The picture on the screen appears to be a red car parked beside a white van, but it is actually a red car painted on the side of a white van….
Other things we could mention….A banana tree is not a tree – it is an herb… A cucumber is not a vegetable – it is a fruit… A shooting star is not a star – it is a meteorite… A koala bear is not a bear – it is a marsupial…. A firefly is not a fly – it is a beetle…. A horned toad is not a toad – it is a lizard…. A lead pencil does not contain lead – it contains graphite…. A prairie dog is not a dog – it is a rodent … Chop suey is not a Chinese dish – it was created in California… A Mexican jumping bean is not a bean – it is a seed with a larva inside… And that is just a few…
Speaking of things not being as they appear….
I am reminded of Billy Graham’s statement that in order to tell the difference between counterfeit money and the real thing, Federal agents don’t have to study all the counterfeit currency that has been printed, they only need to study the real thing, and when theyknow the real thing, they will be able to spot the counterfeit and will never be fooled again. The word of God, breathed by the Holy Spirit, exposes deception and lies….and to anyone who takes the time to know the truth, it will reveal all that is false….(Things are not as they appear)
If you know that water causes light to slow down and bend whichcauses it to magnify anything in it, then you understand why things appear larger under water… In the same way, the carnal mind with it’s carnal logic, also bends the light of truth, so that negative things appear larger than they actually are in reality! We must have our minds and eyes recalibrated by the truth of God’s word, in order to see and perceive things accurately!
If we went by appearances, we would think that the Holiday which we celebrate this weekend, was National Play Day… but it is a lot more than that. It is not as it may appear…. On May 5, 1868, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866 and was recognized because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which all businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flagsand honored them with special tributes. Originally the nation was asked to take time at 3 pm on that day to offer prayer, for all who are affected by those who gave their lives. Let’s take time to place flowers on monuments today or tomorrow and get back to honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom to worship God according to our personal convictions, in a moment of prayer….
Next, as we consider things that are not as they appear, look with me at,
Mark 12:41 “Jesus sat down across from the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. v42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. v43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. v44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
There were many who thought that giving more meant that God would bless them more, but Jesus watched some folks put more in the offering than the widow, but He elevated the poor widow’s small amount above all the others. Jesus was letting us know that He did not judge by the amount that people gave, but what percentage their giving was, compared to what they had…. She gave all….
The Lord was praising the fact that she sought first His kingdom and His righteousness with all that she had and all that she did…..
When we give our voices, our time, our service, kindness, compassion and we give the best we have… (God knows what our best gift should look like)…..He also measures our motive in giving…. He measures a generous heart and spirit… He measures the faith that is behind the gift…. He measures with the measurement of faithfulness… Give generously, Give in faith, Give faithfully, and it shall be given unto you!!!!
Sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not what they
appear to be….
There was once a man who was ship-wrecked and stranded on an island. Every day he prayed, asking God to send someone to rescue him, but to his disappointment, no one ever came. Months passed and this man learned how to survive on the island. During this time, he accumulated things from the island and stored them in a hut that he constructed. One day after hunting for food and returning back to his hut, much to his dismay he saw that his hut was on fire along with everything else he owned! The only thing he had left were the clothes he had on. Initially he was in shock, and then he was consumed with anger and rage! In his anger he threw a fist into the air and began cursing God and yelling, “God, how could you let this happen to me? I’ve been praying every day for months about being rescued and no one has come, and now everything that I have is on fire! How could you do to this to me! Why did you let this happen?” As the man was on his hands and knees weeping, he happened to look up and a boat was headed in his direction. The man was rescued and the captain told him that they were out in the ocean when they noticed a column of smoke going up. When we checked it out, that’s when we found you!” (Things are not as they appear)
Matthew 16:24 “Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny(surrender) himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”.
This tells me that our victory will sometimes come disguised as a cross… So, keep in mind that what the devil has meant for evil, God has intended for your good! What looks like a disaster, can be a blessing in disguise. What looks like a huge mistake can line you up for miracles.
I call this “How to keep releasing the victory that is in embedded in your challenges”…
1. Give more than you receive and do it cheerfully.
2. Don't believe everything you hear,
3. When you say, "I love you," mean it.
4. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
5. Don't judge people by their relatives or their appearance.
6. Instead of complaining, quote a scripture.
7. Say "God bless you" often and sincerely.
8. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
9. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
10. When you lose, don't lose the lesson you needed to learn.
11. Spend time alone, just listening to God each day.
12. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
So you just learned that your new job is not exactly what you thought it would be? Maybe you learned that one of your friends is much different than you thought they were? Or, maybe you discovered that your savings account has more zeroes than numbers….. and the zeroes are in front of the numbers and not behind them… Do you add labels to names and steam and fret and rehash it and obsess over it?
Well Poopsi, welcome to a sin cursed, fallen world, with fallen people.
What do you do when like Moses, you felt that you were following God’s leading and you were hearing His voice and putting the plan He gave you into action, but you have come to the Red Sea at flood stage….
Well take a look at it…..The people are placing all the blame on Moses….. The people voiced their longing to just go back to Egypt and call the whole thing off . But Moses cried out to God…..and God showed up, and He showed up big. God graciously made the impossible possible by parting the waters and leading His people victoriously over those who were opposing Him. (You see we often make it about us, but it is really God’s plan that He’s working through us, that they are opposing). Satan doesn’t just want to stop you, he wants to kill you and everyone who believes in you…
And why did that all happen?
So that God would receive glory (Exodus 14:18 “And all Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen”.
God placed you there to get Him the glory, when things went side-ways, and weren’t the way they appeared to be…He was setting you up to see diamonds made from lumps of coal!!!
What is it in your life that is not what it appeared to be? Who is it in your life that is not what he or she appeared to be? God has allowed you to be in that situation to bring him glory…. He wants to show up and He wants to show up Big!!!GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD!!
Let me submit to you a scripture in Romans 4:17, "As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, (Abraham had no children yet) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were."
Notice that God says, "He makes alive the dead, and calls those things that are not, (are not in existence yet,) as though they were already in existence.
He says we are to call things that do not yet appear….as though they were…
That tells me that we are not to go by the appearance of things, but call things that do not yet appear! OR CHANGE THE APPEARANCE OF THINGS!!
Mark 11:22-24 (Bible in Basic English" translation), "And Jesus, answering, said to them, Have God's faith. Truly I say to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and be put into the sea; and has no doubt in his heart, but has faith that what he says will come about, he will have his desire. For this reason I say to you, Whatever you make a request for in prayer, have faith that it has been given to you, and you will have it."
Notice that the Greek meaning here can be expressed, "to have the God kind of faith," or "use God's kind of faith." Now if Jesus is teaching us that we should actually use God's Faith... and make no mistake, He is saying to do that... then, we should use God's faith in the same way that God uses it.... by speakingand declaring!
Let's look at the rest of the verse... notice He says, "whoever will say."
It IS to anyone that will "say!" The qualifier is that you be willing to speak God's Word over the situation! And, notice, He is not saying talk ABOUT the situation, He is saying rather to talk TO the situation, or thing! You must "say to the mountain"what you want it to do!
A lot of people are simply not willing to "say it!" They won't speak their faith, because of Satan’s intimidation tactics…
2 Corinthians 4:13 makes this clear as well, "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore we speak."
We believe, therefore we speak!
We speak in a manner that changes the appearance of a thing, and brings Glory and Honor to God!
Opportunities are not entitlements; they are privileges to be used for God’s glory….
