The Fruit of the Spirit - The fruit you cannot live without!

The Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit you cannot live without!

Intro:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4–5

I’d like you to picture a strong and healthy tree. A strong and healthy tree does not worry about producing fruit or getting rid of the dead leaves on it. As long as it receives the right amount of sunshine, water, and nutrients, it will have healthy sap flowing in it that is brimming with all the right nutrients and that naturally pushes out all the dead leaves. And as long as its inward life—its healthy sap life—keeps flowing, new leaves will spring forth on this tree and good fruits will naturally grow and flourish on all the branches.

The new life pushes out the old life. You don’t maintain the old leaves while producing new ones.

How do I abide in Jesus?

          Believe – trust – quiet confidence

          Get His mindset – His perception – Use His Words

          Make every problem into a stepping stone.

          Refuse worry and fear.

          Focused attention – Keep the conversation ongoing with Jesus.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, KNOWING that the trying of your faith develops patience.” James 1:2

Patience #5281 – patience, enduring, patient continuance, patient waiting. To cheerfully endure. To remain under the pressure. Not to cave in or give up. To persevere ill treatment and hold fast to one’s faith in Christ. Characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

“But let patience perfect it’s work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:4

            If you are born again you already have patience given to you by God in your spirit. It may be undeveloped but you have it.

If you are a Christian you can never say that you don’t have patience because you do have it. God put it in your Sspirit with all the other fruit of the Spirit. For a Xn to say he does not have patience is like him saying he does not have God! You have it – it just needs to be developed. God is committed to bring you opportunities to develop what He has given you.

Both peace and patience grow well together. Where you have peace in your life you usually find patience and vice versa. Fruit grows in clusters. Interesting the word Peace or Shalom in Hebrew is actually a word picture in Ancient Hebrew letters. Put together they give the truest meaning of Shalom or peace which is:

Shalom – not just the absence of conflict, but destroying the authority that created the chaos.

Patience is the tool that God uses to bring us into His Shalom.

The context is Xns going through trials and persecution. God sovereignly allows trials He could stop but then uses them for our good.

Look at this the book of I Peter which was written originally by Peter to Xns suffering intense persecution for the faith. Many lost jobs and homes and even persecuted by prison and torture and death. Listen to the words of God:

“In this affliction you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials,

-        “ If need be you are in heaviness . . .”

-        If necessary you have been distressed by various trials . . .”

There are some trials that God has ordained that we need to walk through with Him. It is a necessary trial.

Is it true that God will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand? Yes according to I Cor. 10:13.

However, He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can stand but He may allow it more than you think you can possibly stand!

Watch your words: If you ever hear yourself say, “I can’t take this anymore!” Stop and remember this message today.

Your words are agreeing with the devil and he loves it and gets empowered in your life by you saying such things.

Ill. Gym work out with Body builder Larry. He put on large plates of weight I would have never thought possible for me to lift but with His encouragement I did more than I thought I could.

We don’t understand the purpose of a trial and suffering – but God knows what we need!

Ill. When I typed the word trial for this message I misspelled it and then I took and look and thought that really is true. A trial is really a trail.

Trial  - Trail

Some strategic suffering is necessary according to God to increase our strength and faith muscle. When under pressure Satan intends for us to fall away from God. What is God seeking by allowing it?

“Therefore since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind . . .” 
I Peter 4:1

ill. In Marine Corp you had to go to the rifle range every 6 months or once a year regardless of your MOS. If you worked in an office as a clerk you still had to go one week to the range. Why? To arm yourself.

Ill. Commerical airline pilots go through training every 6 months in simulator and the trainer has them go through ever possible kind of scenario. Notice when turbulence or unexpected storm comes the pilots remain calm and the passengers panic. Why? The pilots are armed.

So why does God allow us to go through suffering and trials.

A trial allowed by God is a trail somewhere He wants us to go, and God is arming you for what lies ahead.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation (trials), for when he is tried, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12

CROWN = represents authority and power.

Charles Spurgeon “If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.”

When trouble comes Xns respond or react:

To react is to do exactly what the enemy hopes you will do. This will draw you away from God.

To respond is to do what God what the Spirit leads you to do.

Ill. When you are in a desert, dry place  and need water but water is scarce in the desert. Where can you get water?

Must go deep. Water is not on the surface but down deep in the earth.

Jesus said = quote John 7:37-39.

Out of the heart flows this river.

Eph. 5:18-19 commands us to be filled not to pray to be filled. How can God command us to be filled with the Spirit? Because as believers we already are filled – but it is down deep in the spirit.  

Refreshing comes from the deep inside you. There is a river. Either a river or a well – both have to have the water

“drawn out” 

ill. Use a bucket on a rope.

“Therefore with joy will you draw out the waters from the wells of salvation.” Isa. 12:3

Joy is not based on how we feel. Joy is our opening ourselves to Jesus and drawing near to God.

Ill. So many people move from church to church, ministry to ministry and conference to conference looking for refreshing or excitement. What you need is already inside you right where you are.

-        Example: Isaac re-digging the wells his father, Abraham had dug but the Philistines had filled up with earth.  Gen. 26:1-3 Isaac did not move to another location because he could not find water. If there had been water there before then there is still water there. He stayed where he was and went deep.

You were healed before and now you are sick again. Don’t go here and there looking for help – re-dig that well. Healing is still there.

You need to go deep – re-dig those wells that have been plugged up.

Isaac did not seek his own ease or pleasure by going down to Egypt during the time of famine as many did. He stayed where God planted him and endured but he also went deep. Let God lead rather than launching out on his own understanding. It takes patience to walk with God.

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

“Wait” - #6960 = to patiently hope or expect. To bind together.

Concl: It is so critical to bind yourself to the Word of God and patiently wait for His Word, promise to manifest in His timing and according to His way.

Ill. Parable of the Sower has 4 types of soil. The good soil represents the good heart that receives the Word of God. I can’t tell if you wonderful people are the good soil that I am sowing the Word of God on today. To be good soil that when the Word is sowed into and will produce fruit you have to have one very important and rare fruit already in your life!

I said in the beginning that this fruit is one you cannot live without. Without patience you will not be able to bear any other fruit.

But the seed on the good ground are those who, having heard the Word, keep it in an honest and good heart and

bear fruit WITH PATIENCE.  Luke 8:15

Filled with Holy Spirit and Baptism of Holy Spirit and Praying in Tongues

Filled with Holy Spirit and baptism of Holy Spirit and praying in tongues

1.   What is being filled with the Spirit?

“Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves (or one another) in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:18-19

We are learning how to live first out of our born again Sspirit that can commune with God 24/7. Note we are the ones making melody in our heart TO THE LORD – NOT TO OURSELVES OR OTHERS BUT TO HIM.

-        Our first ministry is to minister to the Lord!

-        Keep fresh, keep alive, keep aware of God and His Presence in you so that you are conscious of Him and in awe of Him at all times. “Rejoice in the Lord always. In everything give thanks to Him.”

Ill. There is no temple or tabernacle or building of worship in heaven, yet there is 24/7 worship, singing, glory, praise, thanksgiving. Why? Everyone is filled with the HS in the fullness of God.

Yet here on earth we are commanded to do this:

“Be filled with the Spirit. . .” This is a command to us. We don’t ask to be filled with the Spirit, we obey and are filled with the Spirit.

What gets filled? Our born again spirit is already filled and wall to wall God.

We have HS – let Him freely flow from our Sspirit into our soul and out of our body to others.

We open the gates from the Sspirit to overflow.

From our born again Sspirit flows from the gates of the Sspirit into your soul, (mind, emotions and will) and then into our heart, and even into our body can be aware of the Sspirit.

We use our tongue as a rudder to intentionally guide us to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs  - then making melody (worship) in our heart to the Lord as much as you want to.

Ill. Have you ever woke up in middle of night with a worship song in you mind?

You can worship without people knowing you are worshipping God in your heart all day.

Ill. 7 dwarfs “Whistle while you work” change to “Worship while you work.” “It won’t take long to get along if you will worship while you work.

There are people you don’t like.

And they don’t like you too.

But it won’t take long to get along if you worship while you work.”

Disclaimer first:

There’s more: Some days your life’s a drag.  When your boss is just a nag. But it won’t take long to get along if you worship while you work.

(It might be safer not to sing these lyrics at work – just whistle!)

We can be filled to the fullness of God. This takes us back to the beginning.

“. . . that Christ may dwell (be at home) in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know (personally experience and in intimate detail) the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (academic learning); THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.”   Eph. 4:17-19

What will this look like in your life?

Instead of getting irritated by something that normally has irritated you, you become patient and gentle.

Instead of what has been a habitual fleshly reaction when something happens you respond the opposite.

Instead of anger – you respond with gentleness.

Instead of anxiety or worry – you respond with peace.

Instead of being in a hurry – you are patient.

Instead of being rude back to someone – you respond with kindness.

This is within reach! The fullness of God flowing from your inner man overflowing from your Sspirit through soul into your heart even overflowing into your body experiencing a tangible Presence of God.

Being filled with the Spirit is up to you and it can happen over and over again as needed.

2.   What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

One happens IN you and the other happens to you or UPON you.

To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.

It is true you get the HS the moment you are saved, but that does not mean you have been baptized in HS. For some it can happen at the same time but for most it is a separate experience.

Examples: Acts 8 Philip went to Samaria and many were saved and water baptized (Acts 8:5-12). They all experienced this without being baptized in HS. But Phillip was the only one there who had been at Pentecost and was baptized in HS. See his name in the list of disciples at Pentecost in Acts 1:13.

Can you go to heaven w/o baptism of HS? YES.

Salvation saves you from sin but baptism of HS empowers you to witness with power from on High.

-        Philip was witnessing with power unlike anything they had ever seen before. “When the crowds heard Philip and saw miracles which he did. . . for unclean spirits were crying out with aloud voice and coming out of many. . . and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.”  Acts 8:5-7

-        When the church in Jerusalem heard of this they sent Peter and John to check it out. When they saw the people had been converted and baptized.

Question: The Samaritans believed in Jesus and were baptized right? Did they have the Holy Spirit inside them? YES. Was there more of God for them to experience? Yes.

Why is this in the Bible? To make you think deeper I need to take you to the first sentence in the Bible.

Ill. The first words of scripture are in Hebrew: “B’resheet Bara Elohim” (Ask Jeff and Fran Israel if pronounced correctly.)

“In the beginning God created”

ELOHIM = El – Hebrew word for God.  “im” makes it plural.

But because it is next to a singular word “bara” for created it is a plural noun with a singular verb. Like saying “We (plural) is (singular) to church tonight.”

The first sentence in scripture breaks all our grammatical rules!

Revealing to us there is something deeper here – a mystery, something profound.

IT is revealing that the reality of God is so awesome, and so beyond anything we know that there are no words in any language that can express the greatness and reality of God. Not even the word “God”.

The name Elohim is letting us know that whatever we think about God, He is more than that. No matter how good you think He is, He is better than that. He is more awesome, more amazing that we know, and there is no end.

“There are known knowns – things we know that we know. Then there are unknown knowns – things we know that we don’t know. But then there are unknown unknowns – things we don’t know that we don’t know.”  Donald Rumsfeld

ill. Daniel in OT was wondering why his prayer had not been answered. One day he had a visitation from an angel who revealed to him what was going on behind the scenes – in Daniels “unknown unknowns”. There was a spiritual war in the heavenlies over his prayer getting answered.

There is so much going on in the Spirit realm that we may never know. The enemy is working to get us to doubt God and to give up prayer .

Old classic fiction book: This Present Darkness” by Frank E. Peretti

The point is there is always more of God to experience that what we have already experienced. Not extra biblical science fiction or occult stuff. Don’t look for extra stuff out there – just go deeper with God.

With this understanding in mind now let’s go back to Acts 8 at the  Samaritan Pentecost: Peter and John came down from Jerusalem and when they saw the Samaritans had truly been converted or saved THEN

“They prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for still He had not come upon them. They were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. THEY LAID HANDS ON THEM AND THEY RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT. When Simon (the converted sorcerer) SAW that through the laying on of of the Apostles hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money . . .” Acts 8:15:18

Scripture is not clear what Simon saw but he saw something. Was it speaking in tongues or prophesying?

Point: Peter and John did pray for people to receive HS. They also laid hands on people.

The Filling of HS is a command to you and it happens IN YOU the baptism of HS happens UPON You and people pray or you pray for it and receive this experience by faith.

Another example:

“Paul found certain disciples in Ephesus and asked them, Have you received the Holy Spirit SINCE YOU BELEIVED? They answered, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit?” Acts 19:1-2

“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spoke in tongues, and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” Acts 19:6

You would hope a great revival would break out in Ephesus and it did for a little while. They had an Acts 19:19 party. But soon after this a riot broke out in Ephesus caused by a big time business man in the community and caused a division among the people to the point Paul moved on to another city.

Point is: Not everyone is going to be excited over your encounter with God. Some will say you are deceived or in a cult.

Millions of people can testify that this baptism of HS is a separate and distinct experience after salvation.

The Baptism of the HS is an empower to be a witness of Jesus. It may be through a variety of ways such as miracles, gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophesying, etc.

“But you will receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

ill. Some people have been baptized with HS without realizing it. They may not speak in tongues.

The baptism of HS is a gift, not something you earn by travail or earn by getting holy enough. You may travail but you don’t work for it you yearn for it, not to have an experience, not to have a feeling like others have had, but to be a powerful witness of Jesus!

The baptism of HS totally transformed the disciples! What will it do for you? Everyone is different and God’s power will manifest in your life in some way you will recognize.

How do I receive it? By faith in God’s Word not by a feeling.

“For everyone who asks receives; and he that seeks will find; to him who knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask for bread, will a father give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will he give him a snake? Or if he asks for an egg will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”  Luke 11:10-13

Have prayer and laying on of hands for those who want to receive the baptism of the HS.

A prayer:

Heavenly Father, 

I thank You that Jesus saved me. I pray for Holy Spirit to come upon me and baptize me now so that I may have God’s power from this moment on, to be Your witness. Because You promised it I believe and receive the baptism now. I am empowered for service from this day forward. I ask to speak in other tongues according to Your Word. By faith I trust You for this gift and I will speak in other tongues as a new way for me to pray in the Spirit.  Thank You for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now it’s possible you didn’t feel anything.

 In some cases, no new language comes out initially. But your receiving the baptism in Holy Spirit has nothing to do with initial feelings or what happens on the outside. God’s Word said that if you asked, you would receive. That means by faith you have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

3.   What is Speaking in Tongues.

Speaking in other tongues can be in private or public. I spoke in tongues privately before I ever did publicly.

It doesn’t matter if you start with one syllable or how silly you sound. Just keep praying and God will strengthen you in your prayer language. There are many people who receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and do not pray in tongues right away. Don’t be discouraged, it will come. Just don’t give up!

More next week.

 

 

Filled with Holy Spirit and baptism of Holy Spirit

Filled with Holy Spirit and baptism of Holy Spirit

“Do not be drunk with wine, for that is wreckless living. But be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves (or one another) in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  Eph. 5:18-19

We are learning how to live first out of our born again Sspirit that can commune with God 24/7. Note we are the ones making melody in our heart TO THE LORD – NOT TO OURSELVES OR OTHERS BUT TO HIM.

-        Our first ministry is to minister to the Lord!

-        Keep fresh, keep alive, keep aware of God and His Presence in you so that you are conscious of Him and in awe of Him at all times. “Rejoice in the Lord always. In everything give thanks to Him.”

Ill. There is no temple or tabernacle or building of worship in heaven, yet there is 24/7 worship, singing, glory, praise, thanksgiving. Why? Everyone is filled with the HS in the fullness of God.

Yet here on earth we are commanded to do this:

“Be filled with the Spirit. . .” This is a command to us. We don’t ask to be filled with the Spirit, we obey and are filled with the Spirit.

On White Board draw diagram:

What gets filled? Our born again spirit is already filled and wall to wall God.

From our born again Sspirit flows the HS into and overflowing our soul, (mind, emotions and will) and then into our heart, and even into our body can be aware of the Sspirit. We can be filled to the fullness of God. This takes us back to the beginning.

“. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know (personally experience and in intimate detail) the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (academic learning); THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.”   Eph. 4:17-19

This is within reach! The fullness of God flowing from your inner man overflowing from your Sspirit through soul into your heart even overflowing into your body experiencing a tangible Presence of God.

Being filled with the Spirit is up to you and it can happen over and over again as needed.

What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

One happens IN you and the other happens to you or UPON you.

To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.

It is true you get the HS the moment you are saved, but that does not mean you have been baptized in HS. For some it can happen at the same time but for most it is a separate experience.

Examples: Acts 8 Philip went to Samaria and many were saved and water baptized (Acts 8:5-12). When the church in Jerusalem heard of this they sent Peter and John to check it out. When they saw the people had been converted they laid hands on them to receive the Baptism of the HS (Acts 8:14-17).

