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.”

Getting an Abundant Mentality

Getting an Abundant Mentality

I woke up Monday morning hearing in my mind the song, “It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”

          I thought of the scene where an army was sent to capture Elijah the prophet’s house and his servant woke up in the morning to see army surrounding them. He panicked and told Elijah who remained calm and could have sung this song.

He had enough experience with God to know that

“Things are not always as they appear.”  

Satan is after our minds because the mind affects everything.

Ill. Head lock the body will follow.

Psychosomatic illnesses. Psych = mind and soma = body

Satan attacks the mind in order to affect the body.

A major part of healing is renewing the mind, putting new thoughts in it and getting rid of the bad old thoughts and then healing the body.

You know God created your body with the healing already inside it!

Immune system – your blood coagulates.

Ill. I’ve often wondered why God did not manifest a healing in some people when I have prayed in His name but some were instantly manifesting healing. Now I wonder if it because – if they do not change their mind from their anxious filled thoughts or doubts then it would do no good. Their body healed and then before the day the sickness is back.

Get healed in body but keeping the same sick mindset that is causing the sickness. This is why Satan so viciously attacks the mind. If he can get a stronghold in the mind – the sickness will stay or if it leaves it will come back.

Satan is a terrorist against your mind. He suggests anxious thoughts and we either agree with him or resist him!

How do we combat thoughts?      

Don’t fight thoughts with thoughts.

 Fight thoughts with speaking out loud to yourself.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted with me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him for the help of His presence.”  Psalm 42:5

Who is the psalmist talking to? He is overcoming overwhelming thoughts by talking out loud to himself! You have to speak out loud to yourself to overcome oppressive thoughts. The power of life and death is in the tongue!

Salvation does not happen with just your belief alone! It happens the moment you believe but also confess with your mouth.

“for with the heart one believes unto righteousness AND WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION.” Romans 10:10

ill. This week I made an order on line for some service to be done. Monday they were scheduled to come to do the service. For some reason I thought Monday morning I should check on it. I made a call and waited until I could talk to a live person. I found out my order never made it to them. The point is I had to speak with my mouth rather than just make an order on line.

-        Some things don’t work until you speak them out loud. For example, “I believe that I have received.” It is true of salvation too.

As far as attacks from the enemy to overwhelm us, God will allow the enemy to be used to test our faith, until we learn not to panic or let anything disturb our peace.

-        God provides us with opportunities to practice via the enemy.

When we begin our walk with God we are very erratic – up and down. The disciples were like this too. (Show on board). The more we walk with God through storms and trials the more we level off and gain confidence in Him.

WE are like the blind man Jesus healed in Mark 8. We are no longer blind but we still do not see clearly, we “see men as trees”.

This act was not for the man’s sake but as an illustration to the disciples. They had just seen miracles of Jesus feeding 5k and 4k.

We see miracles of provision from God for us but we still panic the next time we have a unexpected need.

Everything we go through is a test – we lose our peace over things we should not panic over. God is trying to teach us He is our Helper and Provider, Healer, Shepherd. He has got us! When unexpected things happen – He is asking us – “where is your faith?”

Ill. When Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and a violent storm came suddenly – it was a test. Jesus was purposely asleep in the back of the boat. So when they woke up Jesus and He calmed the storm, why did He say to them, “where’s your faith?”

-        Because they just saw a miracle of Jesus feeding 5k and 4k. The storm was simply a test. After you have seen miracles your faith and confidence should be at a high – so that the next time a need arises you are at peace because your confidence is high in the Lord. It is all about getting our minds under control.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.” Isaiah 26:3

How do you get your mind stayed on Him?

It takes practice!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanks giving let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:6-7

Prayer – communicate with God.

Supplication – requests according to His promises

Thanksgiving – trust and confidence in God.

“Peace of God” keeps or guards your heart and mind so that panic and fear cannot invade like a terrorist.

This peace of God passes understanding – our ability to comprehend. Before we can have the peace that passes understanding we have to get passed our need to understand.

-        We have to practice bringing our minds to stay at peace.

“Count it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing the trying of your faith works patience. Let patience have her perfecting work in you that you may be perfected and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

“lacking nothing” = abundant mentality

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack).”

Ill. Sometimes God does not allow a deal to go through because He has something better. We need to learn how not to be anxious! It takes practice. Maybe you trying to get a loan and it will not go through. Could it be God does not want this or He has something better?

Sometimes God gives us our requests but sends leanness unto our souls.

Even then God is so kind – He helps us when we repent and see things His way.

WE can get anxious when we don’t see things happening that we expected God to do by now. Sometimes God is doing a work but you can’t see it from where you are.

Ill. Like watching a tree grow. Daily it looks like nothing is happening. Forget about it and come back years later and see.

Paul prayed a prayer:

“I pray that the revelation of your eyes be enlightened . . .” Ephesians 1:18

The way we know our mind is renewed and we have an abundant mentality is we will have peace that passes all understanding and face all of life’s uncertainties with confidence we did not have before.

If anything disturbs your peace that God gave you – that means you are not exercising authority over it – it is exercising authority over you. The peace God gave you is capable of overwhelming anything the enemy can throw at you.

Abundance

Abundance

The beginning of this year I was asking God for a word He wanted me to focus on. That one simple word was abundance. I wondered abundance of what?

Abundance – a large quantity of something. More than enough.

Abundant life -  overwhelmed with the abundance of grace and goodness of God. 

We are either being overwhelmed by the enemies deceptions – things are not as they appear, or we are being overwhelmed with the abundance of grace and goodness of God!

          Satan’s weapon is deception.

When the enemy comes in LIKE A FLOOD – to overwhelm us.

Ill. Movie Shack the man Mac is out on lake in boat. Suddenly fearful thoughts bombard him – he begins to panic – it appears the boat is sinking with black sludge creeping up around him. Suddenly Jesus appears outside the boat and says, “Mac, look at me. Stop looking at the boat. It is not real Mac. Look at me- keep your eyes on Me. As he does the dark images that seemed so real disappeared and everything became calm.

We are either going to be overwhelmed by the enemies deceptions, or be overwhelmed by the abundance of God for us.

I think God has been wanting me to focus on abundance because I have been focused on the enemies lies.

          When you have been under pressure for a long time and not seen the breakthroughs you thought you would see by now, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the enemy. Maybe you have like me have been playing the same old records in your mind.

“Nothing is changing. It’s never going to get any better than this. My best days are over. I’ll never get my house paid off or get out of debt. So and so will never change.”

Ill. Quentin has been telling me for a long time that he knows God wants to bless me in every way – family, finances, church growth. He said God set you up in this church to bless you!

I would listen and say well I am all for that. What’s keeping Him from doing it.

 Then he said to me – You are. You are keeping Him from doing it. You have got to change your mind set! You don’t think He wants to bless you abundantly! You think He just wants to bless you to get by.

It is not humility to think God really shouldn’t bless your life with abundance like He has for others. It is pride.

I started recalling some abundance scriptures. Jn 10:10

          Question: Am I living the abundant life that Jesus came to give?

David wrote Psalm 23.

The Lord is my Shepherd = relationship

I shall not want = provision

He makes me lie down in green pastures = rest

He leads me beside still waters = refreshment

He restores my soul = healing

He leads me in the paths of righteousness = guidance

His names’ sake = purpose

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow

Of death = testing

I will fear no evil = protection

For you are with me = faithfulness

Your rod and staff comfort me = discipline

You prepare a table before me in the presence of

my enemies = hope

You anoint my head with oil = anointing

My cup runneth over = abundance

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the

Days of my life = blessing

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord = security

Forever = eternity

One of the names for God is El-Shaddai – the God of more than enough- the overwhelming God, abundant God.

Psalm 35 says, “LET THEM SAY CONTINUALLY, ‘Let the Lord be magnified who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His children.”

 Psalm 35:27

Note the people of God were supposed to go around continually saying, God takes pleasure in prospering me!

It was a way to help me develop the mindset for abundance!