Things may not happen instantaneously, but they will happen at the right time for maximum results…. What we must understand is that when we refuse to go by how things may appear, but we speak words of faith which are founded upon God’s word and His will. We set in motion a process which can then bring it to pass….Things begin to appear, that had not appeared before….
Consider James 3:6 "And the tongue is a fire, among our members, and it sets on fire the course of nature”…
In the original Greek, this is translated, (it sets in motion the cycle of natural events). Just as Satan uses the very power of your own words against you, so likewise God uses the power of your words to work in your behalf to set things in motion to bless you and fulfill His plan in your behalf!
The problem with so many is that they see their need to follow Christ, but they never make the decision to allow that challenge to affect the way they live their lives….
There was a large group of people gathered. They were divided by a fence which ran between them. On one side of the group stood Jesus. On the other side stood Satan. Both Jesus and Satan had each had gathered a group of people.
But many had climbed on the fence and were content to sit on it and not make a commitment. Satan and his group were about to leave, when he suddenly stopped and looked straight at those on the fence and said “You can come with me now." They said, "But we have chosen to sit on the fence. We didn’t choose to follow anyone." And Satan said, "But what you didn’t understand is that I own the fence." Many have thought that sitting on the fence in their Christian walk was being neutral, but no action is the same as the guy who drove the car while the thieves went in to rob the bank. He can try to say he didn’t rob the bank but he didn’t do anything to stop it either.
We cannot be neutral when it comes to abortion… We cannot be neutral when it comes to things that are clearly contrary to the bible…. We cannot be neutral about issues that are anti-familyand anti-God…
The enemy wants to convince us that good is evil and that evil is good.
True faith is spelled A.C.T.I.O.N … Faith is not a doctrine, IT IS A HAPPENING! Faith and belief are synonymous.. Faith is about speaking into existence what you believe, and then believing it will come to pass.
Mark 11: 19-22 “And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which You cursed is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (or … “Have the God kind of faith.”)
Peter was excited that Jesus had spoken to the problem (the fig tree) the evening before. And to Peter’s amazement … by the next morning the tree had dried up from the very roots. When Peter drew this to the Lord’s attention, Jesus then began to instruct His followers concerning how to develop this “God Kind of Faith.” Jesus is telling us to “talk directly to the problem” in our life, and “not talk to God about the problem”.
We can also see that not only did these faith filled words speed up the natural process which brought it to pass! It can also mean that the natural process is over-ridden and superseded…
Scripture calls this “The quickening”….
Ephesians 2:1“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”
Ephesians 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace you are saved;)
Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you”.
So to hold sway over the course of nature, we need to speak quickening words that will re-direct and hasten the natural process.
What are you saying about your life? What are you saying about your job, your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your health or your finances?
In the spiritual world the faith filled confession of God’s word releases containers of power that can change your life, direct your future, and allow you to get your life in line with God's Will!
These Word containers can carry God's Power to literally heal your body, bring financial blessing to your circumstances, and bring the promises of God's Word into this natural realm to bless you and your family!
We need to be saying things such as…
”I am a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new”…. “ I am an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ”… “I have been delivered from the power and dominion of darkness”… “I am blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”…” I AM FREE! And whom the Son sets free is FREE INDEED!”
I am free from all generational curses, known and unknown.
I am free from fears, anxiety, stress, and worry.
I am free from depression, oppression, grief, and guilt.
I am free from all unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and unforgiveness,
I am free from all fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, and weariness.
I am free from all addictions, self- abuse and destructive habits.
I am free from all spirits of infirmity, sickness, and disease.
I am free from poverty, lack and debt. I loose prosperity, and declare
I am debt free in Jesus’ name.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (natural), but mighty through God (supernatural) to the pulling down of strong holds (barriers or obstacles); Casting down imaginations (mental images of something that is not real), and every high thing (that we give authority and prominance) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (bringing your thoughts in line with God’s Word and kingdom values and principles).”
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” .. In another place Jesus told the disciples that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…
Luke tells us in his book..Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching ”
Matthew goes on to tell us the story of ten virgins, which is all about being in a spiritual state of readiness…. Five had oil and five did not. It is a visual reminder about maintaining our vigil.
Sadly, could it be that we are more aware of the latest movies, the play-offs, the party/entertainment scene, or the latest political special report, than we are about spiritual warfare, or engaging in spiritual battles over our families, or our loved ones or our city….
We have a generation like no generation who are isolating themselves from reality and who are buried in their video games, social media, and the latest pop cult movement.. (I for one, am very concerned)
And I’m concerned that they have exchanged entertainment for responsibility, personality for character, and instant gratification for eternal values and purpose….
Watching includes staying alert, being on guard, being informed, and being prepared….
There was once a spider who lived in a cornfield. She was a big spider, and she had spun a beautiful web between the corn stalks. She got fat eating all the bugs that would get caught in her web. She liked this home and planned to stay there for the rest of her life. One day, the spider caught a little bug in her web, and just as the spider was about to eat him, the bug said, "If you let me go I will tell you something important that will save your life." The spider paused for a moment and listened because she was amused. "You better get out of this cornfield," the little bug said, "The harvest is coming!" The spider smiled and said, "What is this harvest you are talking about? I think you are just telling me a story to save your hide." But the little bug said, "Oh no, it is true. The owner of this field is coming to harvest it soon. All the stalks will be knocked down, and the corn will be gathered up. You will be killed by the giant harvest machines if you choose to stay here."
The spider said, "I don't believe in harvests and giant machines that knock down corn stalks. How can you prove this?" The little bug continued, "Just look at the corn. See how it is planted in long, straight rows? It proves this field was created by an intelligent designer." The spider laughed and mockingly said, "This field has evolved and has nothing to do with a creator. Corn always grows that way." The bug went on to explain, "Oh no. This field belongs to the owner who planted it, and the harvest is coming soon." The spider grinned and said to the little bug, "I don't believe you," and then the spider ate the little bug for lunch.
A few days later, the spider was laughing about the story the little bug had told her. She thought to herself, "A harvest! What a silly idea. I have lived here all of my life, and nothing has ever disturbed me. I have been here since these stalks were just a foot off the ground, and I'll be here for the rest of my life, because nothing is ever going to change in this field. Life is good, and I have it made."
The next day was a beautiful sunny day in the cornfield. The sky above was clear, and there was no wind at all. But that afternoon, as the spider was about to take a nap, she noticed some thick dusty clouds moving toward her. She could hear the roar of a great engine, and she said to herself, "I wonder what that could be?"…..
Things are not always as they appear to be on the surface….Things may look great on the surface, but fall short when we see them below the surface. We’ll know them by their fruit….Inspecting fruit, is not judging, and we can’t judge spiritual things with carnal measures…But we inspect that we may bring healing and restoration!
We are going to be on this earth for just a short time, but we will spend forever in eternity, so while we are here, we are called upon to see the invisible and hear the inaudible, so we can do the impossible…
Lord, you told us to pray for Your Kingdom to come here on earth and we know that your Kingdom is in us, so, we pray that we will be able to surrender to you in such a way that your Kingdom may be revealed through us, throughout our world. You also told us to pray for Your will to be done so, we pray that You will give us Your Mind and Your heart and Your eyes so that we may know Your will and bring it into our circles of influence, right here where we live our lives each day.
May Your will be done in myself, my family, my church, my work place, my neighborhood, and my city.
Father, we thank You that Your kingdom has come to our own personal sphere of influence. Your kingdom is not eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
We come before you and humble ourselves in prayer and we seek Your face and turn from our unprofitable ways. We turn from our self-centeredness, pride, selfishness, jealousy, envy, and we ask for Your forgiveness as we ask for Your Kingdom to come in greater measure in our lives.
