Let’s launch right into this with Genesis 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto you at this set time in the next year. (Let’s all say it, “a set time, next year”….)
God has made covenant with Abraham concerning his descendants, and now He is making covenant through Abraham, with Isaac, before Isaac is even born. God is preparing Abraham for the “NEXT TIME” that He will enter into covenant with the child that has been promised.
What I want us to see here…. Is that in every current move of God, there is embedded a next time covenant. With every fulfillment of promise, there is embedded a next time fulfillment! Before you even get to the last promise, He’s already working out the details for the “Next Time”…..
Now, would you follow with me, to the passage of scripture in Luke 2:36. The infant Lord Jesus is being taken to the Temple for dedication, and we are introduced to a woman named Anna. "Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him (Jesus)to all those who looked for redemption in Israel".
There are many who are sensing that God is going to do something on a seismic scale, very soon... many prophetic people - who seem to have their ear tuned to the mouth of God's, are receiving the message that there is coming a dramatic shifting and repositioning.
I believe this is going to be in two areas. The two areas are: in the area of accountability and the area of blessing. Let's deal with the first one first, accountability.
If you read Romans chapter 1, you will see that the withdrawing of His gracious influence on society, and the headlong dive into depravity, is not a sign that accountability is coming, it is a sign that a time of accounting to God and accounting for our actions on a global scale, has already begun. The spiral of moral degeneration, is testament to the fact that God must now hold us accountable, particularly in the Western world, for eliminating Him from our affairs. We are at the threshold of a time when God will let us see as a global community, that when we abandon God, He will step back and allow us to receive the consequences of our own actions. When He has given us warning after warning….
Pastor John had been advised by his doctor to lose 50 pounds or risk serious health consequences. The good pastor took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to the church building to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he arrived for Bible study carrying a gigantic devil’s food cake. The class chuckled and chided him, but the good pastor’s smile remained unchanged.
“This is a very special cake,” he explained. “I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning and there in the window were some amazing cakes. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed, ‘Lord, if you want me to have one of those delicious cakes, let me have a parking place directly in front of the bakery.’ And sure enough,” he continued, “the eighth time around the block, there it was!” (we can find a way to justify anything)
We are living in very historic and monumental days...The world we live in seems to be determined to rush headlong into a perfect storm. Do you know what a perfect storm is? It is a rare combination of circumstances where there is a dove tailing of events that results in a dangerous environment of unusual magnitude.
The term 'perfect storm' has become synonymous with the worst case scenario. And it's an appropriate description of what Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 on the Mount of Olives, where prophetically, He told the disciples what type of signs to expect before His imminent return. He taught about the 'perfect storm'.
This perfect storm that Jesus spoke of, will combine five factors. First of all there will be a religion of deception, or a false religious movement which will control people’s belief systems. This will be combined with a politics of mind control, great political movers and shakers will come to the forefront and shape the thinking of the multitudes. It will also have troubling economic factors that we are seeing already in world. Another means of controlling the lives of people will be through their ability to buy and sell. There will be war - there has always been wars and rumors of war, but there will be worldwide war on a global scale that has never been seen before. This is control through destabilization of people’s everyday lives. There will also be geophysical events that will take place, earthquakes, pestilence, various natural disasters on a level that is unprecedented. Everything that folks have come to trust in will be ripped from them.
This perfect storm, and these five factors, will all have national and international effects. Jesus says there is a time coming, if it's not already here, when men will be so gripped by what is going on around them that their hearts will fail them for fear. We are living in very uncertain, precarious times. But this does not need to be a time of fear or a time of despair, because on the contrary,
for the Christian, this time of all times, is a time of hope, it is a time of excitement, it is a time for those who know their God, to do great exploits for Him. You see, this isn't only a time of God bringing people to a time of accountability, this is a time - I believe – which mandates His blessings… To put it another way: it is a time to shine God's light in even greater ways, under the menace of the darkening storm clouds around us.
If ever there was a time to be bold, and be strong in the strength of the Lord, it is now! If ever there was a time to know that God is for us, and nothing can stand against us, that time is now!
Time is important in all of our lives…. I heard a story about a man who worked at a factory. One of his main jobs was to blow the factory whistle at exactly 5:00 to let everyone know the workday had ended. He walked to work each day and passed a jewelry store where a prominent and beautiful grandfather clock was displayed in the window. Every morning, he stopped and set his pocket watch to match the time on the clock in the store window. One morning the storeowner was out front sweeping the sidewalk and the factory worker asked him how he managed to keep such accurate time on the grandfather clock. The jeweler said, “Oh, I set it every afternoon when the factory whistle blows at 5:00.” (What is your source for information, in these critical times)?
Have you ever asked, “Whatever happened to the Time”?
Well, when we were children, we ate, cried and wept, and time crept.
◦When we were teens, we dreamed and had foolish talk, and time walked.
◦When we became a full grown person, oh man, time got up and ran.
◦And later as we older grew, it was then that time really flew.
◦Soon we shall find while traveling on, that time will be completely gone.
So before we get to the final act, remember there is no going back….
We hear stuff all the time, like “If only I'd lived in some other place”. “If only people were friendlier to me”. “If only I had more money or a better job”. “If only I were younger”. “If only I were older”. “If only people really knew what I was capable of”. “If only”--and it goes on and on…..
A Bible study group was discussing the unforeseen possibility of their sudden death. The leader of the discussion said, ” We will all die some day, and none of us really know when, but if we did we would all do a better job of preparing ourselves for that inevitable event.” “Everybody nodded their heads in agreement with this comment.” Then the leader said to the group, “What would you do if you knew you only had 4 weeks of life remaining before your death?”
One gentleman said, ” I would go out into my community and minister the Gospel to those that have not yet accepted the Lord into their lives.”
“Very good!” ,said the group leader, and all the group members agreed, that would be a very good thing to do. A lady spoke up and said “I would dedicate all of my remaining time to serving God, my family, my church, and my fellow man with a greater conviction.”
“That”s wonderful!” the group leader commented, and all the group members agreed, that would be a very good thing to do. But one man in the back finally spoke up passionately and said, “I would go to my mother-in-laws house for the 4 weeks.” Everyone was puzzled by this answer, and the group leader ask, “Why your mother-in-law’s home?”
