We have come once again to the place of memorializing those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the great exchange for freedom and the concept of liberty.
We have come to the place of remembering, as we commemorate those who gave the greatest gift of all, that we might live in a land, renown for its absence of tyranny and despotism. I think it would be well for us to begin today with the pledge to the flag of the United states of America.... (shall we stand as we give our pledge)
Pledge to the flag....
Around the country, National patriotism is openly demonstrated in towns and cities with parades and memorial services, as the US flag is proudly waved and displayed.
The custom of placing flowers on the graves of those who perished in war, began on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, NY, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. A day to decorate with “flowers the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country….
Because America’s sons and daughters have died for this country, we have the right to preach God’s word freely. We have the right to live at peace in our own homes. We have the right to pursue peace, prosperity and happiness.
And in the midst of the picnics, travel, festivities and memorial observances, may we all use this time as well, to appreciate the price of freedom from the judgment and penalty of our iniquities and transgressions, as we lift high the symbol of Spiritual liberty, the cross of Jesus Christ.
We celebrate Memorial Day once a year, as a time to remember those who died for freedom, but for the Christian, every Sunday is a memorial day. As we sing the songs of praise and worship, as we follow the dictates of our hearts in open assembly and prayer, and as we boldly declare and testify to the Word of God, we are standing on the foundation laid by martyrs blood, throughout recorded history.
How grateful we can be that we are privileged to live in America. We could have been born in Africa, Bosnia, China or Pakistan. If it were not for the grace of God, we could have found ourselves on the streets this morning, wondering where our next meal is coming from, surrounded by squalor and deplorable conditions, fearing for our lives every moment….
A father was talking with his rather rebellious son one day & said, "Every person who lives in the United States is a privileged person." The boy answered, "I disagree." And the father replied, "And that’s a privilege you enjoy by living in America."….
Today, around the globe there are unmarked graves which, in silent tribute, declare the hard fought legacy, which we all now enjoy. All You & I had to do to enjoy the benifits of being citizens of this country, is just be born here. But I am thankful for those who did earn those benifits & passed them on to us, though we never knew them, we celebrate. their great gift of liberty....
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.v25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. v38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. v39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: v40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
During the 1800’s, Alexis de Touqeville, a famous French political philosopher, visited our nation seeking to uncover the secret of our greatness. He traveled from town to town, asking questions, examining every facet of our society, & then wrote his conclusions in his famous work, “Democracy in America.” Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, & Clinton have quoted it. And the message is certainly relevant today.
He wrote...."I sought for America’s greatness. I found it not in her fields & forests. I found it not in her mines & factories. I found it not in her Congress & great tribunals. It was only when I entered her churches & heard her pulpits thundering against sin & preaching righteousness that I discovered her greatness. America is great because of its goodness. If America ever loses its goodness, America will lose its greatness."
“In God we Trust” is the motto which graces our currency. And this country needs to understand, that if we put our trust in education, we’ll only get what education can give us. If we put our trust in money, we’ll only get what money can give us. If we put our trust in government, we’ll only get what government can give us. But if we put our trust in God, we’ll have everything we truly need, now and for eternity! If we put our trust in anything else, we will be sadly disappointed!
I came across the following military rules for Combat….
If it's stupid, but works, it's not stupid.
When in doubt, empty the magazine.
Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you.
Always remember that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
f your attack is going well, it's an ambush.
The enemy diversion you're ignoring is actually the main attack.
The easy way is always filled with land mines.
When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.
If the enemy is in range, so are you.
The only terrain that is truly controlled is the terrain upon which you're standing.
Cluster bombing from B-52s and C-130s is very, very accurate. They always hit the ground.
If you are short of everything except enemy, you're probably in combat.
Let me call our attention this morning to three temptations that I think Americans need to be aware that they are facing every day
First is, THE TEMPTATION TO ENJOY THE FRUITS OF CITIZENSHIP WITHOUT HONORING THE SOURCE OF IT'S LIBERTY
Have you ever parked on someone else’s meter? When I was a kid, I remember my mom would drive around, until she found a parking meter with time left on it. She would waste a gallon of gas, to save a dime. And then get real excited that she didn’t have to feed the meter. She enjoyed parking on someone else’s dime.
Most of us haven’t shed our blood & sweat & tears for the freedoms we enjoy every day. That dime was paid by someone else. We are parking on someone else’s dime. We're coasting on their sacrifice....
The poet expressed it well. "We eat from orchards we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We reap from fields we did not sow. We are warmed by fires we did not kindle. We are sheltered by roofs we did not build. We are blessed by the harvest of moneys we did not give."
The danger is, that we can take for granted the price others have paid as we enjoy the fruits of their labors. We are standing on the shoulders of others, who we don't even know.
I must ask myself, “Is the church stronger because of my involvement, or am I parking at someone else’s meter. Is my family and home better and stronger because of the efforts I have put into it, or am I parking at someone else’s meter. Are the lives of my friends and neighbors enriched because of the time and energy I have poured into their lives, or is it, “ Gimme, Gimme, my name is Jimmy”?
While every dollar bill in our pocket has the words, "In God We Trust." For every purchase that we make, for every transaction, we pass these words on to another person. But, do we really live by them? Every exchange that we make, every step that we take, every commitment, requires trust. God wants us to trust, even when we are afraid. God wants us to trust, in spite of those negative experiences or "negative" voices of others around us.
The more we invest ourselves in others and commit ourselves to a greater cause, the greater will be the possibilities. The more we try, the greater the reward. The more hope we instill in the lives of others, the more we usher in the Kingdom of God. When you make your commitments, don’t think to yourself, "Here is my fair share." Rather, make your commitment with these words in your heart, "For this day, and this time, in God I Trust."
Psalm 20:6 "Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed. He will hear him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. v7 Some trust in horses, some in chariots, but we will remember our God”.
The Second Temptation, is TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BENEFITS OF THE INTIGRETY OF OTHERS, WHILE IGNORING OUR OWN CONSCIENCE
When our forefathers came to this country & founded our system of government, they were convinced that the God of the Judeo, Christian belief system, was very much involved in the destinies of men & nations. They believed that men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights - and that among these were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This was evident in the way they wrote, the way they lived, and the way our nation developed and increased. There was a moral fiber, a moral strength and a moral accountability in our nation. Integrity was our watch word.
