Posts Tagged ‘Will of God’


Journey 2010 is about living in the will of God. It is about what John said in 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” God’s Will, God’s truth will always be corrupted and thwarted by unrighteousness “Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

ABOUT END TIMES

I want to reveal the single greatest motivation we as Christians have for walking in the truth. This revealing involves “end times” teachings. Most of us are very curious about the “end times”. Most people respond to surveys saying they want to know more about the Book of Revelations.

Let me give you this about that. Curiosity is not the proper reason to study Revelations. Jesus gives us the proper reason to study the Word or the End Times Book of Revelations: “Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” If your study is motivaFrom the ted by your personal hunger and desire for righteousness, God will satisfy you, He will teach you. But if you are only motivated by curiosity or the pride of ‘knowing’, you will come away not knowing, not being satisfied. You will be confused.

Some may question my teachings as not being in line with what you believe is correct especially among Southern Baptists. But allow me to clarify: The Southern Baptist Faith and Message is extremely vague about the end time teaching in the Bible. Here is what the Southern Baptists believe about the end times:

“God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.” (2000 Southern Baptist Faith & Message)

Our belief’s must not be based upon what someone else has taught us, not even what I teach. Each one of us has the Holy Spirit as our teacher. What we must do is search and study the Scriptures. The truth must be within you and it must be based upon what you have studied and struggled with. Don’t accept at face value what I say or what others say. Study to show yourself approved  (“dokimos”) unto God, a workman who is not ashamed, but who rightly divides the truth!

OUR MOTIVATION

What is this Single Greatest Motivation for Walking in Truth and Following God’s Will?

1 John 3:1-3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

John says the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming and uor resulting change into His glorious body is the Hope That Purifies Us.

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

So this truth of our FUTURE transformation when we are face to face with Jesus Christ is to motivate us in the PRESENT to obey His truth and in so doing become PURIFIED or CONSECRATED (agnízō – in 1 John 3:3) to God, which is what living in His Will and walking in His truth is all about.

I have read that in certain countries, hunters capture monkeys using a very simple but effective trap. They make a hole in a hollow tree and put a banana in it. The hole is big enough for the monkey’s hand to go in but not for its fist to come out. A monkey would then reach in and grab the banana. It then tries to pull its hand out while grabbing on to the banana to no avail. Its closed fist would be too big for the hole. For the monkey to be able to pull its hand out it has to drop the banana. But hunters are well aware that monkeys will not let go of the banana and that the monkeys will kick and squeal when the hunter approaches but they refuse to let go of the banana. They refuse to let go of the bait and so become captured.

LET GO

Today I want to challenge each of us to “let go”. If we are to Live in the Will of God, we must “LET GO”

Jesus was approached by a young man …

(The Message) Matthew 19:16-22 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.” The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.”

The disciples were blown away. They thought “if a rich man doesn’t deserve heaven, who does? Then they reminded Jesus that they had left everything. And Jesus commended them saying:

(continuing in verses 28-29) “In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.

The young man was told by Jesus he must let go of his riches if he wanted to have eternal life. Our churches would be a lot smaller if we told people that today! And yet, Jesus insisted that in order to follow Him, we had to be willing to let go of everything this world has:

Luke 14:25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

SO TO WALK IN GOD’S WILL WE MUST LET GO!

Let Go of What?

I believe we must let go of the salt! But Mudpreacher,  Jesus said we are to be the salt of the world, right?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matt 5:13

If you consult with salt experts, they will tell you that salt never loses its taste. Never, not in a million years. It is a mineral and will stay the same. That’s why people who question the truth of the Bible cite this verse as one that proves their belief. Let’s consider this verse further.

“moraino”

The word  for lose its “taste or savor” is “moraino”,  applied to the mind – stupid or silly (1 Cor 1:20 – God made foolish (moraino) the wisdom of the world); applied to the taste –insipid or bland; (as in salt losing its savor). Moraino is the root of our English word “moron” = very stupid person.

Elsewhere in medicine moraino is used of the slackness, fatigue or dulling of the nerves. Moraino is also used in respect of the sluggishness of animals in winter. With reference to men the use of moraino is predominantly psychological. In this context, moraino implies censure on man himself; his acts, thoughts, counsels, and words are not as they should be. The weakness is due to a specific failure in judgment or decision.

Now in this verse,most people believe it refers to normally ‘salty’ believers losing thier ‘saltiness’ and having no effect upon the world. It is true that Christians only lose their “saltiness”when they make wrong judgments and become like the world. In effect they are “contaminated”. This is how many Biblical scholars explain the salt losing its’ “moraino”.

Ancient Dead Sea salt, unlike our modern, refined table salt, did lose its flavor. The salt is not pure sodium chloride, but NaCl mixed with other rock and mineral matter; and if allowed to get moist, the NaCl would dissolve out and leave behind a pile of tasteless crud. Thus, in order for the salt to preserve its savor, contamination had to be kept out of it. This explanation makes sense to all but scientists, because to them, salt is still salt. It keeps its qualities 10,000 years, because it is a mineral.

There may be a better understanding of what Jesus had in mind, which will silence the scientists.

Recent Archeological Discoveries

In the Cultural Dictionary of the Bible, John J. Pilch, Ph.D. who teaches Scripture at Georgetown University, points out that the Hebrew and Aramaic word for “earth” may also mean “oven”. Many cultures of Biblical times used an earthen oven, an oven made of clay. Moreover, in the Mediterranean world, wood was a scarce commodity. They used abundantly available camel or other animal dung as fuel. Salt was used to dry out the dung patties, and a block of salt was placed at the base of the clay oven as a kind of catalyst to make the fire burn. Recent archeological discoveries confirm this use. “…in all the ‘salt’ passages of the New Testament, salt is presented in its function as an aid to making fires burn rather than as a  seasoning or preservative agent.” When the salt lost its ability to stoke the fires, it was thrown down as gravel on muddy roads.

Factoring into the translation these cultural connotations, Pilch translates Matthew 5:13 as “You are the catalyst (salt) in the earth oven. But if the catalyst (salt) has lost its catalytic ability (saltiness), how shall its catalytic ability (saltiness) be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by human beings.” (Cultural Dictionary of the Bible by John J Pilch, 1995)

This view of Biblical salt flavors these verses in this way:

  • “You, my disciples, are salt for the hearth (or earth oven)…  an image that reminds me that you are also the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14)
  • “Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!” (Luke 14:34-35, Amplified Bible)
  • “You are the fire making and sustaining agent in the earth oven. But if that agent has lost its ability to maintain a fire, how shall that ability be restored? This salt is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out. People can step on this solid block of salt in an otherwise muddy road.” (Matt 5:13, with a very logical lead into “light of the world.”)
  • “For every one will be salted in order to burn. Salt is good, but if it has lost its ability to start and maintain a fire, how can that ability be restored? Be salty, but stay at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:49-50.  Notice the repeated mention of fire in the context from v. 42 to these verses. Another logical lead into the salt statement.)
  • “I came to light the earth oven; would that it were already kindled” (Luke 12:49, then notice the subsequent discussion of family conflict and division, vv. 51-53).
  • “Salt is good. But if salt has lost its ability to start and maintain fires, how can that ability be restored? This salt is fit neither for the earth oven, nor for preparing the fuel (the dunghill). People just throw it away.” (Luke 14:34-35).

If you doubt the fire making qualities of salt, go to YouTube and type in salt water into fuel and watch salt water burn: Salt Water into Fuel

So LET GO of the dung contaminated salt. When the salt can no longer change the dung, it’s time to let go. When the world is making the salt lose it’s saltiness, you must LET IT GO!

Jesus provides further insight into what it means to “LET GO THE SALT” in Luke 17:

Luke 17:20-37 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

When it comes to the end times, when it comes to Jesus Christ’s return, don’t worry about your stuff, don’t worry about your car, that precious music box your grandmother gave you, your unfinished chores, your crops needing to be harvested, the money in the bank or the gold buried in the back yard. No, when it comes to going to be with Jesus, he gives one and only one warning:

Remember Lot’s Wife!

