Ben Franklin wanted the Turkey to be the bird used as our national symbol, but folks agreed that the turkey’s place was on the table, not on the official seal of the United States. We’ll leave that place for the Eagle, thank you very much.
Thanksgiving means different things to different folks…. To some it is football… to others it is stuffing yourself like you were the turkey…. To others it is “how to burn off all the calories you just swallowed (there’ll be a lot of folks jogging and walking that off, and others who just lay back down on the couch!!!…. Some look forward to the family get together, some to time off, or parades, or parties and picknicks at the beach…
But here’s Paul’s approach to Thanksgiving…..
Colossians 1:12 “Giving thanks (that means a perpetual, never ending stream of thanksgiving) to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. v13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son”.
Giving thanks, as Colossians says here, is about building a culture or a way of living. A culture is how a certain people group, has chosen to live their lives. In that culture, they have developed traditions and customs that identify them as unique from other cultures. Christianity by it’s very name is a Eucharistic culture!
The Greek word for “Giving Thanks” is (Eucharist) or the actionof giving thanks... Eucharist loses it’s power when we make it a noun that describes a religious service. Its true power is only released as a verb of action .. “giving thanks”.
1st Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
So, we also see here that when we set up a continual process of praise, and thanksgiving, we are staying in the will of God, because He has clearly told us that this is His will.
With this never ending stream of giving thanks, we thank Him in the storms, we thank Him in the valleys, and we thank Him no matter what the circumstances because…
Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things will work together for the good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (will and plan)” We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be confused and still be thankful we can be broke and still be thankful…
It has been said that people can't wait to grow up and then they long for their childhood days again, They lose their health making money, then lose all their money trying to restore their health. They're so anxious about the future that they don't fully live in the present, They think they will only be happy in another time and place and are never hoppy where they are. They live as if they will never die and they die as though they have never really lived.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you and my strength is made perfect in your weakness”.
Giving thanks prevents us from living our lives from a position of what we don’t have and what we aren’t able to do…It changes our perspective and focuses on what we do have and how much we are blessed. It’s the guard rail that keeps us from becoming the train wreck of greed and covetousness….
So today we’re in search of the Eucharist in our Thanksgiving .
T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G. There it is, and in that acrostic are some words that extract the meaning of “Eucharista” in some form and at some level in our lives. Here we go…..
We begin with T. which is for Truth … When Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus, he asked the question, “What is truth”? Every true Hindu, values all life, because it may be the incarnation of a family member. A science teacher showed a Hindu student that they were destroying life every time they took a drink of water. They were horrified and when they looked thru a microscope and saw the microscopic life forms, they pulled out a hammer and destroyed the microscope. I find it interesting that people demand truth in the physical realm but try to undermine and explain away God’s absolute truth which lays the foundation for all truth.
John 17:17 Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” The evidence of a life of truth and the freedom it brings, is a life of thanksgiving and gratitude. Many have sought to produce research which would disprove and deny the truth of God’s word and discredit who Jesus was, only to have that very truth lead them to faith in Him. Thousands are turning to faith in Christ in the Muslim countries as they open themselves to the truth.
H. Is For The Harvest….In the natural, Thanksgiving is acelebration which declares that it is harvest time.
John 4:35 “Say not, there are four months, and then comes theharvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are now white and ready to harvest.”
We can certainly be grateful that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, it’s the right time for the harvest of souls. Crops won’t put themselves in the barn. God gets it ready and we discern that it is the right time and we work with Him to bring in the harvest.
If we could truly understand John 4:35, this building could not contain us. Scripture tells us they went forth rejoicing in the harvest. Nothing is more contagious than a grateful heart and a spirit of rejoicing.
Mark 1:16, To fishermen he said, “Come follow me” –
Mark 2:14, To Levi the tax collector, he said, “Follow me – We follow Him as we help and assist others to do the same, no more excuses, no more comparing our goodness with others, simply following Jesus….
A. Is For Agreement…. The Greek word for agree, is "sumphoneo", which in English, is "symphony." In a symphony orchestra, this is when a large number of instruments work together to fulfill the composer’s plan. It’s a beautiful thing when grateful hearts truly walk in agreement and work together to allow God to produce a symphony!!.
We find this word in Ephesians 4:16 “The body of Christ is fitly joined together or is “working in symphony”, that all it’s parts may be supplied, causing the body to grow and mature in the love of Christ.”
N. Is For No Compromise… (that’s 2 words, I know) But If you compromise your values, you are valueless. If you compromise your convictions, you are without conviction. If you compromise your faith, you are faithless. (those are dangerous places to be) If you’re riding a two seater bike, make sure they’re not applying the brakes while you’re doing the peddling.
Charles Finney said, “Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher, but great preaching leads the people to praise the Savior”.
A woman approached the pastor after the sermon, and thanked him for the great sermon. "I found it so helpful," she said.
The minister responded "Sister, I hope it wasn’t as great as the last sermon you heard me preach."
"What do you mean?" asked the astonished woman.
"Well," said the minister said, "that sermon lasted you for three months" before we saw you again…..
K. Is For Kindness…. This is kindness we don’t deserve and can never earn. It is poured out to all who are unworthy, because it’ssource is God’s love, and it is based on Jesus taking our place and loving us before we were even able to love Him.
Psalm 103:2 “Oh give thanks to the Lord and forget not all His benefits. v3 Who forgives all of your transgressions, Who heals all your diseases, v4 Who redeems your life from death and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy”.
My granddaughter Zoe and her friends decided to go to the city park and just ask people if they had something they could pray with them about. One young man told them he had come to the park to spend his last day before committing suicide. They talked and prayed with him, and saved a life last week. K is for kindness!
S. Is For Sincerity…. Thankfulness with sincerity, keeps our hearts in right relationship with the Father and to one another. Without it, we become arrogant and self-centered. We cannot offer sincere praise and worship unto God without a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. Sometimes you just want to ask… “Where did sincerity go in our culture”? Insincerity is referred to as double mindedness… or hypocrisy.
James 1:6 “He that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. v7 For let not that man think that he shall be able to receive any thing of the Lord”. v8 For a double minded man is unstable in all his ways”.
We begin to believe that we have achieved everything on our own.How many times have we told someone, “I’ll be praying with you about that”… and we walk away and never pray or think of it again, so we leave them struggling uphill, and alone, because of our lack of sincerity. Hmmmmm..
G. Is for Generosity. A thankful person is a generous person. What we give is not as important as the spirit with which we giveit. If the little boy’s lunch which Jesus multiplied had only been 2 hot pockets, it would have still been enough. If it had only been 2 crumbs and a fish tail, there would have been the same results.
God has never gotten to the register and discovered that he doesn’t have enough money. But He offers us the privilege of being part of the miracle. At the heart and core of the gospel is “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE”. That giving never stops and every living creature receives their supplyon a constant basis.
I like the way Paul puts it… 1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you.” What an honor to be God’s delivery system of blessing in the lives of others. God will keep pouring it in when He finds those who will keep pouring it out….(Keep on Pouring)
I. Is For Integrity. This word comes from the word ''integrate.'' It is the ability to integrate the values of ''honesty,'' ''faithfulness,'' ''sincerity,'' and ''innocence” into our daily actions and relationships. 1 Chronicles 29:17 “I know, my God, that you test the heart and you are pleased with integrity. All these things, you have given willingly and with honest intent.”