Can you go to heaven w/o baptism of HS? YES.

Salvation saved but baptism of HS empowers you for witnessing with power.

Another example:

“Paul found certain disciples in Ephesus and asked them, Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? They answered, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit?” Acts 19:1-2

“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spoke in tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:6

Millions of people can testify that this baptism of HS is a separate and distinct experience after salvation.

“But you will receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

ill. Some people have been baptized with HS without realizing it. They may not speak in tongues. Read page 78 The New you and the Holy Spirit by Andrew Wommack.

The baptism of HS is a gift, not something you earn by travail or earn by getting holy enough.

The baptism of HS totally transformed the disciples! What will it do for you? Everyone is different and God’s power will manifest in your life in some way you will recognize.

How do I receive it? By faith in God’s Word not by a feeling.

“For everyone who asks receives; and he that seeks will find; to him who knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask for bread, will a father give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will he give him a snake? Or if he asks for an egg will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”  Luke 11:10-13

“Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 8:12

Pic of baptism of HS
Have prayer and laying on of hands for those who want to receive the baptism of the HS.

A prayer:

Heavenly Father, 

I thank You that Jesus saved me. I pray for Holy Spirit to come upon me and baptize me now so that I may have God’s power from this moment on, to be Your witness. Because You promised it I believe and receive the baptism now. I am empowered for service from this day forward. I ask to speak in other tongues according to Your Word. By faith I trust You for this gift and I will speak in other tongues as a new way for me to pray in the Spirit.  Thank You for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen

What will happen?

Now it’s possible you didn’t feel anything.

 In some cases, no new language comes out initially. But your receiving the baptism in Holy Spirit has nothing to do with initial feelings or what happens on the outside. God’s Word said that if you asked, you would receive. That means by faith you have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Next week’s teaching: Speaking in Tongues.

Speaking in other tongues can be in private or public. I spoke in tongues privately before I ever did publicly.

It doesn’t matter if you start with one syllable or how silly you sound. Just keep praying and God will strengthen you in your prayer language. There are many people who receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and do not pray in tongues right away. Don’t be discouraged, it will come. Just don’t give up!

 

 

 

Wednesday night teaching 2-27-19

Wednesday night teaching 2-27-19

Someone shared this scripture on Sunday morning at the beginning of worship.

“Come let us go to up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.”  Isaiah 2:3

          True under the old covenant. I understand when people say this is a house of God and we should treat it with reverence and I agree. However, in the new covenant God does not live in a building made with hands.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you? . . . For the temple of God is holy. And you are His temple.”  I Cor. 3:16-17

You may not realize this was a radical idea that few people ever had the revelation that God wanted to do this. What exactly does God want from us?

“. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know (personally experience and in intimate detail) the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (academic learning); THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.”   Eph. 4:17-19

“knowledge” – Greek word is gnosis = to know. Academic learning can bring knowledge. Hearing can bring knowledge. All knowledge begins here.

“How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14

But knowledge that stays in the head will soon be forgotten or replaced with other knowledge. The knowledge of God or about God is intended to become a personal encounter or experience.

 Gnosis knowledge from learning is to become GINOSKO – a personal intimate experiential knowledge. It is the word knowledge that describes the relationship between Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived. In a sacred way God intends for us to know Him in a one of a kind relationship that is intimate and so special that continues forever.

Okay now I am saved and I learn God actually lives inside my body. Where exactly does He live inside me?

God made us in His image and to be in His likeness. God is a Spirit. They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.

We are a spirit being.

We have a soul.

We live in a body.

According to Ephesians 4:17 where does Christ dwell in believers?

          “our heart”

-        The heart is the place we choose to believe or have faith. Romans 10:9-10

Since we know we are a spirit, have a soul and live in a body. Where is the heart?

          “The spirit of man is the candle (lamp) of the Lord searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Prov. 20:27

If man is going to know God who is Spirit then it will come by spirit connecting with Spirit. You can know (academically) about God with your mind but still not know Him Spiritually (ginosko) by experience.

-        Pharisees, Jews without Messiah. Religious people today.

The lost man, man not born of the Spirit of God is called a natural man.

“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  I Cor. 2:14

Does the lost man have a spirit? Yes he has a human spirit but since has not been born of the Spirit (born again) his human spirit is like he is dead to God.

“For you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you walked according to the age of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience . . .”  Eph. 2:1-2

You do not discern the things of God on your own. Eph. 2 describes:

You live according to the desires of your flesh.

You walk according to the world.

You walk and live according to the rule of Satan.

You are children of wrath.

You were without hope and without God

You were strangers to the covenant of promise

You were apart from Christ.

Left to yourself or in this condition you would be eternally lost and hopeless and eventually live eternally in hell. Hell not because you were a bad person but because your sin nature could not live in the holy sinless presence of God. If God let you even come near near Him you would be consumed like a moth who blindly flies into a fire. His holiness would consume you.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, even while we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.”  Eph. 2:4-7

God took the initiative to provide a rescue from our hopelessness.

Truth is the only thing that sets us free from bondage. Truth is a person called Jesus Christ.

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

-        Short of God’s glory or perfect holiness.

Sin – Greek word “harmatia” an archery term for missing the mark.

PIC of missing the mark archery.

Another pic of falling short of reaching God.

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

Why do Christians believe Jesus is the only way of salvation? Isn't that being rather narrow-minded and judgmental? The world has a lot of people in it who don't believe in Jesus but some of them are just as good as the Christians I know (or even better).

-        Jesus Himself said this. John 14:6 quote.

-        He knew that He was the one and only unique Son of God, sent by His Father into the world to save us from our sins.

-        PIC of man separated form God by sin

-        You see, only one thing separates us from God and keeps us out of heaven—and that is our sin. This is why our greatest need is to have our sins forgiven and cleansed, for only then can we be reconciled to God and go to be with Him throughout eternity.- But how is this possible? No matter how good we are, we can never erase our own sins. Only God can do this—and that is what He did by sending Jesus Christ into the world for us. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

-        PIC of Jesus bridging gap between man and God

When we hear the gospel from the Spirit of God it is like light coming into our darkness and illuminating where we were blind.

PIC of Spirit, soul, body and heart.

Our physical ears or eyes see or hear the gospel. The HS takes truth and illumines our darkness. We realize we are lost – separated from God because of our sin.

Truth travels through our mind and to the door of our heart.

The heart is the seat where we believe God or not. Truth knocks on the door of our heart and we choose to believe the revelation of God or not from the place of our heart.

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10

On white board draw another circle inside the body for the soul with gates open so things travel in and out of each gate.

Draw another circle inside the soul for the heart with gates open so things go in and out of each gate.

“Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Gates of the body – 5 physical senses = eye gate, ear gate, smell gate, taste gate, touch gate.

Gates of the soul – are open or closed from the body by you.

Gates of the heart – are to be guarded by you.

Your born again spirit has gates that flow from inside to the outside but nothing can contaminate the spirit in you, it is sealed by the Spirit.

“In Him you also, after hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, WERE SEALED WITH THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .” Eph. 1:13

PIC of sealed by God like a letter not to be opened.

Also sealed like a mason jar:

Your born again Sspirit is your new born again human spirit merged with God’s Holy Spirit creating one new Sspirit.

“Do not be drunk with wine, for that is wreckless living. But be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves (or one another) in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:18-19

We are learning how to live first out of our born again Sspirit that can commune with God 24/7. Note we are making melody in our heart TO THE LORD – NOT TO OURSELVES OR OTHERS BUT TO HIM.

Keep fresh, keep alive, keep aware of God and His Presence in you so that you are conscious of Him and in awe of Him at all times. “Rejoice in the Lord always. In everything give thanks to Him.”

Ill. There is no temple or tabernacle or building of worship in heaven, yet there is 24/7 worship, singing, glory, praise, thanksgiving. Why?

“Be filled with the Spirit. . .” This is a command to us.

What gets filled? Our born again spirit is already filled and wall to wall God.

From our born again Sspirit flows the HS into and overflowing our soul, heart, and even into our body. We can be filled to the fullness of God. This takes us back to the beginning.

“. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know (personally experience and in intimate detail) the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (academic learning); THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.”   Eph. 4:17-19

concl: This is within reach! The fullness of God flowing from your inner man overflowing through your heart and emotions and mind and soul even overflowing into your body experiencing a tangible Presence of God.

Some call this the baptism of the HS. When you open the flood gates by asking for the baptism of the HS. You have the HS in you at spiritual birth but the baptism of the Spirit is the when you yield and left the Spirit inside you overflow your banks of your soul and body.

You are still in control but you yield your soul and body for His Spirit to have His way with you.

Pic of baptism of HS

Have prayer and laying on of hands for those who want to receive the baptism of the HS.

What will happen? PIC

To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.

Prayer to receive the baptism of the HS:

Heavenly Father, 

I thank You that Jesus saved me. I pray for Holy Spirit to come upon me, baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. I receive Your baptism in the Holy Spirit because You promised this.  Thank You for the anointing, the glory, and the power of God coming upon me and into my life right now. I am empowered for service from this day forward. I ask to speak in other tongues according to Your Word. By faith I trust You for this gift and I will  speak in other tongues as a new way for me to pray in the Spirit.  Thank You for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now it’s possible you didn’t feel anything. In some cases, no new language comes out initially. But your receiving the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with initial feelings or what happens on the outside. God’s Word said that if you asked, you would receive. That means by faith you have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Practice speaking in other tongues. It doesn’t matter if you start with one syllable or how silly you sound. Just keep praying and God will strengthen you in your prayer language. There are many people who receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and do not pray in tongues right away. Don’t be discouraged, it will come. Just don’t give up!

Fruit of the Spirit Part 3  

Fruit of the Spirit Part 3  
Freedom

Review: I will continue to teach on this on Wed nights 6:30.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing. You did not chose Me, but I chose You, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain .  . .” John 15:5-6

Jesus used agriculture to describe spiritual life. You have been chosen, appointed and anointed that your life here on the earth will bear much fruit as a result of your union with Jesus.

The first thing God told Adam and Eve was to be fruitful then multiply and subdue the earth with the dominion authority God gave them.

What is this fruit God is looking for from us?

           God’s primary purpose:

“Let us make man in our image and our likeness.

          “Image” = we are made spirit beings

          “Likeness” = capacity to think, talk, and act like Him which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

The spiritual fruit of God’s likeness grows automatically while we abide in Him and fellowship with Him. It is not a result of our labor or hard work or obeying a strict set of laws. Out of our relationship with Him and our walk with Him through trials of this life the fruit appears.

Ill. Like one day you look at an orange tree and see only leaves. The next day you look and then closer see little buds among the leaves. Eventually the buds blossom into flowers releasing a fragrance that sweetens the air and then the flower blossom dies and falls to the ground.  But out of that place where the blossom was, is now new hidden life growing called the fruit. This process is a type of gospel presentation sign to the world of Jesus our Resurrected Lord.

“To everything (not some things or most things) there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. ” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Season – an appointed time by God.

4 seasons?

Psalm one declares if you will meditate (focus) on God’s Word you will be like a tree that you will bear fruit in it’s season.

God has fruit that will grow in every season. There is Spring time fruit – beans, peas, garlic. Summer time – cantaloupes, watermelons. Fall time – pumpkins, pears, apples, Winter time – oranges, tangerines. Some fruits grow in any season. So do the fruit of the Spirit. The point is no matter what season of life you are in you can bear fruit of the Spirit.

Also no matter what your circumstances or environment in your life, it cannot hinder the fruit of the Spirit from growing.

Categories of plants

Hardy – grows easily in this environment.

Half hardy – will grow here but with help.

Tender – the environment is hostile to it.

Messiah Jesus in Isaiah 53 “Who has believed our report? He (Jesus) would grow up before God as a tender plant, like a root growing from dry ground.”

          Look how fruitful Jesus’ life is and was for us. The environment was totally hostile towards Him, yet supernaturally He bore fruit that remains.

Nothing on earth, no demon from hell can hinder the fruit of the Spirit from growing in your life and your tough situations.

If you are going to have a garden or be a farmer you need to learn certain laws regarding agriculture. Laws of seed time and harvest. Time to plant – time to harvest. An almanac is a book with certain weather forecasts, tide and moon forecasts that tell you the best time to plant of harvest according to the historical record some things considered as laws of agriculture. If you abide by these laws you have 80% success rate supposedly. 

At the end of the famous list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 there is this bold declaration from God for us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is L, j, p, p, k, g, f, g, self control,

“against such there is no law.” Gal. 5:22

The Fruit of the Spirit will come as we abide and walk with God through the various seasons of life. There is no rule of law or authority that can stop the fruit of the Spirit. There is no negative strong enough to stop. The Spirit can and will produce fruit in any environment or hostile situation. This is a place of freedom with no limitation.

Ill. What if every attack of the enemy is really about what part of the nature of God (fruit) does He want to manifest to me and in me and through me in this particular challenge?

What if every time the enemy attacked us we could turn it around and use it for good? What he meant for evil God uses for good.

Ill. What if someone angry with you – provokes you but you go to God alone to find out why He allowed this and how it can be used for your good or an upgrade in your life. Whoever irritates you has their own internal conflicts with God in the first place. They will have to go to God to get all that mess healed. But now their mess is messing with you.

          Why would you continue to choose anger, and frustration when you encounter gentleness and patience.  

When you choose to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh you are actually giving God His vengeance to carry out. HE said vengeance is Mine I will repay.

We simply can’t continue to surrender our identity to the enemy to drag it in the mud.

It is a choice – that’s all.

Ill. God is waiting for the day when the enemy uses the same old tactics but suddenly realizes he can’t get under you skin like he use to.

With every trial or challenge God has an opposite that is like acid poured on the enemy. Every trial has God’s provision already attached. Instead of a stumbling stone it can be a stepping stone. In a trial we should be asking, “Father, what fruit of the Spirit are You wanting to manifest through me now? How can I cooperate with You.

Life is our laboratory where we practice and try out all the equipment God has given to us. This life is where the fruit grows, even in the most hostile environment.

The enemy has a good history of our reactions to his tactics. He knows what has worked to get you to act out in the flesh before.

The opposite of the fruit of the Spirit growing in your life is the works of the flesh operating in your life.  Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are these . . .”   Gal. 5:17-19

There are only 2 choices for a follower of Christ:

Walk in the Spirit OR works of the flesh

God gives you the freedom to make your own choice.

Every trial or problem we encounter has a great opportunity to manifest the fruit of the Spirit with it. God allows trials that He could stop because He is so confident in Himself that He can win in any situation. That is why in the bible He so often allows His people to be outnumbered, or have to face enemies larger, stronger, with more armor and weapons that they have. Many of these overwhelming odds He actually arranged for us to encounter! (thanks!) 

          How else will we discover and believe nothing is too difficult for the Lord? How else will we see how great and good is our God?

Ill. Recently a very knowledgeable man (an accountant and member of a school board who claimed to be a Xn) said according to statistics people who don’t graduate high school, born into poverty, and something else would spend their entire life in poverty. 

I listened and had never heard those statistics. I was surprised to hear what came out of my mouth next. I said there is one factor that changes all that and that is the grace of God.

          God is not intimidated by statistics or doctor reports or your lack of knowledge or experience. He does not want you to be intimidated by any of that either. He wants you to be confident in Him and in your circumstances. Abide in Him, choose to walk in the Spirit not the flesh and then

Jesus becomes your stance in your circumstance as you abide in Him.

He knows what you are facing and the challenges that will come in your future. He knows you have not been taught these truths or mentored  in them.

This is why you need to be renewed in your mind. In learning Jesus and abiding you can stop defaulting to the sin habits and the old self that was crucified with Jesus.

God must have a farmer or gardeners heart. He began civilization in a garden and taught Adam everything he needed to know through creation, animal and plant kingdom. Solomon the wisest man ever studied plants, trees, animals and related it all to the wisdom of God.

So many of Jesus’ teachings were parables about agriculture. Parable of sower and seed, parable of mustard seed. Parable of the Vineyard.

I think God loves the process of transforming us like a gardener loves to watch plants grow and produce fruit. He knows we are going to mess up sometimes. It is called falling short of the glory of God.

He has a glorious life for us in Him and in our circumstances now. Everything we need is in us in Him. His glorious life is in us. When we default to behavior that is less than He is and has for us, we simply need to repent towards the upgrade.

It sounds like this. “Father, thank You for the opportunity to walk in peace. I repent that I did not practice it. I ask You to give me another opportunity to as You see fit.

In the old covenant people repented for doing wrong. In the new we repent for not letting the glory of God, the life of Jesus shine through our trials.

Hidden inside every trial He allows is supernatural fruit waiting to blossom. For the fruit to manifest some things need to go through death, burial and resurrection. Fruit will come if you just abide and walk in the Spirit. Again, God gives you the freedom to choose which one you want in your life. It’s a choice Beloved! It’s your choice. You are free to choose now. What will it be?

