Wow, A Blessed Father’s Day to all the dads and if your dad is no longer with us, I pray that you will walk down memory lane and enjoy revisiting some of the good times you had together. We are all, at some level imprinted with the lives of our dads. So my message today is “Give Them Something To Talk About”! And it comes from a very controversial time in one father’s life… I wrote a poem a while back titled “What is Man”…. It seems to issue a challenge to all dads and all of us…on this Father’s day… it says…
“God’s glorious plan works through our hands, though angels heed his call. For what is man that You are mindful of Him, or consider him at all. The mystery demands that we understand or it makes no rhyme or reason. For the serpent knows that redemption flows, in the second Adam’s season. For Hehas chosen us, made from dust, to break the destroyer’s power. Lord stir us up, and wake us up, in this time and in this hour. To hinder Hell, and fill the realms of heaven to overflowing, by the simple seeds of truth and love, that we His men are sowing. So pick up your cross and lift it high, for the vic-tory is won, and on that day not far away, You’ll hear Him say “Well Done”.
So, as I mentioned, this message title, Give them something to talk about…. Is extracted from the bible account of a Dad who certainly could be voted as the best dad ever, since he was chosen by the Heavenly Father to be papa to His earthly son, Jesus.
Eyebrows were raised, his as well, through this discovery that the woman he loved and was engaged to, now was pregnant, even though he had honored her virginity, and it really gave every one something to talk about…. And there was a lot of tongue wagging, and the buzz was abuzz, about this young couple. It really lit up the grape vine with some juicy morsels….a lot of “what if’s” were swirling around the village….God must have winked as He really gave them something to talk about. Matthew’s gospel gives us some insight into why Joseph was chosen as the earthly father figure in the life of Jesus.
Matthew 1: 18 “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after Joseph had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus”.
This tells me that God chose a man who was open to the will of the Father in his life. When everyone was trying to blast their relationship out of the water, He stayed open to the God shaped outcome, even though he couldn’t wrap his head around it.
We can see here that Joseph did not find it strange to hear from God ... I believe the Spirit is saying that righteous dads expect to hear from God!
They will not act, even in times when they are overwhelmed by all the world is throwing at them, until they get the Father’sperspective about it. When God appeared to Joseph in a dream he heard it with his spirit, not just his head… He didn’t mark it up to the pizza he had for dinner… and
the way he responded tells us he was accustomed to hearing from God.
He didn’t stop praying, until God had a chance to speak. How often do we pray one way prayers without giving God a chance to really speak back into our lives…
I’m wondering perhaps if the reason many folks don’t hear from God, is because they don’t like what He’s saying…..Judas sat at the table, he heard what all the others heard, he saw the miracles, he was part of the inner circle, but his heart was somewhere else… He had his own agenda, He marched to the beat of another drum….The truth that c1ame to set him free only hardened him in his rebellion and his secret agenda….
2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”
The only human conclusion Joseph or anyone could come to when a young lady gets pregnant out of wedlock, is immediately that God impregnated her…..RIGHT?………NOT!!!
I mean, if I came home and my wife said to me at 77 years old, “I’m pregnant”…. I must tell you, my mind WOULD NOT immediately go to the fact that God Did It! I would really need to hear from heaven!! Peace came to Joseph, by hearing God, not from the natural mind. My son David was coming home from Southeastern college in Lakeland. He figured he would arrive at about 10 pm, and about 1am, we began to pray… God showed me the rear end of his car and then him eating a cheeseburger. I turned to Winnie and said, ‘he’s OK, there’s trouble with the rear end and he’s eating a cheeseburger”. Finally he called at 1:30 am, and said something happened to the rear end, and he was sitting at a deacon’s home in South Bay, eating a cheeseburger! The deacon had been at a wedding and saw him broken down….
I can almost hear God saying “Let’s give them something to talk about”!
But even though there was no natural explanation… Joseph obeyed God!
If you hear God, you may have to say “I’m sorry”… or “I was wrong”… Anyone ever have a hard time with that…. (I DO!!) But because it’s hard, if God says do it, the challenge is, will you go against your own feelings, or natural mind, and do what God is saying into your spirit?!!! Which voice will win out… in the contest of wills! Do you routinely hear from God, and would you recognize His voice if He spoke to you today? If our children see and hear, that we are following God’s instructions, and they see the difference it makes in our lives in the thick of it all…. They will learn to seek God for their own lives… They are watching and listening….whether we think they are or not…. A down home country preacher had a teenage son, and he felt it was getting time for the boy give some thought to what profession he would be choosing in life. Like many young men, he hadn’t thought much about what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
One day, while the son was at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his desk, four objects: a Bible,- a silver dollar,- a bottle of whisky and- a Playboy magazine
I'll just hide behind the door", the preacher said to himself", and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasing narcissist."
The preacher waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the desk, and noticed the objects setting there. With curiosity, he looked them over, then he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired that month's Centerfold. "Lord have mercy on us all", the old preacher whispered in dispair, "he's gonna be a Politician"
Well, God needs some Godly politicians too….if they can put down the other items on the desk…and grab the bible…. Amen..
