In this Christmas message, I want to take a look at this nameless guy and his wife, who were the inn keepers in the Christmas story, who didn’t even know Jesus… These folks were just another face in the crowd at a busy season in Bethlehem….
A 6 year old boy told his mom "I don't want to go to church on Christmas"
The mom told him "Honey, It's important to go and celebrate the birth of Jesus"
The little boy said "But Mom, we don't even KNOW him!" OOPS! He must not come to Linda’s Children’s church sessions. A large persentage of the U.S. population does not attend church anywhere…Well, I hope you get to know Him this Christmas!
Luke 2: 4-7 “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David , because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
The Inn was jammed because the city was flooded with people from all over who had come at the decree of the Roman government that everyone return to their place of birth to pay taxes. There was no room anywhere, everything in the city was filled up. It was like trying to get a room in Key West during Fantasy Fest….
We have given the Inn Keeper a bad rap because he turned away the Mom and Dad of the Savior of the world, being carried in Mary’s womb. But he actually extended them an above and beyond the call of duty kindness. As he tells them the inn is full, and there is no room, I can hear his wife saying in his ear, “Dear, they are so tired, let them at least sleep in the stable”, So, he allowed them to stay in the stable. Otherwise they would have been outside on the ground or huddled up against the side of a building somewhere, or sleeping around a fire in an open field. Never could the Inn keeper have known in his wildest imaginings that the results of his kindness was being heralded by angels to shepherds “You shall find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” and that the Inn keeper’s act, as small as it seemed, would become a permanent part of the Christmas story for thousands of years. Such a small act of kindness produced such huge results, that it has resounded around the world…..
One personal improvement web site said, “If you see someone falling behind, walk beside them. If you see someone being ignored, find a way to include them. Remind people of their worth, one small act could mean the world to them”.
You see, this Inn Keeper didn’t seek out the savior of the world, but the savior, The eternal word made flesh, made the journey from heaven to earth and from Nazareth to Bethlehem to seek him out. God knows where and how to find everyone that He is seeking, and He knows the purpose and the destiny He has for them. Take heart, mom and dad, daughter and son, wife and husband. Prayer is more accurate than your GPS, and His timing is perfect when He is leading the way ….
In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” Never had a family been given greater promises yet had to endure such hardship and discomfort because of it!
God looks at riches in a different way than we do. Don’t underestimate how God can use you and don’t be judging what He can do by your station in life, or your bank account. The hope of the world was placed in the care of a poor couple with few resources that could ever qualify them to be the parents and mentors of the King of Glory. God doesn’t look at your ability but your availability. So He entrusted His Son into the care of a couple who were rich in Godly values, wealthy in Godly character, abounding in Godly priorities, and overflowing with dedication and commitment to Him. In the Greek language it says that Joseph was a “tekton” as compared to an “architekton” from which we get the word “architect”. An architect in the Greek world was a master builder of some sort. This could be a skilled carpenter or stonemason. But by Joseph only being called a “tekton”, it indicates that he was more of a carpenter’s assistant or even a common day laborer who came to the marketplace every morning in search of work for the day. Their lives were filled with uncertainty and they lived from day to day, and hand to mouth. Listen, if you’re carrying the Savior of the world, nothing is impossible, and that’s what you’re doing as God’s ambassador, Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to introduce the savior!!!
So while the angels of God filled the sky with heavenly song, there were Kings from the East who were following the Bethlehem star, but they didn’t arrive until Jesus was 2 years old, loaded with costly gifts. And the only men who witnessed one of the most awesome moments in the history of the world were some lowly shepherds. The whole Jewish world had long expected the arrival of this child, yet none of the leaders of the Jewish nation showed up that night. It was the best kept secret on the planet!!! (don’t let it remain the best kept secret!)
Big and important things are invested and embedded in a lot of small things…We see a leaf, God sees the oxygen producing factories of the planet… Big stuff comes in small containers. Jesus never underestimatedsmall things…. He taught us the incredible importance of even a glass of cold water given in His name…
Jesus said in Luke, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted it and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
I would like to challenge all of us to make it an Inn Keeper’s kind of Christmas. God’s abundance is wrapped up in many small acts of obedience… I’m talking about small acts that go beyond what may be required or what is expected. The Christmas story is filled with little things, seemingly insignificant happenings, that changed history….and life as we know it…
I actually copied the following item from a list which Steve Kelly, Senior pastor of Wave Church in Virginia Beach, posted. “Let your neighbors know you’re available to help if they go out of town for the holidays and need help with their mail, trash, or anything else.. Take groceries by for someone who is sick. Rake your neighbor’s leaves or mow their yard if they are shut in or sick. Start waving and saying a cheerful Hello to your neighbors. If it snows, offer to shovel snow from their driveway and put down salt for them. (I thought I would leave that one in, so we could have a moment of appreciation for being in Key West) Buy a card for your neighbor and put a kind word and compliment inside. Give away ice scrapers for cleaning the windshield. ( Ha, take another moment and Praise the Lord) Have the kids make Christmas cards for the neighbors…Join Facebook and become an encouraging voice to all your facebook friends. Take out your neighbor’s trash bins and bring them in if they are working late…. And of course do it annonomously without any fanfare!
One Grandmother got it right…. Her daughter decided she was no longer going to keep nagging her kids to send thank you notes for their gifts . Consequently, the kids’ grandmother never received any thanks for the checks she sent to them every Christmas as gifts.
Well, the daughter was really surprised when right after Christmas, all the kids wanted to go by in person to thank their grandmother for their checks.
When she asked them what caused this change in behavior, they replied, “It’s Simple, mom, this year grandma didn’t sign any of the checks.”
Years ago I heard someone say that anyone of us could start a kindness epidemic…. I was in a resturant with Winnie and when I went to pay, they told me someone had already paid. I was determined to repeat that good deed for someone else, and I did. It’s called “paying it forward”…. Jesus put it this way..”Give and it shall be given unto you, full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over”…. The running over part is where the epidemic starts and it gets contageous….
Jesus is telling us that this thing is contageous. Little acts of kindness and generousity are like that, they can start a major epidemic….
David was doing a little thing, bringing lunch to his brothers who were in the army, when something big resulted… He slew Goliath and started an epidemic of courage and boldness!
