And it Shall Come to Pass….

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Synopsis of   And it Shall Come to Pass….

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Joshua 6:3    And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

I like those words…. And it shall come to pass. I had a friend who said it was his favorite scripture of his Bible, because, he knew that if it did come to pass it would not stay.

I like it because, it does not say “maybe.” God did not say that it depended on certain circumstances; He just said it would “come to pass.” He was emphatic about it.

However, do take note that He gave Joshua a lot of directives that had to be carried out. Let’s look at Joshua 6:5   And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

I believe that this new year if 2015 ahead of us is a new gift from God. I believe it is the time that God’s plan “shall come to pass.” The gift of this new year might be like a blank sheet of paper a child of God might begin use his/her crayons to draw the coming year. It is time for each of us, individually, to ask ourselves… “What am I going to do with this new year gift? Just what is my dream for accomplishment this 2015?

I’d like to prod you into discussing this among yourselves, as a family, as a business, as a church of you choosing. Please don’t just say, “That’s a good idea, Bro. Dick,” and cast it aside. Don’t miss the opportunity. I do believe God is behind this.

But, I do feel I must warn you…. remember; I am named by God as “Shofar,” the Watchman on the Wall. I warn you that you are going to face the same thing that Joshua faced….. a wall!   That is, a wall of resistance. A wall of doubt. A wall of despair. In other words a wall of demonic opposition.

Too many of us Christians feel that we shouldn’t encounter problems when we stand in faith for their vision. This is usually derived from reading Isiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.” Let’s look at why it won’t prosper. Only…. because He gives us the faith to shout it down and possess what He desires of us and for us. Remember what He told our great-great-great grandfather, Adam? Be fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue! Adam sinned when he failed to subdue.

Back to the book of  TJoshua chapter 6, verse 1. “Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.Take note here that the children of Israel were not the ones on the run. It was the devil and his team that were shut up inside.

Lets continue with Joshua 6:8-10 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the reward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.

Take a close look at that last verse: Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. In other words Joshua was saying to them,       “I don’t want any complaining or murmuring from any of you.” I am here to follow Gods plan of action and if this is what it takes then this is what we will do. Shut yo mouth!”
Joshua is speaking like God. He is telling them the fact that God has already given them the city. Just because the walls are still standing and the devils are looking at you between the cracks. Don’t you think the devils were having a good laugh at seeing them marching in silence. But this is not the time begin to cower. Don’t begin to talk among yourselves, convincing one another that ”It aint gonna happen.”

My friends, if a minister doesn’t talk like God, if the head of the household doesn’t talk like God…   the congregation or the family will never shout the walls down, because no one believes, as the title of today’s message states… And it Shall Come to Pass. Satan’s finest weapon is “doubt.”

Now let me shift gears a little. We are not to be diligent in shouting down the walls only in church.  Blessed are they who live in praise and fellowship with God 100% of the time. “Oh, but, Bro. Dick; I’ve got to work for a living.” God knows that. You can dwell in God’s presence as you work, at the factory, at the office, in the house you are building. You don’t have to be careless about you duties. Praising God in your Spirit while you’re working may well help you be more productive in your work. Try it, you’ll like it.

Joshua had faith that what God promised would happen… the walls would fall down. “But, Bro. Dick, just what did make the walls fall down?” God give us an answer to that question in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 30: “By faith the wall of Jerico fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” So, how did they fall? Faith was mixed in with the shout.”

You realize that God had them walk around the city six times, and on the seventh day, they walked around it seven times. There was purpose of the numbers of six and seven; as all numbers in the Bible have it’s own purpose.

For instance, the number ONE means unity and uniqueness. There cannot be two firsts.
Also, the number TWO denotes a difference or division or separation. Think about it…. New and Old Testaments, law and grace, Christ and Anti-Christ, natural and spiritual, male and female.  Three in the Bible denotes fullness or completion as in the Godhead… Father, Son and Holy Spirit, speaking of totality or completeness.

