Getting an Abundant Mentality

Getting an Abundant Mentality

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

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

He had enough experience with God to know that

“Things are not always as they appear.”  

Satan is after our minds because the mind affects everything.

Ill. Head lock the body will follow.

Psychosomatic illnesses. Psych = mind and soma = body

Satan attacks the mind in order to affect the body.

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

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

Immune system – your blood coagulates.

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

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

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

How do we combat thoughts?      

Don’t fight thoughts with thoughts.

 Fight thoughts with speaking out loud to yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you get your mind stayed on Him?

It takes practice!

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

Prayer – communicate with God.

Supplication – requests according to His promises

Thanksgiving – trust and confidence in God.

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

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

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

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

“lacking nothing” = abundant mentality

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul prayed a prayer:

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

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

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

Abundance

Abundance

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

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

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

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

          Satan’s weapon is deception.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started recalling some abundance scriptures. Jn 10:10

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

David wrote Psalm 23.

The Lord is my Shepherd = relationship

I shall not want = provision

He makes me lie down in green pastures = rest

He leads me beside still waters = refreshment

He restores my soul = healing

He leads me in the paths of righteousness = guidance

His names’ sake = purpose

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow

Of death = testing

I will fear no evil = protection

For you are with me = faithfulness

Your rod and staff comfort me = discipline

You prepare a table before me in the presence of

my enemies = hope

You anoint my head with oil = anointing

My cup runneth over = abundance

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the

Days of my life = blessing

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

Forever = eternity

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

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

 Psalm 35:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is not cheap. He is extravagant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost immediately this scripture came to my mind.

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

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

Another scripture that I read later is:

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

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

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

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

Wed 5-15-19 teaching

Wed teaching

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

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

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

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

Name your mountains!

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

Mountain of health burdens.

Mountain of family burdens.

Mountain of financial burdens.

Mountain of ?

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

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

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

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

 Mountain of health problems:

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

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

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

Example:

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

The end result will be this.

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

                              AND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Your mind is tuned to listen to a broadcast.

FM channel = failure mode

AM channel = abiding mode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Activate The Blessing

Activate The Blessing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He wants us to be like Him in this regard.

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

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

God blessed them and said to them,

-         Be fruitful = be productive

-         Multiply = increase

-         Replenish = fill and restore

-         Subdue = rule, bind and loose

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

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

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

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful  

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

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

 Now the blessing was in Satan’s power!

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

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

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

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

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

The perversion of the blessing

Be fruitful = be unfruitful

Multiply = kill, destroy, abortion

Replenish = destroy and keep from replenishing

Subdue = Satan subdues man’s power to subdue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He gave His life for your life.

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

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

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

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

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

This is what it means that Jesus is our Redeemer.

Redeem = exchange something for something better

To restore back something for a payment.

Jesus bought back the blessing that we lost.

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

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful 

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

What do we do with it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mountain of health burdens.

Mountain of family burdens.

Mountain of financial burdens.

Mountain of church burdens.

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

The end result will be this.

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

Your life should demand an explanation!

-         Be fruitful = be productive, successful 

-         Multiply = increase, make disciples

-         Replenish = fill and restore with God’s Presence

-         Subdue = rule and have dominion

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

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

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

Your words are powerfully prophesying your future success or failure.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quit telling Me what you are not.

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

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

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

          Scripture warns us to put a watch over our mouth!

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

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

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

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

Your negative talk is resisting God.        

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Great Defender

Our Great Defender

Isaiah 36- 37

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

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

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

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

-         Egypt will not help you

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

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

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

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

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

Read Isaiah 36:13-8  and verse 21.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-        GT expected to be 1000 by now – prophecies?

-        Some prophecies are unconditional – Lord’s return.

-        Some prophecies conditional – our keep believing, declaring. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do not be afraid . . .”

Fear is the first way the enemy attacks you.

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

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

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

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

He is saying this to you and I as well.

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

Read my Bible – Isaiah 37:14-20.

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

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

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

PURPOSE  

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

Every trial has a purpose.

Every problem has a purpose.

Every victory has a purpose.

Every healing has a purpose.

Every person has a purpose.

Every church has a purpose.

Later the Lord said,

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

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

He wants to be your defender.

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

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

*Close with Defender song on you tube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moses had serious anger issues – God grew gentleness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can they deny Him and still be clean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          I can see Peter stumbling over his shame and saying,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does this have to do with self control?

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

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

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

We are learning to trust God in all things.

We are learning to depend upon God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I have finished my course.” One translation says

“I finished my course with joy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Today you decide how you will finish!

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

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

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

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

Wisdom and gentleness go together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Listen in Isaiah how God dealt with a rebellious Israel.

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

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

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

 Wait upon the Lord”  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

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

Here is a portion of that word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In another place His gentleness is described.

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

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

We cannot properly represent Him with our anger !

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

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

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

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

          Moses himself wanted to strike the people.

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

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

Instead of striking the people – strike the Rock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The breaking of a horse. PIC

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

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

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

Gentleness and wisdom are connected!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’ answer is enlightening to them and to us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BECAUSE OF YOUR UNBELIEF

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

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

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

He clarifies more in the Matthew 21:21: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does unbelief come into our life?

The same way faith comes – by hearing.

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

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

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

Actually we are not waiting on God to heal us.

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

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

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

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

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

Unbelief speaks. It usually comes through our own voice.

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

Faith speaks. It comes through your voice too!

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

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

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

Fruit of the Spirit series: Faithful

Fruit of the Spirit series: Faithful
God is faithful

Of all the fruit of the Spirit, this one empowers all the others. In other words, God is always faithfully going to be what He is! He is always going to be love and loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and aren’t we all glad He always has self control!

Faithfulness is part of God’s nature meaning He is unchanging and unwavering and can be trusted all the time.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change.” Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Heb. 13:8

We can have faith in God only because He is 100% faithful. This is what we focus on – His faithfulness not our own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness.

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

We need to consider our history with God’s faithfulness and celebrate the times He has shown Himself faithful to us. The Bible says in

 to “Feed on His faithfulness” Psalm 37:3.

How do we do this? Remember your history with God.

-         Remember how we could not have children and then God gave Pam a promise?

-         Remember the time God told me to resign w/o having any money in the bank or plans for something new? Yet He provided!

-         Remember when we went to Bible college and were in line to pay tuition/books wondering where the money would come from?

-         Remember God gave us divine guidance to come to Leesburg?

-         Remember how the Lord protected you from evil happening?

God told the Israelites the key to inhabiting the promise land is remembering who the Lord is and what He has been for you. You’ve got history with God that is incredible – walked through the Red Sea, led by a pillar of fire by night, fed supernaturally, clothing did not wear out for 40 years, etc. Remember!

-         We take communion – “in remembrance”.

Part of our fighting the good fight of faith is remembering how faithful God has already been to us.

Come on church – you must have some stories to tell about God’s faithfulness and how He has brought you ought of some sticky situations that you did not think you would be able to make it. But you are sitting here today because of one reason – God is faithful.

God is faithful but that does not mean He is predictable. We don’t know the details such as how or when He will bring you through your trial.

For example: Healing service last Wednesday with Roger Webb. I watched people. Some were disappointed or even offended because they did not feel anything or all Roger said was “Be healed, or Lord take away the pain” and then went to the next person.

