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UPON THIS SOLID ROCK!

UPON THIS SOLID ROCK!

“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no ROCK LIKE OUR GOD.” (1 Sam. 2:2) [Rock: (tsûr) figuratively a refuge, strength. You are our refuge and strength Abba Father!]

“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; HE SHIELDS ALL WHO TAKE REFUGE IN HIM. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is THE ROCK EXCEPT OUR GOD? It is God WHO ARMS ME WITH STRENGTH AND KEEPS MY WAY SECURE.” (Psa. 18:30-32)

[David looks back, with thankfulness, for the remarkable things which God had done for him. He had not only created deliverance for him, but gave him victory and success, and made him accomplish victory over those who thought to have victory over him!]

“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the ROCK OF OUR SALVATION. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For THE LORD IS THE GREAT GOD…” (Psa. 95:1-3)

[Though bodily exercise, alone, does not profit much, yet certainly it is our duty to glorify God with our bodies by the outward expressions of reverence, seriousness, and humility, in the duties of our spiritual worship!]

“…Jesus …asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is…what about you?” he asked [His disciples]. “Who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:13, 15-16)

[This is a question we should be regularly asking ourselves, “WHO DO WE SAY, who the Lord Jesus is? Is he precious to us? Is he in our eyes the chief of ten thousand? Is he the Beloved of our souls?]

“…Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! FOR FLESH AND BLOOD HAS NOT REVEALED THIS TO YOU, BUT MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. And I tell you, you are Peter, and ON THIS ROCK, I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:17-18)

[Abba Father gives us revelation on “who” Jesus is to us and “who” we are to Him. This “rock” is the MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING of our relationship with our Lord and Savior!!!!]

ON THIS ROCK, JESUS SAID; “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”!

-Bill Stockham

DECLARATION OF DEPENDANCE!

DECLARATION OF DEPENDANCE!

 

“For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, THAT YOU MAY DECLARE the praises of him who called you OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.” (1 Peter 2:6-9)

[Peter gives us a description of Jesus Christ as a LIVING STONE; this description may seem rough and exacting, yet to the Jews, who placed much of their religion in their glorious temple, and who understood the prophetic style, which calls the Messiah “a stone” (Isa_8:14; Isa_28:16), it would appear very elegant and proper.]

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake TO EVERY HUMAN AUTHORITY: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. FOR IT IS GOD’S WILL THAT BY DOING GOOD you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Pet. 2:13-15)

[One reason why Christians should submit to the evil judicial officer is because it is the will of God, and consequently our duty; and because it is the way to put to silence the hateful insults of ignorant and foolish men!]

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Pet. 2:17)

[As faithful Christian we are to Fear God with the highest reverence, duty, and submission; if we lack this fear of the Lord, none of the other these duties can be performed as they ought!]

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. IF ANYONE SPEAKS, THEY SHOULD DO SO AS ONE WHO SPEAKS THE VERY WORDS OF GOD. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. TO HIM BE THE GLORY AND THE POWER FOR EVER AND EVER. Amen.” (1 Pet. 4:10-11)

[The correct ordering of our body is of wonderful use to promote the good of the soul. When the cravings and feelings of the body are restrained and GOVERNED BY GOD’S WORD and true reason, and the interests of the body are submitted to the interests and requirements of the soul, then our body is not the soul’s enemy, but its friend and helper; WHEN WE SUBMIT TO GOD!]

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and CONTINUE TO DO GOOD. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that HE MAY LIFT YOU UP in due time.” (1 Pet. 4:19, 5:6)

TO OUR ABBA FATHER BE THE GLORY AND THE POWER FOR EVER AND EVER!

-Bill Stockham

HOW CAN WE EVER THANK GOD?

HOW CAN WE EVER THANK GOD?

“…we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God…you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, THE WORD OF GOD, which also PERFORMS ITS WORK IN YOU who believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13)

[Because of the great reverence the Jewish scribes held toward the Scriptures, they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. The entire scribal process was specified in meticulous detail to minimize the possibility of even the slightest error. The letters, words, and lines were counted, and the middle letters of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament were determined. If a single mistake was discovered, the entire manuscript was destroyed. As a result of this extreme care, the quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible surpasses all other ancient manuscripts. I read an account that certain men who wanted to disprove the accuracy of the scripture received the book of Isaiah the longest book in the Old Testament discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls and diligently compared to the King James Version and found 12 discrepancies out of 120,000 words that in no way affected its meaning.]

