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Sunday, 21 May 2017

'GOD'S MERCY AND OUR FAILURES'

Rev. Joel Charles

Guest Preacher:
Rev. Joel Charles
Pastor of Shiloh Holiness Church in Ottawa:

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, May 21st, 2017:
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Broadcast Notes:
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God's Mercy and Our Failures


We’re all imperfect people and we live in an imperfect world. We all experience failures in life.

As a matter of fact, on the very night that Jesus Christ was arrested, before he went to the cross, two of Jesus’ best friends had massive failures.

Judas had the failure of betrayal and Peter had the failure of denial.

So, how does one handle failure?

Well, sadly, Judas rejected the mercy of God and he later went out and took his own life.  But, Peter accepted the mercy of God and he went out and became the leader of the church.

Matthew26:31-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike[a] the Shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

Beware of thinking, “This could never happen to me.”

1Corinthians 10 New Living Translation (NLT)

Verse 12-13:
12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

We tend to overestimate our strength. Not only do we overestimate our strength, but we misuse our strength. And when we don’t pay attention to our strengths, they become weaknesses.

It is said that an unguarded strength is a double weakness.

We also fail because we fear the disapproval of others. Every time you make a decision based on what other people will think, you are sowing the seeds for failure in your life.

We see in Matthew 26, that Peter did everything wrong in denying Jesus. But what did Peter do right?

The question is how does one recover from failure?

First you have to grieve it.

To get past most things (especially failures) in life, you have to live through them.
When you grieve your failures, you learn lessons that help you avoid future failings.
In Matthew 26, when Peter heard the rooster crow, he remembered that Jesus had said,  

“Before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times. Then Peter went outside and wept bitterly.”

That’s grieving!

In Psalm 51, verse 17, David says to God,

17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Contriteness is when we say, “God, you’re right, I blew it.”

So we recover from failure when we take the time to grieve.

But, secondly, we recover from failure when we get support.

The first thing Jesus did when he started his ministry, he formed a support group, of twelve disciples. There’s a scripture in Mark16, verse 10, around the resurrection time, Mary Magdalene went and found the disciples grieving and weeping. Notice they were together.
When you go through a major loss in your life, you have to resist the urge to isolate. And you must also resist the urge to insulate, to prevent others from getting in. Both are dangerous.

We were never meant to go through life on our own. We’re better together. We’re meant for community.

The best time to build your support community is before any crisis.

The third thing, besides grieving and getting support to recover from failure, is that you have to cast yourself on God’s mercy.

Peter, himself, wrote about this in the firstbook of Peter, Chapter 1, verse 3. He says, because of His great mercy, God has given us a new life.

God has given us a new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope.

Peter says, (in 1Peter 5:7), to cast all your anxieties on God, because he cares for you.

When you sincerely turn to God, it will amaze you what God will do in you, for you and through you.

In Lamentations3:22-23, it states that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
God is faithful to us in his mercy, no matter what we do.

Let me show you one of the most amazing verses in the Bible: 2Timothy 2:13:

13 If we are unfaithful,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot deny who he is.

God cannot deny himself. God cannot be unfaithful. You may give up on God, but he’s never giving up on you.

That’s the mercy of God.

(Listen to the conclusion of this great message, by clicking on the link, below.) 

By Rev. Joel Charles
Pastor of Shiloh Holiness Church in Ottawa:
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PODCAST LINK to the CFRA broadcast:

Sunday, 14 May 2017

'THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD'

Rev. Juliet Schimpf
By Rev. Juliet Schimpf 



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Broadcast Notes

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LINK to CFRA broadcast of Sunday, May 14th, 2017
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I want to say “Thank you” to an anonymous donor for making today’s broadcast possible through their generous support!
 
The Faithfulness of God

LAMENTATIONS 3
22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 103
Of David.
1Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

OLD FAITHFUL

MOTHER TERESA:  I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT:  It is better to be faithful than famous. (Quote by -Theodore Roosevelt)

We will look at these in relation to God’s faithfulness and the definition of faithfulness. 
There are of faithfulness three interesting definitions

WORTHY OF TRUST
Did you know that faithfulness is defined in many dictionaries as “worthy of trust.”  When we think of the word ‘politicians,’ we don’t really think of the definition of “worthy of trust.” 
There’s been an interesting website developed and published in print, Politifact, that tracks the promises of politicians and rates them on whether or not they have been accomplished and, as a result, whether or not they are worthy of trust. 

