Sunday – February 19, 2017 Genesis 29: 1 to 30 “I Led Two Wives”

Sunday – February 19, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – February 19, 2017 Genesis 29: 1 to 30 “I Led Two Wives” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Genesis 29:18-20
Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

In Genesis 28, we saw God’s beginning with Jacob. At his time of great need, the Lord broke into Jacob’s life, promised to bless him and to fulfill with him all of His covenant promises to Abraham (28:13‑ 15). In 29:1, the Hebrew says that Jacob “lifted up his feet,” an expression which means that he had a new bounce in his steps as he continued his journey. God was with him, his guilt from the past was gone, and his fear of Esau had subsided. Things were looking up.

What Jacob didn’t realize was that he had just entered God’s boot camp. He was in for a difficult 20-year term under God’s unwitting drillmaster, Laban. God would use these trying years to knock a lot of rough edges off Jacob. Ultimately, yes, God would bless him. But part of the process involved breaking Jacob of his selfish ways. The readers of Moses were there. They had followed him out of slavery in Egypt, expecting to move right in to their luxury condos in Canaan, with milk and honey flowing from the tap. Instead, they had endured 40 difficult years in the wilderness and now faced the frightening prospect of fighting the giants who occupied those cities.

God arranges our circumstances to shape us into the image of Jesus Christ. We all tend to see God’s hand in the big crises, but we need to see His hand in the little irritations ‑‑ car trouble, the sick child who forces you to change your plans, interruptions. When we recognize God’s hand in those things and submit to Him, then we can grow through it. But if we grumble, we are “regarding lightly the discipline of the Lord” (Heb. 12:5), and we miss the opportunity for growth.

God promises to bless each person who trusts in Christ. Like Jacob, we say, “Sounds like a great program! Sure, I’ll let You be my God if You’ll bless me!” But we don’t read the fine print that tells us that God’s blessings always come through His discipline. To bless us and use us to bless others, God has to break us from our dependence on the flesh and shape us into the image of His Son, who learned obedience through the things He suffered (Heb. 5:8). So God enrolls us in His boot camp. Christianity isn’t a 100-yard dash; it’s a marathon. A lot of people want instant answers to their problems, and when they don’t get them, they bail out and go looking for some other solution. When you become a Christian, you’re in for life, so don’t faint when you are reproved by the Lord (Heb. 12:5). Settle in for the long haul.

Sunday – January 24, 2015 Revelation 13:11-18 “The Beast Redux”

Sunday – January 24, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – January 24, 2015 Revelation 13:11-18 “The Beast Redux” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Revelation 13:18
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

Ever since John, the servant of God, wrote the Book of Revelation and mentioned the number 666, people have been trying to figure out the meaning of the mark of the beast. The number is mentioned in Revelation 13:16-18. Because the beast’s number will have something to do with the Antichrist’s name, scholars have been busy working equations to figure which world leaders have had names equaling 666 in some way. Depending on how you figure it, 666 can be made to add up to just about anyone’s name.

As time has passed, we have lost the true meaning of the mark of the beast. Even though it is clearly defined as a mark that will be placed upon the right hand or forehead, a number of people throughout history have attached new and even weird meanings to the number 666. The number has become trivialized by its repeated association with its every random occurrence. Some folks have believed the beast’s number was to be a certain year. Because of this, the year 666 AD was at one time considered the date for the advent of the Antichrist. When that date came and went without incident, many began to anticipate the year 1666 with dread. Nostradamus pointed to the year 1999 as an inverted 666 year.

A number of people have superstitions or phobias about this number. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs is the term for people who fear the number 666. I once met a person who refused to ride in a car that had a license plate with 666 on it. Another person I know adds a stick of gum or something to his purchases if his check-out total at the store is triple six in any way. When President and Mrs. Reagan moved out to California, their house number was, you guessed it, 666. They had it changed to 668. Any time a bill numbered 666 is produced by a governing body like the UN or Congress, prophecy watchers give the document a good going-over to see if it has a connection with end-time events.

We may have to allow for the occasional sovereignty of God in His attempt to warn folks of the evils of this world. If there’s a wayward Christian at a convenience store buying a dirty magazine or a bottle of booze and the register rings up $6.66, I couldn’t think of a better number for God to use to get that person’s attention. Now on the other hand, the next time you receive your insurance bill and upon opening it, you discover it comes to $666.00 or you realize you’ve used 666 cubic feet of water – don’t go pulling your hair out. Unless it has a direct connection to the Antichrist or is some special message from God, 666 is just another number that randomly comes up.

Sunday – December 27, 2015 Revelation 10:1-11 “The Bittersweet Book”

Sunday – December 27, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – December 27, 2015 Revelation 10:1-11 “The Bittersweet Book” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Revelation 10:9-11
“So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”  I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.”

You’ve heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” Well, it’s actually true. When you eat a burger, your body metabolizes it. It assimilates and converts it to energy and the building material to create flesh and bone. That burger eventually becomes a part of your body, whether you like it or not. You bear it on your body. The same ought to be true with God’s Word. You should begin to act and look more like Jesus Christ. Every day and in every way, people ought to be able to say: “I’m becoming more like Christ.”

This angel tells John that this book “will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” This is a sweet and sour scroll. God’s Word can be bittersweet and hard to digest. Sometimes God’s Word can give us heartburn; other times it is sweet to the taste. We must understand that prophecy and Scripture, as a whole, is bittersweet. There are sweet promises in the Bible, but there are also bitter warnings. God’s Word can bring joy to our heart but at times it brings sorrow. It both blesses us and burdens us. People get excited about studying prophecy. Unquestionably, there are some exciting things about this book — a sweet taste. But it also burdens the believer about his unsaved family and friends and is a stern warning of judgment to come to the unbeliever.

This revelation was pleasant at first because it was a revelation from God. Please note that John tastes God’s revealed Word. It is not enough to see the book in someone’s hand or even to know what it contains. We must assimilate it and digest it. Too many Christians do not make the Word part of their inner being. Yet, our privilege as believers is not only to read the Bible but also to assimilate it into our lives. God won’t force-feed us with His Word; rather, He exhorts us to take it from His hand, eat it and assimilate it into our lives. The Word of God is the food of the Christian. It is compared to bread (Matt 4:4), milk (1 Pet 2:2), meat (1 Cor 3:1-2), and honey (Ps 119:103).

Still, as John meditated on it and comprehended the fearful judgments that it predicted, he became distressed. Have you ever experienced the sweet and bitter dimensions of God’s Word? We read of God’s love and mercy toward us, His eternal plan of salvation, His promise to give us a future and a hope, and the assurance of eternal life. That’s sweet. But then the Word also speaks directly to areas in our lives that may require change. Maybe your behavior or lifestyle dishonors God and is in direct violation of His Word. Maybe you have excused a bad attitude or a critical spirit in your life. At times, God’s Word can be a painful tool of correction. But it is always redemptive. It is always for our good. I would suggest to you that you haven’t really learned the Word until you live the Word. So how are you living? What difference has the book of Revelation made in your life?