Your life is moving towards what you are constantly thinking and talking about. Ill. If you have a headlock on someone then their body will follow where you take their head. The same is true spiritually. Your thinking in your head will lead your body there.

Eph. 3:20 I quoted this then the last part captured my thoughts.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly ABUNDANTLY beyond all that we ask or imagine, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US . . .”  Eph. 3:20

I had preached on this before emphasizing how we partner with God and then His power works through us abundantly.

-        I know God is a covenant God – a God who likes to make covenants with us. He does His part and then has us do our part.

-        You got to know if the enemy knows you are expecting abundance from God then he is going to do everything the opposite to change your mind.

This week when I saw this verse I thought this is what is hindering us from the abundance God wants us to have! There is a power working in us that is either working for God’s purposes or against His purposes – it is in us.

Our mindset can be a hindrance to the abundance God wants to give us.

Ill. Israel had been slaves to Egypt for over 400 years. It was a life of drudgery and lack and barely making ends meet. One day God brought them out of slavery and took them into the desert and told them about a land of abundance He wanted them to have – Promise land.

The land where grapes were so large it would take two men to carry. Described as “the land flowing with milk and honey” – flowing means it never stopped – it never ran out = abundance.

          Do you believe it is God’s desire to bring you into His abundance now in this life? Is it hard for you to believe God wants to bless your socks off materially – wealth – and so many good things?

The problem with Israel was they had been slaves so long they still had a slave mentality or poverty mentality. “I’ll never get ahead. Things just don’t turn out good for me. I’ll never get a better job. This is all I will ever have. My parents never had much so we are like them.”

You limit God with this kind of settlement mentality. Pam preached a great message titled, “Don’t settle!”

Ill. Accident lawyers on TV – specialize in settlements not court cases.

Ill. Parable prodigal son- When Father (who represents God) saw him He said “Go kill the fatted calf – let’s have a party.” The fatted calf was the best. Notice he didn’t say – get that skinny goat, it will be enough cause I’m saving the fatted calf for something better!

God is not cheap. He is extravagant.

Ill. This idea came to me when I was flying back home on mission trip to Honduras. While sitting in plane I was reviewing what good was accomplished on this trip. I asked God what was one thing He really liked the most on this trip. My mind went to an orphanage we visited and after missionaries did a Bible lesson for all the kids. Our team just played with the kids in the open courtyard. At one point music was playing and everyone was dancing just having fun swaying back and forth. One little 9 year old girl named Sonya caught my eye. She wasn’t dancing just sitting by herself. I asked one of the workers about her. She was new, parents either died or family too poor to keep her. So slow dancing music was played over the oud speakers in the courtyard. I asked her to dance with me. She hesitated like she did not know how or want to. Eventually she joined me looking like, “I don’t know what to do.” I showed her to put her feet on top of my feet and hold my waist. She did and we danced all around the courtyard with her big smile and laugh.” I had forgotten about that moment till back on the plane.

I asked the Lord why He liked that moment so much. He said to me that is what I sent you to Honduras for. What? To dance with Sonya. Why?

She will never have a father to dance with her when she gets married so I sent you to dance with her now. God is very extravagant!

God has ways to increase your life with abundance that you cannot even imagine.

Ill. Imagine Israel (over million people) in desert and God supernaturally provided manna every day. When they complained about wanting meat to eat God supernaturally sent probably over 2 – 5 million quail for them to eat, out in a desert where there are no quail! And not just quail for one meal but an abundance, more than enough.

God said in Exodus to Israel and He is saying to us to: I am bringing you out of the land of affliction and into the land flowing with milk and honey. But we have to believe Him and cooperate.

-        That generation did not believe God for abundance and died in the wilderness – not God’s plan.

-        They wanted Him to lay it in their lap but God wanted them to believe Him in spite of the obstacles in the way.

On the Border Moses sent 12 spies. Most people only remember 2 names of the twelve. Majority rules – you can’t go with the majority and expect to have God’s abundance – even in the church!

Ill. People born and raised in the great Depression grew up poor compared to our lifestyle today. What I noticed is the lack mindset can still cling to them.

Sometimes this translates into thinking it is wrong for me to have a nice house or car. “God, doesn’t want me to have too much!”

If God can get it through you – He will give it to you!

          Ill. Sometimes God gives us money or things not for us but so we can have the joy of partnering with God to give it to someone else in answer to their prayers.

There is nothing wrong with having money or even great wealth.  The key is don’t let money or wealth have you. Don’t let it have the focus of your life. Don’t seek the provision – seek the Provider – He has plenty.

God is not limited by your circumstances or your finances or your lack of education, or your disability. We need to get into agreement with God. First thing is asking Him to help us think like He thinks and renew our mind.

Ill. In my journal this week I asked God to help me have the revelation of abundance that HE wants me to have in my life.

Almost immediately this scripture came to my mind.

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely give us all things.  Romans 8:32

God is not holding back on us – we are holding back on believing that He wants to do exceedingly above and beyond all we can think or ask.

Another scripture that I read later is:

May the Lord God of your fathers increase you a thousand times more than you are. Deut. 1:11

Can you believe God really wants to bless you like this? Can you receive it?  A thousand times more health. A thousand times more peace, joy. Things money can’t buy as well as things money can buy.

Concl: I ask you to join me in meditating and talking to God about abundance for your life, this church, for my life, for this area.

I have had ideas for years for ministries I know would greatly bless this area like a pregnancy care center in downtown Wildwood, a Bible school to prepare people for ministry, a children’s home, a shelter for battered women and other things – but it will take God and people with an abundant mindset and generosity to get there. 

Wed 5-15-19 teaching

Wed teaching

“I will help you says the Lord, your Redeemer. See I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument with double edges; you shall thresh mountains, and beat them small and the wind shall carry them away. You shall rejoice in the Lord and glory in Him.” Isa. 41:15-16

What do you think are these mountains that God wants to help us beat them small? High places that seem immovable.

You may think your mountains are your problems, but God sees your mountains are your assignment.

Your mountains are challenges that look impossible to overcome. It may be a mountain of financial burdens. Mountain of health issues, mountain of broken family relationships.

Name your mountains!

Mountains to cut down with God’s Word in your mouth.

Mountain of health burdens.

Mountain of family burdens.

Mountain of financial burdens.

Mountain of ?

Tell me according to this scripture what God wants to be to us > Helper and Redeemer.

How will He do this? Note: He is not taking away the problem or assignment. He is helping us face it with His Word coming out of our mouth. It is like God setting us up in situations that look like there is no way to succeed – no way to prosper. Then He takes pleasure in putting this weapon of double edges to take down mountains?

What is this sharp instrument with double edges that will take down my mountains that seem impossible? The personal words God gives me to hide in my heart but then speak is like a sword coming out of my mouth.

You should be collecting Words that get yoru attention about your challenges. Keep a note book and use them in times of prayer.

 Mountain of health problems:

I Peter 2:24 I am healed. Psalm 103:3, redeemed from curse Gal. 3:13 . 

Mountain of financial burdens – Phil 4:19, 2Cor. 9:6. Mal. 3:10 God rebukes the devourer for me.

Mountain of family burdens – Isa. 54:13, Psalm 127:3

Example:

Father, Your Word says my children shall be taught of the Lord and great will be their peace (Isa. 54:13.) You said that children are the heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is a reward (Psa 127:3). You said blessed would be the fruit of my body (Deut. 28:4). In Proverbs 11:21 that the seed of the righteous would be delivered. Your Spirit is operating in the life of ­­­­­­­-------- because I am praying for them. I come against the evil spirit that is operating in their life and bind that power in Jesus name. I call them into their destiny You have for them. No weapon formed against them shall prosper. Holy Spirit I call for You to draw them to Yourself and cross their path with Spirit filled believers who will help them get on your path for their life. I thank You for this victory in Jesus’ name.

The end result will be this.