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And it Shall Come to Pass….

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Joshua 6:3

And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

I like those words…. And it shall come to pass. I had a friend who said it was his favorite scripture of his Bible, because, he knew that if it did come to pass it would not stay.

I like it because, it does not say “maybe.” God did not say that it depended on certain circumstances; He just said it would “come to pass.” He was emphatic about it.

However, do take note that He gave Joshua a lot of directives that had to be carried out. Let’s look at Joshua 6:5   And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

I believe that this new year if 2015 ahead of us is a new gift from God. I believe it is the time that God’s plan “shall come to pass.” The gift of this new year might be like a blank sheet of paper a child of God might begin use his/her crayons to draw the coming year. It is time for each of us, individually, to ask ourselves… “What am I going to do with this new year gift? Just what is my dream for accomplishment this 2015?

I’d like to prod you into discussing this among yourselves, as a family, as a business, as a church of you choosing. Please don’t just say, “That’s a good idea, Bro. Dick,” and cast it aside. Don’t miss the opportunity. I do believe God is behind this.

But, I do feel I must warn you…. remember; I am named by God as “Shofar,” the Watchman on the Wall. I warn you that you are going to face the same thing that Joshua faced….. a wall! That is, a wall of resistance. A wall of doubt. A wall of despair. In other words a wall of demonic opposition.

Too many of us feel that we shouldn’t encounter problems when we stand in faith for their vision. This is usually derived from reading Isiah 54:17No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.” Let’s look at why it won’t prosper. Only…. because He gives us the faith to shout it down and possess what He desires of us and for us. Remember what He told our great-great-great grandfather, Adam?   Be fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue! Adam sinned when he failed to subdue.

Back to the book of Joshua chapter 6, verse 1. “Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.”  Take note here that the children of Israel were not the ones on the run. It was the devil and his team that were shut up inside

Lets continue with Joshua 6:8-10 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the reward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. 10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.

Take a close look at that last verse:   Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout. In other words Joshua was saying to them, “I don’t want any complaining or murmuring from any of you.” I am here to follow Gods plan of action and if this is what it takes then this is what we will do. Shut yo mouth!

Joshua is speaking like God. He is telling them the fact that God has already given them the city. Just because the walls are still standing and the devils are looking at you between the cracks. Don’t you think the devils were having a good laugh at seeing them marching in silence. But this is not the time begin to cower. Don’t begin to talk among yourselves, convincing one another that ”It aint gonna happen.”

My friends, if a minister doesn’t talk like God, if the head of the household doesn’t talk like God…the congregation or the family will never shout the walls down, because no one believes, as the title of today’s message states… And it Shall Come to Pass. Satan’s finest weapon is “doubt.”

Now let me shift gears a little. We are not to be diligent in shouting down the walls only in church.

Blessed are they who live in praise and fellowship with God 100% of the time. “Oh, but, Bro. Dick; I’ve got to work for a living.” God knows that. You can dwell in God’s presence as you work, at the factory, at the office, in the house you are building. You don’t have to be careless about you duties. Praising God in your Spirit while you’re working may well help you be more productive in your work. Try it, you’ll like it.

Joshua had faith that what God promised would happen… the walls would fall down. “But, Bro. Dick, just what did make the walls fall down?” God give us an answer to that question in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 30: “By faith the wall of Jerico fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” So, how did they fall? Faith was mixed in with the shout.

You realize that God had them walk around the city six times, and on the seventh day, they walked around it seven times. There was purpose of the numbers of six and seven; as all numbers in the Bible have it’s own purpose.

For instance, the number ONE means unity and uniqueness. There cannot be two firsts.

Also, the number TWO denotes a difference or division or separation. Think about it…. New and Old Testaments, law and grace, Christ and Anti-Christ, natural and spiritual, male and female.

Three in the Bible denotes fullness or completion as in the Godhead… Father, Son and Holy Spirit, speaking of totality or completeness.