When God told Gideon to go up against the vast army of Midianites, the first thing he had to overcome was his own self image and the low estimate he had of himself. He heard God, but doing it was another thing!
Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat (at night) in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Even after Gideon obeyed, it wasn’t very encouraging… He could only gather 32,000 men against the Midianites, then God told him to have all those who were afraid to go home, that left 10,000. Then God said that’s too many, so he gave them the drinking water test, and that left 300 men against 135,000 enemy soldiers.
Size matters with our God, because He wants the glory that is due unto Him…..when David slays Goliath, When Daniel survives the lions, When Esther wins over Haman, and when Elijah defeats the 6000 prophets of Baal… God got all the honor and glory, and everyone knew it’s not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord!!!
God is looking for a people, through whom He can get all the glory!!!
Notice what the response from Joseph is, as soon as he awakens from sleep and this dream he was given, (No matter what everyone was saying, or what the grapevine was busy smearing)
it says "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son..."
There is no hesitation, he was a man used to doing what God asks of him.
Obeying God was normal ... not abnormal for this man, how about us today? Our children need to see us delight ourselves in the Lord if we ever hope for them to see their relationship with God as a positive thing and not just as a duty or obligation! The voice of God will birth His new thing in the earth through His people…. It will impregnate you with new hope, faith, inspiration, dreams, visions, and ability….
And here’s some deeper thought for you to ponder this morning….
It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.
Some men only want to shine, but others cast a shadow on their children that touches generations.
If you’re not building your dreams, you’re probably building someone else’s.
Too many men are looking for the right person instead of being the right person
They may not remember everything you said, but they will never forget how special you made them feel.
Joseph was a father to Jesus in every way ... when the life of Jesus was threatened, God again spoke to Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. I find it interesting that because God knew that whatever it took, Joseph would obey, he financed the trip to Egypt, by sending wise men from the east, to present them with gold, frankincense and myrrh, to cover the cost, when Jesus was just around 2 years old, which would have been close to the time they had to flee…Those wise men had to have left months before, in order to arrive at exactly the right time.
Oh, how many times has His provision been sent forth, before we cried out and it was on the way before we knew we had a need!
Joseph had his priorities correct: God first, and everything else after that….isn’t that what He tells us?...
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (doing the right thing by Him) and all these things will be added unto you.”
God wanted His only son, to be raised by a man who would always do the right thing, even when it went contrary to the world and the flesh….
Joseph was careful to recognize God's ownership of this child in his care and that he was just a steward of this gift into his life ... and as soon as Jesus was 8 days old they brought him to the temple to be dedicated.
This was more than just dedicating the baby, it was also accepting responsibility as a parent to recognize God's ownership of the child and as a parent to live before their children as an example of Godliness.
So, Baby dedications are not just cute ceremonies, and they are not just about the baby, it is as much about the dedication of the parents in this new journey, as it is about the baby being dedicated to God.
I think of the famous story of Babe Ruth and the umpire who called him out on his 3rd strike ... Babe Ruth got into a heated argument with the umpire while the entire crowd of 40,000 people cheered the Babe on. Ruth told the umpire, "There's 40,000 people here who know that the last one was a ball, you tomato head!" The umpire replied with confidence, "Maybe so, Babe, but mine is the only opinion that counts ... you're outa here!"
No matter what the world says, or your spouse, or your kids, or your boss, the only opinion that ultimately counts is God's! It is He, that we will stand before and give an account for what we did with what He gave us…
Clarence Kelland said “My father didn’t just tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Jean Paul Richter….. “The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home, are eventually heard by the world”
Frank A. Clark ….“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he intended for himself to be.”
“Build me children, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when they are weak and brave enough to face themselves when they are afraid. Who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.“Build me children whose good intentions will not take the place of good deeds, and who will know You, oh God… the foundation stone of all knowledge. “Build me children whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, who will master themselves before they seek to master others… who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
“And after all these things are theirs add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so they may always be serious, yet never take themselves too seriously. Give them humility, so they may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom and the meekness of true strength. “Then I, their father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain’.”
–That was the prayer of Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur
Jesus, the son of God, the son of man, represents the full scope of our humanity. What it means to be who we are created to be. And we discover our full potential and our Divine destiny when God is placed at the center of our lives. And everything else, every other relationship—including spouse, children and parents—thrive and succeed as they revolve around that orbit of consecration.
You may recall the words of Jesus when He became separated from his parents at 12 years of age, when they finally found Him, He said “I must be about my Father’s business”….
What a goal, what a marker to shoot for in our lives… To be so fixed and anchored to what is pleasing to the Father, and so directed of Him, that we could rise above our emotional baggage, our past hurts and injuries and injustices… our likes and dislikes and set patterns…. Our attachments to people and things…. that we could “be about our Father’s business”
As Christian men and women, is that not the highest goal and loftiest aspiration of any life.
