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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, November 17 2020

It 

was told to me, that Moses was walking down the street when he bumped into George W. Bush when he was president. “Hello,” Bush said. “Nice weather we’re having, huh?” Moses took one look at the President, turned, and ran as fast as he could in the other direction. A short time later Moses was walking down the same street and there was George Bush again. Once again Bush tried to initiate a conversation. And againMoses turned and ran the other way. Bush was tired of this bizarre treatment, so the next time Moses ran away from him, Bush chased him down, and demanded to know why Moses was avoiding him. Moses who was out of breath, told him, “The last time I talked to a bush I spent 40 years in the desert.”

We have come through one of the most turbulent election cycles in our lifetime. Relationships have been sacrificed on the altar of politics. violence and revolution has become the new paradigm..... Justice has becomes the casualty, and truth has become trampled in the streets... Before the election, there were people we liked a lot and some we didn’t like that much. After the election, we still like the people we liked and don’t like the people we didn’t like that much. The big difference now is that we are all grouped into “winners” or “losers”…. Many folks have been afraid to voice their political opinions because it will put them as a target for somebody, regardless of where they stand. I have heard so many remark at how things have shifted so quickly, and how things are easily accepted, which would never have been accepted or even permitted just a short time ago….

But life will try to put us in categories, and label us. So often we grow up in either the group of winners, or the group looked at as losers…. 

In the body of Christ, that should not be the case….                                         In Luke 15:3–7 Jesus told His followers a parable…."Which of you, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn't leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends, his family and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance."

My message today, is titled “God Always Wins”….. Wars may rage, plagues and pestilences, famine and political ideologies may seem to be ruling the day, but God will always have the last word. Even if He has to chase us down….

Romans 8:28 still says….”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”.

God always wins. But not every person will win with Him – only those who put their trust completely in Him thru thick and thin – who refuse to be beaten by circumstances but instead see God’s creative hand shaping His purposes in the thick of it all. 

Paul, was in prison but refused to be a prisoner of the situation, or let it be the measure of his effectiveness or his life’s calling. 

We may wonder how Paul could keep his faith up and sing praises in such terrible circumstances. How could He stay happy while things looked so bleak? I’ll tell you how.                                                                           Read It in Ephesians 3:1: “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles.” You can miss it if you don’t read it correctly …. Paul doesn’t say, “in prison for Christ Jesus.” He says, “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” Small word – big difference. Everyone else looked at Paul said, “Oh, man, tough luck to be a prisoner of Rome.” Paul looked at it all and said, “What a privilege – I’m a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Paul knew what most of us never get. It’s not about us; it’s about Him. It changes your whole life when you see that every circumstance in your life is at His direction and for your good – even the ones that look like prison at the time. He’s in charge, and He can be just as exalted by our adversity as by the good times, and that’s all that matters.  So, if you put your name in there, it changes everything…. 

(your name) ____________, a prisoner of Christ, here for God’s glory!!! GOD ALWAYS WINS! He cannot lose… after all it isn’t just history, it’s His Story! He is the central figure, after nations, kings, presidents, and all the kingdoms of this world have come and gone….HE REMAINS! 

Graeme Keith was treasurer of the Billy Graham Association for many years. He told of riding an elevator with Graham once when a man got on and recognized the evangelist. He said, “You’re Billy Graham, aren’t you?” Graham answered, “Yes, I am guilty of that.” The man said, “Well, you are a truly great man, I am so honored to meet you.” Graham answered, “No, I’m not a great man. I just have a great message from God, and I’m delivering it the best I can.” 

The Apostle Paul knew that, and it allowed him to live a humble but joyous existence –  not boasting in Himself, but boasting in the service of His Lord and Savior, regardless of how God brought it about.

I Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

God never loses. It’s a hard truth to grasp; it doesn’t always look that way. It sure didn’t for Paul. He had long hoped to arrive in Rome as a preacher; instead he arrived as a prisoner.

Where others saw defeat, Paul saw, and experienced victory even in his chains. Paul saw God using his adversity to forward the gospel, turning his test into triumph, a hard place into a high place, a rocky path into a red carpet, and lock-up into a set-up for God’s glory!!!!                                                                              Orrin Woodward….. “

A person either hates losing enough to change or he hates changing enough to lose.”

If there had been no prison, there would have been no letter. To the Philippian church. The Philippian believers were greatly edified as they saw the attitude which Paul exemplified. And, that letter became part of the inspired Biblical collection, so that not just the Philippians were edified, but Christians over two millennia! Paul also wrote to the Colossians, the Ephesians and Philemon from that prison situation. Had he not been “put on the shelf” those letters may never have been written. And had he wallowed in his own seemingly God-forsaken circumstances, none of this would have happened.                                 