The first step in constructing a bridge over the Niagara river at the head of the falls, was made by a 15-year-old American named Homan Walsh. On January 30, 1848, Homan flew a kite from one side of the Niagra falls to the other. Someone on the opposite side caught the kite and tied a stronger string to the end of the kite string, and Holman pulled the new, thicker string back across the gorge. The process was repeated with an even stronger string, then a cord, then a thin rope, then a thicker rope, and eventually a steel cable, which crossed the expanse and was strong enough to support workers, tools, and materials, so that finally, a sturdy bridgeweighing tons, over which trains and trucks could easily pass. And it all began with a string.
Jesus says in Luke 16:10 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much”.
We can’t look at the power of little things, without looking at the flip side….We need to understand the power and the danger of “little” sins.
A father took his son Billy to the mall to see Santa. They stood in line awhile, and finally the boy was able to sit on Santa’s lap. “What would you like for Christmas?” asked Santa, “I want An X-Box and a drone,” Billy said.
“Okay, we’ll get to work on that,” said Santa with a big smile.
Later on that day they also went to see the Santa at the town square. When Santa asked Billy what he wanted for Christmas, Billy said, “An X-Box and a drone.”
“Well, Billy, you need to be a good boy and do what your daddy tells you” Santa said.
Billy turned to his dad and said, “Let’s go back to the other Santa, Dad.”
“Why Billy?” asked his father. “Because there were no deals involved with that one.” Billy just didn’t want to be accountable…. He understood that actions have consequences…
Jesus tells us that a small rudder can turn a great ship, just as a little tongue can stir big trouble….It was Solomon who told us that “it is the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.” Some men say, “It doesn’t matter as long as you’re just window shopping and don’t touch.” We know that addiction to pornography begins with just a little look…. addiction to drugs begins with just a little sample….. and an alcoholic began with a little buzz…. And we know that a gambler doesn’t have a gambling problem until he starts losing….
Sometimes some of the smallest things in life can cause us the most grief. Ahangnail that catches on everything, an eyelash, that scratches and tears up the eye, a grain of pollen, which causes a violent sneezing episode….small but extremely bothersome.
Our words are little things that can make a big difference. Richard Carpenter, the brother of famous singer Karen Carpenter, says that when his sister was younger, someone called her “Richard’s chubby little sister.” She never got that out of her mind, and it destroyed her self-esteem and throughout her entire life she suffered from eating disorders, eventually she died of anorexia. I’m fairly certain that the person who said it wouldn’t even remember saying it…. the opposite is also true. Little words of encouragement and hope can turn a life around. The phrase “You’re looking nice today”, “I love your smile”, “You know, I really appreciate you and what you do” Little words can make an incredible difference and can restore and elevate someone’s spirit..
In Seattle Washington, this story was shared on the radio. The manager of a large software company heard that a man had committed suicide because no one cared if he lived or died. So the manager, who normally did everything by email or instant messenger, realized he never had a face to face with his workers. It was just easier and more convenient that way. The next morning, he headed out, into the work place, to tell his nine workers two reasons, why they were wonderful workers and amazing people that worked for him. So, he went to each one and said, “I’m so glad you came into my life, and I am blessed that you work for our company”. Then he gave each one a manly hug and pat on the back. A few days later, one of the techs, came up to him and handed him a gift box. This guy hadn’t been given a raise since he was hired, so the manager asked “where did you get the money?” He looked him in the eye and he said, "I sold my 9 mm pistol." Then the Tech said, "You have never asked me about my personal life the entire time I worked here, so why don't I tell you. I moved here from Denver because my mom died. She was my only friend I really had, I was totally alone.. I have never made one friend at this company. If I died, only the payroll would let you know. I took a paycheck and I went and bought a beautiful chrome-plated 9 mm automatic and a box of bullets. I began to practice every day for the last six months. I would go home, eat my Ramen noodle soup, then get the cigar box out with the gun… put bullets in the gun and place it against my teeth, as I told my mom "I am coming home." And then the other day you freaked me out man. I don’t even know you, but you put your arm around my shoulder and you told me I was really funny with my Face book posts, and you told me that I always turned in every project a day early, and that makes your life a whole lot easier. Then you said, “Man, I’m glad you came into my life”. When I got home that night, I kept repeating the words, “He’s glad I came into his life”….”He likes me”…. So I remembered that in some of your emails you said you couldn’t buy the latest, x-box gaming system because of a new baby and the extra expenses. I sold my pistol which cost me $1,000 dollars, so I could give this gift to you for saving my life”!!!!
When God brings us to a “fullness of time” season, little things can mean so much!!!
God is calling on some Inn Keepers to give some weary, tired, discouraged, fearful, hopeless travelers some other options in their lives….
May the Holy Spirit of God help us to pay attention to those little things that may be inconvenient or interruptions to us, but they just may take us to some really big things in someone else’s life.
What about the Power of just a Little moment of Time…. Jesus was born atexactly the right time on the prophetic calendar….Scripture calls it the fullness of time… Everything was in perfect alignment, for the God ordained outcome….You see, in the big world of a multitude of things happening that night, this little thing in the fullness of time, was a world changing thing!!
In the Olympics, a fraction of a second can be the difference between victory and third place. If you’re flying somewhere, a few minutes can be the difference in catching your flight or having to get another flight. When a person’s heart stops, they have only a few minutes to get help. A little time can make all the difference. How we use our time or recognize God’s timing can change lives.
God chose a lot of little things to put together the greatest story ever told.
He used a little place and ordinary people. Bethlehem, a stable, a manger….a little girl of only 13 years of age, named Mary…
The popular Christmas song says “O little town of Bethlehem. How still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep. The silent stars go by. Yet in the dark streets shineth. The everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years. Are met in thee tonight”.
Someone has said, "God is great in the great things, but He is really, really great in the little things."
Marriages are successful because of all the little things that each partner does. Families work best when all the little things, the everyday things are shared mutually. Churches grow and are healthy, when those many little things behind the scenes are taking place through out the week.
The Inn Keeper went the extra mile and even though it looked like a little thing, letting them use the hotel stable, to Mary and Joseph, it was pretty big! And we celebrate it, still today!
Dream big but understand the power of little….There are a lot of folks who are waiting for God to do some big thing in their life… they see it as some kind of proof that God cares… That God hears… That God is there…But what if, God is as much the God of small things as He is the God of big things? What if God doesn’t speak in the big earth shaking stuff, as much as He does in a “still, small voice”?
Jesus taught the disciples that you can know that someone will be faithful in the big important things, if they are faithful in the little things… That’s in Luke 16:10
While we are looking at quantity, God is looking at quality!!!
