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Friday, February 24, 2017

Marriage 101: Marriage is a covenant (Pt. 1)

(Part 1)

Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” -Genesis 2:22-25

There is a very real battle that is taking place in our culture regarding the definition of marriage; one that is threatening the very sanctity of this sacred institution. An institution, mind you, that according to Genesis Ch. 2 was established by God. 

Marriage, which was once accepted as a union between one man and one woman, has been redefined (by our government) as being acceptable between two consenting adults regardless of gender.  Television shows like, Sister Wives, challenge the idea that we should be limited to only one spouse. Thousands upon thousands of couples living together, outside of the bond of marriage, have diminished the value of the marriage bed to where it has become more of a formality than something to aspire towards. Couple those things with the relative ease of divorce and you develop a society that perceives marriage as disposable rather than a lifelong commitment. 

Part of the reason for this downward spiral can be seen in our failure to teach, train and hold to marriage as a covenant. Did you know that your marriage is a covenant? In the eyes of God, marriage is a covenant. A covenant that He personally acts as a witness over.  

What is a covenant? In the minds of many it is simply a binding agreement between two people (a legal union). In contrast, biblical covenants, are treated with greater honor. They were upheld as an unbreakable commitment between individuals or peoples that provides for the mutual benefit of both. 

 In Genesis 9-God established a covenant w/ Noah/and all mankind that He would never destroy the earth with flood water again. In Genesis 15-God established a covenant with Abraham declaring he would be the father of many nations. In Exodus 12-God established a covenant with Israel through the passover, and in Matthew 26:28-God established a new covenant with all believers through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. 

 However, the very first covenant God established was the marriage covenant! The Old Testament book of Malachi 2:14-15 declares this: “Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness, between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.”

            Malachi confirms for us that we are in a covenant relationship with our spouse. A covenant that was established by God! After establishing all of creation, the first thing God established was the marriage covenant; emphasizing the significance of this sacred God-ordained institution. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Friday, February 17, 2017

Risky Faith: You want to play in puddles or walk on water?

“And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.”-Matthew 14:28-29

Many of you are familiar with the story of Jesus walking on the water. Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 plus people with two fish and five loaves of bread; when he came to the disciples and made them get into a boat and begin to make their way to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus returned to send the crowds home and then found a place to pray.

As the evening progressed, the wind and waves began to beat upon the boat and tossed it about causing it to end up in the middle of the sea far from shore. Sometime between 3-6 a.m., Jesus decided to go to them walking on the water.

Of course, when the disciples saw Him they began to panic thinking they had seen a ghost. Recognizing their fear Jesus declared:

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”-Matthew 14:27

It is right then that Peter asked, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.” Peter was inspired by what he saw Jesus doing! Have you ever been so inspired by something you read Jesus do that it moved you to crazy faith? Moved by Peter’s faith Jesus said to him, “Come!”

The scriptures tell us that Peter got down out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus, however when he heard the wind howling and saw the waves crashing around him; he became afraid and started to sink.

“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”-Matthew 14:31

Peter catches a lot of grief because of that statement, but what about the 11 guys sitting in the boat who never acted remotely interested in walking on water. Out of 12 men in the boat, only one guy was courageous enough to climb out!
The 11 guys in the boat were playing it safe. I equate them with people who like to play in mud puddles.

People play in puddles because they are shallow and safe. You rarely hear stories about people drowning in a puddle or read stories of people who were rescued after spending days stuck in a mud puddle. Seas, however, are deep, vast, and expansive. Remember these guys were not sitting near the shoreline, they were out in the heart of the sea. They certainly were not safe. With puddles you can feel the ground beneath you. In the middle of the sea you cannot. With puddles you can see the safety of the shoreline. In the middle of the see you cannot. You might get a ripple in a puddle, but you have tsunamis in the ocean. In a puddle you can splash around and make a lot of noise; that’s because it’s easy to be courageous when you are only in ankle deep water. The reality is we want to enjoy all the benefits of being in the water, but still be in complete control. However, people who are satisfied to play in puddles will never walk on water.

Eventually, nearly all the disciples, who remained int he boat, would have their own “step out of the boat” moment. They would take the gospel around the world and most of them would go on to be martyred for their faith in Jesus. Nevertheless, doing great things for God doesn’t come from playing it safe. It comes from getting out of the boat!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Risky Faith: When God says go! (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”-Luke 9:59-60 

Whenever we make the bold decision to go after God, we should not be surprised by the spiritual hindrances that begin to surface.  Luke records for us the interaction between Jesus and some of the people He called to follow Him. Their responses sound reasonable, but Jesus seems to have His own perspective on their situations. 

In Luke 9:59-60 we have a man who is asking for time to go and bury his father. Jesus’ response may sound harsh, but the greatest spiritual hindrances we face are the excuses we allow ourselves to make for not going. Excuses cause us to remain stuck in the starting blocks. The death of a loved one seems like a valid reason for delaying our obedience to God’s directives, however many of the valid reasons we give turn out to be nothing more than excuses for our own inaction. 

Another spiritual hindrance to our going is procrastination:

“And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”-Luke 9:61-61

How often do we drag our feet when it comes to obeying God? How often do we prioritize the mundane and never actually get to the pursuit of God’s will? God told this man to follow Him, but his response was “Lord, let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” Saying goodbye to his family became a greater priority than obeying Jesus’ command. To procrastinate means to delay something. In this case, the man was delaying obedience to God’s Word; and delayed obedience is simply disobedience.

For the most part, excuses and procrastination are the greatest hindrances many will face. However, there will be times that the opposition we face is not from within, but from others:

“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.-Luke 10:1-3

Jesus sent them out two by two to declare the good news of Jesus Christ, but He cautioned them saying “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.” Basically, 
He told them to expect opposition! Not everyone is going to be happy with your decision to go after God and in some cases may even to attempt to discourage or dissuade you from going.  

Risky faith means silencing every excuse, refusing to delay obedience, and overcoming the opposition of others in order to pursue the heart of God. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Risky Faith: When God says go! (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name grate; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abraham was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”-Genesis 12:1-4 

As I read this passage, I thought to myself; what if Abram had not gone when God told him to go. How different would our Bibles look if those people God called to go simply stayed where they were? What I’ve found from carefully mediating on this passage is that the biggest problem with going is leaving.

The first thing that God told Abram was to get out of his country, away from his family, and away from the comforts of his father’s house. God didn’t begin by showing Abram where he was going or what type of blessings awaited him when he reached his destination. Instead, He began by showing Abram what he must leave behind. It isn’t that God’s blessings don’t appeal to us; it is leaving what we have become so comfortable with that holds us back.

Go is a command to action. You cannot follow God and stay in your comfort zone. Is it risky to follow God? I guess it depends on how much you trust God when He says, “I will.” He told Abram, If you get out of your land, I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. If we believe, without a shadow of a doubt that God will honor His Word, then it isn’t risky at all. However, because He often does not give us all the information at once, we cannot know exactly when or how God will make it happen. This lack of information and control cause many to see the risk of going as too great.

“So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”-Genesis 12:4

Abram made a bold decision to heed the voice of the Lord and to go.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.-Hebrews 11:8-10

Hebrews 11:8-10 teaches us that going after God requires tremendous faith and in addition requires some things from us:

Going always requires obedience to God’s Word.
Going always includes an element of not knowing. That’s faith!
Going always requires us to stay focused on the big picture; especially when we do not see the plan of God unfolding in our immediate future.

Remember, the only thing that Abram would own in Caanan upon his death, was a tomb. Why? He had his eye on a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church