Praise And Victory Are Linked

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(Psalm 134:2 NIV) Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.
(Psalm 47:1 NIV) Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
1.Praise opens the door for victory
(Acts 16:25-26 NIV) About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (26) Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
2.Praise in the fight
(Exodus 17:10-15 NIV) So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. (11) As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. (12) When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. (13) So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (14) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” (15) Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
3.Praise after the victory of Jesus
(John 12:32 NIV) And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
(John 19:30 NIV) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(Philippians 2:8-11 NIV) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (9) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Don’t Touch That Monkey

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Peter’s Question:
(Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” (22) Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
My question: “Hey, What Is Forgiveness Anyway…?
-to dismiss or release from one’s presence.
-let go
-to send away
-to give up
-to release from legal and moral obligation
-to move away from … = a separation from
My definition:
“Don’t touch that monkey”
“release that monkey”
‘‘let go of that monkey”
“Decide now to separate from that monkey”
Jesus’ story is our answer to ‘how’?
(Matthew 18:23-24 NIV)
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.
1st guy – Released from 10,000 talents
(a talent = 90kg gold = $40,000) = 4,000,000 Yen
(10,000 talents @ $40,000 = $100,000,000) = 10,000,000,000 Yen
2nd guy – NOT released from 100 denarii
(a denari is a workers pay = $100 )
100 denari @ $100 = $10,000 = 1,000,000 yen
The master forgave a billion yen
The one receiving that freedom would not forgive a million yen.
He received in 1,000 thousand times more than what he was ready to release out.
“What a jerk!”
(Matthew 18:31-35 NIV) When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. (32) “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. (33) Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ (34) In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. (35) “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Who is that jerk? …. me if I don’t release others.
(Colossians 2:13-14 NIV)When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (14) having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)Rejoice always, (17) pray continually, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

The Power of Praise 

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Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭16:25-26 NLT‬‬
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”
Testimony: My experience with the power of praise as a young Christian.
1. Praise reminds us of who God is and what He has done
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭150:1-3 NLT‬‬
“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
‭‭‭‭Psalms‬ ‭135:3‬ ‭NLT
“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.”
2. Praise attracts God’s presence
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭22:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
Note: Enthroned (Hebrew “ysb”): to sit and remain sitting, to inhabit and to dwell. It implies the idea of ownership and control.
3. Praise brings God’s power in times of trouble
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:21-22‬ ‭NLT
‬‬“After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!” At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.”
Note:  Praise was the catalyst that caused God to move supernaturally on their behalf.
4. Praise opens our heart to receive God’s joy.
Psalm‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭NIV
‬‬“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
‭‭
Closing: Praise exalts God, attracts his presence, and opens the door for the supernatural power of God to operate in our lives.

I Like Big-Hearted People, Don’t You?

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“Hey … I don’t want a little, stingy, shriveled, unhealed and unforgiving heart. I want a big, life-loving, forgiving and giving, expansive heart, “lifehouse’ … Like Jesus!
(2 Corinthians 8:1,7 NIV)
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. (7) But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
1.That’s why I love Jesus
(John 3:16 NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
-“Father, forgive them”
(Luke 23:34a GNB)
Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.”
2.That’s why I choose life with Jesus’ grace and power
(Proverbs 11:24 MSG)
The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
(2 Corinthians 9:6 MSG)
Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.
(Luke 6:37-38 NIV)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (38) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
-be big-hearted with people and money
a.no judgement, no condemnation
b.but forgiving and giving “Who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:27-29 NIV)
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (28) “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (29) But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
3.Live Big-hearted – take-aways:
1.Stop blaming and take responsibility for your heart’s condition
2.Present your heart to God for healing and cleansing
3.Give with a heart of joy
(2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV)
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
(Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Choices of Esther

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Choice 1 – To maintain an excellent attitude in life or not?
The difficult past. She was an orphan. Where was God when … ?
Yet being brought up under Mordecai.
(Ester 2:7) Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
(James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Choice 2 – To give up personal freedoms or not
-To enter a beauty contest meant a lot of sacrifices.
(1 Corinthians 9:22-23) To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (23) I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Choice 3 – To risk it all for what is right?
(Ester 4:14) For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?
(Ester 4:16b) When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.
Great Choices lead to great outcomes
She got a great marriage, family, respect, God’s favour on her whole life.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

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Part 1: Great power==>God’s resource

(Matthew 25:14-18 NIV) “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.(15)To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.(16)The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.(17)So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.(18)But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

1. “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility!” Uncle Ben in Spiderman

(v.15) ‘ability’
(Greek: dunamis” 121x in NT. 120x is translated ‘power’. one time ‘ability’ It means power, force, energy, capacity,)to dismiss or release from one’s presence.

