Heaven on Earth - by Stephanie M. White
On this page you will find most of our past Bible studies.  Scroll through and I am sure you will find something that will reach you right where you are today!  God bless!

David's Last Words  
- part 1

2 Samuel 23:1-5  These are the last words of David: The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs: The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.  Is not my house right with God? Has He not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will He not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?
"The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; His Word was on my tongue."  

*David was humble.  He recognized that he was who he was only because of God.  He knew that God spoke through him - he knew that he needed God!
*David did not allow his position to go to his head.

2 Samuel 3:39  And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me... 

*he knew the source of true power!  He knew that he was weak, but that God was true strength!  Understanding his weakness led him to depend on God - we all need to be like this!  

*David also knew that God spoke through him because he stored God’s Word up inside of him.  "His Word was on my tongue."

*and David did not take credit for what God did through him.
         -David was humble.

1 Chronicles 29:14  But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from your hand.

1 Chronicles 17:16-20  Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?  And as if You have spoken about the future of the house of Your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.  What more can David say to You for honoring Your servant? For You know Your servant,  O LORD. For the sake of Your servant and according to Your will, You have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.  There is no one like You, O LORD, and there is no God but You, as we have heard with our own ears.

*David knew that he was nothing apart from God.  He wasn't shy about giving God all of the praise!!

"The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth."

*God told David how to be a successful king.
         -“rule over men in righteousness”
                    *know who you are in Christ!!

2 Corinthians 5:21  God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Psalms 32:1-2  Of David. A maskil. Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

*David knew his sins were forgiven.  David knew who he was because of God.  He knew he was righteous!
*if we are ever going to rule and reign in this life, we are going to have to know who we are in Christ – that is the only way to rule and reign!

Romans 5:17 NIV  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

*we can reign in life instead of having life rule over us if we understand righteousness and the abundant provision of grace. 
*righteousness is a gift – a gift from God.  We are righteous because He is righteous and He has given us His Spirit!
*the abundant provision of grace is the abundance of the Word!  The word translate as grace is synonymous with the Word of God.  
*the abundant provision of grace / the 
Word ~ you can read the same chapter fifty times and find something new every time!  The Word is abundant!  It has depth!
*when we live in our new identity we bless others! 

David's Last Words  
- part 2

2 Samuel 23:1-5
...When one rules over 
men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.
“rule in the fear of God”

*one of the definitions for the Hebrew word for fear is WOW!!
*live life in awe of God – always be aware of how good God is to you!
*part of being aware of how good God is to you, is being merciful to others.  You know that you do not deserve God’s goodness so you are not so hard on others. 

*in 2 Samuel 1, David finds out about the death of Saul – his enemy.  David does a few things when he finds out – he mourns (v. 12), he tells the people not to broadcast the news (v.20; love covers!), and he speaks well of Saul (v.23).
*that is an example of Christ in you!!  That is living in awe of what God has done for us!  All of us deserve to be where Saul was – if not for the grace of God – and David understood that!

1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am…

1 Samuel 13:14  But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.

*David was a man “after God’s own heart.”  This phrase literally means a man with God’s heart.  This phrase refers to the man who operates in the Spirit – in the new heart that God gave him.  David was a man who participated in the Divine nature because he was a man who lived by the Word of God. 

"Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?"

*David knew his house was right with God!  He knew it!  He did not doubt it. 
         -we need to know it!
*David knew that God arranged everything for Him and that God was his security.  He knew that God would keep every promise He made him!
-David rested in the Word!  God’s promises were his place of repose!
*David knew that He who began a good work in him would complete it.  His faith was in God – not himself.  
*David’s last words, how he summed up his life’s experiences, were all praises to God for what He had done through him and for him.  He was confident in Christ – his last words were not words of fear, but of confidence in what God had secured and arranged for him!  

Intimacy with GOD

*God desires intimacy with us because He loves us so much!    

We study the Hebrew language to be more intimate with God & what He wants to communicate to us.  Hebrew is referred to as the language of intimacy.  The Jewish poet Haim Nachman Bialik said, “Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your bride through a veil.” 
*God wants us to go deeper in the Word & consequently become more intimate with Him.
Rom 11:33  Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom & knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, & His paths beyond tracing out!
depth: complexity, mystery, intensity (power, passion, greatness), extent, deepness (penetration). 
*God’s wisdom & knowledge are riches (wealth, fullness, abundance, bestowment) & what great depth there is to those!
*His wisdom & His knowledge have depth~
      -the Word has complexity
1 Cor. 2:10 …but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
*the complexity of the Word is simplified by the Spirit.  The Word is complex – multifaceted, intricate, difficultbut, the Holy Spirit teaches us all things.  The unsaved or the Christian who does not walk in the Spirit cannot dig!
*it has mystery~
mystery: to shut the mouth; a secret (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites): - unknown.
Col 2:2  My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart & united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.
*Christ, the mystery, has been revealed to the Christian. We get revelation when we are quiet & take the Word in.  We shut our mouth & listen to the Word. 
     -it has intensity
Heb 4:12   For the Word of God is living & active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul & spirit, joints & marrow; it judges the thoughts & attitudes of the heart.
*the Word is intense – it is powerful!  It penetrates – it gets to the Spirit, not just the surface; it has depth!
*God has bestowed or freely given us the fullness of His wisdom & His knowledge; unfortunately, it is “unsearchable.”  The word translated here means NOT SEARCHED OUT!!  The Word of God [(His judgments (final decisions), His paths – His promises, His directions ~ everything we need for Godliness & life!)] is not searched out – Christians do not dig into the deep or into the complexity of the Word & then they miss out on the abundance of the Word. 
*God wants an intimate relationship – He wants us to  dig into the deep!  The closer you get to someone the more intimate details you know about them.  You begin to desire to know more because a “surface” relationship is not enough for you anymore. 
Psalms 42:7  Deep calls to deep…
*the Hebrew word for deep is feminine – fruit is produced when you go deep into the Word.  Deep deals with water – the Word is referred to as water.  Water nourishes, it refreshes, it cleanses, it is life-sustaining.  This water is a moving force – it moves you into new realms with Christ.  It is our Spiritual supply.
*everything written in the Word of God originates with the Hebrew language & everything written has a deep meaning!  God has preserved His Word – the Jews lost their language for nearly 2000 years but God had His own plan!  God preserved the Hebrew language - He revived it & its meaning, & He is once again revealing it to us as it hasn’t been revealed in years!
*deep is calling to deep – the Spirit inside of us is inviting us to get to know God in a deeper and more intimate way!
*God has given us His Holy Spirit & it is longing for us to dig!!  Are we accepting the invitation?
1 Cor 2:9-10  However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him," but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
*the Holy Spirit prompts us to search.  The Spirit is the “deep” and it is calling to the “deep.” 
*without the Holy Spirit we cannot see or hear what God has for His beloved.
Prov 20:12  Ears that hear and eyes that see-- the LORD has made them both.
*God blesses us with the hearing ear and the seeing eye; we all have ears and eyes, but the unsaved and those who ignore the Word do not have ones that work Spiritually.
*if we’re not walking in the Spirit & thereby digging into the deep then we are missing out on things that God has for us. 
Mark 8:18  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail  to hear? And don't you remember?
*we have the eyes & the ears – but are we using them? 
Acts 28:27  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes…
*what are we missing out on because we won’t dig?  What are we missing out on because we won’t remember?
*if we will use what God has given us we can experience a life that is the zoe life – a life as God has it!

Jesus is the Gift That Keeps On Giving
John 1:16 AMP  For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share & we were all supplied with] one grace after another & spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing & even favor upon favor & gift [heaped] upon gift.

*Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving!  Out of His fullness or completeness we can receive blessing after blessing. 
*it is important for us to realize that even though we have been supplied with all of the grace, favor & blessing we need, we have to receive it – just like any gift.   

Psa 106:24-25 AMP  Then they spurned & despised the pleasant & desirable land [Canaan]; they believed not His word [neither trusting in, relying on, nor holding to it]; but they murmured in their tents & hearkened not to the voice of the Lord.

*spurning & despising mean to cast of or refuse.   The Israelites doubted God’s promise regarding the promised land thereby refusing the promise.  How many Christians are rejecting promises God made because they do not believe the Word?

Gal 5:2 AMP  …Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].

*faith brings promises to pass; faith that comes from the Word! Our doubt = our refusal of receiving the promise or our refusal to abide in the promise!
*too many Christians are believing their situation over the Word!  We add our take on things & our take includes our doubt & unbelief (usually because of our circumstances).  God wanted to provide the Israelites with everything - when they didn’t see it as fast as they wanted to, doubt kicked in.  Can we relate?!

Psa 106:13 AMP  But they hastily forgot His works; they did not [earnestly] wait for His plans [to develop] regarding them.

*we hear of God’s promises & we experience blessings along the way to those promises in the same way the Israelites did.  Unfortunately, many times, we forget about those blessings along the way like they did & we grow weary of waiting.  Forgetting how blessed you truly are & all God has done for you inhibits faith. 
*The Bible tells us that faith & patience bring about the promises.  Patience is not always a joy ride - but it is worth the trip; too many Christians turn back!  The Israelites were promised this land & they believed it was theirs until they encountered some trials along the way.  They began to reject the very thing God promised, just like many Christians today.  We reject the idea of being blessed physically since sickness is so prevalent.  We cast off being debt free because everyone is in debt.  We refuse the promise of ruling & reigning in this life because living “one down under” has just been our way of life & so on!
*because they refused to believe murmuring was taking place. 

Those who refuse God’s promises murmur against God or murmur against those who do, in fact, accept God’s promises.  
James 4:1-2 AMP  What leads to strife (discord & feuds) & how do conflicts (quarrels & fightings) originate among you?...You are jealous & covet [what others have] & your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy & anger & are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, & the happiness that you seek], so you fight & war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

*feuds arise between those who believe God’s Word whole-heartedly & those who don’t because some Christians are trying to put on some false “form” of piety or humility by trying to not want too much from God when He tells us to boldly ask!  He made the promises;  they’re HIS idea!  He’ s longing to be good to us!  He WANTS us to receive the promises!

