Come with me to Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Isn't that beautiful? God promises to never leave us. God is our Forever Friend. He's our best friend. God is our best friend. God gives us numerous blessings. God loves us. In fact in I John 4:8 it says Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. He is love, and so don't be discouraged.
Our Forever Friend dispenses many blessings to us. We do not knowingly become Christians just to get these blessings. That wouldn't be right.
Did you know that Moslems, according to the Koran, will receive eternal rewards when they die. Supposedly when a man dies and arrives in heaven he will eat a banquet of three hundred courses. He will be given eternal health and the zestfulness of a youngster. He will be given eighty thousand servants and seventy two beautiful wives. Beautiful wives, each possessed with perpetual youth and beauty, each of them whose virginity is renewable at pleasure. Moreover, if offspring is desired, it will grow to full maturity in just one hour eliminating all diapers and baby sitting! Wow! Does anyone want to join up?
When we become Christians does that mean we will never lose our job? Does that mean you'll never get a cold or get sick, or have something bad happen? It seems selfish to join a church just to get benefits. But I want to tell you that Christianity does dispense many blessings. I don't want you to ever forget that.
These awesome blessings are real and they're for us today. They're for everybody. How do we know all these benefits in the Bible are for everybody and apply to us in 1998? Well, Matthew 16:24 says: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If ANYONE would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Does the word, "anyone" include Don Gettys? Does it include you? It does.
John 7:37,38 Jesus ...said in a loud voice, "If ANYONE is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. WHOEVER believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." That's a promise. In Revelation 22:17 it says: WHOEVER wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. That's a beautiful promise. And these promises in this Holy Bible are for every person who ever lived. They're for you.
BETTER HEALTH: Now, one of the blessings that we as Christians get is found in Exodus 15:26 If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you. Let God be your health giver. He want to do that. He wants to make Christians healthier.
Also He wants to give you the gift of LOVE. Have you ever felt unloved? Exodus 20:6 (Second Commandment) but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Now, there are some conditions here, aren't there? But, if you love the Lord, you will keep His commandments and he will show you His love until a thousand generations. (Now if one generation is twenty years more or less, that's around twenty thousand years. God's love is for all generations of this world.) This blessing of love applies to us, doesn't it? It applies to me and to you. Notice these blessings are for right now, right here on this earth! For you!
Another blessing in the Ten Commandments is in the fifth commandment. Verse twelve is the promise of LONGEVITY - Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. That's a promise of a long life. I want to say that that is true. Christians live longer.
America is basically a Christian nation, or at least it has been. The Quality and length of life has expanded greatly over the years. In 1962 when John Glenn became the first American to orbit in space the life span was sixty-nine point seven years. And today, when John Glenn goes back (1998) and became the oldest man to orbit the earth the life span is seventy-six point 1. Almost six and a half year more in just that short period of time. That's amazing! And Christians live even longer.
Many surveys have been done on Christians. For instance, a survey on Seventh day Adventists shows that they live an additional 6-7 years longer than the average American! (To Your Health, by Hans Diehl, page 116) Now, that's a blessing, isn't it? The average Adventist lives to be the age of eighty-three. If you have been given a long life and good health, give the full credit to God. If you haven't been given a long life because of the devil, let's give him the blame. Let's never blame God for an act of the devil.
Another is in Exodus 23:22. That is the blessing of PROTECTION: If you listen carefully and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. God's angels will guard you. They protect your home, your life, your youngsters and your health. My wife was driving on Bonny Oaks yesterday and passed a truck. Just as she passed, this truck was loaded with portable outhouses, and two of them fell off and just missed her. They didn't hit her. That's a blessing! A double blessing! God's angels guard us: they protect our home, our life, our youngsters, our health.
There are MANY ADVANTAGES: Look in Deuteronomy 28:2-8 -
Someone may be thinking, well God hasn't blessed me. Ah, well, let's count our blessings. Are you thankful for the finger that doesn't hurt? Probably not until you smash it with a hammer. But were you thankful the moment before? These texts we're reading are from the Old Testament. Do they still apply today, or were they just for the Israelites or somebody? That was back in the Old Testament. Does God's desire to bless His people vary from age to age?
Well, look at III John 2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. That is a promise from God, isn't it. He does want us to prosper spiritually and physically. No question about it. So has God change from the Old Testament days?
Hebrews 7:21 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind. I'm so glad that we serve a God like that.
What peace it brings to the Christian's heart to realize that our heavenly Father never differs from himself. He's the same today. He's always in a receptive mood. In coming to him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find him in a receptive mood. He is always approachable. God responds to distress and need, as well as to love and faith.
God does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when he will see no one. Neither does he change his mind about anything. Today, this moment, he feels toward his creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as he did when he sent his only begotten Son into the world to die for mankind. - A. W. Tozer (1897 1963)
With God, Abram's day and this day are the same.
SALVATION is another blessing God gives us. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Our Lord gives us volumes of physical blessings.