– All of us have a different start. You’ve been given a great one!

– True wealth = health, finance, stability, education, opportunities = Options

2. “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Hudson Taylor

(Philippians 4:19 NIV) “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

(2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.(7)You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (8)And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (9)As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

Part 2: What you do with==>your desitiny

-This parable of ‘capacity’ parable… motivational when we know there’s a ‘payback’ system expected.

(Matthew 25:19-30 NIV) “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.(20)The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ (21)“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (22)“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ (23)“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (24)“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. (25)So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ (26)“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? (27)Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. (28)“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. (29)For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (30)And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

3. Live for heaven’s applause and personal destiny. “Only one life, ’it will soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” ― C.T. Studd

(2Timothy 4:6-8 MSG) You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.

4. “Use it or lose it.” Henry Ford

Lean In

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Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Trust God Whole-Heartedly
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Give Up to Go Up
Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
The Right Path Might Be Long – But It’s The Fastest Way
Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Proverbs 13:11  (NLT)
11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears;
   wealth from hard work grows over time.
Jesus And The Rich Young Ruler
Mark 10:17-31 (NIV)
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ’You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
How Can We Lean Into Jesus?
1. Seek Jesus Above All Else
2. Be Prepared For The Storms of Life
3. Find Someone Who Can Look at You, Love You and Tell You What You Need To Hear

The Potter’s Hand

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Jeremiah 18:1-6 NLT
“The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”
Narrative: story of how pottery is made
1. A masterpiece is first formed in the mind of the potter
Genesis 1:26-27 NLT
“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Colossians 1:16 NLT
“for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.”
2. Transformation occurs on a spin controlled by the potter
a) Don’t worry in the chaos of the spin know that God is in control
b) As the clay is centered on the wheel to be worked by the potter we also must be centered in Christ
Psalms 127:1a NLT
“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.
3. The greatest work occurs in the hand of the potter
Isaiah 64:8 NLT
“And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”
a) Trust God’s plan for your life. He wants what’s best for you. Allow him to form you into who he wants you to be.
b) You can’t rush a masterpiece. Know that the molding and shaping process is slow and steady.
4. Clay that doesn’t meet the potter’s specification is reworked
Jeremiah 18:3-4 NLT
“So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.”
a) Remain teachable and avoid pride. Allow God to sanctify, and shape your character through the Holy Spirits guidance and the washing of his Word.
b) God never throws us away, he can take us even with a marred past, and give us a new beginning.
5. God knows his plans for you
Isaiah 46:9-10 NLT
“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”

God’s Love Is HUUUUGE! Does He Really Know All That?

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(Matthew 9:12-13 NLT) When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” (13) Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
– What Is Sin?
(Genesis 2:15-17 NLT) The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. (16) But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— (17) except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Story Of Prodigal Son
(Luke 15:11-12 NLT) To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. (12) The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
(Luke 15:13-14 NLT) A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. (14) About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
(Luke 15:20-23 NLT) So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (21) His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ (22) “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. (23) And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,
God, Our Heavenly Father Embraces Everything For us
(John 3:16-17 NLT) For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (17) God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Jesus Finished Everything On The Cross
(John 19:30 NLT) When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 5:10 NLT) Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.

The Battle Begins Here

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The battle we fight is not a battle in the flesh, but a spiritual battle that begin in the battle field of our minds. The battle begins here.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
3 “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.  4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
1. Strongholds In Our Mind Must Be Broken.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
Note: You can’t control your actions until you control your thoughts.
2. Our New Mind Must Be Developed
Romans 12:2 NLT
 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
3. Renewal of the Minds Takes Time.
Exodus 23:30 NLT
 “I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land.”
わたしは徐々に彼らをあなたの前から追い払うであろう。あなたは、ついにふえひろがって、この地を継ぐようになるであろう。
Note: we don’t have to suffer from condemnation when we make mistakes in our spiritual journey.
Romans 8:1-2 NLT  1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
4. Be Positive
Romans 8:28 NLT “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT “Always be joyful.  17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”