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Sermon of the Week 
Sunday, November 27 2016

The Spirit Is Willing, But The Flesh Is Weak

Let me give you an up front example of this subject…..The flesh says, let’s have a day called Thanksgiving, and on that day, let’s eat and celebrate, connect with family and friends, be thankful and enjoy the benefits that life has given us…..The Spirit says….Let’s live out Thanksgiving every day of our lives for as long as we live!!!!The flesh says, come on….let’s not bite off more than we can chew…Relax and just go with the flow and don’t try to  lift more than the flesh can handle.

     If you will look over your shoulder every once in a while, you will notice that you are never  alone, you have some constant companions with you. For want of a better name, I will call them by the name we are the most familiar with…. “fear”, “inconvenience”, and “risk”. You can be ruled by these visitors or you can harness them for your personal gain. The choice is up to us.”                                                                                                                       

     The power of failure and the power of success are with us in every step we take in life.

“Should we avoid doing all the worthwhile things we really want to do, because of these shadowy figures?” “Is being comfortable and keeping things safe and familiar worth never taking a chance”? “Is putting it off over and over, the way to really live?”

Indecision in these areas can mean that an individual feels trapped, but often it’s a prison of their own making.

     Fear says exactly what it always says….because it’s all about “False Evidence Appearing Real”… You’re not good enough, You’re setting yourself up for failure….This is way over your head… there are too many who are way more qualified than you…etc.

     Inconvenience says “don’t rock the boat, settle down.. Why leave your comfort zone.. The feeling will pass, but you know that to surrender to inconvenience, will lock you in a revolving door that will go around and around, going nowhere.

     And of course Risk has to have a say…. Risk reminds you that the world is flat and you’ll just fall off the edge if you get out there far enough. Why take the chance, It could get rough and dangerous… You could lose everything you’ve worked for!

     There is a part of us that desires to do the right thing, then, there is that part of us that is wanting to take the easy way out. While a part of us yells out for us to take charge of our own lives. It just might be  time for a meeting!!!

     We all have good intentions about things we’d like to do and things we’d like to see done in regard to our own lives and in our relationship with Christ, and even in helping others find Christ. We all have causes we’d like to support. And we fully intend to do that. But then when it comes time to either write that check or take the time off from work for a cause other than ourselves, or to buy the plane ticket or sign on the dotted line, we hesitate and we procrastinate. A son wrote his parents and told them he had taken a vow of poverty. Would they please send money to test if it was working…….                                                                                                                                            

     We don’t procrastinate because we don’t believe God is telling us something, but it’s because those 3 shadowy companions, “inconvenience”, “fear” and “risk”, keep showing up! The Bible keeps reminding us that we are always better off when we allow God to be in charge of our lives, and surrender to His leading.

     Believe it or not, Jesus wrestled with all these things himself. “He was tempted in all manner as we are”….and as he faced the cross, the battle became incredibly intense, because all of these shadowy companions of “inconvenience”, “fear” and “risk” were all yelling and pushing and shoving against Him.

     Matthew 26:36 “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, "Sit here while I go further on and pray. v38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. v39 Going a little further, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will." v40 Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with Me for one hour?" v41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

     Jesus’ spirit was willing to obey the Father’s will to the point of death, but his flesh sought to escape the ordeal….The call of the flesh was so strong and the struggle was so intense, that capillaries in His face hymoriged and Jesus’ sweat was as drops of blood falling to the ground. If even Jesus can feel this struggle, there is no shame left in it for us, our only hope that we, too, might keep learning how to say, “not what I will, but what you will, o Lord.” Not just at the hour of death; but every hour of our lives.

     This was the first blood that Jesus shed in the work of the cross. This blood was the assurance to every one of us that because He overcame the struggle with “inconvenience”, “fear” and “risk” we shall be able to also!!!                                                                                                                                 J. C. Ryle said “Let us live like men on enemy ground, and be always on our guard”                                                                                                                                                            

     This is why Paul is inspired to write in Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. v3 For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,  that you do not become weary  and faint in your minds”.

     We all start life with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude? All children start out this way, they are selfish. It’s about what’s convenient, what contributes to my peace, what’s comfortable for me….. There was a little jingle that said…(Me, me, me, I’m in love with me, me, me. There will never, ever be, a one as wonderful as me..)

      A customer walked into a service station to have his car worked on. As he watched, the mechanic on duty was changing the oil, testing the motor, checking the air pressure in all the tires, including the spare, and buffing over some spots on the rear bumper. The mechanic thoroughly scrubed his hands and begin cleaning the upholstery in a blue truck. The customer walked over to the service manager, and pointed to the meticulous mechanic, hoping to get him to work on his own car. "I’ve been watching that guy, and I’m impressed. He looks like a great mechanic." "Oh, yes he is," laughed the service manager, "especially when he’s working on his own truck!"

     When Absalom, David’s son, was seeking to drive him from off the throne, David cried out “My own flesh is trying to take my life.” In the same way the weakness of our own bodies and it’s appetites and desires, tries to drive us from being in charge of our own lives, and squeeze the very life out of us. Instead of ruling our bodies, our bodies rule us….Absalom is always lurking in the shadows, looking for an advantage…..

Someone said, “If I had it to do all over again, I would just be too tired”.

     Paul tells us of the Corinthians who were caught in this trap. They thought they were spiritually minded, but their ego was always taking control.

1 Corinthians 3:1 “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-minded infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for meat. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like selfish children”?

     That flesh will can also be called our ‘Ego”…. The acronym for Ego is “Edging God Out”. Even those who know better, must fight against the subtle, selfish call of Ego….  Ego’s objective is to put a dark force around an individual, so that spiritual truth cannot penetrate, and do it’s transformative work.. You can know the bible cover to cover, and still fall prey to this subtle and shadowy companion which follows us all and dogs our steps..                                                                                                                

     In recognizing this, Paul says in Romans 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature (or ego). For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do, this is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin (or ego) living in me that does it.

     Some folks may be weak when it comes to food, and whenever they find themselves hungry, they try to eat up everything in sight…..Some folks may be weak when it comes to alcohol or drugs, they don’t have the strength  to say no…..Some folks may be weak when it comes to controlling their anger, when somebody says something or does something that they don’t like. Some of us are weak when it comes to handling our money, and our credit cards… We all have weaknesses of some sort, in some area… our problem seems to be that just when we thought we had a handle on life, the handle keeps breaking.. so, we don’t judge other people’s sin, just because they sin differently than we do.

     God and Adam were walking through the Garden of Eden, discussing various things. At one point, Adam says, "Wow, God, you sure made Eve awfully beautiful, just amazingly beautiful!" And the Lord said: "Yes, my son, that is so you would love her completely." After a brief moment, Adam commented, "But Lord, why didn’t you make Eve a lot smarter?." "Ah, yes," said God, "that is so she would be able to love you." (we’ve all got faults)

     We all need a good talk with our EGO! Ego puts ourselves first instead of God. Our ego constantly wants the center place in our lives. Ego is the root cause of every moral problem in our society.

     Paul says…1 Corinthians 9:27  “I crucify my flesh man (or ego) and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified for the prize”.

Abortion is preferred,  over giving birth because of what is best for ego, and not the unborn. Homosexuality is embraced because our ego convinces us perversion is preferred over Bible truth. Drugs are used because the ego is looking for a feel good high so it can compensate for what it cannot control. Ego not only edges God out, it edges everybody else out of our lives.

