Our family planned to get together and tube down the Ichetucknee river. We got our tubes and everyone got to the river, and one by one they dove in, but I had to start with my toes, then work my way in, until I was all the way in. It was August, but the spring fed water was still about 65 degrees in the shade. Winnie never touched the water, she wanted to be on it, not in it... With the river of God, some folks dive right in, and other folks need some time to get confident enough to get all the way in, and other folks never get in, they only ride the tube that is in the river.
One man prayed, “Lord, I want it all, but I know You’re so vast and powerful, I can’t take very much of that, so give me what You know I can handle”
With the river of God, we can handle a lot more of it’s divine current, if we just let it flow through us...When we try to keep it, we lose it, but as we give it away, our capacity increases for greater and greater....
As followers of Christ, we come to understand that whatever gifts we may have in our lives, are given to us, to operate as He desires to operate them. The gifts are about allowing the Holy Spirit to flows through us to His chosen recipients. So, God is actually giving these gifts to others but the Holy Spirit chose to allow them to pass through us to get there. We become the delivery system, so that others may receive, and glorify Him and invite Him into their lives or make a deeper commitment to Him, or come to the next level.
1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts. But they are allgiven to believers by the same Spirit. v5 There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. v6 There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people. v7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all".
Everything God has given you should not stop with you, but flow through you to bless all those you come in contact with….
Jesus said to the woman at the well John 14:14 “ But whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give will become an endless flow of water springing up to eternal life.” To his disciples Jesus said John 7:37 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Jesus is reminding us that our belly or our center, should be a place where rivers of all that we have received of Him are flowing out of us. Peter said “Such as I have received, I give unto you”.. He has rivers to pour into us, but He has chosen for those rivers not to stop with us, but to flow through us….This principle is not about your potential, we all have great potential. But it is about using your capacity and increasing that capacity by how much you allow God to pour out of you….
LET’S ALL PLACE OUR HANDS ON OUR BELLY AND SAY “Through my inner most being, rivers are waiting to flow and I determine how much will flow out through me to increase my capacity. The more I allow, the greater my capacity”….
We are ordained to be channels of blessing to others. This is not about a bless me trip... It’s about getting plugged in so it builds up and blesses the body of Christ, and people are edified, enlarged, given guidance, and develop spiritually.
If you stick a paper clip in an outlet, you’ll get a reaction and a quickening... but if you plug a lamp into the same outlet, you’ll get light, the refrigerator will cool things, the stove will cook, the air conditioner will regulate the temperature, and the toaster will toast! I remember, when as a teen, Holy Spirit first started flowing out of me, and I felt that surge. My heart was pounding, my breathing was rapid, and when I couldn’t hold it any longer, I blasted out a “Thus saith the Lord”, and nearly blasted grandpa’s wig off and grandma nearly swallowed her teeth! But my pastor took me aside and explained the difference in a reaction and a response... It helped me tremendously to flow in the river of God...Complete the circuit!
When you feel the stirrings of the spirit, pray that Holy Spirit can flow through you in such a manner that someone will leave differently, more in tune, with more insight and understanding than when they came.
A guy went into the store for just a few minutes. When he came out there was a policeman writing a parking ticket for being in a handicap spot. So he called to the policeman and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a guy a break?"
He ignored him and continued writing the ticket. So he called the policeman a pencil-necked ticket abuser. The policeman glared at the guy and started writing another ticket for worn tires!
So the guy asked him if his psychiatrist makes him lie face down on the couch cause he's so ugly.
The policeman finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!
This went on until he had placed 5 tickets on the windshield... the more he insulted the ticket writer, the more tickets he wrote. But the guy didn't care, that wasn’t his car! His car was parked around the corner. We are responsible for our actions, and our words, because they affect other people.
What is it that is flowing out of us to our spouse, our children, our neighbors and others in the community….And what effect are we having on them....What is their impression of Christianity because of the way we live our lives? Gandi said that he would like Christianity if it weren’t for Christians..
The only time a rivers stop flowing, is when there is a drought, a dry season, or a famine. Or something has blocked it and stopped the flow, And that should never be the case with those who are flowing in His rivers. The river of God can overwhelm any obstacle but sometimes we are the obstacle. Beavers love to build dams that stop the flow of rivers. They don’t like the current, so they build lakes that are calm and still. Many are like beavers, they want to just be left alone to go about their business, without the quickening force of God’s river.
John 4:14 Jesus told the Samaritan woman that it would never run dry and that she would never thirst again. His rivers of the Spirit are always flowing, no matter what is happening around us. The source of that river is not of this world, so the world cannot touch it, we only need to surrender to the river. Jesus is calling us to let His rivers flow in all the dry places of life, and to all who have a dry season in their lives….(Have another drink)!!
Matthew 10:8 “Freely give, even as you have freely received.” Oh, Yes, Let it flow through you… You can go weeks without food, but only days without water.. God will meet us atthe level of our desire. We can have as much of God as we wantand there’s more than enough. We don’t have to Force it, we just need to let it flow!