ALL SCRIPTURE IS GODBREATHED and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

[Not only is scripture God-Breathed but:] …the WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE, AND POWERFUL, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and it judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

[I think this is what inspired David to say:]

“I have HIDDEN YOUR WORD IN MY HEART that I might not sin against you.” (Psa. 119:11)

[How precious is the word of God?] “…MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psa. 19:10-11)

[So, what should our daily task be?] SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

I HAVE HIDDEN YOUR WORD IN MY HEART THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST YOU

-Bill Stockham

AN UNPERISHING INHERITANCE!

AN UNPERISHING INHERITANCE!

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he HAS GIVEN US NEW BIRTH into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and INTO AN INHERITANCE THAT CAN NEVER PERISH, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith ARE SHIELDED BY GOD’S POWER until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:3-5)

[Are we hearing and understanding this: we are shielded (to mount guard as a sentry, figuratively, to hem in, protect) by God’s power! So, WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?]

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:20-21)

[Oh, how wonderful it is to have the creator of all things, the only true God as our Abba Father! Yes, Father we are clay in your hands, mold us and shape us as YOU would have us to be!]

“He who was seated on the throne said, I AM MAKING EVERYTHING NEW!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I WILL BE THEIR GOD AND THEY WILL BE MY CHILDREN.” (Rev. 21:5-7)

[The Lord God Almighty has plans for us, to take care of us for all eternity, how wonderfully AWESOME that will be!]

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN.” (Rom. 8:15-16)

[Our Father knows, and is keenly aware of our needs! So how do we pray?]

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE OUGHT TO PRAY FOR, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because THE SPIRIT INTERCEDES FOR GOD’S PEOPLE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WILL OF GOD.” (Rom. 8:26-27)

[To “intercede” means: to deal with in favor or to make intercession. Intercession involves taking hold of God’s will and REFUSING TO LET GO until His will comes to pass.]

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works FOR THE GOOD of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

[Since we know our Abba Father always hears the Spirit interceding in us, because his intercession is according to the will of God. What could have been done more for our comfort in all we address to God, than to know that HE ALWAYS HEARS US?]

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, GRACIOUSLY GIVE US ALL THINGS? (Rom. 8:32)

HE WILL GRACIOUSLY GIVE US ALL THINGS WE NEED TO KEEP US IN THE LOVE OF GOD!

-Bill Stockham

HOLY-HOLY-HOLY!

HOLY-HOLY-HOLY!

 

“As obedient children, DO NOT CONFORM to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance [before you were saved]. But just as he who called you is holy, SO BE HOLY IN ALL YOU DO; for it is written: “Be holy, because I AM HOLY.” (1 Pet. 1:14-16)

[The word “HOLY” comes from a Greek word: hagios (hag’-ee-os), which means sanctified, physically pure and morally blameless. Our Abba Father says we are to be holy because He is holy!]

“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I AM HOLY…” (Lev. 11:44)

[So, how do we go about living this “holy life”?]

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For HE CHOSE US IN HIM before the creation of the world TO BE HOLY AND BLAMELESS in his sight.” (Eph. 1:3-4)

[Please bear with me as I share my experience, WHICH I WILL NEVER FORGET: I was a 29-year-old drug, alcohol addict, and sins that go with that lifestyle, I worked as a design engineer, cut back drinking, and turned to drugs because I thought drugs would open my mind to be a better designer. A young Christian man worked for me, Tim, whom I was not very kind to because after working on a design all night, he would build it and come to me explaining why a certain portion would not work; along with his recommend “fix”, which was always right! After one year of this, we were at work on a Saturday. I had just bought 10 “bags” of Acapulco gold (a hallucinogenic form of marijuana), I smoked some before coming to work, so I was setup to be testified to. Tim shared Jesus with me and I listened, knowing for the past year that what Tim told me was always correct. Two days later God met me in my private restroom, put His arms around me and said, I love you!” I dropped to my knees and cried out “I’m sorry” not knowing the proper words to pray, this massive burden was lifted from me and I began my wonderful journey. I knew nothing of the Bible so one day I put a couple of “joints” in my pocket and asked Tim to have one with me and we would study! (What did I know?). Tim said, “no thanks” and we studied. Two days later I went to a revival, Tim’s wife sang “Sheltered in the Arms of God” I cried, went to the Altar and said, “Lord I want to stand for you!” The Lord said, go home and get rid of all your drugs and alcohol” and He SANCTIFIED ME and MADE ME HOLY, DELIVERED ME FROM MY EVIL WAYS! I went home and joyfully dumped all drugs and booze down the drain, have never had a need or desire for it since (45 years ago May 17th, 1972)]

“You (made) known to me the path of life; you (filled) me with JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psa. 16:11)

HE CHOSE US IN HIM BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD TO BE HOLY AND BLAMELESS!

