The Main Thing Part 6: God’s Business First

The Main Thing Part 6: God’s Business First

Haggai is a 2-chapter book named after prophet that encouraged God’s people to rebuild the temple after returning from Babylonian exile.

The theme: God says to His people, “Consider your ways! You have sown much but reap little. You eat but you do not have enough. You earn wages to put them in a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:5-6

Why was this happening to God’s people who know God as their provider? God’s answer –

“You have looked for much and it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?”    Haggai 1:9

Have you ever tried to do something that you realized God caused it not to work, or to fail?

There is a reason! If God does not want you to succeed in a matter, He knows how to bring it to an end!  

Back to Haggai – God tells His people why their plans were not coming to pass! God answers His own “why” question in the next verse.

“Because My house that lies in ruins while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth withheld the crops.” Verses 9-10

          Their mission from God was to rebuild the temple, but over time, and it soon became a secondary goal and not the primary one.

They exchanged God’s plan for their own plan for their life, and they wonder why it’s not working ?

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Psalm 121

Have you ever labored in vain because it was not God’s will for you to do it? A personal example of God redirecting our plans to His:

Ill. When I was 23 in USMC, Pam and I were married and one child. Time came I had to make a decision to either re-enlist or get out. The only direction I received from Lord was one word – ‘education’. I took that as a go ahead for my dream to get out and get my college and go back in as an officer in Marines. The only plan or dream I had at that time. “We may make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

We got out of MC and moved to Daytona to start college but when time came to register I could not do it. It was a horrible feeling of not belonging there. Now totally confused I began questioning whether I really heard from God or not!

 Several months later we learned about a Bible College that was fully accredited. Is this what God wants? The moment we visited the campus we both knew we were to be there. Still my plan was the same – go back to Marine Corps officer. Over next 4 years we saw our plan was not working out and I needed to surrender because He had another plan, but - we still were not sure what it was! But He was requiring we surrender ourselves to His will even w/o knowing what His will would look like!

As God redirected our life, He also was changing our hearts and  to trust Him and let go of our plans. We are still learning  today =  to surrender God’s will even w/o knowing details. I don’t the know future.

But I believe there are ministries God wants by some of you – and for whatever reason; procrastination, desire for other things, personal dreams, -  God’s ministries in GT are sitting in ruins. 

Ill. During our time away I was working on My vision of GT short term – longer term and wish list. I will share with elders and have them help me shape this into a vision I can communicate to you soon.

I noticed in our church when you can see a goal you rise to the challenge!  – i.e. Encounter church and Bahamas offerings back to back.

We have to remain flexible and let the Lord lead w/o knowing the details or what it will look like at completion!

Then the Lord spoke through Haggai saying, “I am with you says the Lord.” The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of Hosts their God.  Verses 13-15

But the rebuilding was not turning out as expected by some!

Ill. The older people remembered the former glory of the temple and complained the new was nothing like the former. God said don’t compare and get discouraged. This is a new work and move of God.

“Work for I am with you says the Lord of Hosts.” 2:4

 Where are we going to get the money to do all this? We are a small group – limited?

So many times the money is not there before we begin a project. Notice what God says after the people began the work.

For thus says the Lord of Hosts: “Once more in a little while I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and they will come with the wealth of all the nations, and I will fill My house with glory. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts.”   2:6-8

“Once more?” Did this happen before?

 When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, they had no money. They were slaves. They did not have money or resources to leave Egypt and start a new life!

“Israel acted on the word of the Lord. Then the Lord caused the Egyptians to be friendly towards the people of Israel and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of Egypt.”  Exodus 12:35-36  

-         After this they were tested again with the need for water!

-         There will be lean times where He does not provide at the time you expect – He is stretching you to trust Him.

We have to act on what we believe God is telling us to do! Once we do we will be challenged by the enemy, but watch how the Lord will provide and help you in spite of obstacles!

Ill. Vacation God provided!

Or

Ill. We believed God called us to become the senior pastor to a small church in Astor, Fl. The problem was they could not pay me what I was getting paid as a youth pastor. But we believed we heard from God and took the position with less pay. It was tight but okay.  

          Not long after this I got a letter from IRS saying I owed 2,500 dollars in SS taxes – 150 dollar payments. This was devasting to me. It might as well be 2 million dollars. I had to start making 150-dollar payments and it was very hard to get by. WE made payments for about a year and one morning I will never forget as I was crying out to God for help to pay this month’s IRS payment.  HS spoke to my mind – quit complaining and start thanking me for the answer. That very day I went to the Post Office for mail and got saw a letter and check from IRS.  

          Why am I telling you this?

You will be challenged by the enemy to try to discourage or stop you. If you have heard from God – then start obeying what He told you and mark it down that day and remember so you can look back on it.

“‘Now think ahead from this day onward. Think ahead from when the Temple rebuilding was launched. Has anything in your fields—vine, fig tree, pomegranate, olive tree—failed to flourish?  Now from this day onward I will bless you.’”  2:18-19

Concl: God has plans for your life but you get tired and discouraged and somehow exchanged your plans for His. I have done this. I repent.

          On the day you decide to move forward and do what you believe God has revealed for you  - mark it down – that day onward watch how God blesses and makes the way for you!

-         But this will require you to surrender your dreams for His plans.

-          w/o knowing what it looks like = trusting Him.

Part of keeping the Main thing the Main thing is – putting God’s business first, His plans over yours! His ministry over your dreams.  

Ultimately surrender your life to Him THEN He will reveal His plans!

This is how He has dealt with us – I believe He will do the same for you.

          We would like to pray over you about His plans for your future and prophesy as the Lord leads.

The Main Thing  Part 5: Manifesting the Main Thing

The Main Thing  Part 5: Manifesting the Main Thing

The Christian life is a supernatural life. The way we begin life in God is the same way life continues in God. God tells how it all happened.

“We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

God took the initial step. He loved us first. He came looking for us. He spoke to our heart through a variety of ways.  

Ill. He sent what we thought were weird people to share the gospel to us, but there was something about them that drew us; it was God Himself.

Many people believe God must hate them, much less even like them. This is a perverted view of God that the enemy suggests to people through religion and man’s perverted view of what God is really like. For example look at what God Himself said about backslidden Jerusalem in the midst of their backsliding sin since His love never changes, He loves you the same way right now:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One, who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

If it is hard to believe it is because you have been messed with by the enemy planting wrong ideas of God into your mind. You need to meditate on this scripture until you see God doing this over you in your own mind.

          Note who is active and who is passive. Who is singing, and who is resting? Who is rejoicing over his loved one, and who is being rejoiced over?

We tend to think we are the singers but not here. Apparently, there are times when God wishes we would just be still and (what a stunning thought!) let Him love and sing over us.

I can see you squirming. Your mind says you aren’t worthy of such affection? Neither was Judas, but Jesus washed his feet. Neither was Peter, but Jesus fixed him breakfast. Neither were the Emmaus-bound disciples, but Jesus took time to sit at their table.

          Who told you that you were unworthy? Not God.

Besides, who are we to determine if we are worthy? Our job is simply to be still long enough to let Him have us and let Him love us.

Many of you need to come to this altar at the end of this service and just be still before Him and hear Him say to you, “Child I love you, how I love you.”

It will be a healing moment deep inside your heart!

Everything He wants from us He gives to us! We first must receive from Him what He wants us to give to Him.

Ill. When our children were growing up and our birthday was approaching, we gave them some money to buy us a present. God is the same way. He gives to us the very thing He wants from us.

We first receive love from God in order to give love to God. Everything He wants from us He give to us first.

“The tragedy of modern Christianity is much of it is performance oriented and driven.”

          We think we have to do something to get something from God. “God can’t use me because my life is not right. I am so unworthy because I don’t pray enough, I don’t read enough!” But how much is enough?

Study is not enough – commitment is not enough - because study and commitment can be done without the heart being touched.

Ill. Present day Xns fall into the same trap as Martha in Luke 10, thinking we have to prove ourselves and work hard for Jesus. You can run on adrenaline for a while, but for every adrenaline high there is an adrenaline low.

Jesus said the one thing needful is first receiving from Jesus. Learning to cohabit with God, receiving love from Him takes time but it is vital as the main thing.  

I personally discern today there are many of you who need to come and be still and let God sing over you and hear Him loving you. That’s it. There is a stronghold of feeling unworthy in you!

God never told you this!

Many of you are in a backslidden condition as a Xn and are stuck in addictions you can’t break and this one thing can heal your heart. It may take more than one time – it probably will take some time every day to bring yourself to His feet and let His words or some Xn music sing His love back into your heart again until the tears flow.

“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely, for My anger is turned away from him.” Hosea 14:4

If you keep backsliding it is a sign you need healing on the inside!

You need the right mental picture of God loving you!

You need to be strengthened on the inside first!

Paul prayed a prayer that God recorded in the Bible. I have cut out some of the words just to simplify and get to the point.

“I bow my knees to the Father . . . that He would give you power to be

1. Strengthened in INNER MAN . . . How?

2. by ROOTED AND GROUNDED in His love . . . How?

3. by CHRIST DWELLING in heart by faith . . . How?

4. being Full of God.   Eph. 3:14-18

The world is throwing a thousand pounds of pressure at you from the outside. WE must learn how to receive from God internally so that we have at least a thousand and one pounds of His peace inside to resist the pressure from the outside. As His peace increases in me then then anxiety decreases. We minister His Spirit from a place of great peace inside us.

Picture of a balloon: :

This is a picture of burn out – let go of balloon and it blows out air and drops. You have not kept the main thing the main thing.

I am under pressure all the time. I get tired. It’s okay to get tired from the work, but it’s not okay to get tired of the ministry God has called you to do.

When this happens it is a signal “doing” has become more important to you than “being”.

Don’t let “doing” become more important than “being”.

Yes, it is important to serve the Lord, but learning to live as a much-loved son and receive from God, is the most important thing you can do.

We grow stronger spiritually by receiving the ever-unfolding revelation of His love for us.        

Ill. When first saved we believed His love for us say, 10% back then. The next year maybe we grew and believed 40% more of His perfect love for us. We grow in the revelation of God’s unfailing love for us. One day we will believe all of it and be so rooted and grounded in His love and are filled with the fullness of God (wall to wall HS) here on earth.

          What does that look like to be:  strengthened inner man, rooted and grounded in love, Christ dwelling in heart by faith, and filled with the fullness of God? It looks like this:  

 “There is no fear in love, but perfect (mature) love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not made perfect (mature) in love.”       I John 4:18

          You no longer fear feelings of unworthiness or punishment from God or hell or judgment because you received the revelation of God’s love for you in Jesus. Now you have boldness for the coming day of judgment.

          This is why God tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). God tore the veil in the temple for your bold access to Him.

One of the signs you are maturing or being perfected by Love is manifesting an uncommon boldness in worship and witnessing.

Uncommon boldness in worship = Mary and alabaster box anointing Jesus. Your expression of worship will become freer! Lose your fear of man – audience of One. Criticism from others won’t bother you.  

Uncommon boldness in witnessing =

Ill. Peter and John had been called in to the Sanhedrin, rulers, elders of Israel and high priests being questioned about the lame man healed at the gate.

          Peter in the faces of the religious leaders boldly preached “Repent and be converted (faith towards God) that your sins may be wiped out, then the times of refreshing will come from the Presence of the Lord.” 

Acts 3:19

 “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived they were ignorant and uneducated men, they marveled and then recognized they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

          What creates this kind of boldness in the face of opposition?

Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:

1.    Strengthened inner man = receiving from God

2.    Rooted/grounded in love = resting in God’s love.

3.    Christ dwelling in heart = recognize God is in me.

4.    Filled to Fullness of God = releasing God through me.

Concl:  Now their lives were manifesting the Main thing.

Some you are stuck spiritually and need to get unstuck.

Some need to start just receiving from God – blockage unbelief

Some start resting love from God – blockage unworthiness

Some start recognizing God is in you – blockage doubt

Some start releasing God through you – surrender, let go and let Him have his way with you in worship – be free – in witnessing without fear.

          I have not arrived but at least I have left 16 years ago the traditional church and am on my way to more and more freedom in Him. Manifesting the Main thing is letting Him be Lord and glorified in my life and no longer letting myself be dominated by fear of man.

“One Thing!”

“One Thing!”

“One thing have I desired from the Lord and that will I seek after, To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To see the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His Temple.”  Psalm 27:4

David had this revelation and made it into a song of worship. We don’t know what the melody but we have the words to worship God with and make up our own melody song to Him.

“One thing” ill. If God said you have one thing you may ask Me and I will give it to you. What would your one requests be?

-        King Solomon = God came to Solomon in a dream at night ask Me for anything! ASK – what did he ask God for? Wisdom but more specifically he asked in Hebrew for sha- may meaning to

Hear, listen to, obey

          God was pleased and gave him more. His kingdom started out great but then he got away from the “one thing most needful” and his life ended not finishing well. How did he get away from this? The same way we do. We run and do our own thing rather than wait and listen to get God’s instructions.

“seek after” – intentional

          I can’t stress enough how important to bring yourself to be still before the Lord and just listen and journal your thoughts and scriptures that resonate in your heart.

-        Quakers call it “centering”

-        Navigators Jesus is the hub – all ministry flows outward.

PIC here.  

“Dwell in the house of the Lord”  - awareness of Presence

          Ill. 2 disciples heard Jn Baptist say of Jesus “Behold the Lamb of God”, when they heard this, they followed Jesus. Jesus asked them, “What do you seek?” Rabbi, where are You staying?” “Come and see.” = see how inviting Jesus is to us.

The “House of the lord” today is the body of the born from above person.  I cor. 3:16 “do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

-        You probably already knew this? Today the question becomes “Do I believe this?” If I do, then what is the evidence I really believe this?

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

Our words are the containers that release faith or doubt into our lives.

When we believe in our heart and release faith through our words, we enter a place called rest.

One of my favorite scriptures is

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In repentance and rest is your salvation, In quietness and confidence is your strength But you would not . . .     Isa. 30:15

Israel was not willing to trust God alone but they instead trusted in horse power than in God. Let’s look closer at what God is telling us to do in this powerful word.

In repenting – re = do over and Pent is like a Penthouse – the top floor of living. In changing your way of thinking to God’s higher way of thinking is YOUR SALVATION – deliverance, healing, preservation, rescue, victory.

Change your way of thinking to God’s way of thinking and then REST in what God’s says and rest – trust in the Lord with all your heart in spite of all the oppression from the enemy.

How? Get a Word or promise from God about what you are concerned about, then pray that scripture in conversation with God and after that pray in tongues about it until you come to a place of “entering His rest”, which is confidence you have talked to God – He has heard you and you now are trusting that He is handling it.

 After you get a Word from God THEN you get attacked by the enemy

REST = Resisting Everything Satan Throws at you!

above all take the shield of faith, lift up over all, the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts, flaming missiles of the wicked one.”  Eph. 6:16 kjv/amp

          Shields were originally made of wood and covered in animal skins. Later some shields were metal. Before battle shields soaked in water so when fiery darts dipped in tar and set on fire hit water-soaked shields they would burn out.

Point: Faith will outlast a fiery dart from the enemy.

          Worry, fear, anxiety will burn out when it touches faith.

  to Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired from the Lord and that will I seek after, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

“to behold the beauty of the Lord”   what is this? Go back in my Bible to highlighted verses 1, 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14.

Ill. Like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet we behold the beauty of the Lord. We behold that He is delighting in us not because of our love for Him but just His love for us!  We are mesmerized that He is THE way, THE truth, and THE Life.  This love that God has for us is greater than we have yet to experience. It remains unexplored territory that is off our map about God.

Ill. Alexander the great led his armies in victory after victory and his conquest finally brought him to the foot of the Himalayan mtns. He wanted to go beyond these intimidating mountains but at that time no one had gone beyond them and knew what was on the other side. Yet his vision was go beyond these mountains. His senior officers were troubled by his vision because they had gone to the edge of their map.

          There was no map for the new territory Alexander wanted to possess. These officers had to decision to make. Would they be willing to follow their leader off their map or would they live within what they knew?

          Following the HS can present us with the same dilemma. While He never contradicts His Word but He often contradicts my understanding of His Word. To follow the HS we have to be willing to go beyond what we know and follow Him off our map.

          The church has too often loved according to our intellectual approach to the scriptures. WE too often trust in programs rather than in dependence upon the HS to lead us. When our focus is not seeking His face – we end up doing the best we can for God rather than experiencing the unexplainable supernatural power of God.

Last part of Psalm 27:4

“One thing have I desired from the Lord and that will I seek after, To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To see the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.”  Psalm 27:4

An encounter with the beauty of God will leave us with more questions than answers.

Of all that King David did in his adventuresome life, he said this was his “One Thing”.   Do you think it should become our “one thing” too?

 

The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing - Part 3

The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing - Part 3

 “What is the Main thing?” Some things we have learned:

1.    We are not the Main thing. WE are the donkey carrying Jesus

2.    Our loving God with all our heart is not the Main thing. Our love fluctuates.

OT covenant Law demanded all your love for God. The Shema was a scripture every Hebrew memorized. The sum total of the Law was “You shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength.”

