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Power of blessing wk 2

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

I am excited today as we journey through our 40 day series on the Power of Blessing. I am excited about what I believe God not only wants to do, but will do in our lives.

I trust you have already registered and picked up your registration package with the copy of the “Power of Blessing” book and our “40 Day Journal.”  Both are indespensable tools to help you get the most out of this series. I also want to encourage you if you have not done so already to become part of one of the small groups meeting around the city. 

You see, the Sunday morning messages introduce the topic each week that we will be covering.  Your daily readings and journaling helps you to personally go deeper in the Word and your understanding on the subject.  In the small group setting you have an opportunity to share, discuss and ask questions.  There you get to go even deeper in your understanding as you glean not only from what you learned but also from what others have learned, 

I really cannot encourage you enough.  If you have not already done so, register today before you leave and pick up your copy of the book and journal and the other gifts in the bag and sign up for a small group and let’s grow together during this 40 days of Blessing.

Last week we were honored to have author Terry & Melisa Bone with us to kick off our 40 Day Adventure. 

(Thanks)

 

{ And by the way,  inspite of the fact that the weather didn’t cooperate with us, wasn’t that a great time we had last weekend.  Following the service we had fellowship, food, food and more food.  I saw children and adults with cotton candy, and by the way weren’t those hamburgers and sausages something else.  

I want to say a big thank you to Marilena Madio and everyone who worked so hard with her to make last week such a wonderful event.  Thank you for all your time, hard work and efforts.  You decorated, prepared, served. You organized, cleaned up.  We were truly blessed by you and we want to thank you for all you have done serving the body of Christ.  God Bless You!}

As Terry mentioned last week during our 40 Day journey together we will be examining the Blessing God has prepared for us to receive throughout the seven stages of life, each one answering a major life question related to that stage.

This week you will cover in your devotions and small groups the three stages of “Conception, pregnancy, and Birth” or as it says in the book from “Earth Day to Birthday!”  Of course I cannot cover each of these in great detail today, but you will throughout the week through your readings, journaling and small groups cover them all.  Then over the next 4 weeks we will cover the remaining four stages of Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, and Senior’s one stage per week.

I.  The Blessing Is Already Yours

Perhaps as we begin I would like to make something clear.  We are not creating blessings for anyone.  The Blessing is already yours.

Eph 1:3 says “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

 

 If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then those blessings are already yours.  All we want to do is to help you to receive them into your life and then to equip you so you can assist others. God has ordained certain blessing to come into your life through Christ Jesus, but he often uses people to be the courier of those blessings.

II.          The Power of Words

 

In order for us to understand the Power of Blessing we need to remind ourselves of The Power of Words

Words have power to create

  • Everything that exists was created by God as he spoke it into existence
  • God’s word gave order to the created world – it was in chaos until he spoke

Words have power to impart

  • Words can change the way we think or feel about ourselves
  • Words can cheer us up
  • Words can discourage us

God said in Prov. 18:21,  “Death and Life are in the tongue”

If words have power to impart in our life then the most powerful words are words of Blessing spoken by a person of influence in our lives.  “Words of blessing impart life and hope, and change the way we think about ourselves.”(pg 2)

(Illustration #1)

Perhaps some of you can relate to an experience I had growing up.  I was in the 6th grade at the time and the teacher asked the class a rather simple question.  I was not fully paying attention (I was day dreaming) so he called on me to answer the question.  Because I didn’t hear the question I answered that I did not know the answer.  At which point the teacher gave me a severe tongue lashing and used many derogative terms about my intelligence or should I say the lack of it.  He was very strong with his words and I was left feeling very embarrassed in front of all my class.

But another problem that I didn’t realize only until I began this study in preparation for these messages was this; because I had admired this male teacher and had looked up to him, his words had more influence on my life that embarrassing me.  I actually began to believe that what he had said about me to be true.  In fact my grades over the next several years reflected that belief.

  1. Have any of you ever felt the power of words like that in  your life?  What untruth has someone spoken to you that you have believed and has scripted your life?

 

What you believe about yourself determines your actions

 

(Illustration #2)

Fortunately for me that wasn’t my only experience with the power of words. You see, about 5 years passed by.  During that time period I had come to know the Lord as my Savior.  I was n baptized in water, filled with the Holy Spirit and had become active in my church. 

One day while I was fixing something at the church the pastor asked me question.  He said, “David, have you ever considered going to bible college?”  To which I replied, “Yes I have, but I don’t believe it is for me.”  After a moment or two the pastor said these few words.  “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.  I thought I had seen some things in  you that God wanted use.”

To say those few words changed my life would be a gross understatement.  God took those few words and ignited them by his Holy Spirit and literally altered the entire course of my life.  I would not be here today if it were not for those few words spoken.