We are all children of the same divine parent. Our vocation, our purpose, and our destiny is to have our lives be a witness to the love, power, and presence of God. Parenthood itself is our Father’sbusiness. And that business is, like Mary and Joseph, to help our children connect with the answer to their spiritual hunger, to find their own destiny with God at the center of all things. To discover their place. Even if it means some struggle and inconvenience in our own journey. It is in seeking Him first that we find our own true identities…To help them uncover their gifts and apply them in the pursuit of their God given purpose….
Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name”….Hallowed means (To be greatly revered and honored, dedicated, honored, sanctified, blessed, consecrated, andanointed)
Before everything else, God is a Father. All that He does He does as Father. That is who He is. He creates as a Father and he rules as a loving, just and merciful Father. It is only when we see that God rules His creation as a kind and loving Father that we will be inspired by the destiny He plans for each of us as His children.Hallowed be His Name!
It’s a Father’s plans to sustain us, provide for us, oversee the best for us, to protect, comfort and nourish His image in us. To know that the life and image of our Father, has been deposited in us, so that we are more than flesh and blood, but the dreams, and hopes, the potential and sum total of what He embedded in us. Things that can only be measured by eternity’s scales. Hallowed be His Name!
The whole of us is far more than our parts and what is in us, is far more than what has poured forth from us this far…. We are more than what is against us, we are more than any flaw or weakness we may see in us. You see, the Father has gone before us to prepare what’s ahead of us and prepare us for it. That’s why Father God, calls us more than conquerors, because He has won the battles and now He gives the victory unto us….
Because He lives, I live through His life, because He overcame, I overcome in His triumph. That’s what a Father does, He goes before and prepares for His children to come….Hallowed be His Name!
See His footprints, follow His steps, He has prepared the way for you… This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles… It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You……
Oh, Yes, The Father has you surrounded right now! For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of wickedness in high places…. Thank God, Jesus has met all of these powers and forces head on and triumphed gloriously, so we may stand in His triumph and keep moving forward. Every place that we have jurisdiction, we have delegated authority. The term “Dad” is a description of jurisdiction, as well as husband, grandfather, great grandfather, son, uncle, nephew, cousin, etc. these all connect us to areas we can access through authority by jurisdiction….They are legal entitlements where we have been given influence… (does that make sense)? So as we pray together over these men, we are agreeing together and releasing their God given authority in all of these spheres of influence! In all their assignments….
What If We Are The People We’ve Been Praying For God To Raise Up?
There’s no way Zacchaeus could have known that Jesus would be coming to his house with an encounter that would bring this dishonest tax collector, into being a follower of the Lord who would be written into the bible record for generations to read and learn from. This is just one example of a least likely individual being raised up to the call of God to fulfill their purpose, after all, dishonest tax man Zacchaeus’ name meant “pure, or innocent”. Let’s look at the account from scripture….
Luke 19:1 “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Who could have imagined….The nation of Israel was crying out to heaven for hundreds of years, that deliverance would come from a basket case like Moses, who grew up, as a stutterer, who struggled with speech, how could he ever imagine that he was the answer they were praying for!
Who could have known….A small North Carolina farming community, that was committed to praying for God to raise up a voice that would move the nation back to God, would discover that in their little country church was a boy who would be the answer, named Billy Graham…
Who would have thought it…. A mother was barren, but God opened her womb and the child she bore was given to the priest to raise for God’s service. But when God began to speak to him, the priest failed to see that Samuel was the answer that they had prayed for, but God found a way to use this prophet in powerful ways.
In the cancel culture we live in, how important it is that we establish and cultivate, and emphasize eternal truths that will outlive us all!!
(What if you raised your children as though they were destiny’s children, and there are no coincidences, so you raise them, knowing you were chosen by God to bring them into their Divine destiny) What if we got up and started our day, realizing that we were called, anointed and impowered to release something from God into the earth…
The disciples that God used to shake the world were just ordinary, fishermen and local folks that no one would have taken much notice of, until Jesus entered their lives and said “I will make you.” And He did!
Esther was just a teenage girl who used her beauty for God, to win the heart of the king of Persia, and save a whole nation of people. What a question God asked her…. “What if you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this”
Ruth was an outsider, from a despised race of people, but God gave her a connection through her mother in law Naomi, who introduced her to Boaz, that would bring generational blessings to the entire world. She was the grandmother of Joseph, the chosen father of Jesus, who was included in the linage of Christ!
I want this to ring in your spirit today…Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise (or underestimate) the day of small beginnings.
We’ve heard the saying that “Little is much when God is in it”….
All through the Bible, we encounter a multitude of examples of God using people – not because they are perfect, not because they have something nobody else has, not because they are mega rich, not because they are super talented… but because they are available. One guy said, “Dear God, So far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of this bed and then I’m really gonna need Your help...
What a powerful prayer Isaiah prayed that we all should pray daily….
Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?” And I said: “Here am I, Send me!”