Bill Gaither wrote the line that says “We give the things we cannot keep, to keep what we cannot lose”….
The key to the principle we’re talking about today, is to struggle less and surrender more… Jesus said “out of your inner most being shall flow (please get that word..) FLOW…rivers of living water, flow”…
I have never seen a fruit tree straining and struggling to bear fruit. Or stressed out because it had to produce.. It knows that there is a law of productivity. Apple trees produce apples, peach trees produce peaches, and so on….We produce the fruit of the spirit, if the river is flowing and we’re allowing Holy Spirit to move.
It is in surrender to their purpose, that trees, vines, animals, fish and birds, reproduce and flourish. It is in surrender that they fulfill their purpose. We hear a lot about “surrender” but what does that really mean? Well, there is no one-step way to surrender to God, it’s a daily, moment by moment choice to give it to God. Let’s look at some ways that we can surrender to God spiritually… You can never truly enter into prayer without surrender. You can’t hallow His name without surrender. You can’t pray, “Your will be done, without surrender. Scripture shows us that this is the way Jesus began and ended every day… He shifted the focus off of himself and toward the Father. He said “Whatever the Father tells me is what I do. Whatever the Father says is what I say. I do nothing except what the Father tells me.
You and I will not continue to do something or be consistent about something that has no value to us or importance in our lives. It doesn’t happen in a day or a week, it’s a life pattern you begin to develop, because of a deep desire to do the Father’s will… We will all continue to be God’s unfinished projects, until that which is perfect is come.. But we press in....
A boat builder named Andrew Higgins, heard about the D day plans and notified those in command that they would need smaller boats to be successful in the Normandy landing. They brushed him off. He tried again to give them his proposal several times and they brushed him off again. So, as the invasion date got nearer, someone said, how do we get the troops from the battle ships and carriers to the landing site? And one of the generals said, “small boats... I’ll call Higgins”... So Higgins was called and told that time was running out and they had made a critical error, they would need some kind of landing craft. He told them, he had been waiting for the call, and he had already switched all the machinery over to the landing craft design and could begin immediately.
The boats were ready in time, because one man had the answer, when no one else knew there was a problem. Those boats were able to drop 20 to 30 troops at a time on the beaches of Normandy. Eisenhower said that Higgins won the war, because he was able to see ahead and solve a problem that didn’t even exist yet!!
When God’s river is flowing, that’s what happens.... It not only flows where we are, but it’s has already flowed where we’re going!
David wrote in Psalm 46:4 “There is a river, whose streams make the city of God to rejoice, the holy place of the most High”. If that river makes the heart of God to rejoice, then we should certainly rejoice that it is available to each of us.
It’s our connection to the Father, sending His love, His resources, His desires, and His thoughts and intentions, before you need them.
Fasting unstops the river. It is really a form of more intense surrender to the heart of the Father. It’s an important tool in opening our Spirit and bringing our soul and our flesh into submission. All through the bible we see breakthrough which is brought about by fasting and prayer.
Moses fasted and brought the commandments down from Sinai, written by the finger of God. Jesus initiated His ministry with 40 days of fasting. Fasting is an opportunity to increase our spiritual capacity… Our flesh is the enemy in surrendering to God more fully, and the purpose in fasting is to diminish the pull and power of the beavers of the flesh and empower the influence of the Spirit.
Fasting is a choice to deny ourselves, of food, of pleasures, and all that distracts from our greater need that I decrease so He may increase in me… Our bodies were fashioned to need seasons of famine and seasons of feasting… Christians are called to live a fasted life. We put aside other things so we can give our time, our finances, and our priorities to greater purpose
We fast to transform, then we can feast to celebrate….
Matthew 6.33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” God is a rewarder, so there will be plenty of time to celebrate...
Fasting is part of God’s surrender package, which taps into the supernatural. We’re tapping into the ending He has already written. So we can enter the fast, with celebration, and come out celebrating! As we surrender it creates an environment for miracles to flow. We bring ourselves under God’s power and authority. An atmosphere is created for heaven to touch the earth and transform our circumstances of lack, chaos, and fear into God’s opportunity to usher in His peace, to supply our needs and saturate the atmosphere with faith for others to receive as well.
Fasting sensitizes my Spirit to hear the voice of God. When we are at a crossroads and don’t know which way to turn, fasting helps us to hear God’s direction. When we are facing a difficult decision, or when there are too many voices in our heads, when like Job, our friends are encouraging us in the wrong direction… we need to put it all aside and give priority to the most important voice of all, and let God speak.
Fasting establishes our priorities….We come to places where what used to satisfy us doesn’t satisfy us any more. More food, more clothes, more television watching, more trips, more stuff, doesn’t do it anymore! We’re at a new place and we need a new plan. Our spirit is telling us something. It’s time to listen…We could miss an opportunity, or a connection, or a warning...When nothing else works, it’s time to fast!
