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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, March 26 2019

2 Corinthians 8:12 (new international version) “For if the sincere willingness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have or does not do. v11 Now finish it, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your ability”. 

In other words, if you are willing, you will always find a way to do it!

We often find ourselves in situations where we need to hear from God, to have Him give us direction, to get a word from heaven. We get excited as we testify about hearing His voice and receiving His direction in a difficult place in our lives. 
However, there are times when the direction He gives us, may not fit our plans or synchronize with our own desires. There are times when He may tell us to do something which is difficult for us, and we find out after all the struggling with it, that He only wanted to know if we were willing to do it.

It has been said that where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways, but where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses…. 

An ambitious young man told his pastor he had promised God a tithe of his income. He asked him to pray for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500.00 per week. He called on the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise, it was too costly now. The pastor bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, thank you for blessing my brother’s giving according to his income. Now Lord, he wants You to bless his income back to what it was before, so he doesn’t have to give You so much”…..

Speaking of God giving someone a hard request….

Genesis 22:2 "And The Lord said, (to Abraham) take your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah and offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of".

But let’s back up a little bit….

When we first hear of Abraham, he is called Abram. He is an idol maker from a family of idol makers for the region of Ur of the Chaldees. Abram’s father left Ur, with his grandson, Lot, his son Abram, and their families, to go to Canaan, but when they got to Haran, which is Turkey, and the father, Terah died at two hundred and five years old.

God then speaks to Abram, to continue to Canaan, which is where his father had desired to journey to. So at 75, Abram left Haran (Turkey) to go to Canaan with all his family and possessions. 

James 2:23 refers to Abraham as “the friend of God”. This statement is a reference to the level of trust which existed between this man and the God that he was willing to follow and forsake all the other gods which he was familiar with as an idol maker. But in all his time spent making idols to those Gods, none of them had ever spoken to Him like the God of Noah who was his grandfather.

Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD said unto Abram, Get out of yourcountry, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will shew you. v2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. v3 And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed”. 

We all know how long Abram had to wait, before God finally fulfilled His promise. 

He was 100 and Sarah was 90. And when the 3 strangers showed up who were angels in disguise, on their way to Sodom, to save lot and destroy the cities. When Sarah heard them tell Abraham that she would give birth in 9 months, she laughed out loud. So when Isaac was born, his name meant “laughter” 

Genesis 21:6  “ And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me”. 

I wonder if perhaps, there is not some laughing still left for all of us, because of the covenant our God has entered into with us. There is laughter when our joy is fulfilled, and the heaviness and pressure of Haran, the dry, barren, unfruitfulplace where we were, is left behind and we enter into the fulfillment of our Canaan, our place of promise!

A pastor shares that a lady in his church who was a very devout Christian, invited a group from the church to her home for dinner. They were all sharing together topics of spiritual interest to them all. In the midst of the give and take her teenage daughter, probably frustrated with all of the discussion of religion, asked, "Mother, you talk about religion all the time. Why are you so religious anyway?" This query brought a loud hush to the dining table. Her mother paused dramatically, pushed her chair back from the table, stood and said, "Every morning before you wake up, I rise and walk into the living room. I lift my arms to the Lord and ask, `Who's in charge here?' The answer always comes back: `Not you!' That's why I speak and live as I do. Because I am not in charge!"       

Our life begins and ends with the realization that we are not in charge, and from there we can proceed to align ourselves to the One who is in charge. When we go out into the world knowing who is in charge, then we will live in such a way that it will show forth that knowledge!

A willing heart will experience the impossible made possible.... 

I totally believe the statement which I heard an evangelist declare when I was a teen-ager in church…. 

He said “Where God guides He provides!” I’ve never forgotten it!

All of us have abilities and skill sets in different levels and different areas. But we all have exactly what God needs, to do what He desires to do! And If we are willing, He is able! 

The seeds of our miracle are activated by our willingness.

When the mind, the body, and the emotions tell you that they don’t feel like doing it. The will can over ride them all and push beyond, to do the thing that obedience demands. To do the thing that your higher purpose requires. To do the thing that will bring you to your God ordained land of promise. Willingness is about letting God be God!!

We, like Abraham, will all share in common, our own momentsof decision that we call the “crisis of belief” –where the “rubber meets the road”… These are turning point experiences, and tipping points, and some call it “Critical mass”, when it’s all on the line, it has all come down to this, and we know inside that things could easily go one way or the other. 