No one just accidentally falls into integrity with a big “OOOOPS!”, because integrity is intentional.
Warren Buffet said “there are three things I look for in hiring someone. Integrity, Intelligence, and Energy. If Integrity isn’t there, then intelligence and Energy will undermine everything else”.
A college student needed a job for the summer. Two jobs were coming up and she really liked one but the other job called herfirst, so rather than take a chance, she grabbed it. 2 weeks later the other job called her. She called her dad and told him the situation. Her Dad asked her, “When you took the job you have, did you tell them you would work for the summer” The daughter said “Yes I did”. Her dad said “Then why are we even having this conversation?”… (INTEGRITY!)
Do we expect God to keep His word, even though we don’t keep ours? Someone suggested there are three types of people in the world, believers, unbelievers, and make-believers. Are we people who can be counted on to be on time, to fulfill our promises, to do the right thing even when others don’t.
V. is for Vida… (Or Fullness of Life)…. Doctor Robert Emmons,a psychology professor, did research at the University of California, which shows that thankful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism about life. He calls it
“The forgotten factor in the science of wholeness and well-being." His research also found that a grateful outlook slowsdown the aging clock!! (so it can become our true fountain of youth)
Jesus said in John 10:10. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
A woman stepped into the ice cream shop and after paying for her ice cream, she turned and there was Elvis, who had decided to get an ice cream on the spur of the moment. She was overwhelmed as she went out the door in a star struck haze and realized she had forgotten her ice cream. She turned around and Elvis was coming out. He said, “Ma’am, If you’re looking for your ice cream, you put it in your hand bag with the change you got back”. She got overwhelmed by Elvis!
When is the last time you have been so caught up by the presence of God that you forget what was going on around you? You forgot the dinner cooking at home… You forgot what you planned for this afternoon… You forgot the problems of the week… You forgot what the folks around you might think if you just freely worshiped God… When did you last enjoy being with God so much that nothing else really mattered?
I. The Second I, Is For Insightful. Insight Is what allows a blind person to see and a deaf person to hear. At the same time, a hearing person is deaf without it, and a seeing person is blind. Ezekiel 12:2 God tells his people "They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear." Seeing without insight is seeing without understanding and hearing without insight is hearing w/o understanding. It is hidden in plain sight…
Two old friends met one day after many years. One was very successful. The other never had much ambition. The successful man said, "How has everything been going?" the other guy said "Well, one day I opened the Bible at random, and dropped my finger on a word and it was oil. So, I invested in oil, and boy, did the oil wells gush. Then another day I dropped my finger on another word and it was gold. So, I invested in gold and those mines really produced. Overnight, I was as rich as Rockefeller."
The following day, the braggart was in his hotel room, grabbed a Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger on a page to see what was next in store for him. But when he opened his eyes, his finger pointed to the words, "Chapter Eleven."
Luck will take you no further than good sense can keep you.
Ephesians 1:18 Paul prayed for the Ephesian church…"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope to which God has called you, to receive the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints"
N. The Second N, Is For Naked…(oh, you weren’t expecting that one were you) It means to be open and transparent.. Another way of saying transparency is “Thru me you see”… What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas, no double talk, and no manipulation.
Have you ever seen someone that was “too good to be true” and you think to yourself, “What are they really like?” Jesus was transparent in everything that He did. His goal was that we would look through Him and see the Father. Jesus is one of the few things too good to be true that is better than everything you’ve heard!!!
John 14:8 “Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us. v9 Jesus said unto him, Have I been this long with you, and still you have not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how do you say then, Show us the Father”? (If you have Jesus, you have enough)
G. The Second G, Is For “Go Ye”… That’s what Jesus said… When your heart is filled with gratitude, you will want to Go everywhere you can with the good news.
When we became Christians, we became gratitude driven…
We get the “Go Ye” when we have good news to share like when we got engaged, then married, we had to share the good news…. We got the “Go Ye” when we were expecting a baby to be added to our family…we wanted to tell everyone…. We got the “Go Ye” when we got our driver’s license and our first car… We told everybody… Our gratitude drove us to tell somebody, anybody, everybody!
But what greater news could there be, than that Jesus came to give us eternal life, power over death, a free ticket to heaven, to be with Him forever.
To know Christ and to make Him known is the highest calling given unto man…
I want us to come together and pray over every family member, every church, every pastor, every prayer team, every witnessing team. And especially for the Franklin Graham team as they make Christ known to this community….
…. Now, I want to clarify that “the other side” is not about dying, but it’s about really living the life we were meant to live!
Mark 4:35 “On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” v36 Leaving the crowd, they *took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; (that’s another sermon right there, “Come as you are”…. and other boats were with Him. v37 And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. v38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they *woke Him and *said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” v39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. v40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?” v41 For they were very much in awe and wonder, and said to one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
I have heard a lot of sermons about the storm which the disciples were caught in, which threatened to sink their boat. I have preached a few myself. Jesus is asleep in the boat, which is amazing, when you consider the violence of the storm. But today I want to consider, right up front, the reason they were in the storm in the first place….
They were there, because they were doing what the Lord told them to do. He said, “Let’s go over to the other side”…. And right on cue, there was a fierce storm that arose between them and the other side”…
The scripture tells us that Jesus rebuked them because they gave the storm more authority than they gave to the word of the Lord. Instead of waking Jesus up to tell Him how big their storm was, they should have been telling the storm how big the word was that He had deposited inside of them!!!
The Lord has told some of you to go to the other side where there’s healing….but you’ve hit some storms.. For some of you, the others side meansfamily members, saved and serving the Lord…. The other side for others is a Christian home and marriage…. Perhaps on the other side lies freedom from some form of toxic life pattern or wrong thinking and that freedom is waiting for you…..Or maybe it’s the next step in the fulfillment of a dream or a goal which you have been striving for. For others the other side means “Prove me now says the lord that I will pour you out a blessing such as you cannot contain”….
So you’re in some fierce storms, and you aren’t hearing any clear direction,now that you have launched out on some uncharted waters.
What are you doing, Jesus, sleeping while we’re drowning… (ARE YOU FOR REAL JESUS) I’m going through all this, and I’m bailing like crazy to keep the ocean out of the boat, and you’re SLEEPING! WHAT’S WITH THAT, JESUS!! (Of course, no one here has EVER QUESTIONED JESUS….EVER, RIGHT! I want to tell you here…IT’S OK TO QUESTION GOD! He won’t get nervous.. He said “ask, and it shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall open”….
You see Jesus isn’t at all nervous about his spoken word coming to pass….
Psalm 68:8 “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even the mountains of Sinai were moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel”.
Psalm 46:6 “Nations will shake with fear and kingdoms will fall at the voice of the lord and His word makes the earth to yield.”.
This is the same voice which said “Let us go over to the other side”….