SUCCESS - II Chronicles 26:5 Uzziah ...sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success. Do you know how you dress for success? By putting on the Robe of Christ's righteousness. Anything else is nakedness.
PROSPERITY - Job 36:11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.
Wonderful promises in the Bible. I would like to challenge anybody here today: I will give ten dollars to the first person who can (in an hour or less) name EVERY Godly blessing they have enjoyed. Impossible! You could never do it! My ten dollars is safe. I don't stop to think of what a blessing it is not to have my finger hurt till it gets smashed with the hammer.
Another blessing is ABUNDANCE - MALACHI 3:10,11 Bring the whole Tithe (10%) into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. "Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. He doesn't promise to keep the 'coons from your corn or keep the deer out of your garden, but if you plant enough you'll have plenty: God will bless you.
God will prosper you to the extent that you can handle it. To some people He wouldn't dare give much of a blessing because they couldn't handle it. If you get more than you can handle, you might go the way of the world.
Does it bother you that some worldly sinners can drive fine cars and have luxury and money, and yet they never attend church or even pray.
In Psalm 73:1-3 David almost slipped when he saw how much the wicked do prosper. Why do they prosper? Maybe the Devil blesses them. I want my blessings to come from a Loving God. Also remember that this is all they will get. Death ends it all for the wicked. But God does bless His people.
Another blessing is TROUBLE. Romans 5:3,4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. So that's a blessing.
Sometimes it can be a blessing to be fired. Wallace Johnson said, "When I was forty I worked in a sawmill. One morning the boss told me - you are fired! I felt like my world had caved in. It was during the depression and we were desperate and destitute.
"I went home and told my wife. She cried, "What are we going to do?" I told her I wanted to mortgage our little home and go into the building business. Within 5 years I became a multi-millionaire! I have built numerous Holiday Inns all over America. Today if I could locate the man who fired me, I would sincerely thank him for what he did for me."
That's a blessing, a blessing! So do not despise the hard times of life, they could be stepping stones sent from God.
Psalm 37:23 KJV- The Steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. It could also read: "The STOPS of a good man are from the Lord." I think in heaven there must be a prayer answering department and a Blessings office, and a Delayed Blessings Office. Sometimes God delays certain things that we pray for until the best time. We need to learn that God s Delays are not God's denials. Psalm 37:7 KJV Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him... He will bless us in His own timing.
If God waits longer than you wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. Most of us would pick our mercies GREEN while the Lord would have us to wait until they are fully ripe.
Isaiah 30:18 KJV - Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you. His blessings might not come when you want them, but He's always going to be there on time, on His time. And His time is the best time.
I hope you are getting a fresh picture of the kind wonderful God that we serve. Human beings grow up with all sorts of beliefs of what God is like. Some see God as an Enemy, or a Policeman, or even an Abusive Parent. Jesus gives us proper knowledge of God. To rightly understand God all we must do is look to Jesus. This will correct our foggy vision. We have only one perfect photograph of God, and this is Jesus Christ. (MS 70, 1899.)
Let's worship our Awesome God. We cannot understand Him but we can serve Him. We cannot change Him. You can't diminish God's great character by rejecting him any more than a lunatic can obliterate the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his dungeon.
Let's worship our God. He's an awesome God.
Some people believe that God is our enemy. You can hear sermons like that. Listen to the words of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath toward you burns like fire ... he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment."
Well, we only have one perfect photograph of God. That is, in Jesus. When you look at Jesus, you're looking at God. And Jesus gives us the proper knowledge that we might understand who our heavenly Father is.
He has many things saved for us. I Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
Can you see how wonderful our Heavenly Father really is? He's prepared so many good things for us. He's a wonderful, wonderful God, an awesome God that we serve. He's a God of love. And I believe that the more we know God the more that we will experience happiness in this life.
You can trust God. You may be retired or you may be saying, well I don't understand some of the things that are happening in my life. God has a plan for you. Just stay faithful to Him and His plan will work out in your life.
God created man because God loves man. Man's best friend is certainly not a dog. I think we're going to go to the dogs if that's our philosophy. I think we need to realize that God is our best friend and we need to give God the credit. We need to worship Him. We need to study the Scriptures about Him. We need to believe that God is real is to know that all the rules will be fair and there will be wonderful surprises.
I am so glad to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. I am so glad to be a member of a church the believes in a God like I have just described, because He truly is wonderful. Let's give Him the credit. He is our Forever Friend. Do you have a daily relationship with your Forever Friend? Can you have a friend and not have a relationship? That's the key. That's the vital element is that relationship. I urge you to establish it. It takes time, but it's worth it. And God will become your Forever Friend, and soon you will meet Him face to face.
Let's give our hearts to Him every day. Let's praise Him for His Kindness. Let's accept Him as our personal God. And let's follow Him in all of our lives.
Opening Hymn: #520 He Hideth my soul. Scripture Reading: Responsive Reading #723 Closing Hymn: #565 For the Beauty of the Earth we raise this grateful song of praise 981031GETTYS#76
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last updated 11/5/98 by Bob Beckett.