He said, “Because it would make it the longest 4 weeks of my life!”
What if instead of saying “If only”, we said “next time”. There's a world of difference between saying "if only" about disappointments, delays and things that didn’t turn out the way we expected…and instead declaring "next time." "If only" looks backward; "next time" is a look forward. "If only" is a word of defeat; "next time" is a word of hope. I believe we serve a God of the “Next time”….The next great outpouring, the next miracle, the next turn around, the next chance to get it right!
Joseph never saw himself going from a pit of betrayal to Prime Minister of Egypt…but God did. I guarantee you David never saw himself going from a shepherd boy to slaying Goliath and becoming King of Israel…but God did. I’m sure Billy Graham never dreamed that God would take an ordinary country boy from NC and use him to impact millions around the world with the gospel…but God did.
You may think you aren’t important, that God couldn’t have much of a plan for you, that you don’t really matter…but this morning I want you to know that your “next time” moment is about to shatter your “if only” blues, blahs and unfilled expectations….
Every time you see a rainbow, you’re looking at a physical sign from God and a covenant promise, that He gives us a “next time”…. And your next time will be a “never again will you go back there…time”. Never again will you be brought under the power of that habit, that intimidation, that self-destructive cycle. For 4500 plus years the rainbow has hung in the heavens but many have never really accepted that after the storm has passed, there is another day of covenant blessing that is promised. God wants to transform “If onlies” into a glorious “next time”…..
Psalm 46:2 “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea..v10 “Be still, and know that I am God…I will be exalted in the earth. v11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”. We can know that God is our refuge and our strength, and He shall continue to be our guide even unto death - we can be still and know that He is God!
When you build upon the rock Christ Jesus, that rock won’t shake when the whole world is trembling and collapsing!
We’re not crazy, we’re just convinced…..
One version of Psalm 46:2 says, “Even if the world blows up, and even if the mountains crumble into the sea; though the seas roar and fall, and the mountains shake, we will not fear!'. Amen?
Anyone watching the news, can see the storm clouds gathering, but the disciples of Jesus don't focus on the storm, they focus on the Son! The world is being held accountable, but while it is, there is blessing for the child of God!
Hebrews 12:28-29 says: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire”. We are the people of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
And let me also add… 1 John 2:17: 'And the world is passing away, along with its desires; but whoever does the will of God abides forever'.
Do you remember how Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount? He talked about the wise man and the foolish man. The wise man built his house on the rock, the foolish man built his house on the sand; and when the storm came it was the man who had built his building, his life, on the solid rock, whose house stood firm and endured the storm.
Though we are living, in a time of impending, unprecedented chaos, we are also living in a time of unprecedented blessing. And I believe that there is a revival coming, a time of outpouring, a time of latter rain that the world has not seen since Pentecost (and will even surpass Pentecost, on many levels,).
God is always using endings to create new beginnings. As people of faith, we don’t just come to the end of the road. Always and at all times, there is more, even when it seemed improbable or impossible. I cannot think of a message we need more than the message about starting over when you thought all hope was gone. If we can receive it, we must believe in a God who makes all things new.
Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things, neither consider (or compare this to) the things of old. v19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”.
That's what God is saying: that He wants to raise up a generation that have come through the fire, who will usher in the next new move of God...
God wants to raise up a generation that will operate at another level, who will be the instruments of the next new move of God, a radical remnant who will host what God is about to break forth and is already breaking forth in the earth. The Isaacs of the next generation…Men and women like Anna the prophetess, who are in the world but not of the world.
Acts 2:17-20: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will (not perhaps, or I might, but I will) pour out of My Spirit on all flesh... before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD' –
Those saying this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were in an environment which was dominated by the cruel, repressive, tyrannical rule of the Roman empire. And yet in those conditions, they saw and experienced an open heaven and a world shaking outpouring of God’s spirit and power!
We are told in Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing in the earth, but that He first reveals His mysteries unto His servants the prophets”. God is revealing His plan to those who are watching and listening…. Anna the prophetess, had been widowed early, and we are told that she was very old - but she didn't let her circumstances shut out the voice of God. Here was a radical senior citizen….who sought God for the next move of His spirit…..and lived for those “next time” moments!
But I want you to see that for Anna, fasting and hearing from God, was not some kind of crisis secret weapon – that she pulled out of her back pocket in desperation, when there was something wrong in the family, or in the finances, or in the business, or some emergency situation … Fasting was a way of life! This was one radical Senior Citizen!
Jesus lived a fasted life, and do you know what that meant? He was ready for anything! He was always ready for the new thing that God was going to do. I want to tell you today: if you're going to be one of the welcoming party for the new move of God, you don’t just have a season of fasting, it is a lifestyle for you, because you want to stay ready for God’s new move!
If you're seeking a supernatural acceleration in your usefulness for God, if you're wanting a new level of effectiveness in your prayer life, you will want to make fasting a part of your lifestyle.
If we want to see our marriages healed, if we want to see the divorce rates cut in the church, if we want to see our children converted and the prodigals come home, if we want to see our town and indeed our nation transformed by the grace of God, we need to take on fasting, not as some kind of little season that starts the year in a nice way and gets all the holiday fat off, but we need to see it as a thing that we use as a way of life to be ready for what God is about to do!
Fasting has to be more than a religious ritual of abstaining from food, because it's far more than that. It is a path of spiritual discipline that you have placed yourself under, as a sign that you yield yourself to the values and principals of an eternal kingdom. You can fast from many things, and fasting - is a demonstration of the sacrificial life of love and devotion to God, that brings freedom.
I’m talking about the joy of fasting! If you want to see a breakthrough in some kind of temptation, you fast. If you want to get deliverance, you fast. If you want to see a turn around in your own life, in your family, in your church, we're going to have to enter into fasting as a way of life - a lifestyle of kingdom living and kingdom thinking.
Don’t make it just about food. Do you know what God's chosen fast is? Here’s the joy of fasting! It's found - in Isaiah 58 God says: 'This is the kind of fast I am after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless into your life, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am''.