I believe Jesus is allowing them to come up against all the old boundaries which have stopped them before. He is showing them in a dramatic way, the limits which fear and intimidation had placed in front of them and which wanted to end their amazing destiny before it began.
So, this wasn’t about the storm, it was about breaking the back of any and all powers which would prevent them from hearing and obeying the voice of God.That would cause them to come short in operating in their God given authority.
Comedian George Carlin nailed it when he wrote the following item about what happens when we fail to rise up to the next level that is waiting for us.
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, and yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush around, but we have not learned to wait”.
Look at what Jesus told them in Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Grab your neighbor by the hand and say, “You are designed for greatness. Don’t live beneath your privilege. As a Christian, you have tremendousauthority”. The storm that was sent to break you is going to be what God uses to make you!!
It’s time to flash your Luke 10:19 badge at the storm. When a policeman knocks on a door, the first thing he does is show his badge. He displays his authority.
It’s time to raise your hands over the situation and say, according to my boss, I have received power and authority over your power, Devil!!
Flash your badge over your marriage and declare “My marriage is strong, secure, and blessed”!!! The storm that tried to break you, only served to make you!
Flash your badge over that physical condition and declare “Body, body, get in line, nothing missing, nothing broken, everything working fine”!!!
Write the scripture address of the promise, on the bottom of your shoe, because the only place the Devil belongs is under your feet!!! That’s Winnie’s thing, she puts the scriptures for that storm in her shoe and walks on it… Didn’t scripture tell us that “Every place on which your feet shell tread, I have given it to you”?
Jesus is inviting us to “go over to the other side of understanding our authority”….
Own it, don’t just confess it. You can confess something without possessing it.It’s one thing to say something but quite another thing to really take it as your own.
There are many people who are going to miss heaven by about 18 inches (that’s the distance between their head and their heart). They have head knowledge but their will has not been surrendered to His will and they’re heart does not truly submit to him as the rightful lord and ruler of their life.
Some day when scientists discover the center of the universe, many people are going to be disappointed to find out that it isn't them. Many folks can talk the walk but they cannot walk the talk…. Some children were learning about the Good Samaritan. To make the story vivid to the children, the teacher really got into detail, describing how the Samaritan was beaten, robbed, cut and bleedingand then left for dead. Then she asked the class what they would do if they saw someone on the side of the road, beaten and all bloody. One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think I'd throw up."
God has a great plan for all of us, but it’s obvious that He's not done with most of us yet!! But He won’t quit, if we just don’t give up….and we push beyond the nausea….
Hebrews, chapter 3 and verse 1. "Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus."
The word profession is interchangeable with the word confession here, but profession goes much further, because it deals not only what you say, but it declares that what you say comes out of who you are and who you have become.
Paul wants us to consider, to pause and ponder the depth of what he has just said. He's talking to every believer in Jesus Christ and calls upon us to understand the power of our words, spoken under the direction of our High priest, Jesus, who is the great apostle of the church.
The High priest is our covering and our mediator with the Father and His Apostleship stirs us up, sets us in our calling and releases the Spirit’s power within us.
Now I want you to think for just a moment about the fact that we live in a power filled universe. We are told that there is enough unharnessed power that is contained in one cubic foot of air to blow the largest city in the world off the face of the earth. We know that we pass through billions of atoms every moment but when scientist discovered how to split just one atom, its power was released and the atomic bomb came into being. There is an endless supply of water in the air all around us every moment, and it would be more than enough water to irrigate every desert region and supply all the people in it, and never run out. We are surrounded by power that is waiting to be directed and harnessed. When missionary Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As it neared the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. "Mr. Taylor," he said, "we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I believe they are cannibals." "What would you have me do?" asked Taylor. "I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind." "All right, Captain, I will, but you must do something first, raise the sails." "Why that's ridiculous! There's not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the crew will think I'm crazy." But finally, because of Taylor's insistence, he agreed. Just minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. "You can stop praying now," said the captain. "We've got so much wind it’s about to rip the sails!"
Hudson Taylor understood Dunamus.. (power over power or the ability to harness power). That there is unreleased and untapped power all around usThat power was intended by God for man's blessing and for God's glory. All of that power was set in motion by words and that power can be controlled by words if we learn the secret of the power of the spoken word.
Jesus is inviting us to “go over to other side” and tap into power…. In John 4:13 Jesus said to the woman at the well “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up (endlessly) forever”.
Some have thought, “If I could just go to a Benny Hinn meeting” I could get my healing… If I could just get to someone with the gift of miracles… then my miracle would be released…. They’re running around with their bucket, looking for someone to fill it…. But listen to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well… and throw your bucket away…. If you have the Holy Spirit within you, then you have a well springing up with a full supply.
Here’s the great miracle Jesus has come to give you… an abundance of resources within you, so that you can thrive, not just survive. Jesus says, “If you will believe, I will put in you that well, so you can continually draw upon it and enjoy it and drink deeply from it, and it will never run out!
In another place Jesus repeats it at the Passover, in John 7:37 “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. v38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” v39 Andthis He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.”
He’s inviting us to go over to the other side…. The place of abundance, of wholeness, the place of miracles!
Believe Him, if He said you can go there, don’t let your storms cause you to believe it’s not possible. Don’t let the storm have more authority in your life than His words of promise and power.
God’s word will always work but we always have to work it…. Our destination is determined, but we must be determined to get there, and know that what He has said, He will do!
So, go on over to the other side!
Good sailors are never the results of calm seas. Good sailors have come through some storms and applied the knowledge, skills and wisdom which is the result of that.
I was counseling with a young lady who was burdened down with a number of things in her life. As I was speaking to her, she stared at me and said, “you council out of your own brokenness, don’t you Pastor”… Folks, we are broken people who bring hope to others from our own brokenness. Because through our brokenness we have tapped into the well within, which is a boundless supply, and a river with no end. Let’s pour out the river on some folks that are dry and are wandering in a spiritual desert.
Tuesday night at the training session, I heard Steve share this, and it meant so much to me, because I remembered that we had the same experience. When our son David was a wee thing, he loved the small porcelain figurines that Winnie cherished. They were collector’s items and valuable. He wanted to hold them in his chubby little hands. So he would hold out his hands and Winnie would tell him that he needed to be very careful, because they would break easily and they were very important to her. She would put it in his hands but hold on to it. Again she would say, “now be very careful”…. He would almost be tremblingat this point, eagerly waiting. She would say, “are you ready?” and he would nod eagerly.. “Are you sure you’re ready”.
Then she would let go and he would stand there, savoring the moment, as she hovered close by, to catch it if it should slip.
That’s how we should feel about the word of God and the gift of God that has been entrusted to us… it’s the sacred word, the God breathed word, the powerof His presence, that we have been given….
It’s the word, breathed by the Spirit that will take us to the other side!!!.
God desires that our spirit be the living, breathing, worshiping, praising, serving, Holy of Holies, where His glory rests upon the mercy seat. 1Corinthians 6:16 “ We are the temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”. If we are His temple, then His glory fills and flows out of His living temples. We are the epi-center here on the earth, where His glory is manifested and revealed.
