My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:27-28)~ Through our circumstances, God speaks to us in all many ways and is ALWAYS speaking to us. It is up to us to always be listening! When it comes to being in the will of God, most Believers are right where God wants them to be for this season of their life. Most who are seriously trying to follow Christ are not living in wanton and purposeful rebellion to the Lord and are trying their best to honor Him with their lives each day. God knows your heart fellow sheep. He knows your desire is to please Him. The message I want you to hear loud and clear today is to be at peace in that truth. Unless you are purposely living in rebellion to God, you are right where He wants you for today! Who else but Satan is planting those seeds of doubt in your mind? Remember my friend, Satan is a LIAR! He wants you to believe that you are out of God’s will, that you aren’t where God really wants you because you’re not doing what God really wants you to be doing. He wants to lead you astray where he can deceive you even more…. having you thinking you have to do all of these menial and mundane works to get in God’s good graces. Well remember, the Bible says it is by GRACE that we are saved, not by our works – that we might have something to brag about! All of the ‘work’ that was needed to be done for our salvation and acceptance by God was completed by Christ. When we learn to rest in that and be at peace with “ourselves” the easier it will be for us to dismiss the lies of the devil. Don’t listen to the lies of Satan and let him rob you of your peace and joy in serving Christ. God wants you to be free as you serve Him each day, not bound up in confusion over whether you are in the will of God or not. Don’t be so focused on the “task” you do as some “service” for God, but be focused on the faith and belief in Him. When God wants you to do something for Him, He will tell you. He tells you through passages of Scripture that you read. He tells you through that “still small voice” as you pray. It is God who gives you the inspiration to serve Him. But don’t ever think your pleasing Him comes from tasks, achievements and milestones; – remember, you can do every measure of great things in God’s name, but without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). Want to do something to please God? Stop DOING trying to get His attention and listen for Him… He’s trying to get yours! Hear His voice! Believe Him! REST in the FAITH of His Grace!
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting (1 Tim 2:1,8)~ Prayer is not to be confined to any one particular house of prayer, but we must pray every where. We must pray in our closets, pray in our families, pray at our meals, pray when we are on journeys, and pray in the solemn assemblies, whether more public or private. We must pray in charity; without wrath, or malice, or anger at any person. We must pray in faith, without doubting, and without disputing. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. God has strategically placed each of us in the right place. Every day we encounter people, whether strangers, colleagues, friends, enemies and even family who desperately need to experience a life-changing encounter with Christ. There may be times when you can share a clear witness that helps them find Christ. At other times such a testimony may be impossible. But you can always pray. People may not understand why they are being drawn toward Christ and that it’s so strong they can’t resist it, but you will know. They may not realize why you are filled with peace when everyone else is anxious, but you will understand. God intends to use your life to be a beacon of light for those in your experience. Pray passionately, then watch and see who God brings across your path next. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall they turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into battle. (Jeremiah 8:4-6). ~ People today are living sinful lives by choice. We deceive ourselves by acting as if there are no consequences. Many of us have lost perspective concerning God’s will for our lives and instead we look for ways to minimize sin through our own justification and understanding; We force our opposers to accept our ways by garnering the support of a socially like-minded constituency. We redefine wrongs as our own version of righteousness by changing the laws of the land by popular vote and we thumb our nose in the face of God in the process! Our consciousness of divine truth and precept is becoming more and more comatose with the passing days and we hold no regard or concern even for each other. We ignore the written Word of God and regard it as antiquated and irrelevant. Even still, we enjoy the abundance of the means of His grace, we pray, have Bibles and ministers; but we have them in vain. People today look to be entertained by preachers of comfort and popularity rather than Truth…looking for the one that will tell us what we want to hear rather than what is beneficial for our life and eternity! That which flatters us in sin, consequently, flatters us into destruction, silencing our fears and complaints with “It’s no big deal” and “All is well”. This ‘feel good’ doctrine promises peace when there is no peace; and thus we are encouraging each other in committing evil; but in the day of Visitation we will have no refuge to flee unto. When we fall or realize that we are headed in the wrong direction, it only makes sense that we would get up or change directions. Don’t get to the end of your life and look back asking ‘what brought this ruin?’ But all is not lost. You are only lost if you refuse to look at the map to eternity (God’s Word of Promise) and take the reroute at Repentance Drive and follow Redemption Highway on Home! The road to eternity in most cases can be found by simply making a U-turn! But traveling it requires faith and focus for it is straight and narrow! Drive prayerfully!