Wednesday Night 2-20-19

Wednesday night teaching 2-20-19

How would you complete this statement?

For my determined purpose is that . . .

-        To live a good life. To be the best person I can be. To live a Christian life and be a good witness. Be a good spouse, parent, person, a good steward of what God has given me.

The Apostle Paul wrote

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him; that I may become more progressively and deeply acquainted with Him and the power of His resurrection and share in His sufferings as to be continually transformed into His likeness, even to His death and resurrection while in my body.”  Phil. 3:10 Amp.

This is why we are here tonight in church. It is why we come to this particular church on Sundays. It is why we get involved to serve. We all know God and we know there is more to know about Him than we presently know. We want to draw closer to Him. WE want to experience and encounter Him in greater measure.

We can’t settle for mediocrity Christianity. We can’t just go through the motions of traditional church like it is our duty. We don’t want dead routine rituals. We want life and abundant life.

          One of the evidences you have encountered God is that you want more than what you have presently.

“Not that I have already attained or have already been perfected, but I follow after it so that I may lay hold of that for which I was seized by Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:12

Getting saved, being born again will mess up your life plans.

Ill. When I was first saved at 19 in Marine corps I thought now that I am forgiven I need to show everyone what a Xn is like. I thought my mission was to be the best husband I could be, have the best marriage possible, be the best person I could be. Be the best Marine you can be without the bad language etc. Be good and do good as much as possible.

          While these are worthy goals they were never God’s priority for me. His priority is what Paul discovered and wrote in Phil. 4:10

“For my predetermined purpose is that I may know Him . . .”

I thought I did know Him now that I was saved?

Ill. How many of you married people thought you knew the person you were getting married to but after many years you know that you really did not know each other at the beginning. I am not talking about any negatives I am talking about discovering depths, the heart, the passion in your spouse that you did not know at the beginning. It is a process to really get to know someone.

-        What I knew about God at 19 compared to what I know about Him now is a vast difference. My knowledge of Him was first academic with some experiences. But for years and now it is all relational.

-        Everything that I know about God now comes out of relational learning not just academic.

Ill. Out of USMC to Bible College. My plans were college degree and go back to Marines as Xn officer for all my life, maybe seminary to be a chaplain in the Navy who serves Marine Corps.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Off we go to bible college with this plan of mine that I thought was one God would honor. Many confirming signs revealed it was indeed God’s plan for us to be at this bible college.

“We may make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

ill. During the first 2 years I was thinking my degree would be in counseling instead of Biblical ministry. Every year the school had a Sunday designated as share the pulpit Sunday. Students would preach a sermon in a church somewhere. I was asked to speak at a friends small church. I prepared for this one sermon over 30-40 hours of study, reading books, commentaries, etc. On the day I preached it all in about 12 minutes including the invitation.

-        People were kind but I knew I was not a preacher.

I admired good communicators of the gospel in the chapel services at school and I wanted to be one. I studied closely the styles of good preachers. I copied many of their mannerisms and even preached some of their sermons at a few opportunities I was given to supply preach for someone.

-        Pam deserves a medal for being so supportive when we would go to some of these little country churches way out in the middle of Georgia with only a handful of people and no nursery and she had a baby to hold and a two year old to have sit still on the front row while her husband tried to preach the gospel.

-        If you had heard me you would have said to quit preaching and get another vocation because this is definitely not your calling. 

I remember asking God to give me the ability to communicate the gospel well so that the educated man would not be bored and the uneducated man could understand. That has been my goal from then until now. But they way God has answered that prayer has been through years of evolution by walking with Him and learning to be secure and confident in Him and then in Him working in and through me. God loves us to be confident in Him and that He will help us.

I am still a work in progress. We all are and that is why we need to be tender and gracious with each other. We should all hang a sign around our necks that says, “Under construction”.

I like Ruth Graham’s epitaph on her grave stone.

“End of construction. Thank you for your patience!”

          So it is important for us to know what God’s plan for our life is all about. If I had a dollar each time someone asked me,

“What is God’s will for my life?” I would be a millionaire.

The overall answer is God wants us to know Him better than we know Him now. He wants us to move forward in our relationship with Him first and foremost.

He does have plans and purposes for each of us. He knows what we are planning on and yet He knows how to tweak or change our plans to align with His.

Ill. I use to agonize over not knowing what God wanted me to do with my life. I wanted Him to just tell me and then I would get on with it. I was frustrated with Him not revealing His blueprints so I could get on with it. “Why couldn’t I get God to just tell me what to do?”

Obviously we were not on the same page. I wanted to know His plans and He wanted me to know Him better. The answer to finding God’s will for your life is simple – He wants you to know Him in such a way that you know how He says yes, no, or wait.

It is all relational. Guidance from God is the by product of a right relationship with Him, assuming we are learning the lessons of abiding, trusting Him, resting in Him, and being a much loved child.

Is there a specific will of God or is it just a permissive will of God?

Yes! Both. God does have specifics in mind and He also loves freedom so much that He gives you permission to choose in so much of your life.

-        Will you marry or not? Who will you marry?

He will help you and give you guidance but not like a mindless robot.

He will warn you of a bad choice but He will let you choose.

Guidance from God is to come out of a close intimate relationship with God that you initiate daily and personally.

“My sheep (people) know My voice.”

          God wants us to make the right choices. But He wants us to seek His face and not just His hands of blessing. He wants us to seek Him for the shear pleasure of knowing Him.

It is important to learn God moves in 2 ways: Hiddenness and manifestation.

          There are times God reveals Himself or His will in a dramatic manifestation that astounds us.

          Ill. Through a series of dramatic events Pam and I realized we were being called by God to Lake county to a large church youth ministry instead of going on to seminary to become a military chaplain. When necessary God knows how to make His will very clear.

However don’t think finding God’s will always will work this way or else you will become confused.

There are times when God hides from us. It seems like He has moved away, yet He is using this to try to draw us closer into His Presence.

God says in Heb. 13:5 “I will never leave nor forsake you.” So we know god is constantly with us whether we realize it or not. Sometimes He is obvious and other times He is hidden.

Both times He is teaching us something about Him.

In times of hiddenness God is teaching us to walk with Him by faith. He withdraws from our emotions and feelings. He has not left us though is may feel like it. In these sometimes dark nights of the soul it is a time of building. He is building our faith so we don’t walk by emotions.

Perhaps the best way to describe it is,

 A time of manifestation is a time of blessing and a time of hiddenness is a time of building

What kind of time is it in your life right now?

God desires to bring us through seasons of hiddenness because He wants us to learn to walk by faith in the Spirit. Once this is established it prevents 98% of how the devil is trying to invade your life.

The majority of Christians relate to God through their feelings. Some days you feel close and other days you don’t.

The devil will play ping pong with your mind as long as you live by your feelings. One of the ways you can aggravate the devil is ignore him.

God’s will for your life will be revealed to you step by step as you draw closer to Him in intimacy.

Confession of faith:

For my predetermined purpose in life is to know God deeply, so that I may be transformed into His likeness now in this life on earth. God’s will un-fold’s for me, as I walk with Him. I experience God both in hidden times and in manifested times. I am a glorious work of God in progress and everyday is designed for my development to know Him better. I am learning how to abide in Him in all my life situations. He is always with me whether I feel Him or not. Because of this, I can rejoice in the Lord always and give Him thanks in all things. He never leaves or forsakes me. Thank You Lord.

Fruit of the Spirit Series Part 2

Fruit of the Spirit series Part 2
“Your inheritance is at stake!”

“You did not chose Me, but I chose You, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain .  . .” John 15:6

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

You have been chosen, appointed and anointed that your life here on the earth will bear much fruit as a result of your union with Jesus.

The first thing God told Adam and Eve was to be fruitful then multiply and subdue the earth with the dominion authority God gave them.

What is this fruit God is looking for from us?

           God’s primary purpose is to make us into His image and likeness. “Let us make man in our image and our likeness.” God is a Spirit.

The fruit is God’s likeness, which is spiritual fruit that will manifest when we choose to walk in the Spirit rather than our flesh.

 

“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another so that you do not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

          Now the works of the flesh are these, adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Gal. 5:16-19

God gives us the freedom to choose in this life even after we are saved.

1.    Walk in the Spirit or the works of the flesh.  

If you walk in the Spirit you will not live  as though this physical world is all there is, according to what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Your life will prove there is more to life than what you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch.

It is by walking in the Spirit and a Spirit led life that we produce this fruit Jesus said we would.

“But 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

2.    There are 2 kingdoms here in this world:

You are born in the kingdom of this world dominated by the prince of the power of the air. This world as we know it is passing away, decaying and filled with death. “Do not love this world neither the things in this world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but of the world. The world and it’s desires are passing away, but he who does the will of God lives forever.” I John 2:15-16.

But the Kingdom of God (KOG) is to be inherited after you are born again of the Spirit and while you are here on the earth. Your fruit comes from abiding in Christ and letting Christ live His life through you now in the earth.  Fruit grows slowly through our abiding in the Vine and walking in the Spirit.

What does it mean to abide in Christ?

Abiding is a living union with Jesus. His life and your life are merged into one life lived through your everyday circumstances. Abiding is communion with Jesus that produces the nature of God as you walk in the Spirit. Only one thing can stop the fruit of the Spirit from growing in your life and that is not abiding.

Your inheritance is at stake.

Note that Galatians 5 declares if we choose to walk in the flesh rather than the Spirit we will not inherit the KOG (not talking about heaven but kog here now.)

We are called “joint heirs with Jesus”. A joint heir is not a co-heir. A co-heir divides the inheritance equally but as a joint heir both parties receive 100% of the inheritance not 50 -50.

Your inheritance is what Jesus died to give you now, not just going to heaven when you die. Just before going to the cross Jesus said things like,

As the Father loved Me, I also loved you. Remain (abide) in My love. John 15:9

Your inheritance is this same powerful self sacrificing love of Jesus!

I have spoken these things to you that My joy may remain in you, and your joy may be full.  John 15:11

Your inheritance is the same joy of Jesus that enabled Him to endure the cross!

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

Your inheritance is the same supernatural peace of Jesus now!

An inheritance is given after someone dies. Jesus already died and left your inheritance. Everything He had that enabled Him to live supernaturally as a human, here in this life, He left here as your inheritance so you can live an abundant life of victory over the world by His Spirit in you.

Love, joy, peace and all the fruit of the Spirit are part of your inheritance to receive now in this life!

As a child of God you are an heir automatically.  This is vital to grasp. Heaven is your home not your inheritance.

An inheritance is given so you can have help to get ahead in this life now. An inheritance is to accelerate your progress.

Ill. If an inheritance is left to a minor then usually that minor has a trustee or governor to keep that inheritance until the child matures and reaches the designated age or maturity to be able to utilize the inheritance.

 “As long as the heir is a child, he does not differ from a servant though he is lord of all. But he is under tutors or governors until the time appointed by the Father.” Gal. 4:2

When we are born again we are like a child who has inherited a kingdom. We are not mature to be able to receive the kingdom and all power and authority to reign as it encompasses. It belongs to us as an heir but we are given a tutor or governor called the Holy Spirit to train us to walk in the Spirit and mature into full Son-ship and then receive our placement as a mature son of God.

“So when we were children, we were in bondage to the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born form a woman, born under law, to redeem those who were under the law that we might receive the placement (adoption) as mature sons.”  Gal. 4:3-5

“Adoption as sons” is a poor translation in many bibles.

We are not adopted sons of God. Adopted would mean we do not have the same DNA or blood. We are born of His Spirit by the same blood of Jesus. We are one blood in Christ, not secondary adopted sons.

Christ came to redeem us from the Law of God that no one but Jesus was able to keep. When Jesus came He was born under the old covenant or law. When Jesus lived on the earth it was a time of transition from the old covenant to the new. Jesus lived under the law and kept the law perfectly.

But Jesus started a new covenant.

“He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no occasion would have been sought for finding a second.” Heb. 8:6-7

People get confused because they have one foot in the new covenant and one in the old.

Where in the Bible does the old covenant end and the new covenant begin?

Many say at the beginning of the gospels but that is not true. Jesus was born under the law and lived most of His life under the old covenant.

Mathew 27:50 end of old covenant. Jesus cried out and yielded up His Spirit. Matthew 27:51 begins new covenant. The veil of the temple was torn in two.

Mathew 27:50 ends of old covenant and verse 51 begins the new.

Mark 15:37 ends the old and 38 begins the new.  

Luke 23:46 ends the old and 47 begins the new.

John 19:30 ends the old and 31 begins the new.

“For this reason, HE is the Mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of sins that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of ETERNAL INHERITANCE.” Heb. 8:15

For you to receive your placement as a mature son of God in His kingdom now, it is vital for you to cooperate with HS and have experiences and encounters with God so you will not continue to live below the placement He has for you.

          Bible Knowledge alone does not empower you to become like X. It is both knowledge and encounters and life experiences of Christ in you that empower you to become like Him.

          You mature in the Spirit when His Kingdom clashes with the kingdom of this world and overcomes it.  You learn how to say no to the flesh and overcome things that hold you in an immature lifestyle.

You are transforming and maturing in the Spirit when:

Your perception becomes God’s perception.

Your mindset is becomes the mind of Christ.

Your language is talking like God.

Your behavior is like Jesus.

 In short, you know you are maturing when His love becomes your love in a situation where that was not like the way you use to respond.

His joy becomes your joy. His peace – your peace. His patience become your patience, His kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are now fruit hanging on your tree of Life.

This is not behavior modification. It happens automatically because of our relationship and walk with Him in this life now.

Religion is about rules, self effort, performance, trying hard to change and fear of failure. In religion you have to earn blessings. Religion enslaves you to to a performance mindset for acceptance.

Freedom is huge with God. The way we come into salvation is the way we are meant to live in it.

          We are learning how to abide in the grace freely given us. No requirement except the law of love. Jesus said all the law and prophets are fulfilled in this love.

          If you want the fruit of the Spirit in your life just focus on one thing – loving God and people with the same love you receive from Him. Ask yourself “In my current situation, how does love act and respond to this?”

If you will walk in God’s love then the fruit of the Spirit will manifest abundantly in this life for you. You will be enjoying your inheritance now like Jesus intended.

Concl: Right now I am talking to 3 groups of people.

1.    Lost, separated from God. Not born again. You need to be saved.

2.    Saved but miserable because you are stuck in religion. Trying hard to live the Xn life. You are forfeiting your inheritance.

3.    Saved and enjoying your inheritance by walking in the Spirit. Which one are you?

 

 

God’s Grace Has Redefined You!

God’s Grace Has Redefined You!

If you are born from above, then you are no longer a sinner saved by grace. Because of the perfect finished work of Christ, God’s grace has re-defined you.

My Identity in Christ
Because of Christ’s redemption,
I am a new creation of great worth.
I am deeply loved,
Completely forgiven,
Fully pleasing,
Totally accepted by God and
Absolutely complete in Christ.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

The word “Christian” is only used 3 times in the Bible. But the phrase

 “In Christ” is used over 160 times in the NT. The best way to describe what a Christians truly is, is with this frequent phrase “In Christ”. A supernatural placement of you in Jesus Christ. It would be a good exercise for you to read the scriptures about being placed in Christ and place your name in it and read it aloud to yourself.

1.   You are a new creation – 2 Cor. 5:17 “If Gary be IN CHRIST, old things have passed away and all things become new.”

2.   You have no condemnation – Rom. 8:1 “There is no condemnation for ­­­­­_______, who is IN CHRIST JESUS.”

3.   You can never be separated from God – Rom. 8:39
“Nothing – absolutely nothing – can separate _______ from the love of God IN CHRIST JESUS.”

Wherever “IN CHRIST” is used in scripture, there is a revelation of how God sees you.

“You are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”  Col. 2:10

You in Christ and Christ in you are best described by two words placement and portrayal.

1.   You “in Christ” is GOD’S PLACEMENT of you by His doing – grace.

You can do nothing to enter this place – it is a gift. But you must do everything to learn to live your life from this placement – it is called abiding. We abide in Him by faith.

2.   “Christ in you”  is your life portraying the nature of God on earth.

Paul wrote in Col. 1:27 about the mystery of God made known to the Gentiles was “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

This is not a performance or trying hard to be a nice Christian. You are learning how to draw upon the nature of God in you and learn the pleasure of letting His nature respond to the issues you face. All your life issues are your laboratory of learning how to let Christ live through you.

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, Yet, not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20

We cannot live the Christian Life. If we could then Jesus died in vain. Jesus is the only One who can live the Christian life, which is His Life being lived through us yielding to Him.

“For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that are required for living the Christian life, through the knowledge of Him Who called us . . .” 2 Peter 1:3

 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.  2 Peter 1:3 Message Bible

What difference does it make for me to know that as a Christian I am already complete in Christ?