God is speaking who is listening?… He is declaring His ability, His intentions, His strength in our weakness, and His total knowledge of who we are and how we can be used of Him…. All we have to do is listen and obey, and be available to Him. His job is to go before us and prepare the way, and create the conditions for His plan to succeed.
It never ceases to amaze me how an ordinary day can turn into an extraordinary, supernatural one in just a matter of seconds.
God often has a way of interrupting us in the middle of our ordinary, daily experiences and in essence, He says to us, “Ah-Hah! I made you look!”
David was on his way to take lunch to his brothers who were in the Israeli army, in a stand off, with the huge Philistine army on one side of the valley, and Israel on the other. As David is doing his ordinary task in an ordinary way, it suddenly turns supernatural, and he is standing over the slain body of the Philistine giant that just moments before was taunting the entire army….
What do you have that He can use to produce something supernatural?
I often sing the little Song to myself….. “It’s in my hands, I hold a miracle. Though not much to me, it matters to Him and He’ll take what I give to Him and make it what it needs to be, a miracle, it’s in my hands!”
A basketball in my hands is worth about $25.00.
A basketball in center Joel Embiid’s hands is worth a $148 million dollar contract with the 76ers. It depends whose hands it's in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $12.00.
A baseball in Mike Trout’s hands, with the Angels is worth a contract of $36 million a year for the next 12 years. It depends whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket in my hands and I might hurt myself .
A tennis racket in Venus Williams' hands is a Wimbledon Championship, and 42 million. It depends whose hands it's in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a poodle.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish
sandwiches. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed 20 thousand people. It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a makeshift birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire
world. It depends whose hands it's in.
I’ll put this in the category, of IF GOD BE FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US …. I was driving to the bank, and I saw a little mom with her two children. She was walking behind them, guiding, and directing, and making sure they were safe and securefrom all the things around them that could injure or destroy them. I couldn’t help but think how this is what our heavenly Father does. Looking ahead, for everything that could go wrong along the way. Telling us to watch out for the dangers and obstacles along the way. Steering us around the stumbling stones, and barriers that are in the way, and warning us of snares and things that might entrap us. He’s gone before us, and no matter what path we walk down, God is way ahead. The Lord is always going before us. No matter what mountain we come up against, He has already climbed it. No matter what journey of uncertainty we encounter, God is 100 steps further. He's laying out our path and preparing our steps. Sometimes it feels like we’re on the journey alone, but we are not!!
Tony Campolo, tells the story of a pastor who was trying to motivate a man in his church to become involved in ministry. Finally, the man relented and agreed to be the driver for a group of ladies who wanted to lead a monthly worship service for the residents of a local retirement community. As the ladies led the service, one day an elderly man in a wheelchair rolled up beside him and took his hand. He held it all throughout the worship. This continued month after month, until one Sunday afternoon, the elderly man didn’t show up at the service. The man asked one of the nurses, “What happened to the elderly man who was always in service?
“Oh,” she said, “he’s near death. He’s just down the hall. Maybe you should go in and visit him. He’s unconscious though.” So the man walked down to the room and entered. He took the elderly man’s hand and held it. As he was led by God’s Spirit, he prayed for him. And when he said, “Amen,” the elderly man gently squeezed his hand. As he was leaving, he bumped into a woman coming in. She said, “He’s been waiting for you. He said he didn’t want to die until Jesus came and held his hand. I tried to tell him he would see Jesus once he went to heaven, but he said, ‘No. Once a month, Jesus comes and holds my hand, and I don’t want to leave this world without holding his hand once more.” Our greatest challenge is to be Jesus to someone today….
You may not ever get a “thank you”, or get any indication that you made a difference, but the Father will record that you were faithful.
The best way to miss God is to follow the crowd. Too many folks spend their time following the sheep that are following the shepherd, instead of following the shepherd…
Christian author Max Lucado tells about the time he had to catch an early morning flight. He was really tired and dozed off while waiting for the plane. Suddenly he was roused from his sleep by the noise of a crowd moving toward the boarding ramp. He hurriedly gathered his belongings and joined them. When he took his seat on the plane, he slipped into another nap. Some time later he awakened to the bright morning sun shining through the window. He heard the flight attendant announce their estimated time of arrival in Houston. The problem was, he was supposed to be going to Denver! He had awakened in the terminal and saw the crowd boarding the plane, so he simply followed the crowd—and boarded the wrong plane.
The issue is not where I want to go but where has God planned for me to go. Have I sincerely asked Him. The path you are called to walk, is a narrow path, and there’s not very much room for a lot of other folks! It’s your path and your calling. You can be alone in a crowd, and you can be miserable with folks enjoying themselves all around you…
I realized once again how close Moses came to disqualifying himself, as the great deliverer of God’s people. Careful that you don’t disqualify yourself….Paul told the church of his day “I will not be numbered among those who oppose themselves…. Listen to Moses…
In Exodus 4:10 “Moses said to the LORD, "Pardon your servant, LORD. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." So first, he disqualified himself by saying that he was a stutterer…
In Exodus 3:11 “But Moses asked God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" ….Here Moses is basically telling God “Here I am, send someone else”
In Exodus 4:1 “Then Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.” I think God is exposing all of our excuses here!!!