Have you ever met anyone who has done this? No because it is humanly impossible. The law was designed to us show us we are incapable of loving God perfectly.

 God created a new covenant between the Father and the Son. He demonstrated how only He could love us with all His heart…

Where in scripture does the Old Testament (Covenant) end and the New Testament (Covenant) begin?

Matt. 27:51, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:13

When Jesus said, “It is finished”. Now God demonstrated that He was loving us with all His heart by not withholding His only Son. Then the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom by God.

New covenant is not about our love for God but His love for us.

-         We come to God and experience not only mercy but we go on to find grace. Grace was always available even in the OT. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Abraham and Sarah found grace to have a child in old age. Moses found grace to do all he did.

Grace has always been available but never more manifested until Jesus.  

“The Word became flesh and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” John 1:14

“For the Law was given through Moses; but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.”  John 1:17-18

Now in the New covenant, God Who is Spirit – has a face = Jesus.

Our mission purpose statement aligns with this:

Presenting Jesus; the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

Our mission is to present Jesus as He really is, not a religion, but the revelation of grace and truth. We are a Jesus-centered – grace based – and HS activated church!

This is so important because many people are misrepresenting Jesus to the world. Some are presenting their version, a blend of Jesus – a decaffeinated Jesus, a tame and domesticated Jesus, a Baptist version of Jesus, an Episcopalian version, a Pentecostal Jesus, etc. Do we think we are the only ones who can properly present Him – No! But we must make sure we do properly present Him as He is and not our version of Him.

The real Jesus was one whom the sick, the poor, the sinful and the outcasts of society were drawn to Him. He manifested the tangible love of God to people and they were drawn to Him. No one felt judged or condemned or hopeless around Him. He demonstrated God’s love to them.

The real Jesus bowed down and helped up a woman about to be stoned by religious people because of her adultery. No one else offered to help her. It was obvious she was guilty. Our Jesus demonstrated God’s love for her. She found grace and was never the same again.

The real Jesus touched and healed a man with contagious leprosy that no one would come near. Our Jesus demonstrated God’s love for him. This man found grace in Jesus and was healed.

The real Jesus bowed down and washed the feet of all the disciples, knowing they would all betray Him. He demonstrated God’s love for them. They found grace and lived the rest of their lives for Him, all but one dying a martyrs death.

The real Jesus told Peter before the rooster crows in the morning you will deny Me 3 times! He did. Every time Peter saw or heard a rooster his past tormented him. He was so distraught he threw in the towel saying I quit.

 After His resurrection Jesus found Peter and threw the towel back at him and said, “You’re not finished yet!”

Jesus revealed to Peter the Main thing is not our trying to love God with all our heart but the Main thing was God’s unfailing love for him. That is what restored Peter!

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

          Ill. After this encounter with Jesus (Perfect love) the rooster became Peter’s favorite animal. It was no longer a bass hanging on the wall but instead a rooster. If you went into his house you would have seen many ceramic roosters. Every time he heard a rooster crow it reminded him – God is faithful - It’s a new day for you! It’s a new covenant! The past is gone – get up and follow Jesus.

Our love for God fluctuates but God doesn’t change.

          It is this revelation of God’s unchanging love for us  is the Main thing. Nothing is more important than the Main thing, but we must KEEP THE MAIN THING – THE MAIN THING.

          Ill. Two sisters loved Jesus and were close to Him. He was in their home and Martha was in the kitchen working hard to get things ready because there would be a large crowd coming to their house because of Jesus being there. Mary, her sister was sitting at Jesus’ feet in the living room while He talked to her. After a while Martha gets frustrated with her sister sitting at Jesus’ feet while she is doing all the work. There were probably a lot of people coming to their to meet Jesus. Martha wants to be hospitable and have food prepared. Finally in frustration Martha asks Jesus to tell her sister to come and help her!

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful. And Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken from her.”  Luke 10:41-42

          I wonder what Jesus was saying to Mary that He told Martha was “one thing needful”?

          Was it 7 steps on how to have a successful ministry?

          10 steps to an abundant life?

          How to pray and get results?

WE don’t know other than it was “one thing needful”.  Ill. I wonder if Jesus was telling Mary about the Main thing. Maybe He was telling her, “Mary life gets busy. We all have people demanding our time and attention. There will always be more on your to-do list than you can do or should do. But remember this Mary,

The Main Thing is the Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing.

          I believe that His teaching was timed so perfect that when Martha stuck her head out of the kitchen asking Jesus to tell Mary to come help – it became the perfect illustration of the distractions He warned her about. This was so good that God put it in His book for us to read about.

          I believe God has “one thing needful” for you today before you leave this building. The enemy has to try to distract you with many things so you won’t get this one thing.

          Somehow, by listening to Jesus. Mary’s love tank was being filled!

          Martha was doing a lot of things that Jesus never asked her to do.

          Mary was doing the “one thing needful”

Martha was laboring for Jesus.

Mary was receiving loving from Jesus.

Martha doing many things, Mary was doing one thing needful.

 Love becomes the fuel that takes the hardness out of our labor!

          Ill. Jacob worked for Rachel for 7 years but it seemed but a few days because of his love for her.

          We have got to have laborers or else things won’t get done! True but laborers must be filled with love before they become laborers, so that serving God does not become more important than receiving  love from God. The ministry must not become your god!

          This incident may not make sense to you. Martha was all about the ministry and keep the ministry moving. But, Jesus said Mary had made the right choice – one thing needful.

          King David had this revelation even in his day.

“One thing I have asked form the Lord, that will I seek after – for me to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”  Psalm 27:4

It’s interesting to me that the last verse of this very psalm end with

“Wait on the Lord; be strong, and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

This is what Mary was doing and King David discovered.

Wait” – to look diligently for. This is finding grace that will strengthen your heart.

½ hour prayer time is waiting upon the Lord time.

We may think it was easy for Mary to receive from Jesus because HE was physically present with her. What about us? Jesus tells us what to expect from the ministry of the HS:

“He (Holy Spirit) will receive from ME and will declare it to you. HE will take of what is Mine and will declare it to you!”  Jn 16:13-15

The HS has something “one thing needful” to communicate from Jesus to you today.

          As we worship spend time giving thanks and singing praise to God, we are entering His throne room. Here HS tell us something.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 

Mercy is received but grace has to be found by you. 

God’s grace has always been around. The first time “grace” used is with Noah in Genesis 6,  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Note that grace was FOUND by Noah not given.

          Grace is always available but it must be found by everyone.

You find grace in the strangest places:

Noah found grace in the midst of a wicked world.

Joseph found grace in prison and was promoted to Prime Minister.

Paul found grace in prison and wrote 2/3rds of NT.

3 Hebrew children found grace in a fiery furnace.

Daniel found grace in a lion’s den.

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame kindle on you, for I am the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isa. 43:2-3

You know you have found grace from God when:

– you find grace to remain calm in adversity. (trust God in storms). No Panic.

 – you find grace to endure what others cannot. You don’t flare up in anger like you have in the past.

- You find grace to do the right thing even when the wrong thing happens.

- You found grace when to live confident that Set-backs, will become set-ups for a come-back.

-You find grace knowing if God allowed it – then you have grace to handle it.

With grace: You find strength you did not know you had.

With grace: You are not intimidated by your enemies that out number you.  

-         You are not agitated by the enemies attacks.

With grace: You hear yourself whisper often,

“I can do all things through Christ (the Anointing) that gives me strength (grace, divine ability, power). ” Phil. 4:13

 Finding grace is finding the Anointing that God has given you.

Things will not stick to you!

          Ill. Spider spins web of sticky substance that as soon as an insect touches it, it gets stuck. Ever noticed how the spider can walk all across that web without getting stuck. God made the spider so a special oil is released down his legs. You could say the spider doesn’t get stuck because of the anointing on it’s life.

          When you walk in your anointing from God – difficulties come but you remind yourself – I am anointed for this.

Finding grace puts a smile on your face,

a song in your heart and

 a spring in your step.

Grace is activated by your faith words. In difficult times you have to talk to yourself the right way. If you don’t talk to yourself then thoughts will talk to you. Stop saying how hard something is and start saying

Scripture says, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong!’. If you always talk the problem you are going to drain yourself.

You got to believe and say to yourself before you leave your house in the morning that nothing that comes your way is going to make you lose your peace and rest in God your Savior and you have His Anointing on you. Anointing is God’s Spirit on you to do what you could not do on your own.

The Bible tells us specifically who is able to find grace:

God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,

that He may exalt you in due time.” I Peter 5:6
 

Concl:

If you need mercy – it is waiting for you to receive at God’s throne.

-         If you need to be born again – come.

But if there is something going on in your life you need to find the grace from God to help in time of need then humble yourself and come up here.

-         God gives grace to the humble. But remember grace is activated by your words of faith.

Your part to is believe you will receive and speak faith by saying,

“Lord I believe as I humble myself before You that I am finding the grace I need to help me,

I can do all things through Christ (the Anointing) that gives me strength.”

          If you will do your part and say come up here by faith believing God that you will receive THEN Pam and I will agree with you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord and say to “receive the grace (empowerment) of God for what you need from Him.          2 are agreeing and it shall be done.

You walk out of here with a smile on your face, a song in your heart and a spring in your step. Stay in faith. Stay fresh with God. You will find grace. Psalm 92:10 “I have been anointed with fresh oil.”

The next time you hear a rooster may the HS remind you,

It’s a new day! I am in the new covenant!

Wednesday night review

Wednesday night review

I began sharing Sunday morning our mission purpose statement for our church. Can anyone remember it?

Our Mission Purpose is:

 Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

Why do you think it is important for a church to have a mission purpose statement? It keep us focused. It keeps us from trying to do a million other good things.

Ask others?

What animal did I like us to in order to fulfill this MPS?

Do you think we are doing a good job fulfilling this MPS? What can we do better? Are we presenting the real Jesus or a religious version of Him?

Why do we have a cross in our sanctuary? A sign of the new covenant.

Why do we have communion? Signs of the new covenant.

When we say ‘Keep the main thing the main thing’ = what is the Main thing?

If you were to ask a Hindu – what is the main thing? He would say to keep the gods happy.

What would a Muslim say is the main thing – to love Allah and serve him.

If you asked a JW or Mormon? To love and serve God and obey Him.

If you were to ask the average Xn ?

If you were to ask Mary and her sister Martha in the bible?

If you asked Apostle Peter before he denied X – he would have said to love God with all heart and serve Him.

If you were to ask him again after he denied X and after he met Jesus on the beach after resurrection and Jesus asking him if he loved him – how would he have answered different?

He would say the main thing is not my love for Him but focusing on and realizing His great love for me and for all people.

What difference does this make?

 Ill. All the religions of the world focus on searching for the god and try to gain his favor by trying to do what pleases him. But Xnty is different. Instead of us searching for God – He is searching for us. Instead of us reaching up for God, He is reaching down for us. This is what Jesus is all about.

“We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

Our love for God can fluctuate but His cannot.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Are you persuaded that as a child of God that nothing, not even your sins, or failings can ever separate you from the love of God? Yet this is the new covenant – grace are we saved not of ourselves!

People are afraid if we preach this grace that believers will consider it a license to sin! News flash – Believers already sin as much as they want to.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may increase? God forbid!  .  .  . for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.  Romans 6:1-2

What is the motivation for the Christian not to sin now in the new covenant?

God’s great love for us.

The Law never changed one human heart. Love is the only thing that never fails.

What restored Peter after he failed? Love – perfect love.

This is the Main thing! Not our love for God but His love for us. Our part is to Keep the Main thing the Main thing.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to eternal life.” Jude 24

Ill. A woman who most believed was a prostitute came to Jesus. As she came near she broke down and wept bitterly and started wiping His feet with her tears and hair. She anointed His feet with expensive ointment that would have cost and entire years’ salary. Without hesitation she lavished it as worship on Him.

          Jesus said those who are forgiven much will end up loving God much. This is why the emphasis is not on how much we love God, it’s about His love for us. What restored this woman – God’s love for her.

Ill. Another woman caught in adultery. Her accusers were religious leaders who knew the law and demanded she be stoned to death. The threat of law did not stop this woman from committing adultery. Even though she deserved to be stoned to death He did not condemn her. He said to her accusers – He w/o sin may cast the first stone. One by one they left. Note that Jesus did not ask her why she sinned instead He asked, “where are your accusers?” “has anyone condemned you?”

 It seems like He is more concerned with the condemnation than the sin itself. He made sure she walked away without feeling condemned and shamed. WE must not reverse the order and note with God what comes first. No condemnation comes first then you can “go and sin no more.”

          Religion does the opposite. Religion says go and sin no more then we won’t condemn you. But when there is no condemnation then people are empowered to go and sin no more.

 Grace empowers through the revelation of no condemnation! Grace is unmerited, undeserved, but it still is a gift Jesus paid for at the cross.

          The only person without sin and who could have judged this woman and stoned her to death was Jesus and He did not do it. Jesus was representing the heart of God in the flesh – it was mercy and it wasn’t judgment. She received mercy and THEN SHE found grace through no condemnation.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

The main thing for Jesus should be the main thing for us. What is it? The main thing is God’s love for us.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to eternal life.” Jude 24

          If you start to feel condemnation and guilt and shame then get back to the Main thing and find grace to be empowered to go and sin no more.

God’s Love for us is the Main Thing

God’s Love for us is the Main Thing

Our Mission Purpose is: Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

We are privileged to be the donkey that carries Jesus into Jerusalem. The donkey hears the cheers of the people as Jesus rides into Jerusalem but knows the cheers are not for it, but for Him. The donkey takes pleasure in that he is doing what he is called to do but more important is He is presenting Jesus to people.

          It is not his job to interpret Jesus, just present Him as He really is.

He is greater than we know, He is more loving and forgiving than we know, He is more patient than we know. I am not convinced that we are doing well at presenting the real Jesus.

          In 1692 an old Puritan wrote, Wouldn’t it be great to hear an owner of a gold mine say to us, “You would honor Me so much if you would go into My gold mine and dig and carry out as much gold as you can carry away!”

 In the same way God is saying to us – it would glorify Me much if you would go into My Word and dig out as much grace as you can carry away for yourself. The more grace you have the more I will be glorified.”

“God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

“God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.”

When this happens people will be begging to come to this church wanting what we have.

What does it look like to be most satisfied in God? This is a vital question! What is the most important thing for us?

Every Jew was taught the Main Thing was found in Duet 6. This was the first and most important scripture to memorize called the Shema which means “Listen”. It was a prayer recited first thing in the morning and last thing at night.       

One time a lawyer asked Jesus, What must I do to inherit eternal life?

He said you know the scriptures – how do you read it. The man quoted the shema. Jesus said, you answered correctly now DO THIS and live.

-         The emphasis of the OT covenant of law was your love for God but the emphasis of the NT is God’s love for us.

-         The law was to show us we are incapable of loving God with all our heart. So, God demonstrated how He only could love us with all His heart by sending His only Son Jesus, to redeem us with His own blood.

-         The new covenant is all about God’s love for you, not your love for Him. Under grace God does not want you to focus on you trying to love God but focus on His great love for you. This is the Main thing!

Ill. All the religions of the world focus on searching for the god and try to gain his favor by trying to do what pleases him. But Xnty is different. Instead of us searching for God – He is searching for us. Instead of us reaching up for God, He is reaching down for us. This is what Jesus is all about. He is God and he came down to earth as one of us to bring us to God. God is holy, perfect and without any sin. We are sinful at birth and cannot connect with God on our own. No matter how hard we try we cannot erase our sin. By His death for us and His resurrection He did this for us! He bridged the sin gap between man and God as the God-man – Jesus.

PIC

“We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

Why do we have a cross in our church? It is a sign not of our love for God but of His great love for us! It is a sign of God’s new covenant He made with us through Jesus. The gospel is about God’s love for us not our love for Him.

-         Communion table has signs of the covenant God has made with us. This is My body, My blood not your body or your blood. This is my covenant with You and for you. It is not based on your love for Me but My perfect love for you!

Ill. Night before Jesus was to be crucified, he tried to prepare the disciples to understand God’s unchanging love for them. He knew they all would fall away because of the hard things about to happen they would not understand. He told Peter that he would deny Him and that the others would fail so He says this,

Remember as the Father loves Me, so have I loved you, remain in My love.”

Then He took bread and the cup of and said, “This is my body broken for you, this is My blood, My covenant with you” do this to remember – to remember My love never fails. Even though you fail, my love for you never fails! This will cause you to remain with Me.

-         The questions we should be asking ourselves today are:

Do I know how much God loves me today?

Do I really believe God loves me right now?

          This makes all the difference in the world on how quickly you will be able to repent and get back on your feet again. It makes all the difference in the world on how we are presenting Jesus to the world!

          Our love for God can fluctuate but His cannot.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Are you persuaded that as a child of God that nothing, not even your sins, or failings can ever separate you from the love of God?

If you can get this revelation that this is how God loves you – then you will be able to make it through anything this life.

People often have the wrong view of God because of the people who say they are Christians are not presenting the real Jesus. Many have created a god in their own image to suit themselves and are presenting this Jesus.