      A mortician at Forest Lawn Cemetery in California was asked, "What was the most expensive funeral he ever had there?" The mortician didn't have to search his memory. A man with a huge ego, had left his ex-wife and children almost nothing, but had provided wastefully for his own final farewell. He had designated about a 250,000 dollars for his funeral. First, a bronze casket was bought for around $80,000, and a beautiful rose window grave marker was created for $70,000. But after these and other expenditures, the mortuary still had about $100,000. What next? Their solution was orchids--one hundred thousand dollars worth! And how many attended this $250,000 extravaganza? Exactly four people, his wife and his three children.

     We need to save ourselves from ourselves. Proverbs 14:12 says," There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. v15 The foolish believe every word: but the wise man is insightful in his dealings. v16 A wise man is cautious, and departs from evil: but the fool rages, in his confidence”.   Many things have changed over the last 2000 years since Christ died, but some things are still  the same old same old…..                                                

     Twenty first century people are still living out the old idium, "If it feels good, do it" in ever greater numbers today, but with even greater and more destructive consequences.                          (Isn’t that what got Adam and Eve and all the rest of us in trouble?)

     Paul saw that the gentile churches were seeking the glory for themselves, that belonged to God alone. They were naïve enough to believe they were seeking God’s glory, when they were actually edging God out in their motives and their behavior. When we steal God’s glory we rob ourselves of His power and give Ego more and more power.                                                       Every problem the gentile churches had can be traced to their desire to have their own way, and their own glory. Today every problem in the home and in the church can be traced to the same cause.                                

     Paul wrote, Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature [ego] with its passions and desires. v25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. v26 Let us not become prideful, provoking one another and envying each other”.

     When God gets the glory, we experience His life giving power. God gets the glory when we allow His will to be done in our lives to accomplish His purposes.

     A woman said to her guest at dinner, "We say grace at every meal, to remind us around here that there is something bigger than our own egos."

     I usually avoid conversations that begin with “Did you hear about so and so..? But folks will say, “Did you hear of so-and-so falling into sin?” The truth is, no one ever sees any one “fall into sin.” You only see them when they finally landed. They have been falling and slipping back for a long time. The question comes back to each of us….

Are you totally yielding all of your stuff to God? Or are you feeling you can get by without  prayer or studying the word. That’s always the deception of the flesh. It’s one step away from letting ego get back in the driver’s seat!!!.

     Jesus broke the power of ego in His prayer….and we must learn to pray as He prayed…. ”Never the less, Not my will but thy will be done”. As we mature as Christians, we begin to realize that prayer is not always to get our will done in our lives.                                                            

     For us to pray the prayer of Jesus, God must bring us to the end of ourselves. It is then that we begin to understand that God’s way is the best and only way.                                                                                                         

      Esther understood this as she was brought to the end of herself as she was called upon to  save the Jewish people. To do so she would have to risk her own life. There is no other way out. She simply says, “If I perish, I perish.” In doing so she defeated her ego, and allowed God to step into her life in a powerful way.

     Daniel was brought to the end of himself when he was thrown into the Lion’s den. I like to be reminded that Daniel was probably around 80 years old when he was thrown into the Lion’s den. This lets me know that it’s never too late to come to the end of yourself and step into the beginning of God’s better plan.

     When we come to the end of ourselves, the end of our resources, and the end of our ability,  we may think God is out to destroy us, but he isn’t. He merely desires to transform us into the image of himself. At the end of yourself you will come to the beginning of God’s best for you.

     Romans 6:1 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on walking in our own way,  so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to our ego, how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live in His new life”.

     The disciples fully intended to stand watch while Jesus prayed….but the shadowy force field of ego, began to surround them and keep out the spiritual impact of the moment. They went from standing to sitting, from sitting to lying down and soon they were asleep! The signature statement of all procrastinators comes to mind…OK, as soon as I get around to it…                         

     Or how about this one….“The best thing about procrastination is that you are never bored, because you have all kinds of things that you should be doing."

     Joan Konner said "The great thing about procrastination is that it always gives you something to look forward to tomorrow."

     Mark Twain said "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.       

      Christopher Parker said  “Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot fun until you get the bill.” "And last…. “Someday is not an actual day of the week”…..

Procrastination can take on historic proportions.

     It is reported that Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops in Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River to attack. The Commander put the letter in his pocket and didn't bother to read it until the card game was finished. Only then did he realize the seriousness of the situation. He hurriedly tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his procrastination was his undoing. He and many of his men were killed and the rest of the regiment were capture and Washington succeeded in part because of help from the shadowy figure of procrastination.

     In the story of Jonah, it was not until he faced a life and death crises, that Jonah began to repent and cry out to God for his procrastination, in the belly of the fish. He ran from God till he couldn’t run anymore….God has a way of bringing folks to that same place!

     Jonah 2:2 “He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” This tells me that Jonah actually died, and God brought him back to life in order to fulfill the call on his life.

     Here is good news for everyone. When you call out to the Lord, He will listen. Even if you have been running from the Lord, He will help you. Even if your life is ebbing away, He will help you. . . It does not matter how you got there. You can rationalize about it all day long. You can try to find someone to blame and look for some other solution. It does not matter how deep and how hopeless looking your trouble and your trial is, even though you may think it is too late for you…                                                                                                                                                     

     Jonah’s life hung in the balances, if he had continued to rebel against God and yielded to the three shadowy companions…. Of “inconvenience”, “fear” and “risk”.. We would have a totally different outcome to his story. When Jonah stopped running and cried out to the Lord, he was delivered.

     You can wash and perfume a pig and he will walk right back into the hog pen to wallow in the mud. You can throw a sheep into the mud and he will quickly get out. Their natures are different. The spiritual nature and the fleshly nature are opposites. A lost man can enjoy the call of the flesh and not want to stop, while a saved man is miserable when the flesh begins to take over and he will quickly find the way out. 

     God will begin to bring you out as soon as you turn to Him, receive and accept that, in spite of everything, He still has a better plan for you!. The redemptive work of Christ at the cross will give you a new start in life and another chance at faithfulness. If you repent and pray for forgiveness, you can start over again, no matter where you’ve found yourself.

He’s not limited to your condition, your handicap, your circumstances or your limitations and barriers…. He says… Because I have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, you shall overcome also in my name!

     Jesus in us is greater than the soul-suckers that want to suck the life right out of you and leave you on the trash heap of life. The Need to stay on top of all our demands, the need to feel like we’re accomplishing things, running from pillar to post, needing to feel needed, needing to justify our existence through activity. There’s always something else…..But where is God in all of our activity? Do we take time for the most important thing….our relationship with the Lord, and time spent replenishing our spirit….                                                                         

     The spirit  is willing, but the flesh  is weak, might also be stated as “the spirit is willing but the flesh is too busy.”   We can so easily be distracted from prayer, worship, or a kind act by hunger, exhaustion, feeling too cold or too hot, thirst, pain, our biased opinions,  and even a persistent itch. The flesh shouts loudly when it wants something, and the ruckus it makes can easily drown out the desires of the spirit. Even when the spirit is willing to do whatever God asks, the flesh remains weak when it comes to submitting to Christ.