…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matt 6:12); Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy- seven times” (Matt 18:21-22)~~ Though we live wholly on mercy and forgiveness, we are backward to forgive the offenses of our brethren. The debt of sin is so great, that we are not able to pay it… Yet though we all deserve death, our Lord forgives us. But we seem to not remember that when it comes to extending that forgiveness to others. Regardless of what it is, as we expect forgiveness from God, we are responsible to forgive others…period! Not that we may make light of wronging our neighbor, for that is also a sin against God; but we should not aggravate our neighbor’s wronging us, nor seek revenge, for vengeance is the Lord’s! Let our complaints, both of the wickedness of the wicked; of the afflictions and of the afflicted, be brought to God, and left with Him. We do not forgive our offender properly, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. People are quick to say “well, I’ve forgiven them but I’m still upset…I just can’t forget what they did to me!” How justly will we be condemned, who, though we bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of our brethren! How many times have you said you forgive someone but then engage in or maintain negative and even hateful attitude toward them or mean treatment of them. How often do you justify your grudge against someone even though you’ve claimed to forgive them? How can we say we have truly forgiven when our after-conduct looks like we’ve never entered into the spirit, or experienced the sanctifying grace of God ourselves? Remember the forgiveness given to you …every time, as you are faced with having to give the same, every time! Forgiving doesn’t mean you stop remembering what was done against you but it DOES mean than you FORGET it! There is a difference! Let that sink in!
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph 2:19)~ All mankind, being naturally children of disobedience, children of wrath; slaves to Satan, the author of that proud, carnal disposition that keeps us dead in trespasses with no desire for spiritual pleasures; finds itself in a state of sin and conformity to this world. In this state we are without Christ, being aliens from the inheritances of His kingdom, and strangers from the covenants of His promise, having no hope, and without God in the world! A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated forever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Savior, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked. But God is a help at hand to His people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ. Yes it is FINISHED!! Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, we are now allowed to draw near to God as our FATHER, and are brought with acceptance into His presence. We are a part of Him and His family and are heirs to the inheritance of His kingdom, His promises and His eternal blessing! God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus…everlasting peace has been made by the cross! Christ, our Champion; purchased the way for us to come to God; and the Holy Spirit gives us a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably. To God be the Glory!!
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: (Luke 24:5-6)~ Jesus said that he came that we may have LIFE and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He is the ONLY “GOD” that IS RISEN from the dead. EVERY other ‘representation’ man has come up with for a ‘god’ is dead. Where are these ‘gods’ of the elements and power and strength; these ‘gods’ of various religions and sects and cults? What LIFE can they give us? What LIFE do they HAVE? How can we look for eternal salvation, divine protection and guidance or quality of life from a ‘god’ that is dead? How can we worship a ‘god’ that is created but created nothing? Every other ‘god’ that there ever was – died and worshipping them is to worship the dead. To worship Jesus is to worship THE living God! See, it is with divine and eternal purpose that Jesus died…But He is RISEN; YES! HE GOT UP!!! All power in Heaven and Earth is His and all things are created by Him, for Him, in Him and through Him – without Him there is not one thing that ‘was’. In Him we live, we move and have our being! It is Him that we must seek…among the living…that is, we will not find the answers to life by seeking it in the world of dead ‘gods’ but in Christ, the ONLY true and LIVING God! I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the LIVING (Ps 27:13). Happy and Blessed Easter Sunday to you and your family!
And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not (Luke 24:8-11)~~ Jesus’ followers were convinced that He was the coming King; the Messiah, who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. All His disciples were severely disappointed when the unthinkable happened: Jesus was crucified. The coming, conquering King had come and didn’t seem to have conquered. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah? If He wasn’t, then… now what? With Jesus dead, His followers were distraught. They were on their journey, talking about everything that had just happened, trying to sort through it all—still unaware that Jesus had been raised. Jesus met them on this road, but He kept them from recognizing Him (Luke 24:17). To them He was a stranger passing on the road. They told this ‘stranger’ that they thought Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They said that some of their friends were telling what they thought were fairytales about Him rising from the dead. When we commit our faith to Christ and things in our life seemingly fall apart before our eyes and trials happen and the outcomes of things we believed Him for occur differently than we expected, it’s typical of us to waiver in our belief, become distraught and even start to believe the naysayers’ haunting quips about our so-called foolishness. We remember with specific detail those things we believed and we feel as if we are in a ‘limbo’ wondering what is to become of us next. The true test of our faith comes between that period of the apparent ‘death’ to the foundation of our faiths and the revelation of God’s blessing! It is now, more than ever that we must know the God of the faith we carry. Despair not believer… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning!!!