It’s about Daniel choosing the lion’s den instead of praying 3 times a day… It’s the 3 Hebrews choosing the fiery furnace rather than to deny God… It’s Elisha choosing following Elijah over working on the family farm… It’s where we have to decide what we believe about God and our trust in Him is more real than what we see, hear, feel or think.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, author of the book "Man's Search for Meaning," was imprisoned by the Nazis in W.W.II because he was a Jew. His wife, his children, and his parents were all killed in the holocaust.

The Gestapo made him strip, and as he stood there totally naked. As they cut away His wedding ring, Viktor said to himself, "You can take my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can ever take away from me--and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me!" 

Even under the most difficult of circumstances, happiness is a choice which transforms our tragedies into triumph. Sometimes the tipping point is when we determine that only I will decide how I respond to what has happened to me or what is done to me. Do we really, truly

believe that God is who He says He is, & that He will do what He says He can and will do, and put it all on the line…..

AND THEN GOD SPEAKS!!! Oh, Hallelujah! He still speaks today!

He speaks through His Word – What a treasure we have in our hands! Isaiah 55:11 – “…So My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” See this, He speaks to flesh out His word, and find someone to give it substance in the earth….

He speaks through circumstances – Good & bad. 1 Peter 1:6-7 –   “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. v7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ reveals it to the whole world.”Jesus heard God speaking through figs, water, dirt, vines, stones, fish, bread, wine, storms and so much more….

He speaks through prayer – You may respond “DUUUUH! But how often do we see prayer as us doing all the talking, then we finish and go on our way….Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity. It’s a time of 2-way conversation w/ the God of all creation. We speak – He listens. He speaks – we listen & obey. What is God saying to you as you pray, or do you pray and go your way. What if you were to finish speaking, and just spend time listening to what He has to say back to your spirit and inner thoughts.

He speaks through people.. through friends and strangers who know nothing of what your situation and circumstances may be. Suddenly, they say something that you know is straight from God into *…..your life! Isaiah 30:21 “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left”. 

He will speak through ordinary things we do every day …. History was changed because David was taking lunch to his brothers, who were in the Israelite army. But delivering lunch, turned into delivering Israel from Goliath. David was there for one purpose, but God had him there for another. You are where you are for a greater task than you thought you were there for!God will use the place you live, the place you work, and the place of shopping and recreation….

When God speaks, common things become significant things, they become miraculous and life changing moments….

When God speaks, He doesn’t tell you the whole story. He tells you what you need to know at the moment because our mission is all about developing our faith when we can’t see, and we must trust Him & take the steps He’s calling us to take until we can see.

A Willing Heart says yes to God……Exodus 35:29. “The children of Israel brought a free will offering (a willing offering) to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord by the hand of Moses had commanded to be done.” Oh, yes, there it is, their willingness is the seeds of the impossible…. Several times in this chapter you see those words, (they were of a willing heart)…

So He brings us to moments of decision, to moments of courage, and to

moments that change the course of our life and the lives of others – 

God wants us to know that there are times when we are sent into situations to make possible the breakthrough for many others.                 How could Abraham have understood that as he walked up Mount Moriah to offer his son Isaac… He was an Old Testament type and example of another Father who would take His son up another mount called Calvary. How could he have known that as he lifted his knife and was interrupted by an angel. That he was a type and shadow of another Father who offered his son as a substitute for us all.

Because we were willing, others were able to break forth into joy and laughter… Others found their purpose and their destiny!

I would say that one of the most pivotal statements that sums up the life of Abraham, and describes this “Friend of God” so well, is found in          Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did test Abraham, and said unto him, “Abraham”, and he said, Behold, here I am”. Wow, so, before God said anything… Just called his name… We hear Abraham say…. “Here I am”… or “Whatever You want, I’m yours”… “I am Willing”…

I hear Moses make a similar statement….He said, Lord if you don’t go with us, then I’m not willing to go…..

What is it that keeps you from being willing….

Three guys are fishing when a boat pulls up beside them to get directions, and they were really shocked, because in the boat which pulled up to them, sat Oral Roberts…

The first guy says, “Sir, I’ve suffered from back pain for years. Can you help me?” Roberts touches the man’s back, and he feels instant relief.

The second guy points to his ears and says that he would like to be healed of deafness. Roberts tosses the hearing aid into the lake, and the man gains perfect hearing.

As he turns to the third fellow, the guy instantly recoils and screams, “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me! I’m collecting disability!”

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also….If your treasure is in the wrong place your heart will not be a willingheart….