Ill. Made me think of Elijah the time Naaman came to be healed of leprosy. Elijah did not even come outside to meet him. He sent message go jump in the Jordan 7 times and be healed. He was hot with anger, but when he was talked into it, he was healed.

Ill. Jesus and paralyzed man let down through roof. Son, your sins are forgiven. Jesus did not do what the young man came for! Pharisees complained. “Rise up take you mat and walk home.”

Our expectations can actually be a form of unbelief hindering us!

How do we process this unpredictability of God? Will He heal me here, now, or in heaven? Will He do this or that? Faith is not in knowing what exactly will happen, but trusting God and surrendering the outcome to Him.

Read my blog titled “The Let-Go Prayer” online at,  Reflections – by Gary Washburn or www.garywashburn.com 

We have a sign in our foyer entrance “God is faithful”.  Just the other day I noticed on the opposite side of this archway we have another sign, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

          I don’t think I realized how prophetically they are like two sides of the same coin until preparing this message.  On one side if you believe, God is faithful, then the other side you are going to have to make yourself be still, trust Him, let-go and know He is God.

He keeps some things a mystery – because – He is God!

Ill. If Satan had known what God was doing to bring about our victory he would not have killed Jesus on the cross. Little did he know he was playing right into God’s Master plan.

“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, hidden wisdom. . . None of the rulers of this age knew it. For if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Cor. 2:7-8

I imagine Satan was excited seeing Jesus sentenced to die as a criminal.

He got more excited seeing Jesus beaten and whipped. He stood and  applauded seeing Jesus nailed to the cross.

He was elated seeing Jesus breath His last breath saying, “Father why have You forsaken Me? Into Your hands I commend my Spirit.” He hung His head and died.

He jumped for joy when they put Jesus’ body in a cold, dark tomb and a large stone was rolled to seal the entrance. He probably thought, this will be last time we ever see Him.

Imagine that evening the devil celebrated a victory party like an inauguration ball with all the demons. It went on through the night into the next day and into the night, until early morning on the third day.

Just before daybreak in Jerusalem on the third day there was an earthquake that interrupted the devil making another toast to himself. “What was that?”

A demon said, “It was an earthquake, boss.”

Satan asked, “Was it one of ours?”

 “No, it definitely wasn’t one of ours.”

Satan leaned back in a chair, “It’s probably nothing, but take some scouts and check out Jerusalem to make sure and then come back and join the celebration.”

          Off they go, two of the lowest demons have to leave the festivities and go to check out what is probably a bogus call in Jerusalem. Just before arriving at the Damascus gate you have to pass by the garden tomb. They both glanced over towards the garden tomb while noticing that the huge stone that previously covered the entrance of the tomb had been moved. Curiosity, got the best of them and so they took a closer look at the tomb of Jesus.

 “What in the world has happened here?” Not only was the tomb uncovered, but they noticed a huge crack in the side of the entrance of the tomb. 

 History records there was an earthquake that day in Jerusalem

Pic of evidence of the earthquake at the garden tomb:

The garden tomb to this day shows the evidence of the earthquake, which I believe originated inside the tomb of Jesus the moment He rose from the dead.

Those demons must have peered inside and have been tormented by what they saw to this very day. The tomb of Jesus was empty!

“We better get back to headquarters and tell the chief right away!”

They found out that day what you and I already know. What is that?

God is faithful.

The Old Testament is the part of the Bible written before Jesus was born. Its writings were completed in 450 B.C. The Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection.

Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering. Mathematicians put it this way 100 Quintillion:

1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000

1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power

1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!

One of my favorite verses about God’s faithfulness is

“God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Hath He said and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken and shall not He make it good?”  Numbers 23:19  

So what does this mean for us today? Everybody I know is going through a trial of some kind. Everyone here is waiting for something from God – a dream to come true, the right person to come into your life, a problem to turn around, a healing to manifest, a person to turn to the Lord.

GOD is writing a story with your face on the cover of the book. You are not the victim in God’s story – you are the victor. If you are facing trials that seem too much for you – don’t voice things like “I can’t take this anymore, This, is too much for me – I am overwhelmed!” You are lying to yourself and empowering a lie every time you voice these things. You are fighting against God when you say these things and aligning yourself with the enemy’s words and plans.

The truth is God would not have allowed it, if you couldn’t handle it. Scripture says, “God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able.” I Cor. 10:13

Instead start saying to yourself, “God is faithful and will not allow me to be overwhelmed. I am well able to deal with all of this because of the anointing of God upon my life!”

You have to use your mouth as a weapon for you instead of using it as a weapon against you and against God. It’s easy to give in to complaining or the way you feel. It takes no effort, just open your mouth and let it fly! Say what you feel, say whatever you think! No, that is exactly how the enemy would like you to live.

-         You are called to walk by faith and not by just sight or feelings. The truth is whatever trial is in your life, since God did not stop it from happening, He has given you the anointing to be able to handle it. Paul learned what we have to learn and say:

“I can do all things through Christ (The Anointing) that gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13

You are anointed for the all the trials God allows to come your way.

You are anointed to raise your children. I know you get tired. I know you want to quit. But someone else cannot do what you can do! You are anointed to do the things that God has assigned to your life. I can’t do what you are anointed to do. You can’t do what I am anointed to do. It is not how smart we are or how disciplined, it is the anointing God gave to each of us to be able to fulfill our assignment.

Ill. You’ve already made it through some sticky situations. Satan has tried to kill you, or get you to do it yourself in some way. He attacks everyone, but especially the anointed ones (Christians). But his attacks do not stick on you, and you get through things because, of the anointing on you.

Pic of spider

The spider spins a sticky web that anything that touches it get stuck to it. But the spider’s body has a special oil that flows down his legs so he can slide easily across the same web everyone else gets stuck in. You could say that he does not get stuck because of the anointing that is on his life.

          You can say the same thing about your life. God has put an anointing on your life. Attacks and trouble come from all sides. But what brings other people down – doesn’t stick to you.

-         You get laid off from work – instead of getting stuck in depression and self pity, keep moving to a better job.

-         You get a bad report from the doctor – because you have the anointing on you, you stay in faith – keep moving. You have strength that you did not know

Bottom line: God is faithful to you, you are well able because you are anointed for this. 

“Do not be frightened or intimidated by your enemies. For your fearlessness is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your deliverance and salvation from God.” Phil. 1:28 Amp/Mev

-         Enemy attacks you with cancer, sudden debt, wayward child, trouble. You use to fall to pieces when this type trial happened. But now you are not intimidated by your enemy. Why? You have history with God. You know by experience that God is faithful to you. No longer are you going to let enemy steal your joy. Life here is too short for that. You are not going to be intimidated any longer with the threat of death, loss, fear, of what may or may not happen.

But what if things don’t turn out like you are hoping?

Ill. Like the 3 Hebrew children in days of Daniel as they faced the threat of death from being thrown into fiery furnace for not bowing and paying homage to an idol the king erected. The king admired their zeal and did not want to kill them and gave them one last opportunity to think about it and give him their answer. Listen to their response:

“Your majesty, we don’t need more time to think about this. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. . . but if He does not, be it known unto you that we will not serve your gods or your idols.”  Daniel 3:17-18

True faith in God will have a “But if He does not” clause in it.