Our Spirit becomes weak and vunerable, when we fail to nourish it with fasting, prayer and God’s word. When we allow our Spirit to rule and reign, then the power of God within us, will create opportunities and transform circumstances so that He can accomplish what we never could.
An important key to surrender is alignment. I can’t get to Hartford Connecticut, if I get on a plane going to Virginia beach. I can’t order a meal at Outback, if I’m looking at a menu at Denny’s. I can’t expect a paycheck at Publix if I’m working at Winn-Dixie…. There has to be alignment. Let me show you a scripture on alignment… 1 John 5:14 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him." Well, that’s what we all want, right?
The words “confidence in approaching God....asking according to His will.... and if He hears us we know we have it”... leap out to us.... Unforgiveness will get you out of alignment....God’s word clearly tells us that His will is to forgive. Why would anyone allow the person who victimized you to keep victimizing you by letting them control you emotionally and spiritually. Unforgiveness is Satan’s way of holding you hostage. Unforgiveness is agreement with the Devil to let him hold you hostage. If your prayers aren’t being answered, check your forgiveness dip stick, you might be a little low.... Matthew 7:2 For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? Unforgiveness is just another way of judging someone, and God didn’t put judging others in our pay grade!
When you surrender in forgiveness, You bring yourself into alignment with freedom, healing, and breakthrough, so, rip out the roots which feed your unforgiveness....resentment, bitterness, revenge, pride, a judgmental spirit, and self love.
Luke 9:23 “And Jesus said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”.
The cross is always our symbol of victory over the flesh, the intellect, the soulish emotions, and unprofitable patterns of behavior.
Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and be converted (ep-ee-stref'-o)”… This Greek word, connected to repentance, (ep-ee-stref'-o)means “return to the obedience of God”….”To turn around and come back”…. This is spoken as a command and not just a suggestion… If someone you loved was about to get hit by a car, you would not make a suggestion. You would immediately be in a command mode… “STOP, Turn around and come back, NOW”… If someone’s house was on fire, you would not suggest, you would command... “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!!”
There is an urgency here, that there is danger, that the alignment is urgently needed… “REPENT AND BE CONVERTED”….(or be aligned) There is an urgency from the Holy Spirit… There is too much that hangs in the balances, we may not see it, but He does….
Conversion is about establishing something right in place of what was wrong... that’s about transformation, into something different than what you had or were doing before...
It is important that we understand here, that scripture requires both Repentance and conversion. Repentance is not enough if conversion doesn’t take place as well. Someone may feel the need to repent, but never take the next step to turn around and begin the journey that goes the other way….
Alignment is what takes place beyond the repentance, and into the conversion process. Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and be converted”. So we surrender and come into Alignment because we value God’s presence, His plan and His purpose in our lives and we desire His anointing, His power, and His desires to flow through us, that many may know and follow Him….We eliminate all barriers and blockages which the busy little beavers want to keep building, so the river can flow!
Lord, let it flow through us, so that others may know, repent, believe, and be converted…Let us be willing to change directions, change priorities, and lock into Your priorities at the moment....
Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to submit....Prayer.....Father, You are the Source of all Living Water, and we yearn to go so much deeper in the river of God. Lord, for times of refreshing, healing, and deliverance, keep us all in the river.Thank you for flowing all across this land with the river of God.
Today, we declare over our lives a new beginning, and a deeper walk, as deep calls unto deep. Holy Spirit our Comforter and Friend, we thirst for the rivers of mercy, let the rivers of grace keep pouring down over us. Holy Spirit flow through our day.
Show us things we have never seen before. Forgetting those things that lay behind us we press on towards the high calling in Christ Jesus. Give us the wisdom and discernment to know the how, when, where, and to whom of the river’s purpose. Let us never be the same, as we leave the dry parched places behind us, and we open ourselves to Your divine flow. Let us never be the same as Your spirit fills us again and again. Release those Living Waters You have placed inside of us and may the river of God's power flow mightily through us. We long to be used more and more for Your Glory, in Jesus name....Amen.
Scripture gives this description of our enemy and it gives you a vivid mental picture of this big lion charging forth with a terrifying roar, that strikes fear into the heart of his prey....
Let’s read it together.... 1 Peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Satan has many faces but only one set of fingerprints, and everywhere he leaves them, it is evil. The bible gives us some very sobering and descriptive information about this enemy of our souls.
He’s the universe’s public enemy number one, the chief opponent of God and his people, and the leader of uncounted demonic forces. Jesus says he’s been a murderer from the beginning, and he’s engaged in an all-out war against the forces of good in the universe.
Paul tells the Ephesian church to put on the full armor of God, so that they can stand firm against his schemes. James tells Christians that if they resist the devil, he will flee from them. Peter tells believers to beware: he is always on the prowl.