This scripture is revealing God’s perfect love commitment/covenant to us. Once we get this revelation then we can endure anything that comes our way.

Ill. After Peter denied Christ 3 times just as Jesus said would happen. Peter is filled with shame and condemnation and decided to go back to what he knows before he met Christ – to fishing. This is his way of saying I have tried to follow Christ, but I keep messing up. Jesus confronts him. “Do you love (agapeo) Me more than these? (the fishing business). “Yes Lord, You know I phileo You. ( You know my failure but you also know I still love you but just not at the level You love me. Jesus said, “Then feed My sheep”.

Simon do you agapeo Me? Yes Lord you know I phileo you. “Tend to My lambs.”

3rd time Simon do you phileo Me? Peter was grieved because Jesus used a lesser word for love that Peter used. “Yes Lord, You know all things – You know my failures, you know that I Phileo You.

“Feed My sheep!”

Jesus accepted Peter’s failure to love Jesus with all his heart. He was showing him the Main Thing is God’s love that would never fail!

 In other words don’t quit on Me because I have not quit on you! My love for you has not changed because of your failures. Instead God’s love restored Peter like He has restored us over and over.

          It is this revelation of God’s love that puts people who have failed back on the firing line again. Someone here today needed to here this and to now recognize God’s grace upon you.

          Grace is unearned, unmerited, undeserved love and mercy and forgiveness from God. If you can deserve grace, it is no longer grace.

          The NT is not about your love for God – it is about God’s love for you! People who know they have been forgiven much, become people who love Jesus much and without fear of what other people think.

The revelation of God’s love for us will spark spontaneous worship without the fear of what others will think of you.

Ill. Like Mary who crashed a dinner party in order to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears, hair and an alabaster box of spikenard. She poured everything in her heart out to Him Who had forgiven all her sins.

Concl:

 When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see yourself trapped in all your failures and sins? Or do you see what God sees? If you will trust in Jesus as your Savior and Lord then God sees you as accepted, beloved, righteous, favored, blessed, healed, free from all condemnation and guilt and shame.

This is the Main thing! Not our love for God but His love for us. Our part is to Keep the Main thing the Main thing.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to eternal life.” Jude 24

The Main Thing Wed teaching 8-14-17

Wed teaching 8-14-17

A month ago, I went alone on prayer retreat – to recalibrate. What I believe God communicated to me was

The Main Thing is the Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!

          Saturday night before I begin releasing this message, we get some devastating news – it is like the enemy set off a bomb to distract us and deter us from releasing this message to the church.

          The next Saturday our son who was in rehab is in the hospital with serious liver issues from drug abuse. Sunday evening, I get a message from Daniel Richwine about revival breaking out in their church and they were renting a building at the fairgrounds. He asked about using our church. I went to the fairgrounds to see what was happening for myself. My son Andrew goes with me. On the way home from Revival Andrew having some liver issues and lots of pain. At home we call from ambulance and he is back in the hospital for several days.

          I agreed to host the revival here on Monday and we joined fellowship with 2 other churches. Went to week and began again Sunday night through following Wednesday night. I heard several good words of direction four our church through Derrick West’s preaching.

One word of direction came through Derrick preaching about Peter was told by Jesus to push out for a big catch of fish. His boat began to sink because it was so full. He had to call for other boats to help him bring in the catch of the fish.

          It was at this time I was considering an offer from another local church that had been asking to rent our building on Saturday nights so they could establish a satellite church presence in this area of senior adult living. They specialize in targeting baby boomers. IT was when this message was preached that I heard the Lord through this message telling me that this harvest of souls around us is larger than our boat can carry. We need to work with other ministries to bring in the harvest! When Pam heard Derrick preaching this, she told me this too!

Now it looks like that is going to happen in October this year.

God was speaking to me through a preacher I would have never heard on my own. God arranges for us to be in the right place at the right time to hear what we need to hear or say what we need to say.

Ill. Pastor Richwine told me during revival that Nicole was a great preacher and if I ever needed someone, she was great. Out of the blue I asked her if she wanted to preach here Sunday. She said yes. Then I got sick with the flu but already had her scheduled to preach!

          God is way ahead of us!

The next Sunday I had Ken Malone scheduled to be with us. I did not know him very well just through a conference over 10 years ago.

          He speaks prophetically to us and our church about many things. Also, the young lady prophet spoke things about our church as well.

What did you hear that stood out to you?

Ask people.

Review some things Ken Malone spoke:

“He has made from one blood every nation to men to live on the entire face of the earth, having APPOINTED FIXED TIMES AND THE BOUNDARIES OF THEIR HABITATION.” Acts 17:26

-        Not just geographical appointments but all they dynamics of your life, your giftings and callings, with the people you connect with.

He shared about the 4 different kinds of time:

1.    Kairos – opportune time

2.   Chronos – chronology – calendar

3.   Fullness of time – about to spill over

4.   Perfect time – horias = right time and place

Ill. Over a year ago Pam and I went to a prophetic mtg in Daytona Beach. A lady prophesied over us that we would be soon shifting from Pastoral to more Apostolic and Prophetic positions = which is like a spiritual father and mother giving guidance and direction and help where needed. We did not tell anyone about this but hung onto it and set it on the shelf. This week Ken Malone confirms that word we had a year ago.

          What do we do with it? I don’t know yet just hold on and we will see and walk slowly with God. When God gives a prophetic word, you hold it. It is meant to encourage you when you go through difficult times to know God is doing something.

We have made connections to people just in the past two months that we would have never made on our own. God is doing something!

I read this in a book that Lynda ? gave to us over a month ago on a Wednesday night.

“The swiftness with which I build is determined by your reception of truth. Truth assimilated generates creativity. Obedience practiced generates productivity. Therefore, a teachable spirit and a determined desire to do My will hastens the outworking of My purposes in you.”

Frances J. Roberts author of “on the high road of surrender”

One morning during the revival here I wrote down in my journal these words:

“People say they are hungry for a move of God. What they mean is they are desiring to see something happen like power, signs or wonders like they heard has happened some place else. They are seeking excitement in the church!”

How can you tell a real move of God?

Ill. One night during revival Derrick preached a good message on Elijah in the cave seeking God. There was a great earthquake, then a mighty wind, and finally a massive fire.

At one time God did move mightily in revival with fire – Mt Carmel.

God has in past been in an earthquake in book of Acts. God said amen to a prayer with an earthquake.

God has moved in the sound of a mighty wind in Acts 2.

But this time none of these was a move of God.

This time God came after all this in a still small voice – whisper. So small no one would notice if they were not paying attention.

A move of God may not always be what we are expecting it to look like – it may be a small whisper from God to you!

With God you must be paying attention all the time. He is in the details of your life. Nothing is coincidental! He is arranging meetings with people, crossing paths with others, and getting you in the right place at the right time.

Ill. I can’t tell you how many times a week I will be at a store and have an opportune time to witness about Jesus to someone and letting them know He loves them dearly. Almost every time I hear the person say, “You don’t know how much I needed to hear this today.”

God’s ways are so different from ours that we may not recognize what is a move of God! There are moves of God going on all around you that you may not even notice.

Part of the Lord’s model prayer is

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

What is this daily bread?

Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Daily God whispers His Word to us somehow through a variety of ways. It may come through a song you hear, a tv show, a book, the bible, church sermons, through a person, however.

Your human spirit picks up on life coming from the Spirit. It may not recognize what you hear is very significant at the moment, but it will hold it in your memory in your heart for later. The heart stores a lot of things we call brain clutter.

-        In your sleep the HS puts words in your heart and seals them up for another time in your future.

“In a dream in the vision of the night when deep sleep falls upon man, then He opens the ears of men and seals their instructions. . .” Job 33:15-16

          But you will hear something and may not know why it seems to mean something important to you – so your heart stores it for later when the Spirit has your attention and you can now discern what the Spirit was trying to show you.

“The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that it the word of faith that we preach.” Romans 10:8 and originally Deut. 30:14.

Ill. Have you ever spoken to someone and was shocked by the wisdom of God that came out of your own mouth? He placed His Words in your heart at some time – probably during the night when you slept.

It is the whisper of God in the night like when God spoke to Samuel as a young boy and he did not recognize the voice of God. Eli could not hear this!

Ill. Ever wake up suddenly at night thinking you heard the doorbell or someone’s voice? But then you realize it was not audible but in your head. No one else heard it but you.

There is the voice of God others can’t hear – but you can hear. It may come at night, or during your daily routine. But your spirit knows when God is speaking.

Concl: I encourage you to keep a notepad with you every day. Just for your eyes only. Review it and you may be surprised to see how God has been arranging meetings with people and circumstances that serve His purposes for your life.

Prayer

 

The Main Thing Wed. 8-7-19

Wednesday teaching 8-7-19

God created us with a longing for Himself. The human soul needs a Father and cries for a Father.

“God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying Abba, Father!” Gal. 4:6

What is a father?

A father is a combination of love and authority! Love without authority is a friend. Authority without love is a boss. But love with authority is the Father.

Only Jesus and Paul used these words, “Abba Father” in scripture, and only 3 times. Jesus said this is how we address God.

The first two Hebrew letters Aleph and Bet make up the word Abba or Father in Hebrew. But the Hebrew word for Love is spelled the same except for adding the Hebrew letter Hey (represents a window) in between. It’s as if love is defined in Hebrew letters as

Love = the heart of the Father revealed

I John 4:8 “God is love.”

A window into the heart of the Father reveals God is love. This is what the human soul is crying for – the love of the Father.

Ill. Like a newborn baby crying to be held – we are crying for the Father.

This is a much deeper desire than we may realize. You may be thinking that you don’t think about desiring God or dream about Him. But the psalmist wrote,

“As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1

“O God, my soul thirsts for You, my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. . . Your steadfast love is better than life.” Psalm 63:1,3

Jesus describes this longing in a one verse parable in Mtt. 13:44

“The Koh is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered it up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This is what we are created for – to personally know the love of the Father and let His love satisfy all the longings of our heart.

“God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

How could anyone not be satisfied with God? Yet we are sometimes. It must be because we don’t know Him very well. We may not think He has our best interests in mind.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (If the Lord is your Shepherd – He is all you need!)

This longing in our heart for satisfaction, success, significance is actually a longing for God to come take His place in our hearts. We are not really living until we become alive to Him.

“Incline your ear to Me and come to Me. Listen so that your soul may LIVE.” Isa. 55:3

LIVE or EVIL?

Why do we seek God if we have found Him? If we are already born again – why seek Him?

- Because there is such mystery and wonder with God that we have yet to experience. WE know about Him to the degree we seek Him but there is so much more.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO DILLIGENTLY SEEK HIM.” Heb. 11:6

Dilligently – search out, carefully, aggressively. A hunger to experience Him enough that you would push through the crowd like the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of his garment, or like Zacheus who climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus.

Ill. We may not be faced with crowds of people that keep us away from touching Jesus but we are faced with crowds of decisions each day of what is most important to us. Luke 10:38-42 CEV.

“worried” – troubled or anxious over many things.

“troubled” – disturbed by a crowd of things

You are already making your choice daily.

Let it be known to us all that Satan lures us all with the same temptations. There is nothing new under the sun. His main thing is to keep you from filling your longings with God, so he has to keep you from God’s Word somehow. He has to keep you distracted from the Main thing.

“But the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things, entering in choke the Word and make it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

The Main Thing is the keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing!

The Main Thing - Part 2

The Main Thing - Part 2

Revival is a rare thing. The Word revival is not mentioned in the Bible but the idea of revival is. Psalm 85:6 “Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?”

You could say it is Recalibrating your heart to align with His.

Somehow over time we have deviated from God’s main thing.

It may not be intentional but one day we realize I am not in love with Jesus like I use to be. I am not hearing His voice like I use to. I am not in overt sin – but rejoicing in Him like I use to. What has happened to me?

Ill. Paul visited the second time a church he started in Corinth. It was birthed out of revival like our church was 16 years ago. On his second visited he noticed “Ain’t nothing wrong – but something ain’t right!”

          You don’t have the fire you once had. Ill. We must be very careful here that we don’t try to hype people or try hard to make things happen and manipulate or control people. In the history of revivals it is known that most revival die when men try to control it.

He wrote, “I am afraid that in the same way the serpent somehow deceived Eve in his subtlety, that your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Cor. 11:3

Revival brings you back to the simplicity and pure devotion to Christ. Revival call us back to “keeping the main the thing the main thing.”

Revival is the idea of re-energizing to life what appears to be dead or not operating according the Creator’s design.

Ill. God takes Ezekiel into an old battlefield covered with skeletons of warriors. By now the armor, swords and equipment has been collected by scavengers. All that is left is dry bones everywhere. It is the remnant of people who at one time were mighty warriors for God – but something happened – we don’t know what – but what once was a mighty army of God is now? Just a graveyard of hopelessness.

          God show this to prophet Ezekiel to provoke something in him that needs to be provoked. Now God asks Ezekiel a question.

          Can these bones live?

This is funny. Ezekiel knows God well enough that when He asks a question – He is not seeking information He does not have. So you better be VERY careful how you answer God.

          Ezekiel knows he better think before he speaks. His mind swirls with, “Why is God asking me this question that He already knows the answer to?”

“Can these bones live?” Interpreted to mean:

Do you believe I can do something with what is dead and beyond human hope?

Do you believe I can bring life (hope) to what man sees as hopeless?

Is there anything too hard for the Lord?

          Ezekiel is smart and he is going to play it safe, so he answers the Lord’s question – with “Thou knowest Lord.” Mark it down this is a safe answer!

          Point is Ezekiel in no way is he going to put a limit on God.

-         It is a dangerous thing to limit God.

Ill. Israel in the OT died in the wilderness, with their Promise land within reach because they limited God.

“Again and again they tempted God, and LIMITED the Holy One of Israel.”   Psalm 78:41

What is it that makes the people of God – limit God?

What makes you lose your hunger to seek after God?

What makes a child of God hear about a revival breaking out in a church and yet they for whatever reason lay out?

Luke 14:16-24 in the Modern English Version

16Then He said to him, “A man prepared a banquet and invited many, 17and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now prepared.’

18“But they all with one mind began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go and see it. I ask you to excuse me.’

19“Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to prove them. I ask you to excuse me.’

20“Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

21“The servant came and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’

22“The servant said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and yet there is room.’

23“Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’

 Note their excuses were not evil things in their life.

1st excuse – I’ve got too much to do – I’ve got to work to feed my family. I’ve got to work the land.

2nd excuse – I just bought some oxen and I’ve got to train them.

3rd excuse – I just got married – I’ve got family I need to care for.

All these are legitimate excuses – they are real life. I would never condemn anyone for not attending church services.  But Jesus isn’t talking about land, oxen, or spouses!

The real issue is

I prefer my life rather than the banquet God is offering.

Here me, I am not saying because you are not here every night that this is you! I don’t know your circumstances – it’s none of my business and I am not qualified to judge anyone. Only you and God know the truth. Has Satan been able to craftily get you preoccupied on good things so that you will miss the great things God has planned for you?

-         I can’t answer this for you. I can only answer for me.

I have drifted away from God’s main thing and I know how easy it can happen.

I believe God is doing an unusual thing in our area now. We call it revival or Florida encounter because we don’t know what to call it. All I know is I don’t want to miss out and I don’t want you to miss out.

Ill. My previous experience has been – every time I don’t feel like going to church or I have a legitimate excuse and am tempted to use it . . . If I press on in and make myself go anyway – I get blessed in some way.

Satan’s life work is to somehow keep us from the table God has prepared for us to feast at. He stops at nothing. He will use even good things if it will keep us from the Main Thing.

Here’s the warning:

“For I tell you, none of those who were invited shall taste My banquet.”  Luke 11:24

You have to be intentional about keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing. Satan already has plans to lure you away.

Jesus said there are 3 things that will choke out the Word of God in your life:

1.    Worries of this life – God knows all about it. Ill. Jesus told man to follow Me – let me bury my father first. No – follow Me.

2.    Deceitfulness of riches – God knows you need money. I Tim. 6:10 “those who long for it have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Your priority is never to be to make all the money you can.

3.    Desire for other things – not bad things. Ambition is not wrong just don’t let it become an idol and get ahead of desire for God.

Concl: It is not coincidental that I go away for a couple days alone with God and hear Him tell me to call myself and this church back to the Main thing – at the same time revival is breaking out at 1st Assy and God planned on bringing it here for whatever season.

          Revivals are messy. It messes up your routine. You have a choice. God has prepared a banquet and is inviting us to come. Revivals don’t last forever – but when God sends on you need to let go of your plow and grab onto something new HE is doing.

The Main Thing

 

The Main Thing

 My recent prayer retreat was a re-calibration.

Recalibrate: To make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately. To change the way think or do something.

The thing I got the most from this time alone with God was this:

The Main Thing is the keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.

Not just for me but to keep this before all of us.

          Life happens – we get busy – responsibilities – time limit – work – energy levels – health – family – financial issues – our ambitions and longings for things = all require our time and consume the life we have.

