In Christ we are covenant people who belong to a covenant keeping God. (Tell a couple of folks “Get ready for blessing and favor from God”) Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.… We don’t make Jesus, Lord. God the Father has already done that, whither we do it or not. God the Father has exalted Christ to the absolute highest place. On the Mark, is about getting everything in proper alignment. The question I want to ask is, “Does Christ occupy an exalted, prominantposition in our life?” Is our focus dedicated to seeing Christ exalted in our homes, on our jobs, in our decisions, in our marriages, in our relationships in general, in our future plans, in our free time, in our finances and all of our pursuits? Is anyone witnessing the exaltation of Jesus in our life? Is anyone bowing to Christ and confessing He is Lord because of the exaltation of Christ in our own life? How often this past week did you use the name of Jesus (in the proper context) in any kind of demonstration that Christ is Lord of our life? If we aren’t centering things around Him, how will anyone know He is exalted in our day to day interactions? Talking about Jesus will keep us from talking about things we shouldn’t be talking about....amen (come on!) What I am trying to say is that the Lordship of Christ in our lives is something that should be easily seen and heard by anyone who may be around us. That’s about being aligned and on the mark as we enter each day, each activity, each interaction.... Ethan Suplee got serious about his life. He was over 500 lbs. when he realigned his priorities.....In one year, he went from the picture on the left to the picture on the right. Ethan had to replace old patterns and habits, with new patterns, in order to change his life. I think too many folks believe that they can just add Jesus to their lives like they add an exercise class or a doctor’s appointment. Jesus isn’t an “add on.” He is to be our “new life style!” We don’t just add Him to a list of other activities and relationships, we center onHim and our new life revolves around Him! He’s not the dessert after the main course! He is the main course.
Theologian A.W. Tozer likens the Christian life to runners in a race. He comes up with 4 things they have in common.
1. If they can’t obey the coach, they can’t be on the team
2. They can only face in one direction, and that’s forward. 3. They can never turn back, once they start. 4. They no longer have plans of their own, because the race comes first. When I was in High School, I competed on the track team. (Don’t I look good) I specialized in the 100 yarddash, the 300, and the relay.... All of these have three common denominators, preparation, getting to the starting line and trying to outrun everyone else on the track....When the coach said run 10 laps, he never said, “If anyone feels like running 10 laps, I would like for you to give it a try”.... So, you ran 10 laps because the coach knew what was best for you. Your feelings, your emotions, and what is convenient, aren’t always your best counselors.... Shortly after joining the Navy, a new recruit asked his officer for a week-end pass so he could attend a wedding. The officer gave him the pass, but told the young man he would have to be back by 7 p.m. Sunday. “But sir, You don’t understand, sir,” said the recruit. “I’m in the wedding.” “No, you don’t understand,” the officer shot back. “You’re in the Navy!”
When Christ is Lord, we don’t make plans and then ask God to bless them. We ask God what He will bless and then we do it. If our lives don’t show that Christ is Lord, our witness means nothing.
I had a lady in one of our churches who listened to all the Christian CDs, watched Christian TV, attended church faithfully, but one day her frustrated teen ager played several recordings to me, they had secretly made, of her at home, having a tirade and cussing a blue streak that would make an auctioneer blush.... Well, those kids, are not going to think much of her brand of Christianity.... And they are away from Christ today! .....You think they’re not paying attention.... Oooooh, yes, they are!
If we’re not making it our prime objective, to be witnesses for Christ, then we’ve forgotten why we’re even in the race....
On your mark, get ready, get set! Acts 1:8 “And you (put your name in there) will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (everywhere you go, in everything you do).”
Meet Nathan. On the track, he’s usually out in front...He enrolled at University to study Math. During his first week, he tried out for the University track team, along with nearly 200 other freshmen. At the end of the tri-out, Nathan was ranked in the top five of those recruited. He’s an extremely good athlete, and achieved a lot of acclaim at His High school. So when the first string was announced, there was no surprise that he’d been chosen.
Leading up to the first event, he was told he needed to be initiated into the squad, which involved him getting blind drunk along with the rest of the lads. Now, Nathan is a Christian so he refused. And as a result, he was dropped from first string. And when the team lists were announced for the first event of the season, he had been put at the very bottom on the seventh team.
Following Jesus takes commitment. How do you stand for Jesus in that kind of situation? I like what Teebow had to say... “I love sports, but sports has to come last after Jesus. Jesus comes first”
(On Your Mark, get ready, get set)
1 Peter 3:15 Amplified bible “In your hearts set Christ apart (as holy—acknowledging Him, and giving Him first place), as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance (by faith)that is within you, and (do it) with wisdom, sensitivity and respect”.
I Peter tells us to always be prepared, to always be ready and be open to the tug and pull of the Holy Spirit in your life. God could have you witnessing in some of the oddest and most unexpected places.
We’re not called to be judges, we’re called to be witnesses.... Although you can be a fruit inspector.....
A week ago Friday, we were at Denny’s and a new waiter came to our table. We were talking and Winnie asked him if we could pray with him about anything.... He told us that he had come here from Texas and was trying to get settled. He started away from the table, and we told him we would be praying for him, and invited him to church and gave him our information.....We will follow up next time at Denny’s... Everybody say “Get Ready, Get Set”....
Listen, no single approach to witnessing is better than another. If we are going to share effectively, we will need to share sincerely and authentically out of our own personality and experience. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and convince, if we’re living the life....
GET READY CHURCH.... God has some great opportunities waiting for you....People are looking for answers in these troubled times.
As I was putting this message together, I remembered when I pastored in Weathersfield, Ct. we decided to just pick an area and start knocking on doors and giving out information. About the fifth house I went to, they invited us in. They prayed and received Christ and Diane and Lloyd were in church that Sunday, with their family. After a while, she told us about her sister. She said, pray for my sister Barbara... she is one bad gal... cusses, drinks, and has a terrible temper... I can’t ever see her in church. We’ll Diane brought her kids to church, and the sister came to see them in the Christmas program, and at the end I gave a short message and invited anyone who needed to receive Jesus. Barbara came to the altar at the end, and got saved. Barbara had a Divine transformation. She brought more people to that church than anyone else, ever had, and became a real evangelist and witness for the Lord.
Come on, Get Ready, Get Set....
I love the story of Philip as he walks south on the road to Gaza. Acts 8 :27 “So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him”.
Someone say “GET READY”
Believe it, the same Holy Spirit that’s speaking to you, is speaking to that person He’s leading you to, so you can get on the mark and get set!