I looked up Obama’s scorecard because in the 2008 election, he made approximately 500 promises. 

Ø  Promises kept - 241, or 45%
Ø  Promises compromises - 131, or 25%
Ø  Promises broken - 117, or 22%
Ø  Promises stalled - 5
Ø  Promises in the works - 32

Based on these statistics, Obama is deemed as ‘unworthy of trust,’ according to Politifact.  They do this for all political parties. 

Indeed, it is hard to find somebody to trust.  Harry S. Truman said, “You want to find a friend in this city (Washington, DC), get a dog.”

We as humans are fickle, we are frail, we are fallen and we are forgetful.  As a result, it is hard to keep our promises.  

·         Proverbs 20 says, “Many claim to have unfailing love.  But, a faithful person who can find?”  A faithful person is hard to find.

·         Let’s contrast that with God is Psalms 36, “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens; Your faithfulness to the skies because His faithfulness is so good.”  He is constantly faithful.  The reason is that, at the heart of His promises, is the desire to earn, or receive, your trust. 
He made His very first promise in Genesis 3 when we humans, fallen and fickle, mess up.  Adam and Eve sinned and along came God.  He promises that a Messiah will come and crush the head of a serpent.  This flowed from the heart of His promise. 

·         The heart of a God, or a father, who wants to make promises to His precious children, just like your fathers and mothers make promises to you, because He loves you.  He constantly makes promises because He has a heart that yearns for your trust. 

God is fully faithful and fully worthy of our trust because, unlike humans, He is not fickle, not fallen, not forgetful, nor fragile.  Instead, His character makes Him faithful.  

·         1.  First, God is unchanging.  Malachi 3:6 says, “I, the Lord, do not change.”   In contrast, we humans can’t always keep our promises because we constantly change our minds or the circumstances change.

·         2.  God is also truthful, this is why He is faithful.  Numbers 23 says, “God is not a man that He should lie.  Nor a son of man that He should repent.  Has He said and will He not do it?  Has He spoken and will He not make it good?”  God is not a liar.  In contrast to humans, He is always telling the truth when He makes a promise and He is more than able to fulfill it.

·         3.  He is also omnipotent. 1 Thessalonians says, “The One who calls you is always faithful and He will do it.”

·         4.  He is eternal.  Deuteronomy 7 says, “Know, therefore, that God is faithful, keeping His covenant promises to 1000 generations.”  

Therefore, God can be trusted; He is worthy of our trust.  He is faithful because, at the heart of His promise, is the desire of a father to receive your trust and He is more than able to fulfill it.  

TRUE TO THE ORIGINAL
I want to talk about how faithfulness is defined as “true to the original.”

Example
Here is a story about how I have been unfaithful in a promise.  I was a teenager when I made an original promise to my dad and I was not true to the original promise. 
 
We had spelling contests and we had friendly bets.  I had a bet with him at the table, that I knew how to spell the word ‘Onamonapia’ correctly.  He said, “Ok, let’s have a friendly bet.  I would like to bet you a breakfast in bed.”

I was very confident in my spelling prowess, and so I took him up on his bet.  I spelled the word, and lo and behold, I was wrong.  What’s interesting is that he said “Next Sunday, I would like my breakfast in bed at 6 a.m.”  Ouch!

Suddenly, I was unfaithful to the original promise.  Six a.m. and teenagers don’t mix well together.  I did not deliver on my promise. 
 
Two years later, I wanted to earn his trust.  I said, “Dad, bet me a breakfast in bed.”
We had a bet about the capital city of a country in Europe.  Again, I was wrong.  But, I was happy because I could then earn my dad’s trust.  I could deliver on the promise of breakfast in bed. 
 
He asked for kippered herring, which is his favorite breakfast in bed.  I was grossed out and said, “I don’t do kippered herring.”  To this day, my dad has not received his breakfast in bed.  Wouldn’t it be great if, this Christmas, I showed up a 6 a.m. with kippered herring?
I was not true to the original promise.

·         God is faithful because He is true to the original promise. 