John 16:24 NIV  Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask & you will receive, & your joy will be complete.

*receiving His promises makes our joy complete –- what else do we know about joy?

Psalms 16:11 NIV  You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence…

*joy is found in His presence & joy is made complete when I receive; therefore, receiving & being in His presence are one in the same. 
*It is time for God’s children to read the Word of God & find out just exactly what He has promised us!

1 Chron 16:15 KJV  Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word [which] He commanded to a thousand generations.

*His covenant is His Word or His promises & we’re to be mindful of it.  Meditate on what’s yours in the Word of God.  Faith comes from hearing the Word & faith will make those promises a reality!
*don’t give up on ANY of the promises God has made in His Word!  He is not a man that He should lie!  He is NOT limited by circumstances!  And it doesn’t matter if you are the only one who believes!

Rom 3:3-4 AMP, KJV  What if some did not believe & were without faith? Does their lack of faith & their faithlessness nullify & make ineffective & void the faithfulness of God & His fidelity [to His Word]?  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…

*you don’t need any man to get on board with you!  All you need is the Word of God!  God has made radical promises – abide in His Word & experience the gift that keeps on giving!

Deut 23:9 When you are encamped against your enemies, keep away from everything impure.
*impure refers to less than 100% or mixture.
Deut 22:9 Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.
-mixture defiles – it pollutes. Impure comes from a Hebrew word that includes the definition of wicked! What is mixture? It is combining law & grace! As we engage the enemy we cannot be confused about law & grace! We cannot be unsure about our sin – is it under the blood? is it being punished to the third & fourth generation?! We must understand what is law & what is grace & we must not mix the two!! God never does – not even in the Old Testament! Remember He has given us a choice all along – life or death!
Deut 22:11 Do not wear clothes of wool & linen woven together.
*why would God care about what kind of clothing they wore? It was not about the clothing – it was about what the clothing represented! Wool made you sweat, linen was cool & comfortable – grace can be compared to linen & law can be compared to wool!
John 13:5 NIV After that, He poured water into a basin & began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.
*the towel is translated from a word that means linen – after cleaning their feet He wiped them with linen. This washing representing the daily cleansing of the Word in our lives & He used the linen to represent grace – we need to read the Word under grace, not law! If we read under the law we are no better off- in fact, we can be worse off! The law kills! But the Spirit gives life!! The law inflicts fear – it makes us afraid of God, afraid of punishment. Grace makes us grateful – grateful that Jesus Christ took our punishment!! His perfect love cast out all fear!
*we need to be sure about what the Word says – we need to remove the mixture & we do this by understanding.
Matt 13:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom & does not understand it, the evil one comes & snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
*understanding is a key!
Prov 4:7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
understand: to put together, to comprehend. From the
Greek root word “sun.”
sun: denoting union; with or together; by association,
companionship, process, resemblance, possession,
instrumentality, addition, etc.: - beside, with. In
compounds it has similar applications, including
*to understand means that we can comprehend & put together what the Word is proclaiming because we are a companion of Christ! We associate with Him – we see ourselves in the Spirit, not the flesh; therefore, we can differentiate between what is addressed to us & what is not. A lack of understanding results in a lack of the Word – no matter how much we hear it!!
*understanding is VITAL – though it costs us all we need to get it! We cannot read without it & be reading Spiritually! We can read the Word in our flesh if we do not see ourselves in Christ! And when we do this Satan steals everything we read! It does us no good!
*if you read without understanding you are reading with mixture! You are using your flesh to do something Spiritual & it will not profit you!
*today we are in a war – our Spirit & our flesh wage war against each other! If we want to win this war we will have to remove the mixture; we will have to focus on Christ instead of ourselves! It is easy to see yourself as condemned, confused, guilty, & unworthy when we look at yourself instead of Christ! Christ has paid the price for us!! Are we receiving it?!
Rom 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin & death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
*we MUST KNOW that everything that could be required of us because of our sin has been met for us through Christ!!! God is not waiting to punish us – Christ took our punishment!
*no longer fearing punishment is not a license to sin – the Bible tells us that if we are live under grace we will NOT live as a slave to sin! If anyone wants to argue a license to sin theory with you because you believe the righteous requirements of the law were met in Christ and you no longer have to fear punishment then quote this verse~
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
*sin is your master when you are under the law – not grace!!
*do not mix your works with His grace – grace is His divine influence on our heart in our everyday lives through His Word!!

“DiVINE” Truth
John 15:1-2 KJV
I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
*He is the vine and we are the branches.
*if a branch does not bear fruit it is “taken away.” Also translated as “cuts off,” “cuts away,” “removes.”
taketh away = Greek – airo: to lift; takeup; figuratively to raise. to expiate (make up for; do penance for) sin: - away with sin, bear (up) sin, carry sin, lift up sin, loose sin, put away sin, remove sin, take (away, up) sin.
*the "taking away" referred to in these verses in John is the taking away of our sin!
taketh away = Hebrew – nasa: lift, accept,advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), ease, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, honourable (+ man), marry, magnify, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare.
*nasa and airo involve being lifted up to a place pardon and forgiveness. Christ has paid the full price for our sin; He has bore our sin and removed the penalty from us. He has more than made up for our sin; and in doing so, He removed our sin from us!
*nasa represents ease – remember the Word is our place or repose - rest or ease. It represents being furnished with everything we need – the Word and resting in that Word / Christ.
*nasa means to marry – to connect yourself to Christ.
*when we aren’t bearing fruit we need to be
reminded of WHO we are!
*the Hebrew alphabet paints a picture of the Holy Spirit connecting us to God and giving us the seed we need for life through the Word. It also shows us that we are shielded and supported by this life that Christ imparts through the Word and in turn we praise God for the fruit that is produced.
-a branch that does not bear fruit is not taken away or taken out of the picture; it is lifted up; it is taken out of the dirt. Vines that are laying on the ground in the dirt are not producing fruit.
*if we are not bearing fruit we need lifted up – not beaten down! We need to be taken out of the dirt – we need to get out of the flesh.
2 Cor 5:16-19 NKJV Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
reconciled: to change. Reconcile – resolve; reunite.
reconciliation: exchange (figuratively adjustment), that is, restoration to (the divine) favor: - atonement (compensation).
*we are to no longer see ourselves or others based on the flesh. We are to see ourselves and others according to who we are in Christ! In Christ we are a NEW creation; a change has taken place through Christ. The “all things” that have become new are from God; their origin is in God through Christ – we have this new identity because of Christ; Jesus Christ has changed us! He has restored us – He has taken us back to our original intention.
*God is not imputing our trespasses to us.
impute: to takeaninventory, that is, estimate (literally or figuratively): - conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).
*God is not taking an inventory of our sin; He is not thinking on our sin – why are we? We have been given the Word of reconciliation – the Word of change through Christ; the Word of being restored to divine favor.
*seeing the Word as a rule book instead of a love letter will keep us in this place of condemnation and keep us from producing Spiritual fruit. God gives us a choice – life or death….do we want Spirit or flesh? Do we want to see ourselves according to the Spirit (life) or do we want to see ourselves according to the flesh (death)?
*we need to be reminded of who we are in Christ if we are going to be productive Christians!
2 Peter 1:9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
-after the list of what faith produces in your life is given, the Bible tells us that if we do not have these qualities in increasing measure it is because we do not know we are cleansed; we do not know the price has been completely paid for our sin. If we do not understand who we are in Christ we will not bear fruit!! Every branch that does not bring forth fruit the Father lifts up!
*in Israel the vines are lifted up onto cross-shaped supports. What a beautiful picture of us being lifted up & abiding on the cross – we must rest on what Christ did for us if we are going to produce fruit!
Galatians 6:14 KJV But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
-we are useless outside of Christ.
John 15:6 NIV If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
*if we are not abiding in Him and what He has accomplished for us we are LIKE a branch that is useless – those branches are burned up --- just like the works we produce when we are not abiding in Christ! We can produce fruit that is no different from the unsaved when we are not resting in who we are in Christ.
*we must understand what He has done for us and we must rest in that! We cannot boast in what we do because we cannot produce any Spiritual fruit outside of Christ!
1 Cor 1:29-31 KJV That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
*by understanding who we are in Christ and by understanding what He did for us we escape the flesh – we lose the old life and gain the new life!
crucify: to impale (spear); to extinguish or subdue the flesh.
2 Peter 1:4 NIV Through these (His glory and His goodness) he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them (His very great and precious promises) you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
*we escape the flesh through Christ – through what He has accomplished for us. We abide in Him (and He is the Word) and we rest in what He has done.
*a fruit-producing vine needs to be in its rightful place – it needs to be lifted up. We need to be lifted up, too – we need to take our place seated in Christ!
*a vine is not supposed to be in the dust! A vine that is crawling on the ground in the dust dies; it will not produce fruit! A Christian who lives in their sin or guilt will not produce fruit either!
Psalms 18:23 AMP I was upright before Him and blameless with Him, ever [on guard] to keep myself free from my sin and guilt.
*he kept himself free from his guilt and sin by abiding in the Word.
Psalms 18:20-22 AMP The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me, and I put not away His statutes from me.
*David kept the Word – he kept his focus on the Word; the Word was guarded in his life. The Word was before him – he kept his eyes on it.
*David also knew who he was in Christ; he knew the Lord treated him according to his righteousness – according to Jesus Christ!
-we need to know who we are in Christ and we need to be focused on the Word if we are going to produce fruit. We need lifted out of the dirt – out of sin and guilt through Christ!
Hebrews 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
-our consciences need to be cleansed – if not all we will accomplish is works of the flesh – and the flesh is death. if we are going to serve God, which means worship, we are going to have to know who we are in Christ; we are going to have to know that we have been cleansed.
Exodus 3:12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."
*worship is the proof that God is with us. When we are living with a guilty conscience we are not receiving what God has done for us and we are not living a life of worship and others will not be blessed by us.
Ex 12:13 (Amp) The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon [the doorposts of] the houses where you are, [that] when I see the blood, I will pass over you, & no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.
*Passover, it is a time of remembering what God has done for us through the blood of Jesus Christ.
*the blood was a sign for them & it is a sign for us! The word “sign” means evidence & it means miracle. The blood is our evidence; it is our miracle.
Matt 26:28 (Amp) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which [ratifies the agreement &] is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
*the blood ratifies or authorizes, approves & confirms the Covenant. The Covenant is God’s Word; it’s His promises!
1 Chr 16:15 He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations.
*we need to study the Word & find out what He has promised us & we need to remember it by abiding in it! Because of the blood of Jesus we are covenant partners with God! What is His is ours!! His blood confirms His promises to us!
*Passover reminded the Jews of the freedom God gave them from Egypt – how does this relate to us?
Egypt, in the Hebrew, comes from the same root word as trouble. It means “pressure, to be constrained, in a restricted place.” All of us have our own “Egypt.” We all have a problem that pressures us & restricts us.
A problem that occupies our time & our mind. A problem that makes us a “slave,” just like the Jews.
*the majority of the Jews, even though they were slaves, wanted to stay in Egypt. They accepted the constricted place; they lived below God’s best & they were okay with it.
*do not accept your situation that is contrary to God’s Word! Cry out to God for the help you need to get out of “Egypt!”
1 Chr 5:20 Amp …for they cried to God in the battle; & He granted their entreaty, because they relied on, clung to, & trusted in Him.
*too many times God’s children accept the unacceptable! If your situation does not line up with the promises that are in God’s Word then you must call out to God for the help you need to be set free from that situation! The blood confirms His promise – don’t live like it doesn’t!! Find as many promises as you can that confirm what you are believing for & remind yourself (& the enemy!) that Jesus Christ’s shed blood has authorized the fulfillment of this promise in your life! The Word tells us that God helped them “because they relied on, clung to, & trusted in Him.” Relying on Him, clinging to Him & trusting in Him are all the result of abiding in the Word of God! During the trial in your life, while you are in your “Egypt,” you must continue in the Word! Do not give up no matter what things look like! The children of Israel wanted to give up when things got tough – they were not relying on God or His promise!
Ex 16:2-3 In the desert the whole community grumbled…The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat & ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."
*on your way to inheriting the promises God has vowed, you’ll experience trials – God calls these the “testing of your faith” in 1 Peter 1:6-9. When experiencing these trials be sure to dig deeper in Christ! Stay in the Word! Read more! Speak the Word out loud more! Do not give up! Do not allow circumstances to steal your victory! The Israelites never experienced the promised land because of their unbelief - their children did! (Remember that unbelief is the result of ignoring God’s Word /His promises!)
Heb 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
*faith comes from the Word – stay in faith, stay in the Word!
Ex 7:16 Then say to him, “The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the desert. But until now you have not listened.”
*as we study Passover & we discover that God wants to set us free from our restricted places we must understand WHY – what is our purpose? Jesus Christ shed His blood to set us free so that we could WORSHIP!!
Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy & pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
*worship is presenting everything you are, everything you do, to God! It is living your everyday life for Christ! It is going to work for Him, changing diapers for Him, cooking for Him, cleaning for Him, cutting grass for Him, doing WHATEVER you do FOR HIM! It is not wasting ANY of your life! Christ wants to set you free so you can use that freedom to worship Him!!
*think about it – what happens when you’re restricted in any area? You can’t help others, you have a hard time doing things for yourself. Jesus wants to set you free so you can worship, so you can do whatever you do to Christ,through Christ & for Christ!
John 2:22 After He was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture & the words that Jesus had spoken.