We thank You that Your Kingdom has come to our city by Your being in us.
We thank You that every place the souls of our feet shall walk, through outour city You have given to us. We thank You that Your will is being done through those who believe in and follow you. We pray that the Holy Spirit would call more of His servants into the harvest.
let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in our lives, our families, ourchurch and our city!
The dictionary defines a wilderness as “an inhospitable region…
an uncultivated region… a neglected or abandoned area… an undeveloped area… a no-man's-land…. We might say this would be an undesirable place….
When God really wants to bless us, with miracles, signs and wonders, He will give us a wilderness… an unfamiliar, out of the ordinary, undesirable, place less trod…(Your blessing is waiting there)
Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, v2 And saying, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. v3 For this is the One that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. v4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his waist and his meat was locusts and wild honey”.
I don’t care how much honey you put on them, grasshoppers are not going to appeal to me! Here comes John with a grasshopper leg stuck in his teeth and honey in his beard, dressed in camel skins, marching out of the wilderness! John was shaped by God in the wilderness!!!
(Sometimes we come to that place...when we just need a fresh vision, or it's time to expand, take on a new task, or get a now word from God, Yesterday's inspiration can become today's frustrating exasperation!
Something new becomes something old…and you know it’s time to launch out further… But you're still not there yet! So God in his wisdom, breaks you out of your patterns and your old norms, so you’re open to what you weren’t open to before. You’re ready to accept what you couldn’t before!
Every TV show solves the case, catches the bad guy, comes to a final conclusion, and figures out the mystery in an hour... and that's how we sometimes feel life aught to be!
We're hooked on sound bites and Sports high lights... We know the jingles and we bought the clep notes, instead of reading the book..
HEY, we’re on a fast track here!!
But, it's the in-between times, those times of transition, that mess us up. wear us out and cause so much frustration in our lives….. What am I doing here, why isn’t this over by now, I want it and I want it now!!!?
Could it be that we were so focused on where we wanted to go that we failed to even prepare for, when we get there!?
Is there a clear vision of where you’re going....have you seen it by faith ... have you touched it and handled it... walked in it.... experienced it.... prepared for it!?
The bible says, “whatsoever our hands find to do, do it with all our might” but it also says “Without a vision, the people perish”… It is the vision that gives value to your journey….
If people never applaud, it is God’s applause and heaven’s stamp of approval, that we value most…and should be seeking….
Romans 4:20 “And Abraham staggered not at the promise of God thru unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And was fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him
(deposited in his account) for righteousness”.
God wants to make some big deposits in your faith account! So, Getready to do some expanding!
Your alignment is as important as your assignment….. Your gifts, your actions and your character must line up with your vision for your future... or you may get there and then lose it because of a lack of alignment. Your gifts can take you where your character can’t keep you….
James 2:20 Do you not know, O you dreamer, that faith without works is dead (or is not effective)?
Winter passed, you knew summer was coming... you didn't work out,you didn't watch your diet... now it's time for the pool and the beach, you were going to show them all your great body….
now you’re hiding in your two piece….and refusing to come out of the dressing room… and all you can do at this point, is the old "suck it up"… One hour at the beach and you're starting to turn bluefrom holding your stomach in!
How often have we had a "suck it in" Christianity, that only appears good on the surface... but nothing has changed.... It's the whitewash that hides the rotten wood but never gets rid of it... it's the sweep it under the carpet maneuver, that gets it out of sight and only delays the inevitable cleaning which must come eventually!....It’s the denial which ignores good hygiene until you’re now facing the dentist’s drill!!!!…. (OUCH) Ready or not, someday all of this, will come to an end. The clock will stop, it’s hands…frozen in time. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days…no more second chances… All the things you and I have collected, will pass on to someone else…..Your wealth, fame and temporal power will all beirrelevant….It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed by….Our grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally lose all their importance and your unfilled hopes, failed ambitions, uncompleted plans and the things I still need to-do will expire.
The wins and losses that once were so important will fadeaway.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.Short, tall, young or old, your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
How will the value of your days be measured, when the clock stops? What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.What will matter is not your success, but your significance…..What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught…..What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many felt they were better people because they knew you…..What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who love you….
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not about circumstances but the choices and the priorities we make as we’re going through it all .
So let us make that commitment now, to live a life that truly matters.
I have to hand it to the disciples, when they were in the midst of the storm, they stayed in the boat, going across, where Jesus told them! In spite of all that they experienced, on that early morning trip of terror! They didn’t turn back, but they may have been thinking....Here I am battling for life in this storm, God....
and there are folks somewhere on the shore having beach parties and picnics...and playing games…. GOD, WHAT'S WITH THAT!
(Sometimes that's what it feels like. I'm here dying and they're living the life of Riley!) Why do I have it so hard and they seem to have it so easy….?
But I'm going to stay where you put me, Lord, regardless, because You don’t just count the number of apples on the tree, you count the number of apple trees in the apples that are on the apple tree!
We're not where we used to be, but we're not where we're supposed to be either! Most of us won’t leave the dance with the folks who brought us, because folks make connections for a reason, some for a season and some may be for a lifetime….(God is saying “honey, you’re a keeper)!!!
Your alignment is as important as your assignment,
(would you tell someone that please…)
It would be great if you could just go into the phone booth as Clark Kent, and come out as Superman... and just muscle your way through, and get there, (where ever there is) in your pretty blue tights and red cape!
Ooooh, We'd like that...
but God wants to reveal His strength and power in you as Clark Kent, not as Super Man!...(He said, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness”) That way He gets all the glory!!!
HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR IT!
HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR THE ANOINTING?
HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU TO SEE YOUR FRIENDSTRANSFORMED?
HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR YOUR HOME TO BE TRANSFORMED
HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR THE FAMILY HE SAID YOU COULD HAVE? What are you willing to do to have it?
Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message Bible)… “Do you understand what this (alignment) means, all those pioneers who blazed the way, all those veterans who are cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down for the race, start running, and never quit! No extra fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. So, study how He did it”.
So often Satan succeeds because he distracts and confuses us from our God given purpose….white becomes black, yellow is brown, green is blue and purple is pink….
The point is that we must keep coming back to our point of clarification if our alignment is to bring us success in our assignment…. That point of clarification must be God’s inspired word of truth, not our feelings, what other’s think, or even the company policy….
The challenge is to become the change we want to see around us
The wilderness is about moving through hurt, fully believing that the power of God's love is greater…. It's about moving through sorrow, fully believing in the joy of the Lord… It's about moving through lack, fully believing in the reality of God's abundance… It's about moving through sickness, fully believing in the reality of Divine health… It's about moving through failure, convinced that we truly can prosper and succeed even as our soul prospers....Those mean fellows want to stop you cold….
The person you will be, when you get to where you're going, will not be the same person who began the journey….When we choose who we should be now, we are setting the vision for where we will be, later on, and further down the road in life's journey of twists and turns......
Moses had to deal with some folks that were grumbling, complaining, whining.... For 40 years.... he heard the same thing…"ARE WE THERE YET" (are you sure we're goin the right way.... I don't like this manna stuff.. We're all gonna die!)…….They finally get to the promised land and ....
Numbers 13:2 God told Moses..."Send some men to check out the land ofCanaan. I am giving it to the people of Israel. Send one leader from each of Israel's tribes." v3 So Moses sent them out from the wilderness of Paran. He sent them as the LORD had commanded. For, all of them were leaders of the people of Israel. (skipping to Numbers 13:8 there is a list of all the men who went in to spy out the land)
(I want to focus on this name)....
