Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stepping Out In Faith, Part 2

I want you to think about something. Is it easier to walk with your eyes open or your eyes closed? Try walking around the entire room as fast as you can without jogging or running. Now this time close your eyes very tightly, no cheating, no looking, and walk around the entire room just like you did before. You moved much slower the second time around, didn’t you?

If you had someone in the room with you, you may have started listening to their voice(s) trying to instruct you. They probably told you which way to move, but your progress was very, very slow. If you listen to the voices around you, one may tell you to go right, another will tell you to go left, somebody else will say that there’s a chair right in front of you, and you might respond to ALL the voices that speak to you. Many times we’ll start to pay heed to the voices around us because we feel like we need to hear a Word, and there’s plenty of people around who want to give us a word like, “Turn to the right; you’re about to hit something,” or “Stop!”

See, if you had someone in the room, you responded to those voices, didn’t you? The only problem is, none of those voices was the voice of God. It’s just the voice of carnal-minded men and/or women in your life who are speaking as if they’re some sort of authority in regard to your life. “Turn to the right. Oops, no, there’s a wall to the right.”

Walking with your eyes closed, you tend to run into things. You’re likely to trip. When walking with your eyes closed, you’re prone to listen to the voices around you. Do you understand? You’re listening to all the voices around you because you want some direction; you want wisdom, but you don’t know how to get it. You think that all you have to do is listen to everyone else say, “Turn left and do it quickly,” Then you do it, but you do it with a little distrust because you have begun to realize that you can’t always trust what everyone around you is saying.

When we’re walking blind, that’s when we’re the most susceptible to listening to the voices, and those voices oftentimes will run us into a wall, a ditch, or trip us up. The prudent man considers well his steps.

The way to walk in the promises of God is to move forward with your eyes open. God is calling you to move forward from wherever you are. You can identify whatever area of life you want to; it may be just one specific area or a variety of areas in which God is calling you to move forward.

What steps are you willing to take in order to get there? Not what are you willing to give up or willing to sacrifice. See, as long as you look at Christianity that way, it will remain a chore and a hard thing. When you keep your eyes open and on the prize, it’s an easy thing!

The Hebrew’s writer, probably the Apostle Paul, said, “Be not entangled in the things of this world that come in and are encumbrances on you; be not entangled with the sins that so easily trip you up (paraphrased).” The way to do that is not to focus on sin, the way to do that is to focus on the promises; focus on the prize; focus on the goal! That was Paul’s key; he was focused on the prize. That is what empowered him to walk with purpose with every step.

Some of us are stressing and straining, and probably half of you who are reading this right now think you’ve been wrestling with the devil. You haven’t been wrestling with the devil; you’re wrestling with yourself! Some of us have even been wrestling with God! I submit to you that the devil is not your worst enemy, your own carnal mind is!

This is such an important topic, I want to continue to develop it a bit further. I hope that those of you who live in the greater Cumberland and Hoke County area are able to join us this morning at Cliffdale Christian Center. Sister Vickie, Zach, and I just returned from the Dominican Republic and are excited to be with our CCC family once again. We hope to see you there!

~ pg  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stepping Out In Faith, Part 1

We want to always obtain the promises before we’ve done the will of God, but that’s backwards. God’s Word says, “So that after you have done the will of God that you may obtain the promises.” You have need of endurance, of perseverance. You’re going to have to learn to persevere and honor the process. As we’ve said before, every one of us is somewhere between where we used to be and where we’re going. Every one of us is at some stage in the process.

The book of Proverbs tells us that the prudent man considers well his steps. The “prudent man” here means, “He who walks with a level of wisdom of knowledge, of understanding about life.” The prudent person is going to consider well his steps as Proverbs 14:15 says.

As we make progress, we’re going to move from standing to walking. Standing requires us to stand and be still. Walking involves taking steps. How do you define walking? Can you walk without going anywhere? Well, you’re going to go somewhere, even if you go in circles and end up in the same place, you went somewhere! Walking involves steps, so here’s the essence of walking in the promises: in order to experience the greater measure of the promises of God, you’re going to have to take some steps. You’re going to have to do something. It’s not because God needs our help; He is the All-Sufficient One. However, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God rewards faith, and He says, “The just shall live by faith.” 