Capitalism and free enterprise without conscience becomes a cruel & ruthless form of life where competition, success, greed and materialism corrupt everything and we lose our concern and compassion for others. It becomes, every man for himself, and truth becomes relative and it's all about the bottom line of profit.
While talking to a potential recruit, the military recruiter said, "Exactly what kind of job are you looking for in the military?" The high school kid said, "I'm looking for something with an enlistment bonus of about $20,000, where I won't have to work too hard, and won't have to deploy overseas. The recruiter said, "OK, what if I could hook you up with a skill that allowed you to come straight in as an E-7, where you'll only work weekdays, and you can have the base of your choice and stay there as long as you want?"
The young recruit sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?" The recruiter replied, "Yeah, but you’re the one that started it."
A man sent a letter to Ann Landers. He wrote, "This is for the woman who was distressed about her son. I would like to ask her some questions about the boy. Is he disrespectful? Has he been arrested for drunk driving? Has he been kicked out of college for cheating? Has he made his girl friend pregnant? Does he get failing grades? Does he steal money from your purse? If you can answer `No’ to all these questions, stop complaining. You have a great kid." It was signed, "Ralph N.,
I don’t always agree with Ann Landers, but I do appreciate how she answered him. She replied….."Your letter showed just how much times have changed. You said that if a kid today isn’t on drugs, doesn’t get failing grades, hasn’t been arrested or drunk driving, or kicked out of college for cheating, hasn’t made his girlfriend pregnant, or stolen from your purse, that he’s great. But you make no mention of achievement. There’s not a word about integrity, a sense of responsibility, decency, morality or service to others." Then she went on to add, "What a sad commentary on our times. Good Lord, where is our nation headed, & who is going to lead us to greatness?"
1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient (sumphero… advantageous, for the best outcome, of spiritual profit) all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. v19 Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? v20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Jesus saw the possibilities that lay within people. He saw in Zacchaeus much more than a dishonest tax collector. He saw in Peter much more than just an outspoken fisherman. He saw potential in the woman at the well who would bring many in her city to Christ. He saw in Paul, much more than a religious zealot and knew that his passion would touch the world.
But Christ knew very well of the tug of war raging within us, between the forces of good and the forces of evil. That Our adversary, the devil has plans to defeat the work of Christ, and destroy all that is good and Holy. And only by continual relying upon and trusting in Him, would we find our destiny....And then He shows us that we have a huge advantage
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto you, That upon this rock (Jesus) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. v19 And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The third TEMPTATION IS TO WANT A BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT COMMITMENT OR ACCOUNTABILITY... That means we're for sale to the person that makes us feel good, or makes us feel important or who always agrees with us....
Someone has said, in order to have a great breakfast, the chicken only has to be involved, but the pig makes a lifetime commitment!
We want someone to Tell us how nice we are, how pretty we are, how righteous we are and how wonderful we are. This is a brand of Christianity, that lets us remain exactly the way we are, and not the best that we can be! Today, I’m talking about a commitment & surrender to God that results in a changed heart and life.
A church treasurer was counting the offering after the service. And in the offering bag, was a teen-aged girl's picture... Was this practical joke? That's the kind of thing teenagers might do. But when he turned the picture over.
On the back of her picture, the girl had written, "I have nothing to give but myself." Whether we have little to give or much to give, the gift God wants us to give is ourselves!
Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. v36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
The faith which Jesus talked about, was always a faith in action. Perhaps the action of one person, will not seem to make a big difference, but together we can cause a radical transformation.
There is an ancient Chinese parable about Tan Chang. He had a small farm that was located in the shadow of a towering mountain, and seldom got the light of the sun. One day he decided to get rid of the mountain. With the help of his wife and sons, he began to hack at the rock around its base. A neighbor walked by and scoffed, "You''ll never make a difference in that mountain, old man! There are not enough days in all the years of your life for you to do this."
But Tan replied confidently, "I am not as foolish as you think, my friend. I may be old and feeble, and my days may be numbered, but after I am gone, my sons will continue to carve away at this mountain. Then their sons and their sons'' sons will do the same. Since the mountain cannot grow, someday it will be level with the ground, and the sun will shine upon our land." That’s the power of generational blessings!
In our own lives, many of the problems cannotbe eliminated instantly
But they can be moved one piece at a time, one day at a time, one choice and one decision at a time.
Jesus told the first church of Jerusalem….Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Everyone deserves to know....In our celebration of liberty & freedom, we each must commit ourselves to making sure that the price which Jesus paid when He went to the cross & laid down His life, is not in vain. We must personally fight for the right of every person to know and experience that freedom, in Christ. So let’s salute the flag. Let’s allow our patriotic juices to flow freely, & get goose pimples up & down our spine. But remember this, we don’t deserve freedom that costs nothing, and to which we are unwilling to make any commitment whatsoever!
When the books are opened….
1. God won't care what kind of car you drove; He'll care about how many
people you helped with your car.
2. God won't care what the price or size of your house, He'll care how
many people you welcomed into your home.
3. God won't care about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll
care about how many you helped to clothe.
4. God won't care what your annual salary was; He'll care if you
compromised your faith to obtain it, performed your job to the
best of your ability and gave Him His portion.
5. God won't care how many friends you had; He'll care how many
people you were a friend to by introducing them to the greatest friend. 6. God won't care what neighborhood you lived in, He'll care how
you treated your neighbors.
7. God won't care about the color of your skin, He'll care about
the content of your character.
8. God won't care how sinful you were, He’ll care if you accepted His sacrifice for your sins.
Someone has written...."If I had my life to live over again…"I’d spend more time counting my blessings rather than my blemishes…spend more time playing with my children and grandchildren and less time watching performers in a virtual arena. More time enjoying what I have, less time thinking about the things I don’t have. If I could live my life again, I’d walk in the rain more without an umbrella and listen less to weather reports that tell me to stay inside. I’d spend more time enjoying the flowers and trees and the beauty of the outdoors, less time flipping through magazines made from dead trees. I’d spend more time fully involved in the present moment, less time worrying and anticipating. I’d smile more, frown less. And most of all I’d be more spontaneous and active, less hesitant and subdued. When some spontaneous idea, came up to go hiking, playing Frisbee, coloring Easter eggs, singing in a chorus, going kayaking, or watching an eclipse, I’d be less likely to sit in my chair objecting, that "I don’t feel like it." I’d be inclined to jump up and run out the door, and say, "Yes, I can!" Although I can’t live my life over, I’m still going to live this new way every day anyway. I’ll never have all the moments I’ve missed, but I do have all the time remaining, and it’s all just ahead, waiting for me to arrive."