Gideon is a classic example… as God called him to gather an army to go against the Midianite army of over 100,000. Well, 32,000 showed up, and then God said to tell them all to go home except for the 300 men that he chose. That’s pretty uneven odds, but God brought the victory and little became much, in the fullness of His timing.
When God called Moses to stand against the might and power of Egypt, and Moses asked how they would know Yahweh had sent him, God said that little walking stick you’re holding will overcome and overwhelm the might of Egypt…. Don’t you love it when God starts leveraging big things with just a little….
The Inn Keeper reminds me that it’s the little thing that make life big….Thehappiest people in the world have learned to take joy in the little things. The laughter of a child, the silver hair of a faithful saint of God, the sound of the birds and the beauty of nature, the power of love, and the strength of friendship…our food, our home, our job, our health, our families, and so much more….
The Inn Keeper reminds me that this Christmas, I can be thankful for so many things…. I’m especially thankful for Winnie, my wife of fifty-six years, for the gift of everlasting life, for the privilege of pastoring Eagle’s Rest, for my Godly Christ loving kids, and their Christ loving kids and their kids…. for the many people who have stood with us over the years, for the good health that God has given to me, and for His hand upon the future as we move forward…. And I’m certainly thankful for all this food that I’m looking at in the back here, which so many have made possible, (but before I get you drooling to much)
God was in control of the many little things that made the Christmas story possible… I believe that it’s the many little things, that help us to understand just how much God is involved and in control of all the situations and circumstances of our lives. We just need to take a deep breath and let it out with praise, as we yield to His favor, His grace, and His mercy.
We may feel we have nothing to offer God or to impart to someone else, to accomplish what He asks of us. But if we are willing to try, God can still work miracles and make even insignificant things become the stuff of mountain moving results. Let’s believe him for some amazing Christmas miracles this year as He uses little things to leverage some big things that will transform our lives and those we love!!!
Lord, help us to see that if we will obey in the little things, You will cause the big things to come together and work out in our lives, individually and collectively. Lord, as we are faithful in the small things you will put us in charge of much. Thank you for the fullness of time when little becomes much. In Jesus name, Amen….
With Christmas just 10 calendar days away, it is the season that we can truly say, changes the atmosphere. First we see wise men whose lives were changed as they followed a star which brought them to a manger in Bethlehem.
Then Angel choirs appeared from heaven to fill the atmosphere with the news that the long-awaited Savior had been born. The atmosphere of fear, and darkness and uncertainty was replaced with the light of prophetic promise fulfilled… Peace on earth good will toward men, began to enter hearts and change lives. The rulers of darkness were served notice that the king of righteousness, truth, and kingdom values had entered earth’s atmosphere
The Christmas song says it well, “The whole world in darkness lay”…. Satan is referred to as the prince of the power of the air ( or the atmosphere) …. That atmosphere is the world system which was corrupt and ruled by the dark prince….
When Jesus came as a babe at Christmas, He stated clearly His purpose for coming to earth…. He was bringing heaven into earth. He came to change the spiritual climate…and the pervading atmosphere…
“For this purpose was the Son of God manifest, to destroy the works of the evil one!”
The High altitude atmosphere of heaven had invaded the low places of the earth!
Then God told us to pray and release the atmosphere of “His will to be done in earth as it is in heaven”…
The song “When you walk into the room” beautifully describes that… “When you walk into the room, everything changes
Darkness starts to tremble at the light that you bring
And when you walk into the room, every heart starts burning
And nothing matters more than just to sit here at your feet
and worship you. When you walk into the room, sickness vanishes as a mist
Every hopeless situation ceases to exist And when you walk into the room, the dead are quickened too ‘Cause there is resurrection life in all You do”.
Paul writes about this process of changing the atmosphere in Ephesians 2:5 “But God, has quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), v6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
That should make clear to us, our part in changing the atmosphere… The atmosphere at the high elevation of a mountain, is different than the atmosphere at the foot of the mountain. It’s about elevation.
God is declaring that if we will increase our elevation by rising up into heaven’s atmosphere, it will change the atmosphere in the earth around usas we bring heaven into the earth.
Are we giving the Lord acceptable praise…..If you only praise God when things are going well, your praise has not matured yet. If you only praise God when you feel like it, your praise has not matured yet. If you only praise God when you come to church, your praise has not matured yet. If you don’t understand that praise is Spiritual warfare, your praise has not matured yet. If you only praise God for what He does and not for who He is, your praise hasn’t matured yet….
Emotionalism and how you feel, is the lowest form of connecting with Godand it will fall short in changing the atmosphere….When I was a kid, there was a popular phrase that said… “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”
So when the bible tells us to give Him high praises, it is praise that has moved to another elevation, and has become mature and rises above the carnal mind and the emotions and fleshly feelings.
Yes, we’re not there yet as totally mature praisers, but we start praising Him whereever we are and even though we may fall short, it’s not where we set up our permanent camp. We’re growing and expanding in our praise….Oh, yes, Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and come into His courts with praise….
Matthew 6:33 But seek first (continually seek) His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you”. The mission we have been given in every situation, is changing the atmosphere…..
When the Israelites entered Canaan, God gave them a unique command,
Numbers 33:53 “And you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein, for I have given you the land to possess it”. The word that comes to my mind is “leveraging” …. God was saying, I give you my power to overwhelm the inhabitants of the land, to bring about a huge return and the very best outcome as you invest in the land I have promised you.
The command to “dispossess”, occurs 48 times in the Old Testament.
It means to replace something that is there, with something that never existed before…. To set up a new standard, To build a new culture, To serve a new king….
Look at this statement from Jesus Himself…. Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it”.
Someone was flying for the first time, in order to get home for Christmas. They were very nervous, they even lifted their feet when the plane took off to lighten the airplane…. But something happened that changed the atmosphere for them, from fearful and worried, to calm and assurance. You see, she looked up 3 seats in front of her and there sat Kenneth Copeland. Later on, he flew in his own plane, but in the early days, he had to get to meetings by flying commercial. Well, that woman knew that nothing was going to happen to THAT PLANE as long as he was on board. What happened…. Brother Copeland was carrying faith, blessed assurance, grace and favor, the presence of Christ, the anointing of an overcomer, and the ambassadorship of the kingdom…And he was there to teach her to change the atmosphere, and not be overcome by the atmosphere!
Notice it says in Ephesians 2;5 that “He has (already) quickened us together in heavenly places with Christ”
The authority and dominion which the Lord Jesus walked in, has become the right and privilege of all believers:
Jesus physically ROSE from the dead, so, we have spiritually risen above the death process that works in the earth. We are being renewed, revived and restored….
