Thursday, August 30, 2012

Walking in God's Promises, Part 2

Every person in the Bible that you can think of that accomplished anything of significance had to go through a process whether it was Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Daniel, Gideon, or Paul. Even Jesus Himself had to go through and honor the process. Jesus didn’t do that simply by going to the cross. One of His means was by entering the world legally by being born of a woman. So throughout His life, you can see that Jesus honored protocol. Protocol is part of the process. The sooner we learn to recognize, understand, and respect protocol and process, the sooner we will reach the goal of fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives. It’s all based on the Word of God and upon personal experience.

In addition to personal experience, we can learn from the people around us who've gone through so we don't have to, that is, if we're willing to learn from them. I know that there are some young folks, who in your heart, you really, really believe that you know as much about life as the sixty-year old person sitting next to you. I have a six-year old, and I'm trying to take him through a process. Right now we’re still stumbling through, “Listen to your father because he knows more than you.” At six-years old, he’s convinced that he’s smarter than me in the ways of life. So whenever I tell him how to do something, he immediately tells me how he thinks it should be done. We’re talking six-years old! Oh, what a road we have ahead of us! I’m sure none of you have kids like that. Your kids probably commend you on how smart you are every day. If that’s the case, you’d better count yourself blessed.

Also, part of the process is going from faith-to-faith. You need to ask yourself, “Am I making progress? Am I moving from faith-to-faith? Having conquered, am I prepared to conquer some more? What’s going to enable me to conquer?" One of the primary ingredients to fulfilling the purposes of God--this is going to be deep--is to know what the will of God is! Did you get that? Because you’ll never know if you’ve accomplished His purpose if you don’t know what that is! You’ll go through life wandering and wondering and never really knowing.

The first thing we need is revelation. We have to have revelation of God’s purpose for our life. When revelation comes, by definition, it means that something is revealed; it’s uncovered. God makes it plain to us. It may or may not line up with how we think we had our lives figured out. I just knew in my younger days that I was going to be a rock and roll star. I mean, all those gigs we had making $20 a night; we were on our way! Well, it’s kind of funny how things changed. We had the ambition of being stars: sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll; isn’t that a great vision? I was a man full of vision. How do you go from that to having the privilege of going so many places and preaching the Word of God? The two don’t even compare.

I look at what God has done. was able to go back to my very first church, Christian Service Center, this past Easter Sunday. I wanted to honor my former pastor, Pastor Bill. It’s kind of like giving flowers before the funeral. They allowed me to give a message and share. Part of my sermon was that everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve taken a part of that man with me. That may sound strange to some, although in my heart, he infused me with something and imparted so deeply to me. I shared with him all the places I’d been around the world in order to preach the Gospel, and Pastor Bill was simply thrilled and excited. Everywhere I had gone, it was to take Christ, but I felt like he was going with me. Thirty years of this, wow!

In closing, as revelation of God’s will opens up, we can define our purpose. Some of you say, “Well, I’m just a carpenter, a laborer, a housewife, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a dentist, or a garbage collector working with Waste Management. You know what I say? Number one: be the best garbage collector you can be. Find purpose in your work. Because I tell you what, I appreciate your work! I am so glad that we have garbage collectors. Just think about what your world would be like without them. When was the last time that you thanked God for the garbage man and spoke a blessing over him? You don’t have to lay hands on him unless you want to, but pray for him!

So, what has God called you to do? Whatever that is, get passionate about it! We’re only part way through what God has laid on my heart to share regarding, “Walking in His Promises.” Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, and we’ll see you next time!

~ pg

Monday, August 20, 2012

Walking in God's Promises, Part 1

Today I want to transition a bit between our last blog series from "Standing on the Promises" to "Walking in the Promises." First we must learn to stand on the promises and then we can learn to walk in the promises. We must be diligent, first of all, to discover what the promises are. They are found in the Word of God, and depending on who you ask or Google, there are anywhere from a hundred to several thousand promises in the Word. I happen to believe that there are thousands of promises . . . some subtle, some not so subtle.