Four speaks of earthly completeness. All things of the earth was created on the fourth day. Four declares universality. North, South, East, West – Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn – Phases of the moon, Full, quarter, half, last – morning, noon, evening and night – Four gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John –

So… what about God having them walk around the city of Jericho six times. Six is the number of man, who was created on the sixth day. Six expresses man’s human incompleteness. Man without God will always be incomplete, no matter what we do in our own strength.

The number seven is the most familiar because it appears over 600 times in the Bible. It is usually symbolic of the whole or the completion of the ideal situation . In other words… complete cycle.

The last book that completes the Bible, Revelation, contains the number seven more than any other book in the Bible. Seven Churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, seven dignitaries, and seven woes.

What did we just read? “Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priest shall blow the trumpets.” Seven equals fulfillment or enough.

ÓK, Bro. Dick; what does this mean for our year of 2015 being, as the title says, And it Shall Come to Pass?”

Glad you asked. Because I believe that God is trying to find men and women of great excellence to handled that which will “come to pass” in this gift of the year 2015.

This leads me to speak of a man of excellence, the Prophet Daniel who had a reputation of excellence.

Daniel 6:1-3   Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a prince to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the princes and to watch out for the king’s interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and princes. Because of his great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.

No one would place a person in such a responsible position if he had the reputation of doing things half way. Daniel was a man of honor who always honored his word. This should be the goal of every believer. We should all work diligently to maintain a reputation of excellence of the highest and finest quality. The first characteristic of the excellent life is one that honors God’s Word. We are God’s representative, or I might say His Ambassadors, on this earth; and we must uphold His standards of truth and integrity to the world.

Now, let me say, that excellence the result of understanding. Therefore we must honor God’s Word by desiring to understand everything that God has planned for your life…. What plan God has for you specifically for the gifted year of 2015. This is what 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Then there is also Proverbs 17:27 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

Excellence not only is the result of understanding; it also produces prosperity. 2 Chronicles 31-21

And in every work that he (Hezekiah) began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God he did with all his heart and prospered.

Hezekiah was determined to produce results for God. That means that he was passionate, fervent and enthusiastic… and it prospered his results for God’s plan. Excellence in any endeavor can only be achieved with a wholehearted approach. So… the word is if you are to accomplish God’s will for your 2015 gift you must plan now to “shout down the walls” of those problems the devil will be throwing at you in this gift of this new year. In other words don’t be concerned with those who will attack your vision. Those who are cutting corners or lowering standards will get offended at you and criticize your excellence, but you must do it anyway.

At this point I’d like to remind you of something I said at the beginning of this message…

I believe that this new year if 2015 ahead of us is a new gift from God. I believe it is the time that God’s plan “shall come to pass.” The gift of this new year might be like a blank sheet of paper a child of God might begin use his/her crayons to draw the coming year. It is time for each of us, individually, to ask ourselves… “What am I going to do with this new year gift?

Although I believe we must act, and act with fervent, passionate, enthusiastic attitudes we must also realize the God is in charge of His plan for this gift year 2025. Perhaps we need to recall that “seasons happen.” If you observe a tree year round, you will notice that its appearance will change depending on the season that it is in. In the winter season, a tree will become barren and lifeless due to the climate change. This is a dry season for the tree, yet this dormancy period is necessary as a time of rest. In the spring season, the spring rain will arrive and buds will appear as the tree will begin to blossom, flourish, and leaves will begin to grow. The fruit bearing trees will begin to grow fruit. In the summer season the tree will become healthy and vibrant. The sun will cause the tree to thrive and flourish. In the fall season, the colors of the leaves will begin to change as the tree goes through a time of transition and preparation for the winter season.

Trees do not usually grow continuously throughout the year, but mostly have spurts of active expansion followed by periods of rest. Just as seasons are necessary in the natural, we must also go through seasons in our lives spiritually. It is imperative that we learn how to adjust to the season that we are in. The book of 1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us that the sons of Issachar discerned the times and the seasons that they were living in.