          It is a matter of “being” versus “doing”. It is a matter of resting in the finished work of Christ and not “trying hard” to live the Christian life. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

“While the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered today, let us fear that any of you should come short of reaching it. . . for we who have believed do enter that rest. . . Again He sets a new today, and gives another opportunity to securing that rest. . . Let us then be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest of God [to know and experience it for ourselves].” Heb. 4:1-11 Ampl/Paraphrased.

This “rest” is not inactivity; it is activity that is directed by the Sspirit of God in us.  

 C. S. Lewis wrote that Xns who understand this are very noticeable especially when trouble comes. These people have an inner serenity which adversity cannot disturb; it is the peace of Christ.

They have a spiritual power that physical weakness cannot destroy;  They have a hidden vitality that even the process of dying and death cannot quench; it is the life of Christ is made manifest in their mortal flesh.
  The most common description in the Scriptures of a follower of Jesus is that he or she is a person “in Christ.”

My Identity in Christ
Because of Christ’s redemption,
I am a new creation of great worth.
I am deeply loved,
Completely forgiven,
Fully pleasing,
Totally accepted by God and
Absolutely complete in Christ.

Concl: If you have a hard time believing this about yourself then it is a sign your mind needs to be renewed with God’s truth. Beloved, Child of God, this is the way God sees you.

Maybe you are in a situation of great need. You are a Xn and yet it seems like God is not helping you. Then you start thinking “well maybe it is some sin I have done that keeps God from helping me?” Or something you are not doing that you know God would like you to do, therefore God is not helping you.”

Wrong thinking. God is not like us. He is not moody. His love for you is not based on your behavior. It is based on Christ.

Then why won’t God provide my need?

Several things to consider: Maybe He has a better way for you to go. Maybe a change of direction. Maybe He wants to change your POV of Him. Maybe He wants you to trust Him and learn contentment. Could be a thousand reasons BUT you must know He placed you in Christ and treats you the way He treats Jesus. Jesus had to trust God and so do you.

The main thing is He wants you to rest in His love for you. Be secure in His love for you. Your needs will be met as you learn to rest and trust.

From now you should practice joy and peace in believing. They way we live from the KOG to the earth is by trust and resting in Him and His faithfulness. Stop the panic. Stop giving Satan the advantage against you. You must learn a new way of thinking in order to be an overcomer.

The Fruit of the Spirit Series Part 1

The Fruit of the Spirit Series Part 1

Intro: God’s primary pupose is to make us into His image and likeness. This should be our primary purpose too.

          The true nature of God is revealed in the fruit of the Spirit. Because God is love – all joy originates with Him, He is the Prince of peace, His nature is perfect patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness (gentleness) and self control.

When you encounter God and are born again of the Spirit of God then, X lives inside your body. The result of this new life of Jesus living on the inside will be fruit of the Spirit on the outside. Jesus described life to be like this:

“I am the sprouting Vine and you are My branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless like a dried up branches to be thrown into the burn pile.  

 But if you live in life-union with me and my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father! John 15:5-8 various versions

What are the evidences of transformation?

The measure of transformation is not based on how much knowledge you have (look a the Pharisees).

In fact here’s some thinks to consider.

PIC of you might be a Pharisee:

You might be a Pharisee if:

1.    You are quick to tell people your religious routines.

2.    You are insulted by the notion that you might be a Pharisee.

3.    You are convinced that your opinion is the only right one.

4.    You have changed behavior instead of a changed heart.

5.    You put your trust in your rituals rather than the finished work of Christ.

God does not give you a title – pastor or Apostle to show that you have attained a higher level of growth. He does not hand out certificates of completion or diplomas for graduating.

Growing up in Christ is not based on how many conferences you attended or even experiences you had with God. You measure your growth in Christ by real life experiences particularly in 4 ways:

Perception change: How you see God, yourself and life situations differently because of what Holy Spirit has taught you.

Mindsets change: You see things differently because of the mind of Christ. You don’t react to the negative impulsively like you use to. You live with an expectancy of good from God.

Language change: You use the same language God does when you talk about yourself, or others, or your life circumstances.

Behavior change: You choose to lay aside the old ways of behavior and respond to the grace that God is giving you.

So, is your life bearing fruit because of Christ living in you and being the focal point of your life? 365 days from today the people who know you best should be able to tell you if you are more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self control and in His rest.

Remember the old Disney movie Jungle book. There is a very spiritual song there sung by a character called King Louie that would apply to what I am talking about.

Pic king Louis Jungle book

Oh, oobee doo

I wanna be like you oo oo

I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too –oo –oo

You’ll see it’s true –oo-oo,

That someone like me – ee-ee

Can learn to be someone, like You.

Ill. When you go through the same trial over and over, are you getting better or worse? Even if the situation was intended is from the enemy and was intended to harm you, God uses it to show you more of His nature that is available if you will abide and remain in Him through this storm.

lyrics.

 More love, more power
More of You in my life
More love, more power
More of You in my life

And I will worship You, with all of my heart
I will worship You, with all of my mind
I will worship You, with all of my strength
For You are my Lord

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus . . .” Eph. 2:10

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Rev. 4:11

What is God’s good pleasure for you in this situation?

He is with you in every situation. Life is an adventure so God can show you who really is and what He is really like. Life is also about discovering who you really are in Christ. It brings pleasure to God when you go through all of life and let Him show you these things.

Every fruit of the Spirit has its own perceptions, mindsets, language, and behavior changes that convert us from an earthbound perspective to a heavenly mindset.

If you go through the same circumstances over and over and react the same negative way each time – it means you have an ingrained stronghold and God wants that changed into the opposite to think like Him.

Instead of frustration – peace and patience

Instead of worry, fear – faith and peace

Instead of depression – hope, joy, expectancy of goodness.

Fruit grows slowly.

Abiding is a walk in the Spirit not a run or hurry up.

Only one thing can stop the fruit of the Spirit from growing in your life and that is not abiding.

What does it mean to abide in Christ?

Abiding means living all of life with Jesus as He wants to live His life through you regardless of the circumstances. Receiving His love and giving His love to all who cross your path. Your life focus in on Him and the result of beholding Him is becoming like Him. He has captured your heart and become the love of your life.

-         It means to realize we have a relationship with God where He inhabits us. In OT God would visit people but not inhabit them. The finished work of X on cross now enables Holy God to indwell those born of His Spirit. He does not come and go based on our behavior being good one day and bad the next.

-         God is not moody like us.

“Those who truly love Me are those who obey My commands. Whoever passionately loves Me will be passionately loved by My Father. And I will passionately love you in return and will manifest My life within you.”  John 14:21-22

22 Then one of the disciples named Judas[a] (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, why is it you will only reveal your identity to us and not to everyone?”

Jesus repliedLoving Me empowers you to obey My word. And My Father will love you so deeply that We will come to you and make you Our dwelling place.  Vs 23

Habitat for Divinity I Cor. 3:16

You are learning how to live with God in every part of your life. The good news is He is always cheerful and fun loving. All god ever wanted in the beginning was a family, children, friendship so He can teach you what life is all about.

Jesus went to the cross and died a criminals death but was totally innocent. He not only went to cross for you, but AS you. He took on your sins and sin nature and crucified it and paying the penalty God demanded to be paid – wages of sin is death. He paid it in full!

Jesus did this and took your sins out of the way so God and you can have a Father/son, Father/daughter relationship. Sin is no longer an issue between God and you. He took care of that.

When you were born again – God put you “in Christ” and “Christ in you” so that Jesus would be the new focal point of your life.

All of Xnty can be summed up on two words of Jesus.

“Follow Me.”

To me this describes what my life is about. I am a born of His Spirit believer. Jesus is alive and well in my body as His temple. Every day my purpose is to follow Him.

Ill. I am learning just like you that we make our plans for the day and off we go. But sometimes God has some divine appointments that we have not planned for. If you are not walking in the spirit – but in the flesh you might interpret a divine appointment with an interruption to your work.

This is why it is important to leave some margins in our schedule.
Beware of the barrenness of the busy life!

          B – Bound

          U – Under

          S -   Satan’s

          Y-   Yoke

Quote Henri Nouen

Concl: The purpose of this series is to make us take at look at our life and measure whether or not we are growing and bearing the fruit Jesus said would happen if we abide in Him.

-         It is primarily for people who are already born of the Spirit and want to know what’s next.

Fruit grows without your performance. It grows simply because you abide.

All our learning now is about how to abide. It is about discovering Who God is to you and to love the learning and unlearning of the old ways that were not God’s ways.

You can’t want new and think old.

This is not going to be hard. Having an expectation of the Xn life is going to be hard is wrong. “My yoke is easy.”

-         God brought you here as an invitation to encounter and go deeper into God’s nature.

If today you got some inspiration from something said, God wants you to take it further.

Inspiration is an invitation to go deeper into exploration to have transformation.

-         However, if your not born again – it will help you to. It will point out you need to have a starting place with God according to His terms.

Wednesday 1-30-19

Wed teaching

What were Jesus’ last words on the cross?

John 19:30 “It is finished.”

Luke 23:46 “Father into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.”

Something was finished and something was placed into God’s hands.

(My work as Savior is finished – My life is now placed into God’s hands.)

“Do you not know that we who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? . . . For since we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death, so we shall also be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. . . knowing that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life He lives, He lives to God.

          Likewise, you also consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 6:3-11

When you are born of the Spirit (second birth – born again) you were baptized into the same death as Jesus died. Something in you got finished too.

          He died as a sinless sacrifice paying the full price for you to be set free from a doomed sin nature.

Something died in you and something was birthed in you at the same moment.

 “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, not I but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loves me and gave Himself for me.”  Gal. 2:20

Your sin nature died the moment you were born again.

In addition to this, a newly created spirit was born the moment you were born again. Christ Jesus was place inside you along with your new spirit. You were also place “in Christ”.

You were not the same old person with a sin nature who has added belief in Jesus to your life!

Your identity is now “in Christ”.

Your old sin nature is crucified with Christ.

Your new created spirit is merged with Christ.

God treats you the same way He treats Jesus.

“If any man be IN CHRIST he is a new creation, old things have passed away, BEHOLD all things become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17

“He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” I Cor. 6:17

Sspirit = Holy Spirit merged with your

 human spirit to create a new Sspirit.

This newly created spirit is like a new born baby and needs nurturing to grow: A loving home = church. Baby food = milk of the Word. Mentoring from your resident truth Teacher the HS.

You have new DNA (Divine Nature of the Almighty).

All change now comes from the inside working on the outside through renewing your mind to think like God. There is no change without renewing the mind.  

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:12

Song: Jesus on the inside working on the outside, O what a change in my life. Repeat twice. O what a change, what a change in my life. I’ve got the Holy Spirit inside working on the outside . . .

Pic of metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly.

Caterpillar is completely different from a butterfly. It is not a caterpillar that grow wings.

Caterpillar crawls on ground but eats and destroys everything in it’s path. It leaves death and destruction everywhere it goes.

Butterfly flies in air and pollenates and leaves a blessing wherever it goes. Butterfly is the symbol of a born again Xn – new creation that did not exist before.

You no longer have a sin nature! You may have sin habits, but that can all change by renewing your mind with God.

There is no more of the old you to try and fix up.

There is only the new man who needs to be built up!

God is not sin conscious like we are. When God looks at you He sees the new you. Our thinking needs to change in us. God had Jesus take away the sins of the world so God could only focus on righteousness which is His gift to you. It cannot be earned – it simply must be received.

You must break free form the mindset that you have to earn things from God. That is the way the world thinks but not the way God thinks.

Ill. After the prodigal son repented he received everything form His father as a gift. The son who stayed home received less because he tried to earn it.

We are God’s dwelling place on earth.

Habitat for Divinity

In the old Testament times people only had a visitational relationship with God. Today in New Testament we have a inhabitation relationship with Him.

-         Our relationship with God is not on and off.

-         His nature is unchanging. His love is unchanging, also His joy, peace, etc.

-         He is not moody like us. God is always in a good mood towards us because we are “in Christ”. Yes we have issues to work on with Him but we don’t have to get back into good graces with God. He is not moody like us.

-         God is celebrating and only working on the new man in you. He does not work on that old man – he is dead. He is working on the new you and what you are becoming.

It is a great day when you finally relax and live under His smile, His approval of you, His love and affection for you.

I think all God ever wanted was a family, you as His friend, His child that He could teach and show you how to live like Him in this world.

This is what Jesus gave the Father on the cross. He gave Him back His family that Satan stole. He gave Him you.

Close your eyes and imagine what I am about to say is God speaking directly to you.

“Beloved, I love you and I know everything about you. I rejoiced over you the day you were born. I am still rejoicing and singing over you. You have My full attention. I love My Son in you and you in My Son. I completely understand every struggle in your mind and every weakness about yourself. I want you to rest in My love. You will be surprised how the shackles of the past can fall away. Take a deep breath – relax. Let the tension of performance leave your soul and body. All you need to learn now is how to abide in Me and to discover what I am to you. You are in Christ and Christ is in you. Let your heart be filled with My joy and gladness. You are My beloved.”

Is it hard for you to imagine that God feels this way about you? If it is then it is because you need a new mind set.

In the world there is a saying,

“If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”

Someone is about to be conned, or taken advantage of.

In the kingdom of God,

If it sounds too good to be true – it must be God!

Concl:

Prayer

 

Unstuck Part 3

Unstuck Part 3

The enemy wants you to feel hopeless about some situation. He wants to blind you to the hope you can have in God. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy the life God has for you. Maybe he has planted the lie in your mind that people would be better off if you are gone. If you have or are entertaining thoughts about suicide because you are so tired and discouraged that you feel you don’t have the strength to carry on. Maybe you think you have tried everything you know to do and nothing is working or changing for the better. You might feel or even have said that you think your life is cursed.

A curse is a pronouncement that carries an effect. God cursed Satan Eden to crawl on his belly. Before this he probably walked upright like man. The point is a curse carries an effect of being doomed or nothing will work out like you hoped it would. IT is the opposite of blessing.

“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see good with it comes. . .

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters . . . and shall not fear when heat comes . . . and not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:5-8

Everyone goes through difficulties and troubles in this life. Some more than others but for the ones who trust in man rather than God things get worse. The One who trusts in God has some hard places but prospers even in the hard times.

Jesus became a curse and took the curse from believers and because we trust God we are not cursed.

But you can curse yourself or doom yourself to failure if you lose hope or trust in God. If this is you then you feel stuck. This is where Satan wants to take your mind and play mind games with you. There is no reason for anyone to be without hope in this world. If you are here today and have lost hope it is because you stopped trusting in the God of hope.

God brought you here today to help you get unstuck in your mind.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

You have to start believing God again and hope in Him.

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

So let faith arise
Let faith arise
Open my eyes
Open my eyes

Review series:

Unstuck part 1 – Elijah and his servant surrounded by an overwhelming army come to capture them – in the natural it looks hopeless. Elijah is calm, peaceful and in rest. His servant is in a panic, worried, fearful.

“Lord, open his eyes to see.” Things are not as the appear.

Ask God to open your eyes to see your situation as He sees it.

-        We are not outnumbered. We are not overwhelmed. We are not without hope. We are not failures or losers. WE are not doomed, condemned, or cursed.

God says there are more for us than against us. Jesus has already overcome the world. He always leads us into triumph. We already have victory. “See I have already given Jericho into your hands, see I have already over come the world, see I have given you the land, See, by My stripes you were healed. See all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

          “No Lord I don’t see it the way You see it!”

The Apostle Paul must have read this account of Elijah because the HS inspired him to write a prayer so we could pray it in Eph. 1:18

“I pray that the eyes of your heart be enlightened that you may know the hope of His calling for you.”
Eph. 1:18

You have got to get your mind unstuck. How? You must cooperate with God. He will help you but He will not force you to align your life with His.

“The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

You can tell what your mind is set on by how it affects the words coming out of your mouth. Your words have been activating life and peace if your mind is on the Spirit, or your words are activating death if all your mind on is the flesh or the natural world you can see.

“Repentance” in ancient Hebrews word pictures literally means:

“Destroy the house that caused chaos and leave nothing behind.”

Destroy hopeless thoughts with God’s Word. Change your mind.

We often have to unlearn things to get unstuck.  

There is no lasting change without a renewed mind.

Every high thought that has been raised up higher than the Word of God must be torn down. Every stronghold in the mind is a lie that can be broken. You have housed some wrong thinking in your mind that needs to be destroyed. You have authority over your mind! You are the one who sets you mind on whatever you want it set on. God will help you.

Unstuck part 2 review. Now that our eyes and heart are open to God and to see from His POV – now we need to focus and stay focused on Jesus.

Ill. Remember the storm the disciples were in a boat in an overwhelming storm. Jesus comes walking on water and would have passed them by. They cried out to Him and focused on Him rather than the storm. He gets in their boat. In Johns gospel account Jesus never spoke to the storm – it just stopped when the disciples quit focusing on it and instead were mesmerized by the glory of Jesus walking on water and now with them. “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:21

With Jesus there is no more striving. With Jesus there is no more fear.