As you remember, God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Paul said that all of the promises of God are, "yes and amen!" Now, in Ephesians chapter 6, the Apostle Paul says in verse 13, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day." Here's what we really want to focus on, "and having done all to stand." We discovered last time that the phrase, "having done all to stand," is somewhat of a militaristic term and literally means, "having conquered, be prepared to conquer again."

All of us can look back on our lives and see apparent victories; we have all conquered to some degree. We have conquered, thanks be to God, thanks be to the blood, thanks be to the Shepherd, and to the power of the Holy Spirit. Scripture says that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. So basically Paul is saying, "You have already conquered, and you have already obtained some victories in your life; therefore, be ready to conquer once again." And many times, the current battle is greater than those we have experienced previously. Why is that?

I believe the answer can be found in part in Romans chapter 1 wherein the Apostle Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." We've all heard that before, and we declare that. In fact, we make that declaration oftentimes to express our boldness and our faith. "For it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Then we must read on to verse 17 to capture the concept of what is being communicated. "For in it (the Gospel), the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith." This is just one of at least four places in Scripture that we find the phrase, "The just shall live by faith." Please note that it doesn't say the just should, the just could, the just might, but it says the just SHALL, which means it's a given. Why? Because it takes faith to be just; it takes faith to be justified.

We read here that we are to be going from one level of faith to another level of faith. So here is a question that we all need to ask ourselves: Am I growing from faith to faith? Can you look back on your life and determine whether or not your faith is increasing? Your level of faith should be going upward and onward. It is a false assumption to believe that the longer you walk with God, the more faith you acquire. We probably all know people (perhaps even ourselves) who do not have the faith today that they might have had ten, five, or even two years ago.

Paul prayed for the Corinthians that their faith might be increased, and so are we to be moving from one level of faith to a greater level of faith. That's why I referred to my own life years ago that "having done all to stand" for me at one point was being able to pay my light bill. It was conquering to be able to pay my bills on time and to keep the telephone turned on. What a relief! Some of you might not even know what I'm talking about, but if you've ever had your phone or electricity turned off because you couldn't pay your bill, then we can relate.  

So for me, it may have been a great victory just to be able to pay my bills or put gasoline in my auto. I can remember times when I was driving my old Pontiac down the road, and I would see the little red needle would go weeeelllll below empty, and it didn't take me long to find out exactly how far down it would go! You know how you find out? If you run out of gas enough times, suddenly you discover you can let it go this far, and no farther.

I can remember traveling down the road and having to believe God. Back in the day I'd hear great testimonies about people pouring something else into their gas tanks, and their engines still ran. But I was always a little fearful of that. I mean, my old Pontiac, it wasn't much, but it was all I had.

So we're to be going from faith to faith. I like to put it this way: I've gone from ten dollar faith to tens of thousands of dollars of faith. I've seen my faith increase because today in my life, ten dollars isn't going to make a whole lot of difference. See, God doesn't take you directly from ten dollar faith to ten thousand dollar faith; there's this little thing between the two called "process." This is a significant portion of growing from faith to faith. We'll cover the importance of "process" in my next blog.

Thank you very much for joining me as we talk about His promises and how to claim them and make them your very own!

~ pg

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Standing on His Promises, Part 4

The last time I wrote, I talked about gaining God’s perspective in every area of our lives. I want to talk about that just a bit more. As we begin to renew our minds with God’s Word, our perspective begins to change; we acquire God’s perspective.

God has vision and provision for every area of life. For sickness, God has healing. We view death; God sees life. He has a totally different perspective than we have in our human mind. So the carnal, unregenerate mind must come into alignment with God’s mindset and with His perspective. That can only happen with revelation that brings conviction. Conviction brings persuasion. The purpose of conviction is to bring about change: transformation. Revelation without transformation has no effect.