          God had a main purpose in mind when He created us.

What would you say is the Main thing? We all might disagree here.

Better – what does God say is the Main thing?

Jesus was asked this question more than once.

Teacher what is the greatest commandment (the Main Thing)  in the law?

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  
Matthew 22:37-40

This is so familiar we don’t take it seriously. It is a radical declaration.

I know some of you are thinking the preacher is going to tell us we are to love God with all our hearts. No, I am not going to tell you that you ought to do this. This is not an attainment or a goal for you to achieve. In fact, you can’t love God like this by making it your goal.

          It takes God to love God.

          Loving God with all of our heart does not start with us, it starts with God loving us with all His heart. In fact, it’s the only way He can love – with all His heart.

“God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying “Abba Father.” Gal. 4:6

          Every human born has this desire for God deep inside their hearts. If they try to fill this space with anything else – the cry still goes on.

We are designed by our Creator to seek God, then get to know Him, then to know Him will cause us to love Him.

 It is not that we try harder to love God with all our hearts. Instead, it is seeing God more clearly and then you naturally love Him.

Ill. Guy attracted and wants to know a girl. First he seeks after her. Some guys are more confident and bold here. I was so shy I would choke up if I tried to talk to Pam. Worried over what I could say!

There is a right way and wrong way to seek a girl = romance.

 In the next few weeks we will learn there is a right way to seek God = romance. His Word identifies how we are to seek Him.

It takes time. The more the guy seeks the girl, the more he gets to know her. Then the more he gets to know her then through time he discovers if he loves her.

How do you know if you love her?

Praise – give – service- sacrifice – faith – joy – hope –obedience

It is the same way with God.

Loving God is a PROCESS of:

          SEEKING GOD

          KNOWING GOD

          LOVING GOD

How do I know if I love God?

Praise – give – service- sacrifice – faith – joy – hope –obedience

Since God is perfect and doesn’t need anything. What value can God get by me loving Him? There must be something of value to God by me loving Him? He doesn’t need me to love Him.

But I am created in such a way if I don’t do this then my life will be unfulfilling no matter what outward success I have.

ill. We see this today in so many celebrities with outward success they would do anything for yet their lives inside are miserable.

Pic Jim Carey

Pic Johnny Depp

Pic of Angelina Jolie

Pic of Lady Gaga

          What do these famous celebrities have in common? Outward success according to the world but confess to being miserable in their soul.        

If this one thing is not fulfilled then I will end up stuck in life without satisfaction, or burned out, disappointed, and then bitterness will characterize my life and I will not finish well. Because this is what I a designed be and do by my Creator. It is the MAIN THING about my life.

On the other hand, if I do this I may still suffer persecution, hardships, disappointments, and some bitterness but it will not be the overall main story of my life. I will have issues but I will overcome because I am

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.

We are made for this. So where do we begin?

 It starts with recognizing that God is loving us with all His heart – because that is the only way He can love!

-        Even though we have sinned and are flawed He is still loving us.

-        The demands of His own law have not changed. The law says the soul that sins must die. The law cannot be changed – it can only be fulfilled.

-        So God Himself sent His Perfect Son Jesus to fulfill this law.

God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:8

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

God is loving you right now. You might not have gushy feelings of being surrounded by His love – but it is there for you.

Ill. Did you know you can love your child and your child not receive your love? The same is true for God.

“He came to His own and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, to those who believe on His name, who were born not of blood, nor of human will, but of God.”  John 1:11-13

You receive His love by receiving Him as Lord and God and only Savior.

          But here’s the deal. Once you receive His love and Jesus as Lord you must keep yourself in the love of God.

Jesus said, “Just as the Father loved Me, I also loved you. Remain in My love.” John 15:9

Remain in My love = indicates we can deviate from it.

“Keep yourself in the love of God . . .” Jude 21

“I pray the you be . . . rooted and grounded deeply in God’s love.” Eph. 3:14

Paul wrote the Corinthians;

“I am afraid just as the serpent deceived Eve through his subtlety, your minds may be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  I Cor. 11:3

There was a mega church in Ephesus in the first century. They had everything going on and thousands of members. It was this church that first impacted Asia with the gospel. On the surface it was a great church but Jesus had something to say about it in Revelation.

 

“To the church of Ephesus. . . I know your works, your labor, your patience. You have endured and labored and not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. . .” Rev. 2:1-4

-       So subtle. They were serving God.  You have left the main thing.

-       By man’s measurements this is a successful church and ministry.

-       If I succeed outwardly but fail in this one thing – I still fail!

Read Luke 10:38-40.

Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Loving God is not an attainment. My part is to keep re-calibrating my heart to His so that His life flows easily through me.

The danger is you can be going through all the motions of the Xn life and not be fully alive like God intended. You are not fulfilling your purpose until you align your heart with His. Not that you do it perfectly but you are intentional and pursuing, seeking Him to know Him.

Concl: Jesus is not coming back for a burned out bride. He is coming back for a “prepared bride”. How do we prepare the bride?

The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!

          You like me may need to re-calibrate.

          “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb. 11:6

This week decide how you are going to seek, pursue God, to know Him intimately so that you discover a love stronger than death itself.  

 Trusting God Beyond Our Unbelief

 Trusting God Beyond Our Unbelief

God sees the end from the beginning. He has already been where we are going. He already knows the future. He talks to us from the perspective that we already have victory over our enemies.

         To Gideon hiding God called him a mighty man of valor, or valiant warrior because God saw his future. Gideon wondered who God was talking about? Gideon could not see what God saw in him.  And that is our problem too.

         In fact, Gideon argued with God. “If God is for us then why are we not seeing breakthroughs yet, why are being robbed by the enemy.

         God declares to us as well that we are mighty men and women of God, that we have the victory, we are victorious in this life, we are overcomers, we have abundant life!

         We respond, “O yeah. Then why don’t we see a breakthrough in our finances? Why are we still struggling to have health? Why don’t we have a growing anointed ministry? You fill in the blank ­­­­_____.

         Many who are born again have assurance they are going to heaven when they die. But the problem is they are having trouble believing and experiencing the KOG now! WE wonder why breakthroughs have not happened yet or are not happening now?

There is a natural ebb and flow in the life of the Spirit. When things are flowing there is acceleration and a lot of change. Then we all have times when it seems like nothing is happening, times of dryness and dullness.

It’s like we are in God’s waiting room. Anyone God has used to do special things has had their own time in God’s waiting room. Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness before God used him. David waited 29 years to become king and fifteen of them hiding from King Saul. Joseph spent five years as a slave and ten years in prison. Abraham waited twenty years before having the child God promised.

Like it or not part of the Christian life is learning to wait on God and trust His timing is perfect. What are you waiting on God for?

There are two ways to wait in God’s waiting room:

1.   Wait, wear out and give up. Your strength slowly ebbs away until you are drained and give up. This hopelessness.

Hopelessness always produces a need to escape.

To escape the world, our circumstances we cannot change we seek an altered state of existence. We may use drugs, television, or other things to escape reality and to try and comfort our pain. It deceives us to think it makes things feel right even though everything is getting worse.

2.   Wait, store up, stand up and speak up.

Whatever we wait for needs to have hope as the basis for waiting. There needs to be a reason to hope.

“I wait expectantly for the Lord, in His Word I do hope.” Psalm 130:5

David said the reason for waiting on God was the Word that God had spoken to him. He stored up – he remembered what God had said and at times would stand up and speak it to himself.

Ill. Do you stand up to the devil? The enemy comes at you with voices in your head about doubting God will come through for you and tries to torment your mind with all the bad that could happen. Do you let him run through your mind without doing anything? You shouldn’t. You should stand up to him and speak the promises God has given you about the situation.

The Bible was the spoken Word before it was the written Word. It is now the written Word so it can be the spoken Word – by you!

If you are being plagued with hopelessness – you need to start speaking up! Use the weapon God gave you. It is called the sword of the Spirit for a reason. Use it!

What causes hopelessness in a believer?

The same thing that causes hopelessness in an unbeliever.

There is a scripture written as a warning to us that it is possible for a believer to have unbelief. The example is Israel delivered by God from Egypt but could not believe God enough to enter the Promise land.

This should be one of the most frightening scriptures in the Bible for believers.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13

If you see a sign that says “Beware of Dog” how would you respond?

PIC OF SIGN: Some other beware signs I like: Forget the dog …

PIC OF SIGN: Forget the dog beware of wife:

PIC OF SIGN: This property protected by 357 magnum 3 days a week, guess which days?

Note that this evil heart of unbelief is not in unbelievers but in believers!

Note what it does:

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13

An atheist or unbeliever has already departed from the living God in his mind.

-       Did you know there is a National holiday declared for Atheist? National Atheist Day is April first!

“The fool has said, there is no God.” Psalm 14:1

-        The fool is saying no God for me. He departs from faith.

-        God never leaves believers, but according to this scripture believers can depart from the Living God!

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13

We can’t leave His Presence but we can stop abiding in Him, stop depending upon Him, stop expecting from Him.

-        We don’t see Him doing anything. It has been a long trial and nothing seems to change, or maybe it gets worse – we depart.

-        Things look impossible and there seems to be no way- we depart

I think it is a slow gradual departure that others may not notice in others.

How does this happen to a believer?

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13

Deceit =  concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; the act of representing as true what is known to be false; a trick; something that is done to mislead.

Eve said the serpent deceived me and I did eat. Gen. 3:13

Rev. 12:9 “The serpent who is called the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole world.”

Mark 4:19 Jesus describes the “worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things enter in us and choke out the Word of God in us.”

-        Satan is a great deceiver and he is after your heart.  

3 ways sin deceives us:

1.   Sin promises us something it can never deliver.

2.   Sin promises what happened to others will never happen to us.

3.   Sin creates a desire for something that can only hurt us.

A little voice in our head says, “go ahead”. We know we will suffer for it – but we take it, just like Eve, and eat it and we have been eating ever since! We know it is going to hurt us – but we do it anyway!

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13

-        We are fighting a good fight of faith to walk by faith and not by sight.

-        We are also told the church is the place to come and get encouragement from one another.

-        For no other reason to come to church, you should get encouragement to keep trusting, keep believing God, keep on abiding in faith from the people sitting around you.

Ill. Today through television you can go to church 24/7. Why go to a building with a bunch of strangers when you can sleep in, watch church on TV in your pj’s?

Ill. A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper complaining it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone to church for 30 years now. I’ve heard over 3000 sermons but for the life of me I can’t remember a single one. So I think I am wasting my time and the pastors are wasting their time too.

         This started a controversy in the letters to the Editor column until one person wrote this clincher. “I’ve been married now for 30 years. In that time my wife has cooked some 32k meals. But for the life of me I can’t the entire menu of one of those meals. But I know this: They nourished me and gave me strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

“Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but LET US EXHORT ONE ANOTHER, especially all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

God expects us to participate in the local church. Find where God feeds you and plant yourself there. If you are waiting to find the perfect church to join then the moment you join it it will no longer be perfect!  

The difference between a church attender and member is commitment.

The Christian life is not just a commitment to Christ, it is a commitment to the well being of the church – the “one another’s” of the Bible.

God expects the church to be a place you get your encouragement. People need to know you and you need to get involved. We need daily encouragement ourselves and we need to give daily encouragement to one another to trust God and don’t give up. If you don’t know what God wants you to do with your life – you do know this much!

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13

Ill. Imagine what it was like for Israel, over a million people to miraculously survive living in the desert for 40 years and their shoes and clothes never wore out, and they were supernaturally provided food and water and protection. Finally, they reach the edge or border and can see the promise land that God told them was their new home.

         Twelve spies go into the land and come back with some of the fruit of the land to show it was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey just like God said. Yet ten of twelve spies say we can see no way to take the land even though God said we can.

-        It doesn’t look like we can take over this land. Maybe it’s not time. Maybe we need to get stronger first. Some of them were looking at things in the natural more than listening to what God said!

-        We are tired, and just don’t have the strength to fight these enemies to reach our promise land. Let’s just settle here for now.

Only Joshua and Caleb had a different spirit. Listen to Caleb in the middle of all the naysayers. Caleb silenced the people and said, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it!” Numbers 13:30

-        The end result was the majority died short of receiving the promise land they waited for all their lives. Two received the Promise. The reason the majority died in the wilderness short of the promise?

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13

An evil heart of unbelief = belief (faith) with restraints or conditions.

Unbelief is still belief like unleaded gas is still gas without the lead. Unbelief is belief but something is missing. Ill. The man with the demon possessed son confessed “Lord, I believe but help Thou my unbelief!”

Unbelief in a believer is belief without submitting to God. It is knowing what to do but not doing it.

-        I know I should not say this but . . . gossip anyway.

-        I know I shouldn’t do this but. . .

-        I know I should witness to this person but I don’t feel like it.

-        I know I should help out but I don’t want to.

The HS is leading you and showing you something He wants you to do but you override His will and refuse to submit to God.

The result of unbelief in a believer is a hardened heart:

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13

Satan says it won’t matter. Soon you start to hear his voice in your mind and the voice of the Lord that you use to hear so well becomes more faint. It is like arteriosclerosis is happening in your spiritual heart. It is so subtle you don’t feel anything. You just don’t feel God anymore.  

Here is the danger. You are running out of time. Look at this warning.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13

“Today” = lit means while time lasts. It carries a sense of urgency.

Ill. An old TV commercial was very effective in illustrating this.

Scene of a living room with husband and wife sitting in easy chairs in living room. Fire place with Xmas tree and a window with snow falling outside. Wife says, “Honey have you taken care of our life insurance yet?” No, but I will as soon as Christmas is over. Scene changes and now birds singing outside the widow. “Honey have you taken care of the life insurance yet?” No, but I will after I pay the taxes. Scene fades back to the same living room, same two chairs, this time the wife sits alone, the husbands chair is empty. A voice says,

“You may not run out of excuses, but you will run out of time!”

Concl: Consider this a warning from God’s Word today. He will help us all if we humble ourselves before Him. He is waiting to meet with you here, “Today”.   

-        You should really consider coming to the altar alone and talking to God about what you just heard.

Trusting The Unseen Hand Of God With The Unchangeable

Trusting The Unseen Hand Of God With The Unchangeable

Ill. I’ve been reading a book “Killing Uncle Sam”. Very enlightening book about extreme corruption of government controlled by the powerful money people in the world. These people control so much of what goes on, including the media and what information we receive through their power over people in high places. We are not naive – we are aware of such corruption just in our lifetime.

          Just so happens we watched a movie this week that portrayed a corrupt senator of US using all his many connections in government to accomplish an evil agenda.

But what are we to do about it? Don’t become cynical. This is not new. God knows what is going on. Though there are corrupt politicians and people there are also some good and moral and Christians in high places. God does appoint and divinely place people into strategic high level government positions to be salt and light there.

          Look at Joseph in Genesis 41; In the space of one-hour, God promoted him from prisoner to the second highest level of government position in one day: without compromise, without manipulation, just by the divine placement and timing of God.

          Joseph trusted the unseen hand of God with the unchangeable in his life – and so must we.

God divinely places us where He wants us and intends to use us as salt and light to the people we are around. He even has plans to use our trials and sufferings for good purposes. Nothing is wasted. He even keeps your tears in a bottle! That means it will not be wasted!

Redeemer = to gain or regain for loss and compensate for loss.

          The devil steals, kills and destroys – Jesus redeems.

“There is a Redeemer, JC God’s Son. Precious lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One. Thank You O My Father, for giving us Your Son. And leaving Your Spirit till Your work on earth is done.”

          Can you trust the unseen hand of God for now? He is a god of compensation – a Redeeming God.

          God orchestrated Esther to be appointed to become the wife and Queen to a heathen King who ruled over the whole world. In ten chapters of the book of Esther, not once is God ever mentioned, yet we see His hand of providence orchestrating things. God so often works behind the scenes rather than in front.

          The Jews were in danger of being exterminated like a holocaust. The king did not know his queen was a Jew. Her uncle begged her to appeal to the king. She was afraid it might cost her life when he found out she was a Jew. But her uncle wisely told her,

“Who knows if you have attained this position for such a time as this!”

The outcome was miraculous!

Our presence here in the earth is what is keeping Satan and all his forces from being able to carry out all he would like to do. God’s Presence in us makes us a frustration to the enemy and his plans.

Have you ever considered the great detail God ordained placed you where you are, and your time in history to live? Maybe you have not even reached the point of your supreme purpose for being here yet. Maybe there will be an opportunity for you in your future that God has been preparing you for your whole life. It involves all the uniqueness of your life – on one else can do what God has ordained for you.

Most people would like to change some of these things that are beyond our control. It is critical to acceptance of what God has ordained and ask Him for wisdom about how He wants to use them.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
trusting that You will make all things work together for good
if I surrender to Your Sovereign will;

Say out loud with me: I am here for such a time as this! God has great purposes for my life and the way He made me.

          Ill. ADD or ADHD, Autism, mentally retarded slow, dyslexia– OCD labels.

Did God make a mistake? Is there a purpose? There is a stigma that go with these diagnosis that says, “you’re not right!” Who says?