Because we can’t predict how or when God will bring us through, but He is faithful.

Attacks come, trials come, troubles come to everyone but your anointing breaks every yoke. The enemy tries to collar you and pull you away from faith and trusting God.

God never wastes our pain – only we do. Through life experiences we are learning to remain calm when adversity comes.

“Blessed is the man whom You discipline and instruct and teach from Your Word, that You may grant him [POWER TO KEEP HIMSELF CALM] and find peace in the days of adversity. . .” Psalm 94:12-13

Concl:     3 words is all you need to make it through any trial or hardship you are facing today.

God is faithful.

And for us who know this is truth, and this truth has set us free from panic and worry and fear. These 3 words that we should be often speaking to ourselves give rise to 3 other words we shout out every Easter. These 3 words are:

He is risen!

Together these words give us power to fight back any enemy that tries to intimidate us. Another Easter – another opportunity to rise and say,

God is faithful – He is risen!

          I made it through the tough times because – God is faithful – He is risen. He is alive.

          I will make it through this trial I am in today because – God is faithful and He is risen. Whatever you will have to face in the days ahead – you can over come it because of this truth proclaimed here today – God is faithful – He is risen!

 

Fruit of the Spirit series: The Glory of Goodness

Fruit of the Spirit series: The glory of goodness

          Moses had a unique relationship with God.

Scripture says Moses talked to God face to face. In the same chapter scripture says that no one can see God’s face and live.

          In fact, when men saw a vision of God, they did not see a form or body,  they saw the brilliance of light. What they saw was the brightness of His glory.

The more Moses got to know God the more intrigued He was about Him. It was like Moses was seeing there is more to God than I realized – I want to know You more.

Moses said to God, “I pray show me Your glory.”

“Glory” = #3519 Kabowd (Ka-vode) weight, honor, splendor

That is a tall order! Translated to mean: I want to see what makes You tick. What You are all about. What is Your essence, I want to know You! Show me Your heart – the inner You.

It’s interesting that God is willing to show His glory to people – to us!

Then God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”  Exodus 33:19

The word “goodness” here means the the best of the best.

Goodness is what God looks like!

God told Moses this encounter with My goodness will be so overwhelming that I will have to place you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand while I pass by or else My glory, which is My goodness would consume you.

It was so awesome that every time Moses spent time face to face with God it made his face shine and he had to put a veil over his face.

When God causes His goodness to pass before us, and we recognize it, it makes our face shine too! His goodness is our radiance.

Ill. There is no physical description of Jesus in the bible. I think this is on purpose. Isaiah is the only one that comes close. He said “He has no form of comeliness and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isa. 53:2

Yet the Bible still tells us what Jesus looks like:

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being . . .” Heb. 1:3

God’s goodness in the face of Jesus are manifested in people who are being led by the Spirit to do selfless acts of goodness to others.

“Jesus went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.” Acts 10:38 

We, His church, His body represent Him on earth. We do not represent the church – we represent (we are RE-Presenting) Him on earth.

Our mission purpose statement: PRESENTING JESUS THE REVELATION OF TRUTH AND GRACE AND TRANSFORMS LIVES.

GOD has presented Jesus to us and we are RE-PRESENTING JESUS

What is your purpose?

It is not just your destiny or your ministry to do things. Your purpose is to be an accurate reflection of the glory of God. We are Re-presenting the glory of God (His goodness). “Creation groans for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God” Rom. 8:22. The earth groans for this. Someone said, even water longs to be walked on again. We are here to make a supernatural difference and manifest God to the earth. I don’t have the right to adjust my assignment from God to what I think I am qualified to do.  

-         The devil will try to stop this from happening by oppression and all kinds of attacks.

-         Regardless of what the devil throws our way - our part is to stay focused on loving God – walk with Him through whatever trial it is and have the confidence that what the enemy has planned against you can turned around by God for good (Gen. 50:20). Romans 8:28 = such promises would not be in the Bible if everything worked the way we expected and we always got what we requested. This is why we can give God a thank offering before we know how things are going to turn out.

You can’t escape the goodness of God!

His kindness/goodness led you to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

His relentless goodness is what chased you down. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day of my life …” Psalm 23

It doesn’t leave you on days you don’t behave well.

We ARE TO anticipate that we are going to experience the goodness of God.  If you know God’s nature (goodness = His best), then this knowledge will help you through the tough times.

          Ill. David had a prophecy that he would be the next king of Israel. Then for the next several years after this he had to run for his life from King Saul. Sure he had times he must have been disappointed – confused – even depressed. He wrote,

“I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

ill. Fainting goats? When they get startled from loud noise their muscles lock up and they fall over.

PIC Fainting Goat

 XNS who fail to see the goodness of God we will fall into unbelief, doubt and skepticism.

“But he who fails to find Me injures himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:36

The goodness of God is present in every situation but you have to look for it!

Ill. Let’s say you are in a crowd of thousands of people. You are supposed to meet someone at this general location. You don’t have a cell phone. In the crowd you look past all the people and specifically look for that one person you are to find. You don’t stop looking until you find them. It’s the same way with God’s goodness in every situation. You won’t find it unless you are looking for it!

Guaranteed – it is there. It was planted by God in the beginning!

          The first time Goodness is mentioned in the Bible is at the end of every day God created is the often repeated phrase,

“And God saw that it was good.”  

In the midst of disorder, chaos, darkness God demonstrated His goodness and it was His goodness that changed the atmosphere from formless, void and chaos into something beautiful.

There is a lot of evil in this world. But there is more goodness of God. In fact, God told us (the believers) to overcome evil with good. You have to look for the goodness of God.

 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

          ill. When dating Pam I tried to impress her like I was a man of means and culture. Took her to fancy restaurant ordered wine. Just before we went out that night I read an article in a magazine how to order wine and look like you know what you are doing. The waiter brought the bottle to the table – I felt the cork, smelled the glass of wine that then taste and savor it in my mouth acting like I knew what I was doing.

First you have to have a taste, experience of the goodness of God for yourself THEN you will begin to see it more clearly. Tasting is a personal experience. I can’t taste something for you – you have to taste and see for yourself.

How we learn Jesus is by personally experiencing – Tasting His goodness.

Ill. You can hear about being born again and yet not understand it. But once you experience it then you understand it more clearly.

Ill. God puts good desires in you and ideas for good works that you must act on according to faith, trusting Him.

Paul wrote to the church these words, “We pray for you that God would count your worthy of this calling and with power fulfill all your GOOD desires and works done by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you . . .”  2 Thes. 1:11-12

Goodness is something that comes from God through people.

-         Sometimes I thought God was leading me only to find out it was my own idea. Other times I had a little thought to do something and discovered it was indeed God leading me. Sometimes trial and error. Learn by doing and sometimes trusting that instinct that God is leading you.

Ill. I love to see healings and miracles. I love it more when God does His healings and miracles through me to someone. Sometimes people will come to me in hopes that God will answer my prayers because I am a man of God. Some times a miracle did happen. More times than I care to admit there was no noticeable change.

I am learning that some times I am led by God and other times led by my feelings or emotions. It takes practice to learn to discern God’s still small voice talking to you.

My prayer when I get alone with God has been – God You’ve got to do something in my life so deeply that when people come to me, they encounter You. That is an ongoing prayer.