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NLT) says, “I run with purpose in every step.” What steps are you taking in order to experience a greater measure of God’s promises and God’s blessing? If you’re not stepping, you’re not walking. If you’re not walking, you’re not walking by faith: you’re standing still. You’re going to have to step out which requires you to do something.

I want you to take some time today and consider the steps you’re taking. You say you want to do this, but you’re really doing that. “Boy, I’d really like to learn to play the piano.” Personally, I’ve shared with Ms. Judy that I’d love to learn to play the piano, but so far I have not taken the first step.

Wanting to do it and doing it are two entirely different things. How bad do you want to do it? Do you want the promises of God fulfilled in your life bad enough to take the steps necessary to experience them? You’re going to have to get moving, honey!

In my most recent blogs, we’ve been talking about walking by faith, right? We walk by faith, not by sight. Walking involves taking steps; it involves movement. Everyone who is walking is moving in a direction. It may or may not be the direction of God’s will; it may or may not be moving closer to the fulfillment of God’s promises. But every one of us, when we’re walking, we’re moving in a specific direction.

In regard to the above, let me ask you this: Is it easier to walk forward or to walk backwards? FORWARD! Have you ever felt like you were taking one step forward and two steps backwards? You may feel like, “Man, I’m just not getting anywhere!” There may be a reason for that; you just might not be getting anywhere! I’m just sayin’. So many of God’s people seem to take a step forward, but then take two steps back, not understanding that it’s harder to walk backwards than it is to walk forwards, so you just might as well man up, woman up, or saddle up, and move forward.

In the long run, it’s going to be a whole lot easier, and you will save steps! If I take one step forward and two steps back and one step forward and two steps back, I’m making progress, but it’s not forward progress. Even if I take two steps forward and one step back, I’ll make progress, but it will take me twice as long. The process will be lengthened, and it is not due to anything that God is or is not doing, it’s because I am not moving forward.

Listen to me. Faith requires steps. Walking by faith requires steps. I don’t care what area of life we’re talking about. Your finances might be a mess, and you know that you need to take steps like setting a budget, cutting up the credit cards, learning to save, or whatever it might be, but so far you’re not taking the steps, and you can’t figure out why God isn’t moving! God will move in response to the steps that we take in the direction in which we’re moving. 

~ pg

Friday, September 14, 2012

Walking in God's Promises, Part 4

I would like to start off by asking you a question: Do you really think that when God told Joshua, “I want you to march around the walls seven times, and on the seventh time I want you to shout,” that Joshua could really comprehend that? Do you think he processed it this way in his thoughts: “Okay, we’re going to march around the walls, we’re gonna shout, and the walls are gonna come tumbling down.” Huh? I don’t think that he quite could have grasped that. He was a warrior.

Also, think about this. God speaks to Gideon and tells him, “Okay, I’m going to use you to defeat the enemies of Israel. So he gathers up an army of 30,000 and whittles them down to 300. Then God said, “I want you to use clay lamps and horns to defeat the enemy.” Do you believe that Gideon understood how God was going to do it? Gideon is ready by brandishing a sword, and he has warriors ready standing behind him and God says, “You’re to use clay lanterns and horns, and with this, you will defeat the enemy.” I don’t think that Gideon fully grasped that. I don’t believe Gideon said, “Oh, no problem, God just said we’re going to use clay pots and blow a lamb’s horn and that’s it!”

He didn’t take the time apparently to try and figure out what God was telling him to do. Cuz if he had tried to mentally figure it out, I’m not sure he would have understood it, and I’m not even sure that he would have done it. All he knew was that God said, “Do it,” so, “Boys, this is what we’re going to do.” He must have thought, “It makes perfect sense to God, so let’s do it.”

Many times we don’t know the end from the beginning. This is something we need to know though: every one of us is somewhere in the process. Right now you are somewhere between where you used to be and where you are going. That’s pretty deep, ain’t it? That’s called process, and you can’t figure out why certain parts of it are hard. “That can’t be God, I bind the devil in Jesus’ name, shundai, shaba!”