The Lord says; to those of us who have been in a winter season, rejoice your spring season is just ahead. Although you may feel as if your voice is not being heard, press in for the greater victory which lies ahead. This is a time of preparation and just as the sons of Issachar knew how to discern the times and seasons for the people, you will also learn how to walk in discernment. Spend your time wisely in this season. Spend time with the Lord, and you will soon come into the times of refreshing. Things may not appear as you expected, but recognize the importance of every season of your life. Don’t rebel in times of change, but rather stay focused and learn how to be content in every situation. Allow Him to restructure your life as you go through these adjustments. Stay in His timing. Don’t try to birth something out of its due season or it will become an Ishmael. He will bring growth in the spring seasons and everything will come into full bloom. He will bring changes in the fall seasons to prepare you for your advancement. Learn to recognize what He is doing in every season so that you will be content and able to move forward. Change is always necessary for your spiritual growth.                      There are lessons to be learned, and changes to be made that are necessary for your journey in every season. Do not fear change. All of this concern for our 2015 journey causes me to remember:

Eccle. 3:1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Is this perhaps the season to “shout down the walls” of governing bodies warring against our Christian faith. Such as… an important church-state story in the nation’s capital that has largely been ignored in the news media. On Dec. 2, 2014 the District of Columbia Council unanimously amended the city’s Human Rights Act in order to end exemptions that aided religions opposed to same-sex relationships. Then on Dec. 17, 2014 the Council unanimously amended that same act to forbid discrimination against employees’ “reproductive health decisions” to choose abortion, sterilization and contraception.

The D.C. votes create a conscience-clause. At this writing, new Mayor Muriel Bowser hasn’t decided whether to sustain or veto these two measures. You know what that means. Let’s say after the process plays out the church wins protection under the U.S. Constitution’s clause against government actions “prohibiting the free exercise” of religious faith. Does that end the drama? Not really. The District of Columbia Council’s decisions are similar to initiatives elsewhere in a U.S. culture war that will grind away over the next decade or two.

Since when can the state …shape the doctrine and the lives of believers who are trying to follow the tenets of their faith? So, again I repeat, is this perhaps the season to “shout down the walls” of governing bodies warring against our Christian faith.

Jesus, our exemplar, taught us well about things out of season. In Mark 11:1-11 he shared His feelings about things out of season. In fact… I am surprised that this strange story of Jesus cursing the fig tree ever got into our New Testament. Among all of the stories about Jesus recorded in the Gospels, this one is just about the most difficult to explain. On the face of it, it goes like this:

Jesus had just ridden into the Holy City in triumph, accompanied with crowds singing His praises and strewing palm branches before Him. It may well be that what He was doing was sizing up the situation. Were things really as bad in the religious establishment as He had been led to believe? He found the rumors He had heard of corruption in high places confirmed. But that night he returned quietly to Bethany, which was sort of the “bedroom community” for those who worked in Jerusalem. The next morning He and His students set out once more to cross over the Mount of Olives and reenter Jerusalem. They climbed a long, narrow, dusty, rocky road, until they reached the ridge of the Mount where they were within sight of their goal. There they could see the splendor of the Temple spread out before them. It would have been a reasonable time to stop for a “coffee break” and have something to eat. Mark tells us that Jesus was hungry. Mark’s Jesus experiences hunger and thirst, just like everybody else. But then He does something that seems much TOO human. He gets angry at an inanimate object. Have you never done that? I have. I have seen other people getting mad at inanimate objects, too. Especially on golf courses.

Mark says that Jesus saw a fig tree in leaf, and went over to it to search for some figs to eat. But He was disappointed. There were no figs. Only leaves. Mark gives the reason, bluntly: “It was not the season for figs.” And then Jesus does something startling. He says to the fig tree: “May no one ever eat from you again!” How odd and out of character!

My point here is that this story in Mark 11, at first glance, seems to fit into the category of these ridiculous apocryphal stories which have Jesus doing all sorts of things which most of us find incredible, and which the early Church rejected as unfit for the New Testament. Why, then, did Mark include one such story in His, the first Gospel to have been written down?

