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July 27, 2013

Idolatry

By Tony V. Hammack

Abundant Life Today Media
Abundant Life Today Podcast

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I. You shall have no other gods before me.

Many people read the story about the plagues that struck Egypt in amazement, and rightly so. What God did to Egypt due to his redemptive plan and the hardness of Pharos heart was amazing. Let’s take a look at the nature of God as we take a closer look at the Exodus from Egypt.

Malachi 3:6a
I the Lord do not change.

The idea of progressive revelation: We understand that God doesn’t change however I personally believe in looking at the Word of God over time we see God revealing different parts of his personality to man over time. For example, the “You have heard that it was said” scriptures relating to the Old Testament Law. (Matthew 5:21-43)

God is Love (1 John 4:8) and true love is intolerant of adultery or other lovers.

Deuteronomy 4:24
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Idol Worship is Demon Worship

1 Corinthians 10:18-22
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

1 Samuel 4:7-9
According to 1 Samuel, the Philistines also knew of the plagues and feared the God of the Hebrews.

The first three plagues seemed to affect "all the land of Egypt," while the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th did not affect the children of Israel.

We’re getting ready to see a repetitive series of events with subtle changes. Moses and Aaron declare, “Let my people Go!” and Pharaoh says, “no” but tries to negotiate terms giving up more power in each negotiation. The terms are unconditional surrender so the plagues continue to fall on the land.

We will also see subtle changes in the heart of Pharaoh. Between the plague of Boils and the plague of Hail we see a change which we will talk about later.

Because of a lot of mixing, absorbing, and overlapping roles of many Egyptian gods, there is often more than one god who could easily be mocked by one or more of God's plagues in Exodus.

1. Nile water into blood
    a. Hapi: god of the Nile
2. Frogs
    a. Heket, Hekhet, or Heqt: Egyptian goddess of Fertility, Water, Renewal; frog-headed
3. Gnats or Lice from dust
    a. Geb: Egyptian god of the Earth; also
    b. Khepri: Egyptian god of creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth; beetle-headed
    c. Thoth: one time considered god of magic, failed along with magicians (or priests) to duplicate
        conjuring of gnats or lice.
4. Flies (gadflies)
    a. Khepri: Egyptian god of resurrection, creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth; beetle-headed
5. Cattle/livestock disease
    a. Hathor: goddess of love and protection; possibly absorbed Bat, the cow-headed goddess.
    b. bull cult gods Apis, Buchis, and Mneuis
    c. bulls sometimes considered embodiment of Ptah and Ra
6. Boils
    a. Isis: goddess of medicine and peace
    b. Im-Hotep: real person turned deity, patron of wisdom and medicine
    c. Sekhmet: lion-headed deity of plagues, believed to bring about or prevent epidemics or 
        pestilence

Give me one more night with the frogs - To prove that the plague was actually a divine punishment, Moses let Pharaoh choose the time that it would end. Pharaoh chose the following day, and all the frogs died the next day. Nevertheless, Pharaoh rescinded his permission, and the Israelites stayed in Egypt.

The Hebrew noun could be translated as lice, gnats, or fleas. God instructed Moses to tell Aaron to take the staff and strike at the dust, which turned into a mass of lice that the Egyptians could not get rid of.

The Egyptian sorcerers declared that this act was "the finger of God" since they were unable to reproduce its effects with their magic. The Egyptian sorcerers were afflicted along with everyone else, and were unable to heal themselves, much less the rest of Egypt.

Following this plague there is a subtle change in the situation with Pharaoh that I believe is noteworthy. Instead of the Bible declaring that Pharaoh hardened his heart it now begins to say that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. We can see this for ourselves in Exodus 9:12

The fulfillment of
Exodus 4:21
The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

These dynamics between pharaoh and God seem to be consistent with a person on their way to having a reprobate mind.

Reprobate / Depraved - marked by corruption; evil; perverted.

God giving them over to sinful desires, shameful lust and a depraved mind. (Romans 1:24-28) God gives way and allows a man to do his human will even if it’s to his own detriment. In the case of Pharaoh, he actually hardens Pharaoh’s heart but only after he’s given him 5 opportunities to let the Israelite people go.

It’s very important for us today to have a tender heart of flesh before God. We want to allow him to change our hearts bringing us to a place of repentance before he has to take more drastic measures to get our attention.

Hebrews 4:7b
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Pharaoh's officials begged him to let the Israelites go rather than suffer the devastating effects of a locust-swarm, but he was still unwilling to give in. He proposed a compromise: the Israelite men would be allowed to go, while women, children and livestock would remain in Egypt. Moses repeated God's demand that every last person and animal should go, but Pharaoh refused.