If you want to go with Jesus, don’t look back. Don’t long for the world. When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels warned Lot and his family, do not look back. It is all going to be burnt up just like useless dung. So when Lot’s wife looked back, God said, “O, you like that dung? Well then I’ll turn you into salt to help it burn even more!”

She was burnt up and became useless salt, contaminated by the dung of the world. Or perhaps God was saying “You Love that Stuff? Here, now you can help fan the fire!”

Now let me connect the dots, and scratch some saints.

  • 1. The return of Christ is our greatest motivation to live the Will of God
  • 2. Contamination by the world and all that the world offers will make us useless for nothing except road gravel.
  • 3. When it comes to the rapture, will we go to Christ if we look back?


To put it bluntly: If You Look Back Will You Drop Like A Block Of Salt?

Wait a minute Mudpreacher! All my Christian life I have heard about the Rapture. I have thought about it, desired it, wondered what it will be like! Everyone gets to go, don’t they? To answer that question, we must look at the warnings of Jesus:

WARNINGS

Let’s consider some other warnings that Jesus gives about the end times:

Don’t Look Back (Love not the World)

  • Genesis 19:26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
  • Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
  • Hebrews 10:37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
The Apostle John made this bold declaration: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Do you think he believed that those Christians who loved the world would be raptured?

Do you think Paul, who wrote about the rapture in Thessalonians, thought Demas would be raptured with him? After all Paul said this about Demas: “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;” (2 Tim 4:10).

Wake Up and Watch

  • Matthew 24:36-44 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  • Matthew 25:1-13 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

They had oil, but it ran out. They had the Holy Spirit, but had He become Quenched to the point of no power to light their lamp? (If you Deny me to the world, I will deny knowing you, as the bridegroom said.)

  • Mark 13:35-36 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-7 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
  • Romans 13:11-14 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Scripture offers this about becoming sleepily involved with the world and its lusts:

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Overcome and Endure

  • Revelation 2:26-28 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations–‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’– as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
  • Revelation 3:10-13 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
(This is the one solid verse that promises the saints will not go through the tribulation, but it even lists conditions.)
As Christians, we are to have power over the world, not become enmeshed and tangled up in it:
  • 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  (they walk in the truth)
  • 1 John 5:4-5 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
  • John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Love His Appearing

  • 2 Timothy 4:8. “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.
  • Hebrews 9:28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Do not be ashamed of Jesus

  • Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
  • Hebrews 10:35-38 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back (ashamed), My soul has no pleasure in him.”
  • 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

This expression is very peculiar. It means to “be ashamed from Him.” (Wuest) Sounds like you might not get to go!

DOES YOUR LIFE DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE WALKING IN THE TRUTH?

If we live our life in love with the world and all it offers. If we are so busy living that we forget Jesus Christ, we never mention to our friends we are His follower, if we get involved in sinful relationships and activities that the Holy Spirit shrinks from…You may even come to church and sing songs and look ‘Christian’. But God’s eyes are like a powerful MRI that can see inside every bit of us. He knows our heart. He knows our secret desires. He knows what you love. Your secrets will be exposed. I believe the Rapture could be a major step in that process. If anything is clear in God’s Word, it is that God is the one who judges, it is God alone who we must face. God will make known to the world the those ‘secret desires’ we may hide from others. What better way than to be left behind and have to explain to your friends who will say “I though you were a Christian! Why didn’t you get raptured?”

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

LOOKING FOR OUR BLESSED HOPE

Regardless of our beliefs about the rapture, we can be assured that there will be a rapture. God’s Word is clear on that. As we seek to live in God’s Will, the one great motivation we must have is in Titus 2:13:

Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

Holy Warriors

Why might some be taken and others left until His second coming?

He needs His Holy Warriors, to prepare them for the final battle. I believe Jesus will rapture His soldiers that He will need to battle the Beast and the prophet and the nations. He must put is through a heavenly boot camp to prepare us to battle. You go if you can make the cut. You are left if your heart is not ready. Jesus says, “If you love the world, why don’t you go through the tribulation and learn to despise it, learn that I AM GOD! As Jude says:

Jude 1:14-15 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

3000 years ago God gave us an example of what happens to His people when they don’t forsake the world. The Hebrew children wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until they died off and the youngsters came of age. The worldly Hebrews had to die because they would have made terrible soldiers. They would never have been able to take the Promised Land. God had to give an example to their children, an example of the need for obedience to Him. Joshua had his army, but they had to be warriors un-entangled with the world.  They had to hate the world. They had to war against the world. We must be of the same mind if we want to be raptured and join Jesus’ Army!

What about the wedding feast? I thought THAT took place after the rapture! We are the Bride and we will be married to Him! Read your Bible. The marriage feast is not mentioned until Revelations 19 and 21, AFTER the new heaven and earth.

Today, on Jebel Usdum (Hill of Sodom) on the Dead Sea’s western shore, stands a pillar of salt known as “Lot’s Wife.” This monument is a perpetual reminder of a woman who allowed her human nature to turn her from the express command of God. In a critical moment she took her eyes off the goal. Christ warns that we cannot allow the same to happen to us.

You can get all hissy at me and say, “I can’t believe you don’t believe all Christians will get raptured!” You can keep on thinking that you can live any old way you want, and it doesn’t matter. You can say you love Jesus and keep on living as YOU think is best, you can keep on following the world and living like the rest of the world. But you are closing your eyes to the warnings that God has in His Word. Jesus said “Remember Lot’s Wife!”

HEED THE WARNINGS

If you do you are reading a different Bible than I have. I read this Word and I am in fear, I tremble before this Holy God. I cling to Jesus as my righteousness. I cling to Him because without Him I am burnt toast, I am dung.

We must learn from those before us, who as the Hebrew Children, loved this world, loved Egypt, and did not let go. They did not enter into God’s Rest, they were too in love with the world, with Egypt. They were poor warrior who washed up in the desert boot camp. They missed the call to fight because as 1 Cor 10:5 says

with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. …. Paul warns us: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Paul said in Phil 3:8 “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ!
I don’t believe Paul ever took His salvation for granted. He never allowed His life in Jesus to make Him proud or arrogant or self-righteous. He was confident, but only in Jesus Christ and His living in him.

Are you walking before God in humility, in reverence, in Holy fear? Is your confidence solely in Jesus Christ and His righteousness? Or are you living your life as you think best? Are you so in to the world that you would hate for Jesus to come back right now and interrupt your plans?

Are you ready to Let Go the Salt in 2010?

I think this morning the best way we can remember Lot’s Wife is to visually let go of the salt. If you want to get serious with God about living in His Will and walking in His truth, I would like you to come forward and pickup this 50lb salt block and then let it go! Let’s tell God we are serious about living in His will and walking in His Truth! Everything else is Dung. It will all get burnt up-so why are you holding on to it? Do you want to be caught looking back when the Rapture happens? Are you willing to take that chance?

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna let go the stinky salt!

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When I was a young man of 11, my next door neighbors, the Magyars, had a cute baby boy named Joey. I remember playing with him when he was about 2. One day I learned that he was dying of Leukemia. In fact he died rather suddenly, before he turned 3. What was really strange was that the Magyars and their daughter I was friends with, never spoke of Joey again. When I went to their house I would walk by Joey’s bedroom door, and it was shut, never open. I found out later they never went into his room after the funeral. They kept it exactly as it was the day he died.

This was probably the first time I had encountered death, and it raised a lot of questions? Was God behind this? Did God plan for Joey to die? Why did the Magyars, who were Jewish, get mad at their God? Did they think God had made a mistake? As a young teen I had no answers for them. I had no idea of God or His involvement in our every day lives.

As I grew older and became exposed to God’s Word, my concept of God started to change.

