Renaissance Obedience 

Greetings my friends from Pastor Bob and The Encouraging Word.org. This week is going to be a little bit different then most weekly messages. I want to just spend some quality time talking to you about the things that God has laid on my heart this past week. Now as most of you know, and as I have tried for this to be, for the most part, a non-denominational ministry. However I can not ignore the truth of God's inerrant word. So please if I shoot a little too straight from the hip for you this week let the Holy Spirit sort out the relevant truth that He has for you in this time we spend together. So before I go any further I would like you to pray with me and for me and for your self, that God would use me to speak to you in this message. Let's pray together:

Heavenly Father, dear LORD God, we come to you in agreement as found in Matthew 18:18 and in the name of Jesus and we ask for your anointing upon this message. I know that you are having us read it by divine appointment, for in your plan for our lives there are no coincidences. So we call upon you LORD Jesus to be right here with us as we go into this study of your word. We ask for a mighty outpouring of your Holy Spirit upon each and every one of us today. Let your fire fall upon the reader of these words. Let your love be manifested in our hearts and our lives today, tomorrow and forever. Now my dear LORD I lift up to you those who need a healing touch. I lift to you my Aunt Mae. She was not expected to make it through the night but you were with her. Let her above and beyond all things know you and trust in you. Let her be saved and sanctified and have an eternal home in heaven so when she does pass into eternality she enter directly into your loving arms. I pray for Mark's brother who recently had a bad heart attack. Dear LORD there are so many people who need a touch from you. The doctors do what they can and we thank you for giving them wisdom and knowledge in the medical field but only you can bring healing. So Father I put in your care my sister who still suffers from a car accident, Smiley and her loved one in New York...... (at this time lift up to the Father the people you know who need a healing touch. take some time to just picture them in your mind's eye and lift that picture up to the Father.) LORD I know that there are many other needs. There are financial needs, (Man, are there financial needs,) there are emotional needs, there are relational needs, all of them can be answered by you. And with that knowledge we put our trust in you. In the knowledge of your great love for us and the power of your anointing we rest in you. Bless each person reading this now. Search our hearts and fill us to the overflowing with you. I pray this and all things in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you so much for taking that time with me in prayer. I can do nothing without the LORD but with Him I know that all things are possible. I want you all to know that I know, that I am no Billy Graham. Nor am I a Benny Hinn or Cardinal Mooney or even a Pastor Joyner. I am a man who has made himself available to God to be used as He would desire. And with that, my only obligation is to be obedient to His call. I want to take just a moment to thank all of you who have encouraged and supported me in this ministry. The longer I do this thing and the bigger the mailing list gets, the more I am starting to actually see the vision of it. I mean look at all the people who work on Sunday. They can not go to church, so they are perfect candidates for this cyber congregation. I know of so many people who just have not found a church that they feel at home at, that can discover the love of God for them through this ministry. There are the sick and the home bound who need these words of encouragement. There are so very many who do not believe and would not darken the door of a church but will take the time to read through these words and find some truth and peace within them. So before I lose you, I am going to turn this around and let you know how it all applies to you. If you have been receiving the Daily Devotions and reading them over this past week you might have seen the pattern of obedience throughout them. It is our faithfulness that will reveal God's faithfulness to those who have no faith. That deserves to be said again. It is our faithfulness that reveals God's faithfulness to those who have no faith. I don't care how often someone goes to church or how much they tithe or where they live or what car they drive as much as I care about their heart. Maybe the word character is a better word here. Well, I'll tell you what, before I go any further we better get some scriptural reference to jump off from.

(1 Kings 8:22 & 23 KJV) And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

I wish we had time to go through this entire prayer of Solomon found in the 8th chapter of 1st Kings. Now, what I want us to see and know today is truth. Solomon prays for the redemption of God's people. In fact he prays for the blessings of all the people of the world. Yet, in that, he reveals the secret of receiving the blessings of God. The key phrase that is found in the above scripture that we need to sink our teeth into today, is the one that talks of thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart. If you have read the last couple of week's messages, or any of my messages for that matter, you will see the emphasis I place on doing things with all your heart. I read a great bumper sticker this past week that said it is not passion it is an obsession. I am obsessed with knowing the truth, and God is truth and the Bible tells us that we can know God; therefore we can know truth. My concentration this week is on the roll our obedience plays in our salvation. Yes, yes,yes, it is the age old question of grace and works. But wait, I am talking relevant obedience now. Look, you know the expression, we are in the world but not of the world, right? Check out this contrast. Ten years ago my wife and I traveled around the country performing as variety artists at Strawberry festivals, schools, community events and Renaissance festivals. In fact we spent a lot of time in the Ren. faire circle. For those of you who do not know about these faires, they are, well decedent, pagan theater at its best or worst depending on the view you are taking. Now, we had a family friendly show, but the truth is we were not being obedient to the word of God. Yet, we considered ourselves Christians. Funny how we just want the fire insurance isn't it. I mean if you think about it if most people could live their lives anyway they wanted to, without any convictions of death or hell or heaven or anything spiritual they would try and it would end up empty. Solomon did just that and called it all vanity. So there we were traveling around the country making all kinds of money, very little responsibility, getting applause. AHH!!! Applause, you have got to love applause. I still remember the want of more. More money, more fame, more pleasure, more, more, more. Can anyone relate to what I am talking about here? STOP! Where was the peace? Where was the comfort of our souls? Where my friend, is yours? 

