Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Spiritual "Flat Earth" Model

Recently, I have noticed a lot of “Flat Earth” videos on You Tube.  People believe that the earth is flat – I’m not kidding.  They’ve crossed over from the common understanding that the earth orbits the sun and that the planets are globes.  This is something that was discovered and reasoned out by Copernicus in 1543.  But now, in 2016, once again, the debate rages.  The idea stems from the conspiracy theory that NASA faked the moon landings:  That no one has ever reached the moon.  The most common “Flat Earth” argument is this:  “NASA lied; the photos from the International Space Station are CGI.”

The problem is that if listen to their arguments they include a combination of a misunderstanding of perspective, a misuse of practical geometry and other things.  In short, they have rejected what is perceived to be scientific fact and embraced a lie, and I'll tell you there is no debating of scientific principle with them; they have no understanding of that.  They just accuse you of being a NASA shill or a sheep. 

In our day and hour, in the church, we have seen people rejecting the truth of God’s word and by rejecting that, they’re accepting the lies of false doctrines.  Today, I want to look at these things from this portion of scripture:

John 14:16-17 (NKJV)
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Embracing the Lie

At first glance the “Flat Earth” movement seems harmless.  The proponents are doing their little experiments.  They’re launching their “Go-Pro” cameras on weather balloons.  They’re using lasers to measure the curvature of bodies of water.  They’re drawing single plane triangles on globes, applying single plane geometry to a curved surface, which doesn’t work.  They’re making slick you tube videos to convince people.

The sad part is that it is a failure of the US educational system.  In the US educators have become social engineers.  They’ve stepped away from educating and have put their energy into changing society.

We have to be careful in the church, that we don’t remove our focus from the Word of God and place it on the changes taking place in our society: Embracing the policies of the world and neglecting to apply the truth of scripture to our lives.  We must remember this:


2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

The word of God is inerrant truth.  We hear the argument, “The Bible was written by men and so it can’t always be correct.”  The Bible was written by men INSPIRED by God.  God has used these men as tools to give us His word.  God is incapable of lying.

It’s a strategy of the devil to cause us to doubt the word of God.  When we doubt the word of God we end up lifting up the philosophies of men, and make God a liar.

Romans 3:3-4 (NKJV)
3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

Then truth is still the truth.

Satan used this strategy of causing doubt in the very earliest moments of human history.  This is how he caused the fall of mankind – Let’s examine that:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

The Bible tells us that the devil is cunning.  That word cunning means that he is able to use trickery.  He’s good at it.  It’s something that he uses for his purposes.  He begins to do that with Eve, “Did God really say..?” He’s saying, “What?  I can’t believe God said that to you.”  Then:

Genesis 3:4-5 (NKJV)
3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Here he says, straight out. That God lied.  “God’s a liar – You’ll not surely die. He just doesn’t want you to be like him.”

Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

The devil lied and mankind died!  The liar was the serpent, but Eve believed that lie.

The Bible is full of truths:

Fornicators will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).  That’s a truth.

You must be born again:  Experience a change of heart about sin (John 3:3).  That’s a truth.

Jesus is God.  He is God made man. (John 1:14)  That’s a truth.  

There are many others, but people pick and choose and apply only certain ones, just like the “Flat Earth” crowd and because of that they believe the lie.

A Spiritual Flat Earth Model

Some interesting flat earth beliefs:
1.        The sun and the moon rotate on a flat plane over the earth.  They are supposedly four thousand miles up into the “Star Dome.”
2.        The Stars are arranged in a “dome” over the earth.
3.        Antarctica is a ring around the earth that keeps the ocean from falling off the edge.

But in order to believe those things you must reject things that are observable, for instance:
1.        The sun rises and sets.  It comes up and it goes down.
2.        The moon eclipses.  A round object passes across the front of it.
3.        The sun eclipses.  The light of the sun is blocked.
4.        The stars in the Southern Hemisphere can’t be seen in the Northern Hemisphere.  It they are in a dome with Polaris in the center we should be able to see all of the stars.
5.        Antarctica can be crossed.  It isn’t a ring, it’s a continent.

There are so many observable phenomena that must be ignored in order to believe this, that it can’t be anything but an unflinching refusal to believe the truth.

Since the beginning people have refused to believe in God.  Look at this:
 Romans 1:18-20 (NKJV)
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

“There are those who suppress the truth.”  That word “suppress” means to exclude from consciousness.  In other words, you refuse to believe it.  The scripture says that God’s invisible attributes can clearly be seen since the creation of the world.  So there are spiritual “Flat Earthers” who see what is clearly observable and overlook it.  They refuse to believe the evidence of the existence of God.  In the same way as those who refuse to see accept the shape of the earth even when the evidence of a global earth can clearly be seen.

