anyone watching, he would minister to individuals and not the crowds

 

Just as we saw with Naaman and the woman with the oil

 

Elijah would have probably took Naaman down to the river with a crowd of people to watch and be a witness

 
But Elisha just tells him to go to the river privately,

 

he was a quiet man, He just didn’t have a need to be out front

 
But Elijah was more loud, and he wanted to be heard
In the same way pastors are like Elijah and Elisha

 

There’s two different kinds and God has a purpose for both

 
There are pastors who love being in the public, having a radio, or a TV spot

 

A huge church and nothing less would satisfy them

 

 

And then there’s the ones who don’t want to be in the limelight

 

They are satisfied with a small church, a struggling ministry

 

and they enjoy working with just a single individual at a time

II Kings 6:1

And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha behold now the place where we will dwell with thee is too strait (small) for us

 

Sons of the prophets = students

 
Apparently, Elisha was a teacher in a school and the students come to Elisha
And they say, the place where we’re all living, is too small

 
Colleges are nothing new, they’ve been around for centuries

 

And at this college Elisha was a professor and he taught the law and other topics pertaining to being a priest

 

I think the popularity of Elisha was bringing in more students and they needed more living space
Vs2
Let us go we pray thee unto Jordan and take thence every man a beam and let us make a place there, where we may dwell and he answered go ye

 

Elisha tells them go and get some wood and get building

 

I could spend a lot of time right here talking about how God loves building programs

 

A church has to be progressing forward,

 
but let’s make a distinction here

 

Many pastors think that if their not building something physical
then they’re not successful
In their eyes building something bigger means God is blessing

 

But the reality is Gods building programs is seldom physical, it’s spiritual

 

Gods not into building buildings, he’s into building lives

 

Seeing people come to know him as Savior,

 

learning God Word, and growing in their spiritual lives
that’s a building program that Gods interested in

 

 

I’ve had people leave our church and say their not growing
But those same people invested very little time in Gods church
Very little time in bible study and being with other believers

 

They would get mad at me if I didn’t come visit them
but they didn’t have a problem not visiting me on Sunday’s

 
The reality is, they were never apart of Gods building program to start with
In order to grow you’ve got to be involved with building

 

Vs3

And one said be content I pray thee and go with thy servants and he answered I will go

 

This shows us why I think Elisha was popular
They wanted him to go with them
How many times do young people want an old guy hanging out with them? Not very much

 

But he agrees to go with them, and as their chopping down some trees something happens

 
Vs 4-5

So he went with them and when they came to Jordan they cut down wood

But as one was felling a beam the axe head fell into the water, and he cried and said, alas master for it was borrowed

 

As their working, one of the guys axe head falls off and goes into the water

 
We might think so what, go get another one

 

But back then, metal of any kind was hard to get, and this young guy had borrowed it
So to him it was a big deal

 
How many of you have ever lost something, that would be insignificant to anyone else but you?

 

 

Well maybe he was just careless, no, back then an axe wasn’t made like today’s

 

The head was usually held on by a piece of leather or rope

 
You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him when he swung it,
it might fall off and hit you in the head

 

There’s at least two things that I believe God wants to show us through this

 

First of all, we tend to pray about the big things in our lives and forget about the small things

 
Small things that won’t matter at all to someone else, but they do to you.
And they matter to God

 
It’s not the big things that distract us from serving the Lord

 

It’s often the little things,

 

that build and build over time that pulls us away from serving the Lord
The reasons why we left our last two churches, wasn’t because anything major took place
It was little things, that built up over time

 
Why do most people leave a job?
It’s usually over many frustrations over time that you have your fill

 

You do your job the best you can, and people will accuse you of things that you have nothing to do with

 
It’s always amazed me how someone in the congregation can have a personal, family, or financial problem

 

And somehow it’s turned around to be the pastors or the churches fault
You can be in a factory setting, and through a series of problems with a product, somehow your singled out as the cause

 
Why is that?

 

It’s Because, we live in a society that refuses to take personal responsibility

 
In ferguson mo The proof is overwhelming that Michael Brown was guilty of his crime
He attacked the cop

 

But his parents would rather let people burn down a city than admit their son was in a criminal act
Even his step father shouted to burn down the city, he is guilty of inciting violence
The truth doesn’t matter anymore in our society

 

There’s still protests going on even though they know the truth

 
But they use it as an excuse to justify hating white people, stealing and burning

 
Parents are nortorious for accusing the school, the church or someone else for their problems

 

They seldom will take responsibility for their parenting just as we see with the parents of Michael Brown

 
The 2nd thing we see here is how God is testing this young mans faith
How does God test our faith?