We don’t know how many were brought to Christ as a result of that meeting, but we do know around that period of time, Ethiopia became a Christian nation....Because one believer ... stayed on the mark....
I have led many individuals to Christ and they have gone out and won thousands to Christ, that I would never have been able to meet or reach.
I love those kinds of stories and I believe it should be your story.
But the most famous Christian you never knew, may have spent years working behind the scenes in Children’s church. They may have spent decades serving in Women’s Ministry, or Men’s ministry. Or perhaps they were a faithful witness for many years at a job where their biggest roll was to be a light for Jesus there.
They never led anyone famous to Jesus. No one went out after encountering them, to change the world in any visible way that we know of. So how could they be the most famous Christian you never heard of.
Because they did what Jesus called them to do. They stayed faithful to whatever they were given to do. They never gave up. They may have served in many locations and positions. But they stayed on the mark!
On Your Mark, Get Ready, Get Set... Two gas company servicemen, an experienced supervisor and a new trainee, were out checking meters in a neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her gas meter. After finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one. As they came running by the house, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong. As she gasped for breath, she said "When I see two gas servicemen running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better start run too!" Hey, if you start running your race, and they see you running, you may inspire someone else to run their race as well!
Get ready by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Get on your mark, by being where God wants you. Get set by knowing the voice of the Spirit and knowing your testimony. Then GO with “determination, wisdom, sensitivity and respect.”
I came across a list titled: “Top Ten Greatest Canadians.” I knew Wayne Gretzky had to be on it, and he was number 10. Alexander Graham Bell was on it. So was the First Prime Minister of Canada. At the number two spot was a person that I had never heard of. It just said, “Terry Fox, athlete.”
Terry was a young man who was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer. To save his life, they had to amputate his leg, well above the knee. When he was getting treated, he was frustrated at the care and the lack of cancer research at the time. He didn’t want to sit at home and do nothing. He felt that there was something he could do about it. So he committed to run across the entire country of Canada to raise money. He wanted each Canadian citizen to donate at least a dollar. To accomplish his goal, he would run a marathon’s distance each day until he finished. He started in St. John’s in Newfoundland with just a few people there to see him off. Word quickly spread about his run, which he did with one prosthetic leg. By the time he reached Ontario, he was a national celebrity, and treated like one. However, his run was not easy. He often got horrible blisters from the constant running. He got shin splints and extreme fatigue. Despite this, he pressed on. Terry’s run lasted 143 days and 3,200 miles, before he had to stop due to the cancer coming back. But he raised 25 million dollars for cancer research.
In Philippians 3, Paul compares our Christian life to a race, similar to the one that Terry did. Like him, the apostle says we have a reason to run. Like him, we keep our eye on the goal. Like him, we are also encouraged along the way. Terry ran to raise money for cancer. Our race has a far, far greater cause. It’s about the eternal souls of mankind.
GET ON YOUR MARK, GET READY, GET SET.....
Listen Church, we can afford to waste time, looking back. When you spend time looking back in a race, it slows you down and you might even trip and fall.... In Christ we have been made righteous, we have been made right with God, we are forgiven, we are given favor, so we press toward the prize, which is the high calling of God in Christ, till we cross the finish line. Don’t look back..... stay on the mark!!! 1 Corinthians 9:25“Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. 26 Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. 27 No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”.…
In one cross country race... the folks along the way had tables set up with water and oxygen available if needed... Once the runners had all passed, the tables would be folded up and everything put away. But there was a young girl who was way behind everyone else. But she wouldn’t quit. Her face was blood red, her hair a sweaty mess, and her body language said she was exhausted. She could hardly continue on. But next to her was her mom and brother, who were encouraging her to continue on despite her frustration and exhaustion to make it to the finish line and finish the race.
Listen, child of God, run the race He’s given you! People are praying that you’ll make it, that you won’t give in to the fatigue, the discouragement or the lie that you’re not making any difference. No matter what someone else’s race is, only you can run your race. But Hallelujah, Jesus is in it, to win it with us! As we live our Christian lives and head toward the finish line, and we’re tired, our body may ache, we may be out of breath, but the Lord doesn’t sit or stand on the sidelines. He doesn’t yell encouragements from afar. Rather, He is running right with us, like the girl’s mother and brother. He takes hold with us, and encourages us forward. He strengthens and cheers us with His Word when we are tired, and faint, and feel like we can’t take another step sometimes.
Song.... It reaches to the highest mountain, and it flows to the lowest valley, Oh the blood that gives me strength, from day to day, it shall never lose its power!
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give wayand the mountains fall into the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake. 4 There is a river whose refreshing streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is “within her, she will not fall. God will help her, though 6 Nations are in uproar, and kingdoms fall, He lifts His voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us,the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done.”
I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to someone today....Get Ready, Get Set, and you will see what the Lord has done.... The workman is worthy of his hire.... Your labor in the Lord is never in vain!
Come and see what the Lord has done!!! You need to get ready and get set for your harvest.... You’ve sown in faith and you shall reap in due time, and this is your due time, your harvest time!!
Matthew 9:36 “When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to his disciples, (and to us)“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Pray to the Lord of the harvest, (the Holy Spirit), to send out workers into His harvest field.”
The Lord of the harvest is Holy Spirit.... Jesus said, and when He is come, He will convict of sin and convince of righteousness... That deals with the person who has never made Christ Lord of their lives, and the person who has fallen away from Him.
Let’s stand and obey what the Lord is saying here....
The harvest is ready, join together and release workers for the harvest....
I’m starting with the harvesters in this room.... Let’s believe together for each personal harvest that is represented here....
The seed is the word, the water is your prayers and tears, the fertilizer is support, encouragement and our example, the harvest equipment is obedience. Join with someone and call out some names in agreement, break down the barriers of resistance, and enter in to the harvest cycle...
This message is titled “Dealing With The Elephant In The Room”....
In 1814, Russian author Ivan Krylov wrote a fable or parable, entitled "The Inquisitive Man" which tells of a man who goes to a museum and notices all sorts of tiny things, but in the process fails to notice a huge elephant that fills up the middle of the museum. And with that story, the phrase "elephant in the room" was born. It has come to symbolize those situations where there’s an obvious truth or problem that is being ignored and going unaddressed and unresolved. We all know that awkward feeling that comes with having an elephant in the room.... One day a diver was enjoying the under water world 20 feet down and he noticed a guy at the same depth he was, but he had on no scuba gear at all. The diver went downanother 20 ft, but the guy joined him a few and moments later. The diver went down still another 25 feet, but soon , the same guy joined him. This confused the diver, so he took out a waterproof chalk board, and wrote, "How on earth are you able to stay under this deep without equipment?" The other guy took the board and chalk, erased what the diver had written, and wrote, "It should be obvious, I’m DROWNING, YOU FOOL!!!" My title has to do with ignoring the obvious... It is about the failure of those who can make a difference but who choose to do nothing and by doing nothing they actually allow the problem to continue or become even worse .... It happens in government, it happens in businesses, it happens in homes, in friendships, and it happens in the church.