Now, why do you think I answered the pastor “I don’t believe it is for me?”   It was because 5 years earlier a teacher has spoken negative words in to my life.  I believed them and they became a script by which I was living my life.  Allow me to explain.

Just a few months before the pastor had asked me that question I had been musing about going to bible college.  One of my best friends from school who was also from my church had gone to bible college the year before and I began to wonder if God would want me to go to bible school.  However, in the month of September my friend showed up in high school again.  I asked him, “What are you doing here?”  To which he responded, “Oh, David, I went to bible school last year but it was too hard for me.  I needed to come back here for another year.”  I always thought of my friend as being a good student and a bit of a brain.  So when he said those words,  I immediately thought to myself, “Hmm, if he can’t make it at bible college then a dummy like me certainly won’t make it!.  I guess it isn’t for me!”

But thank God, he had someone else to speak into my life.  God re-wrote the script of my life.  He replaced those untruths that I had believed and replaced them with His truth and it imparted life, hope, and transformed the way I felt and thought of myself.

A Biblical Illustration of the importance of Words

(transition) Now let’s look at an example from the scriptures that reveals just how important God thinks our words are.

 

Read Luke 1:5-25;  57 – 80

 

As I said earlier, “If words have power to impart in our life then the most powerful words are words of Blessing spoken by a person of influence in our lives.”

John the Baptist was to have the most important ministry in history outside of that of Jesus Christ himself.  Therefore it was essential that his father have a clear understanding of his son’s identity (who he is) and his destiny (what he was to become), in order that he might bless him properly with his words.

It was so important that God sent an Angel to tell Zaccharia, John’s father all about it.  God wanted to make sure that Zaccharia would bless and encourage John in preparation for his life’s work and calling.

When the Angel declared all that was taking place Zaccharia said, “How can this be?” It was an expression of doubt and disbelief.  It was like say,  Oh yeah sure,  like that’s gonna happen.

{BY THE WAY if an angel ever delivers a message like this to you… I don’t recommend the response of Zaccharia. Yes it is in the bible so it might be a biblical response, but it isn’t the one God wanted to hear!}

Because Zacharias was being prepared so he could properly “Bless” his son in preparation for his life’s call and ministry but didn’t believe it we see what happens next.

The angel pulls out a bottle of “Divine Crazy Glue” and seals Zaccharia’s mouth shut until the child is born.

Now every time I had read this portion of scripture I always thought it was judgement upon Zaccharia for not believing Gabriel.  And while that is true,  I now tend to believe that the deeper reason was not to “teach Zaccharia a lesson about doubting” as much as it was to “Protect the Child that was to be conceived” by Elizabeth in her old age.

John would be called to be a man who would demonstrate the greatest of faith proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah who had been promised for over 400 years earlier.  John would need a father who could agree with God’s call upon John and bless him appropriately and build him up as a man of Faith. John needed to be shielded from any form of “doubt.”

When Elizabeth conceived she says God “favored her” or “Blessed her” depending on the translation.   To be blessed is to have God’s Favor on you.

We know Elizabeth understood God’s call upon the life of her son for when he was born and the eight days passed that they came to circumcise the baby, it says they wanted to name the child Zaccharia after his father, but Elizabeth said no! “His name shall be John!”

(the bible doesn’t record Elizabeth receiving an angelic visitaiton so we must assume she came to understand from her husband what had transpired in the temple and why he was mute.  She believed and accepted that her Son was called of God and his name was to be John)

 

In fact the people then turned to Zaccharia (because traditionally he would have been named after someone in the family –father-grandfather- or uncle) but Zaccharia wrote down for them.  HIS NAME IS JOHN.  Immediately his tongue was loosed and he began to praise God and proclaim a prophecy of God’s deliverance and God’s call over his son as the “Prophet of the Most High.”

God spared the unborn child from hearing faithless words of doubt and instead established that the first words this child word hear from his Father would be words of Praise and of faith in God’s divine call upon his son’s life. (I know what some of you are thinking, “Where was that divine glue when I needed it!”)

John the Baptist some 30 years later would lead the greatest revival that Israel had ever known.  Perhaps it was because of the reputation that was established at his birth, by what had happened to his Father and the Prophecy that was given.

Vs 65-66 says, “And fear came upon all those living around them: and all these matters were being talked about in the hill country of Judea.  66 And all who heard them kept thim in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.

In Life, you must know where you belong before you know where to begin

 

Have you ever noticed how some people live their life with an expectation of rejection.  They go through life living as though they are expecting that they will be ignored, made fun of or left out.  The root of these behaviors can often be traced back to the very earliest stages of our life.