 

It’s usually through the small things not the big things

 

Why would God test us on something big, if he knows we can’t even be faithful through something small?

 
This guy could have said oh well, that axe head is gone and went on about his business

 

But it was important to him to return what he had borrowed

 
So instead of trying to figure how to get it on his own

 

He goes to Elisha and tells him what happened

Vs6

And the man of God said where fell it? And he showed him the place and he cut down a stick and cast it in thither and the iron did swim

 
Elisha takes a stick and throws it into the water and the axe head
Defies all laws of nature and pops out of the water like a cork

 
This young man learned right there, if you have a problem no matter what it is, take it to the Lord

 
And that’s the lesson for you and me

 

So often we have a problem and we stew about it, complain to others about it
Try to fix it ourselves but we don’t take it to the Lord

God wants to increase our faith and that happens when we go to him for everything

 
When we continually go to the Lord on the little things
When something big does happen, we can handle it,

 

because over the years our faith was increased over the small things

 
There’s something else here we see too, the gospel

 

The axe head came off the wood and was buried and then it was resurrected by the power of God

 
Christ is the second person of the God head
He hung on a cross, was taken off that cross, and was buried
And by the power of God, he was resurrected to life again

 
Gods interested in everything in our lives, but we have to let him in
He never moves, we do, and we have to come to him

 
Elisha is the figure of Christ, and this young man came to him for help in a time of trouble

 

Where do you go when a problem arises?
Do you take it to the Lord?
We should, whatever it is, take it to the Lord

 

 

 

Nov 28

The life of Elisha pt 4

As we continue in our study of Elisha we come to ch 5 of II Kings
This is probably one of the most interesting chapters about the life of Elisha
It reveals some things about him personally

 
For one thing, we know how rugged Elijah was and Elisha was just as rugged as Elijah

 
Ruggedness is an old time expression that described how tough a man was
How much pain or suffering a man had to face and how much he could endure
We sometimes think, we don’t see many men like that today

Especially if a man gets a cold
But the fact is, we have many rugged individuals, their just ignored by our society

 
how many young men have been sent into battle over the past many years

 

And they have done many, many amazing feats?

 
There’s so many who have saved lives and given their lives for fellow soldiers and for our country

 
But our country neglects the sacrifices that these men and women have given

 

Instead, being some effeminate, girly man is celebrated

and Some gay guy who doesn’t get his way
is given more press than a man who was shot several times saving his team

 
We have had many brave and rugged individuals who suffered and died for our nation, and there’s little fanfare

 

 

Something else we need to learn from Elisha and the prophets of old was

 

They were so brave and so committed to God that they never backed down from standing on the truth and saying it

 
Many of Today’s pastors have stepped away from the plate on this one

 

last weekend in washingtons national cathedral
They held the first Christian and Muslim prayer service

 

to show our common heritage and to show we can worship together
(No Jews were invited by the way)

 

 

We have no common heritage, we do not serve the same God

 

One commentator said not to worry there wasn’t one Christian among them

 

Franklin Graham said “It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins,”. “Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14:6).”

We have a nation that is bowing down to Muslims in our country
In an effort to make peace

 

And at the same time our country fights against Muslim aggression

 

Anyone looking at our nation from the outside would say we are one confused country

 

 

We don’t seem to know if we are at war or at peace

 

Christians, especially pastors are not to make agreements or appease anyone when it comes to Gods Word

 
We are to stand and speak the truth just as the prophets and the Apostles did

We are not to make alliances with Satans workers

 
In Maryland, a school board voted unanimously to remove all references to Christianity and Judaism

 

Such as Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and every other reference even on their calendars
The truth about Thanksgiving cannot be taught and it’s now just a holiday

 
Due to pressure from Muslims who were offended,

 

this country was founded and our traditions are based on Christianity

 

Not Islam, but apparently we are suppose to change our heritage
Another college put in foot washing stations for Muslims
Other schools have set aside places and times for Muslim students to pray

 
On our college campuses, there is a movement by our young people of having sympathy toward terrorist groups

 

And a growing hatred toward Israel

 

 

Dr. Bob Aries did a documentary to see the reaction of students to him flying the ISIS flag and then the Israeli flag

 
While he flew the ISIS flag he got no rebuttals only support

 

But when he flew the Israeli flag, he got cursed at, shouted at and argued with

 

He said this was a real eye opener of where our future is going

 

 

There is separation of church and state, the state doesn’t want anything to do with the church

 

But the state is interested in having a relationship between them and Islam

 
while they make their alliances

 
They ignore, the fact, that we have lost thousands of lives due to Muslim attacks