*the disciples believed because they saw the proof.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, & yet have believed.
*we, however, were not there. We did not physically see Jesus after He was raised from the dead -- so guess what, we are BLESSED!! Blessed because we haven’t seen, but we believe!
blessed: supremely blest;. fortunate, well off:--blessed, happy (-ier).
*what a time of celebration Easter is! It is the time we recall the resurrection of our Savior! We should think about it more than just at Easter, but Easter is a special celebration of the resurrection!
*this Easter realize that you are blessed! You are supremely blessed - not just a little blessed! You are fortunate, well off, & happy!! Easter is a time of rejoicing! Rejoicing about what Christ did for you that resurrection day!
Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
*the most important gift we’ve been given as Christians is a home in heaven! And we need to be mindful of that home! We need to live for that home & not this one! And we do that by living through the Word of God here on earth!
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
*since we are risen with Christ we need to keep our focus on the Spiritual!
*this Easter think about the fact that you were risen with Christ!
Col. 2:12 Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.
*you also have been raised up to live a new life! A Spiritual life!
Mat 27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night, & steal Him away, & say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
*remember, as a participant in this “risen livin’” nothing has the power to keep you down!! No matter what anyone did, they could not keep Jesus down & the same goes for us!!
Rom 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
*remember that you have resurrection power living inside of you! It is at work inside of you!! There is nothing that can keep you down!
*as a child of God you have a right to live a resurrected life! Quit living that old dead life - that life in the flesh! Come to life! Live in the Spirit!
1 Pet 1:3-5 Praise be to the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from thedead, & into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
*recognize what is yours because of the resurrection side of the cross!
*we have new birth!
1 Pet 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living & enduring word of God.
*we have living hope!
Heb 6:18-20a God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm & secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.
*our hope is alive --- it is impossible for God to lie so if our hope is in the Word of God (which is alive!) then our hope is alive! And this alive, Spiritual faith that is based on God’s promises keeps us stable! It anchors our soul ~ our mind, our will, our emotions!
*we have an inheritance that will last forever!
Eph 1:18-20 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, & His incomparably great power for us whobelieve. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead & seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.
*we can be shielded by God’s power through faith!
Eph 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
*faith shields us, faith puts out the fire the devil tries to make in your life! Faith!! We need it & through the Word of God we can have it!
*we have salvation in our future -- salvation: the totality of what Jesus did for us -- & we experience this in heaven!
1 Cor 15:51-53 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, & we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, & the mortal with immortality.
*because He’s alive we’ll be alive one day -our flesh will cease to exist! What a cause for celebration!!
Someone Should Steal Their
"Lucky Charms!"
Too many Christians believe in "luck."  Luck has no place in a Christian's life.   We are to depend on Jesus Christ & His promises alone.  We do not need a "lucky" rabbit's foot or a statue...we have everything we need in Christ!! 
God has something to say about the things we hold on to as "lucky charms."
Jeremiah 10:5-7 NIV
Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them; they can do no harm
nor can they do any good. 
No one is like You, O LORD; You are great, and Your name is mighty in power.
Who should not revere You,
O King of the nations?
This is Your due.
Among all the wise men of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
Romans 1:21-23 NIV
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Isaiah 45:20 NIV
...Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
Leviticus 26:1 NIV
Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.
Romans 1:25 NIV
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Micah 5:12-13 NIV
I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells.  
I will destroy your carved images and your sacred stones from among you;
you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.
These idols, these works of mens' hands, cannot do us any good or any harm.  We need to stop putting faith in these things by putting our focus on the Word of God!
Why would we look to anything else when we have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?  It is because we do not understand what we really have in Christ.  If we are looking to something else for "luck" or help we need to STOP!  And we need to shift gears!  Instead of looking to anything else put your focus on Christ!  Find our what the Word has to say about Who He is -- and keep in mind, Who He is IS what He does!   He is the Savior - He will save you!  He is Peace - He will bring peace to your situation!  He is the Counselor - He will get you through your situation!  And so on!!   Open up the Word and find out what you have in Jesus!  It is so much more than any object or "lucky charm" some look to!!