-Bill Stockham

HELP US TO GROW UP!

HELP US TO GROW UP!

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF THE CALLING you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:1-2)

[Paul was now a prisoner at Rome; and he indicates “as a prisoner for the Lord”, he mentions this once again, to show that he was not ashamed of his bonds! (Eph. 3:1)]

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and FATHER OF ALL, who is OVER ALL and THROUGH ALL and IN ALL.” (Eph. 4:4-6)

[As Christians are called to the same hope of eternal life. There is one Christ that we all hope in, and one heaven that we are all hoping for; and therefore, we should be of one heart! Our Abba Father is the Father of all of us; by our special relation, as He is the Father of all men by creation: and He is above us all, by His essence, and He has dominion over all creatures and especially over His church, and through us all, by His providence upholding and governing us: and in us all, in all believers, in whom He dwells as in His holy temple, by His Spirit and special grace.]

“So, Christ himself gave the APOSTLES, the PROPHETS, the EVANGELISTS, the PASTORS and TEACHERS, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge [to know Him intimately] of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST.” (Eph. 4:11-13)

[We are going to attain to the “whole measure” of the “fullness” of Christ! How can that be? Well – NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!]

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, WE WILL GROW TO BECOME IN EVERY RESPECT THE MATURE BODY of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Eph. 4:14-15)

[Consider this wonder promise!] “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.” (1 Corin. 2:16)

WE WILL BECOME MATURE, ATTAINING TO THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST!

-Bill Stockham

THE “BRANCH”

THE “BRANCH”

 

“…Thus, says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is THE BRANCH: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.” (Zech. 6:12)

[THE BRANCH SHALL GROW UP OUT OF HIS PLACE, out of Bethlehem the city of David, the place appointed for His birth; though His earthly family be a root in a dry ground, yet this branch shall spring out just like in the spring, when the sun returns, the flowers spring out of the roots, in which they lay buried out of sight and out of mind, for just the right time!]

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: AS SOON AS ITS BRANCH BECOMES TENDER and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that HE IS NEAR, at the very gates.” (Matt. 24:32-33)

[The fig-trees that are budding and blossoming are a sign of summer; for the trees of the field, know their appointed time. Therefore, when God begins to fulfil prophecies, He will make it all come to pass!]

“I am THE TRUE VINE, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. I am the vine; [now] YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” (John 15:1-2, 5)

[Now, we are the branches; for what purpose? To bear fruit!]

ABIDE IN ME, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)

[To ABIDE: the Greek word menō: a state of relationship with anticipation of doing His will. So, we must continue with Jesus, knowing He is going to do something with us!]

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you FRIENDS, for all that I have heard from my Father I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that YOUR FRUIT SHOULD ABIDE, so that WHATEVER YOU ASK the Father in my name, HE MAY GIVE IT TO YOU.” (John 15:15-16)

[The reason Jesus says this is: whatever we need to bring forth fruit He will provide!] “…so that whatever you ask in my name THE FATHER WILL GIVE YOU.” (John 15:16)

WHATEVER WE ASK THE FATHER IN JESUS NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT TO US, SO WE MAY BEAR FRUIT!

-Bill Stockham

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY!

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY!

BRING THE WHOLE TITHE into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” (Mal. 3:10).

Tithing is not a very popular subject nowadays! Of course, it has never really been a popular subject. We work very hard to make a living and it’s often difficult to give up 10% on a regular basis. According to American Donor Trends (A Barna Group), Only 5% of adult Americans donate 10% of their income to charity–any charity.  30% donate nothing, 50% give 0-2%, and an additional 15% give 3-9%.  We don’t know what percentage of that 5% are from religious people.”

Many say they do not tithe because the New Testament does not support tithing!