Begin your thinking and your planning and your choosing from the point of Jesus’ fullness in your life. Always begin with the abundance of God! Face life from the place of all you have in Christ. Never face life from the place of your problems and your troubles and your needs. But come at your life from the river of His abundance and endless supply.
The storm will always focus on everything that wants to sink your boat, but the river that flows out of your inner most being, will carry you through the storm and into the fulfillment of His promise.
Last, I want us to see that in order for the disciples to get to the other side, they had to leave the safety of the shore… they had to leave something behind.Hey, you can’t walk away and stay there at the same time….You can’t eat you cake and have it
Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
The disciples had to launch out into the deep and uncharted waters. They had often fished these waters, but now conditions had changed, the weather had changed, what they were facing in areas they thought they knew so well, were all different now.
One day, you’re healthy and vital, and the next, you’re struggling. One day you’re cruising at 50 knots and the next, your motor has frozen up. One day everyone is your friend, the next, they’re the windshield and you’re the bug! How things can change in a day….
I remember, when David graduated, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to college and study for the ministry. He was struggling with what direction he needed to go with his future. Overnight, he was launched into the worst week of his life, to the point that his very life was threatened. The storm had descended. He came to us and said, “How quick can you get me to college!?”
Sometimes you have to leave the comfort of the familiar, leave some friends and old patterns, leave behind your idea of how it is supposed to be, and push off to what you’ve never done and where you’ve never been.
His call has reached you, “Go on over to the other side”….
4 weeks before the kick off meeting for the Franklin Graham crusade, (I had not heard about it at this point). I had a dream that a man in a blue striped shirt came up to me and when I woke up, I told Winnie, that I was going to be approached by a man in a blue striped shirt, and it would be important, and very significant. A week later I heard about the Crusade and the kick off meeting, which was on the Monday the 4th.
When we got there at the meet and greet, someone introduced me to one of the team, and lo and behold, he had on a blue striped shirt with the official team logo on it.
This past Tuesday, the ministers were invited to a luncheon and the team leader had on a different blue striped shirt. The official shirt of the Billy Graham advance team, is a blue striped shirt!
Folks, I’m excited…. Jesus has shown us the other side, and I’m going over.
Something powerful is on the other side, something life changing is there, something that is transformative is on the other side. That’s where we are going….
Will some storms come up and try to sink this thing…. OH YES… Will there be distractions, and difficulties…. OH YES… But we’re not coming from the place of trouble, fear, stress, and problems, we’re coming by way of the river of God, by way of the well of endless blessing and supply!
We should be more afraid of not really living, than we are of dying!!!
I recall reading that the African impala can jump to a height of over 15 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet at a bound. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. They will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.
How many things have kept us from the other side, simply because we could not see where we would land….
Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life where fear wants to keep us and prevent us from launching out from the safety of the shore. This does not eliminate the importance of Trying every spirit to see if it is of God….or looking before you leap!
I would like to call on our church, and I’ve posted this call to prayer on the internet….to find time to go over to the ampi-theater and the park, as often as possible in the weeks leading up to the crusade and just pray over that place, and those that will gather for the crusade. Pray over souls that need to come to Christ, from the local government officials, the business owners, the military, the tourists, the residents, the families and to all the whosoevers that the Holy Spirit is calling to receive Jesus at this season of harvest.
Jesus is calling the Christians and churches of Key West to come over to the other side, the place of renewed witnessing to our city, of leading others indiscipleship, and of connecting with those we meet every day with eternity in mind.
So, Let’s go forth with the well of his fullness in us, wherever He calls us, whatever we are doing. Mother, go home to your family with the well insideand fully know that there is nothing that is outside of your power to handle. Dad, go home with the well inside and know that as you lead your home for Jesus, the blessing of His fullness flows through you. Church, go into the work place with the river of endless supply, confident that there is no situation togreat for you through His power within. Let’s get our children to walk in this, at school and in their neighborhood.
We are going to the other side where we see revival, lost souls saved, marriages healed, enemies reconciled, love and forgiveness in place of hatred and anger…. Addicts delivered and set free… a turning back to God among young people, business people, government leaders, and the general population.
Let’s believe it and receive it…. Jesus is in this boat with us. Nothing can stop His plan and His agenda, if we will pray, go, love, and serve.
Let’s all be in agreement together, for the churches and those who are committed to seeing our God on the move in Key West, and the Keys….
Lord Jesus, we desire nothing greater than to see Your Glory revealed and that folks would come to know You better and for some, that they might know You for the first time. Prayer…… Lord Jesus, Open hearts that are still closed against you, and open their understanding that in knowing Your plan for them, lives would changed and spirits would be made open. Give me an understanding heart, that I may see the precious lives that you treasure all around me. Lord we cry out in behalf of the people, all around us, that their eyes may be open to Your truth so they might receive Your mercy and forgiveness. Help us, that as we walk in love, You would shine through us to dispel the darkness, so that all can run into Your transforming light. Bring our loved ones, friends and neighbors into Your saving grace.
Holy Spirit, bring conviction unto righteousness, and draw those who are away from you to faith and to repentance. We now take back everything the enemy has stolen from our lives and our community in the name of Jesus. We open ourselves to the fullness of Your wisdom and guidance. We receive the knowledge we need at this time in our lives that we might serve You and serve those around us. Our greatest desire is that we may bring glory to Your great Name. Lord, shine through us so they may see You, and may Your light never dim. Lord Jesus, as we lay aside all the weights that might hinder and distract us, may we join your multitude of reapers in this end time harvest, as we wait for Your appearing. Continue to move upon our hearts to mold and shape us more and more for Your honor and glory we ask. For it is all in Jesus’ name.
The song “I will follow” which we sing, is a song of intention. It says, “Where you go, I'll go, Where you stay, I'll stay, When you move, I'll move, I will follow you. Who you love, I'll love, How you serve, I'll serve, If this life I lose, I will follow you”….WOW, that is purpose!!
The word INTENTION is about a determination to conduct yourself in a certain way with commitment and resolve…
RESOLVE is about steadfastness of purpose with boldness and deep personal conviction.
So if you break it down, An intentional life has purpose, discipline and vision for an attainable future.
If anyone should ask why this is so important, the answer is simple: If we do not have a clear agenda for our lives, one will be provided for us—either by the events of life itself that we are experiencing, or by other people that we inter-act with.
We will follow the crowd or follow the vision….Someone said, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way, but don’t block my purpose”
It’s about taking control and determining with God’s help, how we will live our lives and spend our time, our energy and our resources. Without intentional living, our lives can easily “get away from us” and our outside world can have us at its mercy. I’m reminded of the story about the old West, or “the wild west”,when a devout Quaker had been bullied and harassed until he could stand it no longer. Speaking up to his tormentors, he announced: "Sirs, I do not believe in violence and I would not harm thee for anything in the world. But my compassion for all men compels me to warn thee, that thou art standing in the very place where I am about to do some shooting."
Intentional living is about staying on course while being responsible for the wake that we are creating as we move through our uncharted waters…. as we move toward our own goals and dreams.
