What is amazing is that the bible was written by 44 different writers, who wrote 66 books over a period of 1,500 years. The proof that the real author behind the writers, is God almighty, because its inspiration has caused it to be in perfect harmony and sequence.. and that, in spite of all attempts to destroy it, since the first book was written, 3,400 years ago, it is preserved in it’s accurate form for us to receive and learn from today.
That same Holy Spirit is in us to inspire us today….
I want to begin where we ended last Sunday, as we closed with Peter at Cornelius’ house. A Roman and a Centurion who would never even be on Peter’s radar, if it hadn’t been for God giving him a wake up call, changing his priorities and his value system, and rewriting his story.
Acts 10:34 “Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though anyone was excluded from His blessing], v35 but in every place and time, the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and favored by Him”.
I begin with a story of two lives that came together at Christmas.It’s about two students, that through a brief encounter, would cause one boy’s values to forever change. One boy, Larry, now an older man, said, "when he was in elementary school, they did a Secret Santa. All the kids drew a name and then they exchanged presents the last day before Christmas break". His parents went out and bought a nice new toy to give to the child whose name he had drawn. His mom wrapped it up real pretty and the kid loved the present that received it." He then said, he went and found his present from a boy he didn’t really know. It had been wrapped with newspaper. He opened it and it was a dirty, little match box car with the paint all chipped and it looked like it was well used. Larry said "I was very upset that I had given such a nice gift and he had put so little effort into his". I felt cheated until later he learned that the kid lived in the slums. His mom was sick and his daddy had left them years before. They barely had enough money to have heat and food and when I realized he had given me one of his only few toys. I felt ashamed for the way I treated him when I got the gift. I only learned how poor he was after he quit coming to school and we were told his mom had died and he had been sent to foster care. I never saw him again. But I kept this little car all these years because I know it was the best present I have ever gotten in my life.
A moment when two stories merged at one of life’s intersections and Larry walked away with new understanding about the great exchange that God is working out in our lives every day if we could only see it.
We’ve been talking about how God deliberately authored His book so that the stories He included, could be the story of any one of us. I’m thinking of another character in the bible whose story could be our story also...
Because when we look at the story of Isaac, and Ishmael, we see something very significant. The Jewish custom said that the right to be the head of the family went to the first born, and yet, it was Isaac, the second born, that God said would receive the first bornblessing. I say this because his story is our story. God chooses whom he will, God has no second born, but we are all the first born of Christ, and heirs of the promise. We are highly favored, and blessed as the firstborn of the King. We see this also with Joseph and with David as well. Though they had many brothers ahead of them, it was they whom God chose to lead the tribes if Israel. (tell someone, “You are highly favored”)
Our true inheritance is not based on our natural birth, but our spiritual birth, when we became the children of God through Christ….and joint heirs. Our Spiritual birth covenant is greater than our natural birth covenant. Your natural birth covenant is contaminated with generational stuff, and the curse which was passed down to all of us through Adam. But our Spiritual birth covenant passes through Christ the second Adam, who cleansed, redeemed, and replaced the old blood line. Opening a new stream of blessing.
Romans 8:17 “And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in these momentary tests and trials we also share in His glory”.
A florist got the flowers mixed up and the arrangement which was for the grand opening of a business, was accidentally sent to a funeral. When the family came up to admire the flowers which many had sent, they read the card attached to the arrangement which was sent to the wrong place. The card said, “Congratulation On Your New Location”….How accurate for the person who has received Christ as their savior….. It assures us that there is much more beyond!!!!! (I want one of those messages)
Somebody shout…. “There’s more beyond”…. We are the living, who are going toward live more abundant!!
The story of Jacob is our story… Things didn’t look too promising in the beginning. Some bad decisions were made (we’ve all made them) His past tried to attach itself to him like super glue and define who he was. His history tried to block his destiny, and there was always someone or something there to remind him that his reality would always fall short of his dreams. His delays tried to design his future. You read his story, and it could be your story, couldn’t it. Working and never making any headway, giving it your best only to see someone else get the credit and the reward...
But God recorded his story, because there are a lot of Jacob’s who have refused to give up, and they keep on pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ. They believe there’s more beyond… And that having done the will of God, they will reap the reward. Jacob was faithful in the ordinary things, so God gave him some super natural things.
Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us v19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”.
I like the Phillips translation of this verse:
“The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”
A family moved from the city to the country and besides a huge pecan tree, there were no other trees on their property. It was all pasture land, so the father, after seeing an add for assorted plants for sale, ordered all sorts of berry and fruit trees at great prices at the local farm supply. He ordered blueberry and blackberry bushes and a number of apple, peach and plum and pear trees. When it came time to pick up the order, their neighbor asked if he could pick hers up, too. He told her he would be glad to and he rented a second truck, for his wife to drive, that way they could fit it all in.
When they got to the farm supply they were surprised to find the loading area empty except for some little bundles of twigs tied with string. He asked where his order was and the attendant led him to one of those bundles. They were bare root cuttings, which took up hardly any space. You could easily lift 3 bundles with one hand.
He told the attendant that he felt silly bringing a truck to pick up the order. It was then that he noticed a man behind him. The guy said “Don’t feel bad; I brought a tractor trailer to get my trees and bushes.”
My point here is….Right now, it may not look like much, but where you are, is full of super natural potential, and it’s a lot more than what it appears to be! Little is much when God is in it, because it is not just natural, it has supernatural potential and possibility!!! The little woman only had a little meal and oil, but God saw enough. In her hands it was insufficient but in the prophet’s hands it was enough. It just depended on whose hands it was in!
Five loaves and two fish in the little boys hands was not enough, but in Jesus’ hands it would feed a multitude! It just depended on whose hands it was in!! When all was said and done, he went home with 12 basket fulls of left over bread and fish….
Now that’s abundance. Your abundance is contained in your obedience. God has never gotten to the check out and realized He didn’t have enough to pay for it… We don’t need to have a whole lot to have the Lord work through us. We just need to be willing to give Him whatever it is we have.
When we meet the needs of others, He makes sure our needs are met….
When the Hebrews got to the promised land, spies were sent in to scope out the land and you know the story of how they had one cluster of grapes that took two men to carry on a pole. They said, “truly this is a land of milk and honey. It’s everything God promised us it was. BUT….. (look out for the BUTS) There are giants in the land, and walled cities, and we are grasshoppers in their sight!
The giants of insufficiency, sickness and infirmity, lack, intimidation, the past, (and on and on we could go) will say “No way” you can have your dreams, your hopes, the destiny God has promised.
A nation hung in the balance, which story would they believe?Would they buy into the fear and unbelief, that ignored the story God had written out for them, or would they listen to another story? The story of a man named Caleb, who said “We are well able to go in and possess it”!!!
Outnumbered, and definitely in the minority, One man’s story was about to change the destiny of an entire nation. One man’s faith was about to turn history around and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!
Caleb’s story was attached to Abraham’s covenant, Isaac’s covenant, and Jacob’s covenant. What was spoken to them, was now flowing thru him!
What was spoken to them is now waiting to flow thru us!!
A pastor was driving with his children to his wife's funeral where he was going to do the service. As they came into the small town and stopped at the light. A large bus pulled up beside of them, and blocked the sun and it’s shadow covered them and went into the lot across the street. The dad told his children, who were feeling the loss of their mom, "Do you see that big bus, see how its shadow completely blocks the sun and covers us?”. If you had to be run over, would you rather be run over by the bus or by the shadow?" His youngest child said, "The shadow can't hurt anybody." "That's right," the dad continued, "and death is like that bus, If you have accepted Christ as your saviour, the shadow is all that ever touches you. Jesus was hit by the bus, so that we only get hit by the shadow."
Whatever we are going through, Jesus took the hit, so we only have to deal with the shadows. The Psalmist wrote…“Though I walk through the valley of the shadows I will not fear, for Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. You go before me and prepare a table in the presence of my enemies.”
Remember that Fear, means False evidence appearing real!
That’s not just the Psalmist’s story, it’s also your story!
Hey, let’s move forward in time….Billy Graham’s dad was just a North Carolina farmer, who joined with some neighbor farmers, for years, to pray for someone to be raise up that would bring revival to the nations. (little could he know that the answer was in his own house, as he raised Billy with a heart after God) There’s a miracle in your house, God has appointed you to care for it, to bring it to maturity!