The name “Satan” means “adversary.” or “opponent.” Behind everything that wants to stop, hinder, distract or destroy you, is the real adversary or opponent, satan....That’s why we call it adversity....
Satan always gravitates to power, because he can cause the greatest damage and destruction to God’s kingdom by securing people with power and influence as his instruments. He can hold sway over cultures, nations and regions, by using leaders of local, state, national, and global influence. He’s proof that there’s strength in numbers. He starts while leaders to be, are children, teens and young adults, and he uses the scientific, educational, sports, political, media, financial, business and family units as his base for training and equipping!
Satan wants to come across as fun, cute, the fulfilling of your fantasy, a way to get what you want, a way to use people to your own ends, he can manipulate the odds in your favor, he promises power, influence, money, and fame.... But I’ve often wondered, “why aren’t all fortune tellers rich”? If they can really tell the future, why don’t they all win the lottery?
Satan has many faces and they can change at any time. Today he may smile at you but the following day he may destroy you. Today Satan may give you something good, but tomorrow he demands it back from you and more besides. He comforts with alcohol, drugs and pleasure today, and tomorrow, he controls your life. Folks feel like they’re casting off restraints and really experiencing freedom, until he destroys them later and they found themselves bound and hopeless.
He is called the thief, a liar and the father of lies, the deceiver, the destroyer, Prince of darkness, the evil one, a murderer, a fallen angel, and he is also known as fear, doubt, unbelief, rebellion, hatred, criticism, prejudice, division, rejection, retribution, pride, addiction, violence, abuse, lawlessness, greed, resentment, perversion, jealousy, lust, slavery, intimidation, shame, condemnation, and on, and on.....
Instead of a roaring lion, he will show up as hurt feelings, injustices done against you, poor self esteem which he can take advantage of, he will come as a false lover, a betrayal, he will destroy your trust, he will exploit your loneliness, your fears, your anger and your suspicions. And all of it is a way of controlling your life and pulling you further and further from freedom, peace, love, encouragement and most of all, eternal life through Christ.
Satan will use the loss of a loved one to gain entrance into a grieving heart, by sending familiar spirits to make them think they are seeing or hearing from their loved one beyond the grave and many have been deceived. Familiar spirits are satan’sdemons who have become familiar with that person, and can appear like them, sound like them, and know personal things about them that no one else would know.
But in Luke 16:26 Jesus said that there is a great void fixed between the living and the dead which none can cross over...
Satan’s goal is to keep us from Christ, from hearing His words, from receiving His love and grace, from experiencing the real freedom He brings — because Satan knows only Christ can deliver us from hell and make us overcomers, who will thwart his plans, be victorious over all his devices and rule with Christ over the earth when we get back from heaven. Acts 4:12 says that In spite of all the things that people will turn to....“Salvation is found in no one else, but Jesus Christ, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”
Jesus turned to His disciple Peter one day and said, “Get thee behind me Satan”.... Because Peter, without realizing it had stepped over into the adversarial position to what Jesus was saying and doing. He was a distraction to the powerful message Jesus was trying to get them to understand....without realizing it, he had allowed himself to be used as Satan’s tool instead of the Lord’s instrument....Jesus is serious as snake bite about this stuff!
So it’s important that we understand that Satan doesn’t always appear as this overwhelming terrible event or situation, to oppose us. He is a master of disguise. Even though he has been cast out of heaven, he isn’t stupid, even though his pride gets him in some stupid places. He’s been working his destructive works for 1000’s of years..
Ezekiel 28:12–14 “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God, you were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the glowing ones” . He fools many by transforming himself into an angel of light and good works, and acts of kindness as a substitute for salvation through Jesus Christ... We must know and recognize his strategies....
Every football or baseball or basketball team must know the opponents strengths and weaknesses.. They must be prepared for these things in order to set up the proper defense and then win over it! They spend a lot of time studying the enemy as well as building their strengths. On the field and in the locker room, the strategy is continually being developed.
What looks like a hand off, may be a pass, what looks like a pass may be a run, and what looks like a run may be a hand off.... There is constant deception in the game, to throw the opponent off and have them defending the wrong things....Those who are engaged in sports must stay physically and mentally fit. They must be in training on and off the field or they can defeat themselves.
2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”.
Praise God, to the Christian, Satan is a defeated foe! That is our position in Christ. 1 John 3:8 tells us that The reason the Son of God came to this earth, was to destroy the works of the devil." James 4:7 encourages us to “Submit to God, resist the devil, and he must flee from us.” Luke 19:13, Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus told believers to “Occupy (advance My kingdom) until I return”.
What Jesus meant by “Occupy” is not just about accumulating this world’s goods, but it is better explained by a kingdom which has been invaded by another kingdom, but the invaded kingdom finds a hero, who leads them in overthrowing the invading army, and takes back what was rightfully theirs, Occupying is about taking it back!
In Matthew 12:29 the Lord Jesus said that unless the strong man is bound, no one can enter his house and plunder (or take back) what he has stolen. So, part of the process of occupying begins bytaking back all that the invader has stolen.