The point is, in getting unstuck your eyes have to be opened to God  then to stay unstuck you have to focus – on Jesus! He is what is most important – not your storm, your problem, your issue.  

-        Don’t allow your issues to become the focal point.

-        Some of you feel like you are so far behind spiritually that you can never catch up. Not true. The HS is called in the KJV the “Spirit that quickens”  - not acceleration but life giving, life activating. If the Spirit is not quickening you – giving you Life then you default to living out of your flesh alone. Not Living.

“It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.” Jn 6:63 KJV

God knows what it will take to activate you and get you going in the direction you should be. Accept the process God chooses to make you the person you are called to become. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your life is unique one of a kind. Your process will be different from others.

Practical Keys to get unstuck:

1.   Reach out to Godly people. Study all the “one another’s” in the Bible.
“Multitude of counselors” “Two are better than one. If one falls down the other can help” Eccl. 4:9-11NLT.

2.   Be planted in a church. “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13

3.   Start doing Things. Depression can paralyze. Get yourself out of bed and go outdoors for a walk. Start walking. Jesus walked a lot and prayed.

4.   Hear truth and be healed.

If you need healing in any area of your life, don’t just ask for prayer. Make sure you hear what God has to say about healing. Ill. Many medications treat one part of your body and cause side effects elsewhere. Proverbs 4:22 says God’s Words are “Life to all who find them and health to all their flesh.”

5.   Strengthen yourself with truth (God’s Word).

The enemy knows how powerful the Word is. That is why he will do anything to keep you from church where you learn and grow spiritually. Jesus said as soon as the Word is sown in people the enemy comes immediately to steal the Word before it can take root in your life.

How can you get your hope back?

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

The Bible has so many real life stories recorded for the purpose of imparting hope to you.

Concl: The enemy wants you to feel stuck and hopeless.

          Perhaps your life has been one disappointment after another. Maybe you have had a lot of tragedy. We live in a fallen world and bad things do happen.

          God’s Word promises you hope.

“I would have fainted unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Elisha’s servant had to have his eyes opened before he could see . So do you.

The disciples had to get Jesus in their boat to stop their panic. So do you.

God loves you and cares about you. The fact that you are here today is a sign He is reaching out to you. He gives you His promises to help you.

The first promise is, John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10

He is reaching out to you now. All you need to do is trust Him and His promises and reach out to Him in prayer now.

-        Prayer for salvation.

-        God brought you here today to get you unstuck and to start moving again. God has made His move – now it’s your move.

Made Into God’s Image

Made Into God’s Image

 God’s #1 goal in your life is to make you into His image and likeness.

“Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have dominion . . .”  Gen. 1:26

His goal has been the same since the beginning of time.

1st Adam failed to trust God and put his trust in Satan. As a result he received satanic sin nature and passed this on into the human race.

Ill. Can you imagine what it was like to live in garden of eden? Years later after no longer lived there they had sons and daughters. The children would wonder as Adam told stories of what it was like to like in Eden the garden of God. Papa, why don’t we live there anymore?

“Your mother ate us out of house and home!”

-        Everyone since has been born with a satanic sin nature because we are of Adam’s seed that got corrupted. Bible calls it

“In Adam”

          Why is their such evil in the world? Satanic sin nature.

“For as in Adam all die, even so IN CHRIST shall all be made alive.” I Cor. 15:22

Originally man was not created to die. There was no death. Everything would live forever.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day you eat of it you will die. They did but did not die that very day, but death came to planet earth.

          Adam lived 930 years. Eve? Who was oldest human? 969.

Why did people live so long back in the beginning?

-        To populate the earth.

-        Physical body not experienced the corruption of sin.

-        Water and food purer.

The first Adam lost dominion God gave him. There had to be a man who would take back the dominion God gave man.

There was no man able to do this. But God had a plan to rescue mankind long before the foundation of the earth.

-        This man would have to pass the tests that Adam failed.

The triune God – God the Father, God the Son, God the HS.

The Son of God is also God the Son. He became flesh, He became human but not born of Adam’s seed.

-        Virgin birth – not human seed but human womb. God’s seed placed in a human womb – virgin birth is vital to believe!

Jesus is human but with God’s nature and not the satanic sin nature.

He is called the 2nd Adam.

“The first Adam was made a living soul. The last Adam was made a life giving spirit. However, that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second man was of the Lord from heaven.” I Cor. 15:45

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said unto you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows and you hear the sound but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”   John 3:6-8

Born once – die twice.

Born twice – die once.

“Death and Hades were thrown in the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”   Rev. 20:14

We are given a future picture of what will happen to both death itself and Hades the place of departed spirits (now where dead people’s souls are) until Great white throne judgment and final sentence is passed.

-        God will show His justice and holiness and mercy offered to everyone.

-        Is there a literal hell? Yes.

How can we be saved from going to hell?

-        John 3:16 “not perish” = hell = eternal death

-        Romans 10:9-10 “saved”

-        Be born again of the Spirit of God.

What many Xns do not seem to understand but need to understand is this:

1.   When you are born again of the (literally born from above) then your old sin nature got crucified with Jesus. He died your death and gave you His life.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Gal. 2:20-21

Born again people do not have a sin nature! It was crucified with Jesus.

          Yet I hear it from preachers on TV and then read it in Xn books and know it is error being taught to the body of X.

Pic man with devil and angel on shoulder.

It is error to believe you still have a sin nature and God’s nature.

Then why do I still sin and maybe do some of the same sins I got saved from?

If you are born again you no longer have a sin nature, but you may have a sin habit!

-        Strongholds in our mind

As you partner with God you can overcome this sin habit by His grace. He delights in helping you overcome and mature through this.

He will replace that habit with a fruit of the Spirit that is the opposite of that sin habit. This fruit will grow over time and mature. You can be sure this is what God is doing in your life right now. Take an issue you have, a sin habit. God is trying to lead you and teach you to yield for His nature to manifest in you as this particular fruit of His nature in your life.

This will require you to focus on living out of your spirit rather than your flesh. In your born again spirit is HS and your newly created spirit.

One of the ways you know you are living out of your spirit and not the flesh is you are not giving into those deeds of the flesh like you use to.

“Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” Gal. 5:16

“To be fleshly minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, for the fleshly mind is hostile toward God.” Romans 8:6

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

You have to become more aware of your invisible but present God than your present visible problems.

-        Not ignore problems, just don’t let them become so big a mountain that they hide God from your focus.

Here was an exercise in focus back in Numbers 21. Israel in wilderness and bitten by fiery serpents. They prayed – God take away the serpents. People were dying. Instead God gave a solution where they would have to trust Him and FOCUS. God told Moses to

“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole; and it shall be everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  Numbers 21:8

“Look at the bronze serpent judged and hanging on this pole and you will be healed!” It was made out of bronze – symbol of judgment. Bronze laver for priest to wash in. Bronze altar for sacrifices.

“Look” = means to focus intently.

          Surprisingly, some did not believe and died with the solution within their reach.

It would take faith, trust in God for this miracle to happen.

All this was a picture of the miracle of the gracious Lord Jesus to come. In John’s gospel two verses before the great John 3:16 verse.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”   John 3:14

In the same way to be saved – it would take trust and faith in God for this miracle to happen – we call it salvation.

-        It is within reach and yet many will perish.

Concl: There are lots of signs of death and people perishing all around us. The snakes have bitten many people and they need the anti-venom.

If you could get people to quit focusing on all the snakes and focus on God’s answer – Jesus – then the wounds you have suffered would be healed. But you have got to focus.

Jesus told Martha, “You are so preoccupied with so many things in your life – but one thing is needful and Mary your sister has chosen that good part.

-        Why waste your time going to church on a Wednesday night?

-        Why waste a good Sunday at church?

“you are showing yourself that you have chosen what God says is that good part – sitting at the feet and Jesus and feeding on His Word.”

You are learning to

F –  Fellowship with Holy Spirit

O – Occupy with the Father’s business

C -  Conquer all fear and doubt

U -  Unite with believers

S -   Serve the Lord with gladness

Getting Unstuck: Part 2- Focus

Getting Unstuck: Part 2- Focus

In December I was asking God for direction or theme or scripture for the New year. Nothing seem to come to mind. I asked for one word and one word came to my mind. It was the word

FOCUS – to direct your attention to someone or something. To adjust something to see more clearly.

Ever feel stuck in your life? Your job, your situation, a problem that is unresolved, an addiction you can’t break?

We can get stuck for all kinds of reasons, but rarely is there a way out when we put logic and reason above God’s wisdom. 

We have to unlearn our dependence upon our own logic and reason because God’s thoughts and wisdom are not always logical or reasonable. Instead of logic and reason we are to grow in faith and trust in Him.

Ill. If your devotional time consists of reading some Bible verses, or little devotional book and say a little prayer and then rush off into your day. You are missing the point! This is not what God wants from you.

          Your way of learning is the world’s way. Academic, reading, systematic, something you can check off on your to do list.

          God’s way of learning is through relationship with Him: trust, vision, imagination, creativity, faith, meditation, waiting, prayer conversation.

Your devotional life is all about bettering your relationship with God.

The reason you make time to spend with God reading His Bible and prayer is to turn your heart and align your life with His. Enjoy being with Him and learning to think like Him. Everything God is doing in our lives is intentionally relational.

Feeling stuck is a symptom of an un-renewed mind. Your mind is stuck focusing on yourself or your overwhelming problems. You can’t see any solution. You can’t see how things can get any better. You are earth bound in your thinking, you can’t see what God wants you to see from His POV. Your focused on the wrong thing or not focusing on the right thing. Life is a blur, out of focus.

Not everything that is true is truth. You may know something is true but if it does not set you free then it is not truth.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Ill. Pilot had Jesus standing before him. Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were of this world then my servants would fight that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But My kingdom is not form here.” Pilot said, “Then You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this reason, was I born and came into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilot responds, “What is truth?”

          Pilot is standing in front of truth and does not recognize it. Truth is a person – Jesus is the way, truth, the Life. Truth is staring him in the face.

Ill. Last year when I was stuck in a time of depression and wondering why God was not helping – the HS spoke to my heart and said to me

“You don’t know me very well.”

This did not bring me shame or condemnation, rather it fueled a desire to seek His face. “Lord, I know I don’t know you very well even after 40 years of following You. But I want to know You more than any other thing in my life I want in my life. More than success in life and ministry, more than money, more than anything! You are the main thing and I want to keep the main thing the main thing.   

I thought about what the Lord spoke to me a lot. I began to see that I am not recognizing the Lord or His workings in my life.

This is not uncommon: Many times the Lord appeared in a form that people did not recognize.

-         Moses did not recognize God in the burning bush at first. There was no voice of God at first but just that the bush was burning but not being consumed.

So when Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see why this bush is not burnt.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called him from out of the midst of the bush.   Ex. 3:3-4

God revealed Himself in an unrecognizable form to Moses. You are going to have to focus on Me to walk with ME. Don’t assume you know Me and My ways.

Joshua had history with God. He was with Moses when the glory of God was manifested. He saw the glory of God on Moses face. He knew the presence of God. Yet the night before entering the promise land God Himself shows up in a form Joshua does not recognize. A man in armor with sword drawn. Joshua asks “Are you for us or for our enemies?” Neither, I am the captain of the Lord’s host and I am here to take over.

We know this is God in a different form because of Joshua’s response.

“Then Joshua fell to his face to the ground and worshipped. What do You wish to say?”

Remove your sandals for the place you are standing is holy ground. = surrender your walk under My command. I am taking over and You will get your orders from Me from now on. “Don’t assume you know Me. Focus on Me and stay with Me and I will show you My ways of doing things.

Next day they face Jericho – walled city. God says to Joshua, “See I have given Jericho into your hands.” God sees different from us. But He shares His view so we can change our view of the circumstance to see it from His POV.

          Then God gave Joshua a strategy totally unconventional. This is totally against all the war manuals on how to take a city. This is against logic and reason! What is God doing?

          He is building trust and confidence in Joshua. He is intentionally arranging all this drama to build a greater relationship with Joshua.

-         The Jews were looking for the Messiah and did not recognize Jesus when He was standing in front of them. They did not know Him very well!

-         The disciples spent 3 years with Jesus and after He was crucified were so discouraged they went fishing all night. Next morning hear a voice on beach “Have you caught anything children?” No. It was Jesus but they did not recognize Him!

-         “Cast your nets on the other side and you will.” They did and had abundance and finally John said, “It’s the Lord!”

Why is it we do not recognize God initially?

Maybe He comes in a form we are not expecting.

He works in a way we are not seeing or expecting.

The truth is we still do not know Him very well!

If you will come to Bible study on Wednesday nights you will learn what God’s number one goal for us is. It is to make us like Him.

“We know when He (Jesus) appears, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” I John 3:2

The more we become like Him, the faster we recognize Him when He manifests Himself in a way we have never known before, or when He works in a way that seems strange to us.

Could it be why you are feeling stuck in life is because you don’t know Him very well and cannot recognize the ways He is working in your life at the moment?

It is possible the Lord is right in front of you and you don’t recognize Him. It is possible that God is doing a great work in your life but you can’t see it because Satan has blinded you and focused on the storm rather than the Lord?

If you feel stuck in life or are depressed and can’t seem to move forward it could be a stronghold of the enemy in your mind. Satan is out to get you to think the wrong thoughts, especially about God. “Has God really said? Doesn’t He care? All these thoughts are satanic attacks against your mind.

Ill. In garden of Eden Satan talked Eve and then she talked Adam into questioning the integrity of God. The result was sin and a curse for violating God’s Word.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat food.” Gen. 3:9

          In garden of Gethsemane the 2nd Adam – Jesus

“In great agony Jesus sweat great drops of blood.” Luke 22:44

He took on Himself all Emotional stress that causes mental illness.

The earth was cursed after the sin of man. As a result thorns and thistles grew from the ground.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns on His head – taking the curse and all the emotional pain of guilt, regret, shame, condemnation of past on Him.

Crown thorns PIC

HE was crucified on skull hill.

PIC

He knew Satan would try to conquer man through his mind even though Jesus conquered Satan. Satan still tries to access your mind even as a Christian and convince you there is no hope. He still tries to convince you that God is not with you, He does not care and is not going to help you. He distracts you from seeing Jesus. He wants you to think you are all alone.

He attempts to build strongholds into your mind if he can get you to start to hate yourself, believing lies about yourself = you’re a loser, you are hopeless, there is no help for you. Things will never get any better.

Someone is trying to take over your mind!

Ill. Maybe you do have issues like diagnosed bi-polar, depression, paranoia, is all very real. But it can be healed.

Don’t be ashamed if you need RX. You are not the only one.

-         William Cowper – writer “Rock of Ages”

-         Spurgeon, Elijah, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, Queen Victoria, Robin Williams, Jim Carey. 

Jesus became a “man of sorrows and is acquainted with the deepest grief” according to Isa. 53:3.

          He knows your grief. He knows they way you think.

“For since He Himself suffered while being tempted, He is able to HELP those who are being tempted.” Heb. 2:18

“The Lord is near to the broken hearted and those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“He heals the broken heart and binds up the wounds.” Psalm 147:3-4

Isaiah 64:1-4 He gives beauty for ashes, AFTER you give Him your ashes.

He gives oil of joy  AFTER you give Him your mourning and grief,

He gives garment of praise AFTER you give Him spirit of heaviness, this depression in your mind.

You play a huge role in getting unstuck in your mind. You make the first move.

HE sees your struggle and comes to you.

Picture of Jesus walking in storm

Ill. Mark 6:48 – straining at oars in storm.

They saw Him in the storm! They saw Him in their trouble. They saw Him in their agony. You are not alone in this storm! Jesus walking sea and would have passed them by. Why is this in your Bible? Not just to read and say wow. See yourself in story.

          HE sees your struggle, your failures and all the bad that has happened to you. You have to see you are not alone in your present storm. You need to see He is with you. His Presence is enough. Note He does not tell them how He will solve this problem. All He says is, “BE of good cheer. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

-         First He spoke His word to them. “I am with you in this!”

What changed? Their focus was no longer on the storm but Him.  

-         Second He got into their boat and the wind ceased.

Once all their focus was on Jesus – the storm ceased.

          Ill. Are you saying if I just focus on Jesus all my troubles will go away? No. But this is where you start .

          I know it sounds weird. It is totally unconventional. It does not make any logical sense or reason. No doctor is going to tell you this.

The more you focus on yourself, your pain, your problems the deeper you sink in despair. You must get your focus back on the Lord.

You may feel worse like you have already sunk under the water. There is still help and hope.

Pic Jesus reaching down to you:

Peter walked on water as long as He focused on Jesus and not the storm.

If you feel like you are sinking back into depression, somewhere you have believed God is not helping you. You are listening to the enemy. God is coming to you even now while I am preaching this to you!