In Exodus 6:12 “But in the LORD's presence Moses replied, "If the Israelites (my own people) will not listen to me, then why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I am unskilled in speech?"…. What if Jesus gave that excuse….Scripture tells us He was wounded in the house of his friends!!
God would not let Moses off the hook….Because He chose Moses before Moses chose Him. God has a very interesting book, and in that book, our purpose and our mission in life is recorded…. God will not give up on His story for us because He wrote it….
Psalm 139: 12 “Even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in Your book, before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them”!
Here’s another God word that offers insight for us and it is so good that I am compelled to read all 4 verses…..check it out…Get your eyes and ears on church….
Romans 8: 26-28 (Message Bible) “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right beside, helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, and our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, He knows we our pregnant with hope, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is working into something good”.
Verses 29-30 “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him and align them with the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity which He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision as to what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. Then, He established them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun”.
COME ON GOD!!!
Someone asked me recently, when I thought Jesus was coming back… I told them that I wasn’t on the planning committee, but I was one of the members of the welcoming committee!!!
Make your plans and know that you can trust management….
I heard of a pastor who was an avid golfer, who was taking part in a local golf tournament. As he prepared to tee off, storm clouds began to roll in. The organizer of the tournament pointed them out to the pastor and said with a smile, "Preacher, I trust you’ll see to it that the weather won't turn bad on us." The pastor shook his head and said, "Sorry. I'm in sales, but management is the boss’s job!"
There are times when we pray, when we minister, when we share our faith, and follow God's guidance, that it's important and very liberating to remember that the results aren't up to us. That’s up to management. We can’t compare earthly management methods with heaven’s. Our God already knows the finish before the beginning. When He makes a promise and says “I will”… it’s a done deal! But that doesn’t eliminate our part in the process….
The wicked city of Nineveh was scheduled for destruction.Nineveh means “lifted up”….For 100 Years it was the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire and 500,000 lives hung in the balances. God knew Jonah’s name and his location, his fears, his emotional baggage and his mental condition . He knew where he was headed and where he needed to go. When God called him, he basically said “don’t bother me, I’m on my way to Tarshish. The name Tarshis, means “the Refinery” how appropriate is that! Jonah’s plans didn’t include God’s plans and some refining was needed.. And that’s where it gets really fishy!!! God prepared a great fish…. What is your fish, that will take you where you didn’t plan to go! God says go this way and you’re going that way… You’re in the refinery and some crazy stuff is going on, and guess what… to you, it’s insanity, but God is turning things around just the way he planned. He’s got you in the fish.. and it was designed just for you….He’s directing your mess! You know the story… Jonah landed at Ninivah, He preached, the people repented, and a city was saved….But history records that they returned to their Godless ways under future kings and archeologists have discovered they were later destroyed by fire, and never rebuilt, according to the charred remains of the heaps of rubble they found.. so much potential lost!
Would you turn to someone and say….”Listen up, God is speaking to you and you would do well to listen. Someone is waiting for your obedience” You have the answer to someone’s question, Youhave the way to someone’s lostness, You have the supply to someone’s lack, and you have the solution to someone’s dilemma….
Come on, I want everyone to read this list with me… OK….I’llread the first part, then you read the second part (what God says)
You say, I can’t figure it out… God says, I will direct your steps
You say, I’m too tired… God says, I will give you rest.
You say, It’s impossible.. God says, All things are possible
You say, It’s not worth it.. God says, I give it value and worth
You say, I can’t forgive myself.. God says, I have forgiven you
You say, I’m not smart enough… God says, my wisdom is available to you
I look back to moments that were not of my own choosing, and think of pastors, missionaries, evangelists, college ministries which God has raised up, and lives were transformed because of simple moments of obedience on my way to somewhere else…..
God’s call is purposeful. When He calls upon us, He not only sees the seeds in the apples, He sees the apples in the seeds in the apples, and He sees the apples on the trees, in the seeds in the apple….Take it further…. He sees the apples in the orchards in the seeds in the apples…
He is the alpha and the omega, the author and the finisher, the beginning and the ending….of all things.
I love the Hebrew word for Bible… it is Mi-qra. It means something very personal about the word of God… it is a noun formed from the verb qara which means “to call” The Bible is not just a book to carry around and read for information about God, but a voice that we are to listen to. I like that. This word of God that we name Bible, is not at its root a word to be read and looked at and discussed. It is a word to be listened to and obeyed, a word that gets us going in His directions, walking in His purposes, and achieving His outcomes… Fundamentally, it is a call… God calling us into His custom made purpose for our lives.
We must thirst for His voice like a desert thirsts for water, we must desire His word, as a starving child hungers for the smallest morsel of food, We must search for His light, (our light) like a lost traveler in the blackness of a moonless night!