Satan is not really in total charge, as he would like to think he is, of all the demonic host that fell, because he rules a shaky kingdom. He rules by fear, intimidation, deception, threats and intimidation. You see, Satan is the supreme rebel, and his heart is filled with pride and every evil, so, all the demons who have followed him, are rebels like himself and filled with pride, blind pride, and no loyalty except to themselves! Jesus said a kingdom divided against its self cannot stand. Demons will turn on each other in a heart beat, because they are all constantly competing for position over one another, out of greed and lust for power. A satanic kingdom is easily broken up as you bind the leader, it sets them all against one another a weakens their power. Scripture says that... “we are to bind the strong man, and we can spoil his goods” that’s the leader over a strong hold.. which may be pornography, violence, depression, murder, lawlessness, gambling, adultery, hypocrisy, lying, witchcraft, and so on.
When the strong man is bound, the strong hold is set in total disarray, and becomes very vulnerable, as each turns against the other! Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
You are in one of three places... You are getting ready to enter a battle with the enemy, You are in a battle with the enemy, or You have come through a battle with the enemy. After every encounter with the enemy, he will depart for a season to find a new way to attack, and return again... Jesus said, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all.
Satan may leave you for a season, but the good news is that Jesus has said “I will never leave you, or forsake you, lo, I am with you always, until the end of the earth.”
You can defeat the devil when he comes against you...
First, Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom...” This means that head knowledge is not enough, but we need application of the word through the wisdom to Implement it strategically, as soon as the enemy begins to launch an attack. We can’t respond in the flesh, the emotions, or the natural mind. How often does the enemy get first strike advantage before we take out our sword. Satan knows our patterns, preferences, and opinions which can be our “go to”, before the word, and he can use our own opinions, preferences and patterns against us....
When Satan tempted Jesus, he didn’t tell satan his opinion, or his preferences, or what he felt emotionally.... He said “It is written”....and it was a word which fit that temptation, not a memorized rhetoric....
Second... Encourage yourself in the Lord... That’s what David did when he was in the battle. If you don’t do it, satan will take advantage of the situation and wear you down...
1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, .....but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”.
Daniel 6:23 “Daniel trusted in the Lord his God”. This is what Daniel did, he encouraged himself in the Lord, when they threw him into a den of lions, and he turned it into Daniel’s den, instead of the lion’s den....Daniel occupied that thing!
I remember CM Ward, said once, “if the people in a town I’m in rise up and run me out of town, I’m going to get up in front, and turn it into a parade for the glory of God as we march out of town.” Begin to encouraging yourself in the Lord, and give the devil a heart attack! Turn the lion’s den into your victory march.....
I will declare “These momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal weight of glory”
“I can do everything God calls me to do, through Christ who gives me strength.”
“ I will be strong and courageous. I will not be discouraged, for the LORD my God is with me wherever I go.”
“His grace is sufficient for me, for his power is revealed even in myweakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly for in my weaknesses, Christ’s power is resting upon me.”
“I was young and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or my children begging bread.”
ARE YOU WITH ME HERE!!! Encourage yourself in the Lord.
Next, Don’t be a loner... Support one another. Satan wins when he can isolate us, and divide us. We all need support, because someone else may see things in a way you are not seeing. We are created and designed as a body with many parts and scripture says that each part has something to contribute. The eyes and ears need to work with the hands and feet. The brain and the heart need to be in harmony with each other and the rest of the body. So, we are told to pray for one another and lift up one another and we will fulfill the law of Christ. The law of Christ is the law of love and compassion. Realize that the loner spirit is there to destroy you, not protect you....God operates on the buddy system. He sent them out two by two, He said forsake not the assembling of yourself together.
Also, Don’t be a spectator, get in the game...be an activist for Jesus, because you are the one who will benefit the most when you do. Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..” John 9:4 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”. Do it now, and defeat regret, and you won’t be saying “if only I had done this or that”, later down the road.
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Our labor is never in vain in the lord.”
However, don’t be like the believer who said, “The devil never takes a vacation, or a break, so I won’t either”.... Wait a minute, who ever said that the devil is our example!.... just keep following Jesus.... We can do a lot of the right things for all the wrong reasons.... I had to repent for not drinking alcoholic beverages for the wrong reason. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? I never drank because alcohol destroyed my home, and caused me to be an abandoned child.Alcohol was connected to all the bad that happened to me. But I needed to change my motivation, because my motivation had a lot of the wrong spirit in it. I had to turn my hatred, and anger, into “I don’t drink alcohol because it is not edifying to my calling and my purpose. I don’t drink alcohol because I am the temple of God. I don’t drink, because I have yielded my body as an instrument for God to use, and I will not come under the power of any other... (does that make sense”) I needed to take back control, because that anger, and resentment was controlling meand my life decisions....