Anna the prophetess, was living in a way that was open to the Messiah. Her faith expected him, and her faith was rewarded - God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Through the Joy of Fasting….She was the first to welcome Jesus into the Temple, because she lived in the joyful expectation of Jesus, and she was in a position to recognize Him when He came - she had a wonderful, glorious revelation of Jesus Christ, God's New Thing, in the earth.
Your expectation will determine how blessed you're prepared to be... and what you're ready to offer up to the King of Kings, as you welcome the new move of God.
In these unprecedented end times, God is calling out another band of radical intercessors who are hearing the voice of God, and are devoted to welcoming the blessing, and preparing the bride to make herself ready to be available and be used in the outpouring that is coming.
I believe this is the explanation for the global prayer movement that has now taken strides right across the world. I believe this is the reason for Houses of Prayer springing up everywhere. I believe this is the reason for the 24/7 prayer movement across the globe. God is restoring His living Temple in preparation once again for the presentation of the Messiah.
In the bible, the Bride’s fast prepared the way for the bridegroom to show up… (it says she made herself ready).
Matthew 9:14 “Then the disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?'. And Jesus said to them, 'Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast''.
Now is that time! We should be fasting for the Bridegroom's return. The disciples had become so accustomed to His bodily presence, that they didn't want to fast when He was with them - but when He went, they would yearn for His presence again.
You see the Bride’s fast is a fast of love-sickness, fasting with lovesick hearts, yearning for Jesus, yearning for more of Him, it’s all about the heart, not the stomach. I want to tell you: we are in the age of the soon coming Bridegroom, and we await the cry:
“Behold the Bridegroom, come out to meet Him!”. This is meant to be an act of preparation for His return, to welcome Him and to welcome the blessing that will precede Him, such an outpouring of the Spirit that this world has never seen. I believe what we are seeing right now, is a radical remnant that will usher in a great harvest just before the Lord returns.
I want to ask you today: are you one of the welcomers of the next great move of God? There is the sound of abundance of rain, there is a cloud on the horizon, there are many prophetic signs of impending doom - but more than that, and greater than that, there are signs of a promised outpouring. To those who look for it, the rainbow is declaring that, God is getting ready to move in the earth, in this “next time” visitation. I ask you: are you personally positioned, church, and are we personally positioned individually, to welcome the next great move of God?
In World War II the American General, George Patton, addressed his troops before battle. He knew that many of his men would make the supreme sacrifice of life, and they would do it in exchange for the freedom of the nation. Before they went into battle, the General gave them this speech…..
“Men, one day when your grandbaby climbs into your lap, and looks up at you and asks, 'Grandad, what did you do in the great war?', you will not have to hang your head in shame and say, 'I was going about life as usual….'. No, you will be able to look him in the eye and say, 'Honey, I was right in the midst of the battle when the nations of the world were hanging in the balance''. That's what I want to say! Right in the midst of the global battle for souls, when the nations of the world are hanging in the balance!
If the Lord were to come quickly and suddenly, (which He will), would you be ready. God’s unconditional love does not mean unconditional approval. You know that the storm clouds are swiftly gathering, and maybe you know in your heart that you're not where you should be with God, and you're not ready to meet Him the way you are. You can have all the excuses in the world, but it is still about your choices. Don’t lean on some kind of false security, thinking you're all right before God, and you know God is not where He needs to be in your life. Is there anyone who knows in your heart need, that you need to get some things right with the Lord right now. You need to receive a fresh cleansing and a fresh start with the Lord. - You just need to use this time to make it right, or you need to forgive someone, or you need to get out of the revolving doors of the cycle you’re in, and you need to be free here today. This is your time for a fresh surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and the freedom you need to live this Christian life and be a part of the welcoming committee for the new move of God. Perhaps you need to make adjustments in your life priorities. Just ask Him now, to cleanse you and set you free, and to give you His full and free life right now. We choose His light and step away from the darkness.
Lord, I ask You now to look upon us, and those who are sincere with you from their hearts. Open a veritable portal over our heads now, that You would make this a gateway to heaven, that You would make this the very place of God’s glory. That You would do a work in us that we will be part of the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, the tabernacle of praise and worship unto You.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, “Peace be unto you”. v20 And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. v24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. v25 The other disciples therefore said unto Him, “We have seen the Lord”. But He said unto them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe”.
v26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be unto you”. v27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach hither your finger, and behold My hands; and reach forth your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing”. v28 And Thomas did so, and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. v29 Jesus said unto him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”.
We have all probably heard the phrase “seeing is believing.” It means that in order to fully accept something to be true, someone needs to see it with their own eyes. However, spiritually, it works the other way around. That is, spiritual principals would say, "I'll see it when I believe it."
Sam and his wife Gloria have had a terrible argument about money, and are going to the bank to open separate bank accounts. They have just entered the bank when two bank robbers, run into the bank. Each is wearing a handkerchief around their mouth and nose and each is holding a gun. One of them points his gun at the customers and shouts out,"Listen all of you, stop screaming or else!" There is instant silence. His colleague then runs over to a cashier and yells, "put all the money you have in the bag."
The cashier immediately complies and the robber starts to fill up his sack with the money. But as he's doing this, his handkerchief slips off. He says to the cashier, "I'm sorry to do this, but you must have seen my face." He then shoots him, and puts the handkerchief back over his face.
Then turning to the trembling customers, he says, "I hope no one else saw my face." After a few moments of silence, Gloria shouts out, "I think my husband might have caught a little glimpse of you."
So Sam and Gloria are the introduction to my message today is “We Walk By Faith, Not Just By Sight”?
Saint Augustine said "What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see, and see what you can believe”.
Robert Brault…." Perception is a clash of mind and eye, the eye will only believe what it sees is real, the mind perceives that what it believes, is real”.
Anais Nin...Don't see things as they are, see them as they should be.
I saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me that said "Expect Miracles." It was a reminder to me to keep myself open to expect the miraculous throughout my day, and to not miss the opportunity because of what I only saw with my eyes.
We all have a tendency to doubt before believing. When it comes to anything, we need to have proof. When we talk about proof, we generally mean genuine, physical evidence of what God is trying to get us to believe.
We often thank God for the visible signs of his grace upon our lives. But today, I want us to think a little differently. I want us to thank God for the invisible realities that bless our lives and give us eternal value and worth.