     Jesus spoke to this condition Matthew 6:25–26 “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

     We must commit to enter His rest. It takes “Nevertheless” to say “no” to compulsive activity and constant mulling over our lists of things to do. It takes “Nevertheless” to give priority to Sabbaticals. Jesus said that many had not entered into his Rest or His finished works because of their unbelief (or the force of “inconvenience”, “fear” and “risk””..  .        

     Hebrews 4:9 There remains a rest to the people of God. v10  For he that is entered into My rest, has also ceased from his own works. (that’s works in order to earn righteousness or spiritual points).

     Rest begins when we realize that God’s purposes are accomplished through God’s power and not our own, and that the only person who is not expendable in the Kingdom of God is God Himself. Rest is letting go: Letting go of our own sense of self-importance, our sense that no one can take our place, and our fear that things will fall apart without us. Rest is about spending time with God, time that’s about God alone and letting nothing else crowd it’s way in, because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

     Paul's answer applies to all of us. Galatians 3:3 "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"

There is a truth that needs to come crashing over all of us like a forceful wave. This is it:     

     Time is very democratic. Each of us gets exactly the same amount, every day of our lives. We don’t get to choose what family we’re born into, or what DNA will shape our bodies and brains. We don’t get to choose the nation of our birth, or our skin color. But each of us gets 24 hours a day to inhabit and take possession of, for as many days as we have. And whatever we’ve done yesterday, whatever mistakes we’ve made, whatever time we’ve dissipated or squandered or lost, we’ll get 24 brand new hours tomorrow, and a chance to use them differently than we may have used them before.

     What if we all made a promise to ourselves to never again say “I don’t have time,” because that surrenders the wealth and power that God gives me every day of my life… the power  to choose what I will do with the time given to me each day, whether I will work, and be busy, without sacrificing worship or prayer, or rest and service to others.

     Progress requires practice. God wants us to begin training for reigning…..Don’t wait for someone to invite you, or till a position opens up….begin wherever there is opportunity….

If you have a gift for teaching children – If you find it easy to relate to youth – If you have a caregiver’s heart – If you have a gift for music –  If you have a gift for leading – If you have a gift for sharing the Good News – If you have a gift of hospitality – If you have a gift of serving the homeless, the hungry, and the poor…. Begin now, find opportunities, get involved, make yourself available…..no more excuses!

Through Christ, we can find strength to love our enemies, and to love one another…                   Through Christ, we can find strength to forgive those who hurt us…

Through Christ, we can have peace in the midst of a storm…

Through Christ, we can have joy in the midst of sorrow….

Through Christ, we can overcome addictions, faults, bad habits, or any personal issues…. Through Christ, we can reach our goals, and achieve our dreams….                                                                                  

     No matter what we may be going through, just know that we can find strength in the Lord to move on with our life and make better choices to receive the blessings that He has for us, and to claim the victory over every weakness…in the time He has given us…..

     Her name was Joy and she was a gym teacher. She taught countless children in her rural Minnesota school to be physically fit. Ironically, she didn’t practice what she preached. She was a stranger to personal exercise. But all that changed in 1986 when she took a three mile walk.

     Then she started jogging and running in 10 K races. Joy Johnson ran her first marathon at the age of 61. A few years ago she told a reporter about her exercise regimen. She would wake up at 4 A.M., drink her coffee while reading her Bible, and then set out on an eight mile pre-dawn run. When she got up, she always said, “It's going to be a good day today”.      

     Joy was inspired by the words of Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

     At the age of 86 Joy Johnson ran her 25th New York City marathon becoming the oldest person to finish the race. She went to her hotel room, laid down on the bed and went to be with the Lord just the way she hoped she would, with her running shoes on. Her daughter said, “Joy ran for God, Now she runs with God”.

     The well known prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi is a great guide to victory over the flesh. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace: Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is discord, harmony; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, truth; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek: To be consoled as to console; to be loved, as to love. For, it is in giving, that we receive; It is in forgetting self, that we find ourselves; It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned; And it is in dying, that we are born into eternal life.”

     So as we go, let’s receive the pastoral blessing….

“Be blessed of the Lord, to wake each day and marvel at the gift of time you have been given, new and fresh and unspoiled each morning. Whatever you do, or don’t do with that time, may you find a fulfilling, holy order in your own life— With God’s help, may you know what is possible  in your own life, as you become more intimate with the God who made you. Go out into your work time and your leisure time and get to know God better this week. For in knowing Him you will find yourself. Allow Him to help you with how you spend your gift of time, talents, and resources. And remember that where you serve, you will be served, where you give you will be given, and if you show yourself a friend you will never lack a friend. It is God’s unending cycle of the  amazing program of His grace”!

In Jesus’ name….Amen

Posted by: Charles Elliott AT 05:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 15 2016

Is America Mentioned in the Bible…

I want to begin by debunking a long standing teaching by many who have taught that America is the resurrected Babylon…referred to as “Mystery Babylon” in Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”. They use the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of the harlot, they point to the breakdown in marriage, abortion, the porn industry, the rise of socialism, the removal of God from many areas of society, the breakdown of families and the rise of the occult and new age culture.

However, they are looking in the wrong place, because the resurrection of Babylon, will come from the area that the original Babylon was located. The nations that worship another God whose name is Allah….

Daniel 11:36 “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. v37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. v38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor….”

It is out of this area of Arab nations that the Antichrist will have his roots. Isaiah calls him the Assyrian as he describes the moment that God defeats him at the end of the tribulation….Isaiah 30:30 “And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. v31 For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote (the nations) with a rod”.

Now let me spend a little time talking about America and focus on this seed that God planted and raised up in the earth, called America. The American constitutional system was the first modern government devised by Man that was based upon biblical principles. The American colonists rebelled against the tyrannical form of government they had left far behind and they had no intention of replacing the British monarch with an American form of the same.

Even though most of the leaders of the American Revolution were wealthy aristocrats. Many say that these men were Deist and not Christians. Deist believe that God created everything and set it in motion, (the clock theory) then left man on his own. Now they believe, man is his own God. That might have been true of a couple of them, but the majority were devout Christians, and they were fully aware of the biblical teaching about the fallen nature of Man. Deist feel that prayer is futile since God has gone off and left us to fend for ourselves. However these men insisted on opening every session with prayer to Almighty God for His wisdom and protection.

Jeremiah17:5 “Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind…v7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…v9 The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick…”

Since, our Founding Fathers did not trust anyone with power, not even themselves. They therefore proceeded to construct a government that would limit the use of power. This belief that Man’s nature is corrupted and irreparable (apart from the power of the Holy Spirit) represented a radical departure from the historical beginnings of other governments.

Until that time, most of Mankind had been ruled by kings who usually acted like they thought they were gods.

Equally important was their conviction that the Word of God constitutes a higher law to which all men and governments are subject and that the fundamental rights of Mankind are derived from that law and not from government. That’s why, in the nation’s Declaration of Independence,

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

For these reasons, they carefully constructed a representative republic with an ingenious set of checks and balances. These balances were in the form of an Executive branch (the president), a legislative branch (Congress) and the Judicial branch (the Department of Justice and Supreme Court) which would interpret and enforce the laws.