Going back to this 8th chapter of 1 Kings let's look at some of the things that Solomon prays for: (1 Kings 8:33 & 34 KJV) When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

and again (1 Kings 8:46-28 KJV) If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:

OK, let me try to bring this home. You wonder why there is no peace yet you refuse to obey. You wonder why your relationships are not as close as they use to be, or as you really wish they were, yet you continue to do things your own way. You wonder why you are never really satisfied yet you refuse to even pay a tithe. You wonder why the God you cry out to at night doesn't hear your prayer yet you run with the devil all day. 

OH, you say, you have tried. No you haven't! You are still hanging on to some psychic's word, holding it above the word of God.  You are still thinking that there is nothing wrong with the lifestyle you live even when God calls it sin. 

So two weeks ago I was given the privilege of delivering the Easter morning service outside the front gate of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Talk about a circle coming around. It was wonderful. David Brownell helped us with the praise and worship, my wife and two daughters, Rachel and Caylie sang. Basically we gave the gospel message at the front gates of a pagan church. It was such a wonderful experience. In their gratitude for our service the festival gave us free passes to the faire. We went this weekend.

From light into darkness. It was kind of like when you do not watch TV for a while, then spend a night in front of it and are shocked at the blatant sexuality and perverse language and devastating violence. It is sadly how a large part of the world really lives. Sometimes we Christians do not realize the true depravity of the lost. OH, come on Pastor Bob. It's all in fun. It is just entertainment. Lighten up! No! It is death. Death of the family, death of morality, death of truth. We end up substituting lust for love and money for spiritual blessings. We end up not doing anything with our whole heart, let alone serving God with it. We end up even doubting God. And then we wonder why our children are running amuck, and our lives just are not working out as we had planned. 

To put it plain, I saw the truth. Now I stand up and declare AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD! Now I ask, will you stand with me? Will you, with me, put behind you the things that have been displeasing to God? And you know what they are! Will you face the truth of your rebellion and return fully to the LORD? Will you take a stand for righteousness and not be ashamed to declare boldly the name and lordship of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to get real with God and let Him truly bless you? 

Solomon prayed this prayer above at the dedication of the temple. God spoke to him that night. You might be real familiar with God's answer to Solomon's prayer. You can find it in 2nd Chronicles 7 verse 14. It reads: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
 

I know you have listened to that sermon before, but then why didn't you listen to it? I'm going to close this now but I want to give you some encouragement. I know that this one has been hard, but only as hard as you realize the truth of it. You CAN do what is right. I found out that I much prefer to do what is right. I so much would rather preach outside the front gate of hell then pay my hard earned wages to dive in. No, I am not any Billy Graham or Benny Hinn. I am Pastor Bob. Who are you? You my friend, you, if you have really put your trust in Jesus, then you are indeed a full child of God. His arms are open wide and he can heal your every hurt. He is the God of restoration. He is the God of redemption. He is the God of reconciliation. He is God, and there is none other. Look to Him, trust in Him, listen to Him and follow Him. It only seems like it will hurt. You'll see, doing what is right feels so good, because it is good. And you have the power within you to do it. If you don't, then Just ask, continue to ask, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened. Be diligent and the next thing you know you will be there even when you thought you were going the other way. God is able my friend. God is able. And He can, and will, see you through to victory as you learn of Him. Can we just pray one more time together? I want you to lay all your problems at His feet. I want you to nail all your transgressions on that cross. I want you to let the blood of Jesus wash you clean. I mean really clean. let your life be under the blood and forever changed by His presence within you. Let's pray:

OH, Jesus, I except you. I repent of my wrong doing. I am so sorry! (pray this with me if you mean it) Jesus I make you Lord of my life. I give you my heart and I put my trust in you. You, dear Lord, you will have to give me both the will and the ability to overcome the temptations of this world. I believe you can. I know you can. I will trust in you, that you can, even right now, change my life forever. (No matter how far away or how close to Jesus you may have been before today, you can right now enter into the very center of His being as He enters into you.) Holy Spirit I welcome you. I invite you Spirit of the one true living God, the great I Am, to enter in. Pour out your spirit upon us all right now. Fill us to the overflowing. Let me see your face Oh LORD. I seek your face. Let me look into your eyes and see the reflection of me. Knowing that all I am is in your control. I turn over my heart, my life , my finances, my relationships, my emotional struggles, my health, my everything to you. Let me now live to bring you glory and let me glory in knowing you. Now Father I pray that you continue to move in all those who have prayed this prayer. In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen. 

Well that's it for this week. The daily devotions are available for all. If you are not getting them you should. Seven days without the Word makes one weak! OK, OK. It was such a pleasure spending this time with you in the presence of God I hate to end but time is precious now so, please if you get a chance send me a card or letter this week, include your picture so my wife can put together the collage that she has been wanting to make. Right now I think we have got enough pictures to fill a 3 by 5 inch frame. I know you have thought about it, please, I'll guarantee that with every photo I receive I will personally pray for you an extra special prayer. And you know, that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. And yes, I may not be a Billy Graham but the same spirit of righteousness that dwells in him, dwells in me, and His name is Jesus. Thank you for your prayerful support and may God richly bless you.