Prov 11:2  
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

pride:    swelling, being
          “puffed up.” Arrogance.
          Thinking you’re  
          responsible for the
          Spiritual things you do.
*Pride produces disgrace!
    disgrace: emptiness,
           shame, confusion,
           ignominy (humiliation,
*pride or thinking you’re responsible for the Spiritual things you do produces emptiness, shame, humiliation, confusion, etc!  When we are taking credit & puffing ourselves up, it only lasts so long!  God will show us what is really up! 
Job 33:17 (ampl.)  That He may withdraw man from his purpose & cut off pride from him [disgusting him with his own disappointing self-sufficiency].
*God will show us just how “self-sufficient” we CAN’T be! 
*our self-sufficiency is very disappointing!  It will disgust us!
2 Cor 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.
*our sufficiency, our ability, our competence - it is only from God!!
*pride takes you away from Christ!!
*the further away from Christ you get, the deeper in sin you get!
2 Chr 32:24-29  In those days Hezekiah became ill & was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him & gave him a miraculous sign.  But Hezekiah's heart was proud & he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord's wrath was on him & on Judah & Jerusalem.  Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah had very great riches & honor…for God had given him very great riches.
*Hezekiah became puffed up because of answered prayer! 
*something Spiritual is never our "fault "-- it is all thanks to the Holy Spirit in us! It is because of HIS kindness!!  We need to be thankful - not prideful!
*Hezekiah did not respond to the kindness God showed him -- he felt like he deserved it!  He wasn’t thankful - he was boasting!
*when we feel deserving we are NOT where God is!  We are not in the Spirit!
Prov. 8:13 (ampl.)  The reverent fear & worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the hatred of evil; pride, arrogance, the evil way, & perverted & twisted speech I hate.  
*we need to be in awe of the Lord -- knowing it is all about Him & not us! We need to be in worshipful awe -- living our everyday life through Him because we  know apart from Him we can do nothing!
*Reverent fear, worshipful awe -- it includes hating evil ~pride is evil!  So is twisted speech -- anything said that goes against the Word of God!  
*Reverent fear & worshipful awe includes hating pride because pride is the opposite of reverent fear & worshipful awe -- pride puts you on the throne, not God! 
Isa 66:1-2  This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is My throne, & the earth is My footstool. Where is the house you will build for Me? Where will My resting place be?  Has not My hand made all these things, & so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble & contrite in spirit, & trembles at My word."
*God is not impressed by what WE do!  He is not impressed by what WE build for Him -- actually, wecan’t build anything for Him!
*the one God esteems is the one who is humble, contrite in Spirit & trembles at His Word!
     esteems: look intently at;
          to regard with pleasure,
          favor or care:--(cause
          to) behold, consider, 
          look  (down), regard,
          have  respect, see.
     humble: needy, poor (not
           financially), lowly.
     contrite: smitten, i.e. (lit.)
           maimed, or (fig.)
           dejected, lame  
           weak, ineffective).
*God regards with pleasure those who know they are nothing without Him~ they are crippled Spiritually without Christ!  They are ineffective on their own - they need His Holy Spirit!
*poor in Spirit ~lacking what you need on your own! 
 Mat 5:3  "Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Prov 29:23  A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
*when we understand where WE are Spiritually without Christ then we will begin to desperately look to Him like we should & then we will begin to experience life the way God intended!        
*when we understand how poor or needy we are Spiritually then we get into the Word like it is our life because we understand that It is!  The Word is our Spiritual life!  Without it our life is lived in the flesh! 
James 4:6 &10  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  Humble yourselves before the Lord, & he will lift you up.
Mat 23:12  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, & whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
*let Christ lift you up!  Let Him raise you up to the life you were meant to have! It only comes through Him --  you can’t achieve it on your own!
Pr 16:18-19  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be lowly in spirit & among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
*oppressed here means humble. It is better for us to realize where we are Spiritually without Christ than for us to build a life on our own! 
*the life we build on our own won’t last-- it is destined for destruction! Ps. 127:1
10 Utterances
asert hadevarim: the Hebrew name for what we call the “10 commandments.” 
It means the ten words or the ten utterances.
the Decalogue: the Greek name for what we call the “10 commandments.”  It comes from deca (10) and logoi (words).
*what are the 10 commandments and why did God give them?
Exo 19:5 KJV  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine.
*God told them to obey and keep.  In the Hebrew, He told them to “shama” & “shamar.”
obey /shama: to hear  intelligently,  attentively, consent,
consider, be content, declare, diligently,  discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), listen, regard,
understand, whosoever  [heareth], witness.
keep / shamar: to hedge about (as with thorns),  that is, guard; generally  to protect, attendto, etc.  take heed (to self), mark, look narrowly,observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (man).
*God’s plan was the same then as it has always been.  They were to hear the Word (faith comes from hearing) & hedge the Word in in their lives. They were to protect the Word in their lives & have proper regard for it.  God’s covenant with Abraham was a covenant of faith and God was not changing His plan – it was always all about faith.
Gal 3:16-17  The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.  What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
*the covenant is God's promises to us.  The law is what we refer to as the first written word the Israelites had.  God told them to obey (hear) and keep (hedge it in, focus on it) this Word.  Man turned the Word into rules and regulations. 
Isa 28:9   "Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast?  For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there."Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose"-- but they would not listen. So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there-- so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured.
*God tells us that He is trying to explain to the “new-borns” what His Word is; it is their resting place.  It is their resting place because this is where they will find everything they need; however, they would rather view it as a rule book.  They would rather do instead of shama and shamar – obey and keep.
Exo 19:8 KJV  And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
*God told them to obey (shama) and keep (shamar), but they decided to DO.
do / asah: to do or make. Accomplish.  Bring forth; be busy. Execute; fulfill; furnish.
*man decided they could accomplish Spiritual actions outside of the Word.  God has always respected our free will and allowed them to ratify the agreement their
way – which was by works.   Man wanted to live by works then just like many want to today.  God offered them faith but man chose works. 
-their choice did not get them very far.  They rebelled against the first commandment almost as soon as they agreed to do it!
Ex 32:1  When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."  Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me."…He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
*the Israelites quickly turned from their promise to “do” as soon as things didn’t go the way they thought they should go. 
*we are imperfect people – we cannot live by works!
*God never expected man to live by works; He gave His Word to enable us to produce Spiritual fruit.  God did not change His mind regarding the covenant…
Hebrews 13:20 NIV  May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.
    -the eternal Covenant is the Word / Jesus Christ!
*we have to make a choice - are we going to see the Word as something we must live up to or are we going to see it God's way? We need to see the Word as LIFE, as our resting place, and as something that empowers us - that is God's way!