Jesus physically ASCENDED into heaven , so, we have spiritually ascended into heaven, and have access to the throne of God….
Jesus physically SAT DOWN in heaven, so, we have spiritually sat down in heaven which is a description of having access to fellowship and counsel with the Father.
One day every Christian will physically rise, ascend, and sit down in heaven, but RIGHT NOW this is true of us spiritually.
Ephesians 2:5 uses the term “Heavenly places”….What does the phrase "THE HEAVENLY PLACES" mean?
Some translations say "the heavenly realms," "the heavenly sphere," "the heavenly world," "the heavens," "the heavenlies," and "heaven."
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:2 that he was once "caught up to the third heaven." The first heaven is the atmosphere. The second heaven is space. The third heaven is the dwelling place of God. The third heaven is the same as "the heavenly places."
Ephesians 2:6 describes every Christian as seated in heaven with Christ. What does that mean for us right now?
THE CHRISTIAN NO LONGER BELONGS TO THE WORLD—HE IS GRAFTED
INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (That’s what the salvation quickening does for us)
The Bible commands us, Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. . .
Let’s call this “You can’t walk with God while holding hands with the devil”
So, let’s suppose that in a certain community lives a man and his wife who love each other very much. Across the street lives a man who develops a hatred for the woman’s husband. One night he invades their home and kills the husband. Although he is arrested, a loophole in the law allows him to escape punishment, and he is released to return to the community. Now imagine that in a few short weeks you see the widow and her husband’s murderer walking down the street together. Her hand is holding his hand and she looks lovingly into his face. She says to him, "I’m so happy now that I’m with you." What would you say about a woman like that? Surely you would brand her as a traitor and disloyal to her husband’s memory and unworthy to have born his name.
We must never forget that this godless world hated Jesus enough to kill Himand keep you out of the kingdom. How can a person say they love the Lord and walk hand in hand with Satan’s system.
I know, some would say, but pastor, we should love our enemies…The bible says, 1 John 2:15 “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them".
Christ commissioned Paul to go to the Gentiles Acts 26:18 "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and FROM THE POWER OF SATAN UNTO GOD".
Our calling is now and always, to change the atmosphere. The reason you have been under such heavy attacks from the enemy, is because he knows that you have the potential to change the atmosphere and sway people’s hearts towards God. So he sets up detours, and pitfalls and snares along the way. He hits you with matters of the heart, for he knows that where your heart is, your treasure is also… He distracts, he manipulates, he deceives and gets you so busy, you don’t take care of important things because you’reto busy fighting alligators!!!
Satan’s greatest fear is that you will become what God always intended for you to be….
Philippians 3:20 (The Passion Bible) Paul talks about this " But we are the people of heaven on earth as we cling tightly to our life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
The Christian lives a life which overcomes the world. 1 John 5:4-5 "WHATSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMES THE WORLD: AND THIS IS THE SOURCE OF OUR VICTORY "
I hope you know that when you go to the store, there’s a greater reason than the milk, bread and eggs on your list…. When you go to the mechanicyou’re going for a greater reason than getting your car fixed… When you’re on the job, you’re there for much more than a pay check. God has put you there to change the atmosphere!
What is it that has captured your heart, your affections, your desires?
A man once found a $100 bill on the street and he resolved that from that time on he would never lift his eyes while walking. He went a step further and bought a metal detector. The paper went on to say that over the years he had found, 29,516 metal buttons, 54,172 bottle caps, 15,000 nails, two sets of false teeth, a nose ring, 18 pennies, a bent back, and a miserable disposition. But he also lost something—the glory of sunrise and sunset, the radiance of the stars, the smiles of friends, and the wonder of the world all around him.
I’m afraid that some Christians are like that man. While they may not walk around, constantly staring at the ground, they are so engrossed with the things of this life that they give little attention to heavenly values. How can they change the atmosphere anywhere….?
The secular Christian thinks only about the “desires” of their fleshly nature. The secular Christian may appear to be spiritual, but they only want things of the spirit that satisfy or glorify them…. “God, give me an ‘A’ on this test.” “God, get me this job I want.” “God, give me this promotion.” “God, take away this sickness, because I don’t like feeling SICK.”
A secular Christian may believe in God and pray for things, but God is only a means to their “personal desires.” (what about, that God may be glorified in your healing)
James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may have what you get for your own pleasures.” You can’t give something you don’t have…. You can’t call others to a place you have not come to yourself… You can’t teach what you have not learned…You can’t impart what you have not received….
The transformed Christian is no longer under the control of the world and Satan, He is under the control of heaven, through the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, WHO HAS BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST”.
A truly born-again person desires what the Spirit of God desires. They ultimately want God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. They understand that when they seek first the kingdom, then all these other things shall be added unto them….
Romans 8:6 “They who seek the things of the Spirit shall receive the fruit of life and peace”. Do you see this…. When you put God first, all that you need is supplied unto you…..
There is a wonderful statement in Ephesians, about changing the atmosphere in the earth, and creating an open heaven…. Ephesians 1:19 “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power unto us who believe. These are the working of His strength and His might v20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places”.
Strength and might are two attributes that flood the atmosphere where His presence is. Strength and might are released into the spirit of God’s people enabling them to cast off their burdens and supernaturally believe the impossible is possible. It ushers us into a “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”! Samson changed the atmosphere and brought down the house…. He shook himself and Strength and might became manifest in his life…. As a result, he changed the environment from one of oppression, captivity, bondage and intimidation by the Philistines, to one of liberty, praise, worship and fulfillment of destiny!
Oh, what an amazing thing it is to see the glory of the King saturate a place and to witness the release of His holy zeal that transforms downcast souls into mighty ones! Strength and might come when we usher in His presence, when the mighty ones “give unto the Lord, the glory due to His name,” when we “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
When the atmosphere changes, repentance comes! Yes! The Spirit of Truth begins to convict our hearts, and causes folks to be conscious of righteousness and holiness…. The Spirit of Truth is manifested to reveal things hidden and things veiled in shadows. In this atmosphere, believers who are bound by deceptions and dark manipulations, step into the light and are released from the weights and encumbrances which have hindered and distracted them.
A holy zone is ushered in, where amazing things happen and transformation can take place. Bondages are broken, the light of heaven begins to shine, truth has the power of penetration and lives are changed forever.