          One psychiatrist wrote a book titled, “The Power of Different: the link between disorder and genius.”

She studied children and adults with so called disorders to discover they have strengths in other areas that so called “normal” people don’t. Much like a blind person develops greater hearing and discerning noises and presence around them than people with perfect hearing.

Many geniuses were told when they were young that they had mental illness or were retarded: Albert Einstein was sent home from school because he teacher said he was incapable of learning.

          Your mental capacity – wiring was ordained by the unseen hand of God for a reason!

          I want to focus on one more person to help us to see the unseen hand of God at work in our own life and situations.

The kingdom of Judah ( land of the Jews) has been invaded by the leading world empire (Babylonians) whose king is Nebuchadnezzar. On the surface this looks like strong conquering the weak. But things are not always as they appear. The Bible, God’s Word reveals what the natural eye cannot see.

“The king of Babylon captured Jerusalem.(This is how it appears in the “seen” realm)

But scripture reveals the unseen hand of God.

The Lord gave Judah into the hand of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar, with part of the vessels of the house of God, and he carried them into the house of his god.  Daniel 1:2

God is sovereignly allowing His people to go into captivity to a foreign heathen nation! 90% of Jews in Israel are moved to Babylon. Not only did Nebuchadnezzar capture their material treasures, but also human treasures.

-         History records he took 70 of the smartest young people of Israel and give them 100% scholarship to the kings school of government. Babylon was a highly civilized nation. The famed hanging gardens was one of the 7 wonders of the world. This would be like living in small town of Wildwood all your life and suddenly moved to huge metropolis like NYC. Your senses would be overwhelmed by all you see. Like Beverly Hillbillies moving into the mansion.

-         Here they would be given the best education in the world. They would be re-trained in Babylonian culture and customs and those who excelled would be given prominent positions in government and live a luxurious life compared to the other Jews brought to Babylonian captivity.

-         Nebuchezzar would place these re-programmed young Jews to rule over the population of the Jewish captives and keep down any insurrection towards the government and control the people. 

Not a bad idea: Get the young people in the teen age and early 20’s and educate them in according to your system and agenda and them put them in government places of leadership and influence to control the people.

Could this be why is happening to our educational system? The Bible is banned from public schools and universities and history books are being re-written. Why is this happening?

There is a new world order that an elite group of powerful people are trying to get our world into a one world government so that it is easier to control people. Not only this but a one world religion and one world economy. This is not new. It has been the plan of Satan since the tower of Babylon and a man called Nimrod.

 If you want to control the world you must control these 7 mountains:

1) Education
2) Religion
3) Family
4) Business
5) Government/Military
6) Arts/Entertainment
7) Media

          Kingdoms rise and fall and leaders rise and fall who have had this same agenda – from Nimrod, to Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, and even some American presidents. Notice how leaders come and go but the same agenda surfaces again with a different face on it. It was going on in Daniels time and it is still going on today and will continue until Jesus returns and destroys it and sets up His eternal kingdom.

          So we like Daniel we are planted by God in this corrupt world in a certain time in history and a certain country. How are we to deal with all the world of corruption around us. What does God expect of little ole us?

          To answer this we look to someone who has already blazed the trail in his day and God had this recorded in His Word for us.

“As part of their assimilation into Babylonian life the Kings appointed daily provisions of the king’s food and wine. He also educated them for three years, then they might serve in the king’s government. Among them were Daniel, Hanniah, Mishael, and Azariah. But the officials changed their names to Babylonian names. Daniel 1:5-6 paraphrase

Their location has changed – their lifestyle has changed – their identities changed. There were 70 young men undergoing the same training. The majority 66 out of 70 compromised. “No harm done by giving in a little. We are not back home – this is a different world. We are just having a little fun. Don’t be so holier than thou.”

-         But Daniel and his friends are examples of people who are willing to stand alone if need be for what is right.

-         In every age God is looking for – men and women who will not compromise with the world. Daniel is probably about age 19. How is it possible to live in a compromising world and not compromise?

You have a purpose bigger than your position.

          Because I have Jesus there is a purpose for my life bigger than my own agenda for success and happiness. God saved me not just to go to heaven in a few more years from now but for purpose now.

          Sometimes you know some things God wants you to do and other times you wait until the temptation to compromise comes. Here is where you will find God’s purpose for you!

           The test came: In verse 5 and 8 these young Jewish men were eating meat from the king’s table. This was meat offered to Babylonian idols. According to God’s Word in Leviticus 11 Jews were forbidden to eat certain foods, especially meat offered to idols. 66 of the 70  Jews were compromising scriptural convictions due to their circumstances changing. (Hey the king is our authority – no choice – everyone is!)

You and I will be placed in circumstances beyond our control and be tempted to compromise – go the easy way, don’t rock the boat! Daniel must have realized, “My purpose for being here is greater than my position.” God placed me here beyond my control. He has a purpose.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food. He appealed to an official that he might not defile himself. Now God brought favor and compassion with this official.” 
Dan. 1:8-9

Notice what God does: Once we purpose in our heart to live by God’s standards, then God gives us favor in our circumstances.

Note the order how this happens:

But Daniel purpose in his heart . . .”

Now God brought favor . . .”

What was this favor from God in Daniel and these 3 other men?

“In all matters of wisdom and understanding which the king inquired of them he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his kingdom” Dan. 1:20

-         Special insight and special influence, special protection.  This continued through Daniels life for about 70 years of high level government positions he held through several kings and even a change of kingdoms.

Ill. During an election year people skilled in politics talk a lot.

Politics = Politics in democracy is the art of compromise in order to advance an agenda.

“Politics is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone thinks they got the biggest piece.”

The word “politics” comes from two words – poly – many  and Ticks – blood sucking creatures!

Politics is the art of compromise – deal making.

But God is not a politician:

Everywhere you see compromise of God’s will you also see a loss:

Adam/Eve compromised God’s Word – lost paradise

Esau compromised for instant satisfaction – lost birthright

Samson   “         vows as Nazarite – lost his life.

Solomon   “   God’s laws about marriage – lost kingdom

It’s not any different today. The world’s message is “if you want to get ahead you must compromise.”  But here Daniel and 3 others don’t and today we know their names but the other 66 outstanding young men – we don’t even know their names and they left no legacy.

          If you are going to try and be like everyone else and blend in – you don’t understand why you are here for such a time as this. You won’t leave any legacy for your family. It will be as though you lived and died without any purpose.

Concl: Do you have some things in your life you wish you could change but you can’t? Trust God with them and surrender the rest of your days into His hands. He wants to do something with your life right where you are – if you will let Him and trust His unseen hand at work.

Trusting God with Change

Trusting God with Change

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

Change is a part of our life process. God never changes because He is already perfect in all of His ways. But for us change is a constant in our life.  Ill. You can try to be like the Amish people who resist the changes of a modern world – and try to live like it is still the 1800’s. Pic:

You may need to change your mind about change!

“To everything there is a time, a season, and everything is beautiful in it’s time.” Eccl. 3:1, 11

          With the season change we change – we don’t wear winter clothes in summer.

-        When our children grow up – our relationships with them change.

Someone said, “I never thought my child would grow up and break my heart like they did!” People may change in ways that are difficult for us, but even then trusting God, that He knows it all, including the future and the outcome, is the way to remain in CPR.

-        God could reveal everything that is going to happen in our future and let us know the changes we will need to make – but most of the time He doesn’t – because He expects us to trust Him.

When unexpected change happens to us it leaves us with many unanswered questions that only God can answer. What if God decides it is time for a change?

-        It happened to Elijah the prophet. He lived in a time of severe drought. God led him to live beside a brook and was miraculously providing for him. The ravens brought him food each day and he had running water from the brook. All his needs were met.

-        One day the brook dried up. This was an agent of change from God for Elijah.

If your brook dries up – it could be God has a change for your life.

You lose your job because of cutbacks – change is thrust upon you.

God spoke to Elijah through this and told him to go to a city and a young widow lady with a child would provide for him!

          Why would God allow this considering the rumors that would fly?

-        Single preacher to young widow for her to provide for him?

Ill. Imagine the neighbors talking- did you hear about the preacher and shacking up with the young widow and they said God told them?

Apparently God is not concerned about appearances, even though He tell us to avoid all the appearances of evil, He sometimes does some weird looking things; Mary pregnant with Jesus before she is married!

Some changes will require trusting God more than being concerned about what others will think about you.

This change in Elijah’s life wasn’t about benefiting him, it was about benefiting the widow. Sometimes God changes something in our life, in order to benefit someone else. We become an agent of change in another persons’ life. It is an assignment.

 

          I have wasted a lot of time thinking if my circumstances or people around me would change then my life would be happier. I would pray for God to change them, but then I discovered God wanted to change me!

Satan wants us to focus what’s wrong with our circumstances, or what’s wrong in others, because that way, we never see what’s wrong with ourselves!

Are you willing to change?

Ill. How many times have I tried to change myself but fall right back into old habits? So after a time of discouragement I try harder, only to learn that I cannot change merely by trying, I need God’s help.

This may sound simple, but it is one of the most difficult things to learn. Any effort of change must be made while leaning on God.

Ill. Jacob wanted God’s blessing on his life more than anything. He did everything he could do to get it – even lie and cheat! At one point, God Himself wrestled with Jacob all night (Gen. 32). At the end of that wrestling match God dislocated Jacob’s thigh but strangely told him that he won the match and God left him disabled- for a reason.

          It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Now for the rest of his life he had to lean upon a staff, as if he had to lean on God to be able to get anywhere in life.  

-        At the end his long life he was written in Hebrews chapter 11 with God’s greatest faith heroes like Noah, Abraham and Sarah.

“By faith Jacob blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshipped (surrendered) leaning upon the top of his staff.”  Heb. 11:21

-        Hymn Learning to lean.

Each one of us will go through a similar journey with God.

Ill. The Apostle Paul wrote about his journey in Romans 7. Here he clearly is struggling to do the right thing but failing miserably. He writes,

“O unhappy, miserable man that I am! I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? I want to serve God in my heart and mind but I am pulled by the influence of sin to another direction.” Romans 7:24-25

Chapter 8 he has found the answer. He moved from trying hard to change to trusting God for change.

What’s our part?

Ill. Like taking medicine. You take in God’s Word, meditate upon it but then trust it to work invisibly to you but in you. James 1:21 the Word in your heart has power to save your souls.

Trusting God’s Word = Trusting God

Ill. My granddaughter just got a little kitten. The very next day the kitten was missing. We looked all over the house. We concluded the kitten had gotten out and was wandering around outside – in the neighborhood. We began thinking the worse – maybe a hawk got it. We looked all over the neighborhood to no avail. Late that evening Pam heard a me-ow from the kitchen. He had been hiding – inside our house. What’s the point?

What you may be looking for to change your life – may be already in your house – in your life.

Some truths about how God changes people:

1.   Only God can change people, because it is an inside job.  

2.   People won’t change unless they want to.

3.   The first step to change people is to pray for them.

Caution: pray for others with humility and mercy not judgment!

Sometimes we want people to change for our benefit, but fail to see how selfish that is. We think people should be like us, do things like we do. The truth is there may be more wrong with us than the people we are judging as being “not right”.

 

A prayer: “Heavenly Father, I am asking You to change ­­­­­­­------------ if they need to change. If they don’t, then change my heart towards them to be like Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

 

When we realize the mercy God gives us each day, it make us much more generous in giving it to others.

          Ill. Story of a king who had a large orchard with a full time gardener. Each day the gardener would pick ripe from the various fruit trees and vines and bring them personally to the king to eat. One day the gardener brought ripe cherries to the king. But the king was in a bad mood and when he bit into a sour cherry he took out his anger and threw it, hitting the gardener in the forehead with it.

          The gardener responded by whispering, “God is merciful”. The king did it again and heard the gardener say the same thing. Now curious the king enquired, “You must be angry that I am hitting you in the head with these cherries but you keep saying, “God is merciful” – why?

          “Your majesty, I was going to bring pineapples to you today but I changed my mind. If you had thrown a pineapple at me I would have been badly hurt. God was merciful at changing my mind.

The gardener trusted God in all things. Things could always be worse, but for the mercy of God!

 

God does not force people to change and neither should we.

          Ill. There are some amazing testimonies in this room of women with unsaved husbands winning their husbands to the Lord, not by trying to change them, but by living their lives trusting God ( I Peter 3:1).

God is better at convincing someone to change better than any of us.

Make a commitment to pray for someone rather than trying to change them.

 

When the people in your life have behavior that is hurting themselves, it also hurts you.  Sometimes people don’t change until God deals with them severely! Sadly, sometimes people still don’t change.

Commit everything into the hands of God like:

Worrying about your children

          How will they turn out? Were we good parents?

Ill. Our children are grown. At my age it is easy for me to look at them and quickly locate the root of their problems and tell them.

 Don’t give advice where it is not asked for!

 

We want to help our children. We want to deliver them and stop their pain. Sometimes true love lets someone suffer the consequences of the seeds they have sown. Sometimes you should deliver them.

          I urge you to quit worrying, trust God to do in them what you cannot do. Don’t put a time limit on trust. Commit them to God. Quit thinking about them all the time, go on and live your life.

 

Worry about finances

          We all need money to live on earth. God knows but we must handle money His way. Giving away money to the church is one of the hardest things believers will ever do, especially if you have more bills than you can pay!

-        God instructs us to bring His tithe and our offerings. He hasn’t changed His mind about this – it teaches us faith and trusting Him.

“Honor the Lord from your substance and the first-fruits

of all your increase . . .” Proverbs 3:9

This is one way we honor the Lord – put His desires first before ours! (Context is Prov. 3:5 Trust in Lord w all your heart and lean not . . .)

In NT it is even greater trust.

“If you give little, you receive little. If you give generously, you get generous help from God. Giving grows out of the heart of trusting God. Otherwise you give because you felt you had to, or because you couldn’t say no. This isn’t the way God wants it. He loves a cheerful giver. He is able to provide you with the grace so that you will always have enough and be able to be generous where He wants you to give. Trust Him! ” Paraphrased 2 Cor. 9:6-8

 

If you already deep in debt there may not be any quick fixes. But if you will put God first in your finances and ask Him to help you stop spending where you shouldn’t and help you manage what you have left, over time you will get out of debt – His way and with His help.

          Commit everything to God – worry: children, finances, and

Worry about our health

You cannot live under continual stress and remain healthy. But you can’t always move away form it all either. What we must do is manage pressure and responsibilities God’s way. This could be a whole sermon series; bottom line is a life committed to God’s agenda surrendering everything and every outcome to Him as an act of worship. “Into Your hands I commit my spirit – my everything.”

 

This is a commitment without an expiration date!

Prayer: Father, I commit myself anew into Your hands. If I get hurt, I trust You to comfort me. If I get sick, I trust You to heal me. If I have a need I trust You to meet it. If I don’t know what to do, I trust You to show me. I am Yours and You are mine and I trust You, In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Questions That Deserve Our Honest Answers

God’s questions that deserve our honest answers

Review: Jesus finished ministering to a multitude. It is night time He tells His disciples to get into a boat with Him to go to the other side. He falls sound asleep in the back of the boat and a storm brews. It gets so bad the boat is sinking, the disciples panic, while Jesus stays asleep! How can anyone sleep with all this going on?

Point: God allows storms, difficulties, things to go wrong, for us to be in danger. When difficulties come we should not ask why is this happening? Our Lord goes to sleep and allows storms to come.

They awaken Him with an accusation:

“Teacher, don’t You care we are perishing?”

          They are saying, “Teacher, You are unconcerned about it all!”

He calmly rebukes the sea to stillness and then asks the disciples 2 questions that we also as His disciples needs to provide honest answers:

Why are you afraid?

Where is your faith?

          This account is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Sunday we dealt with the first question but tonight we need to address the second question, “Where is your faith?”

          He is rebuking His disciples with this question. They should have not been in a state of panic. Matthew says it this way: “O ye of little faith.” He is rebuking them for taking on fear and agitation while He is with them in the boat.

          This may sound harsh but I think the Lord is revealing a great lesson that we have to apply to ourselves and that is:

It is wrong for a Christian to ever be in such a condition where he has lost control of himself. A Xn should never be like the worldly lost person. This may be a typical reaction for someone without Jesus, but why is it wrong for a Christian?

          I think these two questions we should keep before us for several weeks and every time we have a trial we should speak them to ourselves out loud as a reminder.

Faith is a gift – Romans 12:3

Every man is given a measure of faith.

This faith is the same faith Jesus has – Gal. 2:20

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live,

yet not I, but Christ lives in me. The life I NOW live,

I live by the FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD,

Who loves me and gave Himself for me.”

God expects us to use this same faith to overcome every storm, trials.

It is interesting that God calls every trial – a trial of faith. Every trial/test you will every go through is a trial or testing of your faith!

See I Peter 1:5-9

“You who are kept by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – Protected by faith

But the next verse reveals we do have some “necessary trials”.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a season, IF NECESSARY, you have been distressed by various trials,” vs 6.

“That the TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than gold that is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  Vs 7.

“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him. . . and believe in Him with great joy. . . OBTAINING THE OUTCOME OF YOUR FAITH THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS.”  Vs 8-9.