People don’t just fall out of faith in Christ, it happens in little steps, and one decision at a time. How many times could intervention occur as those small steps are taking place which could avoid a major intervention processes, but it was all about an elephant in the room which got ignored.
So the “Elephant in the room” is something everyone may know about, but no one is willing to do something about it...because we want to avoid confrontation which may upset someone.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can give guidance to those in any trouble,with the instruction we ourselves have received from God”.
My son David called Thursday night and said that they were at meeting and their battery died. Someone gave them a jump to get to where they could buy one. As the guy was installing the battery, they were talking about the condition of the world, and asked him “How do you feel about all that is happening”... the guy said, “I just need some peace”.... Well they told him how to have peace, prayed with him to receive Jesus, and turn his life over to Him. The guy said, “I think I need to start going to church, and reading my bible” They told him to start with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
John and he said, “I’m taking my family to church this Sunday”. When our families have left God out of their lives and feel that they’re fine without Christ or Christianity.. or even more incredible, they believe there can be the benefits and blessings of Christianity without Christ....“There’s a big elephant sitting in center of the home that is begging to no longer be ignored”....
When folks begin to compromise a little here and a little therethey don’t even realize that it has now become embedded in theirway of life, and they know better but they just ignore and avoid the truth.... and it becomes “an elephant in the room”....
A big problem with the elephant in the room is that it’s always someone else’s job to deal with it, and someone else never does....
Elephants are messy.... I mean just one digestive cycle can leave quite a mess... And they bump into things and knock things over. They leave a lot of collateral damage behind them in order to function. And they will continue to wreck lives, destroy homes, and weaken the church if they are allowed to be the loose cannons that they always are!
Everyone ends up being affected by their mess, and folks try to avoid being pulled into it... they navigate around it.... refuse to deal with it.... they hide from it... sweeping it under the carpet... but ultimately you will always end up stepping in it, till you deal with it!!
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love does not dishonor others, it does not demand its own way”.... That’s what the elephant in the room does... it dishonors others with its mess and it demands its own way.... everyone else is expected to navigate their way around it....
Someone said that “just because you disagree with someone doesn’t give you the right to disrespect or dishonor them”....
Superficial love, manipulated love, forced loved, and fleshlylove… are embedded with conflict, drama, anger, rejection, pride, and compromise, and they will always do anything to avoid “the elephant in the room”; but real love, pure love; the kind of love that keeps families strong, friendships healthy and churches thriving, will take the risk of addressing the underlying issues, so that the looming disaster and its casualties can be avoided down the road.
Another name for the Elephant in the room is SELFISHNESS... It’s when what one person’s wants, supersedes the needs of everyone else. Sometimes it's blatant and in your face, and other times, its subtle and manipulative.
Selfishness breeds selfishness. So, lets say, I’m selfish, which forces Winnie to be selfish in order for her needs to be addressed, which motivates the kids to be selfish to get their needs met. And the more we allow selfishness to be the ruling force in our relationship, our families, or in our church, the more permanent the damage that is done, and a culture of selfishness is developed, which always implodes upon itself.
Selfishness dishonors and devalues others, and destroys the presence of peace. In a marriage, it’s all about what you want or need. In parenting, you selfishly prioritize your time. With your siblings, its what you want without regard for others. With your church family, it’s all about me…and what I want and what I need....the church is here for me…And little by little, the stress, the tension, the pent up anger, and the growing distance between folks begins to takes its toll on everyone.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”
It's about where our values are.... We can be so focused on our rights that we fail to value compassion, honor and loyalty above our rights. I have the right to be happy, but not at someone else’sexpense. I have the right to defend myself, but not the right to get revenge. I have the right to freedom as long as it doesn’t trample on the freedom of others.... Too many families and churches, and lives, have been ripped apart because someone had to be right. 1 Peter 5:5 “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Matthew 20:26 “Whoever would be greatest among you must be your servant.” When we accept Jesus’ invitation to come walk with Him, what does that look like, where is that going to take us, and what will change in the way we live?
1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are permissible unto me, but all things are not expedient (or profitable) all things are permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any but Christ.”
We live in a dangerous world, and we can see with the situation in Ukraine, that there will always be forces in the world that want to push you into their mold. But it shouldn’t take a crises or national emergency for Christians to be Christian....
If you don’t deal with the Elephant in the room, it will begin to demand things of you, in order to maintain it’s power and justify its existence...The elephant knows it’s an interloper but believes that no one will finally deal with it...so it will taunt you and accuse you... Dealing with the “Elephant in the room” Takes commitment ...It’s so easy to see what everyone else needs to do, and to tell everyone else what they need to do, because there’s no personal commitment in that...
Several men are in the locker room of a private club after exercising. Suddenly a cell phone on one of the benches rings. A man picks it up and the following conversation takes place...."Hello?"....."Honey, It's me." "Oh, hey Sugar!"...."Are you at the club?"...."Yes, I sure am." ....”Great! I'm at the mall 2 blocks from where you are. I saw a beautiful mink coat. It is absolutely gorgeous! Can I buy it?" "What's the price?" "Only $1,500"....."Well, okay, go ahead and get it, if you like it that much."...."Ahhh, thank you sweety, and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the 2022 models. I saw one I really liked. I spoke with the salesman and he gave me a really good price ... and since we need to exchange the BMW that we bought last year, well, you know..." "What price did he quote you?"....."Only $85,000!"....."Okay, but for that price I want it with all the options."....."Great, honey! Before we hang up, something else."......"What now?"..... "It might seem like a lot dear, but I was reconciling your bank account and...well, I stopped by to see the real estate agent this morning and I saw the house we had looked at last year. It's on sale! Remember? The one with a pool, English garden, acre of park area, and it’s beachfront property..."....."How much are they asking?"....."Only $850,000... a magnificent price, and I see that we have that much in the bank to cover it easily..."....."Well, then go ahead and buy it, but just bid $820,000, OK?"...."Okay, sweetie. Thanks! I'll see you later!! I love you!!!"...."OK, Bye, Bye." The man hangs up the phone, lays it down, looks around and asks aloud, "Does anyone know whose phone this is?" It’s easy to make decisions, if it’s someone else’s commitment....