Those people doubt God’s existence, so they don’t give any authority to His word.  They pick and choose what “truths” to believe and they begin to mix their own philosophies with the truths of God.  How many times have you heard truths of the Bible perverted?  For example, the Bibles says no one enters the Kingdom of God except through Jesus (John 14:6), but how many times have you heard, “Yahweh, Buddha, Allah, they’re just different names for the same God;” or, “If I’m a good person I’ll go to Heaven.”  All of these thoughts are spiritual Flat Earth Models. 

When you refuse to believe the truth you can use your own imagination to fill in the blanks.

Romans 1:21-23 (NKJV)
1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Why are there so many different religions?  Because there’s no limit to imagination, the more people you have the more different religious philosophies you can imagine.  The Flat Earth model is nonsense – it’s foolishness.  The Bible says when we reject the truth we will develop foolish philosophies. 

“Professing to be wise they became fools, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” 

It is a suppression of the truth and I want you to know there are consequences for suppressing the truth.

Romans 1:24-25 (NKJV)
1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

These are people who worship their bodies.  They throw away modesty; they sexualize everything.  These are people who are hooked on pornography.  They’re men, who see every woman as a sexual conquest.  They’re women who look at men solely as a source of sensual pleasure.  They’re people who blur the lines of gender accepting anything; hedonists seeking only pleasure.

Romans 1:26-28 (NKJV)
1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

In a mind where truth and authority of scripture is overlooked, there is no moral absolute.  In the absence of morality any act, no matter how depraved, becomes possible.

Genocide – destruction of a nationality or race of people.
Abortion – Murder of society’s most innocent.
Transgenderism – You don’t even believe your own body.

These things are a spiritual Flat Earth model.

Resisting the Lies:

Foe the last several months, I've been carefully considering the thought process that leads to a Flat Earth model.  I’ve listened attentively to their arguments.  I’ve attempted to refute logical fallacies.  I’ve even spent time examining the mathematics that accurately explains the Global Earth Model.

To me this kind of discussion is interesting; it’s scientific.  That's always appealed to me; I majored in Biology in the university.  The problem is that it seems like science, but it’s all based on faulty logic incorrect mathematical application, a refusal to believe the easily observable, and a complete lack of understanding of Physics.  In short, it’s not science, it’s pseudoscience. It sounds like science but it’s not.  It’s imagination.

Those who reject the authority of the Bible, creating their own spiritual philosophy that sears the conscience and makes it possible for them to participate in sin without guilt, are involved in something that seems like spirituality, but isn’t.  It’s pseudo-spirituality.  There is a way to resist these arguments.  Immerse yourself in the truth.  Read; study your Bible.  Know what God said.  Eve believed the lie because she didn’t understand clearly what God had said.  Look:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

God clearly said, “If you EAT the fruit you will surely die.”  He didn’t mention touching it.  That was Eve’s interpretation.  We have to be careful of NEW interpretations of God’s word.  We need to know what God has really said.  The Bible is straightforward and clear.  If we aren’t careful to know the truth, we can be easily deceived by carefully spoken words and slick presentations.  Be on guard – know your Bible.


When Jesus was tempted he turned the devil back with the words of scripture, “It is written…”  When the devil attempted to twist scriptures, Jesus called him on it.  He knew completely the word of God.  He studied it.  He memorized it and spoke it.  Following the scriptures in church and in Bible study isn’t enough.  You have to devour the word of God.  Meditate on the word of God.  Know the truth and reject the lie.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Filters of Fear and Faith

We all make use of filters in life.  A filter is something that screens out impurities.  We filter water before we drink it.  We wear those masks to filter air when we ride our motorcycles.  Filter can affect the quality of what we take into our bodies.

In our cars and scooters there are certain filters that we use.  Our cars have air filters, oil filters and gas filters.  These filters affect the vehicle’s performance.  Unfiltered gas can clog fuel injection lines.  Unfiltered air can allow things to enter the cylinders that can damage the engine.  Unfiltered oil can allow metal shavings that enter and score the cylinders.  All of these things affect the cars performance.

I want you to know that we have spiritual filters that filter our perceptions of the world.  Those filters can affect our performance as well.  Today I want to post on filters from this portion of scripture:

Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV)
6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Filters

There were two sources of inspiration for this sermon.  The first was a comment that my wife made about what we look at and listen to.  The second was the story of David and Goliath from our Bible study on Wednesday (Points of Victory, “The Spear of Intimidation;” by Pastor Greg Mitchell).  This post is what God showed me through those two things. 

Our bodies are created with natural filters; our eyes are filters; our ears are filters.  The things we hear and see can affect us.  The scripture says that the eye is the lamp of the body.  If our eye is good there will be light in the body – The light is goodness and righteousness:

2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)
6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Our eye is a filter of light and darkness.  What we focus our attention on is what enters our minds.  What we see isn’t the filter.  What we see is information that requires interpretation.  We take what we see and we FILTER it through our biases, our culture and our frames of reference. 