We’ve created microscopes to see microbes and even atoms. We’ve created telescopes so we can see the galaxies and stars so far away. We like to be able to see what is invisible to the naked eye. I was a child, when I received a microscope for Christmas. It fascinated me that I could see things through it that were invisible to my eyes.
We don’t have a scope to see invisible spiritual realities, at least not one we put up to our eyes. If we did, wouldn’t that be something? If I held it up to my eye right now, I wonder how many angels I could see?
But God has given us tools to be able to know these invisible realities are real. We put the eyes of faith up to these tools and we “see” and believe many things which the physical eye doesn’t see. As a matter of fact, the best things about Christianity are invisible and the most valuable things we believe are invisible. I can’t see heaven, but I value it.
I can’t see Jesus, but I believe in him and put my life in his hands. I can’t see the event in history that made my salvation possible. I can’t see angels but I know they are real. When I’ve watched people die, I couldn’t see them leave their bodies, but that’s what I believe happened at death. I believe that I am more than a body. I have an eternal spirit and soul. I can’t see it, but all of these invisible things, I believe and I value. I value them with my very life.
In fact if you were to ask me which I value more, I value the invisible realities more than the visible realities. I believe that everything I can see with my eyes is temporary, but there are permanent and eternal things that I cannot see with my natural eyes.
2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. v17 For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. v18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”.
Just as the microscope, the telescope, and the oscilloscope show us invisible physical things, the Bible is the best scope given to man, to understand and observe invisible, spiritual realities.
The African impala can jump to a height of over 15 feet and cover a distance of 30 to 40 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures won’t jump over a 3-foot wall at the zoo. Because they will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land on the other side. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and we are freed from the limitations that can only be seen in the natural realm and yet miss the substantial realities of faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 simply and beautifully says “For we walk by faith, and not by sight” If You talk to God, you're a religious person, but if God talks to you, people think you're a psychotic.
Those who have learned to see the invisible, have also learned to see opportunities where others only see trouble and problems!
Praise God, we are blessed to have some spiritual heavyweights around here! I recognize, celebrate and affirm you today. Without our prayer warriors, faithfully praying for God’s work to be done, this place would be shut down long ago. The enemy would destroy us. You keep sending up the aerial warfare from where you are so the rest of us can stay on the front lines. Our ministry here will go only as far as our prayers, will take us. I thank God we have a force of those who do warfare in the invisible realms. Don’t sell yourself short because you don’t wear a certain job title, or have a certain ministry job description. You are what holds this thing up and keeps it going and going and going!
There have been many times when the Holy Spirit has parted the veil as He did in the temple, and people have seen what is normally unseen.
2 Kings 6:15 “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.v16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.
“Those who are with us are more than those who are against us.” v17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”.
Thank God for those thin places when the dimension of the spiritual can be seen and only a thin, transparent veil is between the two.
When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was frozen over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard-- singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went! The wagon driver’s confidence was based on his experience with the river. Since the traveler had no experience with the river, he also had no confidence.
You can train the eyes of your faith. This comes by training your belief system and your spirit to see and know the father’s leading. The scripture tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of God. There is a connection between our knowledge of scripture and our faith.
The more we know about God, the easier it is for us to physically experience that belief. The more we know about the Bible, the easier it is to see the manifestation of our belief. The more we think like God, the easier it is to fix our eyes and our values on what is unseen.
We need to train our brain to think in the language of God’s word, then our lives would see more and more of God’s intended outcome in our world.
Three elements are involved in making a faith decision or in making any significant decision for that matter. And they are the same things that confronted young doubting Thomas….
It is the intellect, emotions, and the will. Faith that involves only the intellect is a contradiction and is a dead faith…..
James 2:14 “What does it profit, though a man say he has faith, and has not works? v17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being alone. v18 A man may say, you have faith, and I have works, but show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”.
The Problem for James was that there were too many people in the church whose lives didn’t match their profession. They raised their hand, walked an aisle, prayed at the altar, and professed to believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, but nothing had changed in their lives. They still had worldly priorities and still lead self-serving lives. They claimed to have an experience with Christ, but they never touched others with His power.
If they weren't seen walking into church no one would have a clue that they were professing Christians.
Sometimes God will ask us to do something that goes against our pre-conditioning, our embedded culture, or our deeply engrained traditions or personal preferences.
On the day of his big job interview a guy woke up late. Frantically he threw on a suit. “OH NO!” he thought. “MY TIE! His Dad was out of town and he had always helped him tie his tie, since he had never bothered to learn how! He grabbed a tie and ran out the door. “Excuse me sir,” he said to the crossing guard, “I have an important job interview, can you please help me with this tie, I have never tied one?!” “Sure” said the guard, “just lie down on this bench.” Well if someone was going to help get his tie on, he wasn’t going to ask any questions. After he finished and the tie looked good, he he said, thanks for the help, but why did I have to lie down. “Well he said, “I was director of a funeral home and that’s the only way I tie them”.
God doesn’t always do things the way we think, just like the crossing guard
If you ask many folks, "Do you believe in God?" they say, “Sure.” If you ask, "Do you believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?” the answer is, “Yes.” You can even ask, “Was He crucified and resurrected for our sins?" and they would say "Yes, I'm inclined to believe that happened."… they might go even further and claim, "I firmly believe all that the Bible says."
Some people are professional, professors, but if it never goes beyond the head, they are not possessors of faith! Professing doesn’t always mean possessing!
I can say I believe in having money in the bank, and I can even write a check out… but if there is no money in the bank, the check is worthless!
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
There are others, who get real emotional….they cry in church, they get real stirred, when they hear stories of great sacrifice and heroism. They may be very moved by the singing, testimonies, prayers, and preaching…. But none of it has been translated into real, effective, tangible Christian living where the rubber meets the road.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For you certainly give thanks well, but no one is edified (built up, established, transformed).
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God, you do well, the devils also believe, and tremble. (Notice that demons believe intellectually, they believe emotionally, >they tremble<, but it makes no change in their character or nature, or who they are!)
There has certainly been enough proof all around us that without faith, no man can please God. Grace does not mean that we can do whatever we wish and still experience God’s blessing and favor, and things will change in spite of ourselves. We can know a truth and never possess the truth.