Offences can be the elephant in the room....You’ll start keeping a scorecard.... “I can’t believe how my brother treated me this last Thanksgiving. How my spouse did me last month. How my child did me. How my parents refused to help me. How thatperson at church offended me by what they said or did. Can you believe what my pastor said!”
Elephants can become very heavy if you continue to ignore them, and tolerate them, and they can wear you out spiritually, as well as physically... It’s hard to carry them around. And the next thing you know you have allowed an attitude of resentment, feelings of bitterness and anger, pride, and all kinds of toxic, stinking thinking to climb up in the driver’s seat of your heart and start telling you what to do. Scorecards give us permission to play the comparison game, so we overlook our own mess and focus on the mess of other folks. Hey, compared to them, I’m not so bad just the way I am!
Listen, when we start keeping scorecards in the family, with our friends, or in the church, no one wins. But yet, we can all very easily fall into keeping these emotional scorecards.
Watch out for the big ticket items which help the elephant in the room to thrive and prevents every effort to deal with it, and that’sconvenience.....We live in a society that is addicted to Convenience.... During the pandemic when so many businesses were struggling, a guy walks into a convenience store...And he says, "I'm looking for a job." The store owner replies, "You're in luck! We have an open position that pays $10,000 per a month, and you only work when it’s convenient!"The guy says, "You've got to be joking." The store owner says, "Well, you started it." Our modern world emphasizes doing or not doing things, based on how convenient it is. We’re family as long as it's convenient for me...for my lifestyle, and for my needs, if its convenient for my schedule, and my priorities. It's why we have drive-thrus, Google, banking online, shopping online, online movies, shows on-demand, microwavesand on and on.... I want it now, I want it at my convenience.... It’s too inconvenient to attend church, I can do it on internet.... It’s too inconvenient to call someone, I’ll face book them... it’s too inconvenient to take time to read the bible, I’ll tune into a Youtube scripture for today...
In New Roads, Louisiana, there is a drive-in mortuary. For the convenience of time-pressed mourners, the deceased is displayed before a five-by-seven picture window. Friends and relatives can drive up to the window and pay last respects without getting out. The owner says it’s for those who find it inconvenient to attend a funeral service....and speaking of convenience, Scientists from the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh have formulated a new recipe for an ice cream that doesn’t melt. Let’s not have the inconvenience of melted ice cream...Please! Now you can eat your non-melting ice cream while you drive through your convenient funeral service!
I hate to burst your bubble, but Christianity isn’t convenient, love isn’t convenient, the life of faith is not convenient....
When the apostle Paul was brought before Felix, he shared the gospel with him and scripture says Felix was terrified, and said “leave me and I will speak to you at a more convenient season”...... How easy it is to blame our unwillingness, our disobedience, our rebellion, and our compromise on inconvenience.... and we kick the can further down the road for later, but later never comes... and forgiveness never comes, and freedom never comes and deliverance never happens...
If you could talk to Felix today, right now this moment... He would say, stop putting off what you need to do because it’s inconvenient. Dealing with the “Elephant in the room”...is never convenient. Love is not convenient, The Christian faith and practice is not convenient, Healthy families, and strong friendships, and spiritually dynamic churches are not convenient!
Love doesn't give up just because the circumstances tell us to. Love doesn't give up when we’ve been hurt, rejected or offended. Love doesn't give up when the family dynamics changes. Love doesn't give up when it’s no longer convenient for us.
We need to stop chasing after convenience and settle for nothing less than Agape love, servant love, which is Christ love!
1 John 4:6 “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God finds its deepest expression toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live our lives through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the complete reconciliation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another with the same love.”
The only thing that has the potential to erase and overcome our Elephant in the room.. Is FORGIVENESS.... First forgive yourself for failing to deal with your elephant, then give yourself permission to take whatever measures you need to as you confront the elephant you’ve ignored for so long. Forgiveness doesn’t overlook failure, it overcomes failures.
But watch out for selective forgiveness.
I'll forgive him for that, but not for that. I'll forgive her for doing this, but if she ever does that, I'm out. There's a line and if you cross it, then it's over. You can’t put a threshold of forgiveness, because then it becomes demanding again, and selfish again.....
If God, had put a threshold and drawn a line on forgiveness, I would have crossed over, and gone way beyond that line, years ago.
The servant heart doesn’t say, “Do to them before they do to you,” It says, “Do unto them as you would have them do unto you.”....
Today we tear up our score cards, we no longer use the excuse that it’s not convenient, we let go of disobedience, and we face the elephant in the room that we have avoided.
And no matter how difficult it is... “no matter what the elephantis”.... freedom, peace, joy, intimacy, contentment and full life in Christ is waiting on the other side of that. The price of obedience is not nearly as great as the cost of continuing in disobedience...
What about when you obey and nothing seems to change.... In Mark 8: 22 Gives us a scene recounting one of Jesus' many healing miracles. All Jesus' healings are extraordinary, but this one is very surprising, because when Jesus prayed, the man still couldn’t see clearly! Jesus takes the blind man, spits on his eyes, lays hands on him, and — ta-da! — the man should see. Well, no, not quite. What the man says is that he can't see clearly yet . When he looks around he says, I see people but they look like trees walking around. In other words it’s all very cloudy....( when nothing has happened yet, instead of coming to a conclusion, which would bring us into doubt and unbelief…. we need to stay in faith and say instead… “to be continued”)This one is a miracle in the works!
I want to give everyone an “elephant in the room” so you can identify it for what it is! You may even want to write down a description of it and the steps you need to take....Becauseacknowledging that it is there, helps us to no longer avoid it, ignore it or put it off...
It may be the thing you know you need to do in order to move beyond this place you’re stuck in, or what you’ve avoided, but nolonger!!!
There’s too much at stake.... your peace, your fuller life, and your freedom. And it’s not just about you, because others can move on in their lives as you move on in yours. It has a domino effect which is set in motion...
Joshua 1:2 “Now therefore arise, you and all these people, and cross over into the land that I am giving to you. 3 I have given you every place where the sole of your foot will tread, just as I promised”
May God give us all the power, determination, and resolve to finally face the “Elephants in the Room”....
Let’s come forward and stand in faith and God’s love together. Let this be a crossing over, and a moving beyond...bring your elephant with you...and start the journey today into getting a handle on that thing that has been put off, ignored and put aside too long....