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE without neglecting the others.” (Luke 11:42)

Jesus taught that paying tithes is something we should do! God’s promise to us is that he will “…test Me now (says the Lord) …if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing…”

The writer of Hebrews taught us that Abraham, who was before the Law “..the one (Melchizedek) whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises… And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes…” (Heb. 7:6, 9)

When the 12 tribes of Israel were given their land only 11 portions of land were designated by the Lord. The tribe of Levi was not given a portion because God told them that they were to live around the temple, maintain it and take care of ministering and they would be supported by the tithe. Today we are in desperate need of full time, dedicated ministers who do not have to worry about how they will feed their families. Remember this plea from the Lord…

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS.” (Mal. 3:8)

Let’s be faithful to God and support our ministry…Bill Stockham

 

YOU ARE SO AWESOME!

YOU ARE SO AWESOME!

 

“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. THERE I WILL MEET WITH YOU, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I WILL SPEAK WITH you about all that I will give you…” (Exod. 25:10, 22)

[The first thing our Abba Father ordered to be made, after His people rejected Him, was the ark with its accessories, the fixture of the most holy place, and THE SPECIAL TOKEN OF GOD’S PRESENCE, a tangible presence for them. The ark itself was a chest, or coffer, where the two tables of the law, written with the finger of God, were to be honorably placed, and carefully kept. WHY DID GOD HAVE THEM CREATE THE ARK TO REPRESENT HIS PRESENCE? Because when the very real presence of God appeared before them; look what happened…] “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, THE PEOPLE WERE AFRAID AND TREMBLED, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but DO NOT LET GOD SPEAK TO US, lest we die.” (Exod. 20:18-19)

[This was their response;] “…BECAUSE THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD AND DID NOT TRUST HIS SAVING POWER.” (Psa. 78:22)

[The people of Israel, God’s chosen people, did not believe in Him! What was God to do? He gave them the Law as their schoolmaster:]

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)

[For you see, as the writer of Hebrews says: “…faith is CONFIDENCE in what we hope for AND ASSURANCE about what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1)]

“…WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD, because anyone who comes to him MUST BELIEVE THAT HE EXISTS and that HE REWARDS those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)

[God has chosen to enter a relationship with us where He is our Abba Father and we are His children, but not just His children, His HEIRS (inheritor, beneficiary or recipient of what is His)!]

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–HEIRS OF GOD and COHEIRS WITH CHRIST, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Rom. 8:16-17)

[Jesus is THE SON OF GOD and we are “co” or “joint” heirs with Him:] “…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but GAVE HIM UP FOR US ALL, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32)

WE ARE HEIRS OF GOD AND COHEIRS WITH CHRIST!

-Bill Stockham

NO CONDEMNATION!

NO CONDEMNATION!

“…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that THE WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED THROUGH HIM. (John 3:17)

[Our awesome Abba Father loves us so much that He GAVE His one and only begotten Son, FOR US! Why?]

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY. And the LORD REGRETTED THAT HE HAD MADE MAN on the earth, and IT GRIEVED HIM TO HIS HEART.” (Gen. 6:5-6)

[See how God hates sin? We should also hate sin? Has our sin grieved him to the heart?]

“…you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.” (Isa. 43:24)

[YES! Shouldn’t we also be grieved and full of sorrow in our hearts for it? O, that this example and OUR UNDERSTANDING OF IT; may humble us and shame us, and that we may see how we have grieved our Abba Father, and mourn, so we do not turn back from His wonderful LOVE for us! See what our wonderful Abba Father has done:]

“I, I am he who BLOTS OUT your transgressions for my own sake, and I WILL NOT REMEMBER your sins.” (Isa. 43:25)

[We must understand that we are in a battle for our souls; the enemy of our souls IS doing everything he can to get us to fall away!]

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But EXHORT ONE ANOTHER EVERY DAY, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:12-13)

[It is our responsibility to exhort: (encourage, pressure and urge) one another on a regular basis:]

“Let us then with confidence DRAW NEAR TO THE THRONE OF GRACE, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

[Our Abba Father will grace us with the strength we need to stand up for our faith so that we may:]

COUNT IT ALL JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES STEADFASTNESS.” (Jam. 1:2-3)

[Steadfastness: to have cheerful endurance and lasting patience!]

WE CAN DRAW NEAR TO THE THRONE OF GRACE, SO WE MAY RECEIVE MERCY AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED!

-Bill Stockham