Today, I want to focus on spiritual filters, specifically, the filters of fear and faith.  These two filters are opposites.  You cannot have faith in presence of fear, because fear betrays a LACK of faith.  If fear is present then faith is not. 

So much of how we behave and react is based on these two filters – many of us struggle with fear:

Fear is a natural response to danger.  It’s a part of the fight or flight response.  This is a natural physiological response to imminent danger.  Adrenaline is secreted into our bloodstreams.  Our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes deeper, so more oxygen can be transported to our muscles.  This can provide more speed when running or more strength when fighting.  Or reflexes become faster so that we’re better prepared to face th3e danger.  Those responses were built into us for a more dangerous time.

These days we don’t have to run from saber-toothed tigers but we continue to have the same reactions, but now we call them stress and they’re produced by different fears, like fear of failure, for example.

Fear of failure can cause us to react in one or more of following three ways:

1)      We don’t act at all – We’re paralyzed by over-analysis; fearful of a misstep creating more problems.  In sports this often called “the paralysis of analysis.”
2)      We become control freaks – We hold on to every detail.  We don’t allow anyone to help, running ourselves ragged, or;
3)      We become perfectionists and because nothing is perfect we end up doing nothing at all focusing on minor details always striving for an unobtainable result.

There are other types of fear and other reactions.

1)      Fear creates a lack of confidence – I can’t do it – I’m not up to it.
2)      Fear creates procrastination – If I ignore that thing that frightens me, it will go away.
3)      Fear makes you unable to lead – I’ll leave it to someone else so I don’t mess it up.

If we filter what we see through fear it stops us from moving forward in life, it’s destructive to relationships, and it hinders God’s calling in our lives.  Nothing positive is created by fear, but fear is pervasive in society. 

In order to illustrate the differences between fear reactions and faith reactions I’m going to look at one event in which, the filter of fear and the filter of faith cause separate reactions.

The Fear Filter

1 Samuel 17:4-7 (NKJV)
17:4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.

So here’s Goliath – He’s a huge man about three meters tall (9.5 feet).  The name Goliath is Hebrew and the man is a Philistine, so this is probably a name that the Israelis gave him.  The name means to strip naked – so as to humiliate someone.  Every ti8me they see Goliath and say, “There’s Goliath!” they’re saying, “There’s the one who will strip me naked and humiliate me!”

Words have power, they define the filter that you’re using to interpret the circumstances you find yourself in.  You can speak words of strength and courage or you can speak words of fear and discouragement.  Your actions will always follow the direction seen through your words.  The words I’m afraid lead to the actions of fear that I mentioned earlier.  That’s what we see here:

1 Samuel 17:10-11 (NKJV)
17:10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together." 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

They saw him – They heard his words and it caused fear.  That word dismay means to lose courage.  They saw this huge powerful man, they spoke their fear, they heard his taunt – You will be our slaves and they lost the courage to face him.  They quit.

1 Samuel 17:23-24 (NKJV)
17:23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.

They used the fear filter.  They took actions of fear; they fled from him.  There’s no victory in fear.  Fear must be overcome in order to see victory.

How often do we filter our circumstances through fear?  “What if I lose my job, I may not find another one?”  “I can’t take a chance and invest my money.  What if I lose it?”  “What if my kids don’t get into the best school?” What if?  What if?  What if?   “I can’t.”  “I’m not qualified.”  “I don’t know enough!”  “They might be offended.”  “They might react angrily.”  That’s the fear filter.  It paralyzes you – It hinders you.

Do you know that great success usually involves great risk?  Edmund Hillary – No one had ever come off of Mt. Everest alive – But he went anyway!  Neil Armstrong – He didn’t know if landing on the moon was even possible – But he did it, anyway. 

Fear takes away the courage to risk.  You have dreams; things you want in life but you filter that vision through a prism of fear…so they never happen.

Fear also destroys relationships.  It creates family friction.

1 Samuel 17:28-29 (NKJV)
17:28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle." 29 And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"

David’s talking to the others, trying to find out what the reward for killing Goliath is.  He’s considering it.  His brother Eliab confronts him, “You’re full of pride.  What can you do?  It’s insolence to think that you can do what this army of battle hardened soldiers can’t do.”  I think Eliab resents David’s courage.  He was also there and he also refused to face Goliath.  He thinks David’s courage highlights his lack of courage so he lashes out.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever ridiculed someone because they weren’t afraid of what you’re afraid of?  That’s Eliab tinking.