It is an atmosphere where every knee must bow, and every tongue must confess the Lordship of Jesus to the glory of God…..
It’s like throwing a stone in a lake and the circle of change gets bigger and bigger and the ripples get wider and wider until they touch every part of the lake.
Listen to David’s declaration of a change in the atmosphere in
Psalm 29 Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders. The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon. And in His temple everyone says, "Glory!" The LORD sits enthroned over the Flood, and the LORD sits as King forever. The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with His Shalom.
David is likening an open heaven like a great wall of water breaking through and flowing over everything. Imagine rivers of waters breaking the banks, overflowing the land, and overturning all that stands in its way. The force of nature is overwhelming when it comes to tsunami, tornado, hurricane or flood… David is using these forces in a good way to describe an atmosphere of God breaking in upon the world systems. What can stand against it, and what can hold it back….. Nothing!
In an atmosphere of breakthrough, everything of heaven in earth is intensified and amplified. Everything increases because the atmosphere of breakthrough has come! Expect a new level of ministry, of gifting, of signs, of the anointing, of wonders, of healings, of miracles, of finances, of wisdom, of revelation, of understanding, and of destiny in your life! Expect more than you have experienced before….. I have experienced it and I know what it is like.
Heaven collides with the world system, which has held your job, your home, your community in it’s grip…. Do you need wisdom and direction? Do you want to take your spiritual experience a couple of mega notches upward? Are there brass doors, bars of iron, or hard, impenetrable ground that has prevented breakthrough of any kind in your life – it has withheld your financial break through, spiritual break through, or a break through in the areas of healing and deliverance? Do you have a heart for souls but haven’t seen the harvest? Genesis tells us that at a time when the earth was without form and void, God spoke forth and His words collided with the chaos and the darkness…..He spoke forth and commanded “LET THERE BE LIGHT”! And the atmosphere changed…. Light broke through, boundaries were established for all things, harmony and order began to take the place of a chaotic earth as the darkness was driven back….
God is causing a great exchange to take place through His agents in the earth. The words that drove back the darkness, the chaos, and the toxic atmosphere in Genesis, is in our Spirit now, waiting to be spoken out of our mouths.
Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.
Sometimes letting go of the old so we can receive the new thing of God that will change the atmosphere, and usher in the fulfillment of all that God has promised, is our greatest challenge. We want what we’re comfortable with, while at the same time we desire what deep down, we know He has in store for us. But this new wine cannot be contained in the old containers of our comfort zones. May we be so consumed with His pleasure in and through us, that it will neutralize the strength of our need to hang on. Lord, we let Go! That we may receive every good and perfect thing which comes from the Father who now invites us to enter in ….
Let me close with the words Paul received of the Lord…..
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in your weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me”.
Paul is describing a mature faith, which fully understands the concept… “Not I but Christ in me, the hope of glory”.
He is declaring that we must never give in to the fallacy that we can ever do it without His working through us. Remember that with all the miracles, signs, and awesome works of God, Paul experienced, he said that he counted his life as “dung” without the power of Christ. It is this complete surrender and submission which brought the power of God into and through Paul’s life.
The donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem knew that all the applause wasn’t for him, but it was only because he was bringing Jesus into town that there was anything to celebrate….We must be like that donkey, our job is to bring Jesus everywhere we can, and He’ll do the rest! The quickest way to destroy the heavenly atmosphere, is to start thinking that you are some great thing, because God is using you. When we feel like it all depends on us, we have opened the door to paralyzing fear, intimidation, doubt, guilt and limitations everywhere we go and in everything we do….Hey, we are just the mail man, delivering the mail. Just be God’s delivery system, and there is no end to what He can do in your life!!!
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”.
I want to close with this prophetic word God put in my spirit… I wrote it down…
This is the hour that Jesus is shaking up our world view. And I am so glad He is!! I see Him calling out to many who have been sick, frail, in tremendous pain, weak, wounded, plundered and some even left for dead. He says over us, “Dead bones – (our life, our families, our churches) – COME TOGETHER. Be joined, built up and restored.” And there is a rattling sound happening now. Right Now Today! With every connection and organ and cell in place working properly. Be brought together and be made whole.” And we are coming together, we are being healed and being united. We are being given the strength to stand in the brilliant, transformative truth that is pouring through us and regenerating us.
“Breath of the Spirit – fill with Life! It is time. Now is the time. So, Arise My Love! The grave and the grip of death, which wants to send us backward instead of forward, no longer has a hold! It’s time to dance!! Sing with me as I sing with you, Beautiful songs of the Spirit arise. As we Praise, see what He is about to do! The bells of Freedom are ringing!” Shouts that shatter barriers and break down dividing walls have been amplified! Holy Spirit, enter into us in a fresh visitation. Open wide our hearts and spirits to You. Help our unbelief. We invite You into our bodies, minds and desires. Strengthen our spirits to be able to receive revelation of who You really are and Your great design, in and through us.
Open the dusty drawers, clean out things in our closets that simply clutter and take up space, with no purpose or profit. Cleanse, purge, prune us of all that is not of You. Reveal to us the places we are full of unbelief or pride, fear or doubt, anger or bitterness. Root it all out, Jesus. Plow up our hearts to be ready with good soil for all the seeds of Your Word You want to plant in us. Fruitful, beautiful things from You that can now grow and abound. We now take up the weapons, tools and authority You have given us and bring every thought captive for Christ. We now receive creative designs, fresh insight, new direction, and knowledge and wisdom that is from above. To the praise of Your glorious grace!
What is amazing is that the bible was written by 44 different writers, who wrote 66 books over a period of 1,500 years. The proof that the real author behind the writers, is God almighty, because its inspiration has caused it to be in perfect harmony and sequence.. and that, in spite of all attempts to destroy it, since the first book was written, 3,400 years ago, it is preserved in it’s accurate form for us to receive and learn from today.
That same Holy Spirit is in us to inspire us today….
I want to begin where we ended last Sunday, as we closed with Peter at Cornelius’ house. A Roman and a Centurion who would never even be on Peter’s radar, if it hadn’t been for God giving him a wake up call, changing his priorities and his value system, and rewriting his story.
Acts 10:34 “Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though anyone was excluded from His blessing], v35 but in every place and time, the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and favored by Him”.