So, watch your wake!!! I have a neighbor in our building, who
used to play his bass guitar through his boom box, till 3:00 in the
My gut level response after 3 months of this was to bang on his
door and give him a piece of my mind (which I can’t spare) but While
I applaud his dedication, I don’t like his wake!!!
I wrote a nice, neighborly, reasonable, note that would hopefully let him see the insanity of doing that, and posted it onhis door, and we have not had a problem since.
I don’t believe God wants us to live a life, controlled by the world
around us, because we understand our higher purpose.
1 Corinthians 6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things edify (are profitable for my life). All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (but Christ)”. This word “Edify”, is from the Greek word, oikodomeō, which literally means “to build a house.” So, it’s a fact that not all things will build up the house that I choose to live in.
The reason Paul begins with “All things are lawful for me”.. is because he is stating the excuse which those in the church have used for not living intentionally!
The laws of the land, might permit you to live in such a way, that you are able to break the law of Love towards God and one another without suffering any consequences from the law of the land.
If you back up to 1 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul is actually addressing a problem that has come up in the church in Corinth because they tolerated a guy in the church who was having a sexual relationship with his step mother (or his father’s wife). They figured that it was not his biological mother, so there was no law broken, and it was a personal matter between consenting adults, therefore it should be up to them to work it out.
Paul was emphasizing that it might be legal, and with consent, but it was not expedient as an example that the church should be reflecting before the world.
If our light is no brighter than the darkness, then what good is it.
If the salt has lost it’s saltiness, how can it salt anything.
Salt is a preservative, not only a means of flavoring something.
So how can your claims in Christ, keep back the rottenness of society, if it is also rotten!
How can your faith in Christ, enhance, improve and make a difference in people’s lives if your life is no different than their’s, and your priorities are no different than their’s.
In one of the Peanuts cartoons, Lucy has a sign up that says “Advice—5 cents.” Charlie Brown is her client in the cartoon, and Charlie Brown is not happy with the way his life is going, and asks Lucy’s advice on finding a purpose in life.
Using the example of the deck on a cruise ship, Lucy tells Chuck, “Some people go through life with their deck chair facing backwards, and they can only see where they’ve beenand not where they’re going.” Then she asks him, “Charlie Brown, which way is your deck
chair facing?” Charlie Brown tells her in an uncertain, shaky tone, “I really don’t know—I’ve never been able to get my deck chair unfolded!”
So unfold your deck chair! And make sure it’s facing in the right direction! And make sure your ticket isn’t on the Titanic!!!
Paul councils the church in 1 Corinthians 6:2 “Do you not know that the saints will one day rule the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to judge in the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more then should we be competent to judge the issues of this life”?
Then Paul shares with them something that they clearly understand, because they were big on taking the Lord’s Supper as an external practice of their faith. They know that the communion bread is to have no leaven in it, but Paul makes it a personal matter of the heart.
1Corinthians 5:6 “Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast),leavens the whole lump of dough? v7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, so that you are in fact unleavened (and without yeast).
Throughout scripture, yeast is likened to sin and compromise. So Paul is telling the church to live intentionally, on purpose for Christ. Choose the materials which you want to build with….He’s emphasizing that you can’t be double minded, compromising and undisciplined, without it affecting everything else in your life.
Another truth that Paul shares is 1 Corinthians 3:12 “If anyone builds on this foundation (folks can have a good foundation, but we must must carefully choose which materials we will use to build on that foundation) using gold, silver, costly stones, or wood, hay and straw, v13 their work will be revealed for what it is, because the Day (of the Lord) will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work”. One of the signs that psychologist look for as an indicator that a person has matured properly, is whether or not they understand that actions have consequences and then accept responsibility for their own actions.
A guy was eating breakfast with his wife....when he hears a knock at the door, he gets up and opens the door and sees two people. "You need to be saved!" the first person at the door says. "Get outta here with that mess" the guy says. "But sir, if you don't get saved, the time is coming when it will be too late!" the second person says. "I don't give a blankety, blank, blank. Now get off of my porch and out of my yard!" The guy slams the door, goes back to the table and opens his newspaper. His wife asks him, "Who was that, the Jehovah Witnesses, at the door, dear?" "Naah, just A couple of fireman" The guy says….
One of the great challenges we all have is to live intentionally when the world all around us is on fire. That’s theability to judge between WHAT IS IMPORTANT and what is NOT IMPORTANT as we are building our lives into the future, .
Intentional living is manual, it’s hands on. It’s about us deliberately steering our lives in the direction of our goals, our plans and our hopes and dreams, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher…..
I would never have stood a chance at getting a second glance from Winnie, my black haired sweety, if she didn’t think that I would be the spiritual head of our home together. She was intentional about who she would let into her heart, in that way. I learned to drive with a manual shift with no power steering. It was manual everything…. Most kids wouldn’t know how to shift gears, because they have automatic transmission. We have cruise control, so that if your foot gets tired of pushing the pedal you just set a speed and let her rip! Now engineers are working on sensors that steer the car for you and stop the car or decelerate if anything is too close to you. (I don’t think I would trust too much of that, I prefer hands on)
How many things are set on cruise in our lives? I’m talking about patterns we haven’t re-thought in quite a while, things we do on a regular basis (I mean we just keep doing what we’ve always done without asking why or if it’s producing anything in our lives)
A guy bought one of those CDs that teach you Spanish in your sleep. During the night, the CD kept skipping. So now, he can’t speak Spanish but he is able to stutter, in Spanish very fluently.
Doctor Phil has many folks who come to him with their lifeproblems, who keep doing the same dysfunctional things, over and over….And he asks them, “So, how’s that working for you”… They are doing things, that just don’t work, or don’t produce the results they need, because their actions are not attached to their goals and purpose….Since the purpose is not clear, the solution is never found.
Ask someone….”How’s that working for you?”
Paul, made a powerful statement of intentional living in his letter to the Philippian Christians in Philippians 3:13 “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, v14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus”.…. Don’t let your past determine your future…
If we cut God out of the equation, money won’t get you there, or fame, or power, or the accumulation of stuff! When God is not a priority in our life of purpose, nothing else can fill that vacuum.
Now I’m from Virginia, so the Washington Redskins are my home town team. That being said, at least the Nationals didn’t let me down!
But when it comes to fulfilling your purpose, let me use the Redskins.. Question…. What's the difference between the Washington Redskins and Cheerios? A: Cheerios actually see a bowl…
How do you keep Redskin players out of your yard?
A: Just put up a goal post….
What's the difference in the Washington Redskins and a dollar bill? A: You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.
What is the difference between a Redskins fan and a baby? A: The baby will stop whining after a while.
What do you call 53 millionaires watching the Super Bowl on TV? A: The Washington Redskins.
How do you stop a Washington Redskins player from beating his wife? A: Dress her in a Patriot’s uniform!
(Can you handle one more)
What do the Redskins and the mailman have in common? A: Neither one delivers on Sunday.
And that my friends, is just a few examples of not fulfilling your purpose and living intentionally!!!!
Saint Augustine wrote, “You, oh God, have made us for yourself,
and our heart is restless until it finds its place of rest in You.”
We cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. The most effective impact on others, must flow out of our own purpose filled life. If we have lost our purpose, how will we help others to find theirs. The blind will be leading the blind.