As I stated earlier,

2. Each stage of life asks a fundament Major Life Question.

This week we are considering the three earliest stages of life…

 

 Stage of Life                                     Major Life Question Asked

Conception                             Am I welcomed/wanted?

Pregnancy                              Is there a safe place for me?

Birth                                       Will my needs be met?

 

*************

To examine this further lets take a look a biblical conception, pregnancy and birth to see how God responded with a blessing to these Major Life Questions so as to protect the child and prepare him for his future.

Our story is found woven throughout Luke’s gospel, Chapters 1 & 2. It is the story of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Because of time we won’t be able to read the entire account but I encourage you to read Luke chapters 1 & 2 later today or this week.

But let’s try and consider :

3. The Birth Of Jesus and Three Major Life Questions

        i.            Am I Welcomed or Wanted

·         Important question to answer considering Mary will become an unwed mother

·         What  steps does God take to insure Jesus’ identity and destiny are reinforced

·         Who are the most two important people in shaping your identity and your destiny? Your Parents!

·         Let us consider Mary

                                                              i.      The Angelic visitation – “Hail thou are highly favored (blessed) of God.

                                                            ii.      The words of the Angel are received with faith – though some explanation given because Mary will not conceive in the natural way. It will be – Supernatural!

                                                          iii.      The Angel also explains her cousin Elizabeth has conceive in her old age

1.      This will encourage her faith

2.      This will provide her occasion for a blessing

3.      As Mary who has now been over -shadowed by the Almighty has conceived she leaves to visit her cousin Elizabeth

4.      As soon as Mary greets Elizabeth the baby in the womb of Elizabeth we are told leaps for Joy, at which point Elizabeth is “Filled with the Holy Spirit” and begins to speak a blessing upon Mary… (Lk 1:42-45)

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43. "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44. "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.45. "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

·        This account provides Mary with

o   Her destiny

o   An Identity and a destiny of the child

o   The Blessing re-affirms both her destiny and the identity and destiny of her unborn child in the womb.

·        Consider for a moment

o   An unwed mother in Jewish culture

o   The stigma that would be upon her

§  With her own parents

§  With in her community

o   Matthew’s gospel provides us an account of how God even prepared Mary’s fiancé to accept this pregnancy as from God.

§  He too had trouble in the natural and felt Mary had been unfaithful and prepare to privately divorce her to avoid public humiliation for her.

§  God sends the Angel to him and tells him it is conceived of the Holy Spirit and he is not to be afraid to take her as his wife.

§  Joseph immediately cancels his plan to divorce her and instead goes and brings her to his home and makes her his wife.

o   Why was this necessary?

§  Because Jesus would need a father who would believe in his identity and destiny and reinforce it by his words.  He would be there with words, deeds, and ceremony to:

·        By marrying Mary he welcomes Jesus (pregnancy) into the world

·        He brings her to his home providing a safe place for her and Jesus the unborn child from those who would do her harm

·        At the time of Jesus arrival it is Joseph who seeks out a place for them (be it ever so humble) to provide for him in this world

o   But wait there is another blessing that is given in the story of the birth of Jesus.

§  Remember how God orchestrated that a census be taken by the Roman government so that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

·        Back home they would have been surrounded by those who did not believe and by those who condemned and judged her and would have undoubtedly not given a warm welcome to her son.

·        But out here, God finds shepherds up when everyone else is sleeping. He sends again the Angelic messenger to tell them the good news that the Christ has been born, the Savior and then tells them where to find him – wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.

·        They immediately run into town and find the stable with Jesus lying in the manger as they had been told .  And finding Mary & Joseph with baby Jesus they tell them what the Angels had revealed to them.  And the shepherds are rejoicing and glorifying God.

·        Jesus instead of being received into this world with criticism, Sinicism and unbelief  is instead received with the pronouncement of blessing which again affirms his identity and his destiny.

Points to Highlight

1.  Sometimes the people closest to us have the hardest time seeing who we really are in “God’s Eyes” – be care to avoid this from happening in your family.

2. One of the greatest things the church of Jesus can for people is to help heal that inborn sense of rejection – the church may be the only place someone like that may ever feel accepted.

3. Could God use you like a Nehemiah to rebuild the breaches in the walls of someones life by blessing. Could he use you like an Elizabeth to speak into the life of a pregnant woman and bless her and her unborn child affirming their identity and destiny in Christ. Is there someone whom the Lord would bring to mind?

(Encourage small groups)

 I want to encourage you especially in your small groups to learn how to bless a pregnancy, or a birth, and also how to help one another to overcome any issues that still linger from that time in your own life.

And now I want to close with a blessing for you today:

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