“You shall rejoice in the Lord and glory in Him.” Isa. 41:16

                              AND

“that people may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isa. 41:20

1.   First He is helping us find the right Word from His Word for our situation. This is on-going but we must be paying attention to what is traveling through your mind.

But what does the Word say, “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”  Romans 10:8

          This is a quote from Deut. 30:11-14.

Paraphrase: This Word from God is not hidden from you , nor is is far off. It is not high up in heaven so that you should say who will go up to heaven and get us the word so we can hear it and do it? It is not across the sea so that we should say who will go and bring it to us? It is near you , in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may do it.

Faith is a gift God placed in your heart when born again.

Every man has been given a measure of faith -  Romans 12:3

God places hope in your heart so you can have joy and peace while you are believing for your mountain to move. – Romans 15:13         

Your born again spirit believes the Word – it jumps to life when it hears it.

Your soul is the battleground – mind – where Satan tries to talk you out of trusting God. “It’s not going to work, nothing changes.”  

One of the ways you know you are listening to Satan’s broadcast to your mind is you begin to worry. Worry is meditation on his words.

          Your mind is tuned to listen to a broadcast.

FM channel = failure mode

AM channel = abiding mode

Another way you can tell where your soul is tuned is by listening to your own words coming from your mouth.

2.   HS will coach us to step up and speak to the mountain the Word He gave us.

Why speak out words to our mountains? Because they are speaking to you. When you start to speak out loud what the Word says about it, then your mountains don’t look so formidable. You are going to your war room – great movie.

Every time you speak the Word to it – you are cutting down it’s size.

One day it will be so tiny that the wind will blow it away like chaff.

“The power of life and death are in the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Proverbs 18:21

God could take down our mountains without us but He choose to partner with us – for us to be yoked with Him to learn.

“All the promises of God are yes and amen in Him, to the glory of God THROUGH US.”  2 Cor. 1:20

 Our lives including our mountains are to glorify God. that people may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isa. 41:20

Activate The Blessing

Activate The Blessing

I read this past week this scripture and thought about what my own eyes have seen. When God said this about Israel it was desert.

“the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, it shall blossom abundantly.” Isaiah 35:1-2

          For thousands of years the land of Israel was just a parched no man’s land. Yet God declared this is what the land of Israel will be.

Today is is a rich and plush garden landscape that exports citrus fruits, diamonds, petroleum, minerals from the dead sea, tourism.

          Israel is a sign to the world that God can take a desert wasteland that no one sees any value in and make it something great!

          His specialty is taking people that no one sees any value in and making them into something great. He is genius at this!

“God . . . calls those things that do not exist as though they did.” Romans 4:17

He wants us to be like Him in this regard.

The Bible calls the saints kings and priests of God here on this earth. Kings and priests declare things with their authority using words.

The first thing God blessed in creation was man. During 6 days of creation God pronounced what He made as good. But man and woman He blessed so they would be able to impart the blessing.

God blessed them and said to them,

-         Be fruitful = be productive

-         Multiply = increase

-         Replenish = fill and restore

-         Subdue = rule, bind and loose

They had the power to rule over the earth because they had the blessing! This blessing can be stolen!

Ill. Remember Jacob and Esau? Esau had the blessing but did not appreciate it. His twin brother deceived him into giving the blessing to Jacob. Later Esau felt robbed!

In the same way Satan, a fallen angel came to earth to meet Adam and Eve. What was he after? We know he came to steal something Adam and Eve had. The blessing – the power to rule the earth.

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful  

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

You know what happened. By deception he stole their blessing.

 Now the blessing was in Satan’s power!

Like everything does, Satan perverts or twists the blessing into a curse – the exact opposite of what the blessing was to be.

Perversion – to twist something from what it was intended to be into the opposite.

Ill. Bible in Job and Isaiah and Psalms and Amos about a creature that is dragon like and serpent like called Leviathan. Kind of like a crocodile that creeps upon prey while hidden in water and attacks suddenly twisting it’s under the surface till it drowns.

          This describes a work of Satan who perverts or twists God’s words and our words. I have seen demonic spirits like this that twist my words from my mouth and before it gets to your ears you hear something the opposite. A leviathan demonic spirit is usually operating in every breakup of relationships, churches, marriages.

So now the blessing is in Satan’s hands and like everything he gets his hands on – he perverts or twists it to the opposite of what was intended.

The perversion of the blessing

Be fruitful = be unfruitful

Multiply = kill, destroy, abortion

Replenish = destroy and keep from replenishing

Subdue = Satan subdues man’s power to subdue

With the blessing in his hands Satan rules the earth where man was suppose to.

 Satan is called the “prince of the power of the air.” He did not get this position until after he stole the blessing.

The “air” is the 1st heaven or atmosphere around the earth. Satan and his demon work mostly invisible stealth mode in the atmosphere around you. Three heavens mentioned in the Bible.  

          God already had a plan to get the blessing back into the hands of man.

Jesus (God) came as a man, called the second Adam, to bring back into order the way the way He intended the first Adam to rule and reign.

“And you, being dead in your sins, He has resurrected together with Him, having forgiven (by paying with His life) all your sins. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances (law violations, our sins) that was against us, and He took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Col. 2:13-14

Clarify what He did here: Jesus stepped into your death and hell sentence as your kinsmen (relative) redeemer. He was the only one qualified to pay the laws demands for all your sins, in order for you to be set free from this life sentence. There was no other way!

He gave His life for your life.

          Ill. Imagine sitting in prison with life sentence and suddenly guard says, “Washburn, roll it up!” What? “I said roll it up. Your charges are dismissed and your record is expunged. You are free to go.”

          “No way – you are messing with me. I’ve got multiple life sentences I will die here.”

          This is the gospel. Good news. You either take it and go free or you sit in prison the rest of your life and die.

Point: Salvation has nothing to do with your labors. Jesus death on the cross was a huge overpayment for all the sins of the world!

 By this, He disarmed authorities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by the cross.”  Col. 2:13-15

This is what it means that Jesus is our Redeemer.

Redeem = exchange something for something better

To restore back something for a payment.

Jesus bought back the blessing that we lost.

-         So born from above people, now have the original blessing of God back upon us.

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful 

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

What do we do with it?

 Jesus’ name is the believers power of attorney. We have the blessing to be fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue

“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

-          not heaven where God’s throne is – but the atmospheric heaven surrounding us here on earth – where the prince of the power of the air dwells. Satan is here in the atmosphere trying to hinder you from being fruitful, multiplying, replenishing, and subduing.

Ill. 2016 as I read scripture I discerned God was saying this is for you to use the teach your church. The whole text I want read for the sake of time. But the highlights are this.

I noticed that God was saying over and over things like, “I will help you, I will strengthen you. Then He would say a list of things like “You shall do some things. Partnership.

“I will help you says the Lord, your Redeemer. See I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument with double edges; you shall thresh mountains, and beat them small and the wind shall carry them away. You shall rejoice in the Lord and glory in Him.” Isa. 41:15-16

It is like God setting us up in situations that look like there is no way to succeed – no way to prosper. Then He takes pleasure in putting this weapon of double edges to take down mountains?

What is this sharp instrument with double edges that will take down my mountains that seem impossible? The personal words God gives me to hide in my heart but then speak is like a sword coming out of my mouth.

Jesus is described with a sword in His mouth: Rev. 1:16, 2:12, Rev. 19:15.

Mountains to cut down with God’s Word in your mouth.

Mountain of health burdens.

Mountain of family burdens.

Mountain of financial burdens.

Mountain of church burdens.

Your mountains are speaking to you and Jesus said for you to speak to your mountain and prophesy it is being moved!

The end result will be this.

“that people may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isa. 41:20

Your life should demand an explanation!

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful 

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

The forces of life come out of the human heart – Proverbs 4:23.

Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

God’s strength is resident in His word. When you meditate upon it and put it in your heart and then speak it out of your mouth with authority then mountains begin to move, and trees or resistance are uprooted.

Your words are powerfully prophesying your future success or failure.  