It is a necessity that I be filled with the Spirit – and also for every believer listening. It is vital that we live Spirit-filled lives. How will we know we are filled with the Spirit.

-         Not because of some experience that happened some time ago.

Ill. To illustrate what it means to be filled with the Spirit I take an unopened bottle of water and ask, “Is this water bottle full?” Many answer yes. It is as full as much as it can contain but it is not as full as it can be. Then I take another water bottle and pour into it until it overflows. Point: It is only full when it is overflowing.

It is the same for us.

We are only filled with the Spirit when we are overflowing! It is not by what I contain but from what flows from me NOW!

Jesus made that clear in John 7 “rivers of living water”.

 Being filled with the Spirit does not point to some experience that happened years ago. It is not measured by what I contain but from what flows from me now!

Since God’s glory is His goodness then His goodness is what will flow from me if I am filled with His Spirit.

Concl: As a recipient of the goodness of God – I owe people the opportunity to experience God when I meet them. It is good news that must be preached!

“How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him if they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher.” Romans 10:14

Don’t mistake a preacher as someone behind a pulpit in a church building. The best preachers carry no titles and don’t preach in church buildings. The best preachers Re-present Jesus to a world that has never tasted and seen Him.

PIC of Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words:

 “So as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the household of faith.” Gal. 6:10

Healing 101

Healing 101

Another mysterious subject like miracles, tongues, deliverance. If you don’t want any any bewilderment in your life, then stay away from these subjects.

Your identity in Christ and your destiny must bring you into conflict with the enemy!

          Signs and wonders are for the unbelievers. (Tongues I Cor. 14:2 for the unbeliever). Jesus used healing as a sign that He was Messiah and had authority to forgive sins.

Ill. To the paralyzed man carried by 4 men and let down through the roof Jesus said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the paralytic, “I say to you rise, take up your bed and walk and go your way to your house.”  Mark 2:10-11

Jesus Himself said that His miracles were a greater testimony than John the Baptist preaching about Him, that He was the Son of God.

“I have a greater testimony than that of John. The works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works I do, bear witness of Me that the Father has sent Me.”  John 5:36

-        Jn 14:12 He said His followers would do the same works and greater.

-        He said signs and wonders would follow true preaching of Word (Mk 16:20).

-        Believers would lay hands on sick and they recover vs 18

How many of you here tonight have experienced the miraculous healing power of God in your body? It will build your faith like few things will.

How many of you have seen the sick healed through your prayers?

One thing we must get clear – that healing was already taken care of at the cross. Healing is in the same place as salvation. Not only did Jesus die for your sins but scripture says He also bore your sicknesses.

“Surely He hath borne our GRIEFS, and carried our SORROWS: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we ARE (note present tense) healed.”  Isaiah 53:4-5

Isaiah the prophet was seeing the Messiah in eternity long before Jesus was born on earth. He saw His worked already completed.

The traditional church that does not accept divine healing for today has explained these verses away saying they refer to only spiritual and emotional healing.

“Grief’s” = Hebrew word Choliy – malady, anxiety, calamity.

“Sorrows” = Hebrew word Makob – anguish or affliction.

If you are still not convinced that this is talking about our physical sicknesses and disease, then I need to show you where this very scripture was quoted in the NT and it interprets plainly what this means that Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses!

“When Jesus entered Peter’s house He saw his wife’s mother, lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her. She rose and served them. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all who were sick, TO FULFILL WHAT WAS SPOKEN BY ISAIAH THE PROPHET, “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND BORE OUR SICKNESSES.”  MTT 9:14-17

This scripture is a NT commentary on Isaiah 53:4 and the words “infirmities” and “sicknesses” were clarified for Isaiah’s words “grief’s” and “sorrows”.

The same place we receive the forgiveness of our sins is the same place we receive healing for our bodies = the completed work of Jesus on the cross!

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye WERE healed.”  I Peter 2:24

Peter is speaking to people from the perspective of time. We were healed because Jesus already accomplished this when He died on the cross – He saved us from our sins and from sickness and disease ruling over our bodies.

Healing is just as much part of redemption as is forgiveness of sins. Jesus bore our sins as well as our sickness and disease.

The Greek word SOZO is translated “save” 94 times in the NT. The same word is also translated “healed” 3 times and “made whole” 10 times in reference to physical healing.

“The prayer of faith will SAVE (SOZO) the sick.” James 5:15

The point is: Jesus bore our sicknesses and diseases just as He did our sins. He would no more put sickness on someone to teach them a lesson than He would put sin on someone or lead someone to sin.

Ill. It is one of Satan’s greatest deceptions if he can get Xns to think his actions are actually God’s actions. If they will believe that sickness was sent by God to teach them a lesson, then they won’t resist him.

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

“RESIST” – to actively fight against.

The opposite of submitting to God is pride and not submitting to Him.

How do we resist Satan? “Fight the good fight of faith”

          What is fighting against our faith? Unbelief.

PIC

Resist His lies by speaking the Word of God over you. Mark 11:23-24

The power of communion – remembering all Jesus has done. We align ourselves with Jesus the healer. His body broken for us – His blood brings salvation, healing and deliverance.

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy everything God has given you. Jesus came to give you abundant life. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy the life God has for you. Satan also comes to make you sick in body – Jesus came to bring healing to your body.  

          According to Deut. 28 sickness is a curse and this world is fallen because of the curse of sin. If you are sick in body you are not cursed, but you are under the curse of the fallen world. Sickness are the results of a cursed world from sin.

Christians are free from sin but they still sin.

Christians are free from sickness but they still get sick.

However, for whatever reason neither is the will of God.

According to Gal. 3:13 Jesus was made a curse for us to redeem us from the curse.

          There was no sickness in the world before sin.

We must recognize sickness is not from God or we won’t fight against it.   – don’t settle – don’t compromise – don’t give up.

Sickness is an oppression of the devil!

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.”  Acts 10:38

-        Note the sick were oppressed of the devil!

If you are sick you need to see this from the Bible perspective. Sickness is an attack on your body from the devil in some form. I am not saying all sickness is the result of some failure or sin in our life!

Ill. A wound gets infected not because of your personal sin or a demon, it is just because of the corruption that entered a perfect world through sin.

3 major reasons for sickness in the world:

1.   We live in a fallen world. It wasn’t like this before sin!

2.   Satan attacks with sickness and disease (Jn 10:10).

3.   We reap what we sow. God doesn’t get us!

Our position must be in alignment with God’s Word. He said by His stripes we were healed and we are healed. Satan is come to take away our healing and oppress us with sickness.

So if you have a cold, do you deny it? No. See it as an attack on your health.

You are not the sick trying to get well. You are the healed of the Lord that Satan is trying to make sick.
This requires a radical change of thinking and renewing the mind to think like God thinks!

Next Wednesday, April 17th Roger Webb “The preacher in the wild”
Healing and miracle service. Come expecting healing and miracles!

 

Fruit of the Spirit series: Kindness that overcomes

Fruit of the Spirit series: Kindness that overcomes

The fruit of the Spirit is God’s true nature. His goal is to make us in His likeness and for us to have His nature, to be like Him.

How will this happen? It like anything else is a process.

-         First we encounter truth and be born from above. A real spiritual birth. Lot of counterfeit conversions. You can say words and it not be from the heart.