Salvation – sozo = the present experience of God’s power to save, preserve, deliver, to heal, to make whole the human soul.

Our spirit is saved and sealed at spiritual birth. But our soul is being saved and being made whole. Soul = mind, will and emotions. It is being saved by being brought under the Lordship of Jesus ruling in our Sspirit.

There are parts of our soul still needing healing – mind, emotions and areas we still are not totally free of fear, anxiety, anger, jealously, lust, hurry and worry. Our soul is under our control and should be kept in a state of CPR.

We have this exterior life and this interior life. Inside the interior life of a Xn is a river of HS that is made to flow freely through all areas. As the river is flowing freely through all areas it brings renewal to all parts of us, spirit, soul and body.

          I went to a counselor and he always began the session with

“How’s your soul doing?”

          The soul is the most important part of you. If the exterior part of your life is everything you ever wanted: Plenty of health and money. But your interior life is not operating with the faith God gave you – you are not well.

          The interior life of the soul is meant exercise the faith God gave it to live in harmony with God and with CPR regardless of the circumstances of the exterior life.

“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

Your interior life (your soul), is the most important part of your life! Take care of it, feed it the living Word of God, exercise it to the glory of God and to your own amazement!

Jesus is asking you, “Where is your faith?”

The question is revealing. You have faith, but where is it at this moment? It ought to be here, where is it? Why aren’t you taking your faith and applying it here? You already have it – why aren’t you using it?

Faith does not work automatically, it must be exercised and applied by us!

          The disciples should have applied their faith and said, we are not going to panic. I am not going to be controlled – you assert your faith, speak to yourself out loud. Yes the water is filling the boat, yes it looks scary but Jesus is with me. I don’t understand it all greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world, or quote some scripture out loud. I wonder what would have happened? Faith reminds itself of scriptures.

Two words that make any situation a possibility for a miracle.

“BUT GOD” 

A good Bible study would be to look up verses with “but God”.

          Your next trial of faith is an opportunity to apply what you have and keep your soul free of worry, hurry, or fear.

Concl: Notice how gracious the Lord was with the disciples. He calmed the storm. Though He was disappointed with their response He did not turn away from them. He knew this would take some time and He would give them some more opportunities later. So the next time the Spirit whispers in your mind, “Why are you afraid?” or “Where is your faith?” Make certain you are using it to keep your interior soul free from fear, worry or panic. Jesus is with you – there is no need to be afraid.

Trusting God With Our Burdens

Trusting God With Our Burdens (Freedom from the things that wear you out)

A burden can be a thing that weighs heavily on your mind. It could be concern for a loved one, a financial need, concern about the outcome of a situation. We all have some burdens or cares. Some are light and some are heavy and life draining. Some burdens can rob your sleep at night, which is an attack of fear. We have to find a way to cope.

          Jesus said at least 8 times that worry is a sin of not trusting God. Some version of “do not fear” is the most frequent command in the Bible. But knowing this does not keep us from doing it. Our worry and fear is actually a manifestation of unbelief.

Why does God consider worry a sin?

          Ill. Look at it this way. What would it say about me if I my 8 year old grandson was traveling with me and worried about where his next meal would come from? What if he lived in fear of his safety while with me? It would mean he did not trust my love, my ability to care for him. Perhaps some parents deserve that mistrust but God doesn’t. If as believers, we live in worry and fear we are saying God says that He is faithful, but I am not absolutely convinced yet.

Noah Webster’s dictionary indicates that trust is a resting of the mind on the good character of someone else. Trust brings rest.

“Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest . . .” Mtt. 11:28 Amp

God expects us to trust Him. A sign my wife placed above my desk at home makes reminds me everyday.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

Ill. Jesus and His disciples are in a boat on the sea of Galilee and a sudden storm came up. Waves were crashing over the bow and the boat was filling with water and bouncing up and down. Jesus is sleeping on a cushion in the back. These boats were small boats and they did not have a cabin or a deck below. Somehow He slept! Surely He heard the shouts of his friends frantically bailing water. He obviously would have been bouncing on the waves as everyone else did – but somehow He slept! I wonder what would have happened if the disciples would have also just laid down in the boat and let the waves rock them to sleep? Is it possible to be that care-free?

·       Peter found it possible – he slept in prison hours away from an assigned execution.

·       Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight after being beaten.

But they actually had to wake Him and they did so with an accusation.

“Teacher, don’t You care, we are perishing?” Mark 4:38

Is there something Jesus is not doing that you think He should be doing? We ask the same slanderous question.

“Lord, don’t you care about -  my wayward child? My financial pressure? My physical health? My mental exhaustion? Don’t You care?

          Can you imagine asking Jesus if He even cared? We do, maybe not out loud but we wonder sometimes, don’t we? Of course He cares, but it looked like He didn’t care. This is an important point in our walk with Jesus.

Jesus cares but He may allow it to look like He doesn’t care.

Jesus got up and calmly rebuked the storm and then turned to his panicked disciples and answered their question with 2 life questions of His own:

“Why are you afraid?”

“Do you still have no faith?

What were the disciples afraid of?

1.    That having Jesus with them was not enough save them.

2.    He was sleeping and not aware of their plight.

3.    He didn’t care they were afraid.

4.    He was letting them fail?   

          Make this personal and put your name in this question from Jesus.

“Why are you afraid, Gary?  Really be honest, take time to answer this.  

          My answers: Because I am perishing here and You are sleeping!

Because I am doing all I can do, it’s not enough and You are not helping! Maybe its, I am sinking financially and You’re not helping me! I am stressed out, I don’t know what to do, and You are not helping me.

Lazarus was sick and dying and You let him die! You let Job suffer one hard hit after another and You did not stop it and I am afraid You might do the same to me!

           “Why are you afraid?” demands an honest answer from us.

          What is the root of our fear? Afraid that God may not come though for us. Deep down we are afraid – I’ve prayed asking God for help and it seems like He is ignoring my prayer.

It is impossible to cast all your care on Him, as long as you have doubt that He really cares about you. So, the result becomes we carry the weight of our burdens because we can’t cast our cares and let go of cares or burdens – not completely – because we don’t fully trust Him.

What if God does not give me what I am trusting Him for?

          I think the fear of God not making things turn out like we hope, is a root cause of our fear.

Ill. What if God does not heal my daughter – like Rodney Howard Browne’s daughter? It goes back to the question – Lord do you care? Of course He cares. Our trust in God has to come to the place that we believe God’s will, is better than our will, even if we do not understand it. It is only here, we can let go of care once and for all.

          Jesus prayed in Gethsemane – “Father, if there is any other way, then let this cup of suffering pass from Me. But nevertheless if not, not My will, but Thy will be done.”

 

Ill. John the Baptist was put in prison about to be beheaded by Herod. John sent people to Jesus with a message. He knew the scriptures about the Messiah like, “He would set the captives free.” But now he is in a hard place and has some questions about Jesus because things are not happening like he expected. He sent a message to Jesus. “Are You the One or should we be looking for another?”

Jesus read it and told the messengers to go back and tell John what you see and hear. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Then he says these profound words.

“Blessed is he who is not offended at Me (and never loses faith in Me no matter what happens).”  Matthew 11:6 varied.  

          Trust is the battle we have in our mind and heart. It goes all the way back to Eden where the enemy raised doubts and fears about God. Our adversary is relentless in raising doubts and questions about God.

We have to fight the good fight of faith in order to trust God and enter His rest 

“Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee.” James 4:7

Note as soon as you submit yourself or a burden to God then immediately you have to then resist the devil. Because the enemy will try to convince you that you can’t trust God with this one, you better off handling it yourself.

 

If you and I are going to have CPR we will have to do our part in resisting the devil. More specifically this means, trusting God enough to let go of our need to understand or try to control the outcome. If you can’t do this – then your life will show signs of being worn out emotionally, and physically. Your countenance will show the signs of heaviness and sadness instead of joy and peace because you can’t let go of what is draining the life out of you!

Ill. A psychology professor held a water bottle out in front of the class. She asked, “How much does this weigh?” as she continued to hold the bottle out in front of her. One said a pound another said 2 pounds. Then the professor said, “what will happen if I hold this bottle like this for 1 minute? One hour? Two hours?

The class replied, “Your arm will hurt.” The professor said, “Did the weight change?” “No” they answered. What makes my arm hurt? The class began to see the point. “The longer I hold onto it – the more hurt, pain, and even damage it can cause.”

          We all have some issues that have happened to us or others and we are trying to figure out why something happened the way it did. Maybe it’s, “Why didn’t God provide?” or, “Why did God let this happen?” “Why did so and so treat me like they did?” You are holding onto it until you get a satisfactory answer or you are holding onto it. Let it go. Release the burden. Set it down.

          Some of you today need to come to this altar to be altered in this area and let some things go.

The way you will know you finally have let something go is – you refuse to talk about it anymore.

Freedom is letting go of things you cannot change.

          The greatest weight we lose is not in our bodies but our minds. We hold onto memories and hurts and disappointments in our minds and it becomes a burden that weighs us down mentally. We become exhausted mentally and emotionally.

“Cast your burden on the Lord (release it) and He will sustain you, He will never allow the righteous to slip, fall, or fail” Psalm 55:22

Burdens don’t just go away because you cast them on God in prayer. Where is God? If you are born again then He lives inside of you.

So you are casting the burden on Him who lives inside of you.

How does this work? The burden is still there but now the ownership of the burden belongs to God.

          Ill. If your burden is a wayward child. You give ownership of that child to God. But the child is still your child but your role has changed. You use to be the owner of that child that God gave to you. Now you are just the property manager, not the owner. This means I don’t own this burden anymore. It is not up to me to fix them.

I am just the property manager who works for the Lord. God is the owner and it is up to Him to direct me if He wants me to do anything. It takes the heavy part of trying to figure out a solution off of me. I just await instructions if any, otherwise I go on and enjoy my life.

I believe the most draining kind of burdens are those within your family. King David had one of the most dysfunctional families in the bible. One of his sons raped his half sister and the king did not do anything about it. So another brother took revenge killing the offender. This caused a huge family feud eventually creating a vengeful son against his father. Conditions got so bad David had to flee Jerusalem to avoid a battle with his son named Absalom. King David was a very transparent man. He did not cover up his burdens as though they did not exist. He wrote a song about it and God had it put in our Bible.

Sing/read

Psalm 3.
Lord, how are they increased that trouble me
many are they that rise up against me.
Many there be which say of my soul
there is no help for Him in God.

But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me
you're my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

I cried unto the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill.
I laid me down and I slept I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
David did not always walk in such trust in God. He went through deep grief and real fears. But through necessity he learned to shift his mind from fear to trust, from sadness to hope.  

God did not take David’s burdens away. He used them to help David trust in God and to put the weight and the outcome of this on God’s governing shoulders.

He does the same things with us. Instead of removing the burden, He teaches us how to trust and let go of the weight by a day by day process.

Andrea Crouch wrote a song that reveals the process we go through to learn to trust God with our burdens. “Through It All”.

WE know we need to trust God, but until we are convinced that this will really make a difference – we won’t let go.

           A lot of us say He is but few give Him the freedom to be Himself within us. Trusting God with our burdens is about releasing control.

Concl: The Bible is filled with real life testimonies of regular people doing just this.

-         Peter sleeping in prison about to be beheaded – released control.

-         Paul and Silas in prison worshipping. Most of David’s psalms are a model of how to release control of the situation into God’s hands.

-         John the Baptist – had to release control.

Now, today, June 23rd, 2019 is your turn. You have free will.

Aren’t you tired of carrying that burden around? Has it drained you of joy and peace? Isn’t it time to give ownership back to God and for you to not try to fix anything unless He tells you?

Altar time is the time and place to lose some weight, some burdens.

Specifically, I think you should all come up here and find a place at this altar to talk to God about what you have been afraid of. Be honest about where you know you are not trusting God – He knows. Stay there until you literally feel the heaviness drop off you and His CPR come back into your soul.

Trusting God with the Unknown

Trusting God with the Unknown

People have an incredible hunger to know our future. We want to know what is coming next and how that will affect our future. We don’t like being in the dark. We don’t want any bad surprises. It’s the ‘not knowing’ that can sometimes cause us stress.

We think, if we know what to expect it gives us a measure of control over our life. But there are so many unknowns like: How long will I live? What is my future going to be? How will certain things turn out?

          When a person gets saved they come into a new relationship with God. We are learning to relinquish control and trust Him. But this won’t happen without some help from God. He will arrange some circumstances that we cannot figure out, and He will not give us answers when we want them. He is trying to make us water walkers.

It takes experience with God for you to learn to trust God.

Ill. Maybe you have been praying about a situation for a long time and don’t see anything happening. You can get discouraged. Here is where trusting God with the unknown is vital.

           If you say, “I’ve been waiting for years and God has not done anything. I think He is waiting on me to do something.” If that is true, then God will communicate that to you but don’t just jump out there and do something for the sake of doing something.”

“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the Word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light,

trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. But now, all you who kindle a fire, who encompass yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of YOUR FIRE among the sparks that YOU HAVE IGNITED. This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in sorrow. Isa. 50:10-11.

          This scripture is a warning to believers if God does not give you light – don’t create your own artificial light – there are times of the unknown future that God does not gives us any light and expects us to trust His name:

·       When is our child going to straighten up? When are we going to get well?

·       When is our breakthrough going to come? He sees the big picture, we don’t and when we don’t know what to do – we are to trust His name.

“You mean that’s it? Just trust God’s name?”  How can I do that?

When you know what to do or what is going to happen, you govern things through your mind. God is not opposed to the mind, but He is opposed to the mind over ruling the heart in a believer.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

          3 types of believers but only one can walk on water:  

Figure-Feel –or Faith

1.    Figurers – They filter everything through the mind and remove what isn’t logical. They rely on their own logic and reason to keep them safe. They won’t go beyond their understanding. The analyze, create maps, charts, and figure out every detail or possibility. We need people like this. It is not wrong it’s just they will never be a water walker. They won’t trust HS.

2.    Feelers – They feel everything through emotions and then make a decision. Good but emotions can be deceptive especially if the mind is not renewed to think like God. Too conscious of people.

3.    Faith-ers -  true worshippers in awe of God. Their hearts are surrendered to God. They realize their hearts can embrace things that their heads can’t understand. A surrendered heart to God can lead you where logic would never go.

Ill. Think about the courage of people we call heroes. Those who run into burning buildings to rescue someone. We never say they were courageous because they were smart or had a high IQ. Their courage came from their heart overcoming their mind and reason.

Trusting God does not come because we understand, it comes because we are confident in His goodness.

We naturally seek answers to the questions in our life, but if we get no answers from God and then we get frustrated, that is a sign we have gone too far in trying to understand with the mind.

Much of the frustration people have in life comes from feeling like we need to know why this happened, or we need to know what to do in every situation. Sometimes it may be more complex that you need to know and would cause us stress and worry. HS will tell us some things to come but not everything. So when He does not give us insight, we need to trust Him.

 Can you trust God when you are in the dark? It takes 2 things:

“Through faith and patience we inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12

          It is hard to have patience on God’s timing when what you hope for does not happen by the time you think you need it.

          When breakthroughs don’t happen when you expect you have to be patient with God and trust He knows what He is doing.

Ill. God purposely did not take the Israelites on the shortest route to the Promise land, because He knew they were not ready for the warfare they would have to endure. Maybe God knows you are not ready for the warfare you would have to endure.

He took them a longer route to protect them but also to prepare them so they could fulfill their destiny.

          While you are waiting on God’s timing don’t make the mistake of trying to figure everything out. It may take longer than you thought or it is more difficult than you expected.

When God brings you out of your difficult situation, everybody around you is going to have no doubt that the God you serve is an awesome God. It is really about Him not you.

Ill. I’ve been reading Ezekiel lately and I noticed a phrase that keeps popping up.

“Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

“Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

          Sometimes this refers to God going to allow bad things to happen to people because they are not pursuing God. The people will turn back to God and He will help them.

          It’s like God is showing that He will do anything to get us to know He is the Lord – the Almighty. It’s like the whole purpose of life is for us to know Him as the Lord.

Ill. God I’ve been waiting on my child to change for 15 year!

If you are still trying to figure it out, and God is not talking then you are going to be frustrated in demanding answers. Some things you do not know why or what to do – so at a deeper level of trust you have to surrender to God and say, ‘Lord, my times are in Your hands. I am not going to worry about why this has not happened yet. I am going to trust you and just keep doing what I know I need to do.

Just because there seems to be no solution, it does not mean there is no solution!

          Fear will attack us and try to convince us there is no solution. “There’s just no way this is going to work out. This is never going to end. I’ve done all I know to do and nothing is working. There seems to be no way.”

           Ill. In Acts 12 King Herod of Jerusalem had James the leader of the Jesus church, killed. He did it to make political points with the people who hated the Jesus’ people. It was Passover and more Jews were in town so now he has Peter, a high profile Jesus cult member, arrested and sentenced to die too. Peter is just a political pawn to Herod. He is just trying to show the Jews that he is in control and don’t mess with him and try to unsettle Jerusalem as long as he is king.