God then had Moses stretch his staff over Egypt, and a wind picked up from the east. The wind continued until the following day, when it brought a locust swarm. The swarm covered the sky, casting a shadow over Egypt. It consumed all the remaining Egyptian crops, leaving no tree or plant standing. Pharaoh again asked Moses to remove this plague and promised to allow all the Israelites to worship God in the desert. As promised, God sent a wind that blew the locusts into the Red Sea. However, He also hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not allow the Israelites to leave.

The Israelites were exempt from 7 of the 10 plagues that came upon Egypt due to their covenant with God.

Allow the Holy Spirit to break your stubborn pride today before it’s too late. Allow him to soften your stony heart, giving you a heart of flesh.

Allow the Holy Spirit of God to apply the blood of Jesus to your heart. Protecting you from eternal torment.

Will God judge the United States of America? Well, I think He could, but I believe what’s more likely is the decisions of people in power, in some ways similar to Pharaoh, who’ve been led by lust (God of Mammon) and have thus sinned will cause many of us problems because of their position of influence. (Proverbs 22:7)

It would seem that Iran is determined to develop their nuclear program to the chagrin of the rest of the Western world. It would seem that President Ahmadinejad's brand of Islamic ideology causes him to think that he should start a great war to usher in the return of the last Imam, the Mahdi. It would also seem that Israel is very determined to not allow Iran to do this.

In some senses of the word we have an immovable force running into an unstoppable object. We’re going to have a collision and it’s going to be big. The U.S. petrodollar status is also at stake which would have a huge ripple effect in our country’s economic standing. Where is the land of Goshen for the U.S. citizen should these events transpire?

My belief is that a small community that pulls together now will do much better than a large urban area. My belief is also that we are headed for a currency crisis of sorts. My belief is that the fiscal cliff was simply a distraction from the real currency cliff that’s approaching. These warnings are for you to chew on. Make your own decision about this information but I am making some sensible preparations for my family based on these things I believe to be true.

If you remember about 8 months ago I mentioned for some who are having a hard time wrapping their mind around the idea of getting gold or silver to buy ammunition. Had people followed my “advice” they would have been able to double their investment in todays market. Try finding .22 LR rounds. They are very scarce. People are buying them from the Hebr Springs Walmart when they come in and in 1 hour they are gone. Some are stockpiling the ammo and others are selling it on Ebay/Gunbroker.com for 2 – 3x’s the purchase price.

Fear is the wrong feeling when dealing with these issues. A sound strategy from the Lord with preparation in mind is my approach. For every dollar that is lost it is simply transferred to someone else. (Isaiah 60:5, 60:11, 61:6, 66:12) The only time money is “destroyed” is when a loan is paid off. The Church’s greatest hour could be upon us if we prepare for the harvest that’s coming. I’m excited!
   
Visit with us at Jubilee Family Church this Sunday at 10:15 AM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) and Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) If you can't be with us in person please visit via internet video on Jubilee T.V. If you live in Batesville please tune into KBAP 88.1 FM to listen to contemporary worship music.

Jubilee Family Church45 Thunderbird Dr. Batesville, AR 72501 (870) 793-9124
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July 26, 2013

Joseph, A Look at God's Sovereignty


By Tony V. Hammack

Abundant Life Today Media
Abundant Life Today Podcast

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The Story of Josephs life is an interesting look into how God can use a very horrible tragedy, and turn it around for good.

Some people thank God for their testimonies, going through very difficult times due to unbridled sin, or other challenges. Now I’m not negating God’s ability to deliver and change a life but I will say God will work with whatever you give him. If you give him a “goody two-shoes” life He can work with that. If you give him a life that’s been ravaged by sin, He can also work with that.

I often tell people. If you give God lemons he can make lemonade. However, God can make a whole lot more than lemonade. Be encouraged. No matter where you are in life, what you’re going through or what you’ve done, a life submitted to Christ can bring God glory.

Joseph was a dreamer
The Persecution

The Jealousy
Genesis 37
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

The Dream
Genesis 37:7
“We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

I found it interesting that all the brothers, Jacob his father, and his mother all know the interpretation to the dreams seemingly immediately.

Jacob sends Joseph to go check on his brothers to report back to him and when the brothers see Joseph from a distance near Dothan they begin to plot how they are going to kill him. Reuben intervenes and they decide to just throw him into a cistern and tear his coat, the symbol of his father’s favoritism.

Genesis 37:25-28
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Reuben puts up minor resistance as the first born son of his father to protect his fathers interests but allows the process to proceed as planned by Judah. He does manage to save his life.