As a free thinking, free will young man I found myself thinking that God has an overall will or plan in mind. However, He leaves the details to us; after all we have a free choice. So much of what happens in this world depends upon us-our faith, our prayers, our evangelistic efforts. In fact, God must rely upon us in His overall battle with Satan. Now Satan will lose in the end, but He is constantly trying to mess things up, to get people to hate or doubt or turn away from God. I know longer think this based upon how God reveals himself in His Word, but I fear this sort of thinking is held by more “Christians” than you realize. I thought this way one time, and I am still tempted to think this way. I would wager that many of you have thought this way about the Will of God.

In Bible College I became exposed to traditional teaching on God. I learned of His:

Immutability: God cannot change in any way and is not able to change.

Impassibility: God is without emotion. God does not experience pain or pleasure. God is not subject to temptation or sin at all.

Omnipotence: God has all power, which includes complete sovereignty over all things.

Omnipresence: God is everywhere and in fact God transcends space and time.

Omniscience: God has all knowledge, including of all past, present, and future events.

These attributes were backed up by verses like these:

  • Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
  • Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
  • 1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
  • Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God’s Will and “Open Theism”

Back to the way I think many Christians view God. It is actually taking form as a modern day theology called “Open Theism”.  It began in the Pentecostal, Assembly of God schools and has spread to Evangelical churches and Seminaries. It makes sense in light of the “me-focused” spirituality many Christians practice.

Practically, open theism makes the case for a personal God who is open to influence through the prayers, decisions, and actions of people. Although many specific outcomes of the future are unknowable, God’s foreknowledge of the future includes that which is determined as time progresses often in light of free decisions that have been made and what has been sociologically determined. So God knows everything that has been determined as well as what has not yet been determined but remains open. As such, he is able to anticipate the future, yet remains fluid to respond and react to prayer and decisions made either contrary or advantageous to His plan or presuppositions.

They give several Scripture passages to make their case:

• Genesis 6:6-7 (KJV) God repents of his decision to make man and destroys mankind with a flood.

• Exodus 13:17 (KJV) And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

• Exodus 32:7-14 (RSV) And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'” And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses appealed, and “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.”

• Isaiah 38:1-5 At that time Hezekiah became very sick; he was almost dead. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and told him, “This is what the Lord says: Make arrangements, because you are not going to live, but die.” Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you and have done what you said was right.” Then Hezekiah cried loudly. Then the Lord spoke his word to Isaiah: “Go to Hezekiah and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. So I will add fifteen years to your life.

So, Is God an unfeeling entity that is rigidly in control of His creation – as in “El Elyon” God Most High? Or is God some fatherly figure who limits His power and knowledge so as to allow trials and hardships for His children so that they will cry out to Him for help – as in “Abba Father”?

This morning I am not going to offer my well formulated opinions about God and the importance of His Will, and whether that will is constantly evolving subsequent to man’s decisions. I am simply going to look at what GOD says about His will in His Word. I think we’ll get a much clearer picture about the importance of God’s Will

Why Should I Seek to Know the Will of God?

We must know the Will of God so we will not be fools!

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

We also will be taught His Will if we allow Him. This will lead us to Jesus Christ.

Jn 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

So – How do I Begin?

Last week we committed to seeing God, to seeing His power, His presence in our life. I banned the can’t word from our church. From God’s Word we see more things we should do to know God’s Will:

Willingness to do God’s Will opens you to Know God’s Will.

  • Jn 7:17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

God listens to sinners who desire to do His Will

  • Jn 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Will of God affects our Salvation

  • Jn 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Holy Spirit: acts according to the Will of God

  • Rom 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God’s Word is not by the will of Man but by God’s Spirit.

  • 2 Pet 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Is the Will of God an Every Day Thing?

Will of God is in your WORK & SERVICE

  • Eph 6:6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

God’s will determines our ENCOUNTERS

  • Rom 1:10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.

God’s Will is SUPREME to man’s

  • Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Will of God determines MINISTRY

  • 1 Co 1:1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

Will of God determines your GIVING

  • 2 Co 8:5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

Will of God requires DAILY OBEDIENCE

  • Matt 21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Will of God will produce MATURITY AND ASSURANCE

  • Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.

Will of God is an ACTIVE FORCE

  • 1 Pet 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Will of God includes SUFFERING

  • 1 Pet 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
  • 1Pe 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Will of God determines your ETERNITY

  • 1 Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

How Important is the Will of God?

JESUS CHRIST

  • “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30

MAN

  • Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST

  • Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

SALVATION

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

JUDGMENT

  • Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
  • Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
  • 1 Co 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

How Can I Know the Will of God?

The Will of God is DELIVERANCE from this Evil World

  • And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40
  • Gal 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The Will of God always involves JESUS

  • Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ”

The Will of God always involves the HOLY SPIRIT

  • Heb 2:4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

The Will of God requires ENDURANCE

  • Heb 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

The Will of God requires GIVING THANKS in ALL

  • 1Thes 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Will of God requires TRANSFORMED MINDS

  • Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Will of God requires SUBMISSION & DESIRE

  • Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The Will of God requires CLOSENESS, CLEANNESS AND SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE

  • Jas 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The Will of God is GOOD WORKS

  • 1 Pet 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

The Will of God is DENIAL OF THE FLESH

  • 1 Peter 4:1-2  Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

The Will of God requires RESPECT FOR AUTHORITIES

  • Rom 13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

The Will of God is our SANCTIFICATION AND PURITY.

  • 1Thes 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;

The Will of God Requires FOCUSED DESIRE

  • Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
  • Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street… How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:20-33

Knowing The Will Of God Requires His Wisdom, A Desire For His Teaching, Learning From His Correction, Fear And Reverence Of Him.

The Will of God requires DEPENDENCE ON GOD

  • Php 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

GOD’S WILL IS ULTIMATE

GOD’S WILL INVOLVES ALL LIVING THINGS

  • And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:9-11

This is how important obedience to the will of God is:

And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” Ezra 10:10-11

The Jewish people had to put away their foreign wives and children in order to obey God’s Will. With tears they obeyed. I can’t begin to feel the pain they suffered as they left their wives and children behind. They had married outside the will of God. In order for this beginning to be in God’s Will, they had to firmly adhere to God’s Word. Above all, knowing God’s Will will involve obedience to His Word.

Knowing God’s Will begins with Proper Worship

Now, if you believe that God is so weak that He depends upon you to accomplish His Will, then you go on following that god. For you have just reached down in the mud and molded a little god that will be cute on your mantle, but will have no power to change and affect your life. You are basically putting yourself on center stage, and every now and then when life gets tough, you reach up and grab your god and ask him to do something amazing. After all, He is your god, and he needs you.

Wake up! That thinking is SO contrary to God’s Word!

God doesn’t need you to accomplish His Will. His will has been accomplished through the ages. His Will will continue to be accomplished. He was not surprised by Satan’s revolt. He was not surprised by Eve’s disobedience. He was not surprised by Ishmael being born to Abraham. He was not surprised by Joseph being sold into slavery. He was not surprised by Pharaoh. NOTHING, NOTHING ever surprised God. He works His Will in spite of us, and because of us! That is how awesome God is!

For some reason, He wants you and me! He wants us to tremble before Him in fear and reverence. He wants you to see that you owe everything to Him; you owe your very breath to Him. He wants you to get your life in line with His standards and His desires.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:21-23

He doesn’t want you to be a simpleton, wandering this life as best as you can, calling out to Him every once in a while when you get lost. He will laugh at you, He will not hear you. If you don’t want to follow Him in your daily life, why should He think you want to follow Him in the dark emergencies of your life? He knows your heart. He knows you are only turning to Him because all of a sudden you feel powerless or overwhelmed.

God’s will is for you to turn to Him for every breath you take, for every step you take. He wants you to live daily in His presence!

That is why I want us to look at the most profound verses in the Bible, the ones which will open our eyes to Knowing God’s Will in 2010.

Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

These two verses are among the most beloved in the entire Bible. You may have memorized them in Sunday school when you were a child.

British Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan said that when he was leaving home for the first time, his father pressed a note into his hand. When Campbell Morgan unfolded it, he discovered it contained just one verse of Scripture: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Looking back years later, he noted that his father had written that verse with no accompanying comment. No comment, he said, except the comment of his father’s godly life.

Solomon wrote quite simply as the Holy Spirit lead him. There is nothing complex about what he said. These verses can be understood by the simplest of minds. They are comfort to new believers, and they are profound to the most seasoned of believers. These verses cling to our soul because they speak to one of the greatest needs we have – to know the way.

I know this is a basic need, because my wife has revealed it to me. Whenever we are going somewhere new, she will always ask me which way I am going, where it is that we are going. I tell her I don’t know, but just sit back and trust me. That doesn’t work too well with her. She’ll start guessing as we continue driving.

Proverbs 3:5 & 6 are written to all those who like my wife like to know where they are going. These verses must be integral in your life if you are to live in God’s Will as our Journey 2010 seeks.

Five Key Steps to Knowing God’s Will

You may know this verse backwards and forwards, but are you living this verse? Is this your breath? Is this your food for life? God wants it to be!

Have you ever found yourself in a very dark place, not knowing what to do, where to turn, which way was North, South. Perhaps you were stuck with no one to help you out. Suddenly you cry out to God, perhaps with anguished tears, and said, God I don’t know where to turn, what to do, so I’m going to sit right here until you show me the next step.

Well, in these verses God gives us five steps for knowing what direction to take in our life. Let’s look at these five steps are revealed in five key words in Proverbs 3:5, 6.

1. TRUST

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” The word “trust” in Hebrew means “to lean with the full body,” “to lay upon,” “to rest the full weight upon.” It expresses the feeling of safety and security that is felt when one can rely on someone or something else. CWSDOT.

In Hebrew, baṭaḥa expresses that sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. TWOT.

The Septuagint never uses the Greek πιοτευω “believe in” but with ελπιξω “to hope,” in the positive sense “to rely on God” or πειφομαι “to be persuaded,”

So this trust is not based upon your belief in God, but upon your total confidence in who He is and His care for you. In fact, your knowledge can be imperfect without it affecting your trust. Just as a little child trusts completely in his Mom, it is a part of them, not based upon belief or knowledge.

In fact, the image of the Hebrew Word bāṭaḥ is actually much stronger. It has the idea of stretching yourself out upon a bed or resting on a hard surface. The word means to put your full weight on something. To trust in the Lord is to rest your whole weight upon him–to depend on him completely.

2. LEAN

“Lean not on your own understanding.” To “lean” means to rest upon something for partial support. Leaning is what you do when you walk with a cane or hold on to a walker because you are unsteady. This word is used for leaning against a tree or a stone cliff. You lean on something when you are not strong enough to stand alone.

This may mean literally leaning on someone’s arm or trusting in his or her counsel. Ultimately, God should be trusted and leaned on, for He will never fail. CWSDOT

3. UNDERSTANDING

“Lean not on your own understanding.” “Understanding” refers to the mental processes by which you analyze a problem, break it down into its smaller parts, and then make a decision about what you are going to do. Early in the morning when you make a list of all the things you have to do that day, you use your understanding to sort out your priorities. Or it’s what you use on Sunday night when you map out the upcoming week. That’s understanding. You use it any time you plan your life or solve a problem. Understanding is the decision-making ability that God has given you.

When you take the word “lean” and bring in the idea of “understanding,” then add the negative, the meaning is something like this: “Use all your mental powers, but do not lean on them for total support.” Don’t trust in your own ability to figure out your life. Lean instead on the Lord! Rest your weight on Him!

4. ACKNOWLEDGE

“In all your ways acknowledge him.” This word deserves extra consideration because the word “acknowledge” can be hard to understand. In the Hebrew this word is an imperative–a command. You could translate this by saying, “In all your ways know him.” The Hebrew word means to know deeply and intimately. It’s the kind of knowing that comes with personal experience. It means to know something through and through. For instance, somebody might say, “Do you know the President of the United States?” I would say, “Sure, Barack Obama is the President.” If President Obama walked in the room, I would know who he is. If I heard his voice coming over the TV, I would recognize it. Or if I saw his picture on the front page of the newspaper, I would know it was President Obama. But, I don’t really know him. I can’t pick up the phone and call the White House and say, “Mr. President, this is Jim Tompkins. let’s do lunch this week.” He won’t take my call because I don’t know him personally. I just know him at the level of head knowledge. I don’t know him intimately or on a friendship level.

There is another kind of knowing. My wife and I know each other in a completely different way. We’ve known each other intimately for over thirty-five years. When you live together for that many years, you get to know each other at such a deep level that you actually begin to know what the other person is thinking even as he or she is thinking it. You know what your wife is going to say before she says it. You know what your husband is going to do before he does it. You have a deep, personal, intimate knowledge of each other.

Seen in that light, we might translate verse 5 this way: “In all your ways know God intimately … deeply … personally. When you know God that way in every area of your life, he will direct your paths.”

5. DIRECT

“He will make your paths straight.” That brings me to the fifth word, which in the King James Version is translated, “He shall direct your paths.” That isn’t bad. But I think the ESV translation is a little better: “he will make straight your paths.” Imagine that you are driving along a road that appears to be impassable. The road winds through the mountains and down into the swamps. It seems to have a thousand switchbacks. As you travel on, you discover that portions of the road are washed out, others are filled with potholes, and still others are blocked by huge boulders. In some places the road apparently becomes a dead end. This is the road of your life. As you look at it, it appears to be covered with boulders and rocks. Some parts of it seem to be filled with potholes; other sections appear to be going nowhere. That’s the way life is.

Here is God’s message to you from Proverbs 3:5-6. If you will know God in every area of your life, he will take personal responsibility to make your way smooth and straight. He will remove the obstacles if they need to be removed. He will fill in the potholes if they need to be filled. He will redirect the detour so that what seemed to be a dead-end turns out to be the shortest way to reach your destination. All you have to do is trust in the Lord. Lay yourself completely on him for full support. Don’t lean for support on your own human understanding. In all your ways know God intimately. He will take the path of your life that seems to go up and down and around and sometimes seems to curve backwards, and He will make your way straight. That’s the promise of Almighty God to you.

Philip Yancey’s Definition

But it won’t always be easy or come quickly. For most of us, most of the time, the exact opposite will be true. Discovering God’s will takes times as the events of life unfold before us, often in ways that seem to make no sense at all. Rarely will we know the whole plan in advance.

As you join me in thinking over the last decade, at first we remember the hard times.

We remember the ones who died suddenly, financial hardships, losing a job, the breakup of a family. Some even think of the breakup of a church family.

Think a little more to the good times. I think of the Lord working it out so I could come here. I think of my children moving out but then going on to find a wife or a husband, and then of starting their own families.

My favorite definition of faith comes from Philip Yancey who said, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

Why did God let things happen a certain way. Why did that loved one die suddenly? Why did Pastor so and so do such and such? Why did your good friend do so and so? Why did your son or daughter do such and such? We want to know why things happen the way they do and why couldn’t things have happened some other way. Why did Job have to go through so much for so long? God never even let Job know why He let happen what happened. Job had all those questions. Job pleaded for a chance to speak with God.

Yet when God finally appeared, Job was silent.

Faith enables us to see God, but it will not provide all the answers. Perhaps in heaven we will fully understand, or in heaven our desire to know will be transformed by our vision of the Lord like Job. By faith we see things that are invisible to others and by faith we believe in advance those things that right now make no sense but one day will make perfect sense because we will view them in reverse.

Believing is Seeing

The world says, “Seeing is believing.”  God says, “Believing is seeing.” We believe, therefore we see.

God wants us to live daily in His presence. That requires a daily dependence upon Him. When we believe to the point of 100% trust, God will show us His Will exactly when we need to know!