Hey, here’s some intentional living for you….. how about…
“thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”.
What God desires should be a major part of what we desire. And His greatest desire is to see all people everywhere, saved and following Him and His plan for their lives.
I would love to see everyone at Eagle’s Rest, be part of the training program of witnessing, in preparation for and leadingup to the Billy Graham Crusade on January 16th.
Now that’s a great item on your intentional list, if you truly want to
see revival in our city and the Keys!
Intentional, is about putting actions where our belief for the future is! If we are praying for revival, and believing it is coming, we will put action behind it and be involved in improving our confidence level and aptitude level in being a witness for the Lord.
Don’t pray for revival and have your deck chair turned in the wrong direction!
Regardless of how we choose to live our lives, and how we decide to build upon the foundation we have been given in Christ, when all is said and done, we will all stand before Him and give an account for what we have done with our lives.
Romans 14:10 “In that day, we shall all stand before Him. v11 For it is written: “‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee shall bow before Me, and every tongue shall confess that I am Lord.’ v12 So then every one of us must give an account of ourselves unto God”.
I remember when I was a kid, there was a time when my mom, owned a restaurant and had to be there a lot, so when I got out of school, she fed me, called a cab, and sent me off to the movies, until she closed up. She was so busy, she never checked what was playing, so I watched all kind of movies. I remember sitting there in some of the movies, praying that Jesus would not come while I was there, because I was afraid I would miss the rapture.
I was very aware that I had to stand before him and give an account.
Without that awareness of making God our priority in all we do, we have no North Star to guide us, and we can easily lose our direction.
I’m not saying that we must live in fear, but we have the knowledge that there is something greater than this temporary place and time. Otherwise we are just existing and not really living.
It’s knowing that there is a greater plan for our lives than the problems on the job, or the conflicts in our home, or the financial stress, and momentary health problems…. Knowing our purpose gives us a greater and larger view of life and what it’s all about.
The world, as we know it, WILL END—The rapture WILL TAKE PLACE--The tribulation WILL HAPPEN----Jesus WILL RETURN to earth to reign for 1,000 years----There WILL BE a new heaven and a new earth---- God has an intended outcome— and that outcome is that we will be with Him and have a loving relationship with HIM forever!!.
If we understand the bigger picture….We’ll see ANGELSinstead of DEMONS everywhere…. We’ll see PROMISESinstead of just PROBLEMS…. We’ll see BLESSING instead of DISAPPOINTMENT all around us…..It’s the difference in the boat being in the ocean and the ocean being in the boat.
Scripture says “This light affliction is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is waiting for those who are in Christ”….
I can stay on course and fully expect a good outcome because Philippians 1:6—tells me to “be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”.
I can move forward with confidence because He tells me in Hebrews 13:5— “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
I don’t have to get up tomorrow worried that God is in a bad mood, so I’d better tread softly….. He tells me in John 10:10—"the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” He’s the same yesterday, today and forever!
We had a dear friend, whose husband was an alcoholic and chained to the bottle. Many times she would have to go out and find him passed out in a drunken stupor somewhere. She told us that she had found him passed out in the rain in a rain filled gutter and had to drag him out and bring him home. When his little daughter passed away, he went into the funeral home and took the new shoes off of her body and pawned them for a drink. I had the opportunity to invite him to come with me to church. At the end of the service, I took his hand and walked him up to the altar where he received Christ. He became a sold out Christian and saw God do some incredible miracles in his life.
So we call the things that are not….We look not at things that are, but we call the things that are not. THAT IS INTENTIONAL LIVING, FOLKS!!!! That’s what intentional people do!!
God has a plan for the drug addict, for the prostitute, for the sex trafficker, for the gender confused, and for all those he has created.
Our task is to take away the veil, and help them open the curtain, so that their purpose may be revealed and that, my friend is the glorious work of the Holy Spirit, who is waiting to work through us!
When His plans become my plans, a powerful force is released into the earth! So, Jesus take the wheel!
It all begins when we honestly and sincerely declare from the core of our being… JESUS, YOU ARE THE LORD OF MY LIFE!!!!
JESUS, YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS VESSEL!!!
JESUS, YOU ARE THE ARCHETECT OF MY FUTURE!!!
ALL TO JESUS I SURRENDER, ALL TO HIM I FREELY GIVE!
Any time is a good time to refocus and make the proper adjustments. Any time is the best time to evaluate our priorities. Any time is a great time to tune in to what He is saying in the midst of all the voices and things that demand our attention….
I recall an altar service when I had finished the message and one young sailor, stood before God and tuned back in to God’svoice…He is now an evangelist who has established several bible colleges in Africa that is training and sending out pastors to establish churches.
I recall another young man, who went off to bible college and is now a youth pastor who is influencing many young lives.
Who can know what that moment will bring to pass in us, as we tune back in to His voice and let Him have His way!!!
Are you willing to let Him truly speak, and let Him have His way…..
You will be amazed at where it will take you. To do all that we do with the simple goal of pleasing the Father. To allow Him to have a say in our daily plans and work through our connections and relationships.
It may be the perfect wife, perfect husband, perfect children, perfect friend, perfect church, perfect pastor, perfect job, perfect neighborhood.. etc, etc…
Well, to begin with, if you find perfect, you’ll just mess it all up, because you’re not perfect yet. We’re on that journey, but none of us have arrived yet!
Once upon a time, a perfect man and a perfect woman met. After a perfect courtship, they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was, of course, perfect. One snowy, stormy Christmas Eve, this perfect couple was driving their perfect car along a winding road, when they noticed someone at the side of the road in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help.
There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys. Not wanting to disappoint any children on the eve of Christmas, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their SUV. Soon they were driving along delivering the toys.
Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated and the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. Can anyone guess who survived the accident? …….
No one survived, of course. There is no Santa Claus, and there is no perfect man or perfect woman that ever really existed other than Jesus.
Having been around a few years, I have become acquainted with the terms which some have used to explain a person who is out of the will of God. Those terms which I refer to are “The Perfect” will of God and “the Permissive” will of God. The “Permissive” will of God refers to the fact that due to some wrong choices and bad decisions, a person must now live with less than the perfect will of God. It’s like getting a tattoo of a girlfriend or boyfriend in a prominent place on your body and then when you break up, they’re gone but the tattoo isn’t!
What if we thought of our decisions like tattoos which we have to live with long after the temporary circumstances we’re in have changed and are long gone.. Would you still want that tattoo? (You’re going with Bob, but Billy is always there with you!!)
*…...Many have used the example of the Israelites when God brought them out of the bondage of Egypt. We could say that the perfect will of God was for them to go directly into the promised land and enjoy the land flowing with milk and honey, which would take 4 weeks. But the permissive will of God allowed them to choose to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. …..We could say that but it wouldn’t make it so….
So, let’s look at what the record says…
The book of Hebrews expands on this point:
*…..Hebrews 3:16 “Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? v17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? v18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? v19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief”.
Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith”.