I begin with a story of two lives that came together at Christmas.It’s about two students, that through a brief encounter, would cause one boy’s values to forever change. One boy, Larry, now an older man, said, "when he was in elementary school, they did a Secret Santa. All the kids drew a name and then they exchanged presents the last day before Christmas break". His parents went out and bought a nice new toy to give to the child whose name he had drawn. His mom wrapped it up real pretty and the kid loved the present that received it." He then said, he went and found his present from a boy he didn’t really know. It had been wrapped with newspaper. He opened it and it was a dirty, little match box car with the paint all chipped and it looked like it was well used. Larry said "I was very upset that I had given such a nice gift and he had put so little effort into his". I felt cheated until later he learned that the kid lived in the slums. His mom was sick and his daddy had left them years before. They barely had enough money to have heat and food and when I realized he had given me one of his only few toys. I felt ashamed for the way I treated him when I got the gift. I only learned how poor he was after he quit coming to school and we were told his mom had died and he had been sent to foster care. I never saw him again. But I kept this little car all these years because I know it was the best present I have ever gotten in my life.
A moment when two stories merged at one of life’s intersections and Larry walked away with new understanding about the great exchange that God is working out in our lives every day if we could only see it.
We’ve been talking about how God deliberately authored His book so that the stories He included, could be the story of any one of us. I’m thinking of another character in the bible whose story could be our story also...
Because when we look at the story of Isaac, and Ishmael, we see something very significant. The Jewish custom said that the right to be the head of the family went to the first born, and yet, it was Isaac, the second born, that God said would receive the first bornblessing. I say this because his story is our story. God chooses whom he will, God has no second born, but we are all the first born of Christ, and heirs of the promise. We are highly favored, and blessed as the firstborn of the King. We see this also with Joseph and with David as well. Though they had many brothers ahead of them, it was they whom God chose to lead the tribes if Israel. (tell someone, “You are highly favored”)
Our true inheritance is not based on our natural birth, but our spiritual birth, when we became the children of God through Christ….and joint heirs. Our Spiritual birth covenant is greater than our natural birth covenant. Your natural birth covenant is contaminated with generational stuff, and the curse which was passed down to all of us through Adam. But our Spiritual birth covenant passes through Christ the second Adam, who cleansed, redeemed, and replaced the old blood line. Opening a new stream of blessing.
Romans 8:17 “And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in these momentary tests and trials we also share in His glory”.
A florist got the flowers mixed up and the arrangement which was for the grand opening of a business, was accidentally sent to a funeral. When the family came up to admire the flowers which many had sent, they read the card attached to the arrangement which was sent to the wrong place. The card said, “Congratulation On Your New Location”….How accurate for the person who has received Christ as their savior….. It assures us that there is much more beyond!!!!! (I want one of those messages)
Somebody shout…. “There’s more beyond”…. We are the living, who are going toward live more abundant!!
The story of Jacob is our story… Things didn’t look too promising in the beginning. Some bad decisions were made (we’ve all made them) His past tried to attach itself to him like super glue and define who he was. His history tried to block his destiny, and there was always someone or something there to remind him that his reality would always fall short of his dreams. His delays tried to design his future. You read his story, and it could be your story, couldn’t it. Working and never making any headway, giving it your best only to see someone else get the credit and the reward...
But God recorded his story, because there are a lot of Jacob’s who have refused to give up, and they keep on pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ. They believe there’s more beyond… And that having done the will of God, they will reap the reward. Jacob was faithful in the ordinary things, so God gave him some super natural things.
Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us v19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”.
I like the Phillips translation of this verse:
“The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”
A family moved from the city to the country and besides a huge pecan tree, there were no other trees on their property. It was all pasture land, so the father, after seeing an add for assorted plants for sale, ordered all sorts of berry and fruit trees at great prices at the local farm supply. He ordered blueberry and blackberry bushes and a number of apple, peach and plum and pear trees. When it came time to pick up the order, their neighbor asked if he could pick hers up, too. He told her he would be glad to and he rented a second truck, for his wife to drive, that way they could fit it all in.
When they got to the farm supply they were surprised to find the loading area empty except for some little bundles of twigs tied with string. He asked where his order was and the attendant led him to one of those bundles. They were bare root cuttings, which took up hardly any space. You could easily lift 3 bundles with one hand.
He told the attendant that he felt silly bringing a truck to pick up the order. It was then that he noticed a man behind him. The guy said “Don’t feel bad; I brought a tractor trailer to get my trees and bushes.”
My point here is….Right now, it may not look like much, but where you are, is full of super natural potential, and it’s a lot more than what it appears to be! Little is much when God is in it, because it is not just natural, it has supernatural potential and possibility!!! The little woman only had a little meal and oil, but God saw enough. In her hands it was insufficient but in the prophet’s hands it was enough. It just depended on whose hands it was in!
Five loaves and two fish in the little boys hands was not enough, but in Jesus’ hands it would feed a multitude! It just depended on whose hands it was in!! When all was said and done, he went home with 12 basket fulls of left over bread and fish….
Now that’s abundance. Your abundance is contained in your obedience. God has never gotten to the check out and realized He didn’t have enough to pay for it… We don’t need to have a whole lot to have the Lord work through us. We just need to be willing to give Him whatever it is we have.
When we meet the needs of others, He makes sure our needs are met….
When the Hebrews got to the promised land, spies were sent in to scope out the land and you know the story of how they had one cluster of grapes that took two men to carry on a pole. They said, “truly this is a land of milk and honey. It’s everything God promised us it was. BUT….. (look out for the BUTS) There are giants in the land, and walled cities, and we are grasshoppers in their sight!
The giants of insufficiency, sickness and infirmity, lack, intimidation, the past, (and on and on we could go) will say “No way” you can have your dreams, your hopes, the destiny God has promised.
A nation hung in the balance, which story would they believe?Would they buy into the fear and unbelief, that ignored the story God had written out for them, or would they listen to another story? The story of a man named Caleb, who said “We are well able to go in and possess it”!!!
Outnumbered, and definitely in the minority, One man’s story was about to change the destiny of an entire nation. One man’s faith was about to turn history around and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!
Caleb’s story was attached to Abraham’s covenant, Isaac’s covenant, and Jacob’s covenant. What was spoken to them, was now flowing thru him!
What was spoken to them is now waiting to flow thru us!!
A pastor was driving with his children to his wife's funeral where he was going to do the service. As they came into the small town and stopped at the light. A large bus pulled up beside of them, and blocked the sun and it’s shadow covered them and went into the lot across the street. The dad told his children, who were feeling the loss of their mom, "Do you see that big bus, see how its shadow completely blocks the sun and covers us?”. If you had to be run over, would you rather be run over by the bus or by the shadow?" His youngest child said, "The shadow can't hurt anybody." "That's right," the dad continued, "and death is like that bus, If you have accepted Christ as your saviour, the shadow is all that ever touches you. Jesus was hit by the bus, so that we only get hit by the shadow."