I have seen this principle in action in my life. One time that comes to me is when I had suddenly quit my job and at the same time chose not to show up at the closing where I was supposed to buy business that I had worked at for almost two years and had built his sales up substantially. I would have been in debt a million dollars (1990 dollars) but I believed the sales could have supported the debt. There were a lot of strings however. It was a dream come true, but that night I had the most distinct impression that God did not want me to do it. So I didn’t. The owner was extremely upset. He sued me, and won an injunction to prevent me from working in the only industry I had worked in for almost 20 years. The impact on our family finances was devastating. I was basically in limbo for 6 months. I tried to find some work, but nothing seemed to happen, so I simply waited. It was anxious waiting of course, but I wanted God’s direction for the next phase of my life. I spent some great time with my wife and family. Went down to my parents in Destin, Fl and spent some great time with them. The last three years had been very traumatic on our family, and God wanted me to take this time to “restore” and “refresh”. With God it is all about the wellness of our soul, for that is life to Him!

During this time God was working, and time doesn’t permit me to tell the whole story, but I was peaceful in waiting upon God. When I needed to know, He would show me. He did just that. At exactly the day we were out of money, out of direction, out of resources, God gave me the job that would determine the direction for my life and my family the next 16 years. When I needed to know, He showed me! That is why my life verse is found in 2 James 1:17- “Always give God one more day to show His power!” (Of course this is a Jimized verse.

The reason you don’t know is because you don’t need to know because if you needed to know, you would know, but since you don’t know, you must not need to know, because if you had needed to know by now, you would know by now, but since you don’t know, you must not need to know because when you need to know, you’ll know. If God is God that must be true.”

That’s how God works, isn’t it? When you need to know, you’ll know. Not one day sooner, not one day later. And if today you don’t know what to do next, it’s because you truly don’t need to know. Because if you needed to know, you would know. If God is God, that must be true.

That’s why the search for God’s will is so exhilarating. When God is leading the way, every obstacle will eventually be removed. The path may have many twists and turns, but in the end he will make your path straight. You have his word on it.

“Bless It All, Lord”

So many people struggle at this very point. The Bible says, in all your ways know God intimately, know him deeply, and know him personally. Know him to that depth. Know him with that kind of intimacy. So often we skip this. When we get up in the morning, we say, “O God, help me. I’m busy today. I’ve got so much to do. Lord, I don’t even have time to pray–so here’s my list. Bless it all, Lord. I’ve got to go.” We throw our list up toward heaven while we run out the door. What we are saying is, “God, here’s my schedule. Please rubber-stamp it with your blessing.” And we wonder why our days are filled with frustration.

Many of us go through life leaning almost completely on our own understanding. We like to be in control. I number myself among that group. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be in charge of my own destiny. This passage is a warning to all of us who lay out life the way we want it and then say, “Here, God, stamp it with your blessing because I am going to go out and do it for you.” God says, “I don’t work that way. Know me first. Put me first in everything, including all your plans, all your thinking, and all your scheming. Put me first. And I then will make your way straight.”

KNOW GOD

The real secret of knowing the will of God? Here it is: In everything you do, know God.

But we all want a formula. “I don’t like that. Give me a formula. Give me three steps.” Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that the secret is a relationship with God.

Imagine you are Joe, and you have been dating Amber for nine months. You pick her up Friday night and she asks, “Where are we going?You say, “I don’t know. I want to take you someplace you really like. I wish you would give me a three-step formula so I could figure out where you like to go!”

How do you think Shirley would feel? Of course, she would be angry, upset. She would not so calmly say, “How is it that we’ve been dating every week for nine months and you don’t know what I like and don’t like? Where have you been all this time?”

We want to reduce our relationship with God to a formula. God says, “Know Me. Spend time with Me. Put Me first in every area of your life because when you do that I will take care of all those details.”

Believing is Seeing. Do you Know God enough to Trust Him with every aspect of your life? Or do you just let Him into certain parts? If you refuse to let God know you, it’s a good sign that you are not taking time to know Him. You are not listening to Him. You are not spending time with Him.

Which Way Do I Go?

We’re hung up on the decisions of life. Should I go here? Should I go there? Should I move to Kansas? Should I take the job with so and so? Should I marry Jill or Megan or stay single?

Here is the teaching of this passage stated in one sentence: God is much less concerned with what you do than with what kind of person you are. So when you say, “Lord, should I move to Kansas or take this job or marry this person?” you are asking the wrong question.

The question is not where are you going to go, but what kind of person you are going to be wherever you go. The question is not, who should I marry, but what kind of person am I going to be no matter whom I marry?

While you are wrestling with the question of relocation, God wants to know, “Are you going to be my man or my woman wherever you go or whomever you are married to?” If you decide to put God first in everything, it doesn’t matter where you live or who you marry.

We focus all our energy on decisions. But God says, “Know me and I will take care of the details.” We want specific direction. God says, “In all your ways know me, and everything else will fall into place.”

1000 Years

Most of our decisions won’t matter at all in 1,000 years. What a liberating way to look at life. The next time you face a tough decision, ask yourself, will it really matter in 1,000 years? Ninety-nine percent of what you worried about this week won’t matter three weeks from now, much less 1,000 years from now. In the year 3010 it won’t matter whether you lived in Minnesota, Arizona or South Carolina. But what will matter is that you have decided in all your ways to know God. That is what will really matter. All these trivial, fiddly details that just soak up so much energy will in that day be seen for what they really are–trivial, fiddly details.

As we began our message, we return to our question – What is God’s Will?

To know God in everything. To see him present everywhere and in everything, and to live in total surrender to him. The most important thing is not the decisions you face; the most important thing is your relationship with God. And the closer you get to God, the easier it will be for God to guide you in the way he wants you to go.

So for our friends the Magyars, who struggled with the death of their little boy Joey. Or to anyone who today struggles with where you have been or where you are going, understand that God wants you to know Him in everything that happens in your life. Your love for Him, your trust in Him is the most important thing in your life. You may not like what He has done or is doing, but I assure you, if you commit to Knowing God, He will make sense and reveal His purpose in the past, and He will show you His direction for your life in the future.

“Lord, Here Are My Hands”

Knowing God means using all your energies for him.

  • Lord, here are my hands.
  • Lord, here are my lips.
  • Lord, here are my eyes.
  • Lord, here are my ears.
  • Lord, here are my feet.

Knowing God means taking all that you have and placing it at the disposal of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Proverbs 3:5-6 ends with a promise: “He will make your paths straight.” God is able to remove the obstacles in front of you. He is able to fill in the potholes and turn a dead-end into a four-lane highway. God rewards those who show regard for him by leading them straight to the right end and removing all the obstacles along the way. We rarely see this in advance. We mostly see the potholes. The boulders block our view. Many times it seems as if there is no path at all. But he will make a way. No one can say how he will do it. There are thousands of ways in which God leads his children. He leads us through delays, detours, miracles, the advice of friends, unexpected opportunities, suddenly closed doors, answered prayer, unanswered prayer, inner impressions, and a still, small voice in the night.

You don’t see it on this side. On this side you see the problems. But when you know God, he leads you step by step. When the journey is done, you will look back and say, “I don’t know how I got from there to here, but I do know this: Jesus led me all the way.”

Doing God’s will often involves great uncertainty and periods of deep doubt.

But if you are willing to do what he wants you to do, he then takes responsibility to reach into the chaos of life and lead you step by step to the place where he wants you to be.

Life is a mysterious journey, full of unexpected twists and turns. The path ahead is a mystery to us all. No one can say for sure what is around the next bend. It may be a smooth road through a lovely valley or we may discover that the bridge is washed out and we have to find a way to cross a deep river. Often the road will seem to disappear or it may suddenly seem to go in three different directions and we won’t know which way to go. But there is One who knows the way because the past, present, and future are all the same to him and the darkness is as the light of day. He knows the way we should go. He promised to direct your path and he will do it. You can count on it.