Numbers 13:8 There was one named Oshea, or (one who saves) from the tribe of Ephraim. ...(Skipping now to Numbers 13:16)
" Numbers 13:16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. And Moses changed the name of Oshea son of Nun to the name Joshua. ("Yahweh saves.") This man Oshea, could no longer be called that... because the wilderness would so alter and change him, that he would now be called a name fitting for his new transformed identity, JOSHUA!.
We can't get there and we can’t do it in our own strength or skill set…. because our destiny is a lifelong process, and not a point in time…To look at any single position, location, or event, and make it all about that, is to miss it entirely….(we refer to it as putting all your eggs in one basket)
Susie rushed home from school and told her mother that little Johnny had kissed her after class. "My goodness," exclaimed her mother. "How did that happen?"…"Well, It wasn't easy, Mom," Susie explained. "It took three of my friends to help me catch him and hold him down!"
(Susie was determined to get what she wanted, regardless of what anyone else thought about it)! She wanted what she wanted and she wanted it now!
It has been well said, that we should thank God, that He doesn’t give us everything we asked Him for!!!!
The process that God is working in us is bigger and more far reaching than any one of us could ever comprehend! It's more than any one of us deserves, so He does it by His GRACE, JUST BECAUSE WE DON'T DESERVE IT!....He wants it for us, far more than we deserve to have it!
Grace took 5 loaves +2 fish and made it enough to feed 5000 plus!
That Grace chose a demoniac who had a legion of demons, set himfree and then sent him to evangelize his own city!
It's the Grace that allowed a prostitute named Mary to be the first to tell the message of the resurrection!
It's Grace enough to transition you and me from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God's Son, from judgment to blessing, from Hell's torment to Heaven's glory!
Certainly it is true today, as it has always been, that this world has yet to see what God can do with a person completely sold out to Him"!
(Would you TELL SOMEONE) “The world has yet to see”….
“The person you will be, when you get to where you're going, will not be the same person who began the journey, you might not even recognize yourself”.
The bible calls those who are on this journey, the advance team, the forerunners, and way markers, they are helpers, and givers, and resource personnel, singers and musicians, teachers, skilled laborers, intercessors, evangelists, pastors, prophets and apostles….for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, that we might all come more and more into the image of Christ….
Our wilderness is like a revolving door, we will keep going through it until we learn the lessons it has for us….
Job 23:10 "It's enough that He knows the way that I take and when I am tried, I shall come forth as gold" (that's His guarantee)
I know I’ve shared it before, but, I'm reminded of the story of the little sparrow who decided to not fly south for the winter. However, the weather suddenly turned so cold that it changed it's mind and reluctantly started back north.
In a short time, ice began to form on it's wings and it began to freeze in mid-air. It's wings got heavier and heavier and
soon it fell to Earth, landing on a dairy farm, in a field of cows that were grazing nearby, and the little bird was nearly frozen solid. A cow was passing near where it had fallen
and laid a cow pie on the little frozen bird. The little sparrow thought it was surely the end. It would die, buried under a cow pie, in darkness, with no one to ever know of it’s demise... but instead, the manure warmed the bird and thawed him out!. Warm, happy, and knowing it would live and not die, the little sparrow began to sing at the top of it's voice while still underneath the cow pie.
Just then, a large cat that was walking by, heard the chirping, and it came over to investigate...
Realizing that dinner was now being served, The cat quickly dug the bird out, and ate it! …..And the moral of this story actually is...
That everyone who poops on you is not necessarily your enemy.
That everyone who gets you out, is not necessarily your friend.
And last, when you're up to your eyebrows in cow pie, you may just want to keep your mouth shut.
When the three Hebrews went through the fiery furnace, they were careful about what their mouth did! They praised God in the midst of the flames and came out without the smell of smoke on them!
- Paul watched his mouth when he was chained in the dungeon....
- Job, refused to sin with his mouth, no matter how bad it got in the ashes!
Psalms 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are everpraising you. Selah v5 Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on the journey. v6 As they pass through the Wilderness of Baca, they make it a place of wells and springs; the autumn rains also fill up it's pools. v7 And even in the wilderness place, they go from strength to strength, understanding, that each of us must appear before the Lord”.
The wilderness will force you to answer certain questions......
How much progress am I making in my Christian life?
Am I still in the same place I was a year ago?
What are the things that hinder my progress?
Am I still fighting the same battles that I fought a year ago or two?
How much do I obey God’s Word in my daily life?
Do I take God at his word even when it would seem foolish to do so?
At what points am I tempted to compromise in my Christian faith?
Our answers to these questions will show us where we stand and will pretty much determine what we're about to encounter in ourwilderness. Because God will arrange the wilderness experience, to get us up to par on every one of those issues, that we just didn’t get to yet!
Some great men in the bible are known for the fact that they spent some very significant years of their lives “being prepared and purified in the wilderness experience.” (so you’re among good company, friend!!!!)
For Abraham -- The wilderness path would lead to a city whose builder and maker was God and a people that would fill the whole earth.
For Moses -- The wilderness experience would reveal to him new principles for life, a pattern of worship, and God’s shekinah glory.
For John the Baptist -The wilderness would be the birth place of spiritual revival, located strategically between old and new testaments
For David – The wilderness is where he would learn to be the worship leader of Israel, the slayer of giants and the friend of God.
For Jesus -- The wilderness test would affirm His power over His flesh, the world, and the devil, thrusting Him into a place of exaltation and honor.
Several years ago, I wrote this poem, entitled “The conductor” as I was reflecting upon God as the conductor of the sound track to our life, which we are all a part of…
“Father God is conducting the orchestra,
His priceless Instruments, are we.
He brings forth our worth and value, For, He knows us perfectly
He tunes and repairs each instrument, and Breathes Life intoeach one
His baton is raised to guide us, Till we have finished playing, His song.
We are blessed to be His instruments, Chosen Of Father God!
We present the score of His perfect plan,
As the angels approve with a nod
Every note inspires the Spirit, Oh, how the movement stirs the heart
The sound sweeps through out all creation,
As each member plays their part
The lyrics flow from eternal truth, Through God in flesh who came
With a rhythm drawn from the ages,
Which gives glory and honors His name
Lord, you'll weave this glorious melody,
Till the setting of the final sun
Father God is conducting His orchestra,
And He'll finish when the music is done”.
In the wilderness, Israel had to deal with nations greater and mightier than themselves. It was necessary so God could train and prepare a nation to trust Him and know that what He was doing was best for them. How very important it was for them to get it right! …Or they would certainly have been eaten up by the wilderness.
The wilderness is where we train to reign! That difficult, hard, unmovable thing you're dealing with, is where you start your reign!
How important it is, not to waste the wilderness experiences with regrets and "what ifs" and "if only's", Or "why me's"…. Focusing only on the discomfort or disappointment, or hurts. But it is so important to benefit from and to maximize those times and convert them into profitable wisdom and strategy for the future.
The reason Oshea was renamed Joshua, was because he didn't let the pain of the wilderness Identify him, for he chose instead to allow the wilderness process to be the potter that shaped his clay!
Benoni became Benjamin, Jacob's son from Rachael...would no longer be “son of my sorrow”, but now means “the strength of my right arm”
“Foot in your mouth” Simon, became Peter, the rock
Saul the persecutor, became Paul the great apostle of the New Testament
1. So, Embrace your possibilities! Almost anything is possible if we're willing to exchange our limitations for His omnipotence.
2. Pay attention to your difference! What is it that makes you stand out from all the rest. Develop it and expand it...That's the funnel your success and abundance will flow through.
3. Explore your passion! What makes you excited about life, what fulfills you, THAT is what will lead you to your purpose.
4. Practice makes perfect! The more you do it the more you'll excelat doing it, and the more proficient you'll become.
5. Persevere until the break through! Don't quit just before the answer comes and the blessing is released.
Psalms 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Know today, that your greatest days are just around the corner,
John the Baptist, was shaped and prepared in the wilderness, and as he stepped forth, because of that wilderness preparation, he was able to reveal Christ to others, and to announce “Behold the lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world”
You step forth from the wilderness understanding the joy of the Lord.
You step forth from the wilderness and revival is released…..
You step forth from the wilderness, realizing you're not the same person that went into the wilderness ...
We're not there yet, but we're not where we once were either....
So be encouraged, and be strengthened in the journey....
He who has begun a good work will be faithful to complete it....
Tell someone, “You’re coming out strong, capable, prepared and anointed”
Let us join in a Prayer, as we close…
“Father, we realize our need for Your direction and guidance,for, we are prone to second guess ourselves. You said that we could boldly come to Your throne of grace and let our petitions be known. I know that You have a divinely chosen path for each of us and in Your will, we are each predestined before the worlds were formed. I ask you to lead me because You have brought me to this place and prepared me to receive, what I could not receive before.
I know that the path may not be clear and straight, and that there are many detours and delays along the way. But no matter what, MY TRUST REMAINS IN YOU! I am determined to press in and never give up until Your perfect will is accomplished in and through me. Send me where I can be used, Lord, choose the path that I am to walk, and guide my footsteps. Show me where I am needed not just where I want to be. Though I may make mistakes, help me to accept criticism and correction.
May I be Your willing servant even when my friends and family try to influence me otherwise. Give me insight to discern who is trying to help from those that would hinder me in my service to You. Let me be content wherever You plant me so that I may bloom and flourish there, for Your glory, not mine. I pray for a right-mind, where I can hear Your Voice of wisdom and truth and know what to do. May the witness of Your Spirit saturate my heart and mind in all that I do and say.
Father, thank you that your constant presence in my life, is a faithful witness, giving me insight, and guiding me in making wise and compassionate decisions. Thank You that You promised never to leave me or forsake me and to be with me always, even till the end of the age. I know that nothing can touch my life without Your permission. I choose to resist the enemy of my soul and submit myself to You. I know that You only desire what's best for me in everything, at all times, and that it is planned by the Father, purchased by the Son, and sealed by the Holy Spirit….In Jesus' name I give praise, Amen”
I want to open with a poem which I wrote a few years back
which could be from every son and daughter,
I have titled it….“The Mother Inside of You”
Your Mother is the place you came from, your first home here on earth...
She's the guide you follow, as your life takes shape
and you discover your values and worth.
She's the first love you experienced, the first heart entwined with yours,
No one can take that special place, In the eyes of a child, so adored.
As time goes by, with it’s shifts and turns, your love grows ever strong and true,
And the mother who carried you inside, now, you carry inside of you.
I was not carried in the womb of the woman I call mother, but I was loved as any child given birth by a mother. I always knew that I was her son, not her orphan child. She stepped out of her comfort zone to offer her heart so one more child, could be raised in a home with family, instead of an institution. She led me to Christ as a new Christian herself and we came to know and love the Lord together. She changed my life and gave me a second chance, so that I could offer a second chance to many others throughout my life…
Yes, I can say that I have experienced the miracle of Motherhood, through the love of a Mom who accepted me as her own, and the wonderful wife, who took me to the next level of healing and gave our home, 3 beautiful children.
A mother’s love cannot be measured. Motherhood is about the place in every woman’s heart to love what is unlovable, to hope when it’s hopeless, to believe the unbelievable and see the invisible things which are part of every child’s journey.
When our first born son, David was born, he was one of the ugliest new born babies I had ever laid eyes on. My first thought was, who has the ugly gene in our family gene pool. He truly had the face that only a mother could love. He looked like a shriveled up little old Indian. We called him Geronimo… But to Winnie, he was the most beautiful baby ever born! An angel in the flesh! I believe her love made him beautiful and brought out the beauty day by day, till he lost his nick name… finally!He went from Geronimo to Gorgeous!!!
Proverbs 31:25 – 28 “Strength and honor are her clothing and she shall rejoice in the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household and refuses the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed”….
Thank God for mothers who never stop loving, never stop giving, never stop caring, and never stop mothering even when it’s not their own child or their own children!
During a visit to India in 1995, Shah-la Ette-fagh was so moved by seeing children living in extreme poverty that she vowed to come back to India to dedicate her life to helping poor children and families, especially women. You see, during her 1995 visit, while she complained about the smells, the filth, and the poverty all around that no one seemed to care about…she was having an expensive meal and sipping her tea, away from the squalor, but a very thin 3-year-old girl entered on a cold India day, wearing a short-sleeved dress with a broken zipper in the back and no shoes. Her hair was knotted and matted to her head. She had a beautiful face and her big black eyes radiated innocence. She came right up to Shahla and pointed to her chaitea. She thought the girl wanted to drink the chai, so she gave it to her. But she didn’t drink it, she just held the hot cup close to her body for warmth. Then she sat on the floor right next to Shahla feet and snuggled up to her legs to share her body heat. Those motherly instincts kicked in as she felt the girl’s tiny shivering body, and she bent down to hold her inher arms and give her tiny body a little relief from the cold.That was it. With her eyes closed and her arms still around the girl, she entered into a tunnel with a bright white light at the end. Scenes from her entire life of priviledge flashed all around her. She saw herself skiing in Switzerland, then on a yacht in France, then shopping in Paris, and eating at a casino in London. Even though she was a single woman, she saw the image of her 3-story, 4-bedroom house located outside of San Francisco, with its 4 walk-in closets full of designer clothes and shoes, many with the tags still attached because she never had time to wear them. Through these flashing images, shesuddenly woke up to the realization that she had been carelessly wasting her money on jet-set traveling, partying every night, drinking and shopping! One question came to her mind: “why should I have so much money that I can waste it, and this child should be so freezing cold to need my cup of tea to warm her fragile body”?
She vowed to come back to India to dedicate her life to helping poor children and families, especially women. In 2002, she fearlessly sold her house, business and personal belongings. She said goodbye to her family, friends and the boyfriend who was the love of her life. She ripped up all her photo albums to avoid the temptation of returning, and she moved to India to start a new life without ever looking back. Since that time, 1000’s of children have been given a second chance and a bright future. Every year since 2015, Shahla has received an award for “Outstanding Achievements” for her Mother’sMiracle School by the Government of India, and in 2018 she received the “Mahatma Gandhi Award” at the English Parliament.
If you’ve ever held a new-born baby in your arms, then you know that you are holding a miracle and you are experiencing a living, breathing, in the flesh miracle!! It’s been a joy having David, Vickie and Karen here, over the last 4 weeks, and I know Chris would be here if he could. To see what began as just the two of us, now becoming 24 eternal souls, all living for the lord, serving others, and putting Christ at the center of their home, is truly a miraculous thing in the day we’re living in. The fact that it is a miracle, says it all…. It says that God has done exceedingly abundant, above all that we could hope or ask for. We’re standing in faith that every family in this church body, will have that miracle to celebrate for eternity…..
In Acts 16:31 When God opened the prison doors for Paul and Silas, they spoke to the jailer… “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and all your house.
And that’s exactly what happened… the jailer and all his house were saved!
I believe, as we share this message that there is a household blessing upon every Godly mom and every Godly dad… Let me tell you why…
1Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, otherwise your children would be unclean, but now are they holy”. This is a promise for your household and for your children’s households!!!
Let me give every mom a declaration and a decree to confess each day, for your family….
It’s found in John 17:19 “And for their sakes I sanctify myself(I dedicate, and commit myself to this) that they also might be sanctified through Your truth”. (ladies, declare it)
Men, one of the things we cannot do, is be a mother. We cannot be mothers. No matter how hard we try and no matter how in touch we are with our feminine side…we can never be a mother.
But we can live and confess John 17:19, every day! So, I want the men to make this decree with me… (Let’s repeat it together)
I can tell you that if it wasn’t for my mom, I would not be the person I am today. My dad was an example of manhood. He showed me what being a man meant, what it was all about, and how to do it. But my mom—taught me how to be a human being. She taught me how to feel. She taught me how to laugh and cry and she connected me with many other parts of my humanity that frankly, I think my dad would have had a hard time doing, because he was busy being a man. Those first years of our lives are very impressionable years and mothers play an enormous role in those early years and in shaping us into the people we eventually become.
A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of her. He moved on into the entryway, andfound an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was covered with toys and various items of clothing, and his youngest daughter and the dog were there in the think of it.
In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, and dog food was spilled all over the floor.
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.
He was met with a stream of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, soapy scum and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.
As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.
He looked at her bewildered and asked, ’What happened here today?’ She smiled and said, ’You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?’ after a brief pause, She continued and said, ’Well, today I didn’t do it.’
More times than not, mothers are taken for granted. Their love and devotion to us is so constant, that we come to expect it, to feel entitled to it. We know it’s always going to be there no matter what we do or say or how bad we mess up—our moms are always going to love us.
That’s true, right up until the moment that they are no longer there. Suddenly, there comes a point in life when you find yourself without a mother. And no matter how tough or awesome or successful you are in life, when your mom dies, a piece of you goes with her. There’s a blank spot that only she can fill. That one constant source of security you have known since you were born, is now gone.
Someone wrote that: “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but they hold their hearts forever”.
I’m talking about this today because I think it’s important, that we all acknowledge our mother’s, and all the other mothers that were around us as we grew up and are now grown.
The mothers of the world do more for the advancement of our society than any other force on earth. Each one of us, regardless of our circumstance owes our life to our mother. Even if you happen to have a really lousy mother, you still owe her your life, and that isn’t a little thing. That’s part of the amazing miracle of Motherhood! A Godly mother can believeand know, that as SHE asks in faith God will meet the needs of her family. As Philippians 4:19 promises us: “And my God will liberally supply (and fill until its full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. …
There was a name that was known around the world. Crowds flocked to his church to hear him preach, and everywhere he went people couldn’t get enough of the printed editions of his sermons. When he died, 60,000 admirers filed past his casket and 100,000 lined his funeral route. Even today, people visit his grave to pay tribute. Even more read his books and are inspired by his sermons. Yet before Charles Spurgeon was The Prince of Preachers, he was a young boy in the arms of a godly mother. He was one of 8 children. And with all his success and all his fame, he would not forget his first and best *…..instructor. “I cannot tell,” he said, “how much I owe to the solemn words and passionate prayers of my Godly mother. She was the starting point of all the greatness and goodness any of us, by the grace of God, have ever enjoyed.”
It’s difficult to pour out of an empty cup…. Just as an expecting mom is now eating and doing all she does for two people…because she knows she has a little one on board who is counting on her to eat right, rest, exercise, and make the right choices. And it doesn’t stop when the baby is born. Mom and Dad must understand that they are now living for someone besides themselves. They are feeding others, physically, emotionally, and spiritually….
In the bird world, the parents will gather up and eat more than they need, so that they can bring it back up and place it in the mouths of their hungry brood of babies. They can’t feed their babies if they themselves are empty. They can’t say “I don’t feel like it”…. Or “I’m too tired”…. They know that only if they are full, can they feed their babies. The same is even more true for every believing mom.
If you are a parent, please know, It’s no longer all about you. You fill up on the word, you fill up in prayer, you fill up on the answers to things they will be asking… you fill up on everything that you need to impart to them, because you’re not living just for yourself.
Luke 11:11” If a son shall ask bread of any of you, will you give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will you for a fish give him a serpent? v12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will you offer him a scorpion? v13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him”? I find it interesting that God compares His giving to how a parent gives to their children. It causes us to ask our selves what and how we are giving to our families. It is addressing the basic parent child interaction and quality of care that we can expect of God and that He expects of us. How many parents give everything to their children except a spiritual heritage, a foundation in the Word, and example in prayer, Christian service and attending the house of God….
I want to direct your attention to the occasion when Jesus turned water into wine… He had just told the disciples to go and get water because they were out of wine…. You can almost see the big question *…..marks over their heads as they wonder what filling the pots with water has anything to do with providing wine for the wedding celebration!!! But Jesus mother comes into the picture and his mother makes a statement that is foundational in the training program for any parent, as they raise their children….Look at it with me….
John 2:1 “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there v2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. v3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said unto Him, They have no wine. v5 And His mother said unto the servants, Whatsoever he says unto you, do it”.
What better way to raise your children than to teach them the word of God and then to tell them, “Whatever He says to you, do it”…. Wow… what a novel idea!!!!
Because you will be wrong sometimes. You will make mistakes, you will misjudge situations, you will fail to have the right answer at the critical time…. But Jesus will never be wrong!!!
Jesus had to respond when His mom called upon Him because earlier He had told His disciples… “Honor your father and mother”….. She wanted a miracle… she got a miracle…. She wanted wine, she got the best wine…
Listen to me Mom, no one has God’s ear like a God- fearing, God chasing mother… No love goes deeper than a mother’s love, No care goes further than a mother’s caring, and no connection to family is more powerful than a mom’s connection….. When Mothers trust Jesus enough to impart “just do whatever He tells you” to your kids, your grandkids, your nephews and your nieces: they will do well in this life and in eternity”… They’ll see some amazing miracles in their lives.
Matthew 25:40 “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, (little ones) you have done it unto me”. Luke 18:16 (message bible) “But Jesus said, Don't get between me and the children, These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. 17 Know that unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Jesus gave the greatest tribute to mothers when He chose to come to this earth and be born in the womb of a young mother named Mary…. But let’s go further into the next levels of motherhood. Look at the words of Paul to his spiritual son Timothy….and you will see a generational blessing which can be claimed in…. 2 Timothy 1:5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” SoPaul has connected Timothy’s faith with what he received from his mother and grandmother. Mom, don’t back off, don’t let up, don’t even think of quitting…. It may happen when you’re a mom, a grand-mom or when you’re a great, grand-mom… but God’s word will not return void…. It will come to pass!!! Monica, who was the mother of St. Augustine, prayed for years that her brilliant but rebellious son would be saved. When she sought the counsel of her pastor, he listened as she poured out with tears, her heart of love and her intercession for this prodigal. At the conclusion, the pastor said, “Go on woman! Leave me alone. Live as you are living, and I can tell you, It is not possible that the son of such a mother’s tears should ever be lost.” (I think when a mother’s prayers arrive in Heaven, they go right to the head of the line).
When Hannah, who had been barren, gave birth to her son, she was so thrilled that God had heard her prayers, she brought him to the priest to be raised in the temple for the work of God. She named the child Samuel—literally, in the Hebrew, it means: “Heard of God.” His very name proclaimed that God had heard this mother’s prayers! I want to read a letter from an 80 yr. old woman on her birthday: “To all my children: This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with whatthe years have done to me physically. Please be understanding. I spill things. I lose things. I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps. Sometimes sleep helps to pass the day. Well, there you have it: your Time, your Patience, and your Understanding. Those are priceless gifts that I want. You’ll be where I am too soon, so remember to give what you hope to receive when that time comes. Being old is just another place you come to and another adjustment we all have to make! I have and will always love you with forever Love, Your Mom”. To those who have given life both in birth and in the care of those who are not your own, to those who have lost a life before birth and before old age…
To those who have faithfully done what only mother's love can do,
To those who have been "the perfect mother" and to those who may be living with regrets… To those who are close to their children, and to those who feel like they are a million miles away… We bless you today, on this Mother’s day.
To those women who have given birth to a child, We celebrate with you the gift that God has given.
To those who have experienced miscarriage, failed adoptions, and kids who have pushed you away… We come along side of you today.
To those who have longed for children, but for whatever reason have been unable to have them, We love you and we apologize for the times that we have failed to be sensitive to your journey.
To those who have been "mother's" to others who are not their children, We need more people like you both in the church, and in the broken world in which we live.
To those who have close and meaningful relationships with their children, We celebrate this day with you and thank God for His amazing grace.
To those who have complicated, hurtful or painful, relationships with their children,
We hurt with you and thank God for his grace, while we pray for redemption and reconciliation.
To those who have close relationships with their own mother, We thank God for that intimacy.
To those who lost their mothers whether recently or so many years ago,
We join with you and stand by your side today.
To those who will soon have an empty nest, We both celebrate your job well done and feel the separation with you.
To those of you who long to be better mother's, we pray that God's grace will provide all you need and beyond.
To those who long to make things right with your children, we agree with you that God's redemptive power can rise above any boundary, any brokenness, any pain.
To those who struggle with their children today, We are here to share our stories of successes and failures as well as our encouragement…your investment is never in vain, and God is using your faithfulness to change the world.
For those of you who struggled through pain to get out of bed this morning and be here, We love you and we are encouraged by your faithfulness.
We pray that all of us may be more sensitive and more active in being a blessing to you and yours, this Mother’s day and always!
Bless these moms and may they truly see the miracle that is motherhood!!
I said last week, that between the Resurrection and the Ascension Jesus was conducting an Apostolic bootcamp, and His teaching centered around three things
The end times, the Holy Spirit’s ministry and our purpose as His ambassadors in the earth. So, today we are looking at our purpose…
They wanted to know what was ahead for the future. So, Jesus used their question to teach them about the Holy Spirit’s work through them and their purpose in it all. Their priority was to wait in the upper room to receive the power to fulfill their purpose.
Act 1:8 “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.
It’s not about how much of the Holy Spirit you have, but it’s about how much of you the Holy Spirit has…and that is an important difference….
When the deciples came out of the upper room, with the power of their purpose, 5,000 were saved and brought into the church. They quickly saw that they were the delivery system for the power of the Spirit that had come within them. (Know that you are the delivery system for the gifts that God desires to give to others)
The sick received a gift… the gift of healing,. Those who facedimpossible situations, received a gift… the gift of miracles... Those who needed direction, received a gift….the gift of prophecy or wisdom, knowledge and discernment….They saw that their purpose was to be the delivery system for the Holy Spirit’s power. John Wesley said “I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field”.
A sign was taped to the front door of a business which had closed. It said simply, "Gone out of business. We forgot what our purpose was." That can happen to churches and to individuals….
Paul and Peter were take charge guys who were accustomed to being in control, as well as the two disciples whose nick-name was “Sons of Thunder”….These along with some of the others,experienced some head butting, and conflict, which caused them to realize that *……their purpose could not be fulfilled without allowing the nature and character of the Holy Spirit to be reflected through them.
Having the power without the nature of the Holy Spirit, would be like having a great doctor, who can’t stand people! He’s good but he has no bed side manner!
Gandhi, was quoted as saying that the only problem with Christianity was the Christians who claimed to follow it! The Holy Spirit’s fruit are about His nature and character, and the Gifts are about His 3 levels of power… It has been well said that People don’t care what we know until they know that we care….
I want to read that scripture again which we read last week….
Galatians 5:22 (amplified bible) “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, v23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. v24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put off the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. v25 If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct is now empowered by the Holy Spirit]. v26 We must not become conceited, provoking or competing with one another, or envying one another”.
Just as a house is no better than it’s foundation, the Christian life is no more effective than the successful integration of the Spirit’s nature and character…
Sometimes the Lord takes us outside ourselves, and sometimes He takes us within ourselves, but both journeys can be totally amazing!!!
Before Pentecost Peter cursed and denied Jesus 3 times. After Pentecost Peter preached to the very crowd who crucified Jesus and three thousand of them believed, received and turned to the Lord.
Oh, Yes, you may make mistakes and errors in judgment and say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time – but you will experience a new effectiveness, new power to live the Christian life, and you will have a new purpose in life, as He equips you and reveals Himself to you through the Holy Spirit.
God gave you an eternal spirit with eternal potential.
Sin robbed you of that potential, but Christ has redeemed your eternal potential through His atoning death, and resurrection.
Peter had resigned himself to fishing the waters of Galilee for the rest of His life, but Jesus gave his life new purpose and new direction, which he could never have imagined before…. Paul thought his life mission was to be the hatchet man for the religious leaders of his day…His mission… to stop the upstart Christian faith, but God re-purposed his life on the Damascus road..
Thomas would have remained a doubter and sceptic until Jesus
re-purposed him, by revealing Himself to Him as his risen Lord!
Christ takes lives that are lived one dimensionally and brings layers of purpose and potential into them. Lives that were lived on the basis of what they feel obligated to do, now find the joy of what they love to do and want to do, and are thrilled to do, because they’ve found their purpose!
Not only will the Lord show you the direction in which you are to move; He will also reveal to you His timing, His methods, and His reasons.
There was an inscription on a cemetery headstone in England
It said…”Remember man, as you walk by, As you are now, so once was I, as I am now, so shall you be, remember this and follow me.
Someone couldn’t leave it without replying, so they wrote on the tombstone….To follow you I'll not consent, until I know which way you went.
I like what Robert Logan posted over the entrance of the church he pastored, “Our purpose is to glorify God by making disciples of all people and multiplying His church, so that believers worship God, win unbelievers to Christ, and continue to become more like Him”.
Someone here today has heard that inner voice which is saying… “You were meant for more than this…Your life has a greater purpose”…. You are designed to accomplish far more than you have yet seen or that you have yet experienced….
I have 3 scriptures for you today….
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. v6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Your paths”.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Mark 11:23 “Whoever says to their mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart, but believes that those things they say will be done, they will have whatever they say”.
I’m reminded of the professor, who invited some of his fellows to his home for the holidays. He filled the counter with coffee cups and no cup was the same. Some were plain and others were fancy. When everyone had settled down with their coffee, he asked why each had chosen the cup they were drinking coffee from. After their responses, He said, “If you were focused on the cups then you missed what this was all about, it was all about the coffee in the cup. The coffee is the purpose and the reason for the cups. All the cups may be different in size, color and substance, but we are all drinking the samecoffee”. Some like cream and sugar and some don’t, but it’s the same coffee!
1Corinthians 12:4 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. v5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. v6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which is working all in all”.
We are His people, who partake of the same Spirit and who have received the same Lord and serve the same God.
The cups may be different… different preferences, different perspectives, different skills and abilities…. But the same coffee!!!
And before Jesus ascended, he addressed this sameness in diversity….
Romans 8:11 For if the (same) Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by the (same) Spirit that dwells in you”.