On Memorial Day we celebrate those who gave their life in the fight for justice and freedom, as well as being thankful to those who are even now placing themselves in Harm’s way. God often accomplishes his purposes through us, his human instruments. And we bring hope as we work, as we care, as we give of ourselves. Today, I want to close our service a little differently…
We can make a difference as we continue to act out our faith and remember to honor those who've made a difference in our lives.....
Prayer.....Lord God, You are the Author of Liberty and the Champion of the oppressed. On this special day of tribute, we acknowledge our dependence upon You for the preservation of human freedoms.
We are deeply grateful for the sacrifice of so many and those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Today I pray for the God of heaven to bless the families of those who have lost loved ones while they were serving our great nation. I pray Lord, that you would bless and comfort the walking wounded who are still with us, and bless their families as well.
Be the constant guiding force with our troops, as they seek to defend the defenseless and to free the oppressed. Help our inlisted men to conduct themselves with honor, with faith, with wisdom and with courage, and may they know Your divine protection. Watch over and keep those exposed to the horror of war, and the spiritual dangers as well. By Your grace, O God, fortify them and make them aware of Your presence and let them be obedient to Your will. Protect, preserve and keep their families in Your loving care, for they also serve as they pray, encourage and support their soldier dads and fathers.
Father God, let peace prevail among all the nations. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with deep gratitude your past goodness upon our country. Move us all together to know, to take hold and to treasure your saving grace. In the name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives peace and hope for eternity. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever and forever. Amen!
This was the central focus of the earthly ministry of Jesus, so it must be the wisest thing we can do. None of us would be here today, redeemed, walking in God's grace, and ready for heaven, if Jesus and his disciples did not feel that soul winning was the most important thing we could do in life. All of the apostles were willing to lay down their lives, rather than back off from this important task.
On T uesday night, I dreamed over and over a continual dream in which the Lord presented to me the need to win Souls to Him….(have you ever had a dream that you couldn't get out of?) I believe it was prophetic and a mandate as well. I believe God was giving our ministry here a mandate. I had been praying about what we need to do to grow Eagle’s Rest, and what method, what style, what approach would change the direction of this ministry. Over and again throughout the night, I heard the Lord repeat the words Souls, Souls, as I witnessed various scenes where lives were making a commitment to Christ.
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise”.
According to the biography of the Life of Francis of Assisi, Francis once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to town to preach. Honored to be given the invitation, the monk eagerly accepted this opportunity with his mentor. All day long he and Francis walked through the streets, byways, and alleys, and even into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people, they interacted with them, listened to their concerns, and lifted prayers in their behalf. At the day's end, the two headed back home. Not even once had Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young disciple said, "I thought we were going into town to preach." Francis responded, "My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking, while we were communicating with the people, while we listened and while we prayed. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!
James 1:22 “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only”.
You don’t judge the health of an army by how many soldiers sit in the mess hall and eat every week and listen to lectures. You judge the health of an army by how many are on frontlines doing battle and advancing the cause.
Every soul matters to God....good, bad, rich, poor, every color, every nationality, likable, unlikable, friends, enemies, family, neighbor, co-worker and everything in between..... Soul Winning begins with Caring…showing genuine concern for someone, and living it out before them. Soul Winning is Daring to just do it…. it takes courage to witness--courage if the person is a stranger to you, and even more if the person is a close friend or relative. Soul Winning is Sharing….If you want to make a lasting impression, share your own story. Let them share their story and be genuinely interested. get personally involved in their burden, be genuinely glad of their successes. Soul Winning is Praying together….. Let's never discount the effectiveness of prayer in the preparation of people's hearts to open up to receive Christ. God promised..."If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, I will hear from heaven".....
Speaking of soul winning.....I came across this little story about evangelism...Two old Jewish men are strolling down the street one day when they happen to walk by a church. They see a big sign posted that says, "Join and be baptised and receive $50." One of the Jewish men stops walking and stares at the sign. His friend turns to him and says, "Murray, what's going on?" Murray, replies "Abe, I'm in a tough place financially and I'm thinking of doing it." Abe says, "What are you, crazy? Give up your Jewish faith for a price?" Murray thinks for a minute and says, "Hey, fifty bucks is fifty bucks! I'm going to do it." With that, Murray marches into the church like a man on a mission. Twenty minutes later he comes out. "So," asks Abe, a bit disgusted, "did you get your fifty dollars?" Murray looks up at him and says, "Is that all you Jews can ever think about?" Well now, you can have a change your religion, and still not be born again!!!
I am so impressed with the heart of DL Moody to winn souls to Christ.... He conducted Evangelistic crusades across the country and in Europe…. Millions of people received Christ in these meetings. But every night, after the crusades, when Moody had rested, he would go out into the streets of whatever city he was in, and look for someone to personally lead to Christ. He would not lie down and sleep until he led at least one person to Christ.
So while Proverbs tells us that winning souls is wisdom.... Proverbs can also be telling us that winning souls requires wisdom...."He that wins souls is wise"...
Beavis and Butthead are probably not your best candidates to build a soul winning team with....
In order to be an effective witness for Christ, we need 1) Knowledge 2) Perspecive or Wisdom) 3) Conviction 4) Character 5) Skill
Let's Start with KNOWLEDGE....Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” You don’t really know something until you are able to apply it. Jesus had a problem with the Pharasees and Sadusees of His day because they knew a lot of things but they did not apply it to their own lives. He accused them of knowing the scriptures but denying the power of God, because they didn't apply it personally. The word "know" in the bible is 'Yada".... or applied knowledge...or personal knowledge of something. I can know about someone, without really knowing them. We can know about the importance of soul winning without having the applied knowledge of personally bringing others to Christ. Jesus puts a priority on bringing other to Him.