Fear also betrays your lack of faith in God

The Faith Filter

Let’s look now at the Faith Filter.  We find faith in David’s reaction to Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:26 (NKJV)
17:26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that defies God’s army?  Who is this enemy of God that has you running scared?  He’s reminding them that they’re instruments of God’s power.  This is the army that took the promised land.  This is the army that has faced enemies too numerous to count.  This is God’s army – Who’s this Philistine punk that thinks he can defeat God’s army?  That thinks he can defeat God? 

So, he goes to Saul, remember he’s a teenager – He’s young.  Look at what he says:
 1 Samuel 17:32-33 (NKJV)
17:32 Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." 33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

He says, “I’m not afraid – I’ll handle this for you – I’ll fight him.”  He’s confident; he has faith in his own abilities and in God’s assistance.  He knows God will help him.  Saul, though, is fearful, “You can’t you’re too young.  I’m a veteran of many battles and I’m scared.  You’re so young, what can you do?”

David’s had victories, though.  He’s a experienced battle, too.
 1 Samuel 17:34-35 (NKJV)
17:34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.

David’s filter isn’t fear – He’s seeing past victories and he’s applying them to this circumstance.  David’s filter is faith; in himself and in God.

1 Samuel 17:37 (NKJV)
17:37 Moreover David said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you!"

David says, “This is no different and since he’s also defying God, God will move on my behalf.”  Faith is the filter that David is visualizing this through.  Faith trumps fear.  Victory is only possible through faith. 

David’s faith encourages.  It doesn’t drive courage away; it causes one to gain courage.  It doesn’t paralyze it makes it possible to take action.  It makes it possible to take a risk that leads to reward.
 1 Samuel 17:48-49 (NKJV)
17:48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.

David, in faith and courage, ran to the battle.  He RAN into the danger and God gave him a victory.  Our faith causes a response on God’s part.  Our faith can be the catalyst to victory.

Finally, your faith can ignite faith in other people. 

1 Samuel 17:52 (NKJV)
17:52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.

Suddenly, the paralysis of fear that has kept the Israelis from the battle is lifted.  The men rose up and ran toward the enemy, engaging them, chasing them nd killing them.  Your victory through faith and courage can inspire others and encourage others to that same kind of action.  If we face challenges through a filter of faith, and people can see that we trust God for the victory, they will trust Him as well. 

What do you look like when there are challenges in your life – fearful?  Are you fraid to move forward?  Lashing out at others?  Or are you like David, filtering the challenge through faith, eager for victory?  Trusting God to bring it and making it happen.

The outcome of any circumstance is the dependent on the filter through which we see that circumstance.

Abraham’s filter was faith – He was called the friend of God.
Moses’ filter was faith – God met with him as with a friend.
David’s filter was faith – He was Israel’s greatest king – EVER!
Paul’s filter was faith – God’s greatest evangelist and missionary.


What are you looking for – Victory or defeat?  Through what do you filter your vision – Fear or Faith.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Rod of Surrender

Most of us have said that we want to be used by God.  We pray it; we speak it; we sing choruses about it, but many times we can’t figure it out why it doesn’t come to pass in our lives.  Why are we toiling and laboring, but it seems like we’re not getting anywhere in our desire to be used by God?  Maybe, there’s something that’s left inside of us that hinders God’s use.  Maybe we see our talents and abilities as the reason God can use us.  Maybe there’s still some pride:  We want to be noticed for what we’ve done for God, or assume that God will reward our egos. 

Is it about what Gods wants to do, or is it about what you want God to do for you? Are you surrendered to God’s purposes, or are you looking for God to bring about your purposes? 

Surrender to God is the beginning of real revival.  Here’s a secret, what God is doing isn’t about us, it’s about Him and His purposes.  Today, I want to post a message on what it means to surrender.

Exodus 4:2-3 (NKJV)
4:2 So the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod." 3 And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.
 Exodus 4:20 (NKJV)
4:20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

The Staff of Man

In our text, we see Moses as he is receiving the call of God on his life.  This moment takes place at the burning bush.  We all know the story; Moses sees the bush burning but not being consumed.  He turns aside to see the miracle and God calls to him out of the middle of the bush and sends him to deliver Israel.  The problem is that Moses isn’t ready to answer God’s call.  He has a number of reasons why he can’t do it.

I stutter – I’m not eloquent.  The people won’t believe me or trust me.  He had lots of reasons why God should choose someone else.  Finally, God says to him, “What’s that in your hand?”  Moses answers, “A rod.”

What it is, is the shepherd’s staff – Moses was a shepherd.  The staff is what identifies him, this is what defines him.  It says who he is and Moses is hanging onto it.  All of us have things in our lives that define us:  Things that speak to who we are.  It may be a job title.  It may be some material thing.  It may be an image you’ve cultivated – It defines who you want to be to other people. 

When we put those things before the purposes of God, we’re like Moses, resisting the call that’s on us.  We’re holding to the rod of our self-image.  We can’t have revival, when it’s our image that we’re trying to lift up.  We can’t serve the purposes of God when it’s about making us look good. 