A Christian sat down at a restaurant counter, next to another Christian. The man said “See that man on TV, standing on the ledge of that 10 story building?” The other Christian says “Yes I do” The guy says “He’s going to jump you know” The other man says, “No, he’s not. Just agree in prayer with me” The other guy says “Okay, but let’s bet, just to make it interesting. Here’s twenty” O.K, answered the other man “You’re on. I’ll put mine down on the belief that Jesus will save him.” He puts down his money, and says “Now let’s pray” They pray, and the guy on TV jumps from the ledge. “Well, a bet’s a bet. Here.” And he shoves his money over to the other guy. “Forget about it, I can’t take your money. I’ve got to tell you; I saw this on the news last night” The other Christian responds, “Yeah, I saw it too, but I was hoping we could save him this time”
We can have faith, but it can be misguided faith, which contradicts what God desires and has already declared was His plan. We can pray that we won’t have persecution, or that the world will get better, or that everyone will be saved, or that the hospitals will empty out …..but that’s not going to happen, because we all have a free will, and the world will grow more and more wicked, and persecution will come if you’re serving the Lord and when jesus healed the lepers, there were many that were not healed .
But regardless, let’s do all things possible to reach those who can be reached…We must reach all that we can, and believe for revival, YES! We believe for folks to get healed and miracles to happen, have faith, but not misguided faith…. Faith that refuses to get involved, or roll up it’s sleeves and get dirty is not faith.
We must have Faith that involves not two, but three things, the intellect, emotions, and will, that is a genuine transforming faith which is personal and pro-active. It has action and application that is motivated by love.
For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are instantly attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, "Now there is someone I'd like to marry." At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding.
But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage.
But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, "Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?"
The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. The same thing is involved in any action of faith…
Sometimes faith involves delayed gratification… We usually refer to anything that delays our personal gratification… as suffering and sacrifice. If we can’t have it immediately, then we think we are on the Via Della Rosa…(The road of suffering)
The mother of a small child was concerned about her daughter’s selfish behavior and gave her something of a lecture, stressing that we are put in this world to care about others and to help others. Her daughter seemed very impressed by what her mom had told her, and sat silently, thinking and scratching her head.
At last she looked up and said, Mommy, thank you for helping me to get it right, I’m one of those “others” that are supposed to get some help!!
If we have not learned self-discipline, we will always think that all the others exist just for us. If we have never learned compassion, we’ll get all we want, and fail to consider what we can do for the next person. Genuine faith involves self-discipline, compassion, patience and delayed gratification.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently (dzay-teh'-o ..having an intensity, and self-discipline within yourself to) seek Him.
It’s dangerous to look into a percolator to see how much coffee it contains while it is still percolating! The better percolators have a tiny glass tube along the side which serves as a gauge. When you see coffee in the sight tube, you know coffee is perking in the pot. If there is no coffee in the tube, you can be confident there is none in the pot.
The bible tells us that we should be able to make full proof of our ministry.. there should be something in the sight glass, that shows we’re percolating!!!
Well, diligent faith is our sight glass that lets us know that something is perking in the spiritual realm and it’s about to be made flesh!
What difference has your profession of faith made in your life today?
If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence from this week to convict you?
Are you right now, so totally in love with Jesus that you can delay that which pleases your flesh, for what pleases Him?
Are you serving Christ faithfully? Or are you a leaky coffee pot?
Do you spend time meditating on God's Word and in prayer daily?"
The point here, would not be that by doing those things one achieves salvation. But the point would be that if your profession of faith has made no difference in your lifestyle, perhaps the reason is that it has never gone beyond the intellect or the emotions to the heart and will.
Someone has said “A faith that cannot be tested, is a faith that cannot be trusted.” We should be able to weigh our faith by our actions….When we move in the God kind of faith, the results should be the gift of wisdom….
A lady walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so the lady hands over the keys to a brand new Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checks out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.
One of the employees drives the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the lady returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow $5,000?" The lady replied, "Where else in New York can I park my car for two weeks for 15 bucks?" (now that’s wisdom!)
Faith always believes that God is up to something far more than the eye can see or the mind can comprehend! No matter how it looks, ”All things will work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes”….
Know that you know that you know, God is on your side!
When sickness comes – Believe Jesus!
When death comes – Believe Jesus!
When the bottom falls out of life – Believe Jesus!
When the answers to your prayers are delayed – Believe Jesus!
When you are ridiculed for your faith – Believe Jesus!
When you are looking at a hopeless situation – Believe Jesus!
When I place my problem beside the Lord, it suddenly grows very small. No matter how great it looks in my eyes, it is nothing compared to Him, He can handle it! A God who can create a universe from nothing can do anything, He can handle it! A God Who can part a sea, rain down manna from heaven, heal a sick body, raise a dead man, and save a lost soul can do anything… He can handle it !
It may be that you have a problem that you cannot handle. It is bigger than you are and out of control. He can handle it! He can cut it down to size! Bring it to Jesus and trust Him to do it for His glory! He can handle it!
We might be in a tough situation, but we can rejoice in Jesus! Why? We are able to see the victory that is ours through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what our eyes are seeing! We know He can handle it!!!
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. v58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, He would have you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”.
Satan’s attacks will come against you, in three different areas… Your Praise, Your Proclamation and Your Prosperity…
He is already defeated! We have fellowship with God, forgiveness, peace, new life, new hope, adoption as God’s children, a new nature, sanctification, deliverance from the curse, holiness, deliverance from demons, healing, health, prosperity, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, indwelling by the Holy Spirit, the favor of God and His power and authority. What we can see is only the tip of the iceberg… and what we have is out of this world!
1Corinthians 2:9 As it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. v10 But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Last week, while sitting in the service, the words “Possess the Gates”…. Came up in my spirit… I felt that it was a word sent from heaven, and I should pay attention….
Gates are a place of entering into something… a city, a country, an opportunity, or many other things… If you take control of the gates, then you have access to all that is beyond the gates….
Every wall, has gates. When you encounter a wall, you must find the gate. We can get so busy banging into walls of limitations, delays, and hindrances, that you aren’t looking for the gates, so you can get beyond the thing that keeps you out, so you can enter in.