Whatever we are going through, Jesus took the hit, so we only have to deal with the shadows. The Psalmist wrote…“Though I walk through the valley of the shadows I will not fear, for Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. You go before me and prepare a table in the presence of my enemies.”
Remember that Fear, means False evidence appearing real!
That’s not just the Psalmist’s story, it’s also your story!
Hey, let’s move forward in time….Billy Graham’s dad was just a North Carolina farmer, who joined with some neighbor farmers, for years, to pray for someone to be raise up that would bring revival to the nations. (little could he know that the answer was in his own house, as he raised Billy with a heart after God) There’s a miracle in your house, God has appointed you to care for it, to bring it to maturity!
Reinhart Bonkee, was a poor German missionary in Africa. Struggling to reach a handful of people, when he discovered that they loved getting their own bible. So he began to give out bibles and training courses. The demand was everywhere he went. Eventually he brought in T.L. Osborn who was well known internationally for his miracle ministry. Everything was set, thousands gathered and after one night, T.L. announced that he had to leave and turned the crusade over to Bonkee. The missionary had never done anything like this, but he pushed ahead and God showed up. The rest is history, with millions being reached for Christ. God’s story for one man became the story for the nation of Africa and America also…..
Your story is not just about you. God has something much bigger in mind as He is writing. Keep going, keep believing, keep obeying. You’re going to be so amazed when you look in the rear view mirror!
1 Corinthians 2:9: “But it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him”.
On the afternoon of April 18, 1775 a young stable boy hurriedly ran down the Boston streets until he came to the silversmith shop of Paul Revere. He reported that he had overheard some British army officers talking about an event that was to happen the next day.
Earlier in the day he had heard some information that came from the men who worked the wharves of the Boston harbor. They had taken notice of two ships in the Boston harbor, the Somerset and the Boyne, two of (His Majesty’s Ships) from Great Britain. The British officers had carelessly discussed some plans that would lead to the arrest of colonial leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington.
After getting the information, Paul Revere and his close friend Joseph Warren determined to do something with the informationand the rest is history. Paul Revere took to his horse and rode through the streets of Boston and on to the other towns along the way on his mid-night ride. He rode through Charlestown, Medford, North Cambridge, and Arlington before reaching Lexington. He sounded the alarm, “The British are coming! The British are coming!”
Before long, church bells started ringing, drums begin beating and the news fanned out all over the countryside. The news ran on through Lincoln by one A.M., Sudbury by three, Andover by five, and by nine it had reached as far west as Ashby, near Worcester.
When the British finally begin their march on April 19, 1775, they were shocked and stunned by the resistance they found from the minutemen and the patriots along the way. Resistance was organized and fierce and the militia soundly defeated the British. From that incident came the American Revolution that would start the steps toward an American nation.
We all know of “The midnight ride of Paul Revere” and yet, no one knows the name of the young stable boy who first sounded the alarm. Or the workers on the wharves who first saw what was about to take place and began to speak it out so that it could get in the hands of someone who knew what to do about it, but history is glad they did…. Abraham’s story is our story….Can you imagine Abraham’s thoughts when God told him that nations were within, he and Sarah? They had no children, they were well past child bearing, they were living in tents out in the desert. Then God changes their names to match the story He was writing for them. Certainly folks must have been laughing behind their backs when Abraham, this childless old man introduced himself… “Hi, I’m Abraham….(his name meant “Father of Nations”….
We like Abraham, don’t even understand right now, what’s inside of us. But God is writing our future, and he is overriding our past, and he is planning out some miracles, signs and wonders that are part of that, in order for it all to come together in His perfect timing.
Stop worrying about the delays, the interruptions, the road blocks and the detours. Those are all seen by the father, and He has already written in.. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord”!!!!
“With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible”….
A dying man asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place he was going when he died. As the doctor thought of a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer. "Do you hear that?" he asked his patient. "It's my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has gotten impatient, and has come up because he hears my voice. He has never been allowed in this room, and has no idea what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here, and that’s enough to make him want to be in here with me.
Isn't it the same with us? We don't know all that lies beyond the Door of the future, but we know that our Master is there." AND THAT’S ENOUGH! Stay faithful where you are, He is the rewarder. You have no idea of what God can do right where you are and where He has stationed you right now at this point in your life…. It’s not about the job, it’s not about a lot of things you think it is… There’s a much bigger picture!!!
Friend, as long as the Master has written your story and recorded it all in His book, the bible….I can tell you that your future holds so much in store! There’s always more beyond, and it’s more than you could think or ask or imagine! You’re in the right place at the right time!
He is working all things out for your good and His glory!!!
I close where we started…Acts 10:34 “Now I know that God is no respecter of persons” (What He has done for anyone else, He will do for everyone else).
Begin now to thank God that where you are is right where you need to be, because it is connected to the glorious story that He has written for you. He is turning stumbling stones into stepping stones, failure into favor, disappointment into Divine Appointments!!!
We are all part of one another’s story, the people, places, events and personal experiences. Most folks grow up, not understanding that it is their choice, as to who will be influential in their own world view. We choose which values we retain and which we discard in forming our own life values. That process can elevate us or bring us down. Ladies check out one another’s homes to see what they can learn in setting up their own home…. Guys are checking out your car, your gun collection, or your big screen TV….. We are borrowing from each other’s story….. Jesus came to earth so we could borrow from His story, how to live the best life possible here and in eternity too!!
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful (to us) for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness”.
One morning in 1888 Alfred opened up the paper and read his own obituary. His obituary was printed as a result of a simple error. You see, it was his brother that had died and his name and picture was published instead of his brother. But to Alfred the real shock was because the obituary showed him himself, as the world saw him. The "Dynamite King," it said, the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune from explosives. This, was how the public saw the entire purpose of Alfred's life. None of his greater efforts to break down the barriers that separated people and ideas for the purpose of peace were recognized or given serious consideration. He was simply a merchant of destruction, and that’s how he would be remembered. As he saw himself as others saw him, It became adefining moment in which he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. In His last will and testament—he provided an endowment of five annual prizes for outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, and peace (the sixth category of economics was added later)—It would continue to be awarded after he was gone. This would be the expression of his life's ideals and ultimately would be why we would now remember him. The result was the most valuable and sought after awards given to those who had done the most for the cause of world peace. Today, the world knows Alfred Nobel, as the provider of the "Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded 5 times each year."