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

Romans 10:9-10   Heart – Picture of heart/soul/spirit         

Your way of life is chosen by your heart and carried out by your mind and will. The heart is where you first make your choices and where you choose what to believe.

Before a person will choose God they will have an encounter with the kindness of God, probably a multitude of encounters with the kindness of God.

As we become aware that this relentless kindness coming upon us is coming from God then we begin to become aware of Him.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”  Romans 2:4

“Do the riches of his extraordinary kindness make you take him for granted and despise him? Haven’t you experienced how kind and understanding he has been to you? Don’t mistake his tolerance for acceptance. Do you realize that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance?”  Passion transl.

“Do you despise the riches of His goodness, tolerance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”  Romans 2:4 MEV

God’s nature is to be relentlessly kind – to everyone!

“But love your enemies and continue to treat them well. When you lend money, don’t despair if you are never paid back, for it is not lost. You will receive a rich reward and you will be known as true children of the Most-High God, having his same nature. For your Father is famous for his kindness to heal even the thankless and cruel.  Show mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.” Luke 6:35

God’s definition of kindness shatters our definition of what kindness! In fact, God’s kindness may be offensive to you because it is so outrageously extravagant.

-         Like the word Prodigal in parable. “Prodigal” does not just mean wasteful, but extravagantly wasteful towards us and people we would not give the time of day to. The true prodigal in the parable is the father.

-         You can’t just decide to be kind and think this is manifesting the of kindness of God that is a fruit of His nature.

You first have to experience this kindness yourself and be overcome by it! God is relentless about showing His kindness to you.

So somehow God arranges for us to run into His kindness while we are sinners not looking or even desiring Him. He arranges not one, but  multitudes of opportunites for you to realize this.

-         Sometimes it is so stunning you have to ask yourself why has God kept me from jail, or overdose, or from my own foolishness way of destroying my life?

-         IT could be His kindness that put you in jail to save you, or stop you from something worse. You may not think being put in jail is the kindness of God until later you realize what God was saving you from! Ill. Paul was struck blind for 3 days by God. At first he may not have thought that was very kind of God – but later realized it was.

Ill. If you had met the Apostle Paul before he was converted you would not have liked him. HE was arrogant, know it all, better than anyone else, stubborn with a vile hatred for this new sect of people known as followers of Jesus.

          Since scripture says it is the kindness of God that leads us to repent – how much of the kindness of God did it take to convert him?

We don’t know how many ways God kept showing Paul the kindness of God. One we do not know but scripture records one incident of the stoning of the first NT Xn martyr (Stephen) in Acts 7.

“Now Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then some men rose up disputing him. They stirred up the people and the elders and came and seized him and led him to the Sanhedrin. All who sat in the Sanhedrin saw his face as the face of an angel . . . When they heard his testimony they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed their teeth at him. . . they cried with a loud voice, closed their ears, and rushed at him and threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul (Paul).”

Before being converted Paul saw Stephen being persecuted, hated, beaten, and stoned while he in return showed the relentless, extravagant kindness of God. It made a significant impact on him.

IT was one of the many encounters seeing the kindness of God that eventually brought about repentance and conversion in Paul.

Kindness is who God is – when you encounter God you encounter His lovingkindness. The more we encounter or behold His kindness the more we become like Him. This is how it works.

“But we all, seeing the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18

Before he was converted, Paul saw the glory of God in Stephen during his persecution and death.

Maybe in the trial you are going through this moment, someone is watching you and observing the glory of God and being convinced that God is real and their hearts are starting to desire what you have.

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

Your story is to be God’s story. You are His epistle. Your life is telling a story and people are reading your story to find out if God is real.

Ill. Let’s say you encounter a really nasty mean person. God helps you allow His Anointing of kindness to respond to them – called grace.

-         God knows they are going to need over a 100 encounters with His kindness before they break. Maybe they show no signs of appreciation of your kindness to them. Could it be that you are only #67 of the 100 encounters of kindness they need to experience before they get saved?

Ill. Pam working as home health nurse at with Dolly. No one like this lady, she was mean and cursed the nurses, doctors.

-         Pam was there for such a time as this – to represent Jesus by first acts of kindness to this mean nasty lost person. It took time but slowly Dolly was being changed by encountering the kindness of God.

We must remember who we are presenting and re-presenting.

“So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.”  II Cor. 5:20

Lord, how can I be Your Ambassador and best present you in this situation?

-         It is a choice beloved- and you get to choose.

 “I don’t get to choose who God sends to me to minister to – but I do get to choose how I minister to them!” Jimmy Dan Stanford

Ill. Your neighborhood, workplace, are places where God has assigned you to minister the kindness of God to people. You don’t get to choose who God sends to you to minister – just how.

-         No one makes us angry – they just expose what is already hidden inside you waiting to come out.

Ill. When God begins to take us to a higher place in Him, one of the first things that happen is we have to realize some ugliness still in us. He is removing the veil for us to see what is really there. Don’t; be discouraged – realize it is for what it is – rejoice God is showing you so you can repent and change the way you think. You don’t want that old stuff with you at your next level of glory.

          Just agree with God that is is not who you really are in Him. This has no place in your life with Him. Then come boldly to the throne of grace to receive His mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The more we behold the kindness of God the more we become like Him to others. That is how it works.

His kindness is not just random acts of kindness – it is relentless kindness that does not change based on our behavior.

Concl: This part of God’s nature is first manifested to you – then eventually it changes your heart towards God.

First it flows to you – then one day it begins to flow through you!

First you experience by encountering the kindness of God.

From here you repent – change your mind about God and receive Him as your God, Lord, and only Savior.

Now with His DNA in you – you are supernaturally equipped to let His kindness flow through you and overcome any obstacle in the way.

-         Evangelism begins with the uncommon relentless kindness of God begin given to people who don’t deserve the time of day.

You are here today in church – probably due to experiencing the kindness of God through someone.

-         Romans 2:4 says that God’s kindness leads us to repentance—not his anger, or our fear of his retribution, or our feelings of guilt. As we begin to understand the extent of the depth of his kindness to us, the way we see the world begins to change. Our allegiances change. Our direction changes.

Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues

I thank God for this wonderful gift He has given us. But I have yet to fully unpack all that is involved in this blessing but will attempt to share what I have experienced.

In Acts 2 Pentecost when flaming tongues of fire appeared above the heads of people in the upper room and then they spoke in foreign languages they did not know. It was confirmed they spoke in foreign languages by people who were from those foreign countries and just happened to be in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost.

Acts 2 tongues were the supernatural ability to speak a language you did not know but other people would know.

“When this sound of wind came from heaven, the crowd came together and were confounded, because each man heard them speaking in his own language.”  Acts 2:6

Later in Acts 8 Philip went to Samaria preached revival and there were many miracles, signs and wonders and many Samaritans were saved and baptized. Peter and John were sent by the church in Jerusalem to see what was happening.

“they (Peter and John) prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, for still He had not come ON none of them. They were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that through the laying on of hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money . . .”  Acts 8:15-18

-        Scripture does not say they spoke in tongues but it is implied.

Paul in Ephesus met with 12 men who had been baptized according to teaching of John the Baptist. Paul asked, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”  Acts 19:2

When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in OTHER tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.”  Acts 19:6-7

2 types of tongues:

1.   Tongues of men – known = earthly tongues

2.   Tongues of angels – unknown = heavenly tongues

Why do we need the gift of tongues?