Our Founding Fathers further divided the powers of government between the federal government and the state governments, even though the federal government has blurred those lines more and more with the passing of time. The founders were careful to define what was given to the central government, prescribing what was denied to state governments, and stating that all other powers were retained by the States (This is the purpose of the 10th Amendment).

And the basic rights of the people were to be protected from all governmental intrusion and were spelled out in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments were approved in 1791) and considered to be a part of the original Constitution since their proposal was essential to the approval of the Constitution by the original members.

The Supreme Court of the United States wrote in 1892…that ”No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a nation of religious people. This is historically true from our very beginnings. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, it is a national voice that is making this affirmation…These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of utterances, all stating that this is a Christian nation… We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply established upon Christianity”.

Those who have labeled themselves as liberal, progressives, which is just another name for Socialism, are determined to cut America loose from its Judeo-Christian foundation. Promoting this view, that currently, this is no longer a Christian nation. They have a classic European-style, Humanist worldview that despises Christianity and Capitalism, and the result is that freedom is endangered. We are speeding toward a secular, pagan society devoid of values that contribute to virtue and civility.

If this transition continues unabated, our system of government will not be able to survive, for it is based upon the assumption of a citizenry that is endowed with biblical truths. We have received a reprieve in this election to allow our country to remain solvent and Judeo-Christian in it’s values.

The United States of America is the biggest supporter of Israel in the world today. Many prophecies, including those dealing with the United States and other major English-speaking nations today, were spoken of and written down thousands of years before their fulfillment.

Prophecies make up a third of the Bible. But why are the scriptures that identify the United States and give advance news of its future not widely taught or understood among Christians today?

Jacob told His son Joseph that his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would grow to become great powers on earth, not only in a tiny portion of the Middle East. Joseph’s father conveyed to them the promises originally given to Abraham (and later expanded).

In Genesis 48:16 He said, “Bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”.

When the Jewish people were scattered abroad, Ephraim migrated to the group of nations that formed the greatest empire the world had ever seen, the British Empire. The Hebrew meaning of Ephraim is “Aristocracy” and it’s interesting that Britain is referred to as an Aristocriticratic government. God prophesied that in the naming of Ephraim. Its territory encompassed almost a quarter of the earth's population and surface, including many of its most fertile and productive regions. Meanwhile, the British Royal Navy ruled the seas. Out of this nation came the British-incorporated countries forming the Commonwealth of Nations—Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

From Manasseh came the greatest single nation the earth has seen. Its people dwelt with the Ephraimites in Great Britain until it was time for their separation through westward colonization and a war for their own independence, known as the American Revolution, through which came the formation of the United States. So it was that the tribe of Manasseh migrated to this newly formed nation. I was excited to hear a Jewish rabbi teaching this and it is a common teaching among knowledgeable rabbis.

It is interesting that the Latin meaning for the name Manasseh, is “America”. America rose up to replace the British Empire as the world's wealthiest and most dominant nation, which is why Jacob crossed his hands when he blessed Joseph’s sons.

Since World War II, up to half of the wealth of the world was owned by America. And 33 percent of the gross domestic output of the global economy was from the United States even though we have only 4 percent of the world's population. Militarily, as Britain dominated the 19th century, America dominated the 20th—and remains the world's superpower.

The bible is a book of types, symbols and patterns and much is hidden and must be uncovered in these symbols and patterns. An example of modern symbolism is shoe flinging. There are several meanings to shoes hanging on power lines….A way to mark drug houses, a way to mark gang territory, or some say it is a way to give tribute to a person who has died by their shoes on a wire. Last, it can be a random expression of plain old lawlessness. The challenge is to track down the why and the who….

I believe the United States can be discovered in the Bible through some markers that are like shoes on a wire. Bible symbols can be many pronged and apply accurately at many times and places and all be correct.

Many scholars agree that the "merchants of Tarshish" mentioned in Ezekiel 38:13 refers to America, because these merchants can be traced back to Britain and Spain, the ships which first came to this continent and claimed it. In this passage they are questioning the anti-Christ and His intentions as he begins to advance in power in the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

These merchants are also referred to as "young lions", since America is an "offshoot" of Britain, whose symbol is the lion. Daniel 7:2-4 speaks of this eagle/lion symbol which is a type of America….

“I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea (humanity). And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. Daniel wrote in 550 B.C. And in chapter 12 verse 9, God said that no one would be able to understand these prophecies until the time of the end.

Most commentaries teach that the Four Beasts of Daniel’s dream In Daniel 7:12 are the same four successive empires represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s image, statue: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. However, all four of Daniel’s Beasts are in existence when Jesus returns.

Daniel saw that the other beasts “had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”

It is clear that the fourth beast is still in power when Jesus comes, because the “little horn” on that beast, “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel’s dreadful Fourth Beast, is the last superpower in the kingdom’s of this earth.

In Revelation chapter 13, the Apostle John saw a vision of one beast instead of four. The one beast was described as having the body of the leopard, the feet of the bear, the mouth of the lion, and the ten horns of the ten-horned beast. This conglomerate beast of Revelation 13 is also depicting the end time world government of the Antichrist.

All of the beasts in Daniel chapter 7 have now merged into this one unified beast…except for one. The eagle’s wings are not mentioned in the description of the final world government beast. So, the big question is, “If not, why not?”

One supposition is that If the Rapture were to occur today, the United States would be devastated because our nation contains more born again Christians than any other nation in the world. Further, we have many born again Christians in every high position of commerce and government. One supposition is that the Rapture would reduce our nation to chaos, perhaps, removing us from the international scene as dominant world power. It is no exaggeration that a gracious God has blessed us more than any other nation that has ever existed.

Here is another consideration….In Revelation 12:13 “When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. v14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.”.

This scripture is talking about the woman, Israel, fleeing from the antichrist and Satan halfway through the Tribulation period on the wings of eagles. Since the eagle is the symbol for the United States, it is possible that this passage is saying that America will help to get Israel to safety during this time.

Another example from the bible is that the priesthood passed through Israel and was placed upon Christ who is the fulfillment. The spiritual privilege of the gospel shifted and was placed on the gentiles, who were grafted in, to do the work that the Jews had refused to do and that was…..

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”…. This is our Christian heritage. We, the Gentiles, the Church, were grafted into the Divine covenant, and were given the covenant privileges that belonged to the Jews in order that we could take the message of Jesus Christ to the world, that they might receive the work of redemption.

Isn’t it interesting that America is the largest Gentile nation in the world that has funded the preaching of the Gospel worldwide? Isn’t it interesting that America is the only modern nation that can claim to have been founded on Christian principles?

Matthew 5:14 says “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill that cannot be hid”. Our destiny continues to be entwined with that of Israel. And we can trace our origins and prophetic patterns to Israel. America has played a key, God ordained role in the preservation and the rebirth of the nation of Israel.

There is something very interesting in Micah 4:8 “And you, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto you shall it come, even the first dominion (the tower of the flock will receive dominion) and the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”.

America has been called of God to be a stronghold for Israel and a tower of strength. There is another very descriptive scripture of America in my next scripture….

Jeremiah 23:3 “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. v4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, says the LORD”.

America has indeed been raised up by God to be a shepherd to Israel as they were scattered abroad, into the nations of the world. Millions of Jews found a shepherd’s heart in America.