This is true of relationships, of opportunities, and goals and visions.
So when the Holy Spirit said “Possess The Gates”…. He was saying, begin to lay hold of that which will give you access to what is beyond the walls, obstacles and limitations which you encounter.
Someone shared that they discovered while reading the classified adds, that the historic Piedmont Hotel in Atlanta was getting an extensive renovation, and its beautiful maple doors became available for sale as salvage items.
The individual bought several of the doors, and had them installed in their 19th-century home. They were entertaining friends and as they showed them around the house, they pointed out, that they had gotten the beautiful maple doors from the historic Piedmont Hotel."
One guest raised both eyebrows and exclaimed. "Most people just take the towels and leave it at that."
But today I want to challenge you to take the doors and forget the towels especially the crying towels which we use for our pity parties!
Genesis 22:17 “In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gates of your enemies”.
In modern supermarkets there are detection devices at the doors. Since you can only leave the store through the doorway, any stolen item is easily detected. Those running these stores realize that they need to take charge of the gate. And the thief is caught when he tries to steal from the store.
If we possess the gates, then the enemy can’t slip past and steal, kill, and destroy, because we have taken charge of the gates of the enemy.
The Psalmist David, wrote in Psalms 24:7 “lift up your heads oh you gates and be lifted up you everlasting doors and the king of glory shall come in.”.
We have been given authority to take charge of the gates of our lives. We can determine what comes in and what goes out.
2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep all that I have committed unto him”. The thief comes only to kill steal and destroy, but Christ has come that we might have life and life more abundantly.
Our gates must be opened from the inside out, not the outside in….
When we receive Christ, The Holy Spirit on the inside of us, convicts us, woes us, and inspires us to open up to our redeemer, who desires to take us from the declaration of His truth, to the application and implementation of His truth as it comes in to shape and mold our lives….
So many folks want to enter the “Lion” level, of (authority, power and dominion) without going through the “lamb” level, of (humility, submission, and sacrifice)….
There are many forces that want to keep you from taking charge of the gates of your dreams, your calling and your destiny. If you don’t know who you are in Christ, and if you don’t know what the word of God tells you that you can have, then you will continue to be locked out of the blessing, and those forces will continue to exercise authority over you, and keep you out. You will be standing on the outside looking in, when Jesus has invited you to enter in.
It was David, who gave us the clean heart principle to God’s power….. It is a clean heart that will be chosen by God to entrust His treasures, His authority and dominion.
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”.
Surely this is a prayer we should all include every day, and then allow the Holy Spirit to respond by revealing any wrong motives, faulty thinking, erroneous conclusions, stinking attitudes, self-justification, prideful behavior, secret sins, and dependencies which would push the Lord from being at the center of our lives.
Joseph was a peacock that God wanted to use in a great way, but first he had to deal with His pride.
Samson was a man that God wanted to use to deliver His people, but first He had to deal with Samson’s wrong motives and attitude.
God had great plans for Peter, but God had to deal with His faulty thinking and anger issues.
God had huge plans for David, but He had to continue to deal with his self-justification, and self-gratification issues.
Just like them, we need to pray as well, “Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me”!
And what about that “Right Spirit” qualification….? To be forgiving, to walk in repentance, to be inclusive and not exclusive, to love our enemies because God loves them, to have a generous spirit, to continually seek to be molded into the image and example of Christ…..
When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the promise God made to all of Abraham’s descendants to all who are the seed of Abraham by faith –
God said in Genesis 22:17 “In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your decendents as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore and your offspring shall possess the gate of the enemy”.
It was in Jesus’ death and resurrection, that God fulfilled this promise to Abraham. Jesus went before us so that we could possess the gates of our enemies. To possess the gate means to have authority and to exercise dominion, to supersede the forces that are committed to keeping you out. It means to displace the authority, power and effectiveness of the counsel, agenda and plots of Satan against you. We who are in Christ have the right to declare that we are the offspring of Abraham who have been given the right to possess the gates!
Jesus described this to his disciples, before his death. He said Mathew 16:18 “I will build my church (the body of Christ) and the gates of hell (the forces the enemy may use against us) shall not prevail against it’.
Just as the walls around Jerusalem have many gates (12 in all), to enter the city, so likewise our lives have many gates. (12 is the number that represents God’s government in the earth).
There were 12 tribes with 12 heads, also there were 12 apostles that Jesus chose to set up his Church in the earth, and set up and teach about God’s kingdom.
God told Moses to tell the people in Deuteronomy 6:5 “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. v6 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. v7 And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. v8 And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be a constant reminder between your eyes. v9 And you shall write it on the posts of your house, and on your gates”. (That’s about being God inside minded)
Jewish men can be seen, with a small container on their forehead,known as a phy·lac·ter·y. In Hebrew it is called the shel-rosh, which contains the Jewish biblical laws which guard the gateway of the mind.
It is important to see our mind as a gateway. It is the bridge between your spirit and your body. Your gateway can either give you access to what is contained in your spirit or it can limit you so that you live only in the things of the flesh. When your mind is filled with memories of past experiences, wrong thought patterns, the traditions of men, and all forms of compromise and self-centered thinking, you shut down the expression of the spirit. In other words, failure to possess the gates of the mind, can hinder the expression of the glory God wants to bring into your life. Am I capturing my thoughts and checking them against the things that God is saying to me or am I allowing my thoughts to capture me?
Our ears, allow what we hear – and what we choose to listen to – to be embedded in our memories, and influence how we think and what we do. So, it is the unpossessed gate, the unguarded gate, the broken gate, the open gate that we must be careful to watch.
We know that Rom.10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing the word of God” That means fear and doubt can come the same way, So we must be the watchman at our gate of hearing. Don’t allow just anything to come into your being through the ear gate that is allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged.
We often allow ourselves to unknowingly become the victim of what is known as…“passive learning.” It is, about a subconscious level of learning that takes place, by simply being exposed to the things of life all around us…Certain types of music can and doesdesensitize us,like background music… with the message being embedded in our subconscious.
We should guard our eargate from exposure to gossip.
Men should be watchful concerning the kinds of off-colored humor that pervades the masculine banter and good old boy circles. You do not actively participate or seek it out, but you hear it all the same. You can receive prayer requests without having to know all the gory details.