When you need to know, you’ll know. That is the promise of daily living in His presence. That is what Abraham knew and wanted His servant to know.

Abraham said in Gen 24:40, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family…

Abraham lived in the presence of God, and so He knew what God could do. When the servant needed to know, he would know!


This year I want us to begin a Journey, Journey 2010, in which we discover the awesome power of our creator God in a more personal and intimate way. 2009 is over, and I admit that at times I felt powerless, inadequate to deal with situations with friends that resulted in them turning away from this awesome God. Sure there were times of victory. but I lost some good friends last year, friends that made conscious decisions to turn away from the church, from our fellowship, and I have trouble not taking that personally. When people make decisions that I know will affect their eternity and their love for God, and affect their families, I don’t like it, it really bothers me. That is why I want this Journey 2010 to be life-impacting.

When we decide to go on a Journey with God, to discover His power, He will show us what in our lives is hindering our view of Him. No matter the problem in our lives that hinders our Journey, they will center upon three areas:

  1. Temporal Value System
  2. Bitterness
  3. Moral Impurity

John reveals this to us in 1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

The world desires to keep us from this Journey 2010. The world wants us to see a God who is powerless. So these problems that are in every persons life, will try to dog us, to drag us down, limit our seeing Him who is invisible. We must recognize this when this happens, and deal with it.

In the movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal plays a radio advertising salesman going through a mid-life crisis. He and his friends deal with the humdrumness of life by participating in a cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado—an experience that turns out to be a kind of epiphany for all of them. At the end of the movie as they prepare to return to New York and the familiar routine, Billy Crystal explains to one of those friends the concept of a “do-over.”

We Get a Do-Over

Crystal is addressing his pal who, nearing 40, feels he is at a dead-end.

Brunno Kirby: I’m at a dead-end. I’m almost 40 years old. I’ve wasted my life.
Crystal: Yeah, but now you got a chance to start over. You know? Phil, remember when we were kids? And we’d be playing ball and the ball would get stuck up in a tree? And we’d yell “Do over!” Huh?
Kirby: Yeah.
Crystal: You got a clean slate..

Crystal tells him that he can start over again. His life can be a do-over.

In a follow-up (comical) scene he sees the light:

Kirby: You know you were right, Mitch. My life is a “do-over”. It’s time to get started.
Crystal: I hope I can help.
Kirby: Now I’m gonna go home, and I’m gonna get Kim pregnant.
Crystal: I hope I can help.

Something like that happens every January 1. We all  get a “do-over”—another chance to do it right. If 2009 was a tough year for you, cheer up. It’s a brand-new year! There is a biblical perspective we need to remember at the beginning of a new year. It’s a perspective that’s wrapped up in one simple word. If you remember not to use this particular word this year, your chances of succeeding are going to go through the roof. In fact, I think you’ll be happier if you make a decision here and now to cut this word right out of your vocabulary. I am designating it the “No-No” word for 2010. Just as we do with our small granddaughter, we say “No-No” to using this word.

Cutting this one word from your life will force you to open your eyes to God, to His greatness. That is what Journey 2010 is all about-discovering the greatness of our Creator God. Perhaps you saw the recent news report of the Mom who had a heart attack while delivering her baby. The baby was delivered by emergency C Section (without anesthesia) and her newborn baby was delivered without a heartbeat as well.

Dr Martin said she did not have a “great explanation” for why Mrs Hermanstorfer’s heartbeat returned.
“Somewhere between four and five minutes she had been without heart rate and had stopped breathing a minute or two prior to her heart stopping,” she said.
The doctors were then able to resuscitate the baby.
Despite tests, she said doctors were still not sure about what had happened.
However Mrs Hermanstorfer and her husband Mike have said they believed it was down to a miracle.
She said: “I got a second chance in life.”
Dr Martin said she would take help from wherever it came.

This world ignores God. Clearly God was at work here. Perhaps he has great plans for this baby. The world just looks the other way rather than give glory to God.

This year I want to Give Glory to God! I want this to be a Hallelujah Year. So by official Pastoral Proclamation I am banning one word from use at Pleasant Prairie. That word is “CAN’T”. If you catch anyone saying this word at church, it will be a $5 fine. If I use it in a sermon after today, fine me $5.

That’s right. The one word you shouldn’t say in 2010 is the little word can’t. We use it all the time, don’t we?

We say, “I can’t lose weight.” “I just can’t seem to save money.”“I try and try but I can’t find the time to read the Bible.” “After what she did, I can’t forgive her.” “No matter how hard I try, I can’t change, I can’t quit smoking, quit ….”

If 2010 is to be a year of Journeying with our Mighty God, it will be a CAN DO year.

Our Can-Do God

In order to understand and embrace this wonderful CAN DO God, we need to understand a few “CAN’TS from God’s Word. These Cannot’s help us understand how we can live in God’s will. Amazing how the cannot’s of God are not negative, but liberating to see Him! So let’s understand them, make them our foundation for our journey 2010, and then move on with our CAN-DO God!

So here are the foundational Truth’s for our Journey into the Will of God and seeing Him as our CAN DO GOD!

God Limited

  • Accept Yourself: Mt 5:36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
  • God is It!: Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 1 Cor 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
  • Care for your Soul! Mk 7:18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him

We must accept ourselves as God designed us, we must decide that He is Lord, and we must decide that the condition of our soul is of primary importance in our life.

God Ready

  • Father uses kids as excuse for not helping a stranger in need: Luke 11:7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything
  • Man uses his wife, family as excuse for not following Christ: Luke 14:20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

If you journey with God you must be ready to go when He calls. No excuses, No delays.

God Prepared:

  • Spiritually Healthy: Mt 7: 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
  • Prayers: Mk 9:29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
  • Pay Attention: John 8:43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
  • Value God’s Word:  John 10:34-36 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
  • Know the Holy Spirit: John 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
  • Abide: John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
  • Seek Truth: 2 Cor 13:8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
  • Let Go: 1 Tim 6:7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
  • Know His Faithfulness: 2 Tim 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
  • Avoid Temptation: James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
  • Seek the Unshakeable: Heb 12:27-28 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

God-Focused

  • Self-Denial:Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
  • Single Minded: Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
  • Born Again: John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
  • Look to God: John 3:27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
  • Lose the Flesh: Rom 8:7-8 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Lose the Sin: 1 John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
  • Forgive and Love: 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Ok, Now to Get rid of Can’t from our lives, so we can focus on our Can Do God! I think you can make a persuasive case that “can’t” is the single most destructive word in the English language.

  • It destroys motivation.
  • It shifts responsibility.
  • It denies reality.

When you say “can’t”—especially with reference to the problems of life—you are simply giving up without a fight. You are walking off the field, turning in your uniform, turning in your helmet and admitting defeat—all without a battle. You are saying, “I’ve lost and it’s not even worth trying.

Suppose that you knew you could … in 2010? Could what? You could get out of debt. You could lose 20 pounds. You could restore a broken friendship. You could have a relationship with your spouse that is giggly and mushy again. You could get a new job. You could get a decent raise. You could get well. You could overcome your shyness. You name it. Suppose you knew that this year you could do it. What a difference that would make. What a great year 2010 would be!

I want us to see that God is our Can Do God. If we are willing to focus on Him, depend upon Him, abide in Him, God will open up to us how truly Amazing and Awesome He is. I firmly believe that this year you can do everything God intends for you to do. You can live in His Will, you can live in His power!

No matter how hard, no matter how difficult, no matter how impossible things may seem right now. If you want God to be your Strength, in 2010 you can!

Many Versions of One Verse

Our Can-Do God is revealed in one verse. You’ve heard it, you’ve read it, and most of you have memorized it. The verse is Philippians 4:13. It reads like this in the familiar King James Version: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Here are some other readings:

  • I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ESV
  • I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. GW
  • I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. HCSB
  • I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. NCV
  • I can do everything through him who gives me strength. NIV
  • Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. MSG
  • I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. TEV
  • For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. NLT
  • for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. TLB

J.B. Phillips gave us this colorful rendering: “I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me.”