Because life on earth is filled with so much futility, and things we do not understand, and many mysteries of what is going on behind the scenes in the spirit world.

Romans 8:22 Paul described it as creation itself “groans and travails in pain together until now” = the earth realizes that something is being birthed but has not happened yet.

“Not only that, BUT WE ALSO, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves while eagerly waiting for (our placement as mature sons in the kingdom).” Romans 8:23

A groan is an expression not a usually a word. It is an expression from deep within. A groan with pain is an expression of pain. A groan of grief is expression beyond words that comes from deep within.

Groans from the Spirit deep within by pass the mind and flow through the mouth or tongue.

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with GROANINGS TOO DEEP FOR WORDS.”   Romans 8:26

Words that are spoken are first thoughts in the mind then spoken.

Groaning’s are from the Spirit and by-pass the mind and flow through the tongue or voice. They come from the mind of the Spirit.

“He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He (the Holy Spirit), intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:27

The HS intercedes (prays) according to the will of God.

Note in verse 26:

“Likewise, the Spirit helps US in OUR weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for US with groaning’s too deep for words.”

Words come from the mind.

“Groan”  # Stenagmos – a sigh or groan

Groaning comes much deeper from the Spirit. It can be translated a cry – a groan, a sigh of intercession releasing something so deep that there are no words but God understands what the groan or sigh means.

Ill. Jesus came to the be with Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus died. “When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in His Spirit and was troubled.” John 11:33

Some of the Jews were saying, “Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind, have kept this man from dying?”

“Then Jesus again groaning with Himself came to the tomb.” John 11:38

I am not implying that Jesus was speaking in tongues. Jesus did not need to speak in tongues – because He perfectly knew the mind of the Spirit of God. But we often do not and so we need to pray in tongues.

“Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” I Cor. 14:1

Love is the motive for desiring spiritual gifts.

We should all desire to prophesy – inspired speech to bless everyone who hears.

But there is another spiritual gift that is to be used in private as a devotional tool to help you. What are the benefits of praying in tongues?

1.   Tongues used in private as devotion to God.

“For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries.”  I Cor. 14:2

You are speaking to God not men. They are mysteries to you but not to God.

“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” Verse 14

-        My mind gets no understanding by praying in tongues but my spirit does! You are praying beyond your intellect and praying the mind of Christ.

The Apostle Paul was an intellectual and said in verse 18 that he spoke in tongues more than any of them! It must be important!

“Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”  1 Cor. 2:9-10

 When you have prayed all you know to pray or you don’t know how to pray about a situation – pray in tongues to God alone privately. You mind may be on one person or one thing and bring it to God in tongues and rest that He understands the mystery to you.

What is a mystery to you = something you don’t understand – something that seems overwhelming to you. Now take this mystery and pray the mystery back to God in tongues.

For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries.”  I Cor. 14:2

Praying in tongues is God’s gift to you to pray to Him when you are baffled by a mystery and don’t know how to pray anymore in your mind!

One good reason to pray in tongues is because the enemy cannot understand what you are saying. He hates people praying to God in tongues!

We have an enemy spirit – watcher demons. They watch us and listen to our words. Ill. Ever told a plan you had to someone then the plan was so ruined? Don’t speak everything out loud.

Ill. WWII Marines in the Pacific used some Marine Navajo Indians who used their native tongue to communicate over the radio and the Japanese could not break the code. This special unit was called the “Wind talkers”, because they seemed to be talking to the wind.

The word for Spirit in Greek is pnuema or wind or breath. We have a secure way to talk to God without the enemy understanding.

It is by your choice and an act of your will to pray this way!

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.  I Cor. 14:15

2.   Another benefit to praying in tongues is we are praying the perfect prayer.

“We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes . . .” Romans 8:26

3.   We are building an edifice of faith.

“He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”  I Cor. 14:4

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit.”  Jude 20

The Fruit of the Spirit series: The fruit that strengthens you!

The Fruit of the Spirit series: The fruit that strengthens you!

“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

God will make known the path of life He has for us. This path is leading us to discover His Presence – He is always with us. We know this academically but we need to experience this practically which will result in joy.

Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you.

“You will show me the path of life; granting me the joy of Your Presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.”  Psalm 16:11 NLT

For You bring me a continual revelation of resurrection life,the path to the bliss that brings me face to face with You.”  TPT

Jesus’ own words to us are, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” So, He is constantly with us even in difficult circumstances He allows. Our key question is to be:

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

          This discovery of God in every situation cause us to become a celebrant in all of life. The key is to pay attention to God in all of life rather than just checking in now and then.

Ill. I have some wonderful moments where it is easy to recognize the Presence of God with me. These I call glory moments. It takes no faith and it is just a time of God blessing me.

          Other times there may be no awareness of God. He is silent but still just as present with me. This can be a wilderness time of loneliness, boredom, or even a dark night of the soul. But this is a time of building.

Time of blessing = glory moments of Presence and revelation flows.

Time of building = silence, stillness, nothing apparent.

I need both of these times: Times of blessing come to encourage me. Times of building come to wean me off my feelings and sight and to train me to walk by faith and stay focused on Him.

Ill. Last week in pre service prayer I had a vision in my imagination of being in a dark room with the window blinds closed in front of me. I wanted to open the blinds and let light in and to be able to see what is going on out there.

PIC of closed blinds in dark room.

For a while I wondered what this image in my mind was all about. After a while a faint outline or silhouette of Jesus appeared just barely visible if you focused on the front of the closed blinds. He was there.

I ask HS what this was about and this is what He said:

“Don’t focus out there – I am right here with you in this moment. Even when you are in the dark I am with you. You are in the dark so that you might be weaned from walking by sight, and your feelings, and learn to abide in My presence.”

I asked God, “What is Your vision for me, my family, Your church?

HS whispered, “For all of you to live in the reality of the invisible God, the Lord Himself is always with you. You do not have to react to situations, instead only respond as My Presence guides you. Depend on Me, trust Me with all your heart, acknowledge Me and I will direct your path.”

Abiding is our responsibility – my response to His ability. He can make fruit of the Spirit grow in any situation of your life. Our part is not to let negative things cause us to stop abiding.

What is the opposite of abiding? (Someone says not abiding and that is true but more specific it is self or solo, or living alone without depending and trusting on God. It can be a defiant ignoring of God. “I don’t need God. I can do this without You. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing (worthwhile or bearing fruit).” Actually He was saying,

“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.” John 15:5 The Passion Translation

 Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you.

“In Thy Presence is fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11

We need to look for God in every situation. “Lord, what do You want to be to me in this? What are You trying to show me? How can I discover Your presence in this?”  

When we discover God with us in our circumstances – there is a radiance of joy – His presence that lifts and lights up our countenance!

Range of joy – from calm delight that makes you smile all the way up to delirious laughter and dancing.

Ill. Maybe it was that near fatal car accident that you realized God was with you and protected you. Before the accident you were not thinking about God or even aware of His presence. But an unexpected accident – and suddenly you are aware God is with you and He was protecting you all the way. He was arranging help to be there for you!

Joy comes during discovering God’s Presence but, strength is the outcome!