Built LORD Tough!
Psa 127:1a 
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
*as couples we are building something - building a life together, a family, a home - & unless the Lord is the One building, we are laboring in vain!
 *there needs to be one constant theme in our entire life!
John 15:5  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me & I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.
*no matter what area of our lives we are talking about, we need to know how desperate we are for the Lord!  We need to understand that without Him we are a mess!  Without Him we cannot accomplish anything Spiritual, anything lasting, anything of value.  Without Him we cannot stay out of trouble.  Without Him we cannot see the good things God has promised us come to pass in our lives!  We are desperate for Christ in every area of our lives!!
Psa 16:2  I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing."
*in our marriages, Christ needs to be the focus!  We need to understand that our marriages will not work without Him!  But if we are building a life with someone through Christ, we will end up with something we didn’t even know was possible~ a marriage beyond our expectations! 
build: to build (lit. & fig.):--(begin to) build (-er), obtain children, make, repair, set (up), surely.
house: a house -in the greatest var. of applications, especially family, etc.:--court, great as would contain, [winter]house
(-hold), inside(-ward), palace, temple, within.
*a key to the definition of build is that it is built “surely” or securely; it is something permanent when the Lord builds it!
Mat 19:6  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
*many times we are the ones doing the building & we are the ones doing the joining - not GOD!!  When that is the case -- it will not last (Acts 5:38-39)!  If your relationship with someone
is of human origin it will fail; if God put it together, no one will be able to stop you!  The word “let” in Mt. 19:6 means “God  forbids!”  It is so important to get God involved in our dating!! 
*If you’re already married, is God the One guarding your marriage?!  Is He watching over it or are you trying to protect or save it yourself??
Isa 27:3  I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day & night so that no one may harm it.
*we aren’t going to be able to keep someone in relationship with us~ no matter how hard we try!  That is why we need to focus on Christ!  If I know He is the One building my house & guarding it, I have nothing to worry about! 
*let Christ have control of your relationship!  Don’t get obsessed with a person!  Part of the definition of “vain” was idolatry -- we can give our spouse a place in our life that belongs solely to the Lord if we aren’t careful!  One of the ways we do that is by trying to “stand guard” over our relationship ourselves!  You can live without a person, but you cannot live without Christ!  The key to every awesome marriage is that Christ is the focus of the husband & the wife!  And as they are growing closer to Christ, they are also growing closer to each other!
*God wants to build you a “house” - place that contains greatness!
Psa 18:35  You give me your shield of victory, & Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.
*“house” also means: palace - a fortress, a stronghold a place that cannot be shaken! 
Psa 18:2  The LORD is my rock, my fortress & my deliverer; my God is my rock, in Whom I take refuge. He is my shield & the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
*“house” also means “winter house.”  He wants to build you a winter house -- a place that is a shelter from the elements!  A shelter from the cold, from the storms of life! 
Prov 31:21  When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
Isa 25:4  You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm & a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.
*“house” also means “temple.”  He wants to build you a temple - a place where God is the worshipped!  A home where everything is done through Christ and for His glory!
1 Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…
Rom 12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy & pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
*let the Lord be the builder of your house!  Don’t try to do it on your own!  When you put Him first your relationship will thrive!  You’ll be living in a “mansion!” 
Eph 3:20-21  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church & in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever & ever! Amen.
*take the limits off of your marriage – make Christ your focus!
Duty vs. Love
Rev 2:2-4
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for My name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
*these Christians did some amazing things!  Things that took integrity and strength and fortitude, yet Jesus held something against them!
*to everyone this church had to look like it had it all together!
-they did deeds, they worked hard, they persevered, they didn’t get unequally yoked, they endured hardships, they didn’t give up!
          - but looks aren’t everything!
1 Sam 16:7  …The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
*Jesus isn’t concerned with how much we are doing - He is concerned with HOW we are doing it - the only things that count are the ones we do through Him, for Him, because of Him!!
Gal 5:6  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
*love activates faith, it puts it into action & produces works!
*faith works by love!~ and those are the only works that count!  Works done through Christ - He is love!
*we could be the “hardest worker” in the church and it could all be for nothing!
1 Cor 3:11-15  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
*if what you do isn’t done through Christ it is worthless!  We’ll lose our reward we could’ve had.
        -true, genuine works = those done through Christ!
*The foundation must be Christ - and Jesus is love!
*our foundation needs to be love!  We need to do what we do because of love - because of Jesus!
1 Th 1:3  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
*If I build through Christ it lasts!
Psa 127:1  …Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain…
*will your “works” survive?  Are you doing what you do out of love or duty?
*will you receive rewards that you will in turn present to Christ because anything worth value that you did was done through Him?
*why did Jesus hold something against them?
            -they left their FIRST LOVE~ love was not the
                priority!  Jesus wasn’t the priority!
first: foremost (in time, place, order or importance):--before,
     beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
    ♥ Love needs to be first! 
Love needs to be the greatest in our lives!
    *Who is our first love? ~ Jesus!!
          -without Him there would be no love!~ He is the
          beginning (and the end!) of love!
         -Where is He in your life? (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc!)
*love is to have the first priority!  (And Jesus Christ is love!)
1 Cor 13:13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
*what is foremost in your life?  Are you focused on Christ and His love for you?
*His love will change you!  It will enable you to do what you do!  It shouldn’t be replaced by what you do!!!
*remember, we cannot do anything Spiritual without love - love is of the Spirit!
    -are your works of the flesh, or are they the only kind of
    works that count - Spiritual?!
              *only Spirit gives birth to Spirit! (John 3:6)
So This Is Love
1 John 4:10 
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us & sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
*love ~ do we really understand it?  We need to!  Love is all about God & what He did for us!
*because of His love for us, He sent His Son to be our atoning sacrifice.
1 John 2:2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, & not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
atone: to become reconciled; to be in harmony.  To supply
satisfaction.  To make amends.
*the sacrifice Jesus made for us reconciled us to God; it enables us to be in relationship with Him.  Because of the blood of Jesus nothing stands between me & God.  Before I received Christ my sins stood between me & God – now my sins are as far as the east is from the west & I am free to boldly go to the throne in the name of Jesus!   
1 Peter 3:18a  For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
*love draws us near!  Love brings us to God – it does not push us away!  
Eph 2:13-19  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one & has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments & regulations…He came & preached peace to you who were far away & peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners & aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people & members of God's household.
*from the very beginning God has desired to be in relationship with us.  He wants to bring us near because He loves us! 
*if we are going to experience that closeness we have to realize we are at peace with God. 
Rom 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
*if we are deceived into thinking God is mad at us or He is not pleased with us, we will lose our peace!  A lack of peace will keep us away from God – we will not go near; we’ll stay far away!  Notice in Ephesians the barrier He destroyed is the law with all its commandments & regulations; He destroyed it because He knew it would keep us away from Him!  Faith is what justifies us – not our actions!  We need to stop acting as if our actions can somehow bring us into His presence!  We cannot behave “good” enough to deserve access into His presence!  Only the blood of Jesus could “purchase” that access! 
Rom 8:38-39  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*true love is the love of God & nothing can come in between you & the love God has for you!  God’s love for you will always be there – whether or not you recognize it is the key! 
*Realizing the love God has for you will change you!
Song of Solomon 8:6-7a  Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.
*love is strong – God’s love for you is strong!  It cannot be destroyed!  The strength in His love is transferable - it will give you strength!  As you begin to abide in the love of God you will be strengthened with a supernatural strength! 
*love is like a fire – it changes things!  It burns up material that will not last & it makes lasting material better.  Fire gives light & heat.  The more you add to fire, the more light & heat you have.  The more you abide in the Word, the more you add to that love.
*nothing can stop true love – the love God has for you cannot be quenched!  Knowing that sets us free!  When you finally understand that you no longer have to labor to earn God’s love the freedom that you feel is unrivaled!  
2 Cor 5:14 KJV  For the love of Christ constraineth us…
constraineth: to hold  together, that is, to compress or arrest; hold, keep in, press, stop, be in a strait, straiten, be taken with, throng.
*understanding the love of Christ constrains us ~ it holds us together! 
*understanding the love of Christ arrests us ~ it keeps us in the confines of the Spirit.  Love draws you near, remember. 
*understanding the love of Christ keeps you in ~ it keeps you in the Word & out of sin. 
*love draws you to Christ.  Being afraid of God, feeling like He is disappointed with you or not pleased with you, etc. pushes you away from God.  We must dwell on the love of Christ.  This is the month of Valentine’s Day – focus on love, true love~ Christ’s love for you!  Love that is greater than all of your sin!  Love that can overcome your flesh!   
John 14:15 
 If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
*love - it can be so confusing if we do not understand the Word of God! 
*love - how do we show our love to God??  By doing His commandments?  Some people look at this verse & misinterpret it & think if they really loved God they would do all the commandments -- we need to see the truth behind this verse!  In order to do this we have to go back to the original language the Bible was written in & take a deeper look at a couple words. 
keep: to guard by keeping the eye upon; to detain (in
  custody; fig. to maintain); to withhold --hold fast,
  keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.
commandments: His word.
*keeping His commandments means we keep our eyes on His Word.  We guard it in our lives, we would rather die than lose the Word in our lives.
*when we misunderstand the Word we get wrong ideas.  Just like with this verse - if we go around thinking if we love Christ we’ll do everything right, we will be in big trouble!!
*we first need to realize we love Him ONLY because He first loved us!  We cannot take credit or feel good about ourselves for loving God -- it’s only because of Him that we love Him anyway!  He even gets the credit for us loving Him!
1 John 4:19  We love Him, because He first loved us.
*do not put the pressure of doing things right to prove your love for God on yourself!  Realize you can only do right because of Christ!
John 3:21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
*apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5) & we need to realize that ASAP!  Depending on yourself, thinking you can love God enough to do right, etc. will cause you nothing but grief!  And love is not about grief!  Love is something we need to be excited about!!
Rom 7:18  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
*I can WILL to do right, but I cannot PERFORM it!  My desire is my intent.  But it takes more than intent ~
Rom 7:20  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
*it takes content, not intent!  When I am operating in my flesh I will sin.  If I am operating in my Spiritual nature I won’t!
Num 32:23  …be sure your sin will find you out.
*our sin finds us out~  it shows us what we’re really made of!  It shows us who we really are outside of Christ!  If we are in sin it shows us we are not in the Spirit!  Our sin points out our desperate need for Christ / the Word!  Find means come forth -- it brings your flesh to the forefront!  It proves how much you need to fill yourself up with the Word!
*if He didn’t love us we’d be hopeless!  We would be nothing but a mess!
Psa 66:20  Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!
*because of His love for me I can go to Him any time!  I do not have to feel guilty & ashamed & stay away from Him!
Heb. 10:19 (ampl.) Therefore, brethren, since we have full freedom &  confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies [by the power & virtue] in the blood of Jesus.                        
*we have FULL freedom from sin!  Confidence in Christ!
*we don’t have to be afraid to go to God because of our sin - if we did we’d never be able to go to Him!!  (we’re in sin way more often than we’d like to think & admit - Rom. 14:23!!)
*we need to remember we are not going to God based on us!  We can only go to Him THROUGH CHRIST!  That is why my sin cannot separate me from Him!  It’s my wrong thinking that keeps me from Him!!
1 John 3:20 (KJV)  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, & knoweth all things.
*we need to get on the same page God is on!  He is not condemning us!  He sees us as “blameless & upright” (remember Job!)!!  We need to be the same way so we will go boldly to the throne!
1 John 3:21(KJV)  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we  confidence toward God.