The Amplified Version combines all:

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13

No matter what version you use, Philippians 4:13 is a verse of unlimited possibility. There is no way I can convey to you in this message the power this verse can have for your life. This verse must be experienced, but most of us take it for granted and say “ho-hum”. This verse has lost its power to amaze us, to challenge us, to encourage us and to convict us.

We need to see it in light of a New Marketing Campaign, calling it the P413x Extreme Christianity Fitness Plan!

P413x “Can-Do” Christianity

Here, then, is the question before us in 2010: The Bible says that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. “All things.” Can you really do “all things” through Christ? Is that just wishful thinking, just another piece of hopeful religious propaganda? Or is it literally true?

“All things?” Most people would say, “Some things, yes. All things, no.” But the Bible clearly says, “All things.” Is this just hyperbole or is it literally true? Is this a verse upon which you can build a coherent, optimistic philosophy of life or is it just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo?

Can you do “all things” in 2010? I am going to give you four answers to that question. Along with each answer, I will also give you a principle to think about. These four answers—taken together with the four principles—make up what I call “P413x Can Do Christianity.”

Can you really do “all things” in 2010? Yes with “P413x Can-Do Christianity!”

1. You Can If You Want To.

The P413x Principle of Personal Desire. Before you can, you must want to. Before the deed, there must be the desire. In order to accomplish your goals in 2010, you’ve got to decide what it is you truly want to do. I love the movie called “Rudy”.

Rudy Ruettiger harbored a dream to play for Ara Parseghian and the Fighting Irish football team, despite being merely 5’6″ and 165 pounds. Ruettiger earned a place on the Notre Dame scout team, a practice-squad that helps the varsity team practice for games.

After Parseghian stepped down after the 1974 season, Dan Devine was named head coach. In Ruettiger’s last opportunity to play for Notre Dame at home, Devine put him into a game as defensive end against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975. In the final play of Ruettiger’s senior season with the Fighting Irish, he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback. Rudy was carried off the field by his teammates following the game. (Only one other Notre Dame player holds that honor).

The real Rudy says: Prepare for your Dream. “Preparation is what comes from struggle. Knowledge comes from preparation. These are the elements that pave the road to your Dream. If we do not prepare we will not succeed. Set your goals and pursue your Dreams with all your heart. If you miss a goal, don’t quit, reset it! You just need to learn more … step by step you will win!”

Now there were a lot of football games over the past four days—a fact many wives discovered when their husbands suddenly turned into TV zombies and sat in front of the tube 12 hours a day. One phrase we hear a lot when it is a closely fought battle (Penn St and LSU, Oregon and Ohio State, not MU and Navy)-“They Wanted It More”. That DESIRE is what winners have.

Here is how you prepare and get your desire and your want to going in the right direction: should be:

Hebrews 12:1 “let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage

One team wanted it more. Our Savior Jesus Christ wanted it More! That is why He went to the Cross!

There’s an important lesson for us to learn. Isn’t it a principle in life that you usually get the things you really go after? Isn’t it true that if you really want something with all your heart, and if you focus all your energies toward one supreme goal, that’s what you’re going to achieve? That’s not the end of the story, but it is the place you have to begin. If you want it badly enough, you have a fighting chance of getting it. If you don’t really care, then it probably won’t happen. So many people who say they want to do things really don’t want to. If you don’t aim for anything, you won’t accomplish anything.

Can’t Versus Won’t

One thing I have learned dealing with people in the ministry, and before that with employees; you get a lot further in dealing with your problems when you are honest about yourself. People never get anywhere making excuses or blaming others. If you’ve got a problem in your life, you’re going to get better faster if you stop saying “can’t” and start saying “won’t.” Once you start saying “won’t” you’ve put the matter in the right framework.

We say, “I can’t lose weight.” For most of us that really means, “I won’t lose weight.” We say, “I can’t forgive.” For most of us that means, “I won’t forgive.” We say, “I can’t find time to read the Bible.” For most of us that means, “I won’t find time to read the Bible.” “I can’t love my spouse, is I won’t love my spouse…”

When you say “won’t” instead of “can’t,” you have started to tell the truth. For most of us “can’t” is simply a convenient excuse. Is it possible for you to do “all things” this year? Yes it is. But first you must want to. That’s step number one—the P413x Principle of Personal Desire.

Can you really do “all things” in 2010?

2. You Can If God Wants You To.

The P413x Principle of Divine Direction.

It’s crucial for you to understand this second answer because it is clearly stated in the text. “I can do all things through Christ.” This verse is not a blank check. It’s not as if Paul is saying, “I can do anything I can dream up.” No. If you read the context, he is speaking about the varying and sometimes difficult circumstances of life.

  • Verse 11—”I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
  • Verse 12—”Sometimes I find myself with plenty of food and sometimes I have nothing to eat. Sometimes I have a roof over my head and sometimes I don’t.” “I know what it is to have money in the bank and I know what it is to be flat broke. And I’ve learned to be content no matter what my situation might be.” (The Jimized version)
  • Then verse 13—”I have learned through the power of Jesus Christ that I can face whatever comes my way.” If it’s good, I can enjoy it. If it’s not so good, I can deal with it.

Why? Because I have access to the everlasting strength of Jesus Christ. Let me put this teaching in one sentence:

Through Jesus Christ you can do everything God wants you to do this year. You can face everything he wants you to face, you can fight every battle he wants you to fight, you can obey every command, you can endure every trial, and you can overcome every temptation through Jesus Christ.

“If God Is In It, You Can Do It”

Back to Rudy. At one point he wanted to quit. Here is what happened…

(Charles Dutton)Fortune: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey what are you doing here don’t you have practice?
Rudy: Not anymore I quit.
Fortune: Oh, well since when are you the quitting kind?
Rudy: I don’t know I just don’t see the point anymore.
Fortune: So you didn’t make the dress list, there are greater tragedies in the world.
Rudy: I wanted to run out of that Tunnel for my dad to prove to everyone that I worked…
Fortune: PROVE WHAT?
Rudy: That I was somebody.
Fortune: Oh you are so full of crap. Your five foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’ and you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years, and you were also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame in this life time you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself and after what you gone through if you haven’t done that by now, it aint gonna never happen, now go on back.

God doesn’t have to prove anything to you. He has done so much or you, you simply need to trust Him and say OK be my Can-Do God. Let me share a simple phrase with you: “If God is in it, you can do it.” That brings it all together, doesn’t it?

  • If God is in your difficulty, you can face it.
  • If God is somehow in your failure, you can overcome it.
  • If God is in your dreams, your dreams will come to pass.
  • If God is in your goals, you can achieve every single one of them.
  • If God is in your prayers, he will not only hear them, he will also answer them.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”~ Winston Churchill

Can you really do “all things” in 2010?

3. You Can If You Rely on Jesus Christ.

This is the P413x Principle of Divine Enablement.

We come now to the heart of the verse: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The last part of that verse is a participle in the Greek. The word itself means “to pour strength into.” It’s like pouring milk into a pitcher or water into a glass or coffee into a cup. It’s the picture of something empty that is filled by an outside source. It’s the picture of a believer facing the problems of life—hopeless and helpless—and in that situation; Jesus Christ pours his strength into the believer’s life. He strengthens us—by pouring his strength into us.

This is what makes Philippians 4:13 totally different from things like Positive Thinking, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” and other purely secular approaches to life. Those techniques may be useful and may in fact help you to a limited degree, but if that’s all you’ve got, you still don’t have anything that impacts your heart.

You may get up every day, look in the mirror and say, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” That’s a nice thought, and if it helps you, okay. But that’s a far cry from the truth contained in this verse. How far will Positive Mental Attitude get you when you lose your job, when you come home and your wife has left you, when the stock market crashes, when your daughter has just decided to have an abortion? Where’s the hope for life? What will you cling to then? How will you find the strength to go on? Where is the anchor for your soul?