When he saw himself through the eyes of others, It allowed him to change who he was and how he would be remembered….. Acts 13:36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, and rested among his fathers…”
The Bible is a mirror, which is filled with stories of people’s lives, with parables, life values and eternal, unchanging truth.
When I look at the story of David, I read his story, but as I see the good and bad, I ask myself if I am just reading about David, or am I reading my story through the life principles which God ispresenting to me through the life of David.
I am often, just like David, oblivious to the bigger picture that God is painting for my life. I am often unaware, like he was, that God is using the delays and interruptions, the valleys and the mountain tops, the failures and successes, to shape and mold me and to refine the rough spots as He polishes the gifts, and skill sets He has given me.
I see David falling down and getting back up… and using the experiences to rise to the next occasion. I see him as he allows his heart to overwhelm his head, as he let’s his emotions cancel out common sense, as he shoots before he aims. But with all he did, it is David killing Goliath, David and his mighty men, David the Psalmist shepherd, David the heart after God, David the flawed, the falling short, the failure, but still chosen and used mightly by God…..
And I realize that His story is written out, with all the good and bad, to help me with my story. To know that God is greater than my short comings and my failures. He chooses imperfect people, to show His power and His might. And I realize that He does this so that He might get the greater glory.
It’s not just David’s story, it is also our story. And that story is bigger than the different places in it. We are more than our parts, because when we are weak, He is strong. When we are uncertain, He is all knowing…. Our times are in His hands….I must be careful that I don’t judge God’s working in my story, by any given place or time that I may be passing through at the moment.
I can face the future in Faith because God has a greater purpose than any delays of the moment. Faith is believing God for what you cannot see….
I recall Linda when we first came to Key West, and she was single and all her friends were married with kids, and her concern was that she still hadn’t found Mister right in her life. I remember we encouraged her that God has perfect timing for each of our stories. And that story is already written If we will be open and receptive. Winnie then prophesied over her, and described the man God was sending to her, now we know that it described Craig perfectly, even though it would be years before they would meet….and Craig was hundreds of miles away and we had lost touch with him. Then the Lord directed Craig’s story so that he came to Key West. Our family was walking along the beach at Bahia Honda, when Chris ran up to us and said that he saw Craig and Linda walking towards us, holding hands. When they saw us they dropped each others hands, but we laughed and let them know that God had told us that day was part of what He had written, years earlier….(I think Linda would say it was worth the wait)!!!
Whose story is it?..... His Story, is working through our story, and we are the instruments He has chosen to use, and work through. He is the hand and we are the glove, that he puts on and moves with and through. The glove cannot do anything separate from the hand….He’s laying out even the small details of our lives. Each connection, each relationship, each contact….
There is a statue of Christopher Columbus in the town in Spain, where he died in 1506. At the base of the statue is a lion that is destroying one of the Latin words that were part of Spain's motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought *…..they had reached the outer limits of earth. So their motto was "Ne Plus Ultra," which means "No More Beyond."
The word being torn away by the lion is the word,"Ne" or "no". With that word removed, it now reads "Plus Ultra." Columbus had proven that there was indeed "more beyond."
Whose story is it? It’s not just Columbus’s story, it’s you’re story and my story…. Other’s may see your story and say, “that’s all they’ll ever be, there’s no more”. “That’s all they’ll ever accomplish, there’s no more”…. “They’ll never change or be different, there’s no more”…. “Their marriage will never make it”…. But the Lion of Judah is tearing away the “No more”…from our story and if we believe His version of our story, He is letting us know that “There is much more beyond”…..
I recall when I boarded the train for Bible College, full of concern and feeling unprepared for what was ahead. I had sold my 1959 Ford Fairlane convertible with a T-Bird engine, to buy a ticket, pay off my bills and get some spending money. I had never been on a train, and I got off at the wrong stop at a loading platform, on a dirt road, in the middle of a hundred acres of corn field in Pennsylvania.
I’m thinking as the train disappears, that I had reached the end of my journey on a loading platform, by a dirt road with corn as far as you could see, and no one would ever know what happened to me… But God said “There is more beyond”….. “I didn’t bring you this far to leave you”….and as I stood there in the hot sun, a cloud of dust came down that dirt road and it was a cab, being driven by a cabbie that had attended the very college I was trying to get to. He turned off the meter and he took me to the front steps of the college, 2 hours drive away.
I had 20 dollars to my name and the driver said, “whateveryou’ve got, That will be enough”…. Look at someone and say, “God says, whatever you’ve got is enough, I can get you there with that”….
When Alexander the Great was getting ready to march out on his conquest of Asia, he was concerned about the families of those who followed him. He inquired into their finances during their time away from home. To ensure that they would be able to provide, he distributed crown estates and revenues among them. When he had given out nearly all the royal resources, his friend General Perdi-cas asked Alexander what he had left for himself. I leave "Hope," for myself answered the king.
"In that case," said Perdi-cas, "we who share in your labors will also choose to partake in your hopes as our share." He then refused the estate allotted to him, and several other of the king's friends did the same. When the crusade was over, those who chose hope, received far more than those who had accepted the Caesar’s other gifts at the beginning…..
Peter had been on the roof and saw a vision where God let down a sheet with every kind of unclean animal. God said take and eat. Peter was disgusted and said “No way Hosea”…. (I’m paraphrasing) Then God let him understand because someone showed up and asked him to come to Cornelius’ house. Now that’s a hoot, because Cornelius was a Gentile, and on top of that he was a Roman Centurion. In Peter’s Jewishness, those were to “Not very good” things. But Peter obeyed, they all received Christ, and were filled with the Holy Spirit. It was then that Peter wrote these words in Acts 10:34 “Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though anyone was excluded from His blessing], v35 but in every place and time, the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and favored by Him”.
God swore an oath that He would stand behind His word and scripture says because there was none higher that He could swear by, He swore by Himself, to watch over His word and perform it….
God did that to guarantee that your story could have the best outcome possible as you follow His word and the inspired promptings of His Spirit within you. It is your GPS that is built into you. Peter had a vision, you may have dreams, inner promptings, words from friends and associates, or an actual prophecy. I have picked up a magazine, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me through it, or TV, or radio, but whatever, we have been given a guide within to help us in writing our story….
Seek and you WILL find, Ask and it WILL be given, Knock and the door WILL be opened!