Moses is holding on to the symbol of himself.  He’s holding onto the rod and saying this is who I am.  I’m not the instrument of God’s deliverance; I’m the shepherd that this rod implies. 

Many times, it's lack of faith that keeps us back.  Other times the problem is that we want to be used, but we want to be used on our own terms, in the position of life that we have already attained.

There was a time when Country and Western singer Johnnie Cash wanted to be an evangelist like Billy Graham.  When he brought it up he was told. “You can do more for God as a famous singer.”  He wanted to give it all up for God’s purposes.  He wanted to throw down his guitar.  He wanted to give it all up for God, and I believe that if he had, God would have used him powerfully. 

Up to this point, Moses had dome nothing for God.  He’d spent the last forty years as a shepherd.  Prior to that, he was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and he rose up as a deliverer of God’s people but he did it on his own terms and fell flat on his face.  He wanted to deliver the people of God from the oppression and bondage of slavery, but he didn’t want to give up who he was, and in trying to do it that way, he was forced into exile in the desert.  His motives were questioned by the very people he wanted to deliver.  He was operating in his own power, and not surrendered to the will of God.  God tells him, “Cast it on the ground,” and as soon as he releases it and casts it down, God begins to move in the supernatural.  God begins to move in power.  If we want to see the power of God in our lives, we also have to cast down our image of self.

This is a picture of his surrender to God.  He’s saying God if you have a purpose for me, that’s outside of whom I’ve always been, then I will throw that down for you.  He’s stepping out of himself to be God’s instrument.  Can you see yourself in the service of God in a role that you would not have chosen for yourself, or in a lifestyle to which you wouldn’t have aspired, if not called into his service. 

Moses wasn’t comfortable with releasing it all into God’s hands.  He resisted the call of God.  He made excuses for not answering the call.  He did what he could to get out of answering it.  He even asked God, “Can’t you send someone else.”  We do the same thing in our generation, but when you do surrender; when you’re willing to drop the rod, that’s when the power of God is seen in your life:  That’s when God can do the miracles.

The Rod of God

When Moses drops the shepherd’s staff, that’s when we see God move.  Look at what happens:

Exodus 4:3-7 (NKJV)
4:3 And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail" (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5 "that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." 6 Furthermore the Lord said to him, "Now put your hand in your bosom." And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. 7 And He said, "Put your hand in your bosom again." So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh.

God begins to show His power through Moses.  He begins to give Moses a supernatural ministry.  That only comes after he throws down the rod.  Usually, we are the limiting factor to God’s power.  God isn’t limited – He’s omnipotent – He’s all-powerful.  He can do anything.  This is the God who spoke the universe into existence.  This is the God who created living, breathing man out of the dust of the earth.  This is the God who brought a flood upon the whole earth.  What’s the limit to His power?  The limit is us; our unbelief.  Our lack of faith limits God.  We can’t turn loose of who we are right now, because we can’t see the possibilities of God’s will for our lives.  Can you step out of your comfort zone to step into the will of God?  Look at the things that Moses is telling God about why he shouldn’t go.  What are they?  I’m slow of speech – Because of my impediment people won’t listen to me.  I’m not eloquent – I’m simple; I’m not persuasive or well-spoken, but God tells him I can teach these things to you mouth.  This isn’t difficult for the creator, so what is Moses problem?  A lack of faith; unbelief; fear.  He doesn’t see the possibilities of God’s power.

Because of fear, unbelief creeps into our lives, and we are unable to completely surrender ourselves to all that God has called us, so there is no tangible demonstration of the power of God in our lives.  We need to cast down the rod of comfort, before we can see God do something in our lives.  When we cast down the rod of our comfort zone; it can become a rod of power, because we aren’t limited by our comfort zone any longer.  We are only limited by God’s supernatural power, which is limitless.  We should be glad to toss away the limits of human potential for the limitlessness of God’s power.  That’s often pretty scary, though, because we’re used to having control of our own destiny and by surrendering ourselves to God we are relinquishing control to God.

I’m not saying that preparation isn’t necessary, but God doesn’t always do things in our timing, and if we try to control it all we put the brakes on the will of God. 

What if God had allowed Moses to talk him out of sending him?  God had prepared Moses and equipped Moses for this task:  He had the education of a future king.  He had the humility of a shepherd.  God had spent eighty years preparing him to deliver His people.  What would it take to prepare someone else, because Moses refused to give God control over his life?  We are all like that.  We all say, “I’ve given my life to Jesus,” but we still hold off on giving Him complete control of our lives.  There are certain things we hold onto:  Our jobs, our finances, the place we live, certain attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.  We hold on to those things – We control those things.  Abandon those things to God and we’re forced to trust Him, or someone else he has placed in our lives.  That’s the rod we hold on to.  That’s the rod we don’t want to cast down, and that’s the rod God commands us to drop so that He can move through our lives.