          You must focus! Stop allowing depression to cloud your thoughts. You have control over your thoughts.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (shalom, shalom), whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Isaiah 26:3

God’s ways of healing go contrary to our way of thinking.

You have got to become more aware of your invisible God than your visible problems.

Some will scoff at what I am preaching today. How is just thinking about Jesus and looking for Him going to change anything? It sounds foolish.

Ill. Numbers 21 children of Israel in wilderness bitten by fiery serpents. Many died. They prayed God take away the serpents! Maybe you prayed same thing – God take away this pain in my body, take away this debt crushing me. Look at God’s strange solution. He said,

“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole; and it shall be everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  Numbers 21:8

It was made out of bronze. Bronze in the Bible speaks of judgment.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”  John 3:14

This is a picture of Jesus. He was judged and punished on the cross for our sins and taking the consequence of sin which is sickness, death, curses, poverty, all the curse.

God’s instructions were “look at the bronze serpent and be healed.”

Hebrew word for “look” means to “look intently of focus”.

God’s answer was to focus on the serpent on the pole. Stop focusing on the snakes around you, the wounds you suffered.

Ill. Maybe a good exercise for you today would be at altar call get in a spot alone and just stare at this cross behind me and pray Lord, open my eyes and help me to see like You see. Sit there and wait.

Whatever you are struggling with – ask for a fresh revelation of Jesus coming to you in your storms. HE is there waiting to help you now.

          You may not have recognized Him because you don’t know Him very well. Maybe all this mess in your life can be used for you to begin to know Him very well and then be able to help others?

“Lord, don’t You care what I am going through? Don’t you care my child is suffering?”

Like Jesus said to Martha the Lord says, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things,

But one thing is needful,

And Mary has chosen that good part.

What did Mary her sister choose? She sat at Jesus feet to hear His word to her. She was focused. One word form God is all you need.

Maybe God is telling you to today one word – focus.

Concl:

The enemy knows how powerful the Word of God is. He knows if you arm yourself with just one Word from God the you will overcome him.

Beloved there is hope for you. The Bible calls God the God of hope.

Hope is the confident expectation of good. It is called a helmet in I thes 5:8

Don’t lose hope. You are not stuck. All you need is one word from God and then focus on Him. Even in your valley of trouble He can open a door of opportunity you don’t know yet. Focus!

The scriptures were written to give you hope. If you don’t know where to begin I’ve written some scriptures for you to read and meditate on this week. Counselors have them at the altar. Arm yourself with the Word. Use these words to help you get unstuck and focus.

 

Supernatural Guidance Part 2

Supernatural Guidance Part 2

Review:

Can you tell me what is God’s number one goal for our lives?

“Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have dominion . . .”  Gen. 1:26

How will He accomplish this? He will create opportunities for us to relate to Him. We are to discern how He is trying to reveal Himself to us in these opportunities.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart”

 - He creates an opportunity for us to

in grow in trusting Him.

Our part – trusting Him.

“Lean not unto your own

understanding”

Our part – trusting Him and resisting

Our mind that is contrary to His.   

In all your ways acknowledge Him”

Our part – trust His Presence with us.

“And He will direct your path”

-         His part – direction and correction

We take care of the relationship.

God takes care of the direction.

-         WE want His rescue more than we want the relationship sometimes. “Just tell me what I should do. Just give me a rescue, get me out of this mess, just provide money, help, Just give me the answer, the solution.”

Often God is silent when we ask questions for directions – Why?

Many reasons:

1.    He knows you already know the answer deep down.

2.    HE wants you to have the confidence to start moving then trust that He will answer.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” WHENEVER you turn to the right hand or the left.  Isa. 30:21

3.    He wants you to grow in trust and peace that He is with you.

One example is how God worked with a man named Gideon in Judges.

Background: The people of Israel were not being faithful to God. As a result God let the Midianite people oppress Israel. IT was so bad that every harvest time the Midianites would sweep through the land and steal everything that was not nailed down. Israel was losing their animals, their harvest (income), their supplies.

          God decided to change all that and He chose one man for the job. He wasn’t a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood type of man. In fact, when God appeared to him and called him to deliver Israel from the oppressive Midianites, He was hiding out in a wine press. He doesn’t look like a courageous leader!

HE would gather his harvest of wheat and then hide it in the wine press where he could separate wheat from chaff. One day he is there working all alone and the Lord appears and says to him,

“Hail, mighty man of God. The Lord is with you!”

The Lord, God Creator and ruler of the universe being with us makes us mighty. We don’t realize this! It is not what you know but Who you know that makes a difference!

-         God sees us in our calling and fulfilling His plan for us. “mighty man of God”

Gideon only sees in the natural. After the shock of this he replies. “If the Lord is with me and Israel is God’s people then WHY has all this trouble happened to us. And where are all the miracles our forefathers told us about. No, the Lord is not with us. The Lord has abandoned us!”

His disappointment is talking. His frustration is talking. His hurt is talking. His questions about his life are talking!

Here is the amazing thing about God. He ignores Gideon’s negativity!

“The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

What strength? The strength is the confidence God is with you and His promise you will deliver Israel from Midian. You are God’s choice.  God is revealing who He wants to be to Gideon.

Gideon replied, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? My family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family?”

“ Excuses, excuses, you'll hear them every day.
And the Devil he'll supply them, if the Lord you stay away.
When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses
So to keep them folks away from God, he offers them excuses.”

Ill. When you get up in the morning before your feet hit the floor there is a demon waiting handing you a list of excuses why you should get back in bed and be depressed. Back hurts, knees hurt, feet hurt, it’s too cold, too hot, coffee is too strong, too weak, etc.

But the Lord said, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”   Judges 6:11-16

The fact that, ‘I am’ - is with you” is all you need to know at the moment to make your next step forward!

 “Lord, what do You want to be to me in this situation?”

-         To discover God’s presence is the strength you need to fulfill the assignment He has for you. I want to be your peace and your confidence.

Note God did not give Gideon a detailed 5 year plan.

“Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from Midian, have I not sent you?”

His call from God was vague. Just start doing what you know needs to be done. I have sent you!

When God has called you to a place/position He has already given you the grace (ability) to do what He wants you to do.

-         The knowing of what to do is already planted in you in seed form. IT may not turn out like you first envision it.

 He is building our trust and confidence that HE is with us while we are in a trial or situation wondering while we are waiting for Him.

So much of our growth in God will come by waiting upon the Lord.

So many scriptures tells us to wait on the Lord. What does this mean?

I love psalm 37 highlights. Listen to this soothing word form God:

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and practice faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass . . .

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; DO NOT FRET . . . let go of anger, and forsake wrath; DO NOT FRET – it surely leads to evil.” Psalm 37:3-8

“Rest”  #1826 – to be still, wait, to make silent, to destroy.

Ancient Hebrew = destroying the thing causing chaos.

R – resisting

E -  everything

S -  satan

T -  throws (fiery darts Eph. 6:16)

“Wait”  #2342 – to twist together, to dance, to bind together.

W – willingly

A –  abiding

I -    in

T –  Trust

You have to learn to do this by practice. Practice entering His rest. Practice His peace. How?

“I release my peace upon ­­­______.”

 

For me it is learning not to react to people’s negativity or situations. Instead push the pause button (self control) asking God,

“Who do You want to be to me in this situation?

A prayer of releasing your peace

Lord, You are teaching me to trust You. This is a big part of experiencing peace and overcoming fear. Most of the things I have worried about  never happen. I surrender and admit: I can't control people, plans, or even my circumstances, but I can trust You are with me and will help me. You're the only one that can help me end fretful behavior.  By trusting You I pour out my worries, anxieties and fears at Your feet. I claim Your Presence, Your peace and strength in me now whether I feel it or not.  By faith I release peace into my soul and over the concerns I have. Your quiet strength in me leads me to trust in You, WAIT upon You and REST in You. Thank You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hope: Becoming Unstuck

Hope: (becoming unstuck)  

Intro:

Do you ever feel stuck in life? Stuck in a job you hate. Stuck in a situation that seems to have no solution. Stuck in an environment you can’t change?

Feeling like you are stuck in life is a symptom of an un-renewed mind. Feeling stuck is a symptom the enemy has been whispering to your mind his thoughts and you have been meditating on them.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

If you think your stuck, you are in your mind. Your mind needs to be re-set. Ill. Ever get a song in mind and it won’t stop playing = mind stuck.

You try to sleep, your body is tired but your mind is replaying a conversation = your mind is stuck and needs to be re-set.

          January is usually the highest month of suicides – people feel hopeless. A view that there is no hope for their life.

It is impossible for a child of God to be without hope in this life. But it is possible for a child of God to believe they are without hope in this world.

Ill. True story of Elijah the prophet and his servant. The King of Aram was frustrated because every time he planned a raid Israel was waiting for them. Who is leaking intel? His advisors told him that Elijah was a prophet who would hear the kings plans and would warn his king. The king said, “Let’s kill this man”. He ordered an army to go get Elijah. Early the next morning Elijah’s servant goes out side and sees the whole Aramean army surrounding Elijah’s house. He panics and tells Elijah.

Elijah is calm, peace, and rest (CPR) and says, “Don’t be afraid. There are more with us than with them.

-         2 guys same situation. One sees things from an elevated position with God and the other sees things in the natural.

Then Elijah prayed a prayer that is so important God recorded in the Bible for us. 8 words that we can pray:

“Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” 2 Kings 6:17

          God opened his eyes and saw a host of chariots fire and warrior angels surrounding Elijah and his servant.

Why did Elijah see what his servant did not see?           

          How can I learn see like this?  You have to intentionally change your view of your circumstances to think like God thinks. If you are not sure how He thinks about something – ask Him.

 God answered his prayer and let his servant see the same thing.

          His POV enabled him to have the same CPR Elijah had.

          He immediately changed from hopeless to confidence.  

When the Arameans attacked Elijah he prayed, “Lord, strike them blind.” They came to Elijah and did not recognize him! He told them they were in the wrong city and he would lead them. They followed him 40 miles to Samaria into the city where the king of Israel and his army surrounded them. Then he prayed, “Lord open their eyes.” The did and realized they were captured. King of Israel said to Elijah, “Shall I kill them?” No feed them and send them back to their king. He did and Aram never bothered Israel again.

It would be a good idea to ask God to open our eyes to see our circumstances from His POV.

Things are not as they appear.

We are not out numbered. We are not without hope, We are not under the circumstances. We are not failures, losers. We are not doomed, condemned, cursed. Things are not impossible. There is hope.

There is more for us than against us. We are already in victory, Jesus always leads us into triumph, we are already healed, we are already overcomers! We are already predestined to be comformed to the image of His Son. That is God’s predetermined plan for us. I agree with Paul who said, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angles, principalities or any other created thing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ.”

We know all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Do you believe everything I just said is true!

So, what’s the problem?

Maybe the real problem is, we need to pray that our eyes be opened to see our circumstances the way God sees them.

That is exactly what the Apostle Paul thought.

Paul prayed for Christians to have their eyes opened to 3 things:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart be enlightened (opened) that you may know the hope of His calling and what are the riches of His glory of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe. . .”  Eph. 1:18

Break it down into 3 things we need to have our eyes opened to:

1. The hope of His calling for you.     HIS  PLANS

Wed night Bible teaching class here learned God’s #1 goal is to make us like the Father, Son, and HS. “Let us make man in our image. . .”

2. His inheritance for you now,       HIS PURPOSE

All fruit of Spirit is God’s nature and likeness manifesting in your life now. Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy your inheritance now.

3. The greatness of His power.           HIS POWER

 Satan wants you to doubt the greatness of God’s power and never encounter it or even be in a church that believes in it.

This will require a new mindset. This mindset God wants you to have starts from a place of victory in every situation. You never strive for victory you start there.

Hopelessness is a stronghold or mindset that is ungodly and can kill you it is certainly destroying God’s plans for you now. It can keep you from going forward in life.

Ill. Weights at gym. Trainer put on my weights on machine than I ever thought to try. I did not believe I could do it. My mind was set that I would fail. He coached me and I did better than I ever thought. This re-set my mind to a higher level.

How can you get your mind unstuck?

1.    Re-set your mind.

 “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

How can you tell what your mind set is? Listen to your words.

Your words are activating life and peace or death.

Elijah had his mind set on the Spirit and was calm in adversity, peaceful and at rest = LIFE and PEACE is a sign of the mind set on the Spirit.

His servant had his mind set on things on the natural and was fearful, anxious, and restless = death

What has your mind been set on lately?

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things of the earth.” Col. 3:2

You control this! You set your mind anywhere you want to. Your mind is under your authority.

Thanksgiving and rejoicing are ways we are intentionally re-setting our minds to His higher level of thinking, to things above.

1.    If you do not intentionally daily give thanks and rejoice – your mind will default to be negative. Re-training and re-setting your mind will take effort and training on your part.

Ill. Take time for soaking saturated worship, giving thanks, praise and rejoice in God alone! Ill. When you were a child your imagination was highly creative. Every child is an artist, singer, actor, and creativity flows freely through children. Then your mind began to grow old and you stop using your imagination so much. God wants us to tap into this creativity part of us that has been lying dormant.

The Hebrew word for meditate is to imagine.

Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2 calls us to use our imagination with God’s Word.

If you have been depressed, worried, dreading something in your future then you definitely know how to meditate and use your imagination for evil purposes – try using this same tool for your good.  

-         Ill. Imagine yourself doing what Psalm 100 tells us – to enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter into His courts with praise.

Concl:

What if your dream has been shattered? What if what you were hoping for never happened? Everyone has these type of things.

It is possible you had the wrong hope to begin with.  

Don’t worry if you think this is what you have done.

God is a genius at getting us unstuck and going the right direction.

          The place to begin is today – now. Begin with

Repentance = change your mind, thinking!

          We all need to repent of something today. If you been saying your stuck – repent of saying that and thinking that. You are not hopeless.

          I Thes 5:8 calls hope the helmet of salvation. Your mind was created to house God’s thoughts. But the fact that scripture tell us to put on the helmet of salvation is telling us our mind will be under attack and we must protect hope from being stolen from us.

Happy New Day

Happy New Day

Custom to say Happy New Year.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; 

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning,

Great is Thy faithfulness”   Lam. 3:22-23

We somehow relate to weekends better than thinking in terms of years. The idea of years somehow seems to put a longer sense of distance from death for us. But when I measure my life by weekends it shakes me enough to ask myself,

“What am I doing with my life?”

If you are age 20 and live to age 70 you have 2,500 weekends left.

If you are age 30 and live to age 70 you have 2,000 weekends left.

If you are age 40 and live to age 70 you have 1,500 weekends left.

If you are age 50 and live to age 70 you have 1,000 weekends left.

If you are age 60 and live to age 70 you have 500 weekends left.

Avg age of longevity in America is now 78 and increasing.

What if you are above the age of 80?

Start celebrating “Happy New Day” and don’t buy any green bananas!

New Years is a time for changes:

Resolutions, goals, diets.

Some churches join Jentzen Franklin for a 21 day fast at beginning of year. We have and it is a good idea. But don’t let it become a work where you think you are earning some favor form God if you do this. Be led by the Spirit. Jesus said, “When you fast”  – it should be a private matter between you and God. There are corporate fasts in the Bible and a time when God leads a leader to call it. I have done this and will as the Lord leads.

Some people bring a first fruits offering – above and beyond to the church during January. Again I think it is a good idea but don’t let it become a work you think you are earning favor from God if you do it.

Ask God if He wants you to do any of these things and wait for His answer.

People tell me all the time things we should do as a church – 21 day fast, or this or that. Sometimes they are right and I hear God through them. But somehow I am discerning something else needs to happen first before we do those good things. David must have struggled with this too.

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God Are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”  Psalm 51:17

A broken and contrite heart is one that has met with God and in the light of His Holiness sees their sin and abhors it.

Ill. This was written by David after his sin with Bathsheba and arranging the death of her husband so they could be married and look like a normal thing. God confronted David through Nathan the prophet and it cut David to the heart. As you read through Psalm 51 you see the deep on-going repentance of David from the heart.

          David realizes what we all must realize. God is after our heart first! Whatever this broken spirit before God is – is good.

Whatever a contrite heart is – is good.

Then a couple verses later he wrote,

THEN You will be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,

With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;

THEN THEY WILL OFFER   - young bulls on Your altar.”  Verse 19

You can offer religious sacrifices to God without a broken and contrite heart. It is not until you first have this broken spirit and this contrite heart that God will be pleased with such sacrifices. Once your heart is open to God then you willingly offer sacrifices to Him freely.

Ill. A typical Pharisee fasted 2 times a week and brought sacrifices and tithes down to the penny. But one thing they lacked – a broken and contrite heart. If they would have had this, then their sacrifices would have been pleasing to God.

Ill. Rich young ruler came to Jesus, “What else must I do to inherit E.L?”