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Cor 9:24)~ The finish line is in our minds when we run a race, but God intends us to run the race to win. Sometimes in life you’re running through rough terrain, and you fall down, but you don’t stay down, you get back up! You keep after it. God expects us to run our race with all we’ve got, every day. To run successfully, you have to give your complete attention, give full effort, be consistent. Sometimes blessings require hard work. They require you to show up; they require you to take action; they require you to persevere; they require you to be faithful, even in the valleys of our journey! We seem to have no trouble acting faithful on the mountain top, but it’s the valleys you’ll be blessed in. The enemy will have you thinking you can’t win…the enemy will have you believing that unless you win, you’re just like the majority.. one of those who doesn’t win. And since he’s got you thinking you can’t win, he’s making you think you’re just average… and also a loser! Then the enemy will have you settling with just being average, never striving to be better, never desiring anything but being comfortable where you are! If you can just get through it.. if you can just make it.. the bare minimums are okay with you! Why would you settle to just be average? Why would you settle for just making it? Why not give it your all? You might say ‘well, average isn’t so bad…I’d take that over being on the bottom.’ Well guess what my friend, that’s exactly what you are doing when you settle for average… you’re accepting being on the top of the bottom! You’re okay with being less than God designed you to be. You focus on being a ‘finisher’ who just wants to get through. God designed you as a winner, an achiever, an overcomer, a conqueror! Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37)! Devil you picked on the wrong people. Putting our lives together is just the beginning! Were not just going to put our lives back together, we’re going to kick your tail before it’s done. God didn’t just save us from ‘hell’, He gives us an ‘abundant’ life (John 10:10) – He didn’t just make another spiritual being, He created us in HIS image and likeness (Gen 1:26). He gave us His SON as the propitiation for sins rather than make us pay the price. Rather than just do it, God does it with greatness. In His image, we should perform to greatness as well. Don’t just run the race to finish it, run it to win! Run the race like everything depends on it. You may not always finish the race first, but be assured, Victory will always be yours!
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matt 7:5)~ Conflicts between us always cause us to look at the behavior of the other person. We focus on the things THEY do and expect THEM to change in order for things to get better. We always want the other person to take the first step, but the first step…for BOTH parties has to begin with “the mirror”. Many conflicts between people in a relationship whether it be friends, co-workers or even more intimate can be resolved much easier when we stop and look at ourselves rather than point blame at the other person. We can’t change the behavior of another person, especially when our own is out of check and likely causing some of the behavior in them. The very thought that the way a person is toward you is always fully their fault is a reason for you to look in the mirror. We can’t be so self-righteous and at the same time so naive as to think and claim that we cannot be part of the problem. There are two sides to every story…to every coin…and to every conflict. There will be those that you just won’t get along with; those that make it their life’s mission to keep negativity going and those that have no desire to be decent with you. Let them go on about their business and enjoy their misery; don’t become their company! But when there are those that you have traditionally had a relationship with, sometimes the change in YOU may be the catalyst for the change in the relationship. Don’t be so blinded by the ‘beam’ of overconfidence in your ‘set-in’ ways that you can’t see the impact you have on what’s happening. Ask yourself in a very serious manner “What can “I” do to make things right here?” When we consider what WE can do to move things in a positive direction rather than force responsibility on the other person, we become better for it and we will see that things actually begin to change FOR US…even if the other person remains stubborn! While the best scenario is that things get better for both of you, this change only happens when each person makes the effort first in themselves! Change First Happens in the First Person…Change first happens with YOU!
And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him (1 John 5:14-15)~~ There are people who believe the Bible teaches that whatever we ask we can have-.-.- “name it and claim it” – – – with no strings attached. We can name verses verbatim that support and drive our beliefs and we even walk in expectation that whatever it is we ask for, we shall receive. But what happens to our faith, our drive, our motivation when God doesn’t answer? When He says “No”? How many times have you prayed for something specific and it didn’t come as you asked? There is one very key point that we must stay in our minds as we consider our petitions: that if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He heareth us. We can’t ask outside the will of God and expect our desired answer. But when our request lines up with His will, we have the guarantee that He will not only hear us, but that our answer is on the way. Asking and praying in His Name means to ask and pray IN HIS WILL, with HIS authority so that all HE desires will be done in our lives. Your hope and expectation will never rise above your level of confession. You will reap tomorrow the harvest of the words you sow today. Release your confession from a heart full of faith and belief in the God of the Word and the Word of God, and rest in confidence that He will hear and respond.