Hissing at a House

Read 1 Kings 9:1-9  Focus on verse 8.

The temple was extravagant beyond measure. It was set high and very beautiful. Solomon had poured his life into it, and when all was finished God Himself came to meet with Solomon.

God had some words for Solomon and all the people.

God said He would dwell there perpetually, and the place would have His glory if…. only if the people served Him alone.

But if they turned aside, the temple would be as awful as it was beautiful. Those who passed by and saw it would be disgusted. They would hiss. They would ask questions. The ugly truth would come out.

Our lives are a bit like that temple. What shape is our temple in? God created us clean and beautiful. He created us as a temple fit for His own dwelling. If we keep ourselves clean, if we serve God alone, our lives will be beautiful. If we are gentle and if we do small acts of kindness, we will bring beauty to this world. And others will see beauty in us.

But if we live carelessly and our lives are tumbledown, those who pass by will notice that too. If we serve ourselves and are rude and unkind, our lives will be disgusting to the people around us. Don’t be the kind of person who astonishes those you meet and makes them hiss.

You are building your own life. Today.

Build well.

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A Whisperer

Introduction:

Why/when do people whisper?

Body:

Read Proverbs 16:27-30

Is this whisperer causing good? What are his whispers? Why is he whispering?

Friendships are valuable to all of us. And we don’t like separation.

Do you like to hear bad things about friends?

Let’s learn to keep evil from passing our lips, in fact, we should not even think evil of others.

Conclusion:

Let’s treasure friendships and think before we talk. Be a true friend. Only think good of others. The next time you whisper, analyze why you are whispering, and be sure you aren’t destroying your friends.

When Elephants Fall

Introduction:

What is the greatest thing that a person has ever done?

Body:

Around 163 BC, during those four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, Judas Maccabeus had a stand off with Antiochus Eupator. Judas had been fighting to free the Jews from Greek/Roman rule, but some of the Jews turned against him and stirred up Antiochus, the Greek king, to squelch Judas’s rebellion. A traitor high priest even sided with Antiochus. And Antiochus said he wanted to do more damage to the Jews than his father had done.

History speaks of Antiochus as a brash and heartless man. He came against Judas with:

  • 110,000 foot soldiers
  • 5,300 men on horses
  • 300 scythed chariots
  • 22 elephants

Judas told his men that victories are from God. He took his most valiant men and attacked Antiochus’s army by night. They killed four thousand men and the best of the elephants. All who tried to stand against Judas that night were killed.

In the morning, Antiochus’s army was filled with dread and horror. Antiochus set his men in order and commanded the elephants to be given grape and mulberry juice to drink. The elephants were divided up so that each one had one thousand foot soldiers and five hundred cavalry. Each elephant had an Indian driver and carried a wooden room on its back that contained thirty-two more soldiers.

Judas engaged the army and killed six hundred men.

Eleazar, Judas’s brother, saw an elephant in royal harness that was taller than all the others. He decided that likely Antiochus rode that beast. Eleazar went for it, slaughtering men on every side. When he reached the elephant he crept underneath and killed it.

But the elephant fell on Eleazar and he died also.

I imagine everyone saw the elephant fall. I imagine very few saw Eleazar fall. But what he did was truly great, perhaps the greatest thing anyone did on that battlefield. He saw work to be done and he did it. A battle to be fought and he fought it. He didn’t worry about the cost. He didn’t care about being noticed. Because all that mattered was victory for the people of God.

Conclusion:

Often the greatest things we can do will be noticed the least. Or even if the result is noticed, the doer is not. Find the quiet things to do. Kind words to a friend. Dishes washed for your mom. A prayer for your preacher.

Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa

*this story can be found in James Ussher’s The Annals of the World paragraphs 3467 to 3473

The Boring Devotions

Introduction:

What if my devotions this morning is very boring? What will you do? Goof off? Distract yourself?

Do you think that anyone ever intentionally gives a boring speech/sermon/Sunday school?

Body:

What can you do?

  • focus
  • watch the speaker
  • attempt to relate his points to yourself
  • think of questions to ask

What are you revealing about yourself if you goof off? 

  • I don’t care
  • your message is unimportant
  • you are not worth my time
  • disrespect – recently a judge fined himself because his own cellphone rang during court

Conclusion:

We like life to be interesting. But really it’s up to you. If you choose to take an interest in a speech you think is boring, you may just find it interesting.

A Bird Shall Carry Thy Voice

Introduction:

What is a backbiter? Why should you not backbite? But what if the person you spoke evil of will never find out?

Read Ecclesiastes 10:20.

We are told to not even think bad thoughts toward someone. Because when we talk we say a whole lot more than words. An attitude comes through.

Do you know your friends likely learn more from talking with you than you think they do? Is that scary? It should actually be comforting.

Conclusion:

There are little birds all around us. Our thoughts affect our words, so we need to cultivate loving attitudes toward all.

The Cat O’ Nine Tails

Introduction

What is a cat o’ nine tails?

 Body

Read Judges 8:4-17 Gideon was very busy. Tell the story using the following points.

  1. He was chasing the Middianites
  2. 7:25 He received the heads of Oreb and Zeeb
  3. 8:1-3 He settled the dispute with Ephraim
  4. 4-7 He asked bread of Succoth
  5. 8 He asked Penuel for food
  6. He only grew hungrier
  7. 11-12 He captured the last two kings of Midian
  8. Read v 13
  9. 14-16 He found and punished Succoth with briars
  10. 17 He punished Penuel, beat down their tower

Conclusion

When God moves, we shouldn’t just stand by. Don’t be lax if there is work to do.

A Steadfast Face

Read Luke 9:51-56

Introduction

Why do you think Jesus’ face was steadfast? (He knew what was coming.) Why then did He go?

Body

Which would you rather: ice cream, or asparagus?

  1. Our bodies want the easy way. So we must train ourselves to endure hardness.
  2. We must have a goal in life. We must fix our eyes on it and let nothing take them from it.

What about people who make it hard for us?

  1. Sometimes we might have to be willing to make some people unhappy so that we can be true to truth.
  2. Yet never do we have to prove the point. In verse 56 Jesus went to another village. When He was opposed, He was kind. But He kept on going.

Conclusion

There are enough wishy-washy people in this world. Please don’t be another one. This world needs people who set their face. I want to be that way. I want you to be that way. Let’s move further up and further in. Come what may.