Paul reminds me of John Bunyan whose preaching was so biblical and powerful that it was rejected by the compromised 17th century Church of England. They jailed him in order to silence him. So, he *……preached in the jail courtyard. Soon not only were large numbers of prisoners coming to hear him preach, but hundreds of citizens of Bedford and the surrounding area came daily and stood outside the prison to hear him explain Scripture. So, they revoked his outside privileges, *…..placed him in a solitary cell and thought they had silenced his voice. 

But Bunyan spoke loudest of all through what he wrote in that cell – We know it as “Pilgrim’s Progress” – perhaps one of the greatest Christian classic, that has ministered to millions of people – the most widely read and translated book of all time outside the Bible itself.                                  GOD ALWAYS WINS! 

Israel arrived at Canaan 40 years after they were delivered and walked out of Egypt. Has there ever been a people who saw God’s hand at work in their behalf more than they did…. Going before them, keeping their bodies even in old age, bringing water from a rock, raining down manna when they had no food, defeating their enemies, showing them the way through the wilderness….and all that with his visible glory!!                                                                      When they finally got to the place of entering into Canaan, Moses sent 12 spies into the land to check things out, but they brought back a mixed report. 

Their view of God, determined their view of their situation. Joshua and Caleb said, “Man, it’s a great place God has brought us to– full of fertile soil, flowing with milk and honey.We have never seen such an abundance.” But the other 10 said, “Man, it a tragedy waiting to happen. They’ve got giants there that make us look like grasshoppers. They said, the tragedy is that God ever brought us out of Egypt to this terrible place. Everything here wants to kill us. We will all die if we go in there.”

They Judged God by the standards of Man and it lowered their expectations. They forgot that God Always Wins!!!

When Hudson Taylor went to China as a missionary, he adopted Chinese dress, including the pony tail. One day as he waited for a boatman to ferry him across a river, a wealthy Chinese man came up, insisted he have the boat and pushed Taylor into the mud, unaware he was a foreigner. Taylor was angry but did not strike back. But as he got up, the Chinaman recognized he was a foreigner. He said, “What! You a foreigner and you did not strike me back when I struck you?” Taylor replied, “The boat is mine. But come; I will take you wherever you want to go.” On the way, he was able to share Christ.                                                                                The gospel advances when we place gospel values and principles over personal rights and feelings –it’s becoming harder and harder in our entitlement generation– but it is the attitude that puts us on God’s winning side.                                                                                                                                                                                          James 1:2 “ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, knowing that it’s intended for good purposes in your life”.                        Martin Luther said, “Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning and is coming back tomorrow.” In other words, live like it’s about Him, not you”.

An airline passenger, was weary from a long week, frustrated with the crowded conditions, and beset by crying babies around him, and finally asked the flight attendant, “Is there any way I can get bumped up to first class?” She replied, “Not unless we hit some turbulence.” 

My dear friends, I promise you that whatever turbulence comes into your life, God intends it to bump you up to a better place.                                                          So let’s do as James suggests and as Paul exemplifies:                                 

We might as well go ahead and get it settled…. GOD WILL HAVE THE LAST WORD… HE WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY!!!

As they took Jesus’ lifeless body down from the cross and laid it in a borrowed tomb, Satan was boasting to all the demon hoards“This time I win.” And for that dark Friday and dismal Saturday it appeared he had.

What Satan intended as the ultimate evil, the most hopeless of hopeless situations…..God used for the ultimate good. The tomb that man had shut up and the powers that be, had sealed as final and done…. God rolled the stone away and Jesus walked out on Sunday morning. Hey, hey, Friday may be here, BUT SUNDAY IS COMING, Resurrection is promised, redemption drawethnigh, restoration is His guarantee!!!

PSALMS 118:17 "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD." Come on…. Make it personal… “I SHALL NOT DIE BUT LIVE AND DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD”!

There is no scene so dark that God cannot brighten it.

There is no label so permanent that God cannot change it.

There is no heart so hard that God cannot soften it.

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it however he wills to”.

That person can be a boss, a spouse, a child, a co-worker, a classmate, a politician or judge, a parent or even a king.

It’s not over till it’s over and it’s not done until it’s done!                                                                It doesn’t matter how hard the enemy fights or how bad it gets, our God can change things. No matter how the enemy punches, God has a counter punch.

Our unwillingness to get along, and to forgive and cooperate with God’s program, is not going to stop God from completing His plan. There is no power, there is no authority, there is nothing in all the earth that can stop God from accomplishing what he has set out to do. Period.

Someone said, “Self-control is to a person what brakes are to a car: without it, a crash is inevitable.”                                                                       Joseph showed self-control when he could have retaliated against his brothers. As second in command he had the power to crush them for what they had done to him, but he didn’t. Instead he blessed them….       As believers we march to a different drummer. The high road in the Christian life is not revenge or retaliation but forgiveness. Remember the Lord is our defender and HE ALWAYS WINS!