Potiphar’s House
Genesis 39:2-6
2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

The Sexual Assault Accusation
Genesis 39:11,12
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

Resulting Imprisonment
Genesis 39:20b-23
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

The Cup Bearer and the Baker’s Dreams

The Cry of Desperation “Remember Me”
Genesis 40:14,15
But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

We know that the interpretation of the dreams came true and that the cupbearer to the Pharaoh forgot about Joseph in the dungeon for approximately 2 more years.

Pharaoh had two dreams about abundance and famine. 7 cows sleek and fat came out of the Nile river were eaten by 7 gaunt cows. 7 heads of grain sprouted on one stalk were removed by 7 heads of grain that were scorched by an East wind.

Joseph concluded that a matter firmly established by God was coming. 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. Then he proceeded to tell Pharaoh a plan to administrate the grain saving and distribution during the famine.

The Promotion
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Joseph’s plan is to store 20% of the grain during the famine in grain bins for re-distribution during the famine.

The Reunion
When the brothers returned for more grain he again speaks harshly to them but eventually reveals his true identity to his brothers.

The Revelation
Genesis 45:4-8
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.

Ok, what about you? Where are you in life? Are you at home with Jacob, maybe you’re in despair. Some keys from Josephs life include
  • Keeping the vision God gave to him.                                      
  • Practicing the presence of the Lord.
  • Walking in divine favor which included local promotions wherever he found himself.
I believe Josephs attitude was also very key in keeping him through the years of despair. Had he become jaded or embittered toward the Lord his destiny would’ve been aborted.

You and I must remain steadfast, holding onto the vision God has given us, practicing the presence of God in our daily lives and walking in divine favor no matter where we may find ourselves. We must guard our attitudes against bitterness while circumstances would lead a person without overflowing grace into despair.


Visit with us at Jubilee Family Church this Sunday at 10:15 AM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) and Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) If you can't be with us in person please visit via internet video on Jubilee T.V. If you live in Batesville please tune into KBAP 88.1 FM to listen to contemporary worship music.
Jubilee Family Church45 Thunderbird Dr. Batesville, AR 72501 (870) 793-9124
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July 25, 2013

Give It All You've Got


By Tony V. Hammack

Abundant Life Today Media
Abundant Life Today Podcast

Podcast: Play in New Window | Download
To watch the video, click here.
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These notes are best when used in conjunction with the audio or video.
 
After you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then (Eph. 6:13, 14) Give it all You've Got!

Specifically the passage is talking about attacks from principalities, powers, and forces of darkness in the heavenly realms. When the day of evil comes, stand!

You know, this passage from Ephesians 6:13,14 reflects how I feel at times. When you've done everything you know to do, to the best of “your ability,” then all you can do is stand.

We rest in the finished work of Christ but the Lord is still calling us to obedience. If the Lord asks us to do something we want to do it with as much excellence, vigor and zeal we can muster based on the amount of grace we've received.

Enthusiasm – from Greek enthousiasmos "divine inspiration, be inspired or possessed by God. So when we do things under the direction of the Lord we should do them with fervor.

If nobody does anything, nothing will get done. ~Tony Hammack

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

Ecclesiastes 9:10a
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,

Might – bodily strength, the power, energy, or intensity of which one is capable.


This passage is cast in the light of “the fragility/brevity of life”. We only have so much time to work so why not give it all we've got!

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Heart – the emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature. The seat of passion and emotion. One's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.

This passage is cast in the light of “who are you working for?” We all can identify with working for someone you don't like, trying to do as little as possible to just draw a paycheck of some kind. However the paradigm in the kingdom is different. We're to work like we're working for the King of King's and Lord of Lord's!

Working very hard forces a result. Either you will have success from your hard work or you will realize “this isn't for me”.  If we don't work with all our heart/might we may meander through years of our lives not fulfilling the plans and purposes of God.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

We don't need to spend our lives chasing our tails or working toward a goal of self gratification. Our efforts should be approved by Jesus. What we strive for should be under the umbrella of his will. When we do this I believe he will establish our plans. Why do we do what we do?

The motive of the heart is a very hidden issue however the Lord knows every motive of the heart. (1 Corinthians 4:5) He can reveal to us our motives and give us grace to change them if that is His will.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

1 Corinthians 10:31b
whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.


Visit with us at Jubilee Family Church this Sunday at 10:15 AM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) and Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) If you can't be with us in person please visit via internet video on Jubilee T.V. If you live in Batesville please tune into KBAP 88.1 FM to listen to contemporary worship music.
Jubilee Family Church45 Thunderbird Dr. Batesville, AR 72501 (870) 793-9124
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