Ill. Back in OT times because the people of God (Israel) rebelled against God they suffered from foreign invasion including the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s walls and the temple. Ezra the scribe read the Word of God to them. It had been years since they had even heard the Word. It cut them to the heart and they began to be sorrowful realizing how far in disobedience they were from God. The people had a weeping revival. It got so bad that Nehemiah the governor had to stop the people from mourning. “Stop being sorrowful. This is a holy time and God has brought us here for such a time as this. “Don’t be grieved because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

You can’t afford to stay sorrowful. You can’t afford to stay depressed. You can’t stay sad.

If you don’t have joy – you don’t see God who is with you.

Stress is a by product of a life not focused on Jesus!

Ill. All this talk about focusing on Jesus. How can I focus on a god that is invisible? It is not an outward visible focus but an inward focus using your mind and God given gift of imagination.

          God will often speak to you through your imagination more than just your logical mind if you let Him. He is an artist and has a variety of ways to speak to you so that you understand.

          Often it is required to shut off the world in order to hear God.

Habakkuk 2 “I am going to station myself in my watchtower (not JW) and keep watch to see what He will say to me. And the Lord answered him and said, “write the vision” – journal.

Write down what you even think the Lord may be saying or showing you. It may not become clear until later. But joy will come when He does reveal that He was speaking to you.

Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you, but strength is the outcome! 

 Nehemiah is telling the people of God that you cannot afford to lose the joy of knowing God’s Presence in every situation.

-         Celebrate He is with us – otherwise we would have been destroyed (you too!).

Song: When I think about the Lord – how He saved me, how He raised me, How He picked me up and turned me around and placed my feet on solid ground… It make me want to shout.

Awareness of His Presence produces strength and confidence in you that you need.

Strength is the outcome of joy.

Satan is after your strength – which comes from your joy. Maybe this is why you are under such an attack of depression. He is after your joy of discovering God’s presence with you in every situation.

-         He has got to get you to believe a lie in order to steal your joy. He has got to get you to believe God is not with you, speaking to you, helping you.

-         When you believe a lie and then speak a lie, you are empowering a lie and being robbed of your inheritance (joy).

It works like this;  you say things like, “It is hopeless. I am overwhelmed. I am stressed out!”

-         You are especially vulnerable when you are going through a wilderness time. A wilderness time is when you are living through a season where you don’t see much of anything happening. You don’t hear God, see God in anything in your life = wilderness.

Have you ever been in a wilderness spiritually?

          The wilderness is a necessary training ground. Jesus did, Paul did, early church fathers did. You will too.

Warning: Those who only see the wilderness will die in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb saw the victory ahead! Why? They knew the presence of the Lord with them. “How can we lose?”

Our life here on earth is ab out knowing God better than we do at this moment. Therefore, trials are the trails to knowing Him better.

We are learning how to not let circumstances cause us to doubt God’s presence and then we unplug and disconnect from Him.

We are learning that there is not a single occurrence in life that does not have some learning about God attached to it! It is virtually impossible to become Christ-like when everything is going well!

Life is all about learning about Him. We are learning to stand with God, learning to rejoice in Lord always, learning to give thanks always. We are learning to enjoy living all of life, the good, bad and ugly, in His Presence.

Therefore, every trial/problem has a particular aspect of God’s nature attached to it that is God’s goal for us to experience!

Our question for any trial should be: “What fruit of God’s Spirit has been assigned to me in this current difficulty?”   

By the way, joy has been attached to every trial you will face according to James 1:2-3. Whatever your trial is trying to cause you in the natural – fear, depression, weariness, anxiety, worry, then you know God has planned for just the opposite as you discover Him in the moment.

Ill. I had a dream where Pam and I and some kids were in a car floating in a stream of water. The car floats down a slope into a big lake. There are 2 other cars ahead of us. One turns right and sinks into deep water and is seen no more. Seeing this we turn left and float into sandy shallow area instead of sinking. From here I get out and get our car pulled out of the water and it starts and we keep on going.

Interpretation: God is with you. He is the One who keeps you afloat or else you would have sunk by now. So stay calm in any adversity – you are going somewhere. God has a path for you that is different from others. When you get stuck – you can get unstuck and keep moving forward. Discover and depend on God being with you. This is your joy that results in your strength.

Concl: He is deeply committed to revealing Himself to us in all of our life situations. When we are born again we become the “bride of Christ”. He Himself is the bridegroom. In Hebrew bridegroom can be translated,

Bridegroom – Hebrew “Khatan” = He who joins Himself.

God is the bridegroom and He joins Himself to us.

Ill. Most religions are based on – what we have to do to get God to accept us. But God is the khatan who will join His life, His nature, His love, joy, peace, patience to us.

          You don’t have to convince God to love you – He already does. It is not us seeking Him – He first sought us.

          Jesus nailed to the cross = He purposely joined Himself with nails to our ugly sin. It was a supernatural joining of God to us. Now nothing can separate us from His love. As He touches the unclean we become clean supernaturally.

How does the bridegroom and bride become joined in marriage?

          First by vows! “for better, for worse …”

Jesus is called the High Priest of our confession. Homo –logeo – to say the same thing.

-         Romans 10:9-10

The Fruit of the Spirit series: The Father’s Uncommon Love

The Fruit of the Spirit series: The Father’s uncommon love

What was it that first brought you to desire the Lord? If you are saved what was it about God that drew you to desire Him?

Ill. My first recollection of God was based on fear. I heard about heaven and hell and would beg God to forgive me out of fear. But this never drew me close to God to want to know God. I prayed the sinners prayer out of fear but still kept my distance.

It wasn’t till years later that I heard the gospel and how far God would go to rescue me and was fascinated to know this God who loved me with an uncommon love. I prayed the sinners’ prayer again and began a journey to get to know this mysterious love of God. Now I know how this all started.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way God’s love is perfected in us, so that we may have boldness on the Day of Judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not made perfect (maturing) in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

The fruit of the Spirit is uncommon love that is born out of your relationship encounter with Him – you will bear the fruit of His uncommon love.

          First you encounter this uncommon love of God. Somehow God arranges your path to cross with His. You encounter Him who is perfect love. His heavenly love is not based on your agreeing with Him or changing your behavior to agree with Him. He loves you unconditionally because that is who He is – perfect love.

          Earthbound love is based on approval or agreement. When there is not approval or agreement then earthbound love is withdrawn.

          Jesus said if you only greet those who greet you, or love those who love you what benefit is that? Even people without God love like this. HE went on to say, but I say to you, love your enemies and do good to them who despitefully use you.

          His calling is to first experience love at a supernatural God level.

He does not expect you to be able to work this up on your own and do it. You can’t!

God arranges an encounter between you and His Love.  It’s a set up.  

“You would not have called me unless I had been calling you.”

 Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia

An genuine encounter with the love of God is first overwhelming. WE are in awe of One who does not condemn us but love us unconditionally.

Ill. When this revelation comes to you it is stunning. You discover that God loves you so much that He became one of us as humans to purposely take the punishment for our sin.

Ill. On Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement the High priest would take 2 identical goats. According to custom they had to be identical. He would cast lots to determine which goat would be the sacrifice for sins and which one would go free. He would present the sacrificial goat before the people, lay hands on it’s head confessing the sins of the people and then slit it’s throat and take the blood into the Holy of holies and sprinkle on the mercy seat of the ark of covenant. The other goat was called the scapegoat and would be lead out into the wilderness never to return.