There are some battles where God has to do most of the fighting and our part is standing strong in our faith, keeping our confession right, and stay open to His quite inner voice…..

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.

Too often we remember the tragedies of life rather than the celebrations of life. We identify more with the hurts and injustices done to us than the promises God gives us in each of those situations. So, rather than focusing on our hurts, failures, hardships, disappointments, and regrets, let’s build some monuments that remind us of how God took care of us and how God used those times to make us what we are today. To give us concern and compassion for others, because we believe and are fully persuaded that as Philippians 4:19 declares “My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. v20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen”.…

The Jewish people still celebrate the victory God used Esther and Mordecai to bring, in one of the dark days in their national history. They celebrate how God took care of them and every generation is reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of God.It’s called the Feast of Purim and they read the book of Esther and whenever the name Haman is mentioned they boo and hiss and beat on wood but every time the name Mordecai or Esther is mentioned they shout and cheer.

They are remembering that GOD ALWAYS WINS!

WHEN GOD WINS, THE PEOPLE HE USES ARE OFTENUNEXPECTED

A shepherd boy, David, becomes the King of Israel

Fishermen who Jesus chose, become world changing apostles

A baby adrift in a basket, named Moses, becomes a national deliverer

He took Joseph from a prison, to the second to Pharaoh

Paul, the persecutor of Christians, became the apostle to the gentiles

A rugged wilderness man named John, prepares the way of the Lord

And a baby lying in a manger in a cow barn becomes the King of Kings!

If we said we have never felt that God could use us, or that others could do a better job….. we’d be lying…. We’ve all felt that way at times….no one is an exception….. Speaking of struggling with the truth….

A Minister was walking down the street when he came across a group of kids, who had surrounded a dog, and concerned thatthe kids were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?" One of them said, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whoever can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the minister launched into a lesson about lying .."You kids shouldn't be having a contest telling lies! Don't you know it's a sin to lie," and then he ended with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie." There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest child gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, preacher, you get to keep the dog."

I Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. v26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. v27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to amaze the strong. v28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, v29 so that no one may boast before him”.

I think what Joseph said to his brothers as they stood before him in Egypt, where they had come to purchase grain, after their betrayal, after being sold as a slave, and after years of prison… They didn’t recognize him because he looked like an Egyptian, and held the position of second only to the pharaoh, who was the most powerful person in all the region. And as they knelt before him, he fought back the tears, as he spoke those powerful words that said it all. 

“You meant evil against me, but God intended it for good.”Genesis 50:20

One of my favorite John Piper quotes is “God is always doing 10,000 things, and we might be aware of three of them.”

If life shows us anything, it shows us that….

God is at work when evil seems to be winning…

God is at work when our plans have become frustrated 

And God is at work all the time, any time.

Because God always wins, we can submit and surrender and let Him lead and direct our lives. He will use us, no matter who we are or where we’ve been or what we’ve done!

Maybe Satan has been using you for a punching bag, and putting the label of “loser” on you…. “You should have done better with the family thing”…. “You should have done better with the job, or your Christian walk”…. Or whatever he has tried to get you with the loser sucker punch. 

Your God Never Loses…. Give it all back to Him… while you’re struggling with your 3 things, He’s already working on 10,000 ways to turn around those very situations.

Even as believers face death and the grave, they can go forth shouting, “Ain’t no grave can hold this body down”….. God Always Wins!!!!

Give it totally to him, today and trust Him when you don’t understand….

Our Prayer…….Lord Jesus, I know that I need to walk in forgiveness, because you’ve forgiven me, the moment I ask. But I realize that the reason I struggle with a lot of things is because I haven’t forgiven myself and others that I need to. I believe You died and rose from the dead, so that I could walk in victory in every area of my life. Lord I praise you for the wonderful future that you have prepared and I will not lose heart when faced with the pressures, anxieties, and troubles that come in this fallen world.

Thank You, Holy Spirit for preparing us for kingdom living, which breaks off the labels and shackles of the present circumstances. Continue to transform us into faithful servants who live to hear you say “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.” May we walk by faith and not by feelings, opinions, or the situations of the moment. Lord, You know our hearts better than we do.. You do not see us according to our flesh, but through your transforming work of redemption. Renew our minds and give us confidence with the truth found in Your written and revealed words. 

Guard our hearts from a critical spirit, and help us to not lose our direction when we feel the pressures that would lead us into doubt. May we always remember the cost of our freedom and the sacrifice You willingly made. Help us to live our lives for Yoursake at our workplace, with our friends and families, and wherever else we may go this week. We bow our hearts before you as we lift our voice in praise, In Jesus’ name….

Once again as you have done many times before….. Let it go, because God always wins! You can trust Him with it…..See it leaving your hands and going into His hands… See it coming off of your shoulders and landing on His shoulders….. You don’t have to carry it    any more!!!

GOD’S GOT THIS

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