What use would it be to me to be able to formulate the deepest meanings of Christianity, and to be able to explain all the Greek and Hebrew meanings of original text, if it had no deeper personal meaning for my life?…I certainly do not deny that we have an imperative to get knowledge and wisdom, that through it men may be influenced and persuaded. But most importantly, it must come alive in me, and be my personal call from the voice of God.
Jesus died our death, to make it possible for us to live His life! He took our sin that we might take his righteousness. He was mocked and rejected so we could have His favor. He overcame so we might overcome also through His victory. He gave us His Spirit, that we might know our greater purpose, and that we might have a constant helper. He’s the witness within us, He’s God’s wisdom unto us, He brings truth, hope, comfort and power, He opens us to God’s gifts and spiritual nature, He reveals Christ likeness, He equips, and reveals to us the Father’s will, and so much more…. Take a moment and give the Lord praise…..
Let’s pray this prayer together ….. Lord Jesus, I thank You that You listen to me and guide me by Your spirit to follow Your Word and to enjoy what You have given to me according to Your purpose and providence. Lord, I pray that I would hear Your voice today as You lead, guard, protect, direct and govern me. Father, I thank You that You desire to guide me in spirit and in truth to obey Your Word and enjoy an abundant life.
Lord, I thank You that You have called me Your friend so, I may come boldly to the throne of grace to find help whenever I have a need in my life. Lord, Your Word says that when we draw near to You, You will draw near to us. So, I draw near to You today as I seek Your truth and wisdom for my life. I want to know You more, hear You more and obey You more.
Jesus, Your Word says Your sheep know Your voice and we will not follow the voice of a stranger. Help me to know Your voice and not be deceived by allother voices. Help me to guard my heart from the distractions of this world and the people around me who are not on my path to You. Help me to view all decisions through the lens of Your righteousness.
As I seek You today for instruction, correction and guidance, You said if I ask for wisdom, You will give it to me liberally. So, I am asking for wisdom to hear You clearly and consistently today and every day. Help me to feel confident in knowing and obeying Your voice. I praise You and thank You for it, in Jesus’ Name.
Some years ago, George Barna surveyed adults who don’t go to church. Two out of three said that they would be strongly motivated to come, IF they could truly experience God. There are many people are hungry for God. And the best thing that could happen in their lives is for them to have a close encounter with Jesus Christ. I don’t care if you shake and quake or jump and dance… you may squall and ball, and your eyes and nose be running, or outwardly show no physical signs at all…. But that’s not the point… what matters is a genuine encounter with God….that changes the heart and life.
The prophet tells us in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”. Jeremiah is declaring that every person will have those moments and God knows how to bring each person to that place, where everything else has failed them and let them down, and now they are willing to do what they were unwilling to do before!! We need to be ready for those moments of encounter….They are transformative and life changing!
In one town, the electric company headquarters put the words “ENERGY BUILDING” in huge letters, at the front of their business. Perhaps that’s what should be on every church sign that claims the power of the Holy Spirit! An encounter with Christ is a meeting where power is released to testify of His reality and His presence among us!
The scripture we begin with today tells us a story that took place right after Jesus rose from the dead.
Luke 24:13 “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. v14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. v15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; v16 but they were kept from recognizing him. v17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, with their faces downcast.
v18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” v19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. v20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; v21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
v22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning v23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. v24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” v25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! v26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
v27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. v28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. v29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
v30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. v31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight”.
Let’s look at this close encounter…. Notice that Jesus was walking very close to them and with them, but they didn’t recognize that it was Him! They had just been talking about the encounter Peter and John had with the empty tomb, that Jesus was not in the grave… they talked about the encounter the women had with the angel and how Mary saw Jesus, who told her to spread the news to the others. But they weren’t ready for their own encounter with the risen Lord.
You may have heard many stories of people’s experience with Jesus, and while you don’t doubt those stories, you aren’t expecting your own visitation… Well, you had better get ready, because you’re about to have your own personal encounter with the King!
You see, it’s like there was something covering their eyes, so they didn’t recognize Him when He was right in front of them. I feel that the Holy Spirit is telling us that the veil is about to be lifted and we will be able to see what we could not see before. We will be able to recognize what we couldn’t recognize before. And We will be able to understand what we couldn’t understand before. Holy Spirit is here and present for the unveiling, and the revealing of Jesus to us in new and glorious ways!
When Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water in the midst of a storm that was about to destroy them, they were so busy bailing out the boat, and keeping the boat from sinking, that Jesus had to shout “It is I, be not afraid”! That’s what I’m hearing right now…. Holy Spirit, coming into the storm of fear, of uncertainty, of deception, where folks are just so focused on keeping their marriage, their family, their home, their finances and health afloat that they haven’t recognized Jesus when He came right up to them so He could help them rebuke the storm.
Jesus disguises Himself sometimes when we encounter him, like He did with the disciples when they didn’t recognize who he was.
He told us in Matthew 25:35-40 “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, "I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (it was as though you did it for me)
I wonder how many times God arranged a close encounter for us, but because it didn’t look or feel like we thought it should, we totally missed it…
No wonder David cried out, “Lord, open my eyes that I might see Your wonderous works”….