I’ve done this and that and all the things my church tells I must do.  Scripture says Jesus loved him. “Go sell all you have and give it to the poor and come and follow Me.”

          Jesus was saying in essence to him. I do not desire sacrifices from you but first I desire a broken and contrite heart.

          Scripture does not give us this man’s name. I think it is because we are to put our names in his place and see ourselves as this man before Jesus. “Lord, what do You want me to do with my life? What do You want from Me?”

          Jesus’ answer is ambiguous, unclear, not a clear outline with guarantees for security for his future. “Follow Me and I will make you a famous and successful. Give all your money a way and I will make you wealthier than you can imagine. Quit your job and follow me and I will give you a better job. Give this offering and I will give you greater riches. We have to be careful not to try and test the Lord.

-         We don’t do something in hopes of getting a greater return.

 The only promise is, do this and you will have treasure in heaven. I don’t know about you but that is not very motivational for me! “Lord, could you give me some more details of how this will turn out?”  No!

The Lord knows where we lack confidence in Him.

I guarantee you He is working on you in this particular area where you lack confidence in Him.

Ill. Like the man who crossed a part of Niagara Falls on a tightrope in 1800’s. People cheered. Then he did it blindfolded. Then he crossed carrying a sack of potatoes. Then with Wheel barrow. Each time he asked the cheering crowd if they thought he could do this. “Yes you are and greatest.” Do you believe I can cross pushing a wheel barrow with someone in it? “Yes we believe!”  then he said okay who wants to volunteer to be in the wheel barrow. No one obliged. I wouldn’t either.

But confidence in the Lord is a greater matter. The way we grow in confidence in God is knowing God. Paul said,

“For my determined purpose is that I may know Him; that I may become more progressively and deeply acquainted with Him . . .” Phil. 3:10 Ampl

A relationship involves 2 people with individual responsibilities.

Our part of our relationship with God is to seek more intimate relationship. God’s part of our relationship is guidance and direction to us. God wants us to say the same thing David said to God in Psalm 27.

“When You (God) said, ‘Seek My face’, my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I shall seek.”  Psalm 27:8

God’s will for your life is not a tightrope. You have been given a lot of freedom. There is a broad green pasture to explore. The pasture has some boundaries but you have tremendous freedom to choose so much. If we stay close in relationship with God we will know when God says, go, no, or slow.

Pastor is it God’s will for me to do this that? I don’t know unless there is a clear no from the Word. Am I to marry this person? You have freedom to explore with Him and to recognize the boundaries. The Apostle Paul knew the boundaries:

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”
I Cor. 10:23

Guidance is a by product that will come out of a right relationship with God.

1.    Child – needs an adult to hold their hand crossing the road.

2.    Teen – holding hand may seem overbearing. Let them decide.

3.    Adult – God’s will is a green light until is turns yellow or red. God does not want us to wait for a prophetic word to do things.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” WHENEVER you turn to the right hand or the left.”  ISA. 30:21

ILL. God is our Shepherd and we are the sheep. He knows how to communicate to us – if we will listen and not be stubborn and go our own way.

Not long ago I made a decision to do something and then I asked God that night if it was not His will that He would make it clear to me and give me a red light. Next morning a phone call from a friend made it clear not to proceed. If God does not like our choice He will make it clear!

God sees that your relationship with Him is all you need for success in life! We have a tendency to put more confidence in what we have rather than Who we have.

Ill. King David got in trouble with God for wanting to check the numbers of the men who could go to battle if needed. That doesn’t seem like a bad idea. God was deeply offended at David for this.

          God wanted David to know, It is not what you have that makes you strong, but Who you have. All God wanted from David was the confidence that God was with him. He wants us to grow in this confidence too.

David wrote a love song to God in Psalm 27. By now He had a lot of history with God. Many times he faced overwhelming odds and was outnumbered. Read from my Bible. But the phrase that stands out to me to give to you as a motto for this year, the last part of verse 3.

“In spite of this, I shall be confident.” Psalm 27:3d

God wants us to be confident in Him. He wants to rid us of fear and worry about the future. He wants us to look to Him and say, “He is all I need!” Hell is after your confidence.

Should we make plans for our life without knowing God’s plans first?

Yes – start moving. You have a green light until God makes it red. But you will only see a red light if you are alert to Him.

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Out of this close relationship - guidance for our lives will come.

Ill. In Acts 16 Paul and Barnabas on a mission trip. At one place Paul was so beaten with stones, some say he died and was resurrected. What would you do in a case like this.

-         Question was I in the will of God since bad things happened? They didn’t question it. They didn’t spend 40 days fasting about where they should go next. They just went to the next town knowing persecution would come, attacks from the devil will happen. But, “In spite of this I will be confident.”

-         At one point they were making plans to go into Asia but somehow “the Holy Spirit did not permit them.” Acts 16:7

How? We don’t know but we do know they had such a good relationship with God that they could recognize a red light when they saw one from God.

Paul took care of the relationship and God took care of the direction.

You take care of the relationship, God will take care of the direction.

          Ill. Have you ever ran a red light?  You only see a stop light if you are alert to it. Have you ever ran past God’s red light? Our first priority is to be alert to God and “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:7

Concl: Regarless of your past and how many of God’s red lights you have ran – good news from Him. Happy New Day. Let’s leave here alert to Him and paying attention when He is saying – go – slow – or no.

 “In spite of all this, I shall be confident.” Psalm 27:3d

Joy - Jesus Opens You  – Part 4

Joy - Jesus Opens You  – Part 4

           Jesus opened your heart the day you got saved. Somehow He revealed Himself to you and you believed Him. You tasted a sample His glorious love for you. It was a glorious moment but there is so much more.

Why did Jesus open your heart and come in to live? Not just to go to heaven and give people peace at your funeral. It was because He wants to reveal Himself to you now in this life that is often filled with all kinds of trouble and unexpected trials and hurts. He wants to reveal to you that He is greater than you know Him to be.

“What if everyday is cleverly designed by God to reveal another glimpse of God with us and His love for us?”

You must remain open to Him. Abiding and remaining aware of Him is what empowers us to see Him. If you don’t stay open to Him – you won’t see Him.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

You are to live in the constant awareness and dependence that He is living in you and you are living in Him. He lives His life flowing through your life in whatever circumstances you are in at the moment.

-         Remain in faith with me. Keep believing in Me. Trust Me and stay with Me. Let’s walk through this trial together. I have not stopped loving you! Sometimes it may feel like God does not love you. Come on and trust me and I will show you things you could never know!

Why does Jesus tell us to remain/abide in Him? A few verses later He explains why.

“I have spoken these things to you, THAT MY JOY MAY REMAIN IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL.”  John 15:11

You were given His joy when He first opened your heart to Him. He intends for His joy to overflow your own joy. How?

          By you discovering the various ways He manifests Himself to you  will bring you great joy. Why? Because

You will make me to know the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

He has a particular path for your life. You must not compare your path with other people’s path. Your path is different and you must trust Him and abide in the awareness of His Presence. His Presence manifested to you on your path of life will bring you joy.

 This joy keeps you open to experience more of Him as you go through this earth life. We should always have a sense of wonder about God.

“I wonder how He will manifest Himself to me today?”

Remember you are a branch attached to the Vine. His life flows through you. Your part is to remain OPEN to Him and let Him flow through you.

O the trouble outside is frightful,

But Your Presence in me is delightful,

As long as You love me so,

Let Your life flow, let it flow, let it flow.

Our brief time on earth is not enough for all the ways He wants to manifest Himself to us. This is why we have eternity!

A relationship is a two-way street. It requires both people to cooperate and walk towards the same goal.

If Jesus said we are to remain in Him and abide in Him – then there must be ways we can Not remain or abide or remain open to Him!

The Apostle Paul gave a warning to the church about this using 5 words.

“Do not quench the Spirit.” I Thes. 5:19

“Quench” = to stifle or put out the fire. It is possible for us to do this. How? Look a the context:

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do not quench the Spirit. Despise not prophecies. Examine all things. Firmly hold to that which is good. Abstain from all appearances of evil.” I Thessalonians 5:16-22

1.    Rejoice always.  Opens you to God and keeps you open to Him.

Jesus said He gave you His joy – now your part is to re-joy.

Ill. If you don’t use it your re-joic-er may be broken and needs to be fixed. Joy is in you but you need to use it by rejoicing.

2.    Pray without ceasing – Opens you to God.

Prayer is both talking to God and listening to God. It is where you unburden your heart to Him by prayer.

3.    In everything give thanks – Opens you to God.

Not be thankful for everything but In every situation thank God He is with you and He will help you and show you the right path.

4.    Don’t quench the Spirit – Opens to God.

To put out the fire. Don’t stifle what the Spirit is doing. Don’t shut down and hinder the HS from flowing – in church services I can discern when the Spirit is being quenched. People are not cooperating with God and flowing with Him.

5.    Don’t despise prophecies – examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good. Keep Open to supernatural ways of God!

-         Prophecies have both spirit and flesh in them. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. All the mysterious spiritual gifts like word of knowledge, word of wisdom, tongues and prophecies. Examine all and hold onto the good.

-         There have been excesses that have turned people off to spiritual gifts – there have been dry places too. God will help you sort out what is real and what is not.

6.    Abstain from all appearances of evil.

This should be obvious.

 

The question we should all be asking ourselves is this:

Am I in any way quenching the Spirit in my life, or in this church?

Am I contributing to the growth and spread of God’s church?

Am I hindering the growth and life of God in this church?

Concl: Joy is when Jesus Opens You to experience God.

Your part is to remain open and abide in Him not just at church but in everyday life.

This is how we abide in Him. Rejoice always, pray w/o ceasing, in everything give thanks, and don’t quench the Spirit! Abstain from the appearance of evil = Stay open.

Joy - Part 2

Joy - Part 2 Jesus Opens You

Intro: Jesus Opens You = Lyrics from the song we sang: “There’s beauty in my brokenness.”  I’ve got real love instead of pain. There’s freedom though You’ve captured me. I’ve got joy instead of mourning.”

The way to joy is brokenness; from doing you own will to do God’s will.  

           There is beauty in brokenness.

Last week a person told me joy is when you do something that you don’t want to do but you know God wants you to do = Brokenness.

          Brokenness is usually a process where we reach a point we surrender to the will of God. Sometimes our lives have to be broken before we recognize our need of God. Even Jesus experienced brokenness. He took bread and break it saying, “This is My body broken for you.”

          A week before he went to the cross. Mary the sister of Lazarus broke an heirloom alabaster box and anointed Jesus. Symbolic of 2 things: Jesus would soon be broken on the cross. And all who follow Jesus must be broken and poured out in surrender too to God.

          Ill. I can imagine what it was like for her to realize HS was impressing on her to take her greatest treasure and keepsake in life and open it for the first time and anoint Jesus with it. Maybe she struggled with taking this sacred thing give by her parents/grandparents? Maybe people tried to talk her out of it. Don’t waste it – sell it and get money for it! But at some point she realizes God is leading her to do this and she experiences the beauty of brokenness and surrenders to Him.

One gospel said the fragrance filled the whole house.

          This one little seemingly insignificant act was so beautiful God recorded it in the Bible. “There’s beauty in my brokenness.”

Joy is the result of brokenness to my will and obeying God’s will.

JOY is JESUS Opening You

          He doesn’t break you – you voluntarily break your will to His. IT may look like such a waste to others!

“The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” Jn 12:3

When God comes into a place – He plans to fill it with Himself!

 At dedication Solomon’s temple – “priests could not continue to minister because the glory of the Lord filled the house.” I Kgs 8:11

  At Pentecost - “sound of wind from heaven filled the whole house.”  Acts 2:2

“and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues. . .” Acts 2:4

ill. When you get saved God comes into your life in part. Jesus is in you but not filling all of you. Like Jesus knocking on the door of your house and you invite Him into foyer, living room, kitchen but there are some places in your life you don’t want Him to be just yet. He wants to fill your house with His Presence – His fragrance gets on you in every area – not just part. He wants His Presence to fill your house so much that everyone knows you have been with Jesus.

          Ill. Peter and John and lame man healed in Jesus’ name. Confronted by religious officials which normally would have been intimidating. Yet Peter and John confident and boldly testified of Jesus to them. Scripture declares “They recognized they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

          Broken from trying to save their lives to surrendering their lives into God’s hands. In brokenness you are submitted, settled, at peace, more occupied with God that people or things, rested, content yet willing to take risks.

There are some areas of your life you are not open to Jesus yet!

He will encourage you to trust Him but He will never force His way in!

Ill. Jesus was resurrected on the feast of firstfruits. He is the firstfruits of a resurrected life. Then 40 days later He ascended into heaven. Just before this He said, “don’t depart Jerusalem until you receive the promise of the Father – HS.” We don’t know how many people were present when He ascended but I Corinthians says “over 500 people at one time saw Him in His resurrected body.” My guess is this was at His ascension into heaven. If that is correct, then over 500 people heard Him say stay in Jerusalem until the promise of the Father comes upon you. Even if 500 did not personally hear Him say this – others who did would have told the other disciples what He said about waiting. “What were His last words?” = last words are important words.

9 days later the feast of Pentecost and only 120 are together in the upper room when HS came and filled house and the people and they spoke in other tongues. Where were the others? I don’t know the answer but I want to suggest a thought.

          People’s zeal comes and goes like the wind. The joy of life with God can elude us if we don’t intentionally go deeper in relationship with Him. He wants to fill your whole house not part.

Is there some part of your life that you have not made available to God so that He is allowed to fill?

-         You have to give Him your time, your willingness, your effort to seek Him with all your heart. You can’t wait for inspiration to come.

Whenever God gives us a promise – He expects us to pursue Him with that promise and increase our awareness of His Presence.

          He told His disciples to “wait for the Promise of the Father”. How many held onto that promise until they experienced Pentecost?

They had no idea of what that promise would look like. They had to be open to God.

Maybe at first there were over 500 gathered together – we don’t know. But day by day maybe the number decreased to finally 380 were no longer waiting for the Promise of the Father to come.

          I can hear some of the people. “We don’t know when this promise will come. It could be a year or a thousand years from now! Others may have said, “I’ve got crops to harvest in the field. I can’t stay here and wait an y longer. Another says, “I’ve got a job to go to.” There will always seem to be a legitimate reason not to do what God tells you to do. “Surely God does not expect me to lose my job, my crops, my etc.”

           Only you can say what you believe the Lord is telling you to do.

 2 most important questions:

What is the Lord saying to you?

What has the Lord been saying to you?

-         It may take 9 days like it did them before you figure out what God has been saying to your life – but it would be worth it.

But we know there were 120 people nine days later intentionally still waiting for a promise from God. If you were to ask any one of them why there were meeting together like this – they would say, “I just believe God wants me here.” They were so open to God.

When you are open to God – His life flows through you. When you cooperate with God, even when you don’t understand what HE is doing

– the life of God flows through you!

Jesus said “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit. For apart from ME, you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Abide = remain = continue = wait = endure

2 kinds of fruit:

1.    Inward fruit – the fruit of the Spirit       (L,j,p…)

2.    Outward fruit – ministry fruit      (people)

 

How do we abide in Him?

1.    Connection – listen/talk to Him

2.    Continuance – obey what He tells you to do.

3.    Confidence – Trust/rely on Him instead of your feelings.

This confidence is how to stay open to God!  You have learned to obey what He tells you to do even when you don’t know how things are going to turn out.

-         You are pregnant with a promise from God. When you are pregnant you don’t know they exact time the baby will be born but you have a general idea.

Ill. When the angel of God visits Mary and tells her she will become pregnant with a promise from God. You will have a baby boy. How can this be – I am a virgin? The HS will come upon you. Then he leaves her with these immortal words ringing in her heart.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

“nothing” – 3 Greek words together meaning = no utterance by the Living Voice.

“impossible” – without ability

Translated – No Word from God will come without it’s own ability to perform it.

If God gives you a promise – then hidden within that promise is the grace to enable you to do what He requires.

What does Mary do? “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Your Word.”   = Brokenness.

-         After this she visits her cousin Elisabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. Baby John leaps for joy in Elisabeths womb when Mary enters the house.

-         After this in your Bible is what is called the Magnificat of Mary or the song of Mary. She is pregnant with a promise and like any woman who is pregnant she is more alive than ever.

When you are pregnant with a promise from God you are alive with the life of God in you = joy. You are so open to God now!

This is a spontaneous love song Mary sung to God and God liked it so much He recorded it in our Bible. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” and for nine more verses she sings to Him. We don’t have the music but I wonder what it sounded like.

What is she doing? She is doing what David wrote about in Psalm 37.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“Delight” – to be happy over, to make merry, to make sport of, to laugh together with, to enjoy, to rejoice about.

Do you do this? Intentionally push aside everyone and everything and focus all your delight on Him. Get awed and stunned by His unconditional love for you.  

What does it look like for you to delight yourself in the Lord? How do you express delight in Him?