WELL, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH THIS STORY? Mark included it, and he must have done so for a reason. The fact is that only in Mark does Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple come right in the middle of the story of the barren fig tree. It may well be that Mark put it there for a purpose. Perhaps the fig tree is a symbol for (ancient) Israel, embodied in the Temple and its leaders. Each appears to be thriving; neither is bearing the desired fruit; both are condemned by Jesus

What Mark seems to be saying is that Jesus cursed a fig tree for lying with its leaves. It looked good from the outside, but there was nothing there. Surely he must have intended a reference to the Temple. The religious folk of His day were impotent and infertile. They had taken a good thing: religion, and made it into a sham. They had dressed it up in finery, but it was a fake. But God says: (in the Book of Amos) “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies….Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!” (Amos 5:21-24)

We must listen to the text in the setting of the situation of the earliest Church. Note that the place where Jesus stopped was “Bethphage”-i.e.,”the house of young figs.” Thus, it seems to me, that rather than being a criticism of the Old Israel, Jesus’ words might very well be addressed to the New Israel, the young Church. The Church was just getting under way, but had not been around long enough to bear much fruit. Thus it was not yet “the season for figs.” This might help us to understand Jesus’ reply to Peter when He asked the meaning of the withered fig tree. “Have faith in God!” Jesus answers. Can it be that the dissension and disagreements in the Church were beginning to loom up like mountains, so big that they could well have crushed the infant Church to death before it really got started? How can a Church be built upon anything but love, and faith, and hope? The infant Church was beginning to spread its leaves…but so far hadn’t shown much good fruit. And Jesus was disappointed.

But Jesus looks among them, and says that there is no fruit. He expected fruit. It is the condemnation of promise without fulfillment. Charles Lamb told of a certain man in whose life, he said, there were three stages. When he was young, people said of him, “He will do something.” As he grew older and did nothing, they said of him, “He could do something if he tried.” Towards the end of his life they said of him, “He might have done something, if he had tried.” That could be the epitaph of too many Christians…and too many churches.

It was “not the season for figs.” That’s a provocative statement. What he means is that we, as Christians, are supposed to do far more than simply “doing what comes naturally.” Jesus tells us to love one another, to forgive one another, and even to love our enemies. He calls us to come, take up our cross, and follow Him. “But the time is not ripe,” we say. “Perhaps later we will do it.” But if we wait until the time is ripe, nine times out of ten it will be rotten. We are called to BE the Church here and now

With the barren fig tree and the barren Temple religion as the backdrop, Jesus urges His followers to believe, to pray, and to forgive. What better marks of a true Church can there be than these? The Church is a community of faith, a place of prayer, and a fellowship of the forgiven and the forgiving, or it is nothing but an empty shell. In other words…the leaves of the fig tree LIED. They promised, but they did not deliver.

There is something ambiguous about those of us who are in the church. We hold such great promise. God could start a revolution with us, if we would allow God to do so. We’ve got lots of leaves. The question is not, “Where’s the beef?” as the old commercial had it, but “Where’s the fruit?”

A church in Kansas City is reported to have the following slogan:

  • “Wake up, sing up, preach up, pray up, stay up, pay up,      
  • but never give up or let up or shut up
  • until the cause of Christ in this church and in the world is built up.”

As the clock grimaces at me this morning let me end with a new idea I’ve come up with. I just received a neat little book by the title of Three Little Words. It is written by Terry Ferguson.

I’d like to end each of my weekly messages with one of these little pearls of, as Terry says it, “God’s Truths in Simple Terms.

Today’s three little words are…   Timing – Is – Everything:

Daniel 2:20   Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

Ecclesiastes 3:1   To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ephesians 1 9-11 God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; 10 and this was his purpose: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are – in heaven or on earth – to be with him in Christ forever. 11 Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have become gifts to God that he delights in, for as part of God’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

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