Don’t take my word for it, God’s own inspired record doesn’t call it His permissive will, it is called “unbelief” and “rebellion”…..You can put lipstick on a pig, but it won’t make It a runway model…..(How quickly the new car smell wears off)
The problem with the “Permissive will” mentality of thinking, is that it’s often a way to sugar coat unbelief and rebellion. It eradicates right and wrong, transforming them into just a series of excuses without accountability. It turns the clear-cut directives of God into gray areas of our existence.
And let me add that there are folks who are living with someone else’s disobedience and rebellion through no fault of their own….But that doesn’t give them the right to live bitter and down in the mouth and full of unbelief!!
My mom used to come home from work and give each one of us kids a swat with her hand, then she’d say, “I don’t know what you did but I know you”.
I’m so glad I have Jesus who says “I know what you did and I still love you, but I won’t leave you like that”….
He wants us to get wisdom, righteousness, the mind of Christ, and the knowledge that is from above. Another way of saying “Permissive will” Is to say that we are walking in less than the very best God has for us.
He that knows to do right and does it not, to him/her it is a sin….
It’s not the same as buying a new car and saying, I could have had the deluxe seats with the vibrator, and heat massage. I could have had the computer screen in the dash and surround sound. And I could have had the TV for the kids in the back seat to watch. But I can live without all those things and still get where I need to be.
The big difference here, is that getting a car is not based on unbelief and deciding against God’s values, unless God specifically said for you to do that.
A young person starts dating someone who has no desire for God or any desire for leading their home in honor of Him. And they marry, and like the tattoo, when they change their mind about the unbeliever, they still have to live with it!!!
I have heard young Christians argue something like….. “But I believe God brought them into my life for a reason.” That may be, and I don’t argue with that.
Young folks need to be like the young woman who liked a guy but would only sit with him in church, would only go out with him with the church group, and on condition that he attended church with her every Sunday. Then after a month, she would not see him unless he received Christ as his savior. Then she would only see him if he was baptized. Then she would only see him if he tithed. After that she accepted his proposal of engagement, and would only marry him after she was satisfied that he read the bible with her and prayed regularly. They enjoyed a great marriage….
So when someone finds themselves in a bad choice situation, where they’re living with the bad tattoo they no longer want, what can be done about this problem?
This guy put the face of his x girlfriend on his arm with “I love you”… bad choice!!!!
In this and every such case, when we make bad choices, the solution is always and simply the same. It comes down to one word – Repent, and sin no more! That’s what Rebellion is a sin, it’s also temporary insanity!! Jesus said that Repentance releases righteousness, (or right thinking)
Get back tight with God and let nothing come between your obedience and honoring Him! Get started and never look back. Get back on track. If you weren’t attending church faithfully….start. If you weren’t tithing….start. If you weren’t praying and reading your bible consistently…..start! If you weren’t witnessing to others, start!
A man was dying and he was concerned about getting into heaven. As he was praying about it, knowing his life was far from perfect, an angel showed up and said "Put your mind and heart at ease, Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you points for each item, and I’m sure you’ll be OK. When you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."
"That's wonderful," says the angel, "that's worth five points!"
"Five points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."
"Terrific!" says the angel, "that's certainly worth another 6 points."
"Six points? Wow, this is not easy. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans for years."
"Fantastic, that's good for 3 more points," he says.
"THREE POINTS!!" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!" ….."Alright, now you’re ready to come on in!"
Accept No Substitute, GRACE, is not a substitute for obedience and honoring God with our choices and decisions….
The word ‘good’ suggests the existence of another word ‘bad’. The word ‘light’ informs us of the existence of the word ‘darkness’. The word “perfect” suggests another word, “imperfect”…..
Don’t blame God for the heartache from the bad tatoos we all may have gotten, just determine that your life will be a life of obedience to Him. He forgives, he heals and he restores…..
Romans 12:2 “and be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that of God, and acceptable, and perfect will of God”
Richard Rohr said that “Maturity is the ability to joyfully live in an imperfect world” I came across some reminders that we are living in an imperfect world…we know…
1---That Light travels faster than sound. That’s why people appear bright until
you hear them speak.
2--- Sometimes our concern is that If we agree with someone we’d both be wrong.
3---We don’t really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
4---War does not determine who is right – it only determines who will be left.
5---The evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’, and then spend the rest of the time telling you why it isn’t. (it’s an imperfect world)
6---If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.
7---Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
8---Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
9---Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Others cause it whenever
Anyway, we all live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people….so let’s enjoy it!!!
God was making a strong statement when He brought the Hebrews to the entrance of Canaan, the land of promise….
Let me set this up for you. The place where they had come to, was between the Jordon, which opened so they could cross over, under the leadership of Joshua, and the entrance to the land of Canaan. Achan had led a rebellion to overthrow Joshua as God’s appointed leader and many followed him. As a result, God allowed the people of Ai to defeat them and they repented before God and separated themselves from Achanand the rebellion. God opened the ground and swallowed up the rebellion, then He helped them defeat Ai and put them back on track. The first thing they did was to rebuild their altar (representing their worship and allegiance) to God and then they offered themselves once again to Him.
Joshua 8:30 “Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal, v31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. v32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. v33 Then all Israel, with their elders and officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as he who was born among them.
Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. v34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. v35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them”.
After they conquered the people of Ai, they came to a valley between two mountains, on one side was Mount Ebal and on the other side was Mount Gerizim. Mount Ebal is called the mountain of cursing and Mount Gerizim is called the mountain of blessing or mercy. It was between these two mountains that they entered the land.
How prophetic, that they were prophesying about the death of Christ who would die on a mount of cursing, so that the blessing could flow out to the world.
In each of our lives, there is a mountain of misery and there is also a mountain of mercy, and each person must choose one or the other, and we choose it every day. God calls us to the mountain of blessing, but wonder of wonders, folks choose Ebal over Gerizim every day. Everyone must choose which mountain they will climb.
In John's Gospel, chapter 4, Jesus confronts the woman at Jacob's Well. In an attempt to change the subject of her own sin, she asked Jesus if Mount Gerizim was indeed to be a mountain of blessing. You see, Samaria was located at the foot of Ebal the mount of cursing. She was pointing back to the actual event that occurred in Joshua and was prophesied in Deuteronomy. Jesus replied that the mountains didn't matter, but only those who worship in spirit and truth. Jesus was saying that the Old Testament mountains were a north star to point us to the truth - to the fact that there is no place of perfect blessing, but there is a PERSON of perfect blessing - and that person is Jesus, who died on the mount of cursing for us to have the blessing!
Some years ago an artist portrayed temptation in a painting. The picture revealed a man standing at a fork in the road, where one direction was"Right," the other direction was "Wrong." Interestingly, each road looked the same to the man in the painting. For the person viewing the painting, however, there was a view over the hillside. Out beyond the path that wasWrong there was a great fiery pit waiting to trap the unsuspecting traveler, but unless the traveler knew what was beyond the hillside, he was trusting his feelings, and not the map he could have that would have steered him right. We have the map, it’s called the Bible, and unless you read it and know it, you will go by your unreliable feelings….