*we need to see ourselves the way God sees us!  When we do then we will have confidence -- confidence in Christ, not ourselves -- & we need confidence!
Prov 3:26  for the LORD will be your confidence & will keep your foot from being snared.
Heb 10:35  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
*our confidence needs to be based on His love!
Eph 2:3-5  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature & following its desires & thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
*because of His love we do not have to live that same old life any more!
*we don’t have to follow our flesh - we don’t have to give in to it’s desires any more!  We can now be led by the Spirit!  And we can now live the life Christ died for us to live -- not that dead life, but that alive life!  That life that is courtesy of the Spirit!  That life courtesy of LOVE - not us!!
Body by GOD!
1Co 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from
God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
*your body is a temple
      temple: dwelling place; sacred place.
*my body, your body, is God’s sacred (holy, sanctified, blessed) dwelling place.
*God went to great lengths in creating the temple in the
O.T. – why do we think He would do any less in creating us?  Why do we think our body (His temple) is not good enough?
2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV  We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
*this verse is talking about comparing ourselves to others and then feeling superior to them because we aren’t sinning like they are – we do this because we lack knowledge.  God sees all sin as sin and God sees all of us as guilty of all sin…no one is better than another in God’s eyes.  We are all guilty of everything!
*we can also use this verse in terms of comparing ourselves or our looks to those of another person. 
*how many images do we see daily that make us feel inferior in the area of our body or our looks?  
*Hollywood / the media commend themselves – their “fake” selves.  
*why do we feel like we want to live up to their standards?
*we are told to honor God with our body.
       honor: to render (or esteem) glorious (in a wide
                 application): - (make) glorify (-ious), full of (have)
                 glory, honor, magnify (make big).
*honoring God with our body means that we render or esteem our bodies as glorious (wonderful, splendid, celebrated, unashamed) – we do not demean ourselves based on a comparison with someone else. 
*how do you see yourself?  Do you consider yourself glorious (wonderful, splendid, celebrated, unashamed)?
Psalms 139:14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
     wonderfully: to distinguish (literally or figuratively): -      
           put a difference, show marvelous, separate, set apart,
           sever, make wonderfully.
     wonderful: to separate, that is, distinguish (literally or
           figuratively); to be(causatively make) great, difficult,
           wonderful: - accomplish, things too high, (be, do, do a,
           shew) marvelous (-ly, -els, things, work), miracles,
           perform, separate, make singular, (be, great, make)
           wonderful (-ers, -ly, things, works), wondrous
          (things, works, -ly).
*I am fearfully (with awe) and wonderfully made – God made me special.  I am distinguished and set apart in HIS sight – so who cares what anyone else thinks!
*anything God makes is wonderful – including you!  You are His accomplishment; you are His great masterpiece!  You are His miracle!  “Make single” is part of the definition of wonderful – there is no one like you! 
*praise God because of who you are!
Gen 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
*honoring God with our bodies is magnifying Him with our bodies.
Psalms 34:3 KJV  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
      magnify: to twist, that is, to be (causatively make) large
           (in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor,
            also in pride): - advance, boast, bring up, exceed,
            excellent, be (-come, do, give, make, wax), great (-er,
            come to . . estate, + things), grow (up), increase, lift
            up, magnify (-ifical), be much set by, nourish (up),
            pass, promote, proudly [spoken], tower.
*to twist is part of the definition of magnify – what does this mean?  When something is twisted together (like a braid) you cannot tell one part from the other.  My body is the temple (or dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit – magnifying God is entwining myself with Him. 
*I need to see myself according to Jesus Christ!  I do not need to view myself based on my looks.  My identity and my worth and my beauty are found in Christ!
*honoring God is respecting God.  Have respect for God and His creation when you judge your body. 
James 1:17 NIV  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
*you were created by God and He considers you good and perfect!  Why should we see ourselves any other way??
*a lack of confidence in our bodies will lead to a need for approval from another.
*with girls, many times, this can lead to becoming too physical with a guy who gives you that affirming attention. 
*we feel good about ourselves when a guy is attracted to us and that can lead to decisions we will regret if we are not focused on the Spiritual aspect of who we are.
*we need to have confidence in who we are and not how we look.  If I know who I am in Christ I will not give in to a man.
Esther 1:10-13 AMP  On the seventh day, when the king's heart was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who ministered to King Ahasuerus as attendants,  To bring Queen Vashti before the king, with her royal crown, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to behold.  But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command conveyed by the eunuchs. Therefore the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.
*Queen Vashti refused to show off her body.  She did not allow a man to intimidate her and she was not a woman who found her self-worth in what men thought about her.  She was modest. 
*there will be times when you have to tell a guy no and it will not always be welcomed…they may get mad.  Do not allow their anger to intimidate you! 
James 1:20 KJV  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
*the anger of man does not accomplish or bring about Christian actions. 
*if we let man’s anger persuade us we are giving in to the flesh. 
2 Cor 6:14 KJV  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
*even a Christian guy can get angry if you do not give in to his demands, but that is why we need to stay away from unequal yoking.  This does not only refer to a Christian with an unsaved person, but it also refers to a mature Christian with an immature Christian.  When choosing a boyfriend you need to look for someone who will be a benefit to you Spiritually.
Prov 27:17  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
*look for a guy who will “sharpen” you or draw you closer to God. 
*know who you are in Christ – and look for a guy who understands who he is in Christ and he understands your worth and value, too!!
Rom 12:1 KJV  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
*your body was created to be a living sacrifice. 
-this means that you can offer God your every-day life.  Everything you do (school, work, chores, etc.) can be an offering to God.
*our bodies are holy and pleasing to God and we need to see ourselves the way God sees us! 
-this body we have been given was bought with the blood of the Lamb.  The value of anything is the amount that someone is willing to pay for it – seeing that you were paid for by the blood of Jesus, how valuable does that make you?!?
*my body can be used to serve God or it can be used to serve the flesh. 
-that word translated as “service” comes from a word that means “worship.” 
-when I am walking in the Spirit my body is being used to serve or worship God.  Walking in the Spirit is nothing more than being in agreement with the Word of God.
*I am serving or worshipping God when I agree with what He says about who I am. 
Despise the Shame
Heb 12:2 KJV  Looking unto Jesus the author & finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
*we are told to look at Jesus – consider what He did when He  was facing a trial.  Do not be distracted during the trial – attentively focus on Christ.  what can we learn from Christ when it comes to victoriously triumphing over our trials?
  *one thing we see is that Jesus despised the shame –
        despise: to thinkagainst, that is, disesteem (He had a
                   low opinion of it; He gave it no respect – He
                   didn’t give it any value in His life.).look down on.
        shame: dishonor, embarrassment, or disgrace
                   (abstractly or concretely): - dishonesty, shame. 
                    From a word for disfigurement. 
-part of the definition for despise is “to think against.”  Do not think in favor of the trial – do not get in agreement with it; Jesus didn’t!  The trial is something that is contrary to the Word; it is your enemy – think against it! 
-it is so important to set your mind on the Word! As a man thinks so is he – cast down every thought that does not agree with the Word!
2 Cor 10:5 KJV  Casting down imaginations, & every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, & bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
*casting down means to lower; take down; destroy.  We are to cast down every thought (or imagination – an image in our mind) & every thing that exalts itself above what the Word says.  Do not allow any thought or words or theories or news, etc., to take root  & have more priority in your life than the Word.  Cast those things down!  Destroy them in your life by giving God’s Word precedence.  Exalt the Word, not your thoughts, not the news, & so on!  These things will try to exalt themselves – they will try to have the priority in your life but it is ultimately up to you if they do!  If anything has more weight in your life than the Word then you need to do something – you need to fill yourself with what the Word says about that thing!  Ex:  you believe the news & the fear the media tries to push off on us more than you believe there is nothing to fear because of Christ.  You have 2 choices – destroy that fear by giving the Word more attention in your life or ignore the Word & live with the fear & its fruit. 
*you need to understand that when you get in agreement with the trial you are inviting it to stay!  You need to think according to the Word!  Phil. 4:8 – think on what is TRUE!
*when we look at the word “despise” we also see that it means to have a low opinion of. 
-have a low opinion of the shame.  After all, the shame is dishonesty!  The shame is not the truth!!  The trial you are going through is not in agreement with the Word so it does not deserve an exalted place in our lives!
-do not give the trial value in your life.  Do not think that the trial can get the victory in your life; do not believe that the trial will get the best of you!  Understand that anything that is contrary to the Word is your enemy & God says the enemy is defeated!
Luke 10:19  I have given you authority to trample on snakes & scorpions & to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
*get in agreement with what God says about the enemy!!
*do not give anything that does not agree with the Word an exalted place in your life!  Do not think on it – dismiss it by faith!
*the word for shame comes from a word for disfigurement – we are not looking like we should during the trial; that is why we have to look at the unseen!
Col 1:10  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
   -‘living worthy” was translated from 2 Greek words:
            living/ peripateo: to tread all around, that is,walk at  
            large (especially as proof of ability); figuratively to
            live, deportoneself, follow (as a companion or
            votary): - go, be occupied with, walk (about).
            worthy / axios: comparable; suitable.  appropriately: -
            as becometh, after a godly sort, worthily (-thy).
*living worthy means that you are occupied with who you are in Christ & as a result you live a life that is comparable to His!  You live as becomes you!!  You walk around like the child of God you are; you do not live less – don’t live disfigured!
*when we live “as becomes us” the Bible says that pleases God – why?  Because it is living by faith – you are living based on the Word, not your feelings or thoughts, etc!
          Rom 14:23  …everything that does not come from
          faith is sin.
*it is all about faith – faith comes from the Word – we need to live in the Word, focus on the Word, meditate on the Word & give it the #1 priority in our lives!  Faith pleases God, produces Spiritual fruit & brings Spiritual knowledge into our lives!  Live by faith!!
2 Chronicles 30:21-22 KJV  And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, [singing] with loud instruments unto the LORD.  And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.
*we see here that the feasts were observed with great gladness!  This was not a burden – this was something they looked forward to and they were happy about.
*these feast went on for days!  While we do experience some of the things that took place at the feasts during a church service, we are only experiencing them for a fraction of the time that they did!  We are an under-celebrated church (body of Christ)! 
*praising God was a daily occurrence during the feast time.
*singing was involved.
*confession was involved.
*peace was involved.
*Hezekiah spoke comfortably to the Levites (the leaders, those who taught the Word – good knowledge!).
   -comfortably is derived from the Hebrew word “al”
   and means the highest, God, and things above.  He
   spoke to them about God and Spiritual things!
            *ex: works are not Spiritual; guilt is not Spiritual;
              fear is not Spiritual…
    -they taught the GOOD knowledge of God – the
    Word is GOOD news!! 
*as a leader you NEED to speak comfortably to your people and you also will need someone in your life that “speaks comfortably” to you!
*eating was involved – not fasting.  eating was part of the celebration.
Mark 2:18-22  Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?"  Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.  No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."
*the disciples could not fast because Christ was with them…they had reason to celebrate – so do we!! 
Heb 13:5 
…God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
*Jesus was taken from them on the cross but He rose again and gave them His Spirit that would never leave them!
*Jesus went on to speak on mixture.  The new and the old cannot be combined. 
*mixture -- we cannot combine living by works and living by faith. 
Rev 3:15-16 
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
*mixture…lukewarm is a mixture of hot and cold…and lukewarm deeds are not accepted by God. 
1 Cor 3:11-15 
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
*works that appear Spiritual but are of the flesh will not make it through the fire!  They’ll be rejected!   Their fasting was rejected - they were fasting in the flesh – it was tradition, not a leading of the Holy Spirit. 