What am I listening to? Whose voice am I allowing to influence me? The old song says “Shut de door, keep out de devil, shut de door, keep de devil in the night….light de candle it will be all right”.
We’re admonished and(advised) by Paul to not participate in certain kinds of activities. We can expect sinners to act like sinners, but there should be a distinction with those who call themselves Christian.
Paul/says,in Ephesians 5:4 “there must be no filthiness and vulger talk, or course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather wholesome conversation.” Guard your ears. Ask God to cleanse you from that exposure and do not allow such things to cause you to compromise a righteous lifechoice.
We must possess the mouth – gate. The things which come out of our mouth, can defile our spirit and the Lord cautions us about this.
In Matthew12, speaking to the Pharisees Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things, but I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned”. (with your mouth you shall be justified and with your mouth you shall be condemned)
That is quite a statement, and gives us good reason to guard the gates of our mouth…..James says it this way: “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessings and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be.” What about guarding what enters the mouth-gate? We could quickly think in terms of illegal drugs or alcohol – or – how about this….we have all struggled with weight gain at some level! That’s a lifetime of battles…and that’s about the mouth gate….
God has promised to supply all our needs, not all our greeds! So – this mouth gate must be possessed, if we are to move into the victory that is ours for the taking. Our goal here today, is to possess the gates.
We also should look at heart-issues as gates….What do I store up and guard in my heart as treasure? What do I store up and guard that is not treasure, but is actually working against me to defeat me and rob me of power with God? How have I established my life priorities?
Do I lead my heart or does my heart lead me?
The Jewish men also wear a container, known as a phy·lac·ter·y on their wrist, that is similar to what is worn on the head….in the Hebrew this one is called a shel yad. It is to remind them that their behavior is a reflection of their level of submission to God. What am spending my time doing that is counter productive? What do I neglect? How do I fill up my day? Do I actually possess my own gates when it comes to my actions and my behavior? Someone has said, I can’t hear what you say because of what you do!
Possessing the Gates, is my inheritance as the seed of Abraham. It’s my God given “right.” It’s my privilege and that authority has already been given unto me. But It’s also MY responsibility… no one can do it for me….I simply need to surrender and obey…
A helicopter carrying passengers suddenly lost it’s engine power and the aircraft begins to decend. The pilot safely performs an emergency landing in the water, and tells the passengers to remain seated and to secure the doors, stating that in emergency situations, the aircraft is designed to stay afloat for 30 minutes, giving rescuers time to get to them.
He had no sooner finished speaking, than a man gets out if his seat and runs over to the door. The pilots screams at him, "Didn't you hear what I said, the aircraft is designed to stay afloat as long as the doors remain closed?! “Of course I heard you", the man replied, "but it's also designed to fly, and look how that’s working out!!"
What is built and designed by man will let you down, but God will not fail to keep His promise, if we submit and obey!
The bible states that it is a major blessing when His people possess the gates of their enemies.. Isaiah 45:1-3 Thus says the LORD to His anointed, whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him, I will loose the favor of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates, (going out and coming in) and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut asunder the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who calls you by name, is the God of Israel.
From this biblical passage we know that the right hand is the place of favor…it is where God gives you the advantage over others, where you will be put in a place of promotion, advancement and blessing above others who may be around you who are more talented or skilled. Opportunities and possibilities will come to you because of favor.
We also see that it is a place where the favor of others will be given to you. This is the law of attraction. People will be drawn to you, like the butler and baker, who brought Joseph before Pharaoh. There is no way that a common prisoner would hope to get an audience with the most powerful man in Egypt! But Joseph possessed the gates of His own life in his worse times, and favor was able to come into his life and bless him in the worst of circumstances !
We also see that a two-leaved gate….will open. This is the gate of covenant, it is where you enter into a covenant place that God must honor what he has promised unto you. Where God fulfills his word which He has spoken over and about your life. There is nothing that can keep covenant from finding you and coming upon you….
Next God says He will go before us…Hallelujah. That is about safety and protection, and knowing that God has already accomplished it before we ever get there! The crooked places will be made straight… God will simplify the complicated, and He will make the impossible, possible!
Notice also that He will break the gates of brass, which means that you will walk under an open heaven. Things that blocked, hindered, and confined you will be removed. The bars of iron, or the restrictions, limits, and barriers will be removed.
Next, see that you will be given -access to wealth and hidden riches, that you were never expecting or looking for. The Lord will direct provision and financial blessing through the gates as we take possession of them. And it will come from places and directions which you never thought. All of these things, God says in Isaiah 45, will be gained by possessing the gates.
Let’s look also at (Judges 16:2-3) “And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they encompassed him, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, in the morning when it is day we shall kill him. And Samson laid down till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts still attached, and went away with them, bars and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of a hill that is before Hebron.
That’s what Jesus did….He ripped the gates off with the posts still attached, the very gates that would keep us from entering in to healing, deliverance, redemption, freedom and access to all that God has promised to us!
And He invites us in to enjoy the victory. Not only are the gates to your promises not locked, they have been taken off their hinges so we could have total access. That’s what God was saying when He ripped open the veil of the temple, from top to bottom…
It wasn’t just to let us in, it was to let the glory of God, out to where we live every day, into all our stuff, our homes, our jobs and out into our entire city!
Here’s what I want us to see on this subject…. And I think an important key is in Proverbs 25:28 “He that has no rule over his own spirit (who has failed to possess the gates) is like a city that is broken down, and without walls (and no defence)”.
Any and everything just comes in and has it’s way with this person. They are like someone on a merry-go-round…. Lots of motion, but no progress… movement but no advancement.
They are subject to all the forces at work around them….
But we need to look at another scripture….Proverbs 16:32 “He that rules his own spirit is greater and mightier than he that conquerors a city”.
*…..When Jesus was baptized of John, immediately He was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. This was at the gateway of His public ministry. He was possessing the gates of His destiny, a destiny which would see many healed, delivered, raised from the dead and set free!
Jesus used five keys in Possessing the gates to His ministry.
First He humbled Himself, and by doing so, he defeated pride, by giving all the glory to God.
Second, He fasted and prayed, denying His own flesh so that the appetites of the flesh would be ruled by His spirit.