When you see pictures of Fantasy Fest, you see happy people, laughing and celebrating. They never show you the folks with venereal diseases, or hanging over a toilet bowl, or the broken homes and families from rebellious living, or lives out of control with drugs and alcohol….I love to have fun, but not at the cost of my values.
Why would you put hot sauce in your eye and wonder why you’re going blind!!!!
Eve only took one bite of the apple and we have felt the bite marks everysince. No one never thought that first cigarette could lead to cancer and heart disease, or the first drug experience could lead to an overdose and death, or the first act of unfaithfulness could destroy a family and affect generations…..
Some sing, “I did it my way,” but I’m glad I changed my song to, “I did itGod’s Way.” That, my friend, has made all the difference in my life and my eternity!
There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that new project, to spend time with your family, to read the book you’ve been meaning to, or change a habit, or develop a new habit. Once we acknowledge this, our lives will become much more meaningful and fulfilling.
I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. . I don’t feel motivated. Nobody will help me. What if I fail
And on, and on, and on, and on…… TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!…..
That’s the problem with waiting for perfect! That perfect person, perfect thing, perfect place, never comes! Even in the millennium, when everything is so great, the Devil will be released at some point!
Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t take. Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction and indecision, outnumber those of any actions that were taken by nearly two to one.
Have you taken time to look behind the curtain. God’s word lets you look behind the curtain. Some of you have been praying about a situation for a long time. You don't see anything happening. You could easily be discouraged. But what if God were to pull back the curtain and allow you to see into the future and you knew that on November 12, at 2:33 in the afternoon, it was going to happen, you were going to meet the person of your dreams, that new job would call, the opportunity you’ve dreamed of would happen. You wouldn't be discouraged any longer. You would be excited. You would start getting yourself ready. You would go buy some new clothes. You would envision how it would be and prepare yourself accordingly. Why? You know the big day, the big dream is coming. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN! You have His word!!!!
I know a young lady that was believing to meet the right man. She was at college and the big annual banquet was coming and none of the right people had asked her to go with them. She worked in the cafeteria to help with her school bill, and one day she had sat down by herself and was feeling badly about the situation. A young man who also worked in the cafeteria, saw her looking down in the dumps, and sat down at the table. He put a dry mop over his head to be cute, and said, “Hi, I am Ann Landers, and I’m here to solve your problems. You can tell me anything” She did and he offered to take her to the banquet. They began dating and he followed her home, and before long they got married and have had many great years together. Thatguy was me, and the girl was Winnie…. Was it coincidence, or just luck…. No it was a “Set Time”, arranged by the giver of every good and perfect gift, because we put Him first.
Didn’t God tell us in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for success and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
How about 1 Peter 5:6 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, v7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you”. And then there’s John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly”.
Trust and obey and let God have His way. The problem with waiting for perfect, is that you can miss God’s best for your life.
Trust God's timing. Stand still and you'll see how God will deliver you. When you remain in obedience, you can trust that almighty God will fight your battles. Friends, there are set times in your future. Get dressed up, prepared and expectant. Quit worrying about when it's going to happen. God can see the big picture. He knows what's best for you. Dare to say like David, "God, my times are in your hand".
While you’re waiting, Let God be your only hope. Jehoshaphat’s prayer in… 2 Chronicles 20:12 “Our eyes are set upon you.” God is our only hope: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from this snare.” Psalms 25:15 “My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net”.. Just be careful that your hope is not in someone or something other than God. Things, people, and situations change like clouds, but He never changes, there is no shadow of change with Him.
While you’re waiting, Be still and get alone with God. Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” This is where your refreshing and renewal will come from. This is your source of right perspective and balance in the midst of an imbalanced world. Jesus is our best example here. He never ended His day or started his day, without getting away from everyone and everything and hearing from the Father. It was all about “Not my will but your will be done, Father”….
While you’re waiting, Give God the right to over-rule.
Proverbs 16:9 “A man may make his plans, but God will have the final say.”God is sovereign, and that means Above or superior to all others….Supremein power, rank or authority. God reserves the right to work and move in His own time and in His own way. He always works all things out for our good. Do you fully believe that God is sovereign in your present situation and your future direction? Then don’t make plans in unbelief. He will make a way where there is no way!
We give Him the right to take away what is unnecessary, and unprofitable, and reshape our character, our attitudes and our values.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint!!!!
So, isn’t it interesting, after saying all this that Jesus tells us in
Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
(WHAT YOU TALK’N BOUT WILLIS?)
Some might say, “That’s about as likely as the Washington Redskins, winning the national championship this year….!! Well at least the Nationals made me proud!!
God would never tell us to be something if we could never BE IT!
Understand First, that God became us in Christ, so we could be like Him. When we receive Christ, we receive Perfection. Then, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and when the Holy Spirit came in to dwell, perfection moved to the inside of us!
Also, let’s understand that the Greek word for “Be perfect” is in the progressive tense, which is actually “Be, Being Perfect”….
With Christ by the perfect Holy Spirit within us, we are being perfected as we experience all the diverse circumstances, interactions, and experiences of life. We have perfection within us, working it’s way out through us!
So you smile when you don’t feel like smiling. You give a cheery word when you don’t feel cheery. You help someone when it’s not convenient. You give when you have already given. You make time when you don’t have time. And you serve when you feel like you need to be served.
It’s about being made perfect in love, perfect in hope, perfect in faith, perfect in surrender.
I’m not what I need to be, and I’m not yet what I’m going to be, but I’m not who I used to be, either!!!
But thank God, we have received the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
(Tell someone….”Go on into perfection)
Love never fails. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We are moving to perfection and by faith, calling the things that are not as though they were!
We are declaring that God who has begun a good work in us will perfect it until the day of His appearing….
Every musician, every singer, every sports team will tell you that practice makes perfect!
As we practice toward perfection, it’s always good to have friends who can give you feed back. I’m not talking about the situation like the group of pastors who got together to share their trials and struggles to encourage, inspire and pray for one another. And one pastor said, I’ve really had a struggle with drinking lately. I used to be an alcoholic before I was saved, and I’ve been dealing with some strong temptation. Another pastor said, I was a womanizer before I was saved, and I have been hit with some strong temptations lately myself. Another pastor said, I did a lot of drugs before I was saved, and I’ve been taking opioids to deal with pain, and I’m concerned. Finally the last pastor said, I have a problem with gossip, and I can’t wait to tell everyone, everything I have just heard!…..
We all need a support group, who will nudge us in the right direction (just leave that one guy out!) We all need folks who will hold us up and not condemn us for our imperfections. Who recognize that there are two mountains we all must pass through to get to our promised land and those folks will walk with us and stand by us as we make our journey together through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit….
Thank God for are all those who are on their own journey to perfection of the heart. For out of the heart flow all the issues of life.
Let’s close our time today with the words to the song, “A Perfect Heart”
Lord of life, giver of all things, Life and health, power and peace
Let my heart cleave always to You, And my will, find sweet release
I’m amazed at Your talents, I stand in awe of One so great
Now my soul begins to sing out to the source from which it came.
Bless the Lord who reigns in beauty; Bless the Lord who reigns with wisdom and with power. Bless the Lord who fills my life with so much love, He can make a perfect heart.