Prayer..... Heavenly Father, I open my heart wide to receive your pure, complete love today. I open up and receive Your healing and restoring power as I overcome the obstacles I am facing. I believe, and affirm Your miraculous power to make all things possible. Lord You are the full expression of all that I need and the source of my joy, my strength and my freedom. Heal in me, whatever You see that needs healing, as I receive Your wholeness and restoration. Free me of any fear or unbelief from my heart as I lay my life before You. I am praying for a miracle that can only come from You and I am willing, ready, and waiting. Wherever there are strongholds, demonic influences and spiritual attacks, I receive Your Spirit and truth to rise up within me and allow me to conquer the darkest enemy, break the strongest barrier, and silence the greatest deceiver. Help me to remember the reason I began. Help me to see the purpose behind Your plan. Thank you for grace and favor as I find strength for the next step and keep believing that miracles are possible. I am laying claim to my personal victory today in Your name and by Your Almighty power. Your redeeming light frees me, gives me peace, and snatches me back from the enemy’s grip. I receive my blessing today. In Jesus name, Amen.
We Start With Jesus, We Stay With Jesus, We End With Jesus!
Psalm 110:1 ”The Lord said, “Sit at My right hand (the place of favor) until I make your enemies into your footstool. 2 For the Lord extends your authority, so that you may rule in the midst of your enemies.”
If you would feel led of the Holy Spirit to support this ministry, you may send your donations to "Eagle's Rest, P.O box 2820, Key West, Florida 33040.... Thank you in advance and God richly bless you..
In ourselves we are weak, but through Christ we find our strength, our peace, our guide and counselor, and light for the journey. At my lowest, God is my hope....At my darkest, God is my light... At my weakest, God is my strength.... at my saddest and loneliest, God is my comforter & friend...
Romans 8: 11 “For if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
(skip to verse) 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
You know Church, I’ve been walking this Christian way longenough, that I’ve found out something..... I may get hit by discouragement but I don’t have to stay discouraged... I may get knocked down but I don’t have to stay down.... I may get buffeted with some storms here and there, but if I can keep the storm out of my boat, I’m going over to the other side.... I may experience times of not enough, but if I can hold on to the one who is more than enough, it’s gonna be alright.... And I may have to deal with situations and circumstances that are more than my strength and abilities, but if I can stand in His strengthand power, I am more than conqueror!
Whether it be a single mom, a person struggling with illness, a widower, or a retiree who is entering their waning years, the message is the same... We’ve been made more than conquerors.
Say with me today.... “When my thoughts are not His thoughts, I will change my thoughts.... When my ways are not His ways, I will change my ways”....
This is not hardwired into any of us. We do not come into this world with this concept. It comes into us through mentoring, discipling and impartation in the home, the church, (it used to be the school system), our Godly peers, and immersing ourselves in the Word of God.
A man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete, he said, "Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what’s wrong with Me." The doctor replied, "You’re just lazy, sir"
The most dangerous thing in your house is probably your easy chair. Not because of what it might do to you, but rather because of what you might not do when you are in it. I mean the name says it all “Lazy boy”
God’s part does not eliminate our part, because this is a partnership. A group of researchers published a study of Japanese mothers and mothers in the U.S. The mothers were asked to rank the most important things that a child needs to succeed academically. The answers tell a lot about the difference in our two cultures today. The mothers in Minneapolis chose "ability." The mothers in Japan said "effort."
Someone told me, that they put their scale in the corner and it’s going to stay there until the little liar apologizes.... (an honest look at ourselves is not easy to handle)! Many times we forget that God is not as interested in our abilities as he is in our availability. There is a well known book called “The road less traveled” it starts out with a 3 letter phrase that a lot of people would agree with. That 3 letter phrase is “life is difficult” but that’s not where the statement ends for the believer, because even though live is difficult, “God is more than enough”....At the end of myself, I find the Eternal, all powerful, all wise, all present, all knowing God!!!
You need to watch out for Rabshakeh. Cause he wants to make you “SHAKE-A, SHAKE-A” .....When it comes to the overcoming life, Rabshakeh will dog your steps every mile of your journey.
Rabshakeh, was the messenger and emissary of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, who had surrounded Jerusalem with the intention of keeping King Hezekiah from rebuilding the city and the temple when the tribe of Judah came out of Babylon after 70 years of captivity. The same Babylon where the fiery furnace story, Daniel and the lion’s den, and Queen Esther all took place.Remember that Persia defeated Babylon and absorbed it by the time of Esther, which was part of Daniel’s prophetic dream. Daniel and the first captives were taken to Babylon around 605 BC. The second group of captives were taken about 10 years later. 10 years after that, the third wave of Jews are taken captive. About 50 years later the Jews are allowed to return under Cyrus the great of Persia to rebuild the city.
The message Paul gave the Ephesian church is that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Well, Sennacherib, and Rabshakeh are some of those guys.... Look at it...
2 Kings 18:17 “The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh, along with a great army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They advanced up to Jerusalem and stationed themselves by the aqueduct of the upper pool, on the road to the Launderer's Field”.
Rabshakeh is a real potty mouth and his message to the people of Jerusalem was full of lies, boasts, and blasphemies which were designed to divide and dishearten their mission and purpose.
• he questioned the object of their faith and trust
• he ridiculed Hezekiah’s strategy as weak and ineffective
• he discounted any help they might receive from Egypt*.....
• he told them the Lord had turned against them
• he claimed the Lord had sent him to destroy the land of Judah
• he wanted them to focus on the horrors of being under siege
• he accused Hezekiah of deceiving the people
• he scoffed at the notion of trusting in the Lord
• he offered gifts of land and peace to anyone who would surrender
• he reminded them that no nation’s gods had yet been able to deliver them from Assyria
• he compared the Lord with the impotent gods of the other nations. He asks why, if the Assyrian army has managed to defeat everyone else's gods and desecrated their temples, wouldn’t they now do the same thing to the Jewish God? Of course, he isn't able to do that to Jehovah because his army gets totally massacred by an angel and he is killed in battle.
What was Hezekiah’s response to Rabshakeh at this time.... I need to know, because Rabshakeh is still messing around with the thinking of God’s people today, and he’ll show up every time God hands you an assignment...
2 Kings19:14 “So Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers, read it, and went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. 15And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD: “O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see. Listen to the words that Sennacherib has sent to defy the living God. 17Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have cast their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods, but only wood and stone—the work of human hands. 19 And now, O LORD our God, please save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God.”