It takes more than positive thinking.

You’ve got to have Jesus Christ on the inside. Are we who believe better than other people? No. Are we stronger? No. Are we spared the problems of life? No. Are we tougher than others? No. Does God give us a free pass so that what happens to others doesn’t happen to us? No. Are we wiser than others? No. Do we suffer? Yes. Do we know heartache and disappointment? Yes. Do we see our dreams crumble? Yes. Do we face opposition? Yes. Do we get sick? Yes. Do our loved ones die? Yes. Do we know tragedy, tears and death? Yes. All that anyone else suffers we suffer too.

What makes the difference? Only one thing. Jesus Christ within. We have the power of the indwelling Christ and that makes all the difference in the world.

Is it enough? Is Jesus Christ enough for the problems of life? Is his broken body enough? Is his shed blood sufficient? Is his intercession in heaven able to sustain us? Can his power meet the problems of life? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, and the saints across the ages testify that Jesus Christ is enough.

You can do “all things” if this year you rely on Jesus Christ. Not on your own strength, not on your own power, not on your own wisdom, and not on your own ability to figure things out. But if you will say, “Lord Jesus, this year I’m relying on you,” you can do all things through Christ.

Can you really do “all things” in 2010?

4. You Can If You Start Today and Don’t Look Back.

This is the P413x Principle of the Personal Choice.

One question: Which way are you going this year? Are you going backwards into 2009 or are you going forward into 2010? Your answer makes all the difference. So many people I know live in the past, worry about the past, fret over the past. Forget it! 2009 is over, done, gone, kaput, finished. It’s never coming back. You can’t go back even if you want to. The old year is over, the new one is dawning. Wrap up the old year and give it to the Lord. Then strike out in 2010 to do great things for God.

Let me put it all together. Can you really do “all things” in 2010? Yes, you can. Here are the four P413x principles:

  • Personal Desire
  • Divine Direction
  • Divine Enablement
  • Personal Choice

Notice that the first one is personal, the next two are divine, and the last one is personal. There’s perfect balance here. Two depend on you, two depend on God. Does it depend on you? Yes. Does it depend on God? Yes. Think of the verse this way: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It begins with I, ends with me, and Jesus Christ is in the middle.

Let me boil it down to four key words: “I can through Christ.” To make it clearer, let me explain what I am not saying:

  • I am not saying, “I can do all things.”  Those are the words of a boaster.
  • I am not saying, “I can do some things.”  Those are the words of a doubter.
  • I am saying, “I can do all things through Christ.” Those are the words of a believer.

You can do in 2010 everything God wants you to do. You can fulfill his will in your life. You can obey every command, endure every trial and overcome every temptation. You can do everything God wants you to do this year—through Jesus Christ.

There is, then, one word that is our NO NO Word for 2010. That’s the little word “can’t.”  Instead we need to make “I CAN THROUGH CHRIST” our motto for 2010. We need to write this out and put it in our car, in our bathroom, on every wall in our house, at work: Instead of I can’t, we say:

“I CAN THROUGH CHRIST”

“William Carey… dedicated his life to spreading the gospel in India. Serving as a missionary there from 1793 until his death in 1834, he… [hoped] to translate Scripture into as many Indian languages and dialects as possible….

Carey supervised the creation of India’s first printing press. He established a large print shop in the city of Serampore, where he did his Bible translation. The building was two hundred by fifty feet, and twenty translators worked there in addition to typesetters, compositors, pressmen, binders, and other writers. On March 11, 1812, Carey was teaching in Calcutta. While he was gone, a fire started in the printing room…. Despite many hours of exhaustive efforts to fight the fire, the building burned to the ground. Just five pieces of equipment were saved. Carey’s entire library, his completed Sanskrit dictionary, part of his Bengal dictionary, two grammar books, and ten translations of the Bible were lost. Gone also were the type sets for printing fourteen different languages. Vast quantities of English paper, priceless dictionaries, deeds, and account books were all gone. When Carey returned to Serampore and surveyed the scene, he wept and said, “In one short evening the labours of years are consumed. How unsearchable are the ways of God. I had lately brought some things to the utmost perfection of which they seemed capable, and contemplated the missionary establishment with perhaps too much self-congratulation. The Lord has laid me low, that I may look more simply to him.”

Although he was heartbroken, he did not take much time to mourn. With great resiliency Carey wrote, “The loss is heavy, but as traveling a road the second time is usually done with greater ease than the first time, so I trust the work will lose nothing of real value. We are not discouraged; indeed the work is already begun again in every language. We are cast down but not in despair.”

Carey resolved to trust God that from the embers would come a better press and more scholarly translations. Within a few months Carey had set up shop in a warehouse. Little did Carey know that the fire would bring him and his work to the attention of people all over Europe and America as well as India. In just fifty days in England and Scotland alone, about ten thousand pounds were raised for rebuilding Carey’s publishing enterprise. So much money was coming in that Andrew Fuller, Carey’s friend and a leader of his mission in England, told his committee when he returned from a fund-raising trip, “We must stop the contributions.”

Many volunteers came to India to help as well. By 1832 Carey’s rebuilt and expanded printing operation had published complete Bibles or portions of the Bible in forty-four languages and dialects!

William Carey lived his life with the following creed:

There are grave difficulties on every hand, and more are looming ahead. Therefore we must go forward. (William Carey was a I CAN THROUGH CHRIST kind of guy!)

Where are you as we look forward to 2010?

  • Are you facing difficulties ahead?
  • Are facing marital difficulties?
  • Are you facing financial difficulties?
  • Career difficulties?

Some of you are facing tasks that are so difficult that it seems impossible. The year ahead seems impossible. Don’t despair, don’t give up, don’t think you are powerless.

Let’s get with God and live the P413x “Can-Do” way:

You can climb any mountain in 2010. You can do it. When you come to the end of this year, you’ll say, “Wow, God, You are amazing”

The Little Engine said I think I can, but in Jesus we say I know I can!

Let’s make this very practical. In the space below, write down three goals that you believe God wants you to reach in 2010. It can be personal, professional, relating to your family, your marriage, your friends, your career, your dreams, any part of your life at all.

A Place to Begin

With Christ’s help, in 2010 I can …

  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________
  3. ______________________________

What are you trusting Jesus Christ to do in your life in 2010? Are you willing to live in His Will?

Can you really do “all things” in 2010? With the P413x System of Jesus Christ you can.


Journey of an Elder Brother Day Three

Joseph cast into pitJoseph was a younger brother, but had the characteristics of an elder brother. He was responsible, industrious, kept out of trouble. What was the driving force of Joseph that enabled him to escape the normal pitfalls of being either a lost younger or a lost elder brother? I think the driving force of Joseph was his confidence in God’s plan for his life. Joseph saw his life, no matter the place or dungeon he was in, as in the PURPOSE of GOD!

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph addresses his elder brothers: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good!” Earlier in chapter 45 he revealed his awareness that “God sent me before you to preserve life.” This awareness of God’s divine purpose for our life is what elder and younger brothers need to have. Jospeh God meant it for good

If we focus on ourselves, on our things as the two lost sons did, we fall away from the Father’s heart.

But when we draw near to him, whether in the pigstye or the crop field, we will see that He is accomplishing something Divine, Holy, even Loving. God has a purpose for each path He has us on. Some may resent their parents, some thier spouse, some their job, some their circumstances. God has a purpose through it all. When we focus on His heart and His purpose, we will come to our senses (our God Sense) and willingly accept His grace, His will, His plan.Prodigal God Kisses his neck

What has God planned for your life? Seek to know His heart, and He will run to you and shower you with kisses. Joseph knew this, even in the deepest, darkest dungeon. That is why he could proclaim, “God meant it for good!”

From Pathway of Blessing