The second thing we need to be an effective witness is The right Perspective which is (Wisdom). As followers of Christ, we are to see all of life from God’s viewpoint. This is called "The wisdom that is above".... I love this paraphrase of Isaiah 55:8 in The Message Bible.... God says, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” Psalm 103:7 says that the Lord “made known his ways (His perspective) unto Moses, and His acts unto the children of Israel”..... His perspective will effect what we do and how we do it! In knowledge, the goal is to know the Word of God; but in perspective, the goal is to have the view point of God as much as possible. We no longer see people by their position, their wealth, their relationship to us, or their outward appearance, but we view them as believers or non-believers. God's perspective is an eternal perspective, since all people are eternal, and will spend eternity somewhere....That becomes our constant motivation....
Personal Conviction is the third thing we need to be an effective witness... With knowledge of the Word, comes perspective on why God does what he does, and as a result, we start developing personal convictions about it. What is God’s perspective on temptation? What is God’s perspective on evil? What is God’s perspective on our past, our present, and our future? What is God’s perspective on sin? What is God’s perspective on Satan? Once we start getting God's perspective, we begin developing personal convictions about it.
Conviction is not opinion. Opinion is something you argue about but conviction is something you are willing to sacrifice and even die for. Those who have had the greatest impact on our world for good or evil were not the smartest, they did not have the most knowledge, They were not the wealthiest, and they weren't the most talented, but they were those men and women, who have had the deepest convictions.
Romans 8:39 “[Nothing] . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus”. That’s conviction. It’s not an opinion; it’s a conviction.
Romans 8:28–29 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ”That’s a conviction, not an opinion.
Acts 20:35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. That’s a conviction.
2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”. That’s a conviction. May God give us more men and women of conviction.
With conviction we begin to touch the heart of God. We don’t want to just see what God sees but also to feel what God feels — about the world, about the lost, about his Word, about his church. We need to learn knowledge. Then we need to add to that God’s perspective. But then we need to add personal convictions that come as a result of that perspective.
The fourth ingredient which we need in order to be an effective soul winner is Character. The sum total of all the habits we develop is what we call our “character.” We cannot say that we are of honest character unless we are habitually honest. We cannot say we have the character of kindness unless we are habitually kind. Character is the sum total of all our habits.
If I were to say to my Winnie, “Honey, I’ll be faithful to you Forty--nine months out of the year,” she knows, and I know, that partial faithfulness is unfaithfulness. It is only faithfulness if it is my habit to always be faithful to her.
Those nine qualities from Galatians 5 — love, joy, peace, kindness, long suffering, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, are about having a God perspective that reflects in our character...
The last ingredient which we need in order to be an effective soul winner is Skill and this becomes a product of those habits we develop. Skill comes through doing something over and over and over.
It never gets any easier, but you can always get better.... Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success”. This is one of my “life verses.” If you are chopping wood, it helps to have a sharp ax. If you have a dull ax, it takes more energy to cut the wood. But if you have a sharp ax, it doesn’t take as much energy and you have more success in accomplishing your objective.
Without applying God's perspective, we have big heads that know a lot about a lot of stuff, but we have little hands and little hearts and little feet when it comes to doing anything about it.....
What we say we believe is only what we say we believe. But the truth is that we only really believe the parts of the Bible that we are willing to do. You may say “I believe in tithing.” But if you don't do it, Then you don’t really believe in it. You can say “I believe we should honor God as a family.” But if you don't lead your family in it, Then you don’t really believe it. You may say, “I believe in witnessing.” But if you don't do it, Then you don’t really believe in it. We only believe what we actually do. Developing these things, is not a quick process, but we can achieve it, if we are consistant and don't judge our progress by the moment we're in, but by the goals we have set for ourselves. Wisdom is about keeping your outcome in mind while you choose your input that makes it happen as you develop your skills....
We are taking notes and filling notebooks and thinking that because we are writing things down, we are really getting it. But we’re not. A wide gap exists between knowing and doing in American Christianity.
Never stop dreaming....Everything that happens in life begins with a dream. Somebody has to imagine it first. This is a gift that God gave to each of us: the ability to dream and envision and imagine something before it comes into reality. That's the big difference in day dreaming and vision dreaming. Every building we see was first imagined by an architect before it was built. Every piece of art was imagined before it was painted. Every song was imagined before it was written. Every athletic award, every gold medal, the athlete imagined before it ever happened. Every church that’s been started, somebody — either a group of people or a single church planter — imagined that church first. Rarely does anything happen until someone has a dream.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision dreaming, the people cast off restraints.” The word “vision” relates to dreaming. It means a kind of revelation, a vision from God. And where there is not this God-directed vision dreaming, the people “cast off restraint” — literally, their lives are “out of control.”
It's no wonder some Christians never influence anyone to follow the Lord. To talk to them, you would think life is a sexually transmitted disease!
So often, our problem with the dreams we have for our future, is not all the distractions.... but the problem is that we keep settling for lesser things than we could have had....What is it that you would attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail? What we don’t see with our physical eyes is often far more important than what we do see. Knowledge and Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination, dreams and vision, can take you everywhere and anywhere!
A Christian woman, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, told of a young national who was employed as her houseboy. After three months he asked the Christian to give him a letter of reference to a sheik some miles away. The Christian, not wishing the houseboy to leave after he had been a great help and had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The young man replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. But, he had decided he would become either a Christian or a Muslem. So, he had come to work for the Christian for three months, so he could see how Christians acted. Now he wanted to work for three months for the sheik to observe the ways of the Muslems. After working for both, he said that he would decide which way of life he would follow. The Christian immidiately recalled the manner in which her family had lived in the presence of the houseboy and could only exclaim, "If I had only realized"...
It’s not enough just to guard our minds from all the garbage around us. It’s not enough to keep on learning and developing character. We must also let God develop our life skills. Because we must out-think and out-dream and outsmart the world for the glory of God — not for our private good but for the glory of God and the good of others.
Paul says in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly all above all that we ask or think according to the power that is now working in us,”— more than we can imagine. More than we can dream. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. God says, “Think of the biggest thing you can think of, and I can top that. I can outdo that.”
When we set goals, we are saying, God, I believe you want me to accomplish this and with your help in Your time it can be done. I want to challenge you. I am daring you. I am begging you: dream souls, think souls, and if you believe the dream, then win souls to Christ! You don't have to ask if it's His will, or pray for Him to make opportunity, there are opportunities all around us every day!!!
Start somewhere, set something in motion, and it may not happen all at once but it will happen.....God is in this with you, all the way!!!