I needed to turn all the negative stuff that was part of that, into something edifying and a positive part of my life... A re-bounding Christian, is sincere but still letting their decisions be built on the hurts and wounds and failures of the past. We are redeemed, new creations, delivered and set free by the blood of the lamb.
We must let God remove all the hay, wood and stubble from our foundation.... because satan will use it to weaken us and it will all be burned up in the refiner’s fire anyway....May we burn with such a holy fire, that the clutter of the past won’t stand a chance, but will be consumed by God’s holy fire! *In closing, I want to quote a word from the Lord that came through John Kilpatric, whom God used in the powerful Brownsville revival, that went around the world and set many churches and lives ablaze for God.
”Like a snake sheds its skin, you look behind you and see that you have left behind mourning, sadness and hopelessness. You will hardly believe you stayed in that place so long. You are letting go of it, and it is letting go of you. There is a mighty rumbling. It’s the marching feet of God’s angels to come and bring freedom to the captives. Their swords are drawn. Their banners are flying. Your enemies that have tormented
you are already nervous.
Your enemies even hear the sound of deliverance, too. They are losing their influence, and confusion has already set in as you hear this! They are scattering, they are becoming like loose soil where they once held you like concrete. Your enemies will leave your blessing and you will gather the spoils from the battle... This is a battle the Lord Himself will fight. Your enemies will scatter at the sound of the Lord of Hosts. This will be as a sudden thing. I say again, this will be a sudden thing”.
Let’s stand for prayer.
"Dear Lord, You are the God of deliverance and breakthrough. You are the God who bursts forth to bring the things of Heaven to earth. Release the breaker anointing through Your people, that there may be a breakthrough that will shatter the darkness and bring your light of revelation and illumination. You have given us the victory. Release Your angels of breakthrough and Your ministering and gathering angels and warring angels and give them Divine directions and Divine strategies and guide Your intercessors and spiritual warriors in how to cooperate with the heavenly realm. Let the situation on earth come into alignment with Your Will and Your Kingdom, that it be on earth as it is in Heaven.
Lord, I pray for them to understand and to believe Your Word. May they not be deceived by the voice of the enemy. Open the eyes of their understanding to know the hope of their calling and the resurrection power in all who believe. Lord, show how strong and mighty You are. Father, wake up the slumbering spirits of the people. Lord, download Your Word into their hearts and their minds so that they may have constant access to the Word and so that the Word cannot be stolen from them and that it may bear much fruit in their lives.
Lord, I am going to press into this because I am hungry for all of You. What I have is good, but it is not enough. I want my life to carry a breaker anointing. I want my life to lift people and to inspire people who are suffering so that they can experience breakthroughs in their own lives.. I want to contend at my city gates and bring heaven to earth! Lord, I thank You that what You have done in the past, you will do now, You are the same, yesterday, today and forever.
In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN"
Acts 3:6 Such as I have, I give unto you, rise up....
Today we’re going to unpack this challenge that comes from Jesus Himself in the book of Matthew... Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which when a man has found, he hid it, and for joy he went out and sold all that he had, and bought that field”.
John Steinbeck said “It is the hour of the pearl—the interval between what is and what can be. When time stops and examines itself.”
A Nigerian Proverb says “A pearl is only appreciated when it’s out of its shell.”
Chris Gardner wrote “The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to make some pearls.” –
I was reading about a tenant farmer in Suffolk England, a man called Peter Wattling. He lost his hammer in an overgrown field. So, he hired his friend, Eric Laws, with a metal detector to go looking. Instead of finding a hammer they discovered the largest collection of fifth century Roman artifacts in the world, worth about five million dollars. (Does anyone feel the urge to go out and buy a metal detector)
The point is that the value of the field was now based on the treasure that was discovered in it. How many had the field before, we don’t know. How often had someone walked across it’s surface, and seen only the value based on what it could grow, or the livestock which could be contained there. But someone looked below the surface and found the real treasure that was hidden out of sight.
I also read about a farmer in Africa who was clearing his field and piling up the stones to form a wall and one stone caught his eye. He liked it so much that, he brought it into the house and used it as a doorstop. A traveling vendor stopped at his farm to see if there was something he could sell. As he sat on the couch, he noticed the stone and asked about it. It turned out to be the largest uncut diamond ever found. The farmer said, oh, the field is full of them, they’re a nuisance when I’m trying to plow the field for planting. What he saw as a nuisance was a treasure in disguise worth millions! He was rich and didn’t know it
The plain, unlovely, oyster that contains the pearls, like the ugly uncut diamond, can be easily missed, if you don’t know what to look for. Oysters will never hold a beauty contest, that’s for sure! So Jesus gave us a parable to give oysters some badly needed attention
Matthew 13:45 “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it”.