So God’s not just revealing His will to us so we can simply know what it is; He reveals His will to us so we will have a conviction about doing it! After we have done the will of God, we will have the promise. Oh, how God wants to lavish the promises upon us! He wants to just pour out His promises in every area of life, but He knows that we must first do His will! In order to do His will, we have to know what His will is. And for us to know what His will is, we have to receive fresh perspective and revelation so that we can develop a conviction that will ultimately result in a life transformation.

Prayerfully we are moving to the place of living according to the principles and precepts of God, and then we won’t even have to chase the promises. The writer of Deuteronomy said the blessings of God will overtake us! They’ll just come up on us! Why? Because suddenly our lives are lined up with the will of God, and then this weird thing starts to happen. We find ourselves at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, and with the right people. Instead of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, with the wrong people! Suddenly things come into alignment with the will of God and then boom! Oh, there’s’ one of those promises right there! BAM. Oh God, You’re overtaking me! Is this making sense to you?

We have need of endurance, but in order to have that endurance, our perspective must change. Our human perspective must be transformed in order to have and demonstrate a correct, spiritual perspective. There is a God-given, Spirit-inspired vision for our lives. God has a vision for your life! You may or may not be living out that vision. I’m not judging that. In order to live out the vision that God has for your life, your perspective has to change. You have to begin to see your life as God sees your life. This will bring you to a place of being able to determine ultimate purpose. We talk a lot about purpose, but until your perspective changes, you cannot fulfill your God-given purpose, and that purpose goes beyond you! It actually goes beyond you and your household. Human purpose must come into alignment with God’s will for our lives.

Purpose is simply having an objective. What is your objective in life? What are you attaining to? Someone might say, “Man, I’d be happy to just get a job and pay my bills.” Okay. Let me tell you something. Everything I’ve been asking God for this week has been happening unbelievably beyond what I expect. Do you need a job? Then let’s agree together right now. “Father in the name of Jesus Christ, open the door of employment and opportunity for my brothers and sisters to get the job You have for them. I pray that you each may have the boldness to go through that door no matter how menial the task may seem, and BOOM, a bigger door will open in front of you. May you see that it’s not simply a job or source of income, but it is an opportunity to represent Christ in a place of employment. God, I ask You to open that door of opportunity for each one who is believing You for it.” Friend, now that we’ve prayed and believed God together, when that door of opportunity opens for that job, I don’t care if it looks good to you or not, just do it . . . as long as it’s legal and it’s from God.

As I was stating earlier, my seeking God for a few things recently was borne out of frustration, and I said, “God, I need to see this, this, and this,” and boom, boom, boom happened within twenty-four hours. I’m telling you that God is in a good mood, and He’s just opening up opportunities.

Things are going to start happening! And don’t let your human perspective mess you up. Before you know it, you’ll start weighing things out and thinking about things and get that old unregenerate part of your mind going.

God has promised provision, but many times that provision is a result of us getting the vision and having the perspective of God, which is seeing life, our life, through His periscope. We can ask ourselves, “How is God viewing that? Is God just taking us through a bitter circumstance and trial because He’s a mean, old God who doesn’t like us anymore?” NO! Maybe He brought us to some bitter waters because He knows we need to be cleansed and strengthened and prepared for what’s ahead.

Having done all to stand, therefore stand. Having already conquered, and every one of us has conquered, let’s conquer again! In fact, the Scripture says that we are MORE than conquerors! Why? Because having conquered, we’re ready to conquer again! Aren’t you ready to conquer again? You know, conquering is better than being conquered. The only one I want conquering me is Jesus. I almost got a t-shirt this past week that said, “beautiful losers.” At first I thought, “Who’d want to wear that?” But then I began to think about my life and thought, “I’m a beautiful loser.” And I would gladly lose it all, again, for Jesus. In the world I was a loser, but He made me beautiful.

I have to stop. Hallelujah. I said that God has been answering prayer; He surely has been. You have to change your perspective; you have to find the promise. Isn’t God good?

~ pg