We know that Revelation 9: 13-21 depicts a war that will wipe out one-third of mankind. So, we have to ask the question “Is there a chance that the United States of America will be wiped out in this war that is going to kill 2.3 billion people?”

Perhaps the United States will be awakened as to what has been happening in our world and the antichrist’s one-world governmental system that is coming. Perhaps the United States will pull back and say, “We don’t want to be a part of that.” Is there any evidence in the Bible that the United States is still here after World War III?

Our next scripture describes a Euphrates valley War known as Armageddon, in Revelation 9:13-21. “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God v14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. v15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. v16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them”.

Russia, China, and the Middle East are among those nations that are mentioned as rising to power as we march toward Armageddon. Soon those who are left behind after the rapture will see the rise of a charismatic figure who will appear to be a new Savior, the Muslim Mahdi, or known in the bible as the antichrist.

As for me, beam me up, Lord! Please evacuate me off this planet. Soon! I want to be with You before the Great Tribulation occurs.

If you are serving the Lord and He is your Savior, you are part of a winning combination and you’re not going to be a winner…YOU ARE A WINNER!

Many are focusing on the fact that Donald Trump has had no experience governing compared to Mrs. Clinton, but neither did David before he became one of the greatest kings of the bible. And yet God used David to unite the kingdoms which were so terribly divided and to subdue their enemies which surrounded them. God's ways are not always our ways church, and He still delights in using the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and the weak to bring the mighty to their knees. I will choose God's ways every time, even though I might not have a clue, what is happening at the time!

If you’re not dead, then God is not finished, and the best is yet to come!!

It is my belief that what happened on Tuesday, November 8th, election day, was a realignment of the Prophetic time line, as significant as the sun and moon standing still in Joshua's time and the sundial going backward ten degrees in Isaiah's day. Many things on a global scale have been reset. God has responded to the cries of His people and hit the reset button on governments, finances, communication, and the church. This is a time to stay sensitive to the Spirit as He broods over the face of the deep and brings light out of darkness and life from decay.

Posted by: AT 12:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 11 2016

A Time For Miracles 

We had a time change and we went from “Spring Ahead” to “Fall Back” And Speaking of time.. here’s some thoughts about time….

Louis E. Boone.. said, “I am definitely going to take a course on time management just as soon as I can work it into my schedule”.

Frank Dane, Time is money, especially when you are in a cab or talking to a lawyer”.

Lucille Harper,“Time is a great healer, but a very poor beautician”.

Carlyle.. “Faith can travel through time and into the future”.

Charles Dickens, “Time is never wasted when it is invested in the lives of others”.

I was thinking the other day that when God created time, He entrusted us with the challenge of managing it and using it wisely. And even though God is timeless, He has precision timing and he has been changing the times for as long as the earth has been in existence. It’s part of the Divine balance of all things and I believe He has scheduled miracles that defy rational explanation.

Daniel 2:21 “And He changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and sets up kings: He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: v22 He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him”.

I believe God is wanting to let us know that He can change the times and the seasons for each one of us….He is aligning things in our lives and leveraging them by His power, so that it all brings us into seasons of favor, where miracles can abound. Our times are in His hands and He delights in showing His power in all seasons!

We serve an awesome and mighty God! I am glad that He has everything in control even though it seems that everything around us may look out of control and you’re on a merry-go-round that’s going no where! I readily admit that there are times that God seems a million miles away, but in reality, He is closer than the breath that we breath. God often brings us through things before He brings us out of them…..

Two little boys were known troublemakers, stealing everything they could get their hands, even from the church. One day the pastor stopped one of the boys and asked, "Where is God?" Hoping to get him to understand that God was with him. The boy shrugged and the pastor repeated, "Where is God?" The boy ran away and headed home. On his way he ran into his brother who asked him, "why are you running, what's wrong?" The first boy nearly out of breath, said, "We're in big trouble now! God is missing and they think we know where He’s at!"

Well, we know where He is, He is as close as the mention of His name! When God told Moses at the burning bush, to go to Egypt, the mightiest nation on earth at that time, and deliver the nation of Israel, Moses the stutterer, said “Who am I that I should be able to do this”!! God’s answer was not to tell Moses who Moses was that he could do this….But God told Moses who He was, God Almighty..(I Am That I Am)! And He said, I will be with (and in) your mouth! God is telling us that when we get our talk right, we’ll get our walk right….

Whatever our needs may be, He is always there to help us to bear it and overcome it. If we are tempted, He is able to deliver. If we are sick, He is able to heal. And whenever we need a miracle, God is still the same miracle worker He has always been and will always be! Amen! Moses thought it was all over for him and that all the dreams and hopes were just figments of his imagination but all the while, God was telling him that his time had come for miracles….

God is always on time and it’s time for you to get back up again and know that He will make a way where there is no way. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve fallen or how many times you’ve messed up. God still has a perfect time and a perfect plan for your life and all He’s asking is that you get back up again! And let Him be God!

Matthew 17:14 “And when they had come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, v15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is mad, and sore vexed: for often he falls into the fire, and into the water. v16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him. v17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer your unbelief? bring him here to me. v18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. v19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, Why couldn’t we cast him out? v20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to another place, and it shall be removed and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
It seems that many times the reason why we fail to receive an answer from God is not because we haven’t prayed. But, it was because of our unbelief which continually undermined our faith and held us back and kept us from activating the things the Spirit was revealing! Heaven is in the earth but we fail to identify it, then we can never apply it!
It has never been a question of God’s ability or power, for by our text we read that Jesus exercised authority over afflictions and Satanic powers. When the blind Bartimaus was crying out for his miracle, he was told to be quiet, he refused because he knew that it was his time so he cried even louder! I sense here today that unbelief has tried to shut some of you down, but you will not be quiet because you know it’s time for your miracle to manifest. You can taste it, you dream about it, you can see the deliverance you can see what it looks like, what it sounds like and what it feels like! You have come this close, don’t let anyone or anything make you quit now!
The God of the Bible that is declared to be the Almighty God, knows no limitations or bounderies. He is the Ancient of Days who fills up all space and time! He is the Great Creator of this universe who has made all things including man, whom He made in His own image. How we see Him determines to a large extent, what He becomes to us. How big He becomes depends on how we put the magnifying lens of His Word to our spiritual eyes, so we can focus in upon a God who is bigger than anything we could ever imagine!
Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big your God is. When you think about the fact that the moon is just over 250,000 miles away from the earth at it’s furthest point and around 225,000 miles at it’s closest point and on Nov, 14, it will be 30,000 miles closer than normal or since 1948, you the precision of God’s workings. And Pluto, the farthest planet in our solar system is nearly 10 billion miles away. And traveling even farther, 50 billion miles from the earth is where the scientist call Interstellar Space, and there we encounter distances too impossible for us to imagine!
It is there that you find the Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our galaxy. It is a mere 25 trillion miles away! (Just a Sunday drive!) Just to reach that star by space travel traveling at the speed of light, it would take an entire human lifetime to get there!
And beyond that, we find what is known as Intergalactic Space, which is the space that exists between galaxies. And beyond that, there is absolutely no ending, because the universe is expanding and now we find that we are one universe within a universe of universes! (as Buzz Lightyear says…”Infinity and beyond”)!
Can you imagine a place where no human telescope can even discover the contents of its black space shroud? A place where no human will ever go in this dimension? Distances so vast and great that no human mathematical equation is ever going to measure it? And then to realize that God is bigger than that? Just the mere whisper of the voice of God created it all…It was just a week’s work for God to structure this universe and everything we will ever discover about it and all that is beyond. It was not a big problem for God! He never even broke a sweat!