If you going around saying, “I am so dumb, I am so clumsy, I am so”  what ever, you fill in the blank, then you will eat that fruit.

Who told you that you are dumb, ugly. Ill. Adam naked – hide. Who told you that you were naked? Sick, dying, dumb, ugly?

The doctor may have given you a bad report. Don’t run off saying “I’ve got cancer, I’ve got this or that. Go to God and see what He has for you to say. Your words are powerful!

Ill. Movie “Breakthrough” – the mother’s son in coma in hospital. She so guarded him that she would not allow any doctors or any visitors to speak any negative thing in his room. She had been attending and

storing up the Word in her heart and mouth. She knew the power of words affecting our future.

 “The power of life and death are in the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Proverbs 18:21

Ill. When God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go, the first thing Moses said was, “Who am I to talk to him?” He started making excuses that he had this speech impediment and God said, “Who made your tongue?”

Quit telling Me what you are not.

Ill. If you can’t be positive – at least be quiet.

In Luke 1 an angel appeared to Zachariah. He said he and his wife Elizabeth would have a baby (Jn Baptist). Zach and wife were up there in years and it did not seem likely. He said to the angel, “Are you sure this is going to happen? You realize we are older and it doesn’t seem possible. The angel said, “I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of Almighty God and whatever God says comes to pass!

          God knew if Zach continued to speak doubt it could stop the plan so told the Angel to tell him that he would remain silent until the baby is born. For 9 months he could not speak – until it happened.

          Scripture warns us to put a watch over our mouth!

Ill. Joshua leading Israel into Promise land. They came to Jericho a walled city. God gave strange instructions. March around city for 6 days and on 7th day seven times. But one final instruction which was a vital key. While you march around the city don’t say a word! Not even a whispering conversation. Why? God knew people default to the negative when they don’t see anything happening. They would say things like, “What in the world are we doing out here – ain’t nothing happening. These wall are never going to fall, they’ve been here forever. I am hot. I am hungry. This place is too dusty.

          There are times our lives are difficult to be positive and that is true. So when that time comes, just stay silent.

          Ill. Everyday so to speak you are walking around some walls you have prayed will fall down. Your mind may begin to say, “I’ve had this addiction all my life – nothing is going to change.” Or “I’ll never be able to get out of debt.” Or “I am not getting any better but worse.”

          God is talking to us today as He did to the Israelites. “If you can’t say anything positive and in faith – then at least don’t say anything.”

Your negative talk is resisting God.        

          Ill. Since it’s Mother’s day I give you a mother who was great in faith. In 2 Kings 4 She had child born as a result of a prophetic word given her. This child grew and one day when he was about 10 he was out in the field with his Father saying he had a headache. Father sent him to his mother at home. At home the boy died! This mother did not panic, did not speak one negative thing. She knew God had given her this child and it was God who would resurrect him to fulfill his destiny. She went to see Elijah the prophet. She met people along the way and when each one asked, “Are you okay?” She simply said,

“It is well” and she kept on going to get to the man of God.

          Think of all the negative thoughts she had to fight off. Then consider her restraint of words!

          Ill. Many times we want to tell people how bad things are – we feel like complaining, because we feel we have good reason to do so.

I am not saying we are to deny what is true, but don’t stop there.

You could say it this way, “The medical report wasn’t good, but all is well, God is my healer.” Choose to stay in faith no matter what.

Don’t talk about the size of your problem as if God is not with you– talk about the size of your God. God brought walls down for Joshua. He resurrected a dead boy for a mother. He can turn around your situation too. He can make a way where there is no way.

Concl: He wants those mtns on your life to come down but in a way that everyone who knows you will know it had to be God. It wasn’t a natural kind of thing. But here is the deal. He wants you to partner with Him.

As believers you are blessed to be able to be fruitful, multiply, replenish and subdue the earth like a king rules with your words.

 “The power of life and death are in the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Proverbs 18:21

The blessing of God is waiting to be activated in your life through the proper use of your words.

Our Great Defender

Our Great Defender

Isaiah 36- 37

King Hezekiah is king of Jerusalem and and good king. Isaiah is the prophet to Israel.

          The King of Assyria was the leading empire of the day. The king sent one of his officials along with a great army to King Hezekiah’s officials. They met outside the walls of Jerusalem.

          The messenger from Assyria’s message is recorded in the chapter 36. It is very intimidating. Read highlights from my Bible.

-        What confidence do you have? You only have empty words.

-         Egypt will not help you

-        You can’t say you trust the Lord – Hezekiah tore down His altars.

-        Make a deal with me and I’ll give you more horses than you have men to be able to ride.

-        The Lord is the one who told me to come and destroy this land.

The messenger from Assyria was speaking in Hebrew. The officials of Hezekiah said, “Don’t speak in Hebrew lest the men of the wall hear what we are talking about.” The messenger of Assyria said, “My master did not just bring me to talk to you guys and king Hezekiah. He sent me to talk to the people on this wall – the ones who will are going to end up so bad off they have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine!

          Then the messenger of Assyria got louder and continued to speak louder to all the Hebrews on the wall.

Read Isaiah 36:13-8  and verse 21.

The kings commandment was, “Do not answer him.”

When the devil talks to you – don’t answer him. Ignore him. Don’t give your time and energy to his words.

Ill. I had one of those days where it seemed everything was going wrong. It was one thing after and another and one set back after another. I thought is was the devil harassing me. Pam was away but coming home that afternoon. When she arrived my flesh wanted to complain and tell her what a horrible day it had been and tell her everything I went through. But ( I believe now) it was HS whispering in my mind – don’t even mention it. Don’t bring it up. It’s over so don’t resurrect it – let it be still born. My flesh wanted to complain about how hard it had been – but God was saying “don’t say a word.”

          If I had it would have given the devil some pleasure. But not saying a word about it was like ignoring him and his activities.

          King Hezekiah’s officials told the king all the messenger had said. It looked bad, like a dark cloud storm sitting over the city – doom and gloom. This was not just talk – the Assyrian empire could back it up.

King Hezekiah is depressed and tears clothes (grief). He sends a messenger to Isaiah the prophet asking for prayer and then goes to house of God (temple) to pray. Part of his prayer is this,

“This is a day of trouble. For children have come to birth, but there is not enough strength to bring them forth.” Isaiah 37:3

ill. We are pregnant with promises but we don’t have enough strength to to birth the promises.

-        We have these prophecies but we just can’t wait any longer.

-        It’s time to birth some things of God but we don’t have the strength to carry it out.

-        GT expected to be 1000 by now – prophecies?

-        Some prophecies are unconditional – Lord’s return.

-        Some prophecies conditional – our keep believing, declaring. 

Back in that day if a woman delivering child ran out of strength – there was no C-section. The baby died in the womb and the mother would die.

Midwife would encourage and coach the pregnant woman to not give up hope, keep pushing, don’t quit, you’re almost there. You must not stop!

Ill. This is what we all must be doing for each other. The gift of encouragement.

Hezekiah prays the problem but there is no indication he hears anything back form God himself. Back then God would speak through a prophet. Isaiah prayed and heard back from God.

By the way the name, Isaiah means “Yahweh is salvation.”

You could say it this way. King Hezekiah asked the man who name is Yahweh is salvation to pray to Yahweh. And the man named Yahweh is salvation said the Yahweh told him to tell King Hezekiah

“Do not be afraid . . .”

Fear is the first way the enemy attacks you.

Fear is a sign to your enemy that he is getting to you! But fearlessness is a sign to your enemy of his sure destruction – see Phil. 1:28.

“Don’t be paralyzed in any way by what your opponents are doing. Your steadfast faith in the face of opposition is a sign that they are doomed and that you have been graced with God’s salvation.”    Phil. 1:28 The Voice

How can we stop from being afraid? We need an upgrade on our view of God. Look what Moses (who spent a lot of time alone with God) said to Joshua (the next leader of Israel).