Let's look to the Lord in prayer.....Lord, I pray Your blessing on every man and woman under the sound of my voice. Bless their families. Bless our church to be a soul winning church. Bless the Knowledge, the Perspectives, the Convictions, the Character, and the Skills of each one here. Protect them from the Evil One. And as the battle for sin is fought in their minds, may they not merely resist but refocus. May they fill their minds with the washing of the water of the Word. May they be transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they may know your will — which is good and pleasing and perfect. In Jesus’s name I pray.
In our modern society, it is our mothers, who best demonstrate the power of humility in it's impact on our culture.... Let's take a moment and define this word Humility....Humility gives us a healthy perspective of ourselves compared to others and allows us to see the dignity and worth of all people.
Jesus put it this way...."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"....(Not as they do unto you).....
Humility is the best cure for Self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is one of the hardest sins to avoid because it is so much easier to see other peoples faults than to see our own faults. Instead of looking for faults in others, we should look for the good in others and try to correct the faults within ourselves.
Jesus' gave the visually powerful parable of a person with a board in his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another person's eye, to remind us that we probably have bigger faults within ourselves than the faults we would criticize in others:
Ezra Benson says..."Pride is concerned with who is right....Humility is concerned with what is right."
Matthew 18:2-4 "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble themselves as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven"
Today I’d like to address this virtue which is found all through the bible, but it is one that has fallen outof favor in a time of selfies, bottom line profitability, and a feel good society of instant gratification.
We live in an era that believes that humility will never get you anywhere in this pushy, self important, “it's all about me” culture that we live in.
Matthew 20:28 “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus tells us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first….He says, take the back seat and let them call you forward instead of taking the front seat and have them ask you to move back….
A few years ago, Google asked the question "What ever happened to humility? They released a searchable database of 5.2 million books published since 1500. Researchers soon discovered that, between 1960 and 2008, self centered words increasingly overshadowed social and communal ones. The usage of the words “kindness” and “helpfulness” dropped by 56%, and the words “modesty” and “humility” dropped by 52%. Our language reflects our lives. Phrases like "community" and "common good" lost popularity as "self help" and “I come first” became popular. We have moved from We thinking to Me thinking.
Saint Augustine…..“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes angels out of men.” —
Speaking of definitions, I have come across some definitations from a Mother's Dictionary
A DUMBWAITER: someone who asks if the kids would like dessert.
FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.
FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.
FULL NAME: What you call your children when you're mad at them.
INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.
OW: The first word spoken by children with brothers or sisters.
WHODUNIT, describes none of the people that live in your house...
(Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. )
Time magazine featured the "Me generation" on their cover... and I learned about some remarkable research at the University of Michigan. It turns out that ever since 1980, our compassion levels have been gradually dropping, but in 2000, they suddenly plummeted 40 percent. Can you believe that....40% in one year! (I'm sure it wasn't because Florida state beat Virginia State at the Sugar Bowl)... Moving on.... a Gallup report recently released, reported that the US dropped from 12th position to number 23 on the global well-being and health index. It’s a strange paradox, it reveals that at the same time, when we as a nation are becoming more self-centered than ever, we are less happy and healthy in spite of it.
Humility is seen as a sign of weakness in today’s culture, when, in reality, it is the gateway for an unparalleled and profound strength.
Jesus Christ washed the feet of his disciples, and then adds, "So do as I have done. I have given you an example."
At another point, he explicitly states, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Jesus defeated the devil through the power of humility and You can always defeat the devil with humility, as long as you don't get proud for doing it……
Mother Teresa called humility the "mother of all virtues" and reminded us, "We can do no great things. Only small things with great love."She said: “If you are humble nothing will touch you, not praise and not disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”
This famous example of humility kept a list of attitudes which all those who worked in her charities, were to cultivate.
Speak as little as possible about yourself.
Keep busy with your own affairs and stay out of the affairs of others.
Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
Accept those things that irritate you with good humor.
Do not dwell on the faults and weaknesses of others.
Accept correction, even if it is unmerited.
Give in to the will of others and avoid contention.
Accept insults and injuries because they are distractions.
Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
Be courteous and forgiving even when provoked by someone.
Do not seek to be admired and loved.
Do not protect yourself behind your own insensitivity.
Give in, and avoid arguing, even when you are right.
Be the first to choose the more difficult and unpopular tasks.
In the absence of humility, we forget the shoulders that we stand upon, and foolishly begin to take credit for what we have done and what we are doing.
A dog was traveling in a car, and when the dog wagged its tail to the right, the car turned to the right. And when he wagged it to the left, the car turned to the left. The dog actually began to believe it was controlling the car with its tail. Yet, that is how arrogance deceives us. We feel that we are the tail that is wagging the world….
But Humility says, “May I be a guardian for those who need protection, A guide for those on the path, A boat, a raft, or a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood. May I be a lamp in the darkness, A resting place for the weary, A healing medicine for all who are sick, A vessel for others to drink from, a tree which offers it’s shade in a barren place, May I bring sustenance and inspiration, may I endure in good works when I feel I can’t go on, Until others are set free from sorrow, doubts and fears, and all are awakened to the good which lies in each one.
C.S. Lewis once said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Humility spends more time understanding… and less time needing to be understood.Humility finds joy in helping others grow and succeed.Humility always begins in the heart and as a result, exerts great control over attitudes, outlooks, and actions.
Philippians 2:7 “Jesus emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men.”
The Christian life as Jesus taught it, is a constant balance between confidence and humility…. Humility offers its owner complete freedom from the need to impress others, to always be right, or to get ahead. Frustrations and losses have less impact on a soul that is humble and a humble person sees opportunity everywhere to grow, improve, and not be encumbered by society‘s labels. A humble life results in contentment, patience, forgiveness, and compassion.
In God’s economy…. Humility is the most powerful force in the universe! Humility comes before honor....We can have no real honor unless true humility comes first… Proverbs 15:33.“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”
On this Mother’s day, I’m going to borrow from the words of Jinnie Cristerna who works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. She is also the mother of 4 kids….she says….
1) “Love is nothing like I thought it was. The man I was going to marry would bring me flowers everyday and kiss me before he went to work and when he came home. That’s when I was eight. When you become a mother, you realize that love is much more complicated than that, there all types of love: crazy love, angry love, passionate love, polite love, distant love, tough love, unconditional love, compassionate love, friendly love, and “you’re getting on my nerves” love. In the end, you understand that love isn’t neat and doesn’t fit into a tidy box. When you see your child for the first time (each one of them), you fall in love in a way that transcends words. In that instant, you understand that love doesn’t always stay where you put it .