God showed Moses in His Deliverance of Israel, that He was Mightier than Pharaoh and his armies! He showed Joshua that He was still bigger than the walls of Jericho and every barrier to Promised land victory! He showed Jehoshaphat that some battles don’t belong to man, but that they belong to God! He showed Peter and Paul that even prison is a good place to see God transform hearts and lives….
At the beginning of the New Testament, after man had not heard from God for 400 years because of sin’s separating power, angels heralded the arrival of a Deliverer and a Savior! And the Jehovah God who had so often delivered man in the past, stepped out of the shadows of eternity into human space and time and came in flesh to show us that He is more than enough for our every need! The God man opened blinded eyes, unstopped deafened ears, caused the dumb to speak, the lame to leap, and the dead to rise again!
He said in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, v19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”.
And He still means, right now today, what He said in John 14:12 ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

When we submit to the heart of God, we can accomplish the will of God and see the results that God sees. Believing on God is more than words it takes a passionate heart for what God loves and what He desires…So often, folks aren’t sure what God wants them to expect, because they’re too busy with their own self focused desires and ambitions….

Adam bit the tainted fruit…(taint yours and taint mine) and, feeling great shame, Adam covered himself with a fig leaf. Eve, too, felt shame and covered herself with a fig leaf. But what we’re not told is that then she tried on a maple leaf, a sycamore leaf, an oak leaf and an olive leaf. (I guess women’s dressing rooms have always been where men waited while women changed their minds)

Jesus broke the curse! Hallelujah! And we can expect Christ to do for us now, what He clearly stated that He had come to this earth to do. And He was born of a virgin, lived as a man, facing the things you and I face today, was unjustly accused and crucified as our sacrifice, broke the power and grip of Hell, rose from the grave and ascended in victory to present His atoning blood on heaven’s mercy seat, and then He sat down expecting!!!!

I John 3:8 “the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy all the works of the devil”.
He Rules the Earth and wants to demonstrate His rulership in every place that believers dare to believe Him and fully expect, and receive it to be done in earth as it is in heaven!
Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein”.
There is no place or situation that His glory is not there, or that goes unnoticed to Him. He is like the air we breathe…He is the Omni-present, Omniscient, all knowing, Omnipotent, all powerful one!
I’ve been declaring this scripture during this election season…in Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it whithersoever He wills”.

In the time of John Knox, English rulers had unquestioned authority and their word was law. But the prayers and the faith of John Knox were so mighty that Mary Queen of Scotts is recorded to have said: “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”
God has the power to change men no matter who or where they are, in all places and circumstances. He’s doing it in our day as His Spirit broods over China, Africa, India, England, the islands of the sea and here in this nation as well!
He still Rules the Elements, and still exercises power over all that He created! In the fields of science, astronomy, physics, government, the economy, education and all of society, as much as the enemy has tried to sabotage any allegiance to Him, He continues to use their own efforts to reveal and manifest Himself through it all!
Proverbs 30:4 declares he gathers the wind in his fists, binds the waters in a garment, and has established all the ends of the earth.
Jesus rebuked the wind and waves on the stormy sea and they obeyed his will. He opened the waters that they might pass over, He sent manna from heaven to feed them, He brought water from the rock that they might be refreshed and revived, and He’s got a miracle waiting for you!
We serve a God who Rules Over Our Enemies! When the king’s armies came to take Elisha, and his servant lost all hope….II Kings 6:16 Elish said “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that are with them. v17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”.
He rules over Satan. He rules over Death. He rules over Hell. For our God is The Peace Speaker, the Shalom giver & the Problem Solver! He’s The Miracle Worker & the Heart Mender! He’s our Provider & our Supplier! He’s our Shepherd who sings over us and He gives us a Song to sing in the night season! He’s our Sword & our Shield! He’s the Healer of all our diseases! He’s The Forgiver of all our iniquities!
He is Holy & Highly Exalted! He is Merciful & He is Majestic! There is nothing too hard for Him!

He’s the Overseer of the Overcomers, The Captain of Our Salvation, He is the Altogether Lovely One, And Jesus is His Name! Herod couldn’t kill him, Learned men could not baffle Him, Politicians could not bribe Him, And Pharisees couldn’t trick him! Pilot couldn’t touch Him, The devil couldn’t budge Him, The cross couldn’t hold Him, And the grave couldn’t keep Him!

He’s greater than: Aids, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Bursitis, Cataracts, cancer, Depression, Diabetes, Emphysema, Epilepsy, Hepatitis, Heart disease, Mercer, Melanoma, Migraines, Tuberculosis or anything else the Devil has come up with!

We don’t say, “What am I compared to those things”, we say “What are these things compared to our Lord” The Bible still declares it so we can take it to the bank…that by His stripes we are healed!

When God used the men and women of the bible, they were nobodies, They didn’t feel qualified, they usually felt that God had made a mistake in choosing them… But they came into that transformative yeildedness where they simply let God be God, and allowed themselves to be the instrument which He used as He desired…..

God still uses nobodies to accomplish his will. Abraham was a nobody in a strange land. Moses to some was a nobody who was a man without a country who had been kicked out of Egypt. Elisha and Elijah were nobodies to the world, who lived in isolation, but they were powerful in the hands of God and when they showed up everyone knew that God was up to something! God loves making somebodies from those who look like nobodies to the world and even themselves….

1Corinthians 1:26 “For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called v27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty; v28 And common things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are. v29 That no flesh should glory in his presence”.

As He did with Elijah, the supply is coming from unexpected sources. And your ravens are on their way, bearing miracles in their beaks. For Moses it was frogs, lice, and locust that ushered in a miracle in Egypt. For Gideon it was a fleece laid out in the evening dew that confirmed the coming miracle. For Samson it was the strange provision of long hair. For David it was 5 smooth stones lying in a valley brook…

Our God is not limited in how He can bring to you, your miracle!

For it is not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord!!!

Posted by: AT 11:21 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 04 2016

The Unburied Bones

What does a skeleton order at a restaurant? (answer) Spare Ribs) What

did the skeleton say when another skeleton told a lie (answer) You can’t

fool me, I can see right through you…What did the skeleton say to his girl

friend… (answer) I love every bone in your body…. What do they call a

skeleton that likes ringing door bells? (answer) a dead ringer! Why didn’t

the skeleton like cafeteria food? (answer) He didn’t have the stomach for

it….When does a skeleton laugh? (answer) When something tickles his

funny bone….

When the Israelites left Egypt after 400 years in that place. We are told

that they took the spoils of Egypt with them…The silver and the gold and

the precious jewelry. The Egyptians were so eager to get rid of them after

all the plagues, they just said “take it all and go”….get out of our lives!

But along with everything else they took as they left in haste, was a box

of bones. But we’re not going to start here, because I want us to get

some background regarding that box of bones and what they have to do

with my message today…

Two men were shipwrecked on a deserted island. The one man became extremly

hysterical…”there’s no food, no water, no shelter…we’re going to die! The other man

was leaning up against a rock, relaxing as he searched the horizon. The first man

said, “how can you be so calm… when we’re about to die, and no one will ever find us?