“You must be strong and of good courage . . . the Lord, He goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear, nor be dismayed.”  Duet. 31:8

He is saying this to you and I as well.

Hezekiah goes back to the house of God and talks to God again. But note how he upgrades his view of God – listen to his prayer God liked so much He had it recorded here for us.

Read my Bible – Isaiah 37:14-20.

“Lord, save us that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.”  Vs 20

Similar to Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd. . .

“He leads me in the path of righteousness FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE.”

PURPOSE  

Everything we go through in life ultimately is for His name’s sake.

Every trial has a purpose.

Every problem has a purpose.

Every victory has a purpose.

Every healing has a purpose.

Every person has a purpose.

Every church has a purpose.

Later the Lord said,

“For I will defend this city to save it FOR MY OWN SAKE AND FOR THE SAKE OF MY SERVANT DAVID.”     Isa. 37:35

ill. Sometimes things happen not because we have caused it or had anything to do with it. It is just an attack of the enemy. If God allows it then He wants to upgrade your view of Him.

He wants to be your defender.

He will either send the people you need or He will cause the enemy to fall before you. I can’t tell you how He will do this – but He is good at it.

God sent one angel and struck 185k Assyrian soldiers dead while in their camp. When the army woke up in the morning there was 185k dead bodies and no explanation! So this army packed up and went home. How about that for deliverance!

*Close with Defender song on you tube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit series: Self Control versus Out of Control

Fruit of the Spirit series: Self Control versus Out of Control

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, against such there is no law. ” Gal. 5:22-23

The nine fruits of the Spirit are the nature of God manifesting in our lives as we abide in Him through all the various circumstances of life. The fruit of the Spirit is not our work or self effort.

 “Against such there is no law.” With the fruit of the Spirit, there are no laws, no authority, no negatives that can be so strong to stop the fruit of the Spirit from growing because it is the work of God.

It may be a hard winter in your life– but there will be fruit when no one expects it. It may be a dry summer – but there will be fruit when no one expects it. No season, no circumstances can stop the fruit of the Spirit from growing. Only one thing can stop the fruit of the Spirit from growing in your life.  If you quit believing God loves you and is for you, even in your weaknesses.

Joseph was falsely accused and in prison – But God grew faithfulness in him.

Moses had serious anger issues – God grew gentleness.

John the disciple was quick to criticize and judge people and ready to call down fire to destroy people – yet God turned him into the apostle of love.

Fruit comes by abiding, remaining in faith that God loves you and will never give up on you. Our confidence cannot be in ourselves – but in Him. Let me explain.

While preaching on all the different fruits of the Spirit you may have thought when I preached on love something like, “Okay I’ve got to be more loving and try harder at loving. Or when I preached on joy, you said, “Okay I need to get more joy in my life.”

          So today when I preach about self control many will leave here trying to exercise a greater degree of self discipline. But self control is different – it is the fruit the Spirit that enables you not to react the way your flesh wants to react. It is the grace or enablement from God.

Fro example someone says something that normally you would react negative, but this time God’s grace enables you to not be disturbed.

God is enabling you to exercise self control over your emotions.

-         Instead of panic you respond with peace. Instead of anger you respond with gentleness. The opposite of the flesh.

This is a work of the Spirit inside you. God is doing this!

Self discipline is disciplining or training yourself to eat veggies instead of bingeing. You do this.

Many are trying hard to change their flesh in order to please God. Self discipline is good, but it is not the fruit of self control.

The bottom line is many are trusting in their commitment to God rather than in God’s commitment to you.

Ill. Before the Passover dinner Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed all the disciples feet. When He came to Peter, Peter objected. If I don’t wash you then you have no part with Me. What I am doing now you don’t understand now but you will understand it later. Peter said then give me a whole bath. Jesus must have laughed and then said,

“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. You are clean but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him.  John 13:10-11

How can they deny Him and still be clean?

Because there is a big difference between stumbling and a betraying heart. In God’s eyes it is not contradictory to say they are clean and at the same time they are going to stumble and fall in immaturity. That is not to say that your sin does not matter. It is vital to know that God sees the cry of your heart, even when you stumble, you have a willing spirit, you have a genuine love for God.

After the Passover meal Jesus said, All of you will fall on account of Me this night for it is written (prophesied) : ‘ I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter.’ Peter answered, “Though all men will fall away, yet I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows in the morning you will have denied Me three times.” Peter said, “Though I should die with You, yet I will not deny You.” And all the disciples said the same thing.

          Interesting that Jesus tells Peter before a rooster crows. It was a prophetic parable of Peter’s pride. Peter you are crowing like a proud rooster but I tell you that all of you, including you, will all fall away!

In Luke 22:32 we get added info where Jesus says to Peter,

“But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Lk 22:32

“Your faith should not fail” – not faith in your commitment, not faith in your faith, but faith in God’s love to pick you up when you fall.

Following this they go to the garden of Gethsemane, which represents a place of pressure, where olives are pressed for oil. The anointing in you comes out under the pressure. Here Jesus reveals Peter’s heart and ours. Jesus is letting them know the pressure is about to come upon them.

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mtt 26:41

          Peter genuinely believed he would never deny the Lord. His faith is in his own commitment than in the Lord’s commitment to him!

          Ill. When I first received Jesus as Lord I was so excited. I had this same attitude as Peter. The Lord could have said, “Gary, you are going to stumble because your flesh is weak, but you do have a willing spirit.” Later I remember how confused I was because of the weakness of my own flesh. I felt like a hopeless failure and listened to the lies of the accuser telling me that I did not love God and surely I was not saved.

          When Peter stumbled, he still was a lover of God. Because of the work of Christ – he was still clean.

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, and not of man’s works lest anyone boast.” Eph. 2:9

“If death reigned through one man’s sin, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace AND the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, JC.”  Romans 5:17

So often after we sin we want to put ourselves on probation with God or into purgatory for a season until we feel we have somehow felt bad enough to deserve forgiveness! But when we do we are placing our confidence in something other than being confident in the grace that has already been manifested on the cross.

You know the story, before morning Peter has denied Jesus three times. Jesus died on the cross but after Jesus resurrection He  encounters Peter for the first time after his failure. Peter felt disqualified. In fact he already turned in his resignation and gone back to the fishing business.  

          In John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter the same question three times! He is identifying something important to Peter and us. Listen to this scripture you already have heard but hear something different this time.

“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

          I can see Peter stumbling over his shame and saying,

“Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.”

I failed You, I denied You, and I am punishing myself. I have disqualified myself, I have resigned to being a loser, a failure, but yes I do love You! It may not look like it, but You know that I genuinely do love You!

Jesus said, “Then feed my lambs.” In other words, you are not disqualified – get back to what I called you to do.

          I can imagine Jesus cupping Peter’s face and saying, “Look at Me. Do you remember I told you in the garden that you had a willing spirit but your flesh was weak? I told you that you would deny Me. You have now discovered your flesh is weak. You are weak, but you are genuine not rebellious like Judas.

          Jesus was trying to break the shame off of Peter that was like a giant millstone. Some of you may have this hanging on you today as well. So Jesus is trying to get Peter to make the right confession out of his mouth and He asks again, “Peter, do you love Me?”

          Now Peter’s confession gets stronger.
“Yes Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” John 21:17

          The shame is starting to break off Peter as well as recognizing the grace the Jesus is offering him.

Jesus could have said all this differently. He could have said to Peter, “Do you know that I love you?” Peter would have answered yes.

But where he stopped abiding was in not believing that he still loved the Lord because he failed. What he doubted was his own love for the Lord because of his failure. I guess I don’t love the Lord. I must not have faith in Him.

Abiding in Christ is a two way connection. One, is believing the Lord loves me unconditionally. Two, is believing I love the Lord unconditionally even when I stumble.

Ill. This is where people struggle with doubting salvation. They believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again. But the question themselves – if I truly believed then why do I continue to sin and fall short? It is because your flesh is weak. Jesus knew that when He saved you. If you focus on your failures and weakness then you will always doubt. But salvation is not dependent upon you holding out or your commitment. It is all based on Jesus and His completed work for you on the cross. “It is finished.” I am saved not because of what I do, but on what He did!