Let’s suppose that this merchant is at the fish market where the oysters are and he buys a dozen oysters and as he opens one of them, he finds a valuable pearl, and he gets so excited that he buys up all the oysters at the market that day, because he realizes the potential treasure which may be found in these amazing sea creatures. Before you get that excited, just know that You’ll have to go through a lot of oysters to find some pearls. Only one in 10,000 oysters have pearls in their natural habitat. That’s a lot of oysters! But pearl farmers can cultivate pearls by stimulating every single oyster, that’s 100 percent... That’s what we’re going for! Cultivated pearls...Every test, every challenge produces a pearl....
We know that a pearl begins as an irritation in the oyster. Something has entered it’s life which causes it discomfort. So the oyster creates layer upon layer of shiny substance called nacar, or “mother of pearl” which transforms the irritating, uncomfortable object into a beautiful, desirable pearl!
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl.....there is a piece of heaven in every trial, every disappointment, every hard place that we must go through.
There are two kinds of challenges we face in life. One is described in scripture as that which is common to all men. These things are just part of living, and learning, and going through the school of the hard knocks university.
The other kind is what the scripture calls pruning. It’s when God takes away, cuts away, and removes things which are stunting our growth, so that we can become all He wants us to be. A farmer will prune his orchard every year so that the growth can go into producing more fruit, instead of just growing more leaves.
So, we have things that are common to man, and we have those things that are part of God’s pruning process.
Another scripture describes our challenges in life as a smelting process which removes impurities and unprofitable things so that the purified substance which remains, might be realized.
Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take, and when He hastried me, I shall come forth as gold”.
My mission today, is to challenge each of us to find the treasure in the field. To lift our gaze a little higher that the circumstances we might be walking through at the moment, or the uncomfortable situation we might presently find ourselves in. Perhaps the irritating thing in your life is getting another layer of the mother of pearl substance applied to it, so that the real treasure can be revealed through it all.
Gwen Davis” wrote the following....Just like the oyster, irritants continually intrude into my personal and professional life. Some of these intrusions aren’t merely irritants but full-scale catastrophes, which through no fault of mine, have caused me and others great personal suffering. Unlike the oyster though, I now know that I have a choice. I don’t have to accept the pearl-making process. I could refuse, or resist, or complain it away. Or I could give in, deal with my emotions and choices, and make a pearl. Even if I won’t ever be the one to reap its value”.
That last statement is the generational impact of pearl making. We may never see some of it, but it will be seen by future generations...
An oyster that has not been wounded can never produce a pearl. Pearls are a healed wound. Pearls are the result of pain, discomfort, and a foreign or unwanted substance entering the oyster, such as a parasite or a grain of sand. Pearls are a constantexample of how a person who has experienced despair, failure, being overcome by the cares of life, and walking through hopeless situations, have come out of it all wiser, stronger, and better equipped to overwhelm what was overwhelming them. They have awakened to the “greater one that is in them than he who is in the world”.
Through every test, challenge and trial, God is challenging us to stop looking at what is, and begin to look at what can and will be, if we will allow Him to complete the process... Some of the introductory comments which come before the parable which Jesus is sharing with the disciples about finding hidden treasure, are found in.....
Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it”.
Did you catch that...The blessing is not only in the finished product, but Jesus said that the blessing is on those who understand the process and allow the process to be accomplished with faith and hope, and excitement in their spirit, because they see the invisible, hear the inaudible, and handle the eternal, in order to receive the impossible.
Jesus said that too many of us longed to see it but did not see it, and longed to hear it but did not hear it..... When we go by sight and not by faith, and we go by feelings and not by hope, and we go by vain imaginations and not by the inner vision of our spirit...we miss the precious pearl that is waiting to be formed in us.
Oh, how often do I need to hear it, again and again.... Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”
And I like this version, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the reality of things not seen”.
Also, this version...”Faith is presenting the title deed, guaranteeing the right to possess our promised inheritance”.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for”, describes a conviction indicating that we have already taken possession —here and now—of what we hope for and what God has guaranteed is ours in the future”.
By faith Noah built the ark, saved his family, and became an heir of righteousness... By faith Abraham obeyed God and inherited the land of promise as he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.... Faith, as the substance of things hoped for, activates believers to speak out boldly, pray unceasingly, love unconditionally, serve compassionately, work tirelessly, and invest in things eternal, as we look forth unto the perfect day of the Lord.
All of us oysters are different and yet the same.....We don’t all look alike and our stories don’t all sound alike and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Black and white, rich and poor, Ivy League scholars and high school dropouts, high profile citizens and nobodies from nowhere particular, are the types who belong in the kingdom through faith in Jesus. That means of course that we allhave a place, that we are all important in the kingdom where we all stand in a common reality... “FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR AND THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT YET SEEN”!!
We are each the pearl of great price, because of the price that was paid for us, and He has hidden us in a field, preparing us, developing us, getting ready to present us, as His treasure!
Psalm 8:4: “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.’ Now when it says ‘all things,’ it means nothing is left out”.