When Jesus was presented before Pilot, Pilot said of Him, “I find no fault in Him.” The people shouted “crucify Him”.

          Pilot had a custom to release one convicted criminal a year to the Jews to appease them. Pilot did not want to crucify Jesus so he said, “Would you rather me release a known thief and murderer like Barabbas to you or release Jesus?” He expected the leaders of the Jews to say Jesus, but the chief priests persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus.

Interesting parallel to the Day of Atonement with the 2 goats that had to be identical.

Jesus, who is the Son of the Father.

Bar –abbas, - means son of the Father.

Each one has the name – the son of the Father. One is sacrificed and one is set free.

For God to die in my place – He had to become like me!

We live as one who was sentenced to death, but instead have been set free because of Jesus. This IS the love of God for you!

“For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”    John 3:16

This is the most beautiful definition of the love of God that I know.

How can we experience and live in this uncommon love?

1.    You encounter and experience the love of God for yourself. You have great worth and value to God. You are greatly loved!

2.    “Build yourself up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourself in the love of God . . .” Jude 20

3.    “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us . . .” Eph. 5:2

-         Remember the way He has loved you. He will provide you plenty of opportunities to walk in love

It is your responsibility to keep yourself in the love of God. Maintain God consciousness by abiding in Him and meditating on His great love for you. Many Xns do not abide with God because they have a sin consciousness greater when they think about God. They do not keep themselves in the love OF GOD.

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

IF YOU have a hard time believing God delights and rejoices over you with gladness and singing then it is because you are looking at your sins rather than looking at Him who already died for your sin.

If you continually doubt your salvation it is probably because you don’t keep yourself in the love of God and you focus on your sin rather than the love of God for you. IF THIS IS YOU, I have 2 very important Greek words for you to write down. STOP IT!

As you keep yourself, abide in the love of God, you will become more rooted and grounded in love. This means you will be quick to forgive and slow to take offense. You will start to look like I Corinthians 13.

 “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love, I have become just a bunch of noise. . . Love is patient and kind . . . Love is not easily provoked. . . Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”  I Cor. 13:1, and 4-8 varied.

Put your name in the place of the word Love and this is what your life will look like when you abide in and walk in the love of God.

Don’t condemn yourself for times of failure. You will get many more opportunities to practice this walk before going to heaven.

The fruit of love is not about you loving – but you first realizing that you are being loved by God’s uncommon love.

This uncommon love changed your heart and it will change the way you look at others too.

“For the love of Christ constrains us. . . So from now on we do not regard anyone according to the flesh.” 
2 Cor. 5:14 and 16

With this uncommon love of God in us and flowing through us, we don’t see anyone according to the flesh or the old man that has died in Christ Jesus. We only see the new man God is making. This is the way God treats us and this is the way we are to treat others.

Ill. In OT God approaches Gideon and calls him according to his destiny in God. Gideon is afraid and hiding out and yet God calls him a mighty man of valor! By looking in the natural no one would see this in him!

-         God sees the heart and His calling upon people and calls them up to their true identity. People need encouragement to walk into their calling.

-         Instead of calling people out for their bad behavior why not call them up to their true identity – the way God sees them.

Ill. Years ago we started accountability groups in church. The idea was to provide a safe place for people to confess their sins and faults to one another and pray for one another. Some worked well but most did not because it became a place to call people out for their sin rather than calling them up to their destiny.

People do not change by stopping bad behavior. They change by realizing their true identity in Christ and being called up to that place of living.

          Do we not confront people with sin? Yes, but not to condemn.

We point out to them that this behavior is not in accordance with who they really are. We call them up to a higher calling and give encouragement to get back to abiding mode.

There are 2 radio frequencies and God broadcasts only on one:

AM and FM
AM = Abiding mode – trust, confidence in God.

FM = Failure mode – negative, doubting God.

Gideon was plugged into FM – failure mode. He was negative even after God encountered him. He complained about not seeing any help from God.

God called him up to plug into AM – abiding mode with God. God encouraged him to walk this out with Him. This is true accountability!

Another time God sent Samuel the prophet to anoint the new king of Israel. He sent him to Jesse’s house and told him the Lord sent him to anoint one of his sons as king. He said he did not know which one yet but the Lord would show him. First the oldest, Eliab and thought surely he is the one, because he looked the part. The Lord said, “do not look on the appearance or height of stature because I have rejected him.

For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

          One by one they passed before Samuel and he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

          Now Samuel must have been perplexed. We went through them all and the Lord has not showed men any of these are the one. Do you have any others?

          Just the youngest tending the flocks in the field, but he is nothing to mess with.  Call him. He was the one. He did not look the part, but he had the heart!

          Look how Love calls us up into our identity.

Ill. When we prophesy over people we should not condemn or pass judgment and neither should we flatter with false hope. We should be at peace and rest to hear the true voice of the Lord for them. Ask God how He sees them and tell them what God said. NT prophecy will always edify, encourage or comfort and help that person know their true identity in God. A NT prophet will help people to know how to abide and to hear God for themselves. Prophesy will always lift you to God’s calling and not condemn you and put you down.

          The heart of the Father is to lift you up and protect you from all those condemning voices of shame and condemnation.

Ill. A friend pointed out to me something I never thought on concerning the parable of the Prodigal son. Younger son told his father he was leaving home and wanted his inheritance now. The father gave it to him and the young man went and wastefully spent it all until he was destitute and had no option but to return home, beg forgiveness and hopefully be allowed to work as a slave.

We call this guy the prodigal – but is he?

The older son stayed home and kept working every day thinking he had earned the right to his inheritance.

One day news came the younger son was returning home. The Father was so excited he told his servants to kill the fatted calf, get ready for a party.

The older sons comes home and sees a party being prepared for his younger brother and he gets offended that His father is giving his brother such grace. He yells at his father asserting he had been faithful and that a party should be given for him, He earned it.

All of us are in this story.

1.    The outright rebellious that have strayed and need to return to the Father’s love.

2.    The religious who have think God owes them because of what they have done or not done. They want the blessings or stuff from God rather than a relationship. They somehow think they deserve it! This is still rebellion underneath.

The real prodigal is not the younger son or the older brother but God! H The word “Prodigal” means extravagantly wasteful.

 Here is the picture of the Father’s uncommon love:

“But while the younger son was yet far away, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and RAN and embraced his neck and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20

The Father pulled up his robes and in an undignified way showed his legs and ran to meet his son. This was totally against middle eastern culture for an older man to run. POINT: He did not care what other people thought about him.

          Jewish custom was when a child had been disrespectful to his/her parents that the community would ban them child from coming back to town. If they heard of them returning the townspeople would meet them at the edge of town saying you are not welcome here for the trouble you caused your parents. Go away. As far as we and your family is concerned you are dead.

          One of the reasons the Father ran to meet his son was to get there before any in the community to get to him and condemn him.

This is the uncommon wastefully extravagant love of God for us. You have to experience this love in order to receive it and be able to give it to others.

Love is not about you loving – but first you realizing that you are being loved by this uncommon love of the Father.

What will this look like? Very obvious and noticeable to those around you. You will be so uncommon in this world that you will stand out. God will arrange opportunities for you to walk this out and manifest His uncommon love where you live, play and work.

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!