*eating is part of celebrating – fasting was part of mourning.   Christ’s disciples were to be in a time of celebration!
       -what they ate was symbolic
              *grape juice – the blood of Christ
              *the “bread” – the body of Christ
              *fish – fertility and abundance
              * Challah – a sweet, braided bread,
               traditionally eaten every Shabbat (Sabbath) 
               and holiday. Challah is formed into a circle,
               representing the circle of life and the
               continuity of the Jewish year.
              *honey – symbolizing the sweetness of what is
               to come.
              *pomegranate – the pomegranate is said to
               have 613 seeds, which is the same number of
               mitzvot -- or commandments.  (The tallit had
               613 tassels.)  When eating the pomegranate,
               a special blessing is said beseeching God to
               make the Jewish people as fruitful as the
               seeds of the pomegranate.
               *foods fried in oil are popular during Hanukah
                because Hanukah celebrates the miracle of
                the oil lasting for 8 days in the temple
                menorah when the Maccabees were
                victorious in restoring the temple to the
                Jewish people. 
                    -and so on….you can find different foods  
                   served at each holiday and they all
                   symbolize something!
*during the feast they made confession to the Lord
          ידה    confession  (yadah)
   confession: literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand;
          physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or
          away; especially to revere or worship (with
          extended hands); cast (out), (make) confess (-
          ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving).
              -confession is a form of worship!  It is praise.  It is
              giving thanks. 
*confession means “to use.”  When we speak the Word we are using the weapon God gave us – our hearts must be overflowing with the Word before it will come out of our mouths Spiritually!  use the Word - speak to the mountain!  Speak the Word to your problems!
*confession means to throw – this is interesting. 
       -another name for satan is diabolos in the Greek. 
       -this is made up of 2 parts – dia and bolos. 
*Dia is where we get diameter from – diameter is the distance from one point on a circle, through the center, to another point on a circle.  It cuts the circle in half.  It also means to cut through. 
*ballo is where we get our word ball.  Ballo means to throw; dung; lie; pour; send; throw down. 
*diaballo means to accuse. 
*satan is an accuser.  He throws accusations (which are dung!  They are lies!) at us until they penetrate us or “cut us in half” – satan wants us to live as 2 people – he wants us to look Spiritual on the outside but actually be operating in our flesh.  he wants us to live in the flesh as much if not more than we live in the Spirit.  He wants to get his lies inside of us – he wants them to penetrate or cut through us.  BUT we see that confession is OUR ability to throw!  
*the shield of faith will quench everything that the devil throws at us – use it!
*faith comes from hearing the Word and the Word stored up in our hearts comes out of our mouth!
*praise God and watch the devil flee!!  (he can’t stand to be in the place where God is getting praise!)
*the Hebrew letters show us that at the heart of confession is a mind that is focused on the Word.  A mind filled with the Word will speak God’s praise.  Those words may seem “small” but they are very important!  Words that agree with the Word of God force death out of your life! 
Leviticus 23:40-41 KJV 
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.  And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. [It shall be] a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
*rejoice before the Lord!
      rejoice: to brighten up. be or make blithe (cheerful
             and carefree). Cheer up, be (make) glad,
             (have make) joy (-ful), be (make) merry, (cause
              to, make to) rejoice, very.
*God set aside these celebrations because He knows that life can be hard at times.  These times were for rejoicing – it was a time to brighten up; a time to cheer up!  It was a time to be carefree!!
Neh 8:10 KJV 
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
*eat the fat –
    fat: (literally and abstractly) fatness; but usually
          (figuratively and concretely) a rich dish, a fertile
           field, a robust (healthy, vigorous, forceful) man: -
           fat (one, -ness, -test, -test place).
*take in what will make you fertile - take in the Word; get “pregnant” with God’s promises for your life!  Get a vision!  Find something in the Word to believe. 
*drink the sweet – sweet means sweet - something that is not bitter.  Take in what will keep you from being bitter! 
   -drink the sweet – expect sweetness to come your
*help others who aren’t prepared for this celebration.
Romans 15:2 MSG 
Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"
*this is a sacred time, it is holy – it is set apart; don’t try to celebrate while doing ten other things. 
-God loves us – that is why He wants us to rest and celebrate!  Take advantage of this time!
*do not be sorry~
    sorry: properly to carve, to worry, pain or anger: -
         displease, grieve, hurt, make, be sorry, vex.
*get happy!  Leave your problems at the door!  Celebrate!  Get excited about what God is doing!
*the joy of the Lord is strength!
   strength: a fortified place; figuratively a defense: -
         force, fort (-ress), rock, (most) strong (hold).
-joy is a fortress for the Christian – it is a hiding place from the storms of life!
-during these feasts the Israelites were carefree – they did not work; these times were for forgetting your labor because in Christ we are labor-free!  He did everything that needed done for me! 
-in the Hebrew spelling of the word “samach” (rejoice) we see that the truth of God is at the heart of rejoicing – we need to know the truth in order for us to be able to rejoice!  A Christian that is down and out is lacking truth!  God’s Word is good news…you can’t help but rejoicing!  When you are dealing with struggles in life and you take a break and get into the Word you begin to see the truth – you focus on how God will work everything together for your good and that fact cheers you up!  Rejoicing also has to do with eating and fencing the Word in in your life; it has to do with being a student of the Word and experiencing His influence in your daily life.  Rejoicing is found in the new beginnings we have in Christ – we are never too far gone to come back to Christ.
I Don’t Know
Exodus 32:1 (ampl.)
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, [they] gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Up, make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
*delay caused a lack of knowledge and confidence.  The Israelites were waiting for Moses and it was taking longer than they thought it should so they decided to move on from the path God had them on. 
*time – it can be your enemy or your friend.  When you decide to put limits of time on God it becomes your enemy.
*every promise comes to pass in our lives through faith and patience; patience denotes a period of time – a period of time that is of an unknown duration! 
*our trials are prolific in nature, but what they are producing in our lives is life altering!
*the Israelites allowed the delay to produce an insurgence (uprising, mutiny); they rebelled against God and turned to an idol.  We must understand that all of us worship something - to worship means to live your life for.  If we are not living for God we ARE living for something else; it can be our family, our money, our career, our possessions, etc. 
*the Israelites decided to turn from God and turn to something else because of what they were experiencing. 
*they took the very things God blessed them with to turn from Him!
                        *can we relate? 
*when we are unaware as to what is going on we need to be watchful!  A lack of knowledge can prompt us to turn away from God to something else.  We must realize that we do not have to know everything!  Not knowing requires faith – something God told us to live by!
*the Israelites had to go backward before they could go forward-
Exodus 14:1-2  AND THE Lord said to Moses,  Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the [Red] Sea, before Baal-zephon. You shall encamp opposite it by the sea.
*turn back and encamp – stand still, remain. 
*did you ever feel like you were going backwards instead of forward?!  You may have been fighting depression and you were experiencing joy and then suddenly you were more depressed than ever, for example. 
*if you feel like you are going backwards you need to see what God is doing!  He took the Israelites back in order to give them a phenomenal, miraculous victory!  And that victory was no doubt something God brought about – they were ahead of the Egyptians; if they outran them it would have been no big deal!  People wouldn’t be in awe about that, but God wanted the Egyptians to catch up to the Israelites in order for the victory to be a miraculous victory!  God may be taking you backwards right now, but remember the final outcome – a miraculous victory!! 
Jeremiah 20:1-9  NOW PASHHUR son of Immer, the priest, who was [also] chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.  Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate by the house of the Lord.  And the next day Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, The Lord does not call your name Pashhur [liberation], but Magor-missabib [terror on every side].  For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; they will fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon; he will carry them captive to Babylon and will slay them with the sword.  Moreover, I will deliver all the riches of this city--all the results of its labors, all its precious things, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah--into the hand of their enemies, who will make them a prey and plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon.  And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house shall go into captivity; you shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied falsely.  [But Jeremiah said] O Lord, You have persuaded and deceived me, and I was persuaded and deceived; You are stronger than I am and You have prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.  For whenever I speak, I must cry out and complain; I shout, Violence and destruction! For the word of the Lord has become to me a reproach and a derision and has brought me insult all day long.  If I say, I will not make mention of [the Lord] or speak any more in His name, in my mind and heart it is as if there were a burning fire shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot [contain it any longer].
*Jeremiah declares the Word of the Lord to Pashhur and his people.  The word is not a word of victory or triumph but one of defeat.  This word cause Jeremiah problems – this word that God gave him – even after God told him not to fear!
Jer 1:8, 19  Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord…And they shall fight against you, but they shall not [finally] prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.
*did you ever feel like you were experiencing more problems because of the Word?  Did you ever feel like the promises God gave you are the reason you are in this trial?! 
*Jeremiah felt “persuaded and deceived.”  God talked him into believing something and he was not receiving it!  Maybe God persuaded you when you were studying the Word and now things are worse than before!  You may wonder why God went through the “trouble” of persuading you only to let you down.  You may feel deceived – you may feel like what God said in His Word is not the truth for your life!  You may feel misinformed, mislead, and maybe even betrayed, but we have to understand that God cannot deceive us!  Whatever He says WILL come to pass!  When it takes time to come to pass that is when many give up and feel like they were deceived, but we have to be smarter than that!  We have to understand what is really going on!
*Moses knew what it meant to feel persuaded and deceived.
Exodus 5:22-23  Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, O Lord, why have You dealt evil to this people? Why did You ever send me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people, neither have You delivered Your people at all.
Numbers 11:11-15  And Moses said to the Lord, Why have You dealt ill with Your servants? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You lay the burden of all this people on me?  Have I conceived all this people? Have I brought them forth, that You should say to me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father carries the sucking child, to the land which You swore to their fathers [to give them]?  Where should I get meat to give to all these people? For they weep before me and say, Give us meat, that we may eat.  I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.  And if this is the way You deal with me, kill me, I pray You, at once, and be granting me a favor and let me not see my wretchedness [in the failure of all my efforts].
*Moses felt let down.  He felt liked God misinformed him!  God told him he would lead these people to freedom and anything but that was happening!  They may be free from the Egyptians but now they are encountering all kinds of other problems!  Moses feels like he is far from God’s favor; he feels burdened; he feels overwhelmed – to the point of wanting to die! 
*can you relate?!  Are you carrying a burden you cannot deal with – or worse yet, you feel like you are dealing with it alone.  Do  you feel like God is dealing “ill” with you? 
          ill: to spoil (literally by breaking to pieces); figuratively
               to make (or be) goodfornothing, that is, bad     
               (physically, socially or morally). Associateselves 
               and showselffriendly  - by mistake for something
               negative.  Displease, (be, bring, do) evil (doer,
               entreat, man), hurt, punish, still vex, (do) wicked
               (doer, -ly), be (deal, do) worse.
*what a definition – Moses feels like God showed Himself friendly only to break him in pieces!  He feels deceived!  He feels like God was in relationship with him to punish him!  What an awful feeling!!  Do we know this feeling?! 
*we MUST understand that we might have to go backwards before we go forward but that does NOT mean God is dealing ill with us!!  It simply means He is setting us up for a miraculous victory!!!
Judges 7:2  The Lord said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me.
*God does not want us to mistake His miracle for something we accomplished! 
Deut 8:17  And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.
*wealth in this verse means anything from money to abilities.  It is anything that is a blessing in your life; anything that adds to your life in an awesome way!
*our hope needs to be in Christ alone!  ALONE!!  If we can have a little confidence in ourselves it takes us away from total dependence on Christ!  He will take us backwards so there is no mistaking Who gets the glory! 