Mary sang a love song to God. So did David and others in the Bible.  Have you ever enjoyed God so much that you spontaneously sing love songs to Him? Have you ever taken a love song that was meant to be sung to another human but instead sing it to God? As I was thinking about this an old song love song came to my mind and I change it a little and sang it to God.

“I will spend my whole life through – loving You – loving You.

Winter, summer, springtime too – loving You – loving You.

Makes no difference where I go, or what I do.

I will spend my whole life here – loving You.

Your part:

“I will spend my whole life through – loving You – loving You.

Winter, summer, springtime too – loving You – loving You.

Makes no difference where I go, or what I do.

I will spend my whole life here – loving You.

(I may be a preacher – or a teacher

I may be a musician – or electrician,

Makes no difference where I go, or what I do.

I will spend my whole here, loving You.

 

The point is, delighting yourself in the Lord is intentional. You don’t wait until you feel delight before you delight. You just start delighting yourself in the Lord without any feeling or inspiration.

 

Ill. Cowboy western. Drunk cowboy in saloon tells piano man to dance. Man says I can’t dance without music. Drunk fires gun at man’s feet and he dances without any music.

-         This week Pam told me I need to speak kindly and show love towards someone.  I said to her, “I just can’t do that.” She said yes you can do that. She was right – I could but I was waiting until I felt like it before I did it.

When you say you can’t do something that God has told you to do – the HS will come to you in some way whispering to you, “Yes you can do this!”

Whenever God gives you a Word – He gives you the grace to obey or trust Him for what He promises.

Your part it to remain open to Him!

So when we get a command form God like,

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”

This means, hidden in this Word from God is also the grace or ability to be able to do it. Why would God tell us to do this?

-         Because there is hidden strength in this word you need to discover. Your joy is like a treasure hidden in a field. When you find it you you rejoice at finding it.

Law requires but grace enables. Law requires us to do the impossible for us. But by grace He enables me to do what He requires me to do.

When you say I can’t do this – HS whispers “Yes you can do this.”

Stay open to Him. Remember nothing is impossible with God. Be like Mary and Make the choice to rejoice.

Concl:

 

Wed night, Dec. 5, 2018

Wed night, Dec. 5, 2018

The Gift production could potentially bring 800 people per performance. Many of these are born again but some are not. At end of production in 5-8 minutes I will give an evangelistic invitation. Many have never heard a preacher give an invitation.

Invitations in preaching are not always common. Only about 150 or more years old. When preachers preached people would linger at end to speak to the preacher, or mourners bench, or a public repentance was given.

Before all that happens God is dealing with a person in mysterious ways.

You tube scene from Sergeant York “words to live by”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkLmLWbh1eY

God is a work in everyone’s life before they get saved. He speaks to them through nature, through other people, through the Bible.

-        Many people cannot read the Bible – yet that does not hinder God from reaching them.

-        Can you remember ways God was getting your attention before you surrendered to Him as Lord?

Then there was that moment when you said yes to Jesus. It may not be like everyone else’s way but God and you both know that precious moment of spiritual birth. Take a look again at this old movie at this man’s moment of conversion.

Sergeant York’s conversion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey5ANe6f2qY

Some people it is a quiet birth. Others it is loud and obvious.

How many of you would say your spiritual birth took place at a church?

Where were some of you born from above?

Me – a pic-nic table at Paris Island just inside the gate at MC recruit depot. It wasn’t loud, only one person present. It was not obvious to me until people started saying you are different- what happened to you?

Some of the ways I started noticing a difference was:

1.   I had a desire for spiritual things. – started going to churches. Reading the Bible – memorizing scripture – spending money at Xn bookstores!

2.   I had a joy I did not have before. I really loved God.

3.   IT grieved me to hear people using God’s name in vain.

4.   Started wondering about the people around me – were they saved or lost? I tried witnessing but did not know how.

How did you begin to notice the difference that you were saved?

At the end of each production I give an explanation of the gospel and then invite people to make a public stand before God and men about their faith in Christ.

-        Some respond for the first time.

-        Others respond in re-dedication.

-        Only God knows their heart about this.

I would like to have 6 people as altar counselors for each production.

These counselors would be people who would be friendly and stand up here with me at the end of the production ready to receive people who respond to the invitation given. In fact, the moment when I ask people to come forward I would like the altar counselors to begin moving to the front first and stand here ready to receive people. I will continue to encourage people to come and speak to you.

What do I do?

-        Smile and be welcoming.

-        Ask them why they came forward.

-        Ask them if they would like the pastor to call them. If so then get their name and information on a card and give it to pastor. If not then

-        Give them the materials we provide you.

-        Pray for them if they want you to.

Anything more than this I will be there to help you or better yet, the HS will help you.

I need 6 people (or couples as one) for each production night:

Friday, December 14th at 7 pm

Saturday, December 15th at 3:30 Matinee

Saturday, December 15th at 7 pm

Sunday, December 16th at 7pm

For some of you this would be a very scary thing to be an altar counselor. Actually you are the ones I and I believe God wants to do this. You will have to pray and depend upon HS to help you r

Ill. I was the youngest deacon (age 24?) in a Baptist church. The Pastor was going to be away on a Sunday night and asked any of us deacons in a deacons meeting if we would like to speak, teach, preach to the church. There would be two maybe 3 and each would have ten minutes. Pastor went around the circle of chairs asking if any of us deacons would like that opportunity. He went around the circle the first time and I said no, but in my heart I knew God was telling me to say yes. He had one but he needed at least one more. Again he went around the circle and when he got to me I still said no. I was so insecure. I knew if he asked me again that it would be God. He paused and asked me again, “Are you sure, Gary?” I hesitated but then said yes.

Little did I know that faint little yes was a start in moving in the direction God had for my life. I don’t even remember what I talked about for ten minutes that night at church but saying yes and overcoming my fear and insecurity that moment was huge in my own life. No one probably remembers that but me.  

          This brings me to a word I need to speak tonight.

In Zechariah (known as a minor prophet) in Bible.

Background: Jerusalem had been conquered and fallen to babyloniah Empire. Now Persian Empire conquered Babylonians and Jerusalem was destroyed and walls broken, the temple was destroyed.

          But now with Persian empire the Jews were allowed to rebuild Temple. Prophet Zechariah was a young man hearing the word of the Lord.

-        Man named Zerubbabel was reconstructing Temple.

-        Lot of opposition and people were getting discouraged.

Prophet Zechariah has a vision of golden oil and lampstand.

PIC of golden oil and lampstands:

Zechariah asked, “What does this vision mean, Lord?”

And He said to me: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts.  

“Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will be made level ground, and he will bring out the cap stone amidst shouting of ‘Grace! Grace to the stone!’’. . .

          “FOR WHO HAS DESPISED THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS?” Zech. 4:4-10

Nobody starts where they end. Between where you start and where you end – there is a lot of life journey to get you there.

I didn’t begin preaching that day. It was not even a thought to me but it was to God. I did not consider that day and those ten minutes of my first time even standing before a congregation as a beginning – but God said it was a start.

          You have to learn how to fit in before you can learn to stand out. Many people are wanting to stand out and be noticed before they learn to fit in and just be part of the body. 

Whenever God does something big in your life – it always is so small at first you probably didn’t even notice it.

God’s best work always starts small.

I encourage you to consider the small things God may be doing in your life that no one but you and He notices. It’s not for public display.

God has a way of moving you into your purpose: God uproots your plans and life – sometimes some pleasant things, sometimes some painful things. He knows how to get you to your place.

“Despise not small beginnings!”

Just to agree to be an altar counselor may be a beginning for you. You might not even have anyone come up to you and that is okay. As long as you say “Yes” to what God is telling you to do.

I don’t believe anyone (including me and Pam) can remember anything I said that Sunday night my first time speaking before a church for 10 minutes. But that is okay. All God wanted me to say was one thing.

“Yes Lord”.

-        He never expected me to preach with eloquence. He never expected me to be able to capture people’s attention. He never expected me to fall under an anointing and speak powerful words like Peter on Pentecost.

All He expected from me was to – Start. He may give you a vision of being up here preaching. But He seldom gives you a vision of the steps in between or how long it will take you.

-        I’ve learned not to expect success too fast. Ill. How many steps up to this pulpit? Big steps will hurt you.

-        “Despise not small beginnings.”

I’ve learned God works through a process.

David said, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.”

          Ill. I look back and now realize it was good for me to go through times we needed groceries. It was good for me to look for change to get enough gas to go to church. It was good for me to fail at some things I was not suppose to be doing with my life.

-        I’ve learned the journey is God getting you ready to handle what He wants you to have.

I am talking to someone here that God has been impressing on you that He has something He wants you to do. You are afraid. You don’t know how to even begin to do this. Here’s how. Say this to Him.

“Yes, Lord.”

Then no matter how small an act of obedience it is – just do it and remember.

“Despise not small beginnings.”

It may be so small no one even notices what you are doing. But you and God both know  - you started. You made a move in the right direction. At least you started.

Concl: Some people will respond during the Gift and all they are doing is making a move towards GOD. MAYBE THEY DID NOT GET SAVED EVEN THOUGH THEY SAID THE PRAYER. ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY THEY RESPOND TO MY INVITATION. BUT HE KNOWS.

          I may not get them to come back to church, be baptized, etc. But make no mistake God is doing something in every person who makes any kind of move towards Him.

Even those who don’t respond but at least come to the production. “Despise not small beginnings.”

Joy = Jesus Opening You - Part 1 "Go Deeper"

Series:  Joy = Jesus Opening You

    Part 1: “Go deeper”

Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is tied to our circumstances. You can have happy circumstances and still not have joy.

          When a person receives Jesus as Lord the first expression of His Presence is joy deep down in your soul. It may produce tears of joy, laughter, leaping, various expressions of Joy because the Presence of the Lord is now in you!

          Ill. When Mary pregnant with Jesus in her womb came into the house where her cousin Elisabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptist in her womb. The very presence of Jesus caused the baby in Elisabeth to leap for joy!

Joy goes deep inside the soul and becomes a supernatural source (called by Jesus as a spring or river) that will never runs dry. Joy comes from Jesus, deep down in your soul.

Joy is the life of God filling your soul with the awareness of God.

In Thy Presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh. 8:10

Ill. I asked the Lord about joy. Lord I seem to be a little deficient on joy. I don’t see many people with joy, even at church. Why are we low on joy? He said it is a narrow path – small gate = few find it. You have to be intentional about finding it.

As I sat still and meditated on this He explained to my mind that He gives us joy, there is no lack in supply – there is the lack of receiving it.

          In my mind He took me to a warehouse. Over in the corner were boxes and boxes of joy piled up in the corner. Pic of unclaimed boxes in warehouse

          An angel said we get joy from heaven everyday by the truck loads but hardly anyone comes to pick it up. We wish people would come and pick it up because it’s not doing any good sitting over here.

 Joy has to be intentionally received by you.

          When you first got saved you experienced joy because of the presence of Jesus in you. After a while that joy may have diminished. Your passion dwindled. Jesus did not leave you but it may have felt like it. Don’t let your feelings fool you. Feelings come and go but truth remains the same. The devil will try to convince you on dark days that Jesus has left you.

 

Ain't no sunshine when He's gone
It's not warm when He's away
Ain't no sunshine when He's gone

This house is not a home – when He’s gone away.

But I know, I know, I know, I know.

Because I know, I know now, I know.

Yeah I know, I know, I know.

Now I know, I know, I know that I know.

Ain’t no sunshine – but He’s not gone! Hmmm.

It’s not warm – but He’s not away. Hmmm.

Ain’t no sunshine – but He’s not gone.  

I am not alone – He said He is here to stay.

(you gotta get to this place where you can say)

I know, I know that I know, I know, I know, I know.

Ain’t no sunshine – but - He’s not gone.  

It’s not warm – but - He’s not away.

Ain’t no sunshine – but - He’s not gone. 

I am not alone – He is here - to stay.

He said I will never leave nor forsake you. If we have His Presence then we have His joy all the time – down deep in out soul!

One of the most astounding claims Jesus makes is on the night before He died.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who remains or abides in Me bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing. . . I have spoken these things to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jn 15:5, 11.

        What does it mean for me to abide and remain in Him?

Stay in faith – trust His Word not your feelings. Keep believing His Promise. Things may seem bad but He is with you.

ABIDE = Always believing in Divine Enablement

 I am connected to the Source of all life. I don’t quit until God tells to to stop. I believe in the God who can do anything! All things are possible to him who believes! My part is to abide – remain in faith.

This is His joy which is to be our joy. This is not something we manufacture. The very joy of the Son of God He gives to us. He says it twice! Jesus is praying to the Father in John 17.

“But now I am coming to You, Father God, and I say these things in the world, that they (us) may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.   Jn 17:13

The next verse tells us specifically how He will do this. In six words Jesus explains how it will happen.

I have given them Your Word.” Vs 14  

God’s Word has an assignment. It is to bring you into your inheritance Jesus died to give you. He died to give you His joy now in this life. You won’t need joy in heaven – you need it now and it is available to you now!

By believing His Word and receiving it into our lives we experience His joy now! Surprisingly we discover His joy in trials and during afflictions more than any other time.

Ill. My friend Quinton told me the Lord woke him up at 3 am this week to talk to him about joy. He said the Lord told him that “Joy is when the Lord leads you to do something that you don’t necessarily want to do, but you obey and do it anyway. This acto of obedience is joy.

        JOY = Jesus Opening You

When you remain open to God – His life can flow through you. We have to be open and remain open.

Pic of mason jars one close one open.

        Jesus first opens our hearts to receive Him = salvation.

“The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to receive what Paul preached and she and her household were saved and baptized.” Acts 16:14 paraphrase

-      Jesus with disciples on Emmaus “opened their minds to understand scriptures about Him.”  Hearts burned.

Ill. After you get saved things are wonderful in your life for a season. Then unexpected things happen in your life. Troubles and trials.

You begin to wonder, “If God is with me why am I having all this trouble!  This is where many people stop abiding – they stop staying open to God and His mysterious ways.

Here is where most close the lid on Jesus. They don’t remain open to Him.

-      He let my loved one die. He did not answer my prayer? He did not heal me? He did not …So they close themselves to God in some way. They may still go to church but they closed the lid to Him and now they lost their capacity to receive His surprising joy in their life.

 Pics of Jars here:

        I guess no one taught them that trials are part of your training here. No one taught them they have an enemy determined to steal the word – faith and their inheritance.

        Actually it is through your trials that you will discover a joy deep down in your soul!

-      People will know of our trials and say to us, “I don’t know how you made it through this?”

Paul said of the people of Thessalonia, “You received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the HS.” I Thes. 1:6

Peter said the same to disciples in persecution: “You rejoice greatly even though you suffer various trials. . . You don’t see Him now, yet you believe and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I Peter 1:6-9

-         How could James write “Consider it all joy brethren when you encounter various trials…” He had to mean for us to go deeper!

-         Speaking of Xns in 1st century persecuted for the faith it says

they joyfully endured the confiscation of their property, knowing that in heaven they have a better and an enduring possession for themselves.” Heb. 10:34 – They had to go deeper than just surface living.

If you need joy flowing into you life then God is calling you to go deeper than just the surface of your life that may not be very pleasant. Go deep! Joy is not laying on the surface it is deep down in your soul.

We are told as Xns to “rejoice” always. We are told to count it all joy in trials. At the oddest of times we are told to do something that goes against our human nature – to rejoice in the Lord. This is weird! Because it is supernatural.

 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

-         Not all things that happen to us are good. But if we qualify: love God, called according to His purpose for my life = it will work together somehow by God for good, not necessarily the way I want it to.

Because You have a promised from God –  you can rejoice now by faith anticipating somehow God will work it together for good!

People will take notice if you rejoice when your life is in the dark moment when things look really bad.

“What are you rejoicing about?” I got a feeling, everything gonna be alright, I got a feeling….. It’s supernatural.

It’s more than a feeling. I got a promise from God. Your unwavering trust in God will be rewarded in this lifetime. Release you joy now for in it is your strength!

Joy is for now – in this lifetime. Jesus gave you His joy BUT YOU GOT TO STAY OPEN TO RECEIVE IT  as part of your inheritance.

“Though the fig tree does not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food;

though the flocks are cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will exult in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like hind’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high places.”

Hab. 3:17-19

          “though” – in spite of this event.  “Yet” – Because of Who God is.

Sometimes God withholds what we want, to teach us that life is more than receiving from God.

Every believer will have stretch marks. GOD STRETCHES OUR FAITH IN HIM. BECAUSE:  

Relationship with God is more important than the resolution of our problems!

The first sign of salvation is rejoicing!

Concl: Ill. Remember when first saved you had joy as a by-product of Jesus. IT was just present. Then over time the enemy was able to sneak in and steal and little here and there until one day you woke up exhausted and depressed. What happened? You’ve been robbed!

           Go get it back.

-         If not born again – pray this to God right now!