In this parable of the pearl, the merchant sold all he had to buy the field and gain the pearl. You see, he did a careful cost-benefits analysis, he placed the total worth of everything in his life on one side of the scales and the total value of the pearl, on the other, and he found that the benefits of possessing the treasure, the total worth of the pearl, far, far beyond everything he had or could ever gain and it far outweighed any price he might have to pay in order to obtaining this treasure.
Jesus is our greatest treasure, having Him, knowing Him, enjoying the forgiveness that He can provide, having our consciences made clean through His blood, being adopted into His family, becomingheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another, being guided in all our confusions, comforted in all our sorrows, guided in all our wanderings, preserved through all our dangers, and brought safely home at last.... all of that makes Jesus Christ infinitely more precious, so that all who have Him can say about the Scriptures through which our Jesus speaks to us, “They are more precious to us than silver or gold,”
And we can say to Him, “Whom have I in heaven but You? There is nothing on earth that I desire beside You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but You Lord Jesus, You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. You’re my treasure. You are the pearl of great price, more valuable to me than anything else in my life.”
Thomas Chalmers, one of the founders of the Free Church of Scotland, said, “Jesus, the pearl of great price, eliminates all lesser treasures. It awakens a new appetite, a new affection, a new sense, a new taste, a new longing in the heart that nothing but He can fill. And that longing and that delight in Christ out shines and out lasts every rival”.
Jesus, the greatest treasure, possesses our hearts, in such a way that we must have Him, and having Him, makes everything else of lesser importance. And our whole world finds it’s place in it’sproper order under Him.
It is only in the light of Jesus' worth that we find our value. When the merchant found the valuable treasure, it immediately increased his value as well.
Paul said “And the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 “Whereby, we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, from glory to glory”.
With each new revelation of Him, another layer of value is added to our pearl. Layer upon layer....line upon line.... precept, upon precept..... truth upon truth.
Scripture tells us that the glory of the last house shall be greater than the glory of the former house. This is such an exciting statement because we are the dwelling place God has chosen to live in.... we are the house of God.... and this indicates that as we go through each hard place, each refining place, and each pruning place, we will transition through it all, with greater glory than when we went in!
NO doubt, like the pearl in the oyster, when you come out, you’ll be more glorious than when you went in...
The philosophy of every oyster is “If I can’t remove it, I’ll just improve it”
What if we went into every life challenge with the thought....”Thisis my opportunity to make some pearls. This is my chance to walk in greater glory than I have ever known before. This has not come to diminish or destroy me, but to transport me into greater glory”.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hasprepared for them that love him.” (Somebody say “I’ll take all of that!)
Before I close, let me point out something else Jesus said in Matthew 13:45 “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls”.
“The key statement here is that the merchant was LOOKING FOR FINE PEARLS!.... Did you get that?
Jesus said that many have eyes but do not see, ears but they do not hear.... In Genesis God told Abraham to lift up his eyes, and see the Land, then God said, I have given it unto you....Then God said look up, count the stars if you can, for your descendants shall be as the stars...
God had to change the way Abraham saw things, How He was looking!
Elijah told the servant during famine, to look and tell me what you see, the said I see a cloud the size of a man’s hand. Elijah said I hear the sound of an abundance of rain.... It’s about what you see...
The prophet asked the widow woman what she saw, she saw a little meal and a little oil, the prophet saw enough to last through the famine for her and the entire neighborhood... the difference was what he saw.
Louisa May Alcott ...“Contentment is a pearl that many seek for and only a few ever hold it in their hand”
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants”.
The merchant was looking for pearls, what are you looking for? If you only see the sickness, the pain, the problem, the impossibility, or the improbability, then that’s what you’ll get, but if you see the pearls are waiting to be formed through it all, then you’ll see beauty, redemption, restoration, renewal, and transformation....
My last point is that it’s hard to tell from the outward appearance, which oyster contains a pearl....Sometimes the ugliest shell contains the most beautiful pearl.
I would not have chosen shepherds as the first people to receive the announcement that God was born in a humble stable....but God did.
I would not have chosen the demoniac of Gadara to be the first to share the gospel with his community, but Jesus saw what I could not.
I would not have chosen a despised, tax collector who was considered a traitor to his own people, as an apostle of the gospel, but Jesus did...
I definitely would not have picked Paul, a murderer, and hatchet man for the religious hexarchy as the chief apostle, but Jesus saw beyond the outward shell.
God is calling on us to make some pearls, and we’ll miss it if we only call it like it is, instead of how it can and will be in Jesus Name!
Romans 4:17 “Abraham believed God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.  Who against hope he believed in hope...”
We’ll find what we’re looking for and believing for....There’s not enough pearls in the world, let’s make some more... and let God be glorified...
I believe everyone of us have some oysters, that are holding pearls in the making....
The old chorus says “I know the Lord will make a way for me”.... believe it, what He’s done for so many others, He’ll do for you!
I call out to Eagle’s Rest, Let’s make some pearls... what do you say?!!!