Moses wasn’t appointed the deliverer of Israel for Moses’ benefit – It was for the benefit of the people of God.  God was moving through Moses’ life.

Moses threw down the rod and when he picked it up again to do what God called him to do it was no longer his rod, but the Rod of God.  It was the rod that parted the Red Sea.  It was the rod that brought water out of the rock.  It was the rod that brought victory over Amalek.  Moses could never have done those things in his own strength.  If he had never cast down the rod, God would not have been able to use him.

The Testimony of Surrender

Exodus 33:7-11 (NKJV)
33:7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

Finally, God shows us the testimony of surrender.  The people watch Moses and see God.  This is a powerful thing.  They see his surrender.  They see the things God has done.  They recognize that God is using him.  They see God’s hand and power in his life.  I want people to see what God has done in my life.  I want them to KNOW that God is moving in me.

This is what’s happening here.  They see Moses go to the tabernacle, and they’re thinking, “God is going to show up.”  “Let’s pay attention because God meets with Moses.”  They see the cloud standing at the tabernacle.  They see God speaking to Moses.  They see him as a friend of God. 

Don’t you want that kind of relationship with God?  Don’t you want people to recognize that God speaks to you?  What did it take for Moses to have that kind of relationship?  Surrender.  He had to surrender to God.  He had to cast down the rod of self.  He had to cast down the rod of comfort and give it ALL to God.  We can’t expect to be all that God has called us to, if we won’t get ourselves out of the way.

We’re holding many rods: The rod of self-will, the rod of our comfort zone, the rod of unbelief, the rod of pride, even the rod of apathy.  Until we’re willing to throw them down, we will never be all that we have he potential to be.

You might be thinking, “Why isn’t God using me?”  What’s that in your hand – Cast it down.  “Where are the blessings that God’s promised?”  Who controls your life? Throw it down.  “Why am I not growing in God?”  Who is your faith in?  Cast it down.

Surrender to God!  This text is a picture of Moses surrender to God.  God finally had to get angry before Moses really released it all and said, “Okay, God whatever you have for me that’s what I’ll do.”  As he surrendered the rod that was the symbol of who Moses was, it became the symbol of God’s power in him.  That’s a testimony.


The life we have laid down as we have given it all to God is the testimony of God’s power in us.  I’m not just talking about the release from sin.  This testimony usually comes after we’re saved – It’s the testimony of trust in God.  That’s where the power in our lives comes from.  With God all things are possible – If we surrender all things to him.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dominion

In our Bible Study we have been studying 10 “Points of Victory,” including, “The Spear of Dominion.”  That word dominion is the root word of dominate.  The word translated as dominion in the Old Testament literally means, “to step down on.”  It means to take authority over.  Dominion flows from authority – God gives us dominion.  It is our ability to use God’s power.  Today I want to post on Dominion.

2 Kings 6:14-18 (NKJV)
6:14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.


We Need Dominion

Here’s the back story for the scene in our text.  The king of Syria is making war on Israel.  He calls his “war council” together and they discuss plans and come upon a method for the battle.  When they make their attack on Israel the King of Israel is prepared.  It’s because God is speaking to Elisha and giving him the king of Syria’s plan and Elisha warns the king of Israel, who is able to thwart the plan.  Eventually, the Syrian king figures it out and so he sends his army to find and kill Elisha.  They find him in Dothan and they arrive in the middle of the night.

When Gehazi, who is Elisha’s disciple, wakes up the next morning, he finds that they’ve been surrounded.  He becomes frightened and calls out for Elisha.

This is taking place in the natural world.  Very often we are involved in what seems like a battle in the natural, there is really a battle taking place in the spiritual realm and it’s playing out in our lives.  Things happen – problems come up.  We lose our jobs.  We become sick. Family members die and it seems as if we are surrounded by enemy forces.

We look at these events and we see the work of the enemy, but we don’t see what God has already put in place for us.  We don’t see that God has moved in these circumstances.  When all we see is the circumstance; all we see is the suffering we are seeing the battle with Gehazi’s eyes.

There’s something going on that’s hidden from him.  Something is playing out in the realm of dominion.  God is moving.  God is involved, but His involvement isn’t seen, at least Gehazi can’t see it.  The problem is that Gehazi is looking for a solution in the natural world, and the answer may not be found in the natural. 

This is something that people do.  We look for answers in our experiences, We’ere looking for answers we can see.  Gehazi has never seen an army defeated by two men and so there’s fear.  He can’t see a way through this.  He cries put to Elisha in despair.  Despair is the opposite of dominion.  The reason you’re discouraged; the reason you’re fearful; the reason you’re overwhelmed is that there’s no dominion in your life.  Because of the circumstances you’re blinded to your ability to use God’s power!