          So Peter is arrested and in jail under heavy guard. 4 squads of soldiers at 6 shifts guard him around the clock. He is chained at the wrists to a guard on each side and shackles on his feet. It must have been very uncomfortable.

          The Christians gather to pray at a home for Peter’s release. They must have been wondering, If Peter gets killed – whose next?

God heard their prayers and sent one angel to release Peter from prison. Read the account from Acts 12:6-19.

          I wonder how I would feel if the night before my scheduled execution – I would b sleeping? The stress would be emotionally great. I would be praying for a miracle because of what happened to James. I don’t think sleep would be on my bucket list.

          Somehow Peter slept –deeply. He remained in peace while facing death in a few short hours – how? Certainly God was helping him but he played a part in this too. How did he manage to go to sleep?

You can’t remain in God’s peace and have your own agenda!

          If Peter had been focused on his own agenda – worried about his plans not coming to pass – worried about his own life – worried about the church who looked to him for leadership – his family?

          Here was a man that was somehow free from all that stuff that we are normally concerned about. Is is realistic to think we can deal with serious life issues, real responsibilities, family issues, financial pressures and and a multitude of demands placed on us and not get weighed down with stress? This is why we take vacations – to take a break from the pressure and stress and get away from it all!

          Is it possible to have what Peter had?

If Xns are stressed out – what kind of good news do they have?

          Our God commands us not to worry, not to fear, unload your cares on Him, trust Him – but our walk is so different! Most Xns are just as stressed out as the rest of the world.

Several years ago after I finished writing “Crossing Forbidden Boundaries” I had been asking God about what to write next. I had an encounter with God on the way to this church on a Sunday morning. God spoke so clear and said to me, “I am about to give you CPR.”

Contentment – Peace and Rest. I was so excited and was expecting a download of revelation. Years have come and gone and with several attempts at writing it but it has not come together yet. In the mean time I was expecting supernatural CPR in my own life and church.

          But the next few years things seem to go south fast. Struggles and division in the church, broken dreams, family dysfunction, on and off financial pressure and some personal burdens that almost crushed me.

I began to laugh at the idea of God wanting me to write a book telling the world how to live in CPR? The problem is I am the guy heavily burdened, sad, grieving, with my own share of depression and issues!

The same reason I felt disqualified to write this book is the same reason God said you are qualified.

          Whenever this book gets written, it is to be more than an “don’t worry – be happy – God is in control pep talk thing. Life is much more complex than that. I don’t know the details of how, when, and the outcome yet – it is a work in progress.

          My middle name is Wayne – burden bearer. I’ve wondered about that being a prophetic part of my life – learning to carry burdens assigned to your life with CPR.

          Think about the heavy load a freight train pulls.

Pic of freight train:

Actually the weight helps the momentum. Weight can work to our advantage to push forward with ease once we are moving in the right direction.

Life is not about getting rid of our burdens – it is about finding grace  to carry them with God to the place He wants us to go.

Psalm 55 Cast your burdens on the Lord – “on the Lord” who lives inside us. The burdens of our life don’t disappear because we cast them on the Lord – we find grace to carry them and then experience freedom from the heaviness in our soul, the grief, the sadness.

          It is living deep down in a heart level of freedom. Peter had to learn this – you and I have to learn this too and then share it with one another.

          Remember Peter walking on the water during a storm. Jesus did not say wait Peter until I turn off the wind and make the rain stop – now step out. Nothing changed – the storm kept on. The only thing that changed was Peter’s focus. Don’t focus on storm, your troubles, your fear of what may happen. His level of fear diminished as he focused on Jesus. A simple but profound truth for us too.

          We don’t get peace by getting rid of our problems. That may not be an option. Our peace comes from focusing on Jesus. He wants us to walk on top of burden and not go under by them.

          Why doesn’t He just take away our problems? Because they are the things that He uses to teach you to trust Him.

Near the end of his life he wrote I Peter 5:7. By then it was the voice of experience talking. He had been through several storms, prison, church strife, persecution but he learned to trust God with the unknown. He had become a strong spiritual father with CPR.

He did what Father’s want to do on father’s day – take a nap.

Jesus did too – He took a nap during a violent storm. You can sleep through storms once you know Who is really in charge.

Trusting God Brings Us Into His Rest

Wed teaching

 

Trusting God brings us into His rest.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;

He will never allow the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

“Cast your burden on the Lord {release the weight of it}

and He will sustain you {uphold you}; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken {slip, fall, or fail}.”  Amplified Bible

“your burden” = your lot assigned to you. Challenges, issues within your family.

“Cast” – to throw, hurl, or fling away from you. Releasing the weight of the burden.

We often live with a heavy heart and a burdened mind. God is inviting us to a better life that is experienced by putting our trust in Him.

Noah Webster said that trust is a resting of the mind.

Hebrew 4  tells us those who believe or trust God will enter His rest.

Ill. One of the ways I know I am truly trusting in God and not just trying to trust Him, is my soul is resting in God’s faithfulness. If I say I am trusting God but still worrying – then I have not cast my burden on the Lord. It is more than words – it is weight that lifts off of me and brings my soul rest.

          The problem is more than likely still there. You may still have to deal with it – but the heaviness is lifted from your soul. You continue functioning and doing what you have to do, but the stress of the burden making your life difficult is not weighing heavy on you.

          I know what it is like to say you trust God, yet you are still weighed down with many cares, still worrying, still afraid, and still miserable. I think the best thing to do is to be honest with God and yourself. He already knows the truth and will help you.

“Lord, I know I am supposed to trust You with my burden. I want to, but I have not been able to totally trust you with this. You know it and I know it. Will You please help me release the weight of my burden upon You. Show me how to put my trust You. In Jesus’s name.”

ill. In Mark 9 a father sought healing for his son. He told Jesus he believed, but he needed help for his unbelief. He was honest and he received his miracle.

-        We all are learning to trust God with some burden. It should not be hard because God is 100% trustworthy. But it still hard sometimes for us to trust Him. God knows this and is working with us to help us trust Him.

Ill. Like the man carrying a backpack of heavy rocks on his back and walking down the road. A man with a horse and wagon offers in him a ride. He gets on the wagon and keeps the backpack on. The driver of the wagon says, why don’t you take off that heavy backpack? The man says, ‘O, no I couldn’t do that. You were nice enough to give me a ride and I couldn’t ask you to carry my burden too! It makes no sense to trust the Lord with your salvation but not be able to trust Him with your burden.

This is like trusting the Lord but staying weighed down with burdens and cares.

Ill. One thing that might help is take some time and make a list of some times you have experienced God’s faithfulness in your own life.

-        God took care of us when . . .

-        God protected us when . . .

Why not make a list either mentally or write them down now like this:

My weights/burdens that are weighing heavily on me:

1.   Concern for a family member.

2.   Financial issues.

3.   Your health issues.

4.   Care for a loved one.

5.    

“Cast your burden on the Lord {release the weight of it}

and He will sustain you {uphold you}; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken {slip, fall, or fail}.”  Amplified Bible

Take a few moments and just talk to God about this and ask Him to help you now to release the weight of this burden off of you.

You will know that you are trusting God when your mind is able to rest and you have confidence that God has got it.  How will God help you? We don’t know all the ways, but He delights in surprising us as we put things into His hands and safekeeping.

According to scripture we are in partnership with God:

“God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, true to His promise, and can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” I Cor. 1:9 Amp.

A relationship with God is more than reading the Bible every morning.

He gave us the Holy Spirit who is called the Helper. He expects us to call on Him for help.

There are things in your life you feel responsible to “fix” but you have no idea what to do about them. There may be relationships to fix but you don’t know how to do it. Here is where you cast your burden on the Lord like this:

“Father, I put my relationship with ­­­________ into Your hands. I commit it to You and ask that You make it what You want it to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.” ­­­

It is not wonder people are stressed out. Unless they know how to trust God and release the weight of their burdens on Him, they will wear out eventually.

Mental exhaustion affects physical health. The mind needs the rests so the body can rest and heal.

“Come to Me all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest.”  Mtt. 11:28

What did Jesus do when He had a situation that would be classified as “trouble”? We have many examples of how He handled such situations. He prayed to His Father. Even when He felt abandoned by God while He was on the cross He prayed, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.”  = He trusted God.

God expects us to trust Him and learn to trust Him more!

What if God does not do what I am trusting Him to do for me?

          A perfect example of this is Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but (always) Yours be done.”  Luke 22:42

Sometimes we don’t know what God’s will is about something. A good way to think and pray is:

“Lord, I want what You want for me, even if I don’t know what that is!”

Getting our own way is highly overrated! Only God’s will ultimately satisfies us.

When we are young we think getting what we want is the most important thing in life. But as we grow older hopefully we learn to say, “I want God’s will more than I want my own will.’

God’s will is better than our will! We are created with free will and we can run our own lives for what we want, but thankfully we have another option, and that is to trust in the goodness of God. Isaiah said it this way:

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. .” Isaiah 9:7

The more we let God govern our lives, the more peace we will enjoy.

Trusting God brings us into His rest.

Trust the Anointing

Trust the Anointing

We often hear, “you can’t trust anyone these days.” It may be hard to find people to trust but it is not impossible. It is dangerous to become that cynical.

-         A woman who has been abused finds it hard to trust men. A child who has been molested by an authority figure (maybe even in the church) finds it hard to trust again.

-         Everyone has been hurt or disappointed by others at some time.

“Jesus did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all men . . . for He Himself knew what was in human nature.” John 2:24-25

We can trust people without placing our trust in them that really belongs only in God. You can decide to trust with your eyes wide open, meaning we know we live in a fallen world filled with disappointments.

You should trust people but with your eyes open, but you can trust God even with your eyes closed.

The good thing is God is willing to meet us where we are and help us to learn to trust Him. He does this by providing us opportunities where we need to trust Him.

“I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13

Paul had to have some experiences with God before he could confidently say this. You may not be able to confidently say this yet.  God is arranging opportunities for you to discover you can say this with absolute trust and live life boldly.

 “Christ” – The Anointed, anointing of Holy Spirit.

So you could say this scripture this way:

“I can do all things through the Anointing that strengthens me.”

In OT times prophets, priests, and kings would be anointed by God for a season but the Anointing did not remain on them. It would come and go.

When Jesus was baptized by John in the river He saw the HS came upon Jesus and “remained on Him”. The HS told John this was how he would recognize the One who will baptize with the HS. Specifically note the HS like a dove would REMAIN on Him – not come and go like on others.

Listen to what God told John the Baptist:

“The One on whom you see the Spirit descending AND REMAINING, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”  John 1:33

There is an anointing of HS for salvation, when you receive Jesus. You are now born by the Spirit as a child of God. The HS IS IN YOU to live inside you forever. He does not leave – He remains in you. Once you are saved you do not have to get saved again. You are blood bought, a child of God, sealed by His Spirit. HS remains in you. “I will never leave you.”

But there is another anointing of HS called the baptism of HS. This is a separate experience where HS comes UPON you.

What’s the difference?

Anointing of salvation – Holy Spirit in you for your sake.

Anointing of Baptism of Holy Spirit – upon you for other’s sake.

You can be saved and have HS in you but not yet be baptized with HS upon you with power to minister in the Anointing of Christ.

The difference is you have the anointing of HS in you but you have yet to receive the baptism of the HS UPON you. It is a separate and fresh anointing for the sake of others.

How do I get this? Just ask in faith.

“If you know how to give good gifts to your children how much more with the Father give the HS to those who ask Him.” Luke 11:13

          It is another touch, another anointing from God. Don’t get concerned about the initial way it manifests upon you – just ask and believe you receive just like you did when you got saved. Watch and wait for God to manifest the difference this anointing will make in you.

Ill. When prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house – he anointed David to be the next king of Israel. What’s interesting is after Samuel anointed him, he sent him back to take care of the sheep. For many more years David lived as a shepherd, but had a king’s anointing.

          For years he didn’t see anything changing. He wasn’t on the throne and all he was doing was “staying with the sheep.”

          You may feel like this. Nothing significant happening, yet you know you have a king’s anointing, you are a child of God but nothing seems to be happening.

          David learned a lot about God during this time. He wrote Psalm 23 and many other psalms while tending the sheep. He knew He was anointed by God and the had the help of God upon his life.  He could have written psalm 23 this way:

Because of the Anointing on me – the Lord is my Shepherd.

Because of the Anointing – I shall not want. . .

It was years later after King Saul died that the men of Israel came to anoint David as king over Israel. He was anointed king as a teenager but now the men came to anoint him again. He could have said, “Guys, no need. I’ve already been anointed for this!” But he understood the importance of having a fresh anointing. He welcomed it. So should we.

          Lord, I need a fresh anointing, new strength, new ideas, new creativity, new passion, new sight to see in a different way. God give me a fresh anointing to overcome this challenge/opportunity.

          Psalm 92 is subtitled “A psalm for the Sabbath day”

It was to be read on the Jewish day of rest. In verse 10:

“You (Lord), have anointed me with fresh oil, my eyes shall see the downfall of my enemies . . .”  Psalm 92:10

I see a connection here with resting in the Lord or trusting in the Lord and receiving a fresh anointing to face whatever challenge is before you.

Resting in the Lord means trusting in His faithfulness. It’s more than words. It is experiencing God’s faithfulness so that we have confidence to live boldly with positive expectation.

After Jesus baptism in Water there was His baptism in the HS. The HS in the form of a dove rested upon Him. Jesus began His ministry that day with the Anointing resting upon Him.

PIC of dove on Jesus

John saw it like a dove resting on Him.

-         Another resting place for the dove was Noah’s ark. The ark is a symbol of Christ. Made of wood (represents humanity) covered with oily tar (pitch) inside and out (represents HS in us and upon us) = 2 anointing’s of HS – inside and outside. We are “in Christ” like being safe in the ark.

 Immediately Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tested by the devil for 40 days. After He came out in the power of the Spirit and first thing He did was go into the synagogue on Sabbath day and read the next prescribed reading of scripture which just happened to be Isaiah 61 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has Anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, sent Me to heal broken hearted, preach deliverance to captives, recovery sight to blind, set at liberty those oppressed and to preach the jubilee year of the Lord.” After He read this He rolled up the scripture and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

          The people rose up in anger at Him and led Him to hill in Nazareth that they might throw Him off – but He walked through them.

It takes the Anointing to recognize the Anointing.  The people in the synagogue did not recognize the anointing.

The Anointing will cause other people to do good things for you, we call it favor, but it is due to the anointing. But the anointing will also cause some people to do bad things to you – persecute you, hate you.

It is not just flesh and blood – it is spiritual. Satan hates the anointing and he hates the anointed ones and persecutes them to try and make them miserable.

The Anointing is God on flesh, doing things flesh cannot do.
This is why we can say, “
I can do all things through the Anointing that gives me strength.”

Note how this is written: It is written in a way we can see that it is to be spoken. It is like a blank check you fill in the circumstance. When you come upon a difficulty you should speak this or at least whisper it to yourself.  

God has enabled us through the Anointing to do the same works Jesus did, things we could not do in the natural without Him. But how?

The Anointing is activated by faith and your mouth. The anointing is also deactivated by unbelief and your mouth.

          Quit telling yourself how difficult it is and start telling yourself out loud, “I am anointed for this.”

-         You are raising a difficult child – it takes a lot of energy and patience. You don’t see how you can continue. God did not just drop this on you and say do the best you can. He anointed you for this situation. “I can do all things through the Anointing …”

-         Your in a job you hate – You want something better but nothing has happened yet. Could it be God wants you there today. Your attitude needs to change so He can use you. You’ve been anointed to work in that difficult place.

Because you are anointed – you can do some things, endure some things that others cannot. God will get you through it, or move people around, maybe move you, but start learning how to trust in the anointing God has given you where you are today. You are anointed for where you are and for whatever challenges you will ever face.

You must see the anointing is greater than your problem. The anointing is greater than depression. The anointing is greater than cancer. The anointing is greater than fear. Say this with me out loud:

The anointing is greater than (name your burden)!

I can do all things through the anointing that gives me strength.

Nothing we go through is wasted in God. It either strengthened you, developed your discernment, build your trust in God, make you wiser.

Isaiah 10:27 describes how a yoke of burden and bondage will be broken off.

“In that day his burden shall be taken away off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck; and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”  Isa. 10:27

-         Other versions make it clear the yoke will be broken off the neck because the anointing causes the neck to grow and become fat so that it breaks the yoke.

The anointing in you will grow and increase as you remain sensitive to Holy Spirit, which is the presence of God in you.

Some burdens will break off you just because you grow in the anointing. Our part is to remain sensitive to the dove in and upon us.

Remember the Spirit like a dove landed on and remained on Jesus? What if a dove landed on your shoulder and you wanted it to remain upon you as you went about your day. How would you be able to keep the sensitive dove to remain on you?

Most people answer, very carefully. That is a good answer but not enough.

          It would require – every step, every move, every word must be made with the dove in mind. Remaining aware of Him and sensitive to what He wants. This is what it means to live in the Presence.