It’s good to know when you are beaten, because then you cannot be defeated. Because you trusted in the Lord Your God you can surrender to God, not the enemy, and let God fight for you, “If God be for us then who can stand against us”
Hezekiah laid it before the Lord... Hezekiah knew that just because he was not able to see the answers, didn’t mean that there weren’t any answers. Oh, yes, God will always give you an assignment that won’t happen without Him. It’s more than enough for you, but He’s the “More than enough God”! As a matter of fact, one of the names He gave to Moses, was El Shaddai.... “I am more than enough”
It was El Shaddai that told Moses to stretch out his rod, and the Red Sea opened, so they could cross over, then closed it and drowned the army of Egypt. When they had nothing to eat, it was El Shaddai that sent manna from heaven to feed them, and water from the rock to quench their thirst.
It was El Shaddai that gave them shade by day and fire by night to light up the camp... He was their umbrella and their night light.
When they ran out of wine at the marriage feast, El Shaddai showed up and brought out His best!
That’s all great, for sure, but there’s more.... His name is also “The All Sufficient One” Listen, at the end of yourself, you are looking into the face of El Shaddai! I can admit my weakness because of His sufficiency!
When I am weak He makes me strong. When I’m poor I know I’m rich, for in the power of His name, All things are possible.... (How about this one)...He's never early, He’s never late It takes
Courage and it takes faith, Trust Him and see, He’s got all the power, you need... All the power you need, All the power you need!
This All-Sufficient, Unchanging, More than enough God tells us in
Psalm 91, that He would do seven things for those who set their hearts upon Him. He promises to:
1) Deliver you, 2) Set you on high (promote you), 3) Answer you when you call on Him, 4) Be with you in trouble and deliver you, 5) Honor you (that’s His favor), 6) Satisfy you with long life, 7) Show you His salvation (the word salvation means “completeness and wholeness”)
Being more than conqueror means that through Christ, you have not only conquered the enemies around you and outside of you, but you have conquered the enemies within you. That’s so exciting!
You no longer live for “num-ero uno”.... but you care about the health and success of others.... You no longer try to “just get by”... You have moved beyond the “us four and no more” mentality and you understand that you are a piece of a bigger puzzle...
A Teen was talking with his father and he picked up an imaginary phone and said "Hello, sir, I was calling you to see if you could use a lawn boy to do your yard work!" "Oh, I see you already have one!" "Well, is he doing your work to your satisfaction?" "He is! Thank you, sir, I was just checking," then the young boy hung up the imaginary phone. The father looked at his son and said, "Sorry son, you didn’t get the job!" "Oh, no"said the boy. "I’ve already got the job. I was just calling to check up on myself!"
It is my prayer that we would all check up on ourselves from time to time. And find that everyone is going the extra mile. Thatwe’re doing our best to be the kind of friend we would like to findfor ourselves, and be the prayer warrior we would like, when we need prayer, to discover that we are the kind of encourager we would like to have, when we are trying to push through confusion, fear, worry or doubt... that we are a person who is filled with the joy of the Lord, who is compassionate and patient, and that we would reflect the kind of Jesus that others would want to be like.
I’ve got the job, I’m just checking on my performance!
I read an article about A Massachusetts doctor who was a Harvard graduate, who has been suspended for leaving a patient on the operating table in the middle of a spinal surgery, so he could deposit a check at his local bank before they closed.
The state board of medicine said that the orthopedic surgeon, posed "an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare" after he left the patient with an open incision in his back.
According to Reuters, he left a surgeon who was not qualified to complete the surgery. After his trip to the bank, he returned to the operating room and finished the surgery a few hours later.
How many minor and unimportant distractions have caused us to leave folks on the operating table who have big holes in theirlives, because they have not been introduced to the God of more than enough, who can move them from defeat to success, from lack to sufficiency, from lost and struggling to more than conqueror!
That means when you plan your calendar, you block in some God time first. When you write your budget that God gets the first fruit, not the left overs. You ask yourself, “When people think of me, who is it they see as the most important thing to me.”
The same God who turned the best that a little boy had (5 small cakes of bread and 2 fish) into a feast for over 5,000 people, is available right now for all of us.
We feel that we have to have all of this great faith for God to do something like that in our lives.... but hold on a minute.... Scripture says that God’s men of faith and power were skeptical and unbelieving, during that multiplication miracle, but,someone say BUT, but they were obedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice.... They simply did what He asked of them, and He displayed to them that He was “The More Than Enough God”!!!
There will always be the sick, the hurting, the lonely and forsaken, but tragically, there will not always be those who are simply obedient,
Who will discover that little is much when God is in it, and that is the super power we all have that can transform the sick, the hurting, the lonely and forsaken, into MORE THAN CONQUERORS!!
Don’t let offences, someone’s ignorance, a careless statement, or action, distract you from opening God’s treasure chest to “More than enough”....
There will come times in our life, when the problem seems so overwhelming, so over the top, and so impossible, that we might respond to Jesus and say, look God, I’ve got this problem and not go any further.... But always finish that statement, with “But You are the God of “More than enough”..... and watch Jesus turn it around and use your problem as the light someone has been waiting for! Don’t miss those defining moments someone has been praying for you to grab hold of...
(song says) “It’s in your hands, you hold a miracle. Though not much to you, it matters to Him and He’ll take what you give to Him, and make it what it needs to be, a miracle, it’s in your hands.”
Let’s do something.... Just open your hands for a moment and hold them up to God...
Now say with me, “Father, this is all I’ve got, but I give it to You, take it and use it as you will, I believe You are the God of More than enough. All you ask from me, is obedience.”
Now, I want you to take those hands that you lifted to Him, and go over and put them on someone’s shoulder and expect to see God do what you or them, could never do.!! Watch God turn that person to the overcomer, the conqueror that He said they were!!
Prayer.... Heavenly Father, we come into agreement in the wonderful and powerful Name of Jesus Christ, that where two or more are gathered, there You will be in the midst of us and anything we agree upon as touching in obedience, You will surely do. Lord, in Your name, we have the power to overcome whatever difficulty we may face. It may be through it, around it, under it or over it, but we can conqueror it, through Your victory which you have given us.
The past is behind us and the future is full of hope and promiseand we speak to any hindrance and command it to bow down and yield to Jesus Name! Let Your peace flow where there was worry and fear, let Your favor now flow where there was struggling and resistance, let Your victory overwhelm all failure and defeat! We declare that we are no longer under the problem, but it is under our feet.
Every obstacle is moving out of our way, and the Holy Spirit within us is greater than all that may be against us. No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper and every tongue that rises against us shall only work for good and not for evil. We declare it, believe it and receive everything we’ve prayed and give You glory in advance for the answer, by faith in Jesus Name!
Now give Him praise and thank Him for the answer before you see it, feel it or enjoy the manifestation! It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen from you..... It’s time to take your family back... It’s time to take your job back..... It’s time to take your joy and your strength back.... it’s time to take your vision, your promise, your mission back... It's time to take the gifts of the spirit back......Take it back.... Satan you can’t have it anymore....