2) She says “I am stronger than I ever knew. While you may have been a tough cookie before motherhood, afterwards, you realize that soft is the new hard. Humility becomes your neighbor and you succumb to the reality that even if you don’t like it, you’re going to experience it an awful lot so you’d better be on speaking terms. As you surrender to your own humility, you can face your fears, your shame, your regrets and your guilt like the champion God meant for you to be. The phrase, “I’m sorry” is as important for you to hear as it is for you to say; but only if it’s genuine.
3)She goes on to say, “ I’ve learned that I can go from SHE-RO to ZERO IN A HEARTBEAT. When we are little, we pretend to be Princesses and superheroes like Wonder Woman, but who would’ve thought that we would be real life superheroes? Newsflash: every kid thinks her mom is awesome at some point. When this happens, most moms are totally amazed and humbled. Our kids want to be like us and recite our words of infinite wisdom as if it were the gospel of Christ because they trust everything we do and say. When we realize this, we become very intentional about what we say, what we do and what we teach them.
4) Last, Jinnie says, “I matter. It is because you realize how important you are in the total fabric of things. Everything you do, say, feel, and think is important. Often, we don’t realize it until long after the seed has been planted. You understand the importance and value of teaching your child to say “please,” “thank you,” and to share with and be able to compliment others. You gladly sacrifice the things you want so your child doesn’t know the pain of struggle – sometimes to a fault. You realize that you impact the world in a way that will leave an imprint for generations to come.
Thank you Jinnie for some great advice from a mother’s perspective……
Here's some things that moms in the bible might have said to their famous children .....
"Samson! Get your hand out of that lion's mouth. You don't know where that thing has been"!
"David! I told you not to play in the house with that sling! Go practice your harp. We pay good money for those lessons"!
"Abraham! Stop wandering around the countryside and get home when I call you for supper"!
"Noah! I told you already, you can't keep them! Now, don't bring home any more of those strays!"
"James and John! No more burping contests at the dinner table, please. People are going to call you the sons of thunder"!
"Judas! Have you been in my purse again?! "
Well, the truth is, when mothers thrive, we all thrive, because they bring to us a dimension and quality which makes us all better people. Their blend of patience, creativity, complicated love, and confident humility, lifts us up where we belong.
Physicists estimate that the visible portion of the universeis made up of only 1% physical material. The remaining 99% of the universal mass is invisible, and the precise nature of this vast expanse is still unknown. The only real evidence of what physicists call “dark matter” is its powerful gravitational effect – a force so strong that without it, the edge of the universe would begin to unravel.
There is another unseen and little understood phenomenon: the complex weight of motherhood, with its constantly swirling mixture of love, nurturing, vigilance, anxiety, and real and imagined concerns. From the moment a mother feels her deep attachment to each of her children, this amazing blend of love and responsibility settles into the center of her being with an overwhelming gravity. And even though this inner aspect of motherhood is routinely obscured by our culture, all of society would unravel without its steady pull.
Mothers see things differently....A daughter began to cry because she had lost her contact lens, and asked her mom to help her find it…. the mom immediately began searching and in just moments found the lens. Her daughter said, “I have been searching for ½ hour, how could you find it so quickly?” The mom told her she found it so quickly because they weren’t looking for the same thing…the daughter was looking for a contact lens, the Mom was looking for $200.00!!!.. That's a mother's perspective!!!
My adopted dad, was an atheist and tried to control his family with fear….. but it was my adopted mom, who touched us the deepest by her faith and trust in God….It is her voice that still speaks to me today, in matters of choice and guidance.
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. v22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains the favor of the LORD”.
(And all the men say “Amen”…..)
Moms, must choose their Words Carefully in case you have to eat them later. Whether it feels like it or not, the words we speak go deep into our children . What we tell them now is the inner voice they will hear years and years after they leave our homes. It is the inner voice they will hear when they begin to manage their own home and begin their own family.
It’s also true that actions say more than your words do.Your words will tell others what you think, your actions will tell them what you believe. More is caught than taught. You know that. Mom, you are the very first example of what womanhood and motherhood looks like to your children. My mom could have told me some things 100 times, but what I remember is what she did. She didn’t have to tell me, because I saw it in her actions. And your kids, no matter how old they are, know what you believe by how you act. They see what you are passionate about and what you tend to ignore. If you are brave enough, ask them what things are most important to their mama and see what they say. It could be a good conversation to reveal how they perceive your actions.
Great parenting doesn’t happen by accident it happens on purpose. It’s a fabulous mix of intentionality and God’s grace to make up all the difference. Left to our own devices it’s easy to become me centered… and to see only from our own perspective is a distraction from the teacher, guide and counselor roll that you have been given. So keep your sense of humor and don’t take everything so seriously, they’re watching and listening…..
Choose to speak life into your children. Of all the things my mama’s voice still say in my head, the loudest voice is about serving and honoring God in all I do. It has served me well. As you are going about your day, choose to speak life over your children. Tell them who they are in your family. When mom found out I could sing, she found every opportunity she could to help me develop. When I struggled with my adoption, she let me know that she chose me but she had to take whatever came out, with her own two children. Tell them who they are in Christ. encourage their strengths, carefully guide them in their weaknesses, but let your words give life to them. That life, and those words, will serve them for years to come.
The greatest gift your child could ever receive is a mama who is faithfully committed to praying for them. As a teen, I always knew that Mom was in prayer when I came in late. I would try to sneak in the door, but she would say, “Charles I was praying for you”. Or when I was in some situation which could have been compromising, I knew that mom was praying for me to do the right thing…I am convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that our Father in heaven will never refuse any mother when she humbly intercedes for her children. I believe God’s words…. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened…” are especially given to mothers.
I am certain that we will find out in eternity that a significant percentage of the population in heaven will have gotten there, in a major part, because of their mothers. Mothers have infinite value, that God has blessed them with and every mother should be confident in this. Every mom should go through life saying, “I am a mother; I am valued by God! I have no fears or worries because God is with me, and he loves me in an astonishing way.”