But then on the other hand, something that we have to realize is

 

From the presidency all the way down to school boards, there are secret Muslims who are in power

 
They don’t dress, or talk like a Muslim, and it’s in order to infiltrate our system

 

 

We live in the only country due to political correctness from communities such as Muslim and Mexicans

 

Where you can’t profile an individual, You can’t look into their background

 
We are the only country that has an open border policy

where you can come here and get a license, a car, a job, go into business and get into a position of power

 
We are the only country where you can break the law and then
Have our king reward you with citizenship,

 
we use to be a country of laws but now even our king is lawless

 

 

Why are we surprised when a school wants the children to dress in Muslim attire and study the 5 pillars of Islam?

 
It shouldn’t surprise us at all that millions of dollars of social security retirement benefits

are being sent to Mexico and other countries to individuals who worked in the US illegally

 

But somehow managed to retire with our social security that we paid in

 

 

Without question, this is a country of fools, and people know it
and they come here to take advantage of our foolishness

 
In Elisha’s time, they weren’t so foolish, they knew without question who their enemies were

 

And they were more than willing to fight for their survival
They had men like Naaman who led armies even when his own health was at risk
This man was rugged but he was also very ill

 

II Kgs 5:1

 

Although this man was a pagan, the bible describes him as a man who was both a great and honorable man

 

The Lord had used him to deliver Syria from its enemies

 
God has used the unsaved at different times for his purposes

 

He used men like Pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Alexander the Great
and here he used Naaman
There’s a lot of people today, who are kind, wonderful and honorable

 

But their not saved, their sinners on their way to hell and when they get there, it will be a shock to them

 
To never be involved with evil, and then to find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with evil

 

I cannot even imagine what that will be like for them

 

 

I heard it said if we really understood 1/8 of what hell really is

 

We would cry out for even the worse of all sinners to come to Christ

Naaman was a great man, and As much as God used him, he was a leper
In Israel lepers weren’t allowed by the people, they were set aside in colonies away from everyone

 
But that wasn’t so in pagan nations, Mostly because they didn’t understand the spread of disease

 

That’s how diseases like Ebola and aids spread so quickly they don’t understand how it spreads

 

 

Leprosy in scripture is always a type of sin

 

It was incurable by human means,
the only way it could be cured was by a miracle from God
In – same way, sin is incurable by human means and can only be cured by God
Vs2
As Naaman conquered their enemies, they of course took people for slaves

 

And this one particular Jewish girl saw that Naaman had leprosy
And she tells them if you let my prophet Elisha come here, he can heal you

 
Now that’s one girl who had confidence and faith in the power of God

 

To make a long story short
Naaman agrees and he goes to the home of Elisha
The first step we have to take to get healed is we have to go to the doctor

 

Elisha tells him if he wants to be healed he had to go dip himself in the filthiest River in the entire country the Jordan

 
There were clean rivers but Elisha says no, go to the filthy one

 
At first Naaman refuses,
is the God of Elisha a hateful God who wanted to embarrass him and send him to such a filthy River?

 
We’ve all been told that God is love, that’s all he is, and it’s being preached everywhere

 

But the truth is, God is also a God of hate, I’m goin off the deep end I know

 

It tells us in Prov. 6. That’s there’s 7 things God hates

 

A lying tongue, pride, the shedding of innocent blood are the first things on his list

 

 

You can’t have love without hate

 

You may love a dog, but you’ll hate the one that attacks your young child

 

 

God hates sin, he can’t be in its presence, that’s why he sent his son to pay for its penalty

God hates pride, it’s Satans original sin that brought the fall of man

 

And that’s exactly why Elisha told Naaman where he had to go to be clean

 
Naaman was a great and honorable man, but he was also a proud man
In order to be clean he had to humble himself

 
we are also proud people, and in order to be saved
We have to humble ourselves and admit that we are sinners

 

and the only way to be saved Is to humble ourselves, our pride before the Lord

who is the only one who can cure my sin
That’s why so many walk away from Christ

 

The very thought that they are proud and have to be humbled to be saved
Repulses them

 

 

We had a guy in church who said he won’t sing that one verse that says
“as such a worm as I”. In the hymn “at the cross”

 
I thought how can you be saved if you can’t humble yourself before God?
When you get right down to it, why is our country in such a mess?

 

Because we are a proud nation, that refuses to humble itself before God

 

They believe they can fix everything in their own power

 
But only the power of God can heal, restore and save a nation
But he won’t do anything, until we humble ourselves and repent of our pride

 

Naaman does just that, he humbles himself, Dips in the Jordan
And is cleansed

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