This is the key to having the HS rest UPON us. It is not a one-time experience. We have been chosen to carry the Presence of God in this world so people can see the the HS resting upon us!

          In the Old Testament the priests carried the Presence (Ark of the Covenant) on poles on their shoulders. The Presence was not to be carried in an ox cart (man made). God will not rest on anything we make – He will only rest on us!

So how well are we carrying the Presence of God into this world? There are 2 guiding scriptures that will help you in keeping aware of this unique relationship with HS.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” Eph. 4:32  - a command not to cause sorrow or pain because of something we do with our lives. Don’t hold anger or grudges. Be quick to forgive. Love mercy like God does.

“Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” I Thes. 5:19  a command about co-laboring with HS so as not to stop the flow, or extinguish His fire. When the Spirit is flowing we are to flow with Him.

The promise land was described as a “land FLOWING with milk and honey”.  You quench the Spirit when you do not flow with Him. It takes trusting God, trusting the Anointing to be able to flow with Him.

God gives us the Holy Spirit in us for our sake,

But He gives the Holy Spirit upon us (baptism) for other’s sake.

Concl: God has plans for us that will require us to let go and trust Him in ways we have never had to trust before. This is your adventures with God. When you get saved, you get saved from the penalty of sin but there’s more. You get saved to live a purpose led life. There is a new government in you. You have got to learn to trust the anointing!

          He wants all of your life to come under His government now.

“Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end. . .” Isaiah 9:7

          The more we let God govern our lives the more peace we will enjoy. Who is in the driver’s seat of your life?

          I recommend letting Him drive. Don’t try to take the wheel from Him when He starts to take you in a direction you don’t want to go. Learn to let Him lead and learn to trust the Anointing you have from Him.

I can do all things through Christ (The Anointing) that strengthens me.

He can open doors that no man can shut and close the doors that He does not want you to go through. Trust Him and Trust the Anointing He has given you for this life.

Wed Night Teaching 6-5-19

Wed night teaching

Paul writes a letter to Timothy in 64 AD. God inspired this letter and made it part of our Bible. Paul is writing from prison in Rome awaiting his death. He is like a father who wants to leave some vital instructions his spiritual son who is a pastor of a large church.

Paul has fond memories of his time with Timothy:

“I continually remember you in my prayers”

“remembering your tears”, “remembering your genuine faith that was both in your grandmother, and your mother and now in you. 

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands.”  2 Tim. 1:6

          What was this gift? It is not clear but it is a gift from God.

Gift = charisma – gift of God’s grace that empowers you to do something you could not do on your own to help God’s people.

          Every child of God has been given a spiritual gift.

Everyone needs to discover their gift and calling from God.

-        It takes time, prayer, and taking a test ride.

Everyone needs to develop their gift and calling. Use it/lost it.

Everyone needs to deploy their gift where it benefits others.

Note Paul’s words to Timothy about his gift.

“I remind you to stir up the gift of God.”  Stir up – ana-zo-pur-a-o

-        To rekindle the flame, to strengthen. Just because you have a gift does not mean it is being used to the fullest degree.

-        We need to stir each other up in the things of God, but ultimately it is our responsibility to stir up our gift.

ill. Self talk may be one way to stir up your gift. Preach to yourself. When negative thoughts come into your mind – don’t fight thoughts with thoughts – fight thoughts with spoken words. It may sound silly but it works and it is biblical. Psalm 42 – Eph. 5:19.

I wonder what was Paul was concerned about in Timothy to tell him this in his last letter from prison? Some commentators say Paul must have known Timothy to be a rather timid person at times and one who would rather avoid conflict. It’s possible. But the next verse gives us better insight.

“For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE, AND SELF CONTROL.”  2 Tim. 1:7

Here the voice of an older father telling a younger son these words.

“Timothy remind yourself you have been given the gift of the HS. I may not ever see you again but don’t you become afraid and don’t you forget you have HS in you.

          Because of HS in you, we must face suffering in a new way.

We must face everything in a new way. There is a future. There is a high calling, there is persecution, there is opposition, there is an enemy. I see it all but the Spirit of God lives in me and you and He has not given us a spirit of fear!

          Since God has not given us a spirit of fear, what then has He given us?

God has not given us the spirit of fear BUT OF POWER

          NOTE this is what he puts first and rightly so.

We have a task, we know our weaknesses, but there is power from God even for weaklings. There is power from God for that!

          Are you afraid? God knows. But there is power from God for that!

Do you fear you won’t be able to live the Xn life or be a witness when opportunity comes – you won’t know what to say? There is power available from God for that.

“For God is the One working in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13

Paul is telling Timothy and God is telling us tonight, you don’t face life and all the fears with your own power. God has given you a spirit of power – go forward – He will be with you. Even if you have to face death – it will be with power. It is already given you.

          What you and I have to do when we are tempted to be afraid or depressed  by things against us is to say to ourselves,

I have Holy Spirit, and He is the spirit of power in me to overcome whatever is opposing me.

The next thing Paul mentions to overcome fear is Love.

God has not given me the spirit of fear, but POWER and LOVE

I wonder why Paul put this second? There is a superb bit of psychology here for placing love as second. The main cause of all fear is somehow always connect to – self. Self preservation, self concern, self love. The essence of fear is usually because we are looking at ourselves. For the most part we are a people obsessed with ourselves and most of our fears come from self in some way. “What if I fail? What are people going to think of me?

It is here where the spirit of love comes in. There is only one way to get rid of self or one cure for self.

Ill. The fatal fallacy of men and women who became monks and nuns to try and get away from the world was – you still can’t get away from yourself. You crucify or mortify your flesh  - how?

          As long as you are trying to crucify your flesh you are still focusing on it. The more you try to crucify it the more you are focusing on it.

There is only one way to overcome self – that it is to be absorbed in someone or something else so you don’t have time to think about yourself.

          God has given us the spirit of love. It is not hard to love God because God has given us His love to love Him. This love we have is to love God – focus on God who is the Spirit of love. So talk to yourself about this amazing love of God for us – Who in spite of our sin planned a way to rescue us by not sparing His own Son.

-        Think about this God who left the glory of heaven born as a baby in a manger, worked as a carpenter, endured sinners persecution, was spat upon, beaten, wore a crown of thorns and there He is on the cross. What is He doing there?

-        He is taking my place so I can be forgiven. Think of this love and you will soon forget about yourself.

This is what you have been given by God. Say it with me:

God has not given me the spirit of fear, but He has given me POWER, and LOVE

The third thing God has given us is a sound mind or self control.

It is the ultimate antidote to the spirit of fear. Your individual temperament may be to be nervous, or easily frightened, but if you are born again you have been given a sound mind –self control from God.

          You may need to exercise it – practice it – say it to yourself but you have it. In fact, Jesus said this long before Paul said it to Timothy.

Ill. You remember when Jesus sent out the disciples to teach. He warned them they might be hated and persecuted in some places. He added they might be put in jail and put on trial for their lives. He went on to say, “When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak; for it will be given you in that same hour what to speak.”

You need not be afraid, or lose your nerve – the spirit of a sound mind or self control from God will be given you. He will either restrain you from saying anything or tell you exactly what to so.

The point is: We are not living this life by ourselves. We are not alone. We are not just ordinary humans. We are supernaturally born of the Spirit of God. We have the HS and He has given us His spirit of power, love and self control.

Therefore, if you are prone to fear or depression start speaking these words out loud to yourself into the atmosphere:

I am a child of God. I have the gift of the Holy Spirit living in me. I am never alone or without help. I will not allow any form of fear to grip me. God has not given me the spirit of fear. Instead He has given me His Spirit of power, and His Spirit of love, and His Spirit of a sound mind and self control. I am well able and fully equipped for whatever  is ahead. I am not afraid of the future.

Time Limit

Time Limit

Intro: Today is June 2nd! We are in the middle of the year with only 211 days until year 2020. We just attended our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation. I graduated high school 44 years ago – Pic.  Pam and I will have been married 44 years on 9-11.  Life is flying by. WE can’t relive our earlier life. Once this day is over you can’t get it back. All you keep is a snapshot in your memory.

          Song lyrics: I use to party all night till the break of dawn.

                              I could shake it on down till the cows come home.

                              I could cockle doodle doo like the red rooster does,

                              The older I get the better I was.

I heard about a man walking in the airport and saw a sign above a machine that said “know your future, 50 cents”. He put 50 cents in and the machine said, “Your name is John Smith. You are scheduled to fly to Boston on flight 220.” He couldn’t believe it. He stopped a man walking by and said look at this – this thing knows my future. The man shrugged his shoulders and kept walking. He reached into his pocket for more change but did not have any. He walked across to the newsstand and had to wait in long line but finally got some change and went and put it back into machine. This time the machine said, “Your name is still John Smith, but you fooled around with this machine so long you just missed your flight to Boston!”

We must remember not to get distracted with things that don’t matter because we have a time limit here on earth. We don’t have time to waste but we do have enough time to do the things God has planned for us to do.

Ill. I’ve heard people give young people what they considered was good advice like, “while you are young make all the money you can and get set for life then you can retire early.” But is that the best thing you can do with your limited amount of time? If you are busy making all the money you can you may not be doing what God has planned for your limited amount of time.

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows ME . . .”
Jer. 9:23-24

To glory means to shine or boast about. To know God intimately is the supreme calling of our life. The Westminster confession by the Anglican church in 1600’s asked and answered life’s most important question:

 What is the chief end of man?

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Do you enjoy God? The leading theologians in the 1600’s decided that this was the purpose of mankind. It was not to be rich, famous, or live long, but simply to glorify God with your life and enjoy Him forever.

“He has shown thee, O mortal man, what the Lord requires of thee. To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8

“You are just a little vapor that appears then quickly vanishes away.” James 4:14

“Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how transient I am.” Psalm 39:4  

How long do you plan on living? You don’t have much control over that.

“Don’t ask God to add years to your life, but to add life to your years.”

          Ill. This past week an acquaintance of ours committed suicide. I reached out to him the week before by phone and the other day I learned he took his life. How sad.

          Certainly God had plans for this life. You’re not here on earth just taking up space. God put talents and gifts in you. With life comes responsibility to become what God created you to be.

Eccl. 7:17 tells us it is possible to die before your time. If you take foolish risks that endanger your life you could die before your appointed time.

Only King Hezekiah in OT knew the exact time of his death. God told Elijah to tell him God had lengthened his time for 15 more years.

The rest of us do not know the time of our death. It may be a long time from now or only days, weeks away.

The point is since life is short – we must not waste our life on things that do not matter. Don’t get involved in fighting battles God has not called you to fight. When you realize your days are numbered – you don’t respond to every criticism or to every call to some good cause.

When you live realizing you have a time limit you live differently:

You don’t get offended easily – you let go and trust God.

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

One reason people lose their joy is because they go to bed each night with anger or un-forgiveness in their heart. They are re-living their hurts and thinking about their disappointments. The problem is if your sun goes down with anger – it comes back up in the morning in anger. If your sun goes down in unforgiveness then your sun rises in the morning with un-forgiveness. It drains you emotionally and physically making you age in your body before your time.

When you go to bed at night say to God, “Lord, I am releasing every negative thing that has happened to me today. I am releasing every hurt, every worry, every disappointment, forgiving those who did me wrong. I am going to sleep in Your peace and wake up to a new day.

“Disappointments are inevitable, but misery is optional.”

Ill. Thomas Edison’s son, Charles tells the true account of when Edison’s lab caught fire at night and burned to the ground. All the celluloid film, records, and notes were destroyed. At 67 when many people would have said, “What did I do to deserve this, I’ve lost everything I worked for.” Instead Edison said to his son, “go get your mother to see this incredible fire!” The next morning he met with his team of workers and said, “We are going to re-build. Does anyone know where we can get some money?” After that he rolled up his coat into a pillow and took a nap. Wow, what a positive attitude.

Someone said, “You can be either pitiful or powerful, but you can’t be both, so make up your mind.”

Be careful who you let get close enough to influence you. Jesus did even with the twelve – only Peter, James and John were called for some greater times with Jesus.

There might be some friends you need to lose in order to make some new ones. Ill. A lady was re-evaluating her friendships. Her voice mail said, “Sorry I missed your call. I am making some changes in my life. Leave a message but if I don’t call you back, please know that you were one of those changes.”

Sometimes certain friends were good for you at the time. People are like scaffolding. They were designed to give you support for a while. But after the building is built you don’t let the scaffolding stay in place.  But now you’ve grown more than they have and its time to move on. Appreciate the people who have helped you, honor them, but you can tell when their position in your life has changed.

The people closest to you are influencing your life for good or bad!

Ill. In Mark 5 Jesus was going to a house to pray for a little girl who died. When He arrived at the house scripture says He did not allow anyone to go in with Him except Peter, James and John.

          When you are in a battle and need a breakthrough, you don’t need people around you asking, “Do you think you’re going to be able to make it? You don’t need someone to try and talk you out of it.

Jesus said to those in the room, “This girl is not dead, but sleeping.”

“They laughed at Him in ridicule. But when He put them all out.  He showed them the door! Jesus was bold enough to say, “I don’t need your doubt about My destiny.

It may be difficult but you cannot fulfill your destiny with a critical spirit over your shoulder telling you to quit. You may have to learn to love some people from a distance. Don’t let them inside to drain your tank. Limit your time around them.

Ill. I had an issue with someone and tried to resolve it as best I could to no avail. Every night it was renting space in my mind even though I forgave them. One day I was surprised how God told me to end the relationship immediately because it was draining me. Cut them lose and let them go NOW! It was poisoning me and God said it was enough. I still love them but - from a distance.

  When God created you He already had in mind the number of your days and supplied the strength to equal your days.

“As your days are, so shall your strength be.” Deut. 33:25

          How am I going to deal with this? God has ordained that your strength will always match your opposition! He knew the day your giant would oppose you. He knew the day the bad medical report would come. He is whispering to you one of my favorite comforting scriptures.

“God is my refuge and strength, a very present Help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth be removed, thought the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters roar and foam. . . BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” Psalm 46  

Ill. Driving in Tenn. we have a 4 cylinder car and times going up steep winding mountain roads it seems like our little car couldn’t make it. All of a sudden you could feel the passing gear kick in and hear the engine roar like it took off with new power. This is like us – we have strength in reserve we never tap into to make it up that steep hill.

          God has some hidden strength in reserve for you. You have strength, creativity that you have yet to discover.

I am learning that the closer I get to the destiny God has for us the tougher our battles become. Nothing you’re facing is a surprise to Him! He knows every hill, every disappointment, every set back.

He said His grace is sufficient so you will never come to a mountain that you don’t already have the grace to make it over! It is called finishing grace.

God would not have allowed it if you couldn’t handle it!

Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor, to encourage him. He said this,

“Stir up the gift of God, which is in you.” 2 Tim. 1:6

-        Literally “fan into flame”. – the fire of God starts to die down.

-        It’s good to have friends help us with this but ultimately it is our responsibility.

It’s interesting to me that the next verse after this is this,

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind (self control).”
2 Tim. 1:7

Connect the two and you can see how the enemy uses fear to put out your fire for God, your passion for life. Fear in the form of words like, “It is never going to get any better. There’s no hope. It’s over you might as well quit. You’re done here.”

If you don’t guard your fire, then someone or something will put it out.

How many times have you heard someone say that what they thought was the worst thing that could happen to them ended up being one of the best things that every happened to them?

Our part of learning to abide in Christ is to quit letting things that happen steal our joy. Life is too short to live it negative, offended or bitter, or discouraged. If we stay calm and stay in faith, God promises He will show us the way, so don’t let the enemy intimidate you. You don’t have time to waste on worry, fear, or offenses. Some of these are nothing more than little foxes sent to spoil your fruit on the vine.

Most of us have heard the scripture, “Greater is He that is in you that he that is in the world.” But the context of it says more,

“You are of God, little children, and you HAVE overcome them, BECAUSE greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

 I John 4:4

          If only we lived in this kind of confidence!

Ill. Man was having a big party at his house. His swimming pool was filled with sharks and alligators. He announced to guests, “To anyone who will swim across this pool, I’ll give you anything you want.” Seconds later a big splash and a man was swimming frantically across the pool. To the amazement of everyone he made it across the pool. The wealthy man came over and said, “You are the bravest man I ever met. Tell me what can I give to you?”

          The man looked around and answered, “What I want more than anything else, is the name of the person who pushed me in!”

Point: Sometimes it may feel like we got pushed in to something bad that we were not expecting. A bad medical report, a sudden unexpected expense. It was a surprise to us but not to God. It feels like someone pushed you in. Stay in faith and do the best you can and trust God to help you. If God did not stop it – you and He can handle it.

Concl:  You don’t have time to waste on things God has not appointed for you. You do have time to do the things God has for you to do.

T – Today’s
I -   Interests (affects)
M -My
E -  Eternity

What are you focusing on?
What should you be focusing on?
What do you need to let go of?
When are you going to do it?

“Life is like a vapor.” “Teach me to number my days that I might apply my heart unto wisdom.”

Scripture tells us one thing is always for today. “Today is the day of salvation.” – Never put off your need to settle your salvation with God by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 “boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”