Third, He declared and applied the word of God, not his feelings, or how it looked or seemed. He said It is written!
Fourth, He persevered. It didn’t happen in a day or a week, but He stood firm and resolute, until breakthrough came.
Fifth, Jesus commanded the Devil…. He said “Away with you, Satan”… and Satan left as angels came and ministered unto Jesus.
You are not alone as you take your rightful place at the gates. All of heaven stands with you.
Just take care of Possessing your gates, and God will take you where you never dreamed you could go, to do what you never dreamed you could do, with folks you never dreamed you would be with!
As we prepare our hearts, let us renew our commitment, to enter in to the gates of blessing, of favor, of healing, deliverance and freedom!
We remember His grace, we remember His love when we were so unlovely, We remember His faithfulness, We remember His sacrifice, that He left the glory of heaven, to live, bleed and die, and raise up from the dead, so that we might be joined back to the Father, and have an eternal hope!
We say It's impossible, God says All things are possible...We say I can't, God says I already have...We say I'm not able, God says I am....We say I can't forgive, God says I aleady have, just receive it...We say I can't survive like this, God says I have overcome the world so that you can overcome also....We say Things will never get better, God says the best is yet to come!
Take possession of the gates which will allow you to go in and claim the opportunity, the dream, the goal which has been blocked and limited. In the places where there have only been walls, keeping us out, we will possess the gates that will allow us in….I believe God is saying. “I am giving you the gates”…..
Mt. 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
- biazo – to crowd oneself into; to be seized; press; suffer violence
A. Israel had to fight to POSSESS
1. Israel was blessed - God's covenant people and given His promises2. Israel left Egypt – No longer imprisoned slaves – OR WERE THEY?
- Often heard that they were taken out of Egypt, but Egypt had to be taken out of them!
- They thought like slaves, felt like slaves (hopeless, helpless, in despair, needy), wanted to go back over and over, behaved like slaves.
In Ex. 13:17-18 God said that, 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
3. They looked like an army, but had to become one – had to get ready to fight.
a. They went through the desert to learn to fight.
b. Desert experience helped them learn many lessons but they were never meant to stay there.
c.IF THEY LEARNED THE LESSONS, THEY WOULD GET ALL HE HAD PROMISED – MOVE FROM SLAVES TO HOLY WARRIORS FIGHTING WITH GOD!
d. The Desert lasted longer than it needed to because they refused to learn to trust their God and so would not go after His promises
B. Joshua had to fight to POSSESS
1. After Moses died, Joshua is left to LEAD in taking the Promise.
Josh1:6-9 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
a. v. 6 Be strong/courageous – you have a place in My Promise, an inheritance
b. v. 7 Be strong/courageous – obey me completely
c. v. 8 Speak THE WORD all the time, meditate on the Word all the time, so you will do the Word
d. v. 9 Be strong/courageous- Don't be terrified (discouraged) - WHY? I am with you wherever you go!
C. We have to fight to POSSESS
1.He wants to take usthrough the desert trials, but He is preparingusforthe Promised Land(which will involve a few wars).
- You won't get what God has for you without a war.
- God will fight with you & for you, but He requires that you learn to fight and to trust Him.
Mt. 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
Reminder: biazo – to crowd oneself into; to be seized; press; suffer violence
Paul uses similar words in Eph. 6:10 as God does in Joshua 1. A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
2. This Scripture tells us thatwe can CHOOSE our THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, CHOICES, BEHAVIORS, SPEECH!
a. Like Joshua choose strength and courage. How?
5 Quick components:
1) Renew your mind – Rom 12:1,2 word “renew’ = renovate
Eph. 5:26,… 26to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the Word
2)Remember your weapon -
2 Cor. 10:3-5 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
- What destroys wrong thought which leads to wrong emotions, behaviors?
Eph. 6 The WORD is the only weapon mentioned.
How do I use the Word as a weapon?
- study the Word
- find Scriptures specifically in your area of struggle – Be sure to read the surrounding verses to see if there are specific commands to receive the promise (if, when, because, since...)
- memorize the Word or put Scriptures all around you
- meditate on the Word DAY AND NIGHT
- SPEAK THE WORD, not just your problem – Josh. 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth (depart = cease, to be removed)
When you are in battle, you have got to be adamant and persistent continually with the Word.
- HEAR the Word - read out loud, use Bible on tape – Faith is built through hearing the Word; even have friends remind you of the Word
Rom. 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Psychologically, there is a process of imprinting new thinking and behavior into your brain. God knew this!
Mt. 11:12 the violent,..take it by force
You have to be BIAZO – violent – you have to seize a new mind, seize different emotions,
You have to crowd yourself into,… the WORD because the demonic/ world system/ you old self wants to keep you crammed in the kingdom of darkness/ kingdom of slavery.
3) Regard the Word as your only course of action (the 1st action is always trusting God) Obedience opens doors; more important to God than any sacrifice.
Areas of disobedience open room for the Accuser (Satan’s name) to accuse you and wreak havoc in your life.
Know Who He is – His miracles and wonders from the past –
- Praise is a great way to do this – fill your life with it – leave it on in your home -
- Get adamant in praise – for instance Heb. Word “clap’ closely related to word for impale, arrest, smite
- Know your God – a wrong view of God will add to your struggle
(PRECISELY WHERE SATAN ATTACKED EVE MAKING HER ? GOD’S NATURE)
- God is faithful, holy, prefers lovingkindness/mercy to judgment even though He will judge.
- After you know your God; know who He says you are (doesn’t work as well in reverse)
Remind yourself and the enemy OUT LOUD!!!
5) Require a specific Word from God for your battle.
The other 4 methods are always sure and true, but you must learn to hear God for His specific instructions for your current battle. Joshua sought the Lord for each battle except one in which they lost miserably. David sought the Lord continually for each battle – was more successful than any king.
Stand and fight!
God in the Old Testament was called the Lord of Hosts – the Lord of Angel Armies.
He can and will fight, but we must cooperate and fight with Him or we may leave Egypt but Egypt won’t leave us.
We must learn not to be slaves, we must learn to fight with God, utilizing His Word to see His purposes advance in our lives and in the lives of those around us.