My message today is based on the experience of Jacob as he wrestles with his past and presses into his future. He has come to the tipping point in his life, when there is a collision between the values which have brought him to where he is, and the values which he needs, in order to get where the Lord wants to bring him. This wrestling match which we all face at one time or another, is capsulized in Genesis as Jacob struggles with the truth about himself which comes to him through an angel messenger....This is really about Jacob wrestling with himself in the transition from the old Jacob to the new man that God intend. Genesis 32:26 “And the angel said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.
But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (I would not be denied) 27 So the angel said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “It is Jacob.” 28 And the angel said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have prevailed.”
I think of the words Rocky Balboa said to his son when he was ready to give up....(and no, it’s not in the bible, but it should be)
He said...."Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and be what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not point fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that! "
A man returned from being over seas and was feeling very ill. He goes to see his doctor, and is immediately rushed to the hospital to undergo tests.
The man finds himself in a private room at the hospital, and he shuffles to the door only to find it locked from the outside! Just then the phone by his bed rings.
"This is your doctor. We’ve had the results back from your tests and we’ve found you have an extremely potent virus, which we are completely helpless to destroy or even slow down Its spread!"
"Oh my goodness," cried the man, "What are you going to do, doctor?"
"Well we’re going to put you on a diet of pizzas, pancakes, tortillas & pita bread."
"That’s crazy, but will it cure me???" asked the man.
The doctor replied, "Well no, but... it’s the only food that will fitunder the door!"
Someone said, that winners are not those who never fail, but they are those who never quit....
Someone else said, I already know what giving up feels like, I want to see what happens if I don’t....
We all wrestle and struggle with things in this life. Some pass without much impact on our lives, and then others change us forever.
Every mom knows well the experience summed up by the words... PUSH, PUSH, PUSH! Because what can be, will always belongs to those who determine that they will not be denied the blessing of a new life where there were only hopes and dreams before. What was within them could now be held in their arms. And because they prevailed, there are generations that will now be made possible and be blessed by one person’s determination to overcome and not be denied! When Jacob prevailed, his name was changed to Israel, and generations have identified themselves with that new name he was given.
Wrestling with God, is personal, it is one on one, it is hand to hand and face to face. It moves us from vague generalities, and abstract impulses, to specific issues, values and spiritual mandates between us and God. It is far better to wrestle with God, than to dance with the devil! It takes us from “any old thing will do”, and “Kay-sa-ra-sa-ra” to “There is something I must do”... There is something the Lord requires of me! He calls us each by name and we can’t avoid him by hiding in the crowd, for He seeks us out and challenges us to come, wrestle with Him. He waits for us to seize Him and hold Him and demand His blessing. He longs for us to grip Him in such a manner that He canchange us in such a way that we will never be the same again because of this personal encounter.
Genesis 32:22 “And Jacob rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok”
I want to look with you at this place “Jabbok” that Jacob has come to, because the name means “place of surrender”. Jacob had sent everyone on ahead except his wives and their hand maidens. He then went off by himself to pray in a solitary place.
It was here at Jabbok, that the event of wrestling took place. Not only did Jacob prevail and overcome through surrender. But if you see the setting, he was alone with God. At this time, Jacob had become a multitude of people. But here, none of his power, his influence or possessions meant anything with God. It was not about what Jacob had, it was all about who Jacob was. You see, God had a covenant with this man and
God did not change, his mind about it. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever... But it was Jacob’s perspective that had to change. Jacob needed a change in his priorities.
You can give a $1,000 dollar bill to a small child and they will just put it in their mouth, or tear it up, because their reference point does not include the value of a piece of paper with a one and 3 zero’s on it. Their value system needs to develop and their knowledge of the inner working of things must expand and grow.
A Man got up and went off to work without saying very much to his wife. His Wife, got annoyed, and shouted, “You’ve forgotten what day it is, haven’t you!” So, he went to work and confided to a fellow worker, “I think I forgot my wife’s birthday.” “Oh, that’s Not a problem,” his friend told him. “Just go out and buy her a beautiful new dress and a pearl necklace.”
So after work he raced home and showered his wife with gifts.“Oh my,” she replied, “what a beautiful new outfit you chose just to go and pick my mother up from the airport.” (can all the men say OOOPS)
Today is the day God wants me to see everything from his perspective. Genesis 28:16 “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” v17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
How many times have we allowed the struggle we’re going through, to determine our perspective, instead of encouraging ourselves in the steadfastness and faithfulness of our God.
I found out that Jabbok also means the place of crossing over...
Jacob needed to go from being a troubled man, to entering the place of God’s peace. That God was in the midst of all his places of struggle, and all he had to do was cross over in surrender. At Jabbok religion crosses over into true Spirituality... Guilt and condemnation cross over into God’s grace and forgiveness....Doubt and unbelief cross over into confidence in God’s promises and His unwavering covenant of grace. Fear crosses over into God’s faithfulness and steadfastness.
Paul says “His grace is sufficient for me”.... If you need healing, His grace is enough. If you need help in a relationship, His grace is enough.
If you have an unsaved loved one who is running from God, His grace is enough. It doesn’t matter what the devil or the world throws at you, because God grace will always be enough. It reaches to the highest mountain, and it flows through the lowest valley, It goes deeper than the deepest ocean, and it opens springs of refreshing in the desert place.
The song we sing says “When I am weak you make me strong, when I’m poor I know I’m rich, for in the power of Your name... All things are possible”.
This is more than a memorized repetition, it is a settled conviction!
He Failed in business at the age of 22.. He Ran for the Legislature and was defeated at 23....He failed Again in businessat 24...He was elected to the Legislature at 25.... The love of his life died when he was 26....He had a nervous breakdown at 27... He was defeated for Speaker of the house at 29....He was defeated again at 31.... He was defeated for Congress at 34.... He was elected to Congress at 37.... He was defeated for Congress at 39....He was defeated for the Senate at 46....He was defeated for Vice President at 47...He was defeated for Senate at 49.....
He was Elected as President of the United States at 51... And that's the record of Abraham Lincoln.
For the struggle we find ourselves in, His grace is enough. It’s enough when things are going wrong. It’s enough when we think we cannot stand, it’s enough when we don’t know what to do, It’senough when we don’t know which way to turn.... Paul the apostle, wrote to all of us in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep my body under subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or disqualified).”
A husband and wife were both doctors, one was a doctor of theology and the other was a doctor of medicine. Whenever someone came to their house and asked for “the doctor,” the maid would ask them, “Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?"