Mothers, who have a heart for God, who have invested themselves in their children, and who have lived their lives as an example to all of us, will hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord forever.”
How about a big hand right now, for the ladies who bless our lives in so many ways and bring so much love, joy and beauty into all of our lives.....our mothers!
I want every Mom to stand please (and every mom to be) We want to present a token of your special day to you, and pray a special prayer of blessing over and upon you today…..
PRAYER…Heavenly Father, You have entrusted moms with the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb. You have given to women the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for unselfish love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble.
Release in them the gifts, to impart wisdom faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them. We speak blessing upon "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless faithfully care for the children of others. We ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood.
Send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to surround and sustain all mothers who are burdened for children that are in trouble or danger of any kind. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire, enlarge, refresh and strengthen these as mothers who are God’s Idea, and there is something supernatural in what You designed them to be. Let the example of their faith, love and amazing courage and resilience shine forth as an example to all. As they depend upon You, Lord, may their hopes and dreams be fulfilled!
Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect, honor, and appreciation. May they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence, here and in the life to come. We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns, world without end…..AMEN.
As one minister said... "Before I say something, I want to say something.... Before I announce what I want to share with you today, let me give a definition of the action verb which activates the mystery subject I will be using today….
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this word as: “The increase in force gained by using a lever.” Further, a lever is defined by the same dictionary as: “A strong bar that is used to lift and move something heavy which could not normally be lifted or moved.”
The best and simplest example would be a very familiar playground fixture: the seesaw. The end of a seesaw is where seats are positioned and it functions by the principle of our missing ingredient. Most children aren’t strong enough to lift other kids high above the ground but with the seesaw, they are able to do exactly that. The seesaw increases the limited strength and weight of children, allowing them to lift other kids high off the ground.
For us adults, a more relevant example would be a hydraulic jack or lift. Can you imagine a single person lifting a truck weighing thousands of pounds, high enough off the ground to change a flat tire without a hydraulic jack? With our missing ingredient, the jack is able to magnify the limited strength of the driver or whoever it is trying to change the tires, allowing him (or her) to lift the truck and replace the tires with a minimum of effort.
That’s what our missing ingredient is for: to increase force and enable its user to do more than they may normally do, in spite of their own limited strength.
I have been moving this past week and the mystery ingredient that we have been describing is essential, and I discovered that it's very important to find the center of gravity for furniture if you're going to lift it. (I'm not sure there is any easy way to lift furniture, except by having someone else do it!
The term I have defined for you from mister Webster, and illustrated with a seesaw and a hydrolic jack, is about Leveraging.
Leveraging is the ability to utilize resources, influences, systems and power that is beyond your own, to increase your value, effectiveness, visibility and outcome.
Today my topic is “Leveraging Your Faith”…..
LEVERAGING IS VERY MUCH, GOD’S BUSINESS…. HE IS VERY INTO LEVERAGING..
Zechariah 4:6 "Then he said unto me, This is the word of the LORD.... It is not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the LORD of hosts".
God is, among many other things, the God of leveraging. He is able to significantly magnify our limited resources or their effects to the point where what is impossible becomes possible. The supernatural becomes the normal, and miracles become the way we live. The Bible is filled with so many such stories including the following to name a few.
Abraham –was called by God, the father of the faith. He experienced the amazing leveraging of whatever was left of his body that was counted as good as dead as well as that of his wife Sarah’s when it came to bearing a child at such an old age. And yet this was the impossible beginnings from which the nation of Israel was birthed and brought into being. Moses – inspite of the fictional version played by Charlton Heston in the movie Exodus, God leveraged Moses’ very poor communications skills – because he was a stutterer – and used him to do mighty works to liberate the Israelites from slavery. Then, there’s David – You know the story right? It would be like Alan going up against Payton Manning in a contest where Alan comes out victorious. God leveraged David’s slingshot and a rock from the brook, to cut Goliath down to size, minus his head!!!
It seems that Leveraging is God's full time business.....The bible is filled with EXAMPLES OF HOW GOD LEVERAGES THE LIMITED RESOURCES OF HIS PEOPLE, FOR HIS GLORY
God can multiply our resources, or magnify the benefits of our limited resources or both!
When Jesus fed more than 5,000 people with a boys lunch (Matthew 14:13-21) and when God through the prophet Elijah supernaturally increased the amount of olive oil and flour of the widows who took him in (1 Kings 17:8-16) these were great examples of God supernaturally leveraging the limited resources to meet peoples’ needs…and then some!
When God empowered Samson to defeat the Philistines (Judges 14) When God sustained the prophet Elijah to run a super-duper-marathon for 40 DAYS AND NIGHTS with a single maximized value meal (1 Kings 19:7-8) and when God the Father leveraged his righteousness to many, sinners (you and I included) through Jesus’ obedience (Romans 5:19),
He didn’t only create the resources but magnified and expanded exponentially, their effect or benefits to insanely huge proportions that would’ve otherwise been impossible without Him!
When Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, He didn’t just increase the volume of wine, He also increased the satisfaction that came with it (John 2:7-10). Talk about Happy Hour!
A teacher asked her young students to give her an example of metaphors and personifications. No one raised their hand for a while, so Little Susie raised her hand, and when called upon, she said, "I know what a metaphor is, but not a personification." The teacher, trying to give the class an example, said, "What's the word to describe what I'm saying when I point to that old willow tree and say 'He's saluting us with his branches.' Or what if I asked the sun to send us some sunshine? Or if I said 'That field of tall grass is waving at us?' What word best describes what I'm doing when I speak like that?" Susie thought a moment, then said, I think it’s called "Hallucinating?"
Well we’re hallucinating if we think we can do what we are called to do, without God, doing some leveraging in our lives.
I think this might be one of those times... where You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted anyway.
YOU CAN EXPECT GOD TO LEVERAGE YOUR LIFE FOR HIS GLORY
God leveraged the life of a rag-tag band of ordinary, uneducated folks to turn the world upside down to propagate His good news of salvation. Peter, the person who boasted the most about not leaving Jesus’s side but quickly dropped Him like a hot potato when the heat was turned on. Yet he was so “leveraged” by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that he made a 180-degree turn (Nope, it wasn’t 360 degrees as many people wrongly say in their testimonies, because if you made a 360 degree turn, you're back where you started)
They became so bold in preaching Jesus as they leveraged their faith, that on Peter's very first sermon (Acts 2:14-36), there was an altar call of 3,000 people! I dunno about you but 3,000 responding to your very first ever sermon by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is quite a miraculous leveraging feat!