What if the people we have been praying that God would raise up, and be used mightily of Him, to show His love, His grace and power, and to share the gospel with others, is not someone else but we ourselves!
When the disciples were shut up in the room for fear after Jesus was taken before Pilate, and the doors were locked and *…….bolted, once again Jesus shows up in their terrible dilemma and has to tell them….“Look, it’s really me! I’m flesh and bone – look at my hands and feet!” It takes them a mind blowing, brain reset moment to realize that this really is the same savior who was crucified who now stands before them. It was a wake up encounter that pointed them toward the future, and letting go of the past. Leave it all behind and head toward the upper room of empowerment.
I was at Winn Dixie on Monday with Winnie and we went separate ways as we were shopping. She needed to ask me something but I had my phone on vibrate and was preoccupied so I didn’t answer her call. When we got back together she let me know that she had called 3 times, and she was beginning to get a bit feisty by then……
I believe the Lord is letting us know that He has been trying to get our attention to move ahead into empowerment for the future no matter what has happened before…., He’s ready to do it, and He’s more than *…….able, but like Proverbs 1:23 &24 says, “Surely I would have poured out my spirit on you; I would have made my counsel known to you. v24 But you refused My call, and no one took my outstretched hand…..”
It was when Thomas finally put his finger in the nail prints, and the spear pierced side, that He opened himself for a new level of revealed grace, and power. Skeptics stop being skeptics when they have a straight on encounter with Jesus… the unlearned and the ignorant gain wisdom in His presence…. The agnostic and the atheist can no longer deny when they truly experience Him… the evolutionist becomes a creationist when confronted with His pure light of truth….
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Marxist, or modern American– are all looking for what can only be found in a spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ….even if they don’t know it yet!
Let’s answer the call, take His hand…. Let Him take you where you could never get to on your own, by yourself. If He’s able to carry you safely, all the way to heaven…. Can’t He get you to where you need to be in the here and now!
The first time the Lord showed Himself to me at 12 years old, it scared the spit out of me….
The second time He appeared to me at 18 years old,
(yuup, that’s the wild thang folks, it was so life changing, and I cried and repented for several hours, for ignoring Him and pushing Him away. Oh, Yes, I know what Isaiah felt, when he cried out: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”….. I sold everything, my car, my guitar, I quit the rock band I was part of, and ended up at college to prepare for the ministry a few months later.
Close encounters will change your life forever, and you’ll never want to go back to where you were before!
You might know that the professional golfer Lee Trevino, was struck by lightning one day on the golf course. He thought it was going to end his career because he was very affected by it, and while he was recovering, one of the reporters asked him, "What have you learned from your experience, Lee?" He said, "Well, I learned that if the Almighty wants to play through, you better let him." We shouldn’t have to be hit by lightning for God to get our attention, but sadly, it happens!
God is waiting to work through each of us, why don’t we just let Him!
John 12:40 "Their eyes have been blinded and their hearts have been hardened, or they would see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn, so that I would heal them.''
Another scripture that describes this is…2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded, the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”.
Holy Spirit, cut away the things that blind, and unstop the ears that cannot hear, so there can be a turn around and a release of healing power!!! God has never seen emptiness He cannot fill, and will often allow the runners and the hiders and rebels to hit bottom, so that His fullness can be received… and His healing and restoration will be accepted.
God has a cure for every crisis. He’s got the right side up for every up side down….He’s got the turn around for every spiral downward….He’s got your benefits in every Satanic hit….He can bring healed relationship into every marriage split… When times are tough, He’s still enough! Just be still, at the center of God’s will…
When Isaiah had one of his encounters with the Lord, he said “I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and the train of His glory filled the temple”….
When we encounter Him today, every thing that has taken a prominent place in our lives will come down, and He will be high and lifted up! What ever has pushed him out, will be brought down and He will be high and lifted up! It all has to bow to Him and His lordship!
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things, will be added unto you. Every knee must bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father!
In Luke 5, as Peter experienced an early encounter on the shores of Galilee, Jesus told him “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” v5. But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing, nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.''
v6. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. v7. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink”.
An encounter with Jesus will transform your excuses into a “Never the less at Your Word, Lord”….. I don’t feel like doing that, but never the less at your word Lord….. I don’t think I can, but never the less at your word, Lord…. I don’t feel like praying but nevertheless….. I don’t have time to study the bible, but nevertheless…I don’t want to tithe my income but nevertheless Lord!!! (I need a nevertheless encounter)
Jesus had a close encounter with Satan, so that your victory is assured. When he tempted the Lord in the wilderness, Jesus triumphed by the word of God, and because He overcame by the Word, you can too! When Jesus encountered Satan on the cross, He used the word and when He said “it is finished”… Satan was defeated and we win!! But to seal Satan’s defeat, Jesus ascended and presented His blood to the Father, then sprinkled it on the heavenly mercy seat. Judgment was satisfied and mercy and grace flowed forth to all who could never have deserved it!! What God has forgiven is cleansed from the record as though it never existed! Jesus said “Go and sin no more.”