Luke 10:19 (NKJV)
10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

“I give you authority to trample on serpents.”  Remember, what I told you about what dominion is.  It is “stepping down on with your foot.”  Trampling is dominion and it flows out of Jesus’ authority.  He gives us the authority to do that.

In our text, Elisha and Gehazi would face certain defeat.  There’s no way that they could escape the Syrians – They’re surrounded.  There’s no way they could fight them – They’re outnumbered.  If they rely only on what’s found in the natural they will be destroyed.  That’s where dominion comes in.  How did Elisha solve this?  He called on God’s supernatural power – He struck them blind.  In other words he used God’s power.  That’s dominion. 

We face a supernatural enemy.  We can’t fight against him with natural weapons.  You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. It isn’t adequate to the battle.  You can’t fight a supernatural battle with a gun or a knife.  You need a supernatural weapon.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

This scripture is about taking dominion over your life.  Our weapons are not carnal or natural.  They’re mighty in God.  They’re supernatural, but in order to defeat the enemy, we need to take dominion over habits and attitudes:  Bringing every thought into captivity.

Punishing all disobedience.  We need to “step down with our feet,” on those thoughts and habits that separate us from God.  We need His power and dominion.

Where Does Dominion Come From?

In or text we see these two men Elisha and Gehazi.  They’re facing an enemy that can easily destroy them.  Have you ver felt like that?  Felt like there’s no way out of your situation?  Felt like there’s only defeat in your future?

In our text, we can see that God has already put His solution in place.  We don’t see Elisha praying for God to help them. They wake up, go out on the balcony for a cup of coffee and God’s troops are already in place.  Elisha doesn’t pray for God to deliver them, he only prays that God will open Gehazi’s eyes, so he can see what God has already done.  God has already brought deliverance.

I want to look at something else for a moment.  I’ll come back to this because I’m not finished with it, yet.  Do you think that it’s interesting that Elisha could see and Gehazi could not?  I think there are two reasons:

1.        Elisha is “prayed up.”  He has a habit of prayer.  You don’t hear from God of you’re not praying.  God speaks to us in prayer.  Elisha studies the word of God.  He knows the scriptures.  God speaks to us through His word.
2.        Elisha is a man of God, and he is the authority in Gehazi’s life.  All dominion flows from authority, but you have to be under authority in order to claim authority.

Matthew 8:9 (NKJV)
8:9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

This man is a man of authority – He has command over troops, but he is also a man under authority – There is a leader over his life.  The authority he has flows to him from the commander that’s above him.  Elisha was also a man under authority.  He had a leader.  That leader was Elijah the prophet, Elisha played the same role with Elijah, that Gehazi plays with Elisha.  He was a disciple; he was under authority, and the dominion in his life came out of his relationship with Elijah

2 Kings 2:11-14 (NKJV)
2:11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.

Elijah is taken up into Heaven – God raptures him, his mantle falls down and Elisha picks it up, and uses it to part the water.  The mantle is the symbol of Elijah’s calling.  It’s the dress of the prophet and that calling is now Elisha’s.  It’s now the symbol that Elisha is the prophet, and with that calling comes Elijah’s authority and dominion. That dominion has now passed down from Elijah to Elisha.  Dominion is passed from the man of God to the disciple.

Are you a disciple?  Are you looking for dominion?  Do you want your eyes opened, so that you can see things clearly?  There’s only two ways to get dominion:

1.        You have to have a right relationship with God, and
2.        You have to have a right relationship with your pastor.

Dominion is Victory

Here they are in our text, they’re surrounded.  The enemy is all around them and yet God gives them a great victory.  They don’t have to face the enemy with weapons.  They don’t have to fight them as soldiers.  They only pray and God does a miracle. 

2 Kings 6:18 (NKJV)
6:18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

The picture of dominion here is sight.  Elisha had sight – He could see into the supernatural.  He passed that sight to Gehazi – His eyes were opened.  They could see the soldiers of God in place.  With this vision came an end to Gehazi’s fear.  That was dominion.  At first the soldiers who surrounded them had dominion.  They found Elisha and Gehazi, but when Elisha called on God, God struck the Syrian’s blind.  Then Elisha was able to lead them right into capture.

2 Kings 6:19-20 (NKJV)
6:19 Now Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." But he led them to Samaria. 20 So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, "Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!

He’s taken them to the capitol of Israel.  He’s taken dominion – Vision is dominion.


Do you want to see God do powerful things with your life?  You need vision.  You need a plan.  You need direction.  You need to link yourself to a man of God.