Reinhart Bonkee, was a poor German missionary in Africa. Struggling to reach a handful of people, when he discovered that they loved getting their own bible. So he began to give out bibles and training courses. The demand was everywhere he went. Eventually he brought in T.L. Osborn who was well known internationally for his miracle ministry. Everything was set, thousands gathered and after one night, T.L. announced that he had to leave and turned the crusade over to Bonkee. The missionary had never done anything like this, but he pushed ahead and God showed up. The rest is history, with millions being reached for Christ. God’s story for one man became the story for the nation of Africa and America also…..
Your story is not just about you. God has something much bigger in mind as He is writing. Keep going, keep believing, keep obeying. You’re going to be so amazed when you look in the rear view mirror!
1 Corinthians 2:9: “But it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him”.
On the afternoon of April 18, 1775 a young stable boy hurriedly ran down the Boston streets until he came to the silversmith shop of Paul Revere. He reported that he had overheard some British army officers talking about an event that was to happen the next day.
Earlier in the day he had heard some information that came from the men who worked the wharves of the Boston harbor. They had taken notice of two ships in the Boston harbor, the Somerset and the Boyne, two of (His Majesty’s Ships) from Great Britain. The British officers had carelessly discussed some plans that would lead to the arrest of colonial leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington.
After getting the information, Paul Revere and his close friend Joseph Warren determined to do something with the informationand the rest is history. Paul Revere took to his horse and rode through the streets of Boston and on to the other towns along the way on his mid-night ride. He rode through Charlestown, Medford, North Cambridge, and Arlington before reaching Lexington. He sounded the alarm, “The British are coming! The British are coming!”
Before long, church bells started ringing, drums begin beating and the news fanned out all over the countryside. The news ran on through Lincoln by one A.M., Sudbury by three, Andover by five, and by nine it had reached as far west as Ashby, near Worcester.
When the British finally begin their march on April 19, 1775, they were shocked and stunned by the resistance they found from the minutemen and the patriots along the way. Resistance was organized and fierce and the militia soundly defeated the British. From that incident came the American Revolution that would start the steps toward an American nation.
We all know of “The midnight ride of Paul Revere” and yet, no one knows the name of the young stable boy who first sounded the alarm. Or the workers on the wharves who first saw what was about to take place and began to speak it out so that it could get in the hands of someone who knew what to do about it, but history is glad they did…. Abraham’s story is our story….Can you imagine Abraham’s thoughts when God told him that nations were within, he and Sarah? They had no children, they were well past child bearing, they were living in tents out in the desert. Then God changes their names to match the story He was writing for them. Certainly folks must have been laughing behind their backs when Abraham, this childless old man introduced himself… “Hi, I’m Abraham….(his name meant “Father of Nations”….
We like Abraham, don’t even understand right now, what’s inside of us. But God is writing our future, and he is overriding our past, and he is planning out some miracles, signs and wonders that are part of that, in order for it all to come together in His perfect timing.
Stop worrying about the delays, the interruptions, the road blocks and the detours. Those are all seen by the father, and He has already written in.. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord”!!!!
“With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible”….
A dying man asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place he was going when he died. As the doctor thought of a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer. "Do you hear that?" he asked his patient. "It's my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has gotten impatient, and has come up because he hears my voice. He has never been allowed in this room, and has no idea what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here, and that’s enough to make him want to be in here with me.
Isn't it the same with us? We don't know all that lies beyond the Door of the future, but we know that our Master is there." AND THAT’S ENOUGH! Stay faithful where you are, He is the rewarder. You have no idea of what God can do right where you are and where He has stationed you right now at this point in your life…. It’s not about the job, it’s not about a lot of things you think it is… There’s a much bigger picture!!!
Friend, as long as the Master has written your story and recorded it all in His book, the bible….I can tell you that your future holds so much in store! There’s always more beyond, and it’s more than you could think or ask or imagine! You’re in the right place at the right time!
He is working all things out for your good and His glory!!!
I close where we started…Acts 10:34 “Now I know that God is no respecter of persons” (What He has done for anyone else, He will do for everyone else).
Begin now to thank God that where you are is right where you need to be, because it is connected to the glorious story that He has written for you. He is turning stumbling stones into stepping stones, failure into favor, disappointment into Divine Appointments!!!