·         The reason is that Jesus Christ is true to the original.  2 CORINTHIANS 1:20New Living Translation  For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory.”
·         Jesus is God Himself.  Jesus is divine; He is omnipotent, He is eternal, He is truthful, He is unchanging.  He reflects all the same properties of God the Father.  He is true to the original. 

At this beautiful Advent season, we are anticipating the arrival of Christ.  The Old Testament makes over 350 prophecies related to Jesus.  Scholars have pointed out all 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  God is so faithful because, when He made those prophecies, Israel was unfaithful and had abandoned God.  But, God came to them, around 650 BC, and said, ‘I am sending a promise to be born in Bethlehem.  I am sending a promised one who is to become a shepherd of the flock.  He is unchanging and is ancient of all days.  I am sending one who is born of a virgin’.

The Habit of a Promise
This is faithfulness defined as consistency. 
 
How did Old Faithful get that name?  Old Faithful is in Yellowstone National Park.  In my research, I’ve discovered that every 91 minutes, Old Faithful spouts and erupts.  Therefore, Old Faithful is predictable and consistent.  Likewise, God is consistent every time.  

HE IS CONSISTENTLY FAITHFUL, EVEN IF WE ARE NOT!

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Life Application
We are to emulate and imitate God our Father.  He calls us to be faithful.
How do we, as frail, fickle, fallen humans, be consistent and predictable in our daily living?  The Word of God is helpful.  

A Few Principle I Have Learned
·         First, the Bible tells us, in Matthew 5, not to make promises with people.  Instead, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”  This is the first way to cultivate consistency. 
 
I had to learn this the hard way at university.  I was late for a few dates with my girlfriends and even for an exam.  My friend, who led me to Christ, said, “Juliet, you need to let you yes be yes and your no be no.” 

We do this frequently in society.  We set something up and, if something else more interesting comes along, we cancel it or if we are even slightly inconvenienced, we postpone. 
·         Second, Galatians 5 says that I, in my own flesh, cannot muster up faithfulness.  It’s not like I can wake up and say, “Today I’m going to be faithful.  I, Juliet, am a good person and I’m going to knock the socks off everyone.  I’m going to show up for every appointment.  I’m going to answer every question.  I’m going to solve every problem.”

No.  What I’ve learned from Galatians 5 is that faithfulness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5 says, very clearly, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. 
 
This actually means that I need to start my day by filling up on the Holy Spirit.  If I want to be faithful, I need to fill up on the Spirit, which is like a balloon.  I fill up a little bit each day and the Spirit in me gets bigger and bigger, such that I can’t help but be faithful because God is faithful and His Spirit is filling up in me.  Some of my faithfulness will leak out to others.  It’s called Contagious Christianity.  If you see me as consistent, predictable and faithful, you’re going to want to be that way too.  

·         Third, Matthew 25 says that, “If you are faithful with a few things and small things, God will then give you bigger things, grander things to be faithful in.” 

I try to practice faithfulness in the small things and when no one is watching, this is hard. 
For example, I come from a big city where, when you go grocery shopping and you take your cart to the car, you leave your cart, get in your car and drive away.  I come to Perth, a polite and dignified town, and I notice that everyone returns their cart.  I’ve been tempted to leave my cart at the car door.  But then I remember faithfulness in the small things and that people are watching.  I hope no one has heard, “Pastor Juliet doesn’t take her cart back to the store.”  If you see me at metro, remind me to take my cart back to the store.
If we’re faithful in the small things, He will then promote us to bigger things.

Be faithful in the thing when no one is watching and in the very small things, and He will promote you. 
 
It is hard to cultivate a habit of faithfulness.  We sometimes fall off the horse.  If that is you, remain hopeful because if we are unfaithful, says the Word of God, Christ will remain faithful to us. 

If you have fallen off this week and sinned, come to the Communion Table ready to repent because the Word says that if you repent, God will be faithful to forgive you. 
If you’re in the midst of temptation, God will be faithful if you turn to Him to provide a way out.

It doesn’t all depend on us.  If you’re unfaithful like me, come to Communion relaxed and at peace because Christ is coming, Advent is here.  Every promise in God is Yes and Amen!  God is faithful even when we’re not.  His forgiveness is ready; let us partake of the Lord’s Supper this day. 
Amen 


“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”


Rev. Juliet Schimpf
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: