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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, September 24 2019

God didn’t just save us from something, He saved us for something…..

We were not an after thought that God had, We were created to be saved, we were fashioned to be free, we were designed for a purpose, and the amazing life we were destined to live was in the heart and mind of God, before the world was formed…...

Let’s begin with a few scriptures to say this better than I ever could….

2 Timothy 1:9 For He has chosen us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before timebegan.

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King (Jesus) say unto them on His right hand, Come, you that are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

.Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared well in advance as our way of life.

What an advantage it gives you, if you already know what is going to be, before you even start out!! Our identity determines our actions, because how we see ourselves, and how we see God, will determine to a great extent our ability to see the unseeableand know the unknowable…..

We’re closer than we think…..Often, the inner longings we have and the restlessness we feel, springs out of a deep sense within ourselves that we were meant for more, that we are capable of more, that we don’t have to sell ourselves short and come short of our greater purpose that was planned for us….

So many things that we feel are important, are about as necessary to our greater purpose and calling as a life guard at a jacuzzi……

But what would happen if we saw the God calling, and purpose and destiny within us, as much bigger and more powerful than the fear, the intimidation, the insecurity and poor self image we have at times! What if we knew it was impossible to fail. That instead of saying “What if” we said “Why not”!!! And what if we understood that every problem has a blessing embedded in it!

Usually life will divide you up into many things that are all running in a thousand directions, but what if we could grab all these threads, running everywhere, and weave them together to all point in a single direction to bring us to that amazing place we always knew was there for us. 

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

v14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We may be involved in many things but what is the one thing we are committed to above and beyond all else?… The chicken is involved when it gives an egg, but the pig is committed when it gives it’s piece of bacon!! We can be involved and yet be uncommitted….

There are many things which Paul could do but there was one thing Paul did, because His one thing, was God’s pre-ordained purpose for him. And he accomplished far more for God’s kingdom and his own divine design, by doing the one thing.

I was in the phone store to upgrade to a newer phone and as I was waiting, I saw that a number of phones were plugged in and ready to go, so that customers could check them out. I saw one phone that really caught my eye, so I picked it up to check it out and it was a dummy. It looked right, it had all the features, the buttons, the screen, the appearance, but it had no purpose. It was only good to look at but it had no substance….no use, and totally didn’t function….What is it in our lives that doesn’t fulfill our greater purpose?

Don’t judge your purpose by where you are now and what’s happening now. You’re still becoming and you’re still transforming… Once God revealed to Paul, what His plan was, he understood what he was called to be and do. He understood that he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, or those outside the Jewish community….And he was greatly used of Godin advancing he kingdom, when he found his purpose.

God has a butterfly in every caterpillar. I believe John Lennon of Beatle fame, was designed by God to be an apostle to the music world, but he missed his calling and ended up being deceived and misguided….His gift was forfeited because he never understood his purpose….

I believe President Trump, thought his purpose was to be a great business man, but God created him to be president of the United States, and his business background was just a tool to give him unique insights into dealing with our government and foreign governments….

I believe you and I have done things that we thought were what we were put here to do, but they were all just tools that will equip us and help us as we arrive at our God given purpose….

And that purpose is to make Christ known in a way that others may never be able to do because that is your own unique calling and embedded design….

When you’re in the storm, avoid letting everyone else decide your purpose. This is not the time to follow the crowd, or simply do what everyone else is doing…follow your own God given path…

A guy was talking to a Chinese man and introduced himself, thenthe Chinese man introduced himself and said “my name is Abe Schwartz” He asked the Chinese man, how he got such a Jewish name. Did your mom marry a Jewish man?.. “No, he said, actually when I entered this country and I was standing in line at immigration, the guy in front of me was named Abe Schwartz, and when my turn came and they asked my name and I told them, Sam Ting…. And the rest is history!

So don’t just follow the crowd, because God has a unique plan for you!

Acts 2:16 “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

God created us all to be dreamers and visionaries. God’s spirit is the spirit of revelation which leads, directs and brings you to the appointments and connections which He has set for you. God knows that once you see it, you will be motivated to go after it. SoHe allows you by His Spirit to see the unseen, and hear the inaudible, so that you can believe the impossible! 

God has a dream, custom made for you. That dream comes to bring you to your destiny and provide a stairway so that you can access your new reality….What if the things you enjoy doing, are inside of you, in order to put you on a collision course with the gifts, the resources, the people, and the new reality that is yours and yours alone….

What if the things that are constantly racing in and out of your life are not random at all, but intentional and part of a higher plan…

.What if There is nothing in our lives that is by accident…

My biological mother did not kidnap me and my two sisters and then abandon us by accident. I was not born into the family of two alcoholics by accident. I was not taken to be raised by a woman who had just lost her 3 1/2 year old daughter who was the same age as me, by accident. 

You have not been through the experiences you’ve been through by accident. They have contributed to your wisdom storehouse and you’re lessons learned. You don’t live where you live and work where you work, and shop where you shop, and know who you know… by accident!!

Down deep inside, if we will take the time to process it, we all know that we are part of something far greater, bigger and more encompassing than ourselves and the niche we find our selves in at this juncture of our journey, is not by accident…

I heard Charles Swindoll say “We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. And soit is with everyone... we are in charge of our Attitudes”.

Every woman I know likes a neckless and earrings and bracelets made of natural pearls. But every pearl is a pain with a purpose. A grain of sand enters the soft inner parts of the oyster. To ease the discomfort, the oyster coats it with the same material that lines it’s inner shell. It keeps applying coat after coat, until the irritation and pain of the sand is relieved, and WALLAH!!! A costly piece of jewelry comes out of a pain in the gut! (I could have said somewhere else!)

Sometimes God’s purpose will look more like suffering and sacrifice than anything else… but He knows how to transform it into something priceless and beautiful!

I like the illustration of the carrot, the egg and the tea bag…. They may all get in hot water, but they all are effected differently by it. The carrot goes in hard and is changed by the water so that it comes out soft. The egg goes in soft and is changed by the water so that it comes out hardened, The tea goes in the water and not only is it changed, but it changes the hot water that it is in.

We are called to be agents of change, in the hot water we are in, to do more than just go through stuff, but change the stuff we go through, because we went through it with the right purpose and the right perspective and the right attitude.

Sometimes we’re like this little girl trying to run from her shadow. Our problems are attached to us and no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get away from them….For a moment, let’s compare her shadow to the problems we all face….

Let’s Look at 5 purposes behind the problems we face….(tell someone “you have a pain with a purpose) It doesn’t look like a pearl right now, but He’s working on it!

1.God uses our problems to DIRECT us - . Proverbs 3:11 “Despise not the guidance of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction” If the Egyptians weren’t about to descend upon the Israelites in the desert, trapping them at the Red Sea, they would not have been willing to see the miracle of the Red Sea crossing….Problem solved!                                                                                                          Sometimes God has to light a fire under us to get us moving. Because it’s hard to steer a parked car. A parked car doesn’t take you anywhere. Problems often point us in a new direction and get us moving toward the changethat will bring us to success. Is God trying to get your attention? Sometimes it takes an uncomfortable situation to get us to change our direction.

2. God uses problems to INSPECT us - James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, v3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. v4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. v5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”.

People are like teabags if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! 

Is God testing your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? When you are passing through the storm, James tells us to be full of joy, because you know that the storm is testing your faith, and this will produce some lasting fruit when you come out of it. You will discover things about yourself that you didn’t realize before. Sometimes I lose my glasses and they’re right on my nose….Problems cause us to see what was right there in front of us…..  

3. God uses problems to CORRECT you - Psalms 119:70 “There are many whose hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in Your ways. v71 It was good for me to be tested so that I might learn Your intentions. v72 The words from Your mouth are more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. 73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn Your ways”.  

Some lessons we will never learn except through a few bumps and bruises. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you were driven to do it, cause you had to know for yourself, and you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something - health, money, a relationship - by losing it. It would be great if we could just learn from the mistakes of others, but we are determined to make them ourselves! (Tell someone “It was the best thing that could have happened to me”.

4. God uses problems to PROTECT you - Genesis 50:20 “They intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. v21 So then, do not be afraid.” 

A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something far more serious. I don’t even know how many times, , when I was delayed because of a problem, only to find out that we avoided something terrible if the delay hadn’t happened and my plans were not interrupted. But the Lord had gone before me and saw everything and He brought me through safely. Satan intended to harm me, but God intended it for good so that I might be encouraged by His oversight in my life.                              

5. God uses problems to PERFECT us. - Romans 5:2 “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. v3 Not only so, but we also glory in our tests and trials, because we know that they produce perseverance. v4 And perseverance builds character, and character produces hope. v5 And hope does not cause us to be ashamed, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. v6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still unable to help ourselves, Christ intervened for us”.

God is far more interested in building our character than He is in how comfortable we are.         Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity.

We can actually rejoice when we run into problems because they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it,until finally our hope and faith are strong, steady and reliable. 

Have you ever been driving and you got tired or distracted, and you drifted for a moment on to the “rumble strip” at the edge of the road. Suddenly the car starts rumbling and vibrating and you feel like you are driving a Sherman tank! You know you need toquickly adjust your wheels or you will be over into the shoulder. The “rumble strip” is there to protect you, even though it may not be comfortable, if you’re smart, you’ll heed it’s warning. God will send some “rumble strips” into your life that may not be comfortable, and they can shake and rattle you, but if you are willing to make the proper adjustments, you’ll arrive at your destiny and stay out of the gutter. 

Paul had himself a doosy of a problem…. He had been arrested and the orders were to bring him to Rome to be tried, but on top of that problem, the ship he was being transported on, hit a Northeaster and was sinking. (when it rains it pours) Notice that everyone else on board, was panicking and desperate because all they saw was the storm they were in, and it had their total attention, they could see nothing else. But Paul saw the storm as part of something bigger that he was part of, and he alone was able to see above the storm…. 

(ask someone, “can you see above the storm”)  

Look at the account….Acts 27:22 “I urge all of you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. v23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me v24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ v25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”

While everyone else was panicking, Paul was getting a word from God about how this storm fit into the bigger plan for his life and the kingdom of God. 

They ran aground on the Island of Malta, and when the father of the governor of the island was healed, many others came for healing and the entire island came to Christ. Paul was on his way to one thing, but because of the big problem, storm, God accomplished something greater. 

David was on his way to bring lunch to his brothers and on his way to do one thing, something greater happened, he slew Goliath.

When Abraham could no longer remain in his father’s house making idols, he would never have imagined as he journeyed to Canaan, during this major transition in his life, that he would open a new stream that would produce the Messiah and the Christian movement world wide…..

How could the fishermen disciples have known that their bad day of fishing, which left them tired and disgusted, would position them when Jesus passed by, to be the apostles of a new Christian movement in the earth!

None of it could have happened without the problems that set them up for their destiny!!!

Don’t give up too soon! Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions God has given you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go”.

Keep above the storm, as you understand that it’s not about the storm, but what’s beyond the storm that is God’s intentions for you…Storms will happen, but the real issue is, how will we respond when the storms come…..

In the account of Paul’s storm at sea, we are told that many gave up and left the ship too soon and they were lost. But all those who stayed through the storm, were saved. 

The storm Paul found himself in, lasted 14 days of constant pounding, constantly threating to wash them all overboard, constantly about to sink the ship…. 

When you’re in that kind of prolonged battle, it’s easy to give up and quit, if you aren’t attached to something greater than the storm.

Some of you here today have been in one of those storms that seems to have come to roost on your doorstep and you’ve hoped it would pass, but here it is, still raging, and still pouring.

In spite of all of your prayers……in spite of all you’ve done…that storm is still ragging and it doesn’t seem to go away.

…Storms can get in your home

…Storms can cause turbulence for you in your familyrelationships.

…storms can get in the church and toss it around and bring confusion and disunity…

…storms can affect our health…suddenly the doctor gives a bad report and it crashes upon you….

…storms can come into all of our lives, in so many Ways!

When Paul was in the storm at sea, they began to lighten the ship, and started throwing everything overboard that was extra weight which could threaten the ship. Are there some things thatneed to be thrown overboard in the storm. If it’s weighing you down, then you won’t float like you ought to float and you won’t make progress like you should. 

…There are some relationships that need to be tossed overboard….

…some habits … some lifestyle patterns.… some attitudes that need to be tossed….…because all they are doing is weighing you down!

When it comes down to it, the sacrifice is worth the outcome….

The biggest storm, can’t sink your boat unless it in your boat….(SO KEEP ON BAILING)

God told Adam he was going to give him a companion and it would be called woman.               She will be the total package, beautiful, sexy, and she would complete his life.

God said this person will cook for you and wash your clothes, she will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear you children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will never nag you ,and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you've had a disagreement.She will never have a headache, and will freely give you love, compassion and comfort, whenever needed.

Adam asked God what would a woman like that would cost him.

God said, "An arm and a leg."

Adam said, "What can I get for just a rib?"…And the rest is history....The storm cometh!!!

(don’t look for that in your bible, it will read a little different)

The words of Paul to those on board the sinking ship are my words to you today…..He said the angel told him “be of good cheer, and everything will be all right”. God always sees something better beyond each storm than you see…Faith, rooted in trust, will act like it before it sees it or feels like it!!!!!.

When you are in a storm you need to learn some storm songs you can sing. 

Here are some of the songs I love to sing while going through my storms…

“in the eye of the storm”… says “In the eye of the storm, You remain in control, And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor, When my sails are torn, Your love surrounds me In the eye of the storm”.

And another storm song I love…. “The anchor holds”….

“And the anchor holds, Though the ship's been battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I face the raging seas, and the anchor holds in spite of the storm. I have fallen on my knees as I face the raging seas, the anchor holds in spite of the storm”.

There is an important key to your victory over the storm in the prayer of Jesus for His disciples before He left them….

John 17:14 “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. v15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one who is in the world. v16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it”.

We used to sing “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue”…but so many who used to sing that, have began to see their treasure on earth and it has captured their hearts. We stopped thinking like pilgrims passing through, and we began to think more and more like homesteaders, and our lives began to be captured more and more by the things of earth, and less and less by the things of heaven.

But we were meant for more than this… We were meant for streets of Gold, and gates of pearl. We were meant to live forever with Him in such glory that cannot be imagined or comprehended. . But so many are trading it for things that will pass away…

And it has begun to limit their vision and their mission and calling. It became about houses, and bank accounts, and social connections and entertainment. 

But we were meant for more than all this!

When this is all over, what will be important is who did we bring with us. Who did we witness to that can never say, “No one told me” as they stand before the Lord. It will be about, was there a “go ye” in our gospel or just a “hold the fort” mentality. It will be about how many tears did we cry and how much sleep did we lose as we interceded for lost souls. 

Let’s not allow the storms to take our eyes off the greatest prize and miss Him when He appears in the clouds of glory. Because if we miss that, we haven’t seen a storm compared to the storm that the tribulation is going to bring.

If we can’t pay the price, and count the cost to follow Him now. How will we be able to follow and obey when every Christian is gone, and the anti-Christ now runs everything, and in order to follow Christ, means you will lose your life. 

Friend, no matter how hard you have it now, obeying Him here and now, is nothing compared to what it will be like after the rapture.

The five wise virgins in Jesus parable, kept the oil, (The Holy Spirit) flowing in their lives. But the five foolish allowed all the things of life to distract them so they didn’t keep the oil flowing. They ran out and didn’t even realize it….

The price of vigilance is well worth it…

Because we were meant for more than this!!!

When God finishes with your storm, the plan He has is exponential and there is no way we could ever get our head around it all right now!

You were truly meant for far more than this…. So see above the storm… God will get you over it, under it, around it or through it, but He will get you there!!!!

Grab someone’s hand and let’s lift one another together. Let’s take a new look at the storm, and let’s see God’s great purpose and plan for your break through. 

In the valley, he anoints my head with oil, He brings me into His peace and rest, He prepares a table before me, surely goodness and mercy go with me, His presence sustains me, and glory awaits me….Hallelujah!

Song…. It will be worth it all!

Posted by: AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 09 2019

                                                                                                                                                                              The call of God is imbedded With the promises of God and are God’s covenant with us. Answering the call activates His covenant….

Acts 2:39 “This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far off—as many as the Lord our God shall call."

A call is for assistance, for sharing information, to express appreciation, to communicate a need or coordinate a plan…our scripture tells us that God is calling on each one of us….

In the movie Bruce Almighty, Bruce, played by Jim Carey, has criticized God, because he doesn’t think God is doing a very good job. He basically is telling God that he could do God’s job better.  So now, God is going after Bruce and He uses street signs. Heuses a pager. He uses a truck full of signs. And still, Bruce can’t recognize his call. He can’t recognize that God is specifically speaking to him. Finally, God gets his attention and his life changes drastically ….

God’s call to Moses’ was a burning bush….. His call to Jonah was a great fish…. He called Paul by knocking him out of the saddle….He called to Belteshazzar with the handwriting on the palace wall….He got Jacob’s attention by putting his hip out of socket…..with the disciples it was a boat sinking load of fish, where fish shouldn’t have been… with Balaam it was a talking donkey….and there are many more as well….

Those who are called by God have different ways of responding. Jonah walked away- and caught a ship in the opposite direction from where God wanted him to go.

Moses argued with God- because he said he wasn’t skilled, prepared, or experienced enough to do what God wanted him to do.

Paul didn’t understand what God wanted from him, so he started persecuting Christians, and God had to strike him blind for a few days….

Moses answered God's call by saying, "Who am I?" Gideon answered by making excuses, "I am the least in my father's house.". Zechariah answered by expressing his mistrust, "How shall I know this?" Isaiah answered, "Here am I. Send me." 

As I was looking at all of this I realized that a call is much the same as a prayer, it is a request for assistance, to shareinformation, to express appreciation, to communicate a need, or to coordinate and initiate a plan…

One day, when the reformer, Martin Luther noticed the way hispuppy would sit under the table, by his chair, completely focused on any scrap from the hand of his master. (Martin Luther) said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches for scraps from my hand! He has no thought, care or wish for anything else." Oh that we might be so focused on the Father’s desires….

Jesus said to Peter…Luke 22:32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith would not fail and when you are recovered (and come through the time of testing), strengthen your brethren”.

I want you to see that the Lord is calling upon Peter to be the answer to the prayer which the He is praying…. It’s an amazing revelation when you live as the answer to what God is petitioningin the earth for heaven’s sake….We are praying for the Bahamas, following the devastating hurricane, but there are those who are answering prayer, by providing boots on the ground, bringing aid in all forms. Their prayers went up before the Father, and became the Father’s call and petition to Florida and the nation to answer it….Silent prayers become shouted by heaven, back to earth to those who are called to answer…    

A dad took his son to the son’s favorite restaurant on the beach, and when the food arrived, the dad told his son that they would have a moment of silent prayer. Dad finished praying and then waited for his son to finish, and he waited, and waited. Finallythe son finished and his dad asked what he was praying for. The son said, ”how was I to know, it was a silent prayer”.

So, let me submit to you, that our primary mission, is to find out what God is calling for and then commit ourselves to answering the call!! Believe me, God can be anything but silent!!!

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. v8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. v9 For what man is there among you who, when his son asks for bread, will give him a stone, v10 Or if he asks for a fish, do you give him a snake? Of course not! v11 If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him!?”

It’s pretty clear that the call of God, comes with a father’s heart towards his kids. 

It has been well said that Jesus didn’t teach the disciples how to preach, but he did teach them how to pray….and He taught that prayer was the key that brought the kingdom to earth….

Do you ever feel like you’re in a no signal zone….And even when the signal gets out, there’s no signal getting back to you….In other words, if you have come to see prayer as a hit and miss thing…here’s how to increase your answered prayer results…You can begin to pray like you know God will answer….

So, let’s take a look at the prayers God will consistently answer.We have been given some patterns to help us and guide us, when it comes to praying more effectively….

We begin with praise to God for who He is….

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray, Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your “.

We acknowledge and praise his authority and Lordship, His power, His holiness, His goodness, and righteousness, His mercy, grace, kindness, and willingness to forgive…. His redemption and salvation, His wisdom and knowledge, His justice, and His faithfulness…..We begin by hallowing His great name!

Next, in our effective prayer….We Should Pray for the Needs of Others… 1 Timothy 2:1,2 says to “offer prayer, supplication, intercession, and giving of thanks on behalf of all men”.

We should pray for Rulers and those in authority, For children and family members - for spouses, relatives, and marriage relationships, For lost sinners, For our enemies, and persecutors, For the sick and suffering, For pastors, deacons, evangelists, missionaries, prophets and teachers - 

And of course for all Christians who seek to do the will of God.  

Next, we should thank God for what He has already done….

Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Just covering what the Lord has done in any given week could be quite a list to give thanks for…. That’s a lot of thanksgiving……We give thanks forall the things that we have already received. Give thanks for all the ways we are blessed and kept, supplied and protected.

Now with all that in order, it is time to make our personal request known to God….                                       1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you”.

Notice it doesn’t say “just come and whine to Him”…. This is not just about bringing petitions, requests, hurts, disappointments, struggles, and emotional release. It includes those things but needs to go much further… 

It’s also about decreeing things into the earth, about declaring and enforcing His promises. it’s about not finishing your prayer time until you get a word from God and you hear a response down in your spirit, that says “This is the way, walk ye in it”!!!! And you get up and go your way with peace and confidence!!

Many times we get to this point and we’re so caught up in His glory, that we forget to even ask Him for anything. And we discover that all we needed was there, in the glory anyway!!!

Ivan was a prisoner in a Soviet prison camp with all it’s horrors, the lack of food, cleanliness and abuses. One day he was praying very intently with his eyes closed, when a fellow prisoner noticed him and said in a mocking manner, "You’re wasting your time, all your prayers won't help you get out of here any faster." Ivan opened his eyes, and said to his fellow inmate, "I do not pray to get out of prison, I’m praying that I may do the will of GodUNTIL get out, not WHEN I get out."

On one occasion, the angel brought Peter out of the prison, but it was prayer that brought the angel to where Peter was until he got out of prison….

Paul put it this way,  1 Corinthians 7:20 “Let every man continue in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Even if you were a prisoner when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. 22 He that is called as a servant of the Lord, is a free man. 23 Since you are now set free, return no longer to the bondage you were enslaved to”.

So, Paul is telling the church to make the most of where you are called right now!

We all have a call upon our lives, to be the instruments which God uses in the earth, to fulfill His plan and His intentions in the earth, right where we are. 

(tell someone, “You are His answer, right where you are”)

Helen Roseveare, answered the call of God as a missionary to Zaire, Africa. "A mother at the mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. She tried to improvise an incubator to keep the baby alive, but the only hot water bottle she had was beyond repair. So she got all the children to pray for a hot water bottle for the baby. That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children eagerly helped to opened it. Much to their surprise, sure enough, under some clothing was the hot water bottle they had asked for! They discovered that 5 months before they even prayed, a ladies' group, across the ocean had been led of the Lord, to include a hot water bottle in their missionspackage. FIVE MONTHS BEFORE THEY PRAYED!

The call of God flows from the love of God that cares about what is best for us.

The call of God flows from the wisdom of God that always knows what is best for us.

The call of God contains the power of God to accomplish what is best for us.

God’s call gives us a daily perspective… Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God”. 

Through out the day, we become responsible that God's will is being done in our lives …. that we walk in forgiveness….That we recognize and resist temptation….His will for Safety as we travel and care for loved ones….. for peace, courage and for boldness…. for Laborers in the harvest of souls…..For opportunities to witness and to teach….For a life pleasing to God – For the fruit of the Spirit in all of our dealings…. And for Unity…

Let me add…. We pray God’s word (For His word shall not come back void)…. We don’t give up and we never stop believing….Wecheck ourselves to see if we are in obedience….We walk in faith, not in worry or anxiety…

Johnny, a very bright little boy, wanted a baby brother more than anything and, he told his mom and dad, that he was willing to do whatever he could to help. His dad, paused for a moment and then replied with a twinkle in his eye, " I'll tell you what, Johnny, if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you one!" 

Johnny was really excited and went to his bedroom early that night to start praying for a baby brother. He prayed every night for a whole month, but after that time, he began to get skeptical. He checked around the neighborhood and the older kids just made fun of him. You just don't pray for two months and whammo- a new baby brother. So, Johnny quit praying. After another month, Johnny's mother went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny's parents called him into the bedroom, and there was a little bundle lying right next to his mother. *……His dad pulled back the blanket and there was -- not one baby brother, but two!! His mother had twins! Johnny's dad looked down at him and said, "Now aren't you glad you prayed?"  Johnny said, "Yes, but aren't you glad I quit when I did?"

As we respond to the call and petition of God upon our lives, it’s a lot like throwing out a line from a boat to catch the docking poles, and then you start pulling. Are you pulling the dock to yourself, or are you pulling yourself to the dock? You say Pastor, that is a silly question,               *……but when it comes to the call of God, we want to pull God to our will, instead of pulling ourselves into the will of God.

Someone put a statement on Facebook, which was deliberately misworded and they asked if we had read it correctly. We all had read it the way it was supposed to be, not the way it was!

Often we see things happen the way we think they’re supposed to be, instead of how God sees best, and then we conclude that God didn’t answer our prayer….

But until we let go of what we insist was supposed to be, and accept what God says is best, we will continue to accuse God of not answering prayer, or doubt that He will….

May folks suffer unnecessarily and deal with needless anguish and anxiety because they hold on to what never was supposed to be, and try to make it work, instead of finding out what was supposed to be all along and watch God do amazing things !!!

Speaking of what’s supposed to be, A young boy called the pastor of the church which was just around the corner from their house,to ask the pastor to come by and pray for his mother who had been very ill with the flu. The pastor of the corner church knew the family and was aware they had been attending another church down the road. So the pastor asked, "Shouldn't you be asking Brother Simon down the road to come by to pray with your mom?" 

The young boy thought for a moment and said, "Yeah, but we wouldn’t want to take the chance that our own pastor might catch whatever this is that Mom has." (what a nice boy)                                 

If there was ever a time when we need to get prayer prioritiesright, it is now….

A pastor of some of the kids who were killed in the Columbine school shooting, stood before the Kansas Senate and prayed this prayer that created a firestorm when it got out to the public…..both positive and negative…                                                                                                                                  Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it being inclusive. As a society, we have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and abandoned our values; We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle; We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery; We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare; We have killed our unborn and called it choice; We have become a lawless society and call it Civil rights; We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem; We have abused power and called it politics; We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it equality; We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression; We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Some senators walked out of the room and left the building……there was an outcry from others….          We tolerate what shouldn’t be so we end up living without what is supposed to be….                                                                     too often the church prays without ever weeping, we give without sacrificing, we live without is it any wonder that we sow without reaping?!"

When the Lord says, “This gospel shall be preached throughout the whole earth and then the end shall come”… He is petitioning every believer to answer heaven’s call and draw ourselves into His program for planet earth… How amazing, to be the answer to God’s petitions in the earth… and that by our obedience, we are coordinating with Him to determine when His coming will be and when the end shall be…. See it for yourself….                            

2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that Day (the coming of Christ) shall not come, unless there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, (the anti-christ) v4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. v5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things. v6 And you know what is holding him back, from being revealed. v7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains him (the believers) will continue to do so until He is taken out of the way (the rapture).v8 And only then can the lawless one (the antichrist) be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming”. 

Can I take a quick moment to make clear that the “appearing of the Lord” in the clouds is when the rapture takes place. The “coming of the Lord” will be at the end of the tribulation, when He comes back with the saints to overthrow the anti-Christ, put Satan in chains and set up the millennial reign of 1000 years of heaven on earth….At the rapture He comes in the clouds, to take the church to heaven with Him,  at His coming, He touches planet earth, to remain here for 1000 years. 

But the scripture we just read, tells us that we as believers are the force on earth, preventing the anti-christ and the demons of evil and wickedness, from just taking over the world. We are fulfilling the call of God upon us to hold back darkness and spread the gospel of the kingdom. 

There is a question that begs to be asked in my message today….and I ask my self this constantly                                                                    Have we done our part?….God always moves, when he finds a willing instrument….who is committed to participating in the kingdom process…. 

Speaking of praying effectively……Three preachers had agreed to go on a hunting trip together, and as they waited to start out, they began to discuss the best positions for prayer while their hunting guide finished the packing. "Kneeling is definitely bestfor me," claimed one preacher. "Oh No," another preacher said, "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven." "Well, I don’t agree with either one of you" the thirdpreacher insisted. "The most effective prayer position for me, is lying face down on the floor." Their guide could contain himself no longer. "Hey, fellas, " he interrupted, "I personally don’t agree with any of you, the best praying I ever did was while running as fast as I could with a black bear breathing down my backside”!!! This guy knew that praying had to be combined with DOING SOMETHING!!! 

Jesus told us the Father would provide our daily bread, but we still must go out and get it….We can pray for wisdom, but we still need to study His word, which is where we will find it….He said that He was our healer, but we can’t continually abuse and neglect our bodies if we expect to have it…..We can pray that the lost be saved, but until we witness and teach and provide a godly example, we personally may not see it….                                                                                                                                 

In the movie Bruce almighty which I have mentioned, Bruce thinks that his life will get easier if God would just get more involved in his life, that somehow everything about his life will be wrapped up and just the way he thinks it’s supposed to be. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that being closer to the Godmeant Bruce had more problems, not less. He wanted to have itall without any personal responsibility or change.

There's a big difference between being sorry for your sin and just being sorry you were caught. There is a big difference between weeping because you don't like the consequences of your actions and weeping because you let the God of heaven down, Who loved you and gave Himself for you!

Contrary to the thinking of many folks, God is not our personal Genie. Genie’s don’t always have your personal interest in mind, or what is really best for you. Like one guy who found a lamp, rubbed it and when the “BIG BLUE THINGY” appeared, he wished for a million bucks, only to find himself surrounded by a million male deer!!! (I guess Genies have to be programed)

The call of God requires our full participation…..

If we pray without intending to be part of the answer, then we actually have not prayed in faith…. Jesus said the “prayer of faith, would heal the sick and the Lord would raise them up” The prayer of faith, goes the next step and participates in the answer however the Lord chooses or it is not actually the prayer of faith! 

There are many things you may do AFTER you pray, but there is nothing you should do UNTIL you pray! While others see difficulty surrounding every opportunity a person of prayer, sees opportunities around every difficulty.

Every miracle Jesus ever performed, started out as a problem or an impossibility! Our impossibilities are the opportunity for God to show us who He really is and what He can really do!!! It’s a chance to let Him be God….

While it seems the world is trying to pull God down to their level on their terms, God is trying to pull us up to His level and give us a bird’s eye view of the amazing world on His terms!                 Raise your hand if you have something big to pray about and you need God to move in a BIG way.  

Jesus’ invitation still stands today… Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.v29 Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the fullness of My grace. I won't lay anything on you that isoverwhelming or that is not my best for you. v30 Keep in relationship with me and you'll learn to live free and unencumbered."

Oh, church, let’s get set free indeed! To fully believe that who He calls He empowers…..

When Paul saw the light of freedom shining from heaven upon Stephen, it changed something deep inside of him…. When the crowd saw the anointing on those ordinary guys who came out of the upper room they had to have what they had…. When the disciples went out with the same spirit in them that was in Jesus, the lame walked, the oppressed were delivered and the dead were raised…. When John was boiled in oil and left on the Isle of Patmos, he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and brought the world the book of Revelation and we were able to look through that window into the future…

Romans 12:1 For this reason I make request to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you will offer your selves as an offering to God, which is the worship that is yours to give him. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 3 For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone who is among you not to think more highly of yourself than it is right to think, but to think {wisely}, as God has given the measure of faith to each one.".

So what does God call you…... You are accepted, a joint heir who shares in His inheritance, His Spirit and his life lives in you, you are His body in the earth, you are complete in Him, you are chosen of God, anointed with power, love and a sound mind, you are seated in heavenly places with Him, far above principalities, and powers, you have direct access, and you share His nature. He works in you and through you to accomplish what He wants you to do…

2 Timothy 1:6 “For this cause I put you in remembrance, that you stir up the gift of God,  which is in you by the laying on of hands”

Let’s just take some time to activate the words of 2 Timothy 1:6 and just break some things and clear the way for God to begin to stir up, and bring forth His gifts, His abilities through us, His demonstrations of His Spirit….

God is arranging, empowering, provisioning before you get there, He is releasing, over ruling, bringing forth, clearing up, shutting down, opening up, closing, raising up, confirming, making the impossible, possible, making a way where there is no way, healing, restoring, restraining, repairing and creating what has never existed before….

Posted by: AT 08:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 05 2019

Fasting for me is a big sacrifice. I like food, and I like to eat at least acouple of times a day. So I do struggle if I interrupt that cycle… But my message today is going to deal with what fasting really is, instead of the act of fasting itself….Fasting is really all about obedience….That’s the bottom line….

God needs to train your brain by having you put things aside, things that you won’t die without…(believe it or not) The fasted life is a life that allows God to retrain your appetites and desires, and life patterns, not for a season but for the rest of your life

1 Samuel 15:22 “But Samuel replied, What is more pleasing to the LORD, your sacrificial offerings, or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, (we could say fasting here) and submission to Him is better than all of your offerings”. (your good intentions)

It has been said we have not truly submitted to the Lord, until we can obey, even when we don’t agree….(and when I fast, my stomach definitely doesn’t agree)

When King Saul, was told by God to go and defeat and destroy the army of Amalek and their king, he went as he was told, but he did not destroy them, because he didn’t agree with God. So, he only won a battle when God wanted to win the war. He allowed their ruling power to remain alive. 

God knew that if the ruler of the kingdom, or stronghold was allowed to remain in power, the kingdom would soon be rebuilt and they would be back where they started.

So in the end, you can win a battle and lose the war…

To stay in victory, we must destroy the king who rules in whatever area thatwants to defeat us and rule over our lives, so we must throw down his kingdom. If we don’t destroy the ruling spirit of infirmity and disease, it will keep returning. If we don’t destroy the ruling spirit of deception and judgmentalism, we will keep being deceived. If we don’t cast down the power of our flesh over us, we will continue to be ruled by the flesh and it’sdesires….

In winning the battle, but failing to submit to God’s directive and destroy the ruler, Saul is actually in disobeyed and was told by the prophet Samuel… in 1 Sam. 15:23that his arrogance was the sin of idolatry because he placed his own desires and wishes above the desires of God. It was the Idol OfMyself….

In making God in his own image and likeness, Saul was committing idolatry. “I want, I feel, I like, I prefer, I would rather, I love, I know better… has led many down the path of destruction, when those things push aside the voice and will and plan of God!

I’m reminded of the Irish man who agreed with his two brothers that when he moved to America, at a certain time on each Saturday, they would go to the pub and have a drink together, even though they were oceans apart. Soeach Saturday, he would faithfully go to an Irish pub in New York, and order 3 beers, and drink one for himself and one for each brother. He explained to the bar tender what he and his three brothers had agreed on. But one Saturday he came in and said that he had become a Christian and had given up drinking. He then ordered two beers. I thought you said you had quit the brew, the bar tender said. Oh, yes, I have quit, but my two brothers haven’t!!!

Almost obeying is still disobedience. I did but I didn’t….. but we get to see King Saul’s rational for disobedience. It’s the deception of needing to be accepted….

1 Samuel 15:24, Saul is exposed by God, and we hear his confession…. He said,    “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them”. Saul admitted that his disobedience was against God’s command. And it was the result of seeking the approval of people above the approval of God.

The sharks of disobedience are always out there circling, waiting for an opportunity when you are distracted or off balance, to swoop in and attack….

So we have learned in this account in the life of King Saul, that disobedience is an act of rebellion, disobedience is a sin, disobedience is a form of idolatry, disobedience disrespects and diminishes the power of God’s Word in our lives, disobedience is about doing what is convenient not what is best, and disobedience is based on seeking the approval of people rather than the approval of God.

King Saul died as a tormented soul, because he had become double minded. We know that the only peace he had was when David played and sang for him. But he died, tormented by double mindedness caused by his disobedience. 

James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. v7 Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. v8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all of his ways”.

The fasted life will confront all of these issues, because it’s primary objective is about living a life of God’s choosing and not my own (to obey when I don’t agree, is the sacrifice which God always honors and rewards).

Obedience, is about a relationship with God that is based on trust.

I obey until understanding comes, I don’t always have the option of understanding before I am asked to obey.                                                                                                                 The power went off and the house was dark. The little girl called for her daddy, and when he answered, she rushed through the darkness to where he was. When she got to him, he said weren’t you afraid. She said, “Daddy I was afraid until I heard your voice and I wasn’t afraid anymore”…

We trust him more than the fear, more than the uncertainty, more than our own imagination, and more than the danger and the risk we’re called to take….

Jesus criticized the teachers of His time for three religious activities—fasting, public prayer, and giving to those in need— not because they werenot good and honorable activities, but because they did it for the approval of men, more than they did it for the approval of God. They had developed a system of spiritual activities that were all aimed at being applauded and elevated by the people. 

We must be careful about spiritual performances which are to impress people and promote ourselves, more than obeying and honoring God. Those who lead in worship, those who preach, those who minister, can easily cross over into performing for the people, instead of honoring an audience of only one…..

 Sometimes we have to choose to obey God or man…..This is why when the disciples were brought before the religious counsel and asked why they continued to fill Jerusalem with their doctrine, Peter gave them this answer….                                                 Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

When we were younger, I remember in one job, I worked at a full servicemeat market, and the boss required that we put our thumb on the scale when we weighed the meat, or have a small weight that we slipped on the scale with the meat. I refused and he took me off the scales and put me in the processing area and taught me to be a meat cutter. He said he couldn’t trust me to do the wrong thing. That trade met our needs for 15 years until we got to Key West and got a salary from the church. 

Obedience is better than sacrifice!

The fasted life seeks above all to honor God….The fasted life will seek to honor the Lord in speech, in actions, in relationships… and in priorities!Before we do the things we do, if we can’t stop first and pray “Lord I ask you to bless this”, then we probably won’t honor God in doing it….

I heard about a minister who was speaking to a guy who claimed to be a Christian but smoked recreational marijuana. The guy told him that God wouldn’t produce something that wasn’t for our good. So it was OK to use what God had produced.      The minister took a handkerchief and picked up some dog droppings and said, based on what you have said, you need to light this up and give it a try..

King Saul heard the word of the Lord, but he thought he had a better idea….

The government usually thinks it has a better idea than God and we end up with socialism … Environmentalist usually think they have a better idea than God and we end up with climate change… Scientist think they have a better idea than God and we end up with the erroneous deception of evolution… Doctors think they have a better idea than God and we end up controlled by pharmaceuticals and health for sale…. The church thought it has a better idea than God and we ended up with religion instead of personal relationship….

Samuel said it best when he said….”Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission to Him is better than all of your offerings”.

One lady who had come into the revelation of a God centered relationship, said this..   I now know why I wanted my morality and good works to save me. If I’m saved by my good works, then like a taxpayer, I have rights and privileges. I’ve paid into the system and God now owes me a good and decent life. And there is a limit to what the Father can ask of me in that religious arrangement. But if I’m saved by sheer grace, then my life belongs entirely to the Father, I receive everything I don’t deserve, and He owes me nothing and there is no limit to what he can rightfully ask of me.”

Then I look at Micah 6:7 “Will the Lord be pleased with your thousands ofsacrifices and offerings? v8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; and what He requires of you. It is to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly (obedient) with your God”?

Jesus didn’t say, “If you love me, sacrifice for me.” Instead he said, “Anyone who loves me will obey me and My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Let me tell you, when God makes His home with you, great things will begin to happen in your life! Things you could never have planned, could never afford, or even thought of !! But He may rearrange your stuff, He may change your schedule, and He may change your priorities…

Isaiah 48:17–19 “This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace, endlesslyflowing like a river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea. Your descendants will be like the sands along the seashore—too many to count! Destruction, will be far from you and your legacy will remain."

The fasted life is a life of obedience…. And the source… is Trust in God!                 When God led the Hebrews out of Egypt, it was a journey of trust in Him, a journey of obedience. When they obeyed and moved with the pillar of fire by night and the cloud of His presence by day, it went well, when they didn’t, they had nothing but defeat and destruction …

Family psychologist, Dr. James Dobson said once, “If you have a willful child, I’ll teach you how to raise him. If you have a teenager, I’ll pray for you.”                                                    Lack of obedience in the workplace is insubordination.

Lack of obedience in the military can be grounds for court marshal.

Lack of obedience in children is rebellion.

Lack of obedience to God is another word for sin.

What if A professional fire fighter comes to your work place. He tells everyone that if they find themselves on fire, to stop, drop and roll. Then he has everyone practice doing it. So sure enough you find yourself on fire, but you start running around screaming and end up perishing, when all you had to do is stop, drop and roll. With your solution available to you, you chose to disobey the thing that would save you and you pay the consequences.

The problem with disobedience is that Disobedience has ramifications far beyond ourselves. It has a domino affect which not only touches ourselves, but it becomes generational…. It is empowered by a spirit of lawlessness which is insatiable and it is not satisfied until generations are affected…. 

Jacob’s disobedience in stealing the birthright, was perpetuated in his sons who sold their own brother Joseph into slavery…. Adam and Eve’s disobedience was perpetuated by Cain who murdered his brother…. David’s disobedience was perpetuated in Absalom… Solomon’s disobedience was perpetuated in his son Rehoboam, the evil king of Israel… 

The apostle Paul mentions this cycle in Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”  

Paul addresses the generational cycle of disobedience, but then he says that through Jesus’ obedience a reset button was pushed, and His obedience set up a new generational cycle. He redeemed our legacy, He restored the God possibilities in the  family lineage!!!

My father ran a moonshine still in the hills of North Carolina, my mother was a promiscuous alcoholic, who abandoned her husband and her children. When I married this foxy lady, I made a covenant with God that a new stream of blessing was being opened and a new, Godly legacy, was being started! And I declared it based on…  

Deuteronomy 28:1 “And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord your God, to observe [and] obey His word, that the Lord your God will set you on high… v2 And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you in the way you go, if you will hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God. v3 Blessed [shall] you [be] in the city, and blessed [shalt] you [be] in the field. v4 Blessed [shall be] the fruit of yourbody, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of all your animals. v5 Blessed [shall be] your basket and your storehouse.

v6 Blessed [shall] you [be] when you come in, and blessed [shall] you [be] when you go out. v7 The Lord shall cause your enemies that rise up against you to disappear from before your face: they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. v8 The Lord shall command Hisblessing upon you in all that you set your hand unto and he shall bless youin the land which the Lord your God gives unto you. v9 The Lord shall establish you as a holy people unto Himself, as he has sworn unto you, if you will keep the word of the Lord your God, and walk in His ways.

v11 And the Lord shall make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of yourbody, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the Lord has swornunto your fathers to give you. v12 The Lord shall open unto you His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto your land in His season, and to bless all the work of your hand and you shall lend unto many, and you shallnot borrow. v13 And the Lord shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shalt not be beneath, if you obey the wordof the Lord your God”.

Obedience has it’s own reward…. My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus…. Nothing shall be able to stand before you…. A thousand shall fall on your left hand and ten thousand on your right hand but it shall not come near you…. The path of the righteous shall shine as the sun on a new day… The enemy shall come at you one way and shall flee 7 ways…. God shall be your sword and shield….By His stripes we are healed….Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord shall deliver them from them all….etc…                                          Obedience transforms fear to faith, it replaces uncertainty with purpose and direction, it turns your pain into deliverance, and your obstacles become opportunities!  

Let’s say you are on the other side of a polluted river, where there is nothing to eat or drink and unless you cross the river where there is plenty, you will die… But you say, “I do not believe in boats or bridges, but I want to get to the other side” so you stand there, dying of hunger and thirst while there is a bridge and a boat, but you die, because you say you do not believe in that means of rescue, even though your salvation is right in front of your eyesyou perish.

Let’s put it another way… Let’s say that you know that if you don’t eat and drink, you will die. But in spite of this, you say “I will not eat or drink, but I still want to live”… Food and drink are placed before you, but you have made your choice, and you die with plenty of food and drink available to you…

Is that any different from a person whom God has told, “If you simply obey me, you will be blessed in every way”… but they insist on saying I don’t believe that, even though my life is a mess, even though my family is perpetuating my disobedience, even though things are all fouled up in my life… I insist on doing it my way, because I know better than God”!

What makes this even crazier, is that people ignore the solution they have been given, and their means of having the best outcome, and then they blame God for the results of their disobedience!!! Any sane person would say, that makes absolutely no sense at all!!!

At the end of life we will not be judged by many of the things we thought were important, like degrees or how much money we have, or how famous we were. But we will be judged by how well we obeyed the Lord.  

In the scriptures we have the story of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego who are threatened with a fiery furnace death if they did not disobey God. Daniel was told that he would be fast food in the lion’s den if he didn’t disobey God… In both cases, these men chose to obey God rather than men. They were going to lose a lot more than just their job, or their money, or their reputation…. And the outcome was miraculous and totally amazing! God honored them because they honored Him!

The bible says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of doing it your own way, receive His salvation, come under His teaching in obedience and you will be saved and blessed….

And folks still say “I’ll do it my way, I can handle this, I don’t need Jesus”

Listen, if any of us could do it our own way… why would Jesus ever leave heaven, with all it’s glory, leave the place of Deity and become a man, be rejected, opposed, abandoned and persecuted, then die a cruel death on the cross for our sins, if there was any other way imaginable!!!!

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her (Martha), I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. v26 Andwhosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this”?

When I was younger, I was in a hurry and decided instead of waiting for the red light to change like all the other cars, I would take a short cut through a gas station. I felt pretty good about my choice to get a jump on the traffic, until the police lights behind me told me other wise. I was given a ticket for avoiding a traffic light. As I paid the ticket, wisdom came into me…. DON’T DO THAT AGAIN!

The fasted life begins by making a quality decision to obey….

(the enemy uses our rebellious areas against us. He knows obedience is the key)

The fasted life begins by knowing what the Lord desires of us….                                                   ( The enemy may not read our mind but he knows what has captured our heart)

Someone has said that the brain is amazing, it works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and never stops, from birth until we fall in love….

The fasted life begins by forming habits and patterns of obedience….                                          (The enemy may not know our heart, but he knows our habits and patterns)…

The fasted life embraces the wisdom of God’s word…

(the enemy is a deceiver who hides wisdom from us)

The fasted life listens constantly for God’s voice….

(so the enemy confuses us with many voices)

The fasted life does what God says….

(the enemy will tell you like he did to Adam, that it doesn’t matter)

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, v2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God”.

The rewarder is there for us at the right hand of God’s favor…

The intercessor is there for us at the right hand of God’s favor…

The healer, provider and deliverer is at the right hand of God’s favor… 

The way maker and world shaker is at the right hand of God’s favor…

The peace that passes all understanding is at the right hand of God’s favor….

The one who never slumbers or sleeps is there, and He’s awake so you can sleep, He’s knows when you don’t know, He’s figured it out when you don’t have a clue…

Our part is to live the fasted life of obedience….

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