You’ve bound the devil and cast out demons. You’ve prayed and fasted. And you’re still going through this thing. It could be God. God’s taking you through a process. But it hurts! I know. That’s usually your flesh burning, and God loves the scent of burning flesh, so let it burn, baby. He’s taking you through this process to the fulfillment of the purpose that He placed in you from the foundations of the earth.

Walking in the promises. How many of you want to walk in the promises and not just stand on them? Here’s one key amongst so many others; although, I would consider it the key of keys. You must develop the ability of being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing with the right people. If you don’t have the right people, it ain’t gonna work.

Believe me. I’ve tried and tried and tried and tried to do right things with the wrong people, and the first key whether in business, ministry, or life is to get the right people on the bus. Because when you got the right people on the bus, it usually doesn’t matter where the bus is going. Did you hear me? That is a principle of success. 
Now you want to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing with the right people. How are you going to do that? We’ll continue this and I’m going to share some things that I’ve discovered in the Word of God and in my own life that have brought me to that place; I’m not telling you that I always hit the mark and I’m always where I’m supposed to be, although I know there are times when I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

God’s Word says, “If you’ll obey these words, these statues, these commands, my blessings, all of these blessings will come upon you and overtake you.” The problem is that we are all looking for the blessings, but we’re not getting overtaken by the blessings. Why? Because we’re not in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things with the right people.

~ pg

Friday, September 7, 2012

Walking In God's Promises, Part 3

Developing God’s perspective on life can change your whole attitude. Some folks have bad attitudes, and it is solely based on perspective. Your whole outlook hinges on the way you view your life, how you see God, and how you see yourself.

In regard to perspective, the more I learn about God, the more I learn about Christ in me, and the more I learn about Christ in me, the more the limits seem to disappear. Now, we know that we can do anything that God calls us to do; it doesn’t matter how much it costs. When confronted with a new opportunity, our human inclination nine times out of ten is to immediately ask, “What’s it gonna cost”? What do you care? As though! Do you really think that you are the supplier of all of your needs? If so, then your perspective needs to change. By definition, your perspective is the periscope through which you view life.

Revelation will cause your perspective to change, and the whole purpose of revelation, in one word, is conviction. Not guilt, but conviction. Conviction is a persuasion. After undergoing this process, we become men and women of conviction. Sometimes we hear, “Oh, I respect him, he has strong convictions," or, "She is a woman with conviction.” Conviction is evidenced when we become persuaded about something.

After that, passion needs to kick in. Another word for passion is “enthusiasm.” Nothing of significance has ever been accomplished in this world without enthusiasm. How enthusiastic are you about your life? “Well, you haven’t seen the life that I live!” Well, change your attitude! “How do I do that? I am the way that I am.” So change the way that you are. “How do I do that?” Get into the Word of God! Get God’s perspective on who you are, not who you think you are. Who you think you are and what you think you can do will always be less than what God says. He sees something bigger in you than you see, and He knows it’s there because He put it there. He wants you to discover it through revelation so your perspective about your life can change.

When you get God’s perspective, there will be passion; there will be enthusiasm. Enthusiasm actually has the root word, “entheos,” which in the Greek means, “in God.” You can look it up, I did. You can find it in Merriam’s dictionary. In fact, it literally means (this is Webster’s Modern Collegiate Dictionary; it’s not even the old 1826 version): “belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit.”

I almost got rocked out of my rocker when I first read that!  Belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit! The next definition--you’re going to love this one--is “religious fanaticism.” Ha! It’s believing in the revelation that God has imparted to you by the Holy Spirit. Do you believe in the revelation you’ve received? Do you believe in the vision He’s given you? Bless God, if you do, then that ought to light a fire on the inside of you. There ought to be some passion; there ought to be some enthusiasm because God is in it!

Now that we have the passion, we have to understand: there is a process. I’m doing some things today that God started giving me the revelation on a few years ago. And let me tell you something about my experience. I could have started acting on those things a few years ago and messed everything up. Have you ever done that? I have. Sometimes we adopt the attitude, “Well, God showed me this, it’s God, and I’m doing it!” Maybe it isn’t God’s time! Maybe you have to go through a process.

All of the above are factors of walking in God’s promises. It is my hope and prayer that we all begin to experience the blessing of His promises in our daily lives in a greater degree. They’re all there . . . we simply have to posture ourselves to receive.

~ pg