A child receives the same Spirit as the senior citizen… The pastor has the same Spirit as the janitor…
The African, the Chinese, the Haitian, those of every culture, and race, receive the same power, the same gifts, the same fruit…. Hallelujah!!
Mark 16:15 “Go ye (with your sameness in diversity) into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. v17 And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues. v18 They shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”.
When the disciples were caught in the storm, they had the “Go Ye right” but they got in trouble when they forgot their purpose. Jesus had said to go over to the other side, and until they were on the other side, they had not fulfilled their purpose in being on the water…Jesus showed up to keep them in their purpose!
Find your mission, know your purpose, be under orders, get on your assignment, and you need not fear the powers that might try to overwhelm you.....
In the fairy tale story of Alice in Wonderland, a conversation took place between her and the Cheshire Cat. Alice asked, "Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the cat. "I don't much care where I go" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you should go" said the cat.When you have no purpose, any way will do!!!
We can only access the level of authority which we are willing to acknowledge and accept as part of our purpose! Your purpose gives you a lot of power to enable you to accomplish it.
Can you imagine how ineffective you would be if you went to work every day, without knowing the purpose of the business that employed you to do a job…?
And yet, how many attend a church week after week , and never really grasp the purpose for which Christ created the church….
I believe a great scripture concerning our redeemed purpose is 1Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, that you are called unto, and continue to profess a good profession before many witnesses. v13 I give you charge in the sight of God, who quickens (gives inspiration and impact) to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate maintained a good confession.. v14 Keep this commandment without spot and remain uncompromised, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
George Carlin said "I have as much authority as the most powerful person on earth, I just don't have as many people who believe it".
Shakti Gawain....When we are constantly doubting our own authority, because we are always looking to others for validation, and approval, we give our personal power away.
The Merriam-webster dictionary defines authority as, "The ability to determine things, to lead by permission, to delegate, and to enforce something that has been previously agreed.
We have received the mantle of Jesus.. (Think about it)!!
Revelation 1:6 “He has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”.
We have received the Holy Spirit that we might be anointed to fulfill our purpose in this earth.
We must guard that anointing. We must guard the thought gate, the heart gate, the eye gate, the ear gate, and the mouth gate. These are all places of entrance into our spirit. It is so easy in this day we live, to allow your spirit to become confused by all that is taking place in the world around us. As the old saying goes, "the smallest boat can cross the biggest ocean as long as the ocean stays out of the boat"!
I’ll call the following story “The bookstore”….Jacob Brodzky, was a shy Russian Jew whose father owned a bookstore. When his father died, he buried his father, and married the love of his life, Lila. Then they moved into the apartment above the bookstore, and Brodzky took over its management. The life of books fit him perfectly, but it cramped her. She wanted more adventure -- and she found it, she thought, when she met an agent who praised her beautiful singing voice and enticed her to tour Europe with a vaudeville company. Brodzky was devastated. At their parting, he reached into his pocket and handed her the key to the front door of the bookstore.You had better keep this," he told her, "because you will want it some day. You will come back, and I will be waiting." She kissed him and left. To escape the pain he felt, Brodzky withdrew deep into his bookstore and took to reading as someone else might have taken to drink. He spoke little, did little, and could most times be found at the large desk near the rear of the shop, immersed in his books while he waited for his love to return. Nearly 30 years later, at Christmas, she did return. But when Brodzky rose from the reading desk, he took the love of his life for just another ordinary customer. "Do you want a book?" he asked. It startled her, that he didn't recognize her. But she gained possession of her senses and replied, "I want a book, but I've forgotten the name of it. believe it’s title is “The Book Store”…. Then she told him a story of childhood sweethearts. A story of a newly married couple who lived in an apartment above a bookstore. A story of a young, ambitious wife who left to seek a career, who enjoyed great success but could never relinquish the key her husband gave her when they parted. She told him the story she thought would bring him to himself. "You remember it; you must remember it -- the story of Lila and Jacob?" After a long, bewildered pause, he said, "There is something familiar about the story, I think I have read it somewhere. It comes to me that it is something by Tolstoi." Dropping the key, she ran from the shop. And Brodzky returned to his desk, to his reading, unaware that the love he waited for so long, had come and had gone forever. Don’t forget your purpose…. And don’t leave home without it! Jesus said that He was giving us the keys to the Kingdom… what are we doing with those keys?
Let's take a moment and eavesdrop on a conversational prayer Jesus is having with the Father and we can see this process of the anointing for your purpose…..
Jesus is praying in John 17:21 “May they be one, as You are Father, in me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us... that the world may believe that You have sent me. v22 And the glory which You gave unto me I have given unto them, that they may be one, even as we are one. v23 I in them, and You in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent me, and have loved them, as You have loved me. v24 Father, I will that they also, whom You have given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which You have given me, for You loved me before the foundation of the world".
Your anointed purpose is about alignment. It’s about coming into harmony with the will of God in all the circles of our influence and connections. It is about God bringing us into His right place, at His right time, with His designated people, for His right reason and purpose.
When our lives become God centered, His will becomes our heartbeat and our daily quest and begins to align us with His deepest desires....
A news commentator had a single question written on post-it notes, which he placed on his locker at the gym, the refrigerator, his desk, and the dashboard of his car. It asked one question…“Is what you’re doing now, accomplishing your purpose”..
Jesus is calling and He's interceding at the right hand of the Father
We are being called from labor into His rest (Matt. 11:28)
We are being called from death into His life (1 John 3:14)
We are being called from bondage into His liberty (Gal 5:13)
We are being called out of darkness into His light (1 Pet. 2:9)
We are being called from bondage into His peace (1 Cor. 7:15
And we are called from orphans into adoption as His own(Gal_4:5 )
The Kingdom of God is within you. Jesus came to build a kingdom within a kingdom. He came to raise up the kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdoms of men.
This anointing for purpose, which Jesus said we were given, is a force, a God given ability, an abundance, a heaven sent value, with supernatural might, loaded with possibilities, with enablement, supply, and accompanied by mighty works which He alone can and will do through us....
Here’s a challenge for us all….If you were judged, choose understanding, instead of jumping to conclusions…If you were rejected, choose acceptance instead of reacting with the same….If you were shamed, choose compassion instead of retaliation…Be the person you needed when you were hurting… Vow to be better than whoever came against you….Instead of becoming bitter, bring reconciliation and healing…and live from your redeemed purpose and not your pain!
The desires God placed in you are always possible, but the path to getting there is not always predictable, which is why we must be led by the Spirit.
The only real obstacle to personal power is ourselves, because we carry the baggage of our own insecurities and past experiences which tell us that it can't be done....
We must begin to rule with our own spirit.....and continue toBelong, continue to Believe, and continue to Become more like Him. We are an imperfect people, who are following His perfect example….
Would you lift up your hands and give thanks for this glorious sameness in diversity, which is called the church of the Lord Jesus, everywhere, in every place, tongue, culture and people group. His GLORIOUS CHURCH IN THE EARTH!!!
Song….All hail king Jesus, all hail Emanuel, King of kings and Lord of Lords, bright morning star. And through all eternity, I’m going to praise Him. And forevermore, I will reign with Him.
And now, as we prepare for communion …
We are God's people, anointed for purpose, Let us take our place before God with someone around us and just stand in our priesthood, and for this moment, intercede in their behalf....
I am placing on the screen some possible areas you can agree with one another about… Let’s come into agreement….
for their family members, their life choices that need to be made, that their needs be met and the supply that God wants to bring to them would come to them, that their appointed connections would be made....stand for their physical healing, and that the souls in their circle of influence would come to Christ....In Jesus Name.....