Monday, May 23, 2016

God is Sovereign

Recently, I posted about faith, [Pray in Faith January 20, 2016; Faith is Action February 2, 2016], it seems that some people have come to the conclusion that, “If I have faith then God will, without fail do whatever I ask.” I want you to know, ttough, that it isn’t always like that. God is God – He’s sovereign.  God may not always respond to what we ask in the way that we want.  Today, I want to post on God’s sovereignty:

Daniel 3:15-18 (NKJV)
3:15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

The Faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

This is a pretty familiar portion of scripture, but let me fill in what’s happening here.  This takes place after Israel has fallen to Babylon.  The best of the young people have been taken there to serve King Nebuchadnezzar and to work in his government.  Among those taken were Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 

Nebuchadnezzar gets the idea that he’s a god, so he builds a huge golden statue of himself, and he commands that when the music is played that everyone will bow down and worship his statue.  So, the music is played and everyone bows down.  As you look over the people everyone is bowing; everyone...but these three men.

They are brought before the king and he gives them a second chance.  “I’m going to play the music again, and this time you better bow down.”  The music plays again and everyone except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bow again.

The king confronts them:  “Let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the golden image you have set up.”
They’re standing firm in their faith in God.  They’ve been taken to Babylon – But they haven’t lost faith in God.  This isn’t the first time they’ve defied the king. 

When they first arrived in Babylon they were separated apart from others and given delicacies from the king’s table to eat, but Daniel and the three didn’t want to violate God’s commands, regarding food and what could not be eaten.  They stood firm and refused the delicacies.

So, they were faithful men.  In times of trouble they would pray to God and remained in God’s will rather than adjusting to Babylon’s culture, and because of their faith, God helped them and blessed them.  He helped them to stay within His food requirements.  

Another time He gave Daniel the answer to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  He answered their prayers in that matter; saving their lives.  They have been faithful, prayed in faith, and God has given them the answer to their prayers.  All of that goes with what I said in those other posts.  I preached that if we had faith God would move on our behalf, and we can see from His response to these men that that’s true.  God will respond to our faith.  Our faith is a catalyst to God’s response:

Matthew 21:21-22 (NKJV)
21:21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

If you have faith and do not doubt… whatever you ask in prayer, believing you will receive.  This is a promise…BUT, dies that mean that God will give us anything we ask?  There’s a clue to the answer of that question in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s response to the king.  Look at this in our text:

Daniel 3:17-18 (NKJV)
3:17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

They said, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, but if not… But if not?  What happened to that promise?  If you pray without doubting you will receive.  This says that God may or may not grant your petition:  It’s up to God.  God is the one who decides whether or not He’ll bless.

God Will Bless Whom He Will Bless

This is because God is a sovereign God.  That word sovereign means one who holds supreme power.   So, God has the power to make a decision about your prayer.  We’ve seen that Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego had faith.  Their prayers were prayed in faith, but they left open the possibility that God may not deliver them.

Exodus 33:19 (NKJV)
33:19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

This is God’s statement on His sovereignty.  I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.  God’s saying, "I’m going to do what I’m going to do."  It’s totally up to God – God gets to decide.

When we come to God, we bring our needs and our wants, but we should never lose sight of which one of us is God.  We can complain, “I went to God in faith.” – “I showed God my need.” – God should have given me what I wanted!” – Except God is God not you.  You’re not God.  This may come as a shock to some, but it’s JESUS Christ not Santa Christ.

So why wouldn’t God give you what you’re asking?  There’s a number of reasons why God would withhold your desire.  The first is That what you’re asking isn’t God’s will.

Job 23:13-14 (AMP)
23:13 But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him? And what He wants to do, that He does. 14 For He performs [that which He has] planned for me, and of many such matters He is mindful.

God has a plan for your life.  There is a specific plan.  God has a method and a destiny for your life.  We can ask God for something and not get it because it goes against God’s plan for your life.

I’ve known people who have asked God for a husband or a wife and still remain unmarried.  Sometimes, they’re asking for a specific person, that may not be the person that God has in mind, for what He has planned for THEM, so it goes against God’s will for their lives.  We don’t always know what God is trying to do.

The second reason is that what you’re asking may destroy your destiny.  That thing you’ve asked for may be the thing that pulls you out of God’s will.  I’ve known people that have gone out and taken jobs that took them away from church and right our of God’s will.  The problem is that not everything we think we want is the best thing for us.

God knows His plan for you.  God also knows what’s best for you and for seeing His plan through.  We don’t always even know what God is trying to do in us.  God may be trying to work something out of us, cause us to see something differently, or to behave in a different way, and what you’re praying for may derail that.  God doesn’t think like us.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

We’re limited by our senses.  We don’t know what’s in the future.  We don’t understand how things are interconnected.  We don’t always see the cause and effect of what we’re asking.  But God does; He does know all of these answers and God wants only good things for us.  God isn’t going to give us something that’s going to damage us.  It all comes down to trusting God.