Because we are in obedience to God doesn’t mean we won’t have struggles.....But we can’t let our struggles disqualify us from practicing what we preach.
"We struggle with our fears, we struggle with our flaws, westruggle with our temptations, we struggle with our insecurities, with our guilt, with regret, resentment... weaknesses, compulsions, sins, and addictions."
But we can’t let our struggles identify us, or label us.
When I say Starbucks, you think of coffee... When I say KFC, you think of chicken.... When I say Comcast, you think of cable TV.... When I say your name, what do people think...... (think of that) What identifies you?
Hallellujah, Jacob woke up and said “Surely the Lord is in this place”.... Yes, Yes, Yes..... God is very present in the place of our struggles....
There’s a story about a little girl who climbed up on a chair beside her great grandmother and looked at her white hair and traced her wrinkles with her fingers and then asked, “Did God make you?” “Yes,” the great grandmother replied.
Then the child asked, “Did God make me, too?”
Grandma again replied, “Yes, He did dear.”
“Well, said the little girl, “don’t you think He’s doing a better job now than he used to?”
Listen, friend, we have the foundation which was laid by all of those who have come before, who have fought and won, who have lived and showed us what the victory looks like, who have given us an advantage through their own battles they pressed through and won....
We can be better because of all of them, and the lessons they have left us
Yes, God can do better with us, because of their sacrifice. Lessons learned.... truth revealed.... wisdom received.... and our lives enriched.
So fight on, child of God, fight on, and know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord, because there are those who will come after us, who will reap the benefits of your struggles overcome, and your battles won!!!
In Oct, 1995 off the coast of Newfoundland there was an exchange between the Canadians and the Americas. The Canadians radio message said please divert your course 15 degrees to avoid a collision. The American message said, no, you must divert your course 15 degrees to avoid a collision. The Canadian message said I repeat, divert 15 degrees to avoid a collision.
The American message said, “This is the captain of a United States air craft carrier, the USS Lincoln, second largest ship in the Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and a number of support vessels, I demand that you divert your course at once, 15 degrees to avoid a collision, or counter measures will be taken. The Canadian message said “This is a light house. Deal with it.”
Our God is greater than all the forces that would align themselves against you. Satan will try to intimidate, scare, accuse, deceive, and manipulate you, but we look to God’s lighthouse, that’s where our help comes from. 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 an economist....If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, So God sent us a Savior, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Have you received him?
Psalm 77:13-15 “Your ways, oh, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles. You display Your power among the peoples. 15 With Your mighty arm You redeem Your people”.
Believe it, child of God, Believe it! And never, never, never give up!!
If you believe that He preserved Noah and his family through the flood, that He parted the Red Sea and let His people walk across on dry ground, that Peter walked on water, that over 5,000 people were fed from a little boy’s lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fish, or that He turned water into wine, and was born of a young virgin... then you have the foundation for the miracle that your time of struggle shall bring forth!
Ephesians 2:19-20 says that we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Deuteronomy 11:23 “Then the LORD will drive out all your enemies before you, and you will dispossess (be established in place of) those who are greater and stronger than you. 24 Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours.”
Yes, there are struggles, but we see a powerful promise. To avoid the struggle is also to miss the promise. Scripture tells us that this struggle which comes our way is not a strange thing, but it comes to manifest something valuable and precious in our lives. There is treasure in the field if we are willing to dig for it.
Many have mined it before us and they have marked the way for us. Winnie and I watch Gold Rush every Friday night, if we are able. We act like we know these people. We talk to these people... Parker, Tony, Rick and Fred.... they’re like friends. We cheer for them, and we’re disappointed when they fail. We act like we’re part of the team. I mean, who doesn’t like gold! They build on the experience of others, and they get better at capturing the gold the more they do it. I feel like their successes have made me a better gold miner on the ground God has given me. I watch these guys and they always find a way to get it done!
THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THERE TESTS AND TRIALS! When hard times come, are westudents, or are we victims? Some people go through life as professional victims, always talking about how they have been mistreated so they never learn the lessons that are there for them. A victim says, “Why did this happen to me?” A student says, “What can I learn from this?” A victim blames other people for his problems. A student asks, “How can I use this to become better?”
A victim looks at everyone else and cries out, “Life isn’t fair.” A student looks at life and says, “What is this revealing to me about me.”
A victim believes his hard times have come because God is trying to punish him. A student understands that God allows hard times in order to help him see something he may have missed.
A victim would rather complain than find a solution. A student has no time to complain because he is busy making the best of the situation.
A victim feels so sorry for himself that he has no time for others. A student focuses on helping others so that he has no time to feel sorry for himself.
A victim begs God to remove the problems of life so that he might be happy. A student has learned through the problems of life that God alone is the source of all true happiness.
David was able to stand before Goliath and say....
1 Samuel 17:45 “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand”.
Those words are now our words, as we face our struggles. That victory is now our victory, and that outcome is now our outcome.David has given them unto us as we face our giants.
In a relay race, each runner in each leg of the race builds on the runner before them. The last runner may cross the finish line, but it is because of every runner who ran well before them...
Every one who struggled and overcame in the bible record, is now part of our victory. They have marked the path, prepared the way, and given us the confidence that because they overcame we can overcome also in Jesus’ name.
We too can joyfully say with those winners....
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: v8 henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing”.
Can the Church say AMEN!!!
Lord, we ask you to give us a heavenly perspective on this thing called life. Help us not to be distracted by the things of this world but to constantly turn our gaze toward you. Help us to see with clear sight both the hardships and blessings of our lives. Lord, as we are tempted to despair over hardships, remind us that you never let us go through trouble without gifting us with the right measure of Your goodness, grace, peace and love. As we reflect on our blessings, help us bless others. Lord, we praise You for the foundation that Your Word provides us. We get caught up in our mistakes and failures so easily, giving them a foothold that threatens to discourage and defeat us. But You never give up on us, as You teach us how to repent and keep moving forward into the purpose You have laid out for our lives. Every time I'm tempted to become discouraged or depressed because of negative events or situations, help me turn my eyes on you. Help me to remember all the times you've been there for me, and all the ways you have brought me through difficult times. Holy Spirit, thank You for guiding us and reminding us that You never leave us, and you protect us and comfort us.
Lord, help us to reflect Your love, and help us to develop patience and perseverance to navigate our mistakes with grace. We want Your will and Your plan for our lives. With your perspective, I can push past the impossible and find the strength and courage to believe that no matter what happens, your hope will lift me to a higher plane—where joy and purpose rule and reign in every area of my life. In Jesus name I believe and receive, Amen.