If God did that for Peter and the rest of the other disciples/apostles, He is still in the leveraging business! He can leverage our limited faith, eloquence, courage, time, skills and money, among others, to do great works in our lives for His glory.
BE CAREFUL, DESPERATE TIMES CAN CAUSE YOU TO ONLY DWELL ON WHAT YOU DO NOT HAVE IN YOUR LIFE AND CAUSE YOU TO MISS OUT ON THE LEVERAGING POWER OF GOD!!!
All of the friends that you do not have. all of the things that you do not have. all of the opportunities that you do not have. all of the BENIFITS that you don’t feel you have. I heard it said that You can't have everything....because if you did, where would you put it all?
But at the same time, more often than not, it is the desperate places that seem to bring out the best in men. . lt also has the great potential to pull greatness out of God’s saints. . . if we will just allow God’s leveraging in those times. Because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not yours!
Don't forget in the darkness, the promise God made when the sun was shining, and everything was great..... · Because Desperate places can give rise to GREAT courage.
·Desperate places can give us WONDERFUL opportunities to finish well in spite of the odds.
·Desperate places can present UNIQUE challenges to us that we would miss otherwise.
· Desperate places can fill your life with great focus and purpose.
·Desperate places can clarify and redirect your mission
·Desperate places can fire your ambition to make your time and life count for eternity.
Bennie Demerchant tells the story of an incredibly desperate place in his book Full Throttle. It was in August 1976 that he would face one of the darkest trials of his life.
He was invited to come and preach at a rally, east of Manaus Brazil, and the only way to get there was by his seaplane. So on the afternoon of August 31, 1976, he and 3 others, boarded the plane. About eight miles away from the city, a sudden storm, along with heavy winds, overtook them. In the middle of that storm, the engine stalled and the plane plummeted toward the water. The storm was whipping the sea into large waves as the plane went down. The plane begins to sink with everyone trapped inside.
They were able to get to the back of the plane and punch out a window and swim to the surface. But the other passengers could not get out and drowned in spite of all efforts to get them to the surface. Arrangements had to be made to ship the bodies home and during this time the media in Brazil had a field day. Some creative reporter wrote the crash had been on purpose for the sole reason of collecting insurance settlements. Others dreamed up other stories that were meant to totally destroy Demerchant and ruin his credibility in Brazil. He felt betrayed because some of the prominent members of the community that he had helped turned their backs on him. The terrible loss of his friends' lives exhausted him and he could not sleep and discouragement shouted at him to give up and quit!
In the early morning hours of September 3, as he wept and prayed earnestly and questioned God. “Why, why, why, Lord, would You allow this to happen when it seemed the future was so bright?” Suddenly a tall man in white appeared in the door of the room. He approached, turned sideways, and looked down at him and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Have I not called you to this country to preach the Gospel? I am the pilot of your life. Get up and go on with the work. I will bless you and the work as never before!” And the figure turned and went out the door. Demerchant wrote that a calmness and relief came over him. A tremendous load had been lifted. He felt light on his feet and even giddy in believing what that man had told him. Fearlessness entered him. He knew that thousands had heard of the accident and were praying for him, but this incident engraved itself permanently upon his life. From that time forth, he knew that God would always leverage any situation so that He might receive the glory.
God always meets us in our desperate places and LEVERAGES our desperation into inspiration! If we only allow Him to!
HOW DO YOU TAP INTO GOD’S LEVERAGING?
One word: faith. When we truly believe God, we obey Him and we are able to truly do His works as we leverage His power . Because faith allows us to see what isn’t there yet, but we are assured that what is hoped for will happen. When we do, we ride the current of His grace and we are able to do great and wonderful things that glorify Him. But how do we acquire or increase faith?
According to Paul in his letter to the Romans, God’s word activates His leveraging power. The more we hear or read God’s word, the more our faith increases. When we see just how mightily God has moved and how faithful He was in the past, it lifts our spirits and strengthens us especially when going through difficult and challenging times.
It is exactly what the disciples experienced after walking WITH THE RISEN CHRIST from Jerusalem to Emaus, their hearts burned and their bodies were quickened to go and tell others....God’s word is all we need to truly believe in Him and to be equipped for His kingdom work regardless of how inadequate we look, or how the rest of the world sees us....or the challenge we may face. God is the ultimate LEVERAGE in every situation.
2 Timothy 3:17 "All scripture is given that the child of God may be perfect, and throughly furnished unto all good works".
I would love to go to the Holy Land but we don't need to go to Jerusalem to walk where Jesus walked.... We can walk with him right into the future he has planned for us. We can walk in his footsteps every day.... He told us
John_14:3 I go to prepare (leverage) a place for you, and I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, you may be also".
Jesus is telling us that right now, this moment, He is leveraging our future!
Success is not a place or destination you arrive at, it is an attitude within each of us and a life style that releases God's power to work through us. It is about constantly choosing to believe the best that God has said about us
Hebrews 12:1 "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, v2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
I want to close by having us look at the leveraging job which God did in the life of Moses' right hand man, Joshua, as the baton of leadership is passed and see the result it made in him and all those who stayed with him after Moses' death....This is so powerful for those who will leverage their faith and believe that our God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be forever.....
Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, v2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them. v3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. v5 There shall not any man be able to stand before you all the days of your life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you, nor forsake you. v6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shall you divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers before them, to give them. v7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to My word, which Moses my servant gave you.
Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. v8 My word shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it, day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein, for then you shalt make your way prosperous, and you shall have good success. v9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go".
God wants you to win and succeed more than you want to win!!! You are ordained by God to overcome and to triumph continually in Christ. That situation you may be going through is a won battle if you can trust God for your promised victory. You were not redeemed by God to be defeated by the devil, you were born again as a champion.
2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the overwhelming fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place".
You were created to be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, you are designed to be a winner not a loser, a victor and not a victim. God created you to express His blessings in the earth, to reflect His nature and show you off to principalities and powers. You are the proof of His power and authority in the earth!
Are you ready for some leveraging! Expect Him to do so and watch great and wonderful things begin to happen as He has promised.
It's not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord!!!