On one occasion, David was struggling with his priorities and he was having a crisis of belief…. Church, what we love the most affects what we’re willing to do…..whatever you love most – that’s your idol.    If God asked you to give it up, could you? So we hear David praying…

Psalm 51:10&12 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…Grant me a willing heart, to sustain me.”

I find that the word willing is Naw dab here, (To offer yourself)Where the heart is, all the rest follows.

A willing heart is a heart that pursues the heart of God….

So as we have read, God tells Abraham, “Give me your son”…and Abraham thinks on it throughout the night, (I mean, after all, the Baal worshipers and Americans are the only ones sacrificing babies) So after a night of prayer and surrender…In Genesis 22: 3 it says he left early in the morning to go to the place where Isaac would be sacrificed. He left the results to God, and understood that his job was to obey!

A mother wanted to teach her daughter a spiritual lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church "Put whichever one you feel God telling you to, in the collection plate, and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter what she chose to give. "Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I'd be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did."

Martin Luther said “All that I have tried to keep in my handshas only been lost, but all that I have placed into God's hands I can never lose”

The little widow woman, was willing to give the prophet the last of her oil and meal…The little boy was willing to give the Lord his lunch… The disciples were willing to walk away from everything and follow Jesus…. Noah was willing to build a boat in the desert when there was no rain… The three Hebrew children were willing to eat bread and water to take a stand for God…

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, otherwise you deceive your own selves”. 

James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and has no works? can faith alone (without works) save him? 

James 2:21 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? v22  Seethen how faith combined with his works, and by works his faith was made perfect? 

v23  And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God”. 

A willing heart is constantly receiving heavenly deposits….it says that it was imputed unto him (deposited in his earthly account)  because he believed and obeyed God’s word to him….

A Willing Heart Is God’s Point of Entry to work and have His way in your life…. Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it flow all the issues of your life”.

A willing heart allows God to have access to our life. As we do, we give Him access into our world, in all that we do….To live in His presence, to allow His presence to be to be the most important thing to you…

I have shared this before, but it begs to be shared here…..

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man, and skill a man. When God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part. When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man, that all the world shall be amazed. Watch His methods, watch His ways! How He ruthlessly perfects, whom He royally elects! How He hammers him and molds him, and with mighty blows converts him into trial shapes of clay, which only God understands. While his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands! How He bends but never breaks, when his good He undertakes. How He uses whom He chooses, and which every purpose fuses him. By every act induces him, to try His splendor out- God knows what He's about when He sends His glory out.

A Willing Heart doesn’t give the Lord visitation rights, a willing heart gives the Lord residency and occupancy. A willing heart becomes God’s dwelling place. Can He feel comfortable to set up His permanent residence, and tabernacle at your center?

God gave Moses these instructions in Exodus 25:8 “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them”. It was one of the first ordinances which God gave to the people.                                                        Then Paul goes on to translate this into New Testament language in… Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.

The willing heart, finds Him to be a place of refuge, a strong tower, our rock, our firm foundation, our righteousness, our strength, our hope, our healing and deliverance, our triumph, and all sufficient portion….

In an interview with missionary Gladys Aylward, who rescued 100 orphans by crossing the mountains in 12 days to bring them to safety as the Japanese ravaged the country side. In the interview, she was talking about when she was a lonely missionary in China. She had prayed for a spouse and believed God had answered. But nobody ever came. She said that she asked God about it, and God told her that He had chosen someone for her and called them, but they had refused the call. She said they had missed the will of God and the wonderful opportunity of sharing a lifetime with her”. (I think she should have said, “OK God, who is next in line, but what do I know”?) 

How important to ask God to keep within us, a willing heart!The world has yet to see what God will do through a willing heart that is totally yielded to Him. We should all pray the prayer of David on a regular basis, “Lord give me a willing heart”…..

As we close let us pray a Prayer of Agreement….

Father, thank You for calling me to be part of Your kingdom here on earth. Lord, l want to live in Your presence, so I pray that I might always have a willing heart of love and commitment that would spill over into my words and actions in every place I am and in all that I do.  May I be eager to study Your Word so I can reach others through the opportunities provided to me. 

Thank You for the many whom you have given me as examples,who fully yield to Your purposes as they glorify You andinfluence others for the Kingdom. Father, it is by Your grace that You have transferred me from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light where You give me direction for each day. Lord You have willingly given Yourself to me, that I might give what I have received. It is in bringing Your joy and glorious hope to others that makes my spiritual journey so fulfilling and worthwhile. May I give even as I have received of You until that day when faith becomes sight and I see you face to face. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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