*Gideon had too many people with him, Moses and the Israelites were too far ahead of the Egyptians, and then there is you and your situation!
*do not allow regression to make you feel defeated!  Losing ground can be the last step before your miraculous victory!
*are you losing ground?  Do you feel like you’re going backwards??
Genesis 26:12-22  Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.  The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.  He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.  So all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.  Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."  So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.  Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.  Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.  But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him.  Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.  He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land."
*Isaac was blessed by God.  His wealth made others envy him and that envy made them come against him and what he was doing. 
Mark 10:29-30  "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
*people will not always be happy about your blessings – but oh well! 
*Isaac was blessed and then he moves on and begins to reopen the wells his father had dug – now Isaac begins to experience something that opposes his blessing!  He begins to experience defeat instead of victory – did he give up?!  NO!  He moved on!!  He moved on and continued to dig~ we need to move on from our negative situations and continue to dig!  Dig deeper in the Word!  Find more proof for what you are believing!  Do not give up and you WILL reach your place of flourishing!
*we need to say like Jeremiah, “His Word is like a fire in me!”  I cannot ignore it!  I have to declare it!  I have to read it!  I cannot live without it!!!
John 6:66-68  From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.  "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
*understand that the Word of God is an essential part of your life as a Christian!  Even when you experience times of apparent defeat you need to press on in the Word!!  After all, there really is no where else for the Christian to go  - only the Word of God brings life, the life Christ died to give us! 
James 1:22-25  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:22-25 KJV  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
*some will use these verses to say faith is not enough – you have to be a “doer.”  But let’s study this out - 
*being a “doer” is actually defined in these verses – the doer is the one who looks into the Word, continues in the Word, and is not a forgetful hearer.  Doing is the result of what we do with the Word; it is the result of faith. 
         look: to bendbeside, leanover (so as to peerwithin): -
                      look  (into), stoop down.
*the definition tells us that we are looking INTO – we are not just looking at the surface; we are studying.
*this word is only used 5 times in the N.T. – twice in James and 3 other places:
Luke 24:12  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
John 20:5  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
John 20:11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb.
*this kind of vision requires a change of position – how are we looking at the Word?  Is it a rule book or a love letter?  What position are we in when we read – are we in Christ or in ourselves?   In each of these verses above if the person wouldn’t have change position they would have missed seeing something that changed their lives – and each instance had to do with the resurrection. 
*the forgetful hearer sees who he is in Christ but he doesn’t continue to see himself that way – he quickly forgets who he is (no understanding).
          continues:  to stay near, remain, be permanent. 
          forgetful: to neglect; to lose out of mind.
*not forgetful would be paying attention to the Word; keeping the Word in mind
*we can “hear” and deceive ourselves.  The word “hearers” was translated from a word that is defined as “merely hearing;”  it is not the word “shama.”  Just “hearing” the Word is not enough – we are told what else is needed – continuing in the Word –do not neglect what you hear (shama and shamar!).  Learning something in church is not enough – you need to continue in it!
John 8:31-32 KJV  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
            continue: to stay in a given place or expectancy; abide;
                      dwell; endure.  Be present; remain.
*continuing produces freedom – not just casual hearing. 
*a doer IS a hearer – a person who hears the Word, continues in It, and remembers what they hear.  The doer is the person that is focused on the Word – they “keep” the Word, they don’t just hear it!  They shama (hear) and shamar (focus on; guard)!
James 2:20-26 KJV  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
*here is another set of verses that people use to say that faith is not enough.  But what we must understand is that faith PRODUCES action!  The doer is the person that believes and continues; their faith produces action – not a person who just casually hears the Word.
*we must also understand that the word translated as “justified” means to be shown as innocent; it does NOT mean he was made right with God. 
Romans 3:20-28  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood…Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain (conclude, appreciate) that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
*Paul and James are not contradicting each other - This word translated as “justified” is about what we see – he goes on to say the Scripture was fulfilled – it was accomplished; it was able to be seen – and it was seen WHEN he offered Isaac! 
James 2:18 KJV  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
*faith produces works but don’t put the cart before the horse!  Our faith can be SHOWN when it produces action!  Until then your faith cannot be seen – remember “what is hidden will be revealed?!”  The Word you hide in your heart will be revealed!  Pneumonia 
*his faith was credited to him as righteousness in Gen. 15:6; he went up with Isaac in Gen. 22.  Faith + time = Spiritual actions.  His faith became visible after time. 
Faith was made perfect or COMPLETE or ACCOMPLISHED when the faith produced a Spiritual action – this takes “continuing in the Word!”  When the Spiritual actions are accomplished faith is living faith!  It is alive; it is Spiritual!!
       wrought with: co-laborer; companion.  Cooperate; work
                together with.
       perfect: to accomplish; consummate; finish (complete);
*when faith produces the action, faith is then complete – it has accomplished what God designed it to accomplish!  Faith produces Spiritual actions in us – that is God’s plan for us → for our faith to be shown or to be displayed in our lives, but this takes time – we must continue in the Word!
Abraham’s faith came full-circle when he offered Isaac because that is what living / Spiritual faith does – it produces action!  But it doesn’t produce action over-night – you must continue in the Word!
*there are stages of faith, if you will – the hearer stage and the doer stage! (Ex: person in medical school and the doctor – and aren’t we called to be “students?!” – disciples!)
It is faith and patience that brings the Word to pass – it takes time to go from a hearer only to a hearer who is also a doer!
*notice who James is addressing this to – the “vain” man; vain was translated from a word that means “empty” – void of the Word!!
*If we want to have living faith, faith that produces actions, we must continue in the Word!
*did you ever hear something and get so excited and feel like you could do something amazing and later that day you feel deflated?!  It is because we need to continue and not forget  -- believing and continuing like in John
John 8:31-32 KJV  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
*the body without the Spirit is dead and faith can be dead too – what does dead mean?  Of the flesh!  You can have faith that is not Spiritual – but it will not produce Spiritual actions!  Dead faith is faith that is not based or founded on the Word. 
*we find rest when we are in the Spirit!  In the Old Testament we find that breaking the Sabbath was punishable by death – we live a dead life when we walk in the flesh instead of living a restful life.
*if we live not understanding that Christ is our righteousness we are living in the flesh!
*a restful life is a life where we are resting in Christ and His promises; a restful life is a celebrated life.  A life where our joy is in the Lord, we rise above this life, and we feast on everything God has for us because Jesus provided it for us!!
*we are to celebrate the Sabbath!!  Celebrate!          
  שׁבת  celebrate  (shabath –shaw bath)shin:
         reflects the Trinity.  The Spirit; Spiritual
         fire. eat.
    celebrate: to repose, that is, desist from
             exertion; (cause to, let, make to) cease,
             celebrate, keep (sabbath), allow
             something to be lacking, leave, put
             away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still,
             take away.
*celebrating is Spiritual resting – it is putting away or lacking the flesh and all of its baggage.  Celebrating is repose – relaxing, taking it easy, reclining, and putting your feet up; it is giving all of your anxieties and cares to Christ and as a result you are at rest.  Discontinue the exertion – the hard work and effort in the flesh; trust Christ to do what needs done and keep your focus on Him --- remember, His Word is your place of repose – don’t turn it into a rule book!  
*a celebration calls for work in the natural (you have to cook, prepare, etc), but it is to be a time of Spiritual rest!  When we understand this we also understand that life should be a celebration because we should live resting in Christ while we do what needs done!
The Hebrew spelling of celebrate tells us that when Jesus is the master of our house there will be a fence around our Spiritual fire [the Word is hedged in (or “kept”)].  We will eat (take the Word in) and we will be disciples -  students, not “forgetful hearers,” but a person who continues in the Word of God.  We will walk in grace – God’s influence in our everyday life – and we will continually experience new beginnings.
*we need to take time out of our week – every week - and set that time aside to specifically focus on God and resting in Him!  It is a time to recuperate from what life does to us.  It is a time to rejoice and celebrate the life that Christ has blessed us with!  -life can wear you out but celebrating and rejoicing can build you back up!             
*what are you doing about being built back up?                       
*do you really understand what this does for you? 
Prov 17:22 KJV  A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.         
       merry: blithe or gleeful: - (be) glad, joyful,
             (making) merry ([-hearted]), rejoice (-
              From the word “samach” which
              means to brighten up or cheer up.
*the Hebrew letters that spell “sameach” are the same as the Hebrew letters that spell “shabath” – the Hebrew word for celebrate –except for the middle letter.
The middle letter of a Hebrew word is the “heart” of the word – the heart of merry is the truth of God!
*you can know the Word, but if you do not know the truth of the Word, you will not be merry!           
*according to the Hebrew letters that spell the Hebrew word for “merry,” we find that the truth of God is our refreshing and we need to take it in (eat) and fence it in or hedge it in (keep) in our lives.  When we do this we experience that Spiritual fire!*”sameach” is the Hebrew word for merry and “gehah” is the word for medicine – rejoicing is a cure!  *rejoicing is a cure while the broken spirit dries up the bones.
    broken: smitten (hit with something hard),
           that is, (figuratively) afflicted: - stricken,
*our Spirit cannot be broken as we understand the word “broken,” but it can take a hard hit; it can be afflicted. 
*trials can hit our Spirit hard; disappointment can, a lack of the Word can, etc.-our Spirit needs to be strong – we need to build up our Spirit and we do this by abiding in the Word.  When we don’t abide in the Word we are in for dry bones.
    drieth: to beashamed, confused or
           disappointed; also (as failing) to dry up
           (as water) or wither (as herbage): - be
           confounded, (make) dry (up), (do)
           shame (-fully), wither 
      bones: a bone (as the skeleton of the body);
            hence self.
*dry bones would be an ashamed, confused, and disappointed life.  A life that is dry – water is the Word.  A withered life – one that is wasting away.  A confounded life – baffling, annoying, irritating. 
*the cure to this kind of life is the merry spirit!  Cheer up!  Celebrate!
John 16:33 KJV  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
*life will come with tribulations but we have the Word!  If we use the Word we can have peace in Christ and we can cheer up in the midst of a problem because we know that we will overcome through Him! 
*in Leviticus 23 we are given a list of the celebrations the Israelites were to be involved in.  God wants us to actively, regularly, and consistently celebrate!  Too many Christians forget the celebration aspect of life!  Are you celebrating life?                                                 *if not, you need to start somewhere!  This is not meant to be another burden in life.  Do not go overboard!  This can be as simple as  setting aside a specific period of time on a certain day every week - the Israelites didn’t have to go to the Bahamas to celebrate!
*during this time you can focus on verses of praise, you can list some things you are thankful for, you can remind yourself of who you are in Christ, and you can sing a song.  If you are doing this as a small group or a family you can add a meal or snack.  If you have children in your family get them involved – teach your children how to celebrate!!  you can incorporate a game, etc.  make sure that you ban complaining, talking about your problems, & so on, during this special time!  Focus on praises and verses about God's goodness!
Lam 3:21-23 AMP
Butthis I recall & therefore have I hope & expectation:  It is because of the Lord's mercy & loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great & abundant is Your stability & faithfulness.
Psalms 5:3
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you & wait in expectation.
Philippians 1:20
I eagerly expect & hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Romans 8:19
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
Proverbs 10:28
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Proverbs 23:18
There is surely a future hope for you, & your hope will not be cut off.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you hope & a future.”
Psalms 40:5
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak & tell of them, they would be too many to declare.
Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Psalms 62:5 AMP
My soul, wait only upon God & silently submit to Him; for my hope & expectation are from Him.
Proverbs 24:14 AMP
So shall you know skillful & godly Wisdom to be thus to your life; if you find it, then shall there be a future & a reward, & your hope & expectation shall not be cut off.