The second guy, without even turning his head, says “I’m not worried, I make

$50,000 a month and I tithe to the church….believe me when I tell you, my pastor will

find me and the treasurer will be rowing the boat”!!!

Well God found Israel in Egypt when no one else cared, because they

were of great value to Him.

Joseph’s story is a story of betrayal and deceit by his own brothers,

who sold him as a slave to a caravan headed for Egypt. That caravan took

him from his home at 17 years of age. Then Once in Egypt, he was

wrongly accused by his slave master’s wife, then thrown in prison, where

he was rescued by a vision which brought him before Pharaoh, which

caused him to be elevated to second in all the land, next to the Pharaoh

himself.

It’s a story every Christian is familiar with….But I want to begin today

with the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey used to say) So, we will begin

with the bible account of the death of Joseph’s father, Jacob…

Genesis 50:1 And Joseph fell upon his father Jacob’s face, and wept upon him,

and kissed him. v2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his

father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. v3 And forty days were fulfilled for him;

for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned

for him threescore and ten days. v4 And when the days of his mourning were past,

Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your

eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, v5 My father made me swear,

saying, Lo, I die and you shall bury me in my grave which I have prepared for me in the

land of Canaan. Now therefore let me go up, and bury my father, and I will come again.

v8 And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house, and it was

a very great company. v10 They came to the threshing floor of Atad, (a sealed

covenant) which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very deep

lamentation for his father seven days. v13 and they buried Jacob in the cave of the

field of Machpelah, (the folded over or hidden thing) which Abraham bought for a

burying place. v14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren and all that

went up with him after he had buried his father”.

Joseph lived to be 110 years old in Egypt and this is the only account

of his going back to the home he was taken from at 17. But once Joseph

had died, the Israelites were made slaves, and they were slaves another

320 years under another Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. God must

have wept over his wayward people….And as the Hebrews labored under

the cruel bondage of their taskmasters, it certainly appeared that all the

prophets as well as Jacob and Joseph had really gotten it wrong! But God

wasn’t finished! (tell somebody)

I heard about a fellow who came into town to a Little League Baseball game. He

looked at the scoreboard and it said, "21 to 0." A little boy was sitting on the bench

while his team was in the field and the other team was at still at bat, and the fellow

said to the little boy on the bench, "Well Son, it looks pretty bad for your team right

now doesn't it?" The little boy with a big smile, said, "Oh, no sir, we haven't even

gotten a chance to bat yet!"

Well my friends, sometimes it may look pretty bad, but your turn at bad

is coming up….so make it count!!

The scripture we have just read in Genesis 50 tells us that …the cave

where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all buried, was called Atad which

in the Hebrew is “a sealed covenant” and the field where the cave was,

was called Machpelah or “a hidden thing”,

And I really like this part…when they buried Jacob, they named it

“Abelmizraim” in Genesis 50:11, which means “Field of dancing”….

Listen, child of God, if you can’t stand on the promises, in the sealed

covenant, and the hidden thing…you won’t be able to dance in the field!!!

(somebody needs to start dancing!)

Friend this cave points to another cave where there was a sealed

covenant and a hidden thing… and when Jesus came forth out of that

cave it was time to dance!! It’s prophesying that you’re coming forth!!!

Joseph came out of one of the most dysfunctional families you can

ever imagine, it was a mess. He had 12 brothers by four different

mothers. One of the mothers was an unloved wife, who produced 6 sons.

The other moms were two of the concubines of the wives, who had 2 sons

each by Jacob. One of the mothers was the loved wife, who had 2 of the

youngest sons. The father Jacob played favorites with his children and

was unwilling to deal with the sinful patterns in his family which nearly

led to the total destruction of the family. It was an environment filled with

jealousy, deception, and hatred and it culminated in the older brothers

selling Joseph into slavery.

We all have those days where it wouldn’t be so bad that it’s raining but

the roof is leaking really bad, and some days are like hell and you may

even feel like telling someone to go there…

A grandfather, (let’s call him George) tells of a time when his daughter and his

grandson had found a robin’s nest with eggs on the ledge outside the bedroom

window. They were excited to be able to watch the robin family care for the eggs and

actually see the eggs hatch and the baby robins grow. George’s daughter put a sign in

front of the nest that read,

“Shh, I’m happening!” George told his daughter “Now make one and put it on me,

because I’m still happening! He said, “every time you look at me you can say, George

is still happening – he’s not there yet, but he’s happening”.

And if you had your sign on, I would say the same about you. She’s still

happening, He’s still happening” How important it is that we are patient

with one another while our dreams are moving through all the obstacles

and challenges till they come true!

It takes time, it takes some tests, some teamwork, and some trust to

make those dreams come true. But through it all “It’s still happening”!!

Joseph learned that dreams can be too big for others to get their

heads around and dangerous because they can mess up your comfort

zones. They can be dangerous because God’s dreams disrupt the way

things are, and they shake up the “Should be” of life and they usher in the

“can be” of God! It causes you to start believing that there is a life that

transcends the reality you may live in. It’s Dangerous because God’s

dreams may threaten the status quo of life.

If it’s God’s dream, it shakes up our human way of doing things, flipping

life on its head. The last shall be first. The least, can be the greatest. This

is why Joseph’s brothers are so mad. He’s upsetting the apple cart of the

traditional, the normal and the ordinary!

But It is interesting to me that the name Joseph means “taken out of”

and “added to”.

Even though Canaan held nothing but bad memories for Joseph, and

memories of all the evil that was done to him, he saw the hidden thing

that undergirded it all…he saw the sealed covenant that he was a part of,

which brought him to where he was and would give him an enduring

legacy! Like Joseph, we need a dream that will continue to work long

after we have come and gone. His dream was deferred but it was not

ultimately denied. He never stopped dreaming because he knew that

God’s dreams can’t be stopped. God’s dream will prevail because God is

preserving the dream and not even Death can hold back the God dream

flowing through you. Know that there are many others who are waiting to

be blessed when the God dream is fulfilled in you.

Tell someone, “I may not look like much right now, but just hold on,

cause I’m happening”!

There was a man who had deep sorrow because his son and himself had become separated by the constant conflict that existed between them. The son had run away, and the father in desperation, set off to find him. He searched for months with no results. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, please meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.

On Saturday at noon, 80 young men named Paco showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers. Their dream was the same as the father who had placed the add for his lost son.

Many are hoping and praying that your dream will be fulfilled because it

will change their lives forever because it’s part of their dream too.

Hear Joseph’s words in Genesis 45:7 “And God has sent me before you to save

an inheritance in the earth, and to save many lives by a great deliverance. v8 So now

it was not you that caused me to be here, but God: and He has made me a counselor

to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt”.

Joseph understood that his position, his influence and all that he had

received was not an end in itself, but it was connected to something

greater than himself and all of his stuff! Joseph knew that all substance

was just as the bible teaches…there is the physical part and the more

enduring part…

Isaiah 55:10 “For God provides bread to the eater and seed to the

sower…there is that part which is for our needs and then that there is

that part which is to sow into the lives and the future of others.

Everything that comes into our possession is divided into two parts….

bread to eat and seed to sow. It is not one thing, it is two things. Until we

give God his portion, which is the tithe, what we keep for ourselves is

completely unprotected from the destroyer.

Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, says the LORD

of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a

blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. v11 And I will

rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of

your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the

field, says the LORD of hosts”.

Because of his position in Egypt, Joseph could have had a solid gold

coffin and had a huge pyramid built to house it, but he was committed to

something far greater than gold or physical structures because through

him, God was fulfilling his covenant to Abraham. God promise Abraham

his great grandfather, that his children would be as the stars of the

heaven and the sand of the seashore…

We must come to the place that we see more than where we are and

what we have or what we’re doing at the moment and see ourselves as

the instruments of generational blessings that God is weaving together

like a priceless tapestry, framed by eternity. What good is it if we gain the

whole world and our family goes into eternity without Christ and without

hope.

Genesis 50:24 “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit

(Pawkad) you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he swore to

Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. v25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of

Israel, saying, God will surely visit (Pawkad) you, and you shall carry up my bones

from this place. v26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they

embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt”.

The word “visit” here in the Hebrew is paw-kad' which means “make

a way for”….God shall surely make a way for you. . and 320 years later a

book of the bible was written by Moses to describe the entire account….it

was named “Exodus”… which means “The Way Out”….Adversity had not

embittered Joseph against the land of his fathers, and prosperity had not

crowded the promised land covenant from his heart. He saw what was

not yet visible and he heard what was inaudible and as a result he

received the inexpressible! His body was dead but his body continued to

prophecy of the promise given by God that was irrevocable…

Considering all that had happened to him, It would have been easy for

Joseph to forget his family, or to have taken revenge upon his brothers

when they showed up. He could have been bitter against his family, but

he chose to be better, not bitter. Indeed, he could have been so caught up

as ruler of Egypt, surrounded by temptations and riches, that his family

could have been long forgotten, as a useless and meaningless part of his

early life. But Joseph proclaimed before everyone that he was an Israelite

His body might have been in Egypt but Canaan and God’s covenant had

his heart.

While you’re walking out the dream, and you’re waiting for things to

come together and you’re waiting for the happenings to happen…. John

Wesley wrote us all some good advice… “Do all the good you can, By

all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can,

At all the times you can, To all the people you can, For as long as you

can”. (put that under your refrigerator magnet and let it happen!)

Joseph told them, “ Put me in a coffin, but don’t bury me for 320 years.

Just let my coffin sit unburied in a place where it will be seen and

remembered and not forgotten by future generations of Israelites—

The bones of Joseph were to be a constant prophecy to the nation of

Israel, in the difficult times of their bondage, that God had not forgotten

them and that a way out was being prepared for them.

The bones of Joseph in their midst reminded them, Do not get too comfortable here. This is not your home. You are only passing through this place. God will bring you out of here to your true home. Things are bad right now, but God has promised us a way out.

One of best insights into Joseph’s faith is what he named his sons.

One son he named Manasseh, “God has made me forget all my trouble”.

The other he named Ephraim, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering”. What a message… That you don’t have to go through life with all the hurt and injustice hanging on you like an anchor…. And no matter where you are in life, that’s exactly the covenant blessing you have!!!

God has placed a Manasseh and an Ephraim in all of our lives.

And for 320 years, when a child would ask their parents, “whose coffin is that?” the parents had an opportunity to teach their children about Joseph but much more importantly about God’s covenant with Israel. My child, in that coffin are the bones of Joseph, he was a great and godly leader here once, and he asked us not to bury his bones until we get to the Promised Land. Let me tell you about the Promised Land: God promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and one day God will take us there to live free and blessed.

We need that reminder too. Don’t be too comfortable in this world. God

will take us home one day and our calling is to hope, to pray and to work

to bring as many as we can into Christ’s Kingdom before the door is shut.

Many Hebrews stayed in Egypt because they didn’t want to let go. They

considered the position in Egypt, the possessions and the power of Egypt

as more valuable than the land of promise.

And just like them, we must ask ourselves the question constantly…

“Do I have my stuff or does my stuff have me”… “Do I own my things, or

do my things own me”?

I read about a man in Tuskegee who was buried at his request in his

perfectly-restored, 1959 pink Cadillac. I guess he wanted his friends to

remember that he was a man who had great taste.

(Listen, If you want to be buried in a pink Cadillac, please don’t call on me

to do the funeral, unless you plan on donating the cadillac !) I can always

paint it or become a Mary Kay salesman….

Exodus 13:19 tells us “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him”

Joseph’s bones could have been buried immediately upon arrival in

Canaan, but Joshua felt that those bones weren’t just a prophecy about

getting to the promised land, but they were about possessing the

promised land. So he waited until the conquest was complete. Then and

only then, when God’s promise was fulfilled, were Joseph’s bones finally

laid to rest beside Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

My brother lived an ungodly life…I remember that the last Thanksgiving

we were together, I told him that If I died before him, I would look for him

in heaven. And if he died before me, I would be expecting to see him

there. I took his hand and made him promise that he would surrender his

life to Christ. And he promised me, before we headed home. It was a few

months later, at our brother-in-law’s funeral that he walked up to me and

let me pray the prayer of repentance and he accepted Christ into his

heart and life. A year later, about 10 of his fellow cab drivers prayed to

receive Christ at his funeral. In death he spoke louder than in life!

Joseph made a promise and refused to let anything keep him from it!

Listen, friend, lead your heart, don’t let your heart lead you…choose

your emotions, don’t let your emotions rule you. Sometimes when our

emotions want to cause us to do something we’ll regret for a long time to

come, we should lock ourselves in a closet and not come out until we are

in charge of our HEART AND OUR emotions.

You’re not done yet!! It’s not over, till it’s over, it’s not done till it’s done. Your God will finish the work He’s begun in you. He is your

beginning and your ending, your alpha and your omega, He’s the author and the finisher! Hold on Child of God, joy comes in the morning.. the darkest night is just before the dawn.

So dream on you dreamers, when the stormy clouds of doubt begin to

roll back into your life. Dream on when depression wants to set up camp

in your heart and mind. Dream on when it seems like the only person

cheering you on is yourself. Dream on when it’s hard to dance because it

feels like the devil has put lead weights on your feet. Dream on because

greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Dream on because

God is not finished with you yet. Dream on because God will do more than

we ask or even imagine. Dream on for nothing is impossible with God.

Dream on Dreamers, dream on!!!.

.I think of Helen Keller, who was born deaf, blind and mute, but kings,

presidents and heads of state, sat and received her counsel… She wrote

something that should challenge all of us….

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do

something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to

always do the something that I am able to do.”

Joseph said…”God will surely visit you”, for surely the Lord will

make a way. Christ will surely come and take us with him to be with him

forever and He’s unfolding His hidden things even this moment. Do not

despair in the face of loss, or difficulties or persecution. Don’t let the

actions of others determine your outcome, but allow your faith to bring

you forth into the sure end and the sure blessings God has prepared for

you. Step over into your field of dancing, and begin to celebrate!

Believe in Jesus Christ, hold fast, never draw back, we’re too close to

leaving Egypt and entering the promised land….Amen and Amen!!!.

This is a time of dancing in the field of your finished work….When He

cried out from the cross….It is finished…. Hell trembled, principalities and

powers began to shake, as our victory was accomplished 2000 years ago.

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