Friends, right now, when a believer quotes the word, it is just like Jesus speaking it, because He is the living word, given unto us. The bible says that we should decree things in earth and they would be established in heaven. A decree is a rule of law issued by a higher authority.
When we quote the word, we are establishing in the earth that which has already been established as the rule of law in heaven….
Revelation12: 11 “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” (because God’s word has become my testimony) Shout, if that’s you today!!!!
We are given some life changing close encounters in scripture, there’s Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the woman at the well, Peter, James, and John, the two Mary’s on resurrection morning, and the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River, the church on The Great Day of Pentecost, Saul on the Damascus Road, and Paul and Silas in the Roman jail, just to mention a few.
These are all given us, to let us know that what God did for them, He will do for us as well! God wants us to experience what we can’t explain!
Like the blind man whom Jesus healed said so well…. All I know is that I was blind but now I see!!!
In the last encounter that I mentioned, an angel caused an earthquake which opened every jail cell, and the chains were loosed from every prisoner. Jailhouse Rock is not just a song by Elvis! There was a whole lot of shaking goin on!!! Paul and Silas’ encounter, touched the lives of many people who before, were only spectators. Friend today, when you open yourself to a personal encounter with the risen Christ, it will have a lasting effect on many lives around you! People will be set free, homes will be transformed, marriages will be healed, lives will be restored and deliverance and healing will come!
Why read the bible? Because we are expecting an encounter. Why pray, because we are expecting an encounter. Why come to church, because we are expecting an encounter. You shall receive Dunamus, (Divine energy), energy that overwhelms whatever would overwhelm you, as you open yourself to the energy of the Holy Spirit!
I read about a humorous encounter at a church dinner…..
One of the church ladies was asked to cook a pot of her award winning chilly for the church dinner. Her son came running through the house with his BB gun and he had a handful of BB’s in the other hand, which he spilled in the pot of beans. The dinner went well, and as usual everyone raved over Betty’s beans. On the Monday following, Betty’s *……good friend Francis came by for a visit and said my goodness, those beans were so good. But you must have put something different in them this time, cause this morning I bent over to feed the cat and I shot the canary!!! (we’ll leave that encounter alone)
What was Jesus really like? He was constantly meeting unlikely people. People with a wide variety of backgrounds and unusual occupations or unusual circumstances and unusual needs. He didn’t just sound spiritual, He met proud people and they walked away humbled by Him…. He met rich people and they gladly gave their riches to have what He offered them… He met fishermen and tax collectors and they walked away from every thing to follow him….He talked to people and touched the deepest places in their heart and soul…. He met dead people and they got up from the grave and followed Him….
Charles Sell wrote, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us a banker. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness and guidance so God sent us a Savior and king”.
When He encountered the lame, He said “Get up” and they did!
When He encountered the blind, He said “Open your eyes”, and they did!
When He encountered the deaf, He said “Be opened”, and it was!
When He encountered the leper, He said “Be clean”, and he was!
And when we hear Him say “Be made whole”… we shall be whole!!
Cancer, hear Him…. Disease and affliction, hear Him…. Demons of lack, poverty, and waste, hear Him speaking today!!!
I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE!! I AM THE LORD YOUR HEALER!
We need an encounter with the water walker, the devil deliverer, the way, the truth and the life…
We need to experience His will, His way, and His finished work….I believe an encounter is taking place, in this house, in Jesus name!!!
Prayer To Have A Divine Encounter…..
Today I encounter the Living Lord who is my healer and my deliverer. He sustains me, He raises me up, He encourages and empowers me to RECEIVE His promised and completed healing and deliverance in His mighty name. JESUS, by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT, I serve notice on SICKNESS, INFIRMITY, and DISEASE, and I release HEALTH, HEALING, DELIVERANCE, BREAKTHROUGH and PEACE in my life and my family.
In the NAME of JESUS, I command FEAR, ANXIETY, BACK INJURY, INSOMNIA, DEPRESSION, HYPERTENSION,MUSCLE AND NERVE PAIN, DIABETES, and CANCER to leave and not return, for GREATER is HE that is in me than he that is in the world. GOD has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind, and by JESUS' STRIPES I am now andwill continue to be HEALED.
In JESUS' NAME, I declare and decree prosperity and abundance in my health, my home, my family, and my finances. I declare and decree overwhelming peace, with nothing broken, nothing missingand nothing lost. In FAITH, I thank You Lord, for all that has been done and finished for my healing, deliverance, and protectionthrough the blood and the Cross of my redemption.
NOW, RIGHT NOW, I RECEIVE, BELIEVE, and DECREE that this WORK in me has been PAID IN FULL, FINISHED ANDDONE. GOD SAID IT, I TRUST HIM, I BELIEVE HIM AND NOW I’M GOING TO WALK IT OUT!. In JESUS’ name, Amen.
THIS IS MY TIME, THIS IS MY LIFE CHANGING ENCOUNTER