          One of the ways you know you are saved is when you sin, it bothers you. This is because you are truly a lover of God at heart. You are His and He is yours and nothing you can do will change that. Nothing satisfies you like His love and living in alignment with Him.

          When Peter took on the identity of failure, he lived in shame and defeat. When you take on the identity of failure you live in shame and defeat and not confidence.

Jesus re-established his true identity by getting him to confess that he was indeed a lover of God. You are a lover of God – that is who you really are. You are loved by God – You belong to Him and that is your security and no one can pluck you out of His hand.

There is a phrase in Song of Solomon used many times. We have this scripture as a sign in our bedroom.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” SoS 6:3

We mean it for one another – that we belong to each other. But God originally wrote this as an expression of our identity. We belong to Him and He belongs to us. We are loved by God and we are lovers of God!

          Remember Jesus told all the disciples that all them would stumble and fall away. They did, but not everyone struggled with getting re-established like Peter. Remember John the Apostle. He fell away too but he bounced back quicker – why?

          In his gospel when he writes about himself he never uses the first person or his name. Instead of saying “Peter and John” he writes, “Peter and the disciple whom Jesus’ loves.” He never calls himself by name but instead, “the disciple whom Jesus loves.”

John failed just as Peter did. He would admit his sin but at the same time he would say, “I am still the one God loves, I know God loves me.” He did not have his identity stolen when he sinned.

Peter would have said, “God must hate me.”

What does this have to do with self control?

Ill. Like plumbing, once the water line is connected then you turn on the water pressure to see if there are any leaks. Once you are connected or abiding God uses pressure in our lives to reveal if we have any leaks! Pressure works for us not against us.

Sometimes the pressure can be either emotional or physical and will drive you to your place of comfort. Sometimes the pressure reveals a weak spot in us. God already knew it but we did not think so.

“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

We are learning to trust God in all things.

We are learning to depend upon God.

We are learning not to panic when bad things happen. We are learning not to be afraid, anxious, or fretful.

Video clip https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-boat-prayer-teens-amen

Ill. This week on news a group of seniors in high school went to the beach. A boy and girl got swept out to sea in rip tide. They were gone for 2 hours before anyone noticed. They treaded water and were way out beyond sight. The boy prayed out loud, “Lord if You have plans for my life I want to live and fulfill it.” About 3 minutes later a fishing boat spotted them and rescued them. The name that was on the front of the boat was – Amen.

All of life is spiritual, God is using everything in your life for your good.

          Even when you mess up and do something stupid – God will use it in developing you. God doesn’t get mad and walk out on you because you failed the test.

God kept faith with Abraham when he lied about Sarah being his sister. He appeared to lying, cheating Jacob and kept working with him.

David committed adultery and murdered, God did not take him out.

Ill. I tell people who are struggling with an addiction (drugs, smoking, etc.), to speak out loud things like, “I am free from this addiction” even, while they are using drugs. Go on to say, “I hate these drugs and what they have done to me. God has a better life for me than this. Because of the anointing upon my life I am overcoming this!”

Nothing may be true at the moment, but instead of announcing and declaring defeat, announce truth.
“We are snared by the words of our mouth.” Proverbs 6:2

There are always 2 voices competing for your attention, the voice of defeat or the voice of faith. What you truly believe is coming out of your mouth. That is why Jesus ask Peter the same question 3 times. 3 times he denied he knew Jesus but 3 times he confess he loved Him.

Negative words are the devil’s acid to destroy. God’s words are like baking soda thrown on acid – it neutralizes the acid.

Paul described the Xn life on earth as like running a race or fighting an opponent.

“Do you not know all those who run in a race run, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. Everyone who strives for the prize exercises self control in all things. They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. So therefore, I run not with uncertainty. So I fight, not as one who beats the air. But I bring my body under subjection, lest while preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”  I Cor. 9:24-27

          I run or abide with X with a certainty about this life. I run to win. What is winning? It is not competing against others. Everyone has their own race to run.

          Winning is crossing the finish line – the end of your life abiding and remaining in faith and dying in faith and going to glory in faith.

Notice Paul said I have to keep my body in subjection or else I could be disqualified. You don’t qualify yourself for this race – God’s anointing  qualifies you and keeps you qualified.

          What disqualifies you is not operating in your anointing but only in your flesh.

          When Paul came to the end of his life, he said,

“I have finished my course.” One translation says

“I finished my course with joy.”

There were times it looked like he might not finish but God gave him, finishing grace.

When Paul was put in prison he could no longer travel and start churches like he was called to do. Instead of getting depressed that he could not go out and minister because he was in chains, no problem, he just started writing. Two thirds of the new testament was written by him while he was in prison. No person or bad experience can stop what God has given you to do. You have finishing grace.

          You have to make up your mind that you are going to finish this race, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness , gentleness, and self control.

          You get to decide how you are going to finish. Paul did.

He did not finish defeated, depressed or disappointed or bitter. He finished with;

A smile on his face – a song in his heart – and a spring in his step.

A few weeks ago a dear sister asked to meet me after church. She said she had a word from the Lord for me. She gently shared with me a lot of wisdom in just a few minutes. My heart was touched. She gave me a book to read to encourage me. But before she gave me the book she read some things from it that sounded like it was written just for me. Part of what she read I am going to relay to you.

Ill. Thousand of years ago in Greece there was a famous race called the torch relay. All the runners received a torch. At the start of the race they would light their torches and take off running with torches lit. The only way you could win the race was to cross the finish line with your torch lit. Even if you came in first but your fire went out then your were disqualified. So the whole time running they had to protect fire from wind, rain, or anything that might put it out.

          It is the same principle for us in running the race of life. If we are going to finish our course we have to guard our fire. You can’t let your your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness or self control, go out.

          Too many people have lost their passion. They are still running the race but their torch is no longer lit.

Ill. I was one of those people. Pam and I have been in ministry for 36 years. A lot of good times but a lot of difficult ones too. We started out with a fire that was awesome. Then we had some setbacks, strife with people in church, strife in our own family, health issues, financial struggles, you name it. Without realizing it I was running the race but the fire was gone.

          We all need people who will help you keep your fire burning and tell you when your fire has gone out and be there to help you light your torch again. I have several dear ones, but just a few weeks ago it was Elaine Wallace. Thank you Elaine. I am still feeding on your words. By the grace of God, I have determined no matter what, I will finish my course with my torch still lit.

          Today you decide how you will finish!

A dear friend of mine frequently closes our conversation with these words, Keep the fire burning!

It’s interesting that the light in the temple of God was to never burn out. It was to stay lit 24/7. Young Samuel’s first job was to keep the flame burning in the temple. I think that is our first job too.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

“Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.” James 3:13

Wisdom and gentleness go together.

Review Abigail meeting David when he was angry and on his way to kill Nabal. She talked David out of killing her husband with wisdom. “Forgive my foolish husband, don’t lower yourself to his level. The Lord will surely make you a sure house, because the Lord is with you. Don’t avenge yourself, let the Lord avenge this for you, and when He does, remember me your handmaiden.”

-         The Lord through Abigail’s “gentleness of wisdom”  restrained David. He heard the Lord through her.

God did take care of vengeance. Nabal died of a heart attack 2 days later anyway. Then David took Abigail as his wife.

Things turn out better when we let the Lord deal with it rather than taking matters into our own hands.

As a result of this valuable lesson David gained wisdom. The next chapter ( I Sam. 26) he spares King Saul’s life when he had the opportunity to kill his enemy. Instead of seeking revenge he deferred his anger to the Lord. God will do a better job than me.

A few chapters later King Saul was killed in battle. God’s timing.

God is perfect. He is seldom early, never late, but He is always right on time!

“Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:13-16

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown on peace by those who make peace.”  James 3:17-18

To live in the gentleness of wisdom we have to learn to trust God and learn to be content with the situations that are beyond our control. The government of your life was placed on His shoulders the day you made JC the Lord of your life.

I never understood this psalm of David until this last week in preparing Sunday’s message on gentleness.

“Lord, Your right hand upholds me and Your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35

God was gentle with David and David learned that God’s way was to be gentle, learn to wait upon the Lord, trust Him, and not take matters into your own hand.

          Ill. So much of David’s life was learning to be led by God rather than his own wisdom. When faced with opposition he would often ask the Lord, “Should I go up against the Philistines?” God would answer yes of no. He was learning to be a man of prayer and how to wait and be led by God rather than self. This is why he became known as a man after God’s own heart.

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:6

ill. Jacob the brother of Esau would have the same thing as David about God’s gentleness making him great. Jacob learned God’s gentleness by wrestling with God and getting his hip dislocated! Most of his life he had been scheming and manipulating and controlling the situations. But now face to face with God he has to learn to trust God’s ways rather than his old controlling ways. Now with dislocated hip, he can’t control the meeting with his brother Esau in the morning. He can’t fight, he has to learn to lean upon a staff as if to say he is learning to lean upon God and do things with God and His way and His timing.

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshipped while leaning upon his staff.” Hebrews 12:21

God changes his name, meaning God changed his character from Jacob meaning scheming, manipulator to Israel meaning “May God prevail, or he struggles with God but God perseveres or contends, or prince with God.”

Jacob has a lot of troubles throughout his life, with his brother, his kids, enemies living around him, but God blessed Him he learned to stop fighting against God’s ways and worship – which means to surrender. “Not my will but Your will be done!” His way is so much better!

He turns what we bring to Him in surrender – into worship. What a trophy of God’s grace to turn a selfish, greedy, conniving, manipulator, into a surrendered worshipper of God!

How did God change Jacob? Was it by breaking his hip?  No, that was only part of the process. The real breaking of a man/woman is done on the inside! God works through a daily, slow, almost unnoticeable process. This is how God is working with us too!

 Listen in Isaiah how God dealt with a rebellious Israel.

“Because this people refuses the gently flowing waters of Shiloah (sent) . . . now the Lord will bring upon them the strong waters of the King of Assyria and he shall flood and overflow them.” Isa. 8:6-8

Israel did not like the way God was managing things in their life. He was too slow to bring breakthrough – to slow to bring help.

Ill. When we get yoked with Jesus we have to learn to walk according to His pace and rhythm. His work with us is often a slow but steady stream of gently flowing waters. His way is best.

 Wait upon the Lord”  

Hebrew word: Wait for, expect to see, to linger, to bind together.

When we are unwilling to wait for the Lord, we think He is not doing anything or is too slow, it means we want control again. We do not like the way God is managing things!

If you say things like, “I don’t like my life!” The problem is – it is the only one you have! You can’t trade it for another. It may be that we need to learn contentment where we are while we are on a way where we are going to be.

The season you are in is carrying you to the next season. We all need to learn contentment with things we cannot change. Paul wrote,

“I have learned the secret to being content.”  Phil. 4:12

Learn to enjoy the simple things and enjoy what you do have.

Children learn to adapt and be content and make good with what they have. God has given you grace not only to endure this season but to enjoy it. Learn to have fun with what you have.

Ill. When I was a child of 8 I could make a fort with sticks or a palace just using my imagination and what I had. One time I built my first church with cinder blocks and a pulpit. I had 3 member including me. I was about to preach my first sermon to my two friends when one said, “Gary we don’t have church like this. I am catholic.” I was stunned and had no idea what he meant by catholic. I was not to be stumped by this uprising so I said something profound. “It doesn’t matter if your black or white, you still gotta love God!” Both of my friends looked at me strange but then I said amen and church was over!

You got to enjoy where you are while you are on your way to where you are going to be!

Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

Ill. In preparing to hear God concerning this topic I felt compelled to review my journal since the beginning of the year. It was time for me to remember – to review my history with God. The first thing I was a prophetic word I prophesied to me and Pam on January 13th.

Here is a portion of that word.

“Your life is a sign and wonder to those around you. They will behold your comforts, favor, deliverance and protection. Your life will point them to Me. You will bring a word to the weary. They will hear My voice in your voice. They will experience My love through your love. This is why I am training you in rest, quietness and confidence. The government of your life is to be on My shoulders. Instead of getting angry, or irritated with people I want gentleness from you and Pam. Be still and know that I am God.”

God wants gentleness from all of us who represent Him because this is the way He really is with people. Unfortunately, this has not always been the way we, who claim to know Him, represent Him to others.

Ill. Jesus had a woman caught in adultery thrown at his feet. The Pharisees, (the people representing God to the world) brought her to Him saying the law demanded she be stoned – which was truth! She deserved to be punished unto a horrible death according to the Law.

But Jesus is the revelation of truth and grace that transforms lives.  

Jesus doesn’t even ask her if she is sorry for her sin. Instead He turns to her accusers. “Whoever of you without sin –  be the first to cast a stone at her.” You know the story, one by one beginning with the eldest they left. Jesus is alone with her except for the disciples at a distance marveling at the wisdom they just saw. “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one Lord.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more. Case dismissed, now go and sin no more” = don’t continue like this.

He is not soft on sin, but He is gentle with the sinner – and this is how He wants us to RE- Present Him to people – He is gentle.  

In another place His gentleness is described.

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench.”  Matthew 12:20

Haven’t you noticed He has been that way with you?

We cannot properly represent Him with our anger !

Ill. Moses learned this the hard way. He got frustrated (another way of saying angry) with the people he was called to lead. They were miraculously delivered from Egypt, then supernaturally provided food called manna daily. They were supernaturally healed from poisonous snake bite. God has abundantly met their every need. Now they start complaining to Moses about needing water in the desert. A legitimate need.

          It moved from complaining to Moses to unbelief in God. “Is the Lord among us or not?” After all God had done for them!

Ill. Like a mouthy adolescent mouthing off to their parent after all they have done for them. After all the miracles, signs and wonders He did for them! They have the nerve to say, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

I wonder if God had to hold back some angels who said, “Lord, let me at them. I’ll bust their chops – how dare they question Your integrity and talk about You like that!

          Moses himself wanted to strike the people.

          But look what God tells Moses. Go get the rod I gave you and bring the elders and come a certain rock.

“Indeed I WILL STAND BEFORE YOU THERE ON THE ROCK, and you shall strike the rock, and there water shall come out of it, so the people may drink.” Exodus 17:6

Instead of striking the people – strike the Rock.

illustrate and use the rod to smite the rock or stage. “Strike it Moses”.

Point out he wasn’t just striking a rock – God said He would be standing  there.  Moses struck the rock instead of the people and water flowed out for their salvation.

          It was God in the person of Christ, who was struck with the rod of God’s justice, in the place of guilty people.  

Now almost 40 years later and on the border of entering the Promise land they needed water again. The people are still complaining and doubting if God is with them or not. This time God told Moses to just speak to the Rock and water would come. “Moses said to them, Hear now you rebels; must we fetch water out of this rock? Moses lifted up his hand and with his rod struck the rock twice.”

God immediately reproved Moses for his anger and disobedience. He forbid him from entering the Promise land. Isn’t this kind of harsh for striking a rock?

But by Moses striking the rock twice - Moses sent the wrong message entirely, suggesting, God is still angry!

But the truth is, all His wrath and anger was placed on Jesus when He was stricken.

Jesus would be sticken, smitten by God and afflicted only one time (Isa. 53:4). One time was sufficient as payment to remove the sins of the world, and satisfy all the wrath of God.  

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. . . and then He says, their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more. For where there is forgiveness of sins there is no more offering for sins.” Hebrews 10:14-18.

 God will not allow Christ to be struck or smitten again. It would imply the first time was not sufficient!

Moses' action, while it may seem minor to us, has major implications.

The book of Hebrews was written largely to address this issue of the continuation of Jewish believers in sacrifices through which, they were essentially continuing to "strike the Rock", thus denying that Christ's work on the cross was sufficient for salvation.

Moses had anger issues. He got so hot he killed a man. He got angry when he saw the people dancing around the golden calf idol. He broke the stone tablets ground it to powder and mixed with water and made everyone drink the bitter stuff. When Pharaoh told Moses to get out and if he ever saw him again, he would be a dead man. Moses  shouted back –“you will never see my face again and stormed out.”

God dealt with Moses and his anger and scripture records Moses was changed into what scripture says

“Now the man Moses was the meekest (gentle) man on the earth.” Numbers 12:3

What changed Moses from an angry man to a gentle man?

God takes us through a breaking process over and over until we can accept the yoke He has for our lives. 

You want to know why Moses was angry? Every time he got angry it was because he did not like the way God was managing his life. His anger was a way of taking matters into his own hands instead of trusting and waiting on God.

What is God’s breaking process like? The opposite of the breaking process of the world.

 The breaking of a horse. PIC

Whip and beat the horse until he submits. It is brutal, harsh, process.

God’s way is different – like horse whisperer. Pic

 “Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in THE GENTLENESS OF WISDOM.”  James 3:13

Gentleness and wisdom are connected!

          Ill. I Sam. 25 David and his men living on the run from King Saul. They were camping out on some land owned by a rich man named Nabal. While camping there they protected the man’s land, and his sheep from raiders, thieves, etc. It was not uncommon for this in that time. The usual custom was to repay the kindness of people with some food, bread, to help them on their way. David sent message to Nabal of how they have been like a wall and protected his livestock from thieves and asked if Nabal would give them whatever he could to help them on their way. Nabal was a wicked man and said why should I give any food – get lost!

          This was a huge insult and David got hot angry and told his men to strap on the swords we are going to a fight. At this time in David’s life he would have killed Nabal and anyone who tried to stop him.

          Abigail was Nabal’s wife. She heard of how mean and nasty Nabal was to David. She quickly told her servants to get food, and she and her servants met David and his men on the road. She asked he forgive and not waste his time on her foolish husband – his name means fool. She had heard David would be the next King of Israel. She said to him, “don’t let my foolish husband bother you. You represent the Lord. Don’t let this cause you to shed blood – but let the Lord avenge you. You will be the next king and when you are please remember me.

          Her wisdom spoke to David’s heart and kept him from acting in anger and taking vengeance. He learned a lot from this moment.

Because of this, in the next chapter he responded godly towards king Saul. He had an opportunity to kill King Saul and take vengeance upon him for all the evil he had done to David. He learned restraint by this encounter with the wisdom from Abigail.

“Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in THE GENTLENESS OF WISDOM.”  James 3:13

          Nabal actually died a few days later anyway. See how God took care of the situation! And as a bonus David remembered Abigail and married her.

Later on in life David wrote a song about what He learned.

“Lord, your right hand upholds me and YOUR GENTLENESS HAS MADE ME GREAT.” Psalm 18:35

To live in the “gentleness of wisdom” you are going have to give up your desire to stay angry at people, and surrender the matter into God’s hands.

Remember that prophecy I shared for Pam and I at the beginning? I don’t think that is just for us. I shared it because it think it is for all of us this day. Remember the part,

“the government of your life is to be upon My shoulders”.

Ill. Every time I have become angry and taken matters into my own hands – I have regretted it. If only I had let God govern my response! But I am learning and so are you. God’s way is better.

We need to transfer the government of our life from our shoulders to His. It is not my responsibility to get even, to take vengeance, to vent our feelings. Letting our anger fly may be a great tool for getting your own way, but it is not God’s way to deal with issues.

The time in Astor the neighbor put up the sign in his yard for us.

My Abigail was Pam trying to talk me out of getting angry. So glad God intervened.

God does not need my anger to fix anything. Instead He says

“Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. For the anger of man does not work the righteous ways of God.” James 1: 19-20

We cannot represent Jesus with our anger. We must give our anger to him and He will supernaturally turn it into His gentleness. It’s not a one time prayer – it is a lifetime walk with God that makes you into His likeness.

Jesus said, “Come to Me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn My way. Let Me teach you, because I am humble AND GENTLE, and you shall find rest for your soul.”  Mtt. 11:28-30

Healing: Why Isn’t Everyone Healed When We Pray? 

Healing: Why isn’t everyone healed when we pray? 

“When Jesus and His disciples came to the crowd, a man came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”   Matthew 17:14

Jesus’ answer is enlightening to them and to us.

“O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”

          Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him. And the child was healed instantly.
Then the disciples came and asked Jesus privately,
“Why could we not cast him out?”

This was a valid question because they had already been successful at casting out demons before this experience! This is the same question we are asking today, “Why isn’t everyone healed when we pray for them?”

Jesus was disappointed with the disciples because they should have been able to help this boy. They obviously had power that was not normal. They were casting out demons. They had supernatural anointing and ability but something had happened to them. What was it?

“Why could not we cast him out?” And Jesus said to them, BECAUSE OF YOUR UNBELIEF . . .    Matthew 17:20

He did not say it was because they had no faith!

He did not say it was because their faith was not strong enough!

BECAUSE OF YOUR UNBELIEF

How can you be operating in faith (they obviously tried to cast the demon out) and yet have unbelief at the same time? Jesus went on to explain how this works.

Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  Matthew 17:20

Jesus is clarifying that it is not the amount of faith you have but it is because of their unbelief.

He clarifies more in the Matthew 21:21: 

“Truly I say unto you, If you have faith, AND DOUBT NOT, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, Be thou removed and cast into the sea, it shall be done.” Mtt 21:21

Notice Jesus is saying believe without doubting. If it were impossible to believe and doubt at the same time then Jesus would not have said this!

Ill. The gospel of Mark records this same story but with some more details. After Jesus said, “If you can believe all things are possible . The father of the child burst out,

“Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.”  Mark. 9:24

          Jesus did not correct him so you can have faith and unbelief at the same time.

Pic of horse and wagons pulling in opposite directions. FAITH  ------- UNBELIEF

Romans 12:3 tells us every believer has been given a measure of faith from God as a gift. The faith you have been given is sufficient for every trial that you will ever face.

The Lord is pointing out to us why we do not see more miracles, signs and wonders in our life. We have faith but the problem is we also have unbelief that negates the force of our faith. Our faith is not the problem, but unbelief is cancelling out our faith.

How does unbelief come into our life?

The same way faith comes – by hearing.

Unbelief is actually belief. It is believing in the wrong direction.

When we focus our attention on God, His promises then our faith rises and is strong. When we focus on this world, our symptoms, our feelings, our pains, then unbelief rises and overpowers our faith and talks us out of it.

To decrease our unbelief we have to decrease the influence of the world over our thoughts and feelings. Thoughts have to be replaced with the Word.

Actually we are not waiting on God to heal us.

“By His stripes we WERE healed.” I Peter 2:24

Faith is for now. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…”

What about Paul’s thorn in the flesh? A messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. A lot of people like to claim his thorn in the flesh was a sickness or something wrong with his eyes.

But the phrase “Thorn in the flesh” did not originate with Paul. In the OT thorn in the flesh was used as a metaphor to describe people who were persecuting him in every town in went to.

God wants us well! So what do we do with sickness, pain, disease?

Unbelief speaks. It usually comes through our own voice.

We talk about how bad we feel, we vent thinking it will help us feel better but it doesn’t.

Faith speaks. It comes through your voice too!

Concl: I noticed Roger Webb would speak directly to the pain on some instances and command the pain to leave. Then he asked people did it go?

-        If you have pain then speak to it. If you have burning pain then speak to the burning pain. Be specific and exercise authority over it and tell it to leave in Jesus’ name. Do not doubt and Jesus told us you shall have whatsoever you say. You may have to keep speaking but it will obey you.

Don’t try it once to see if it works and then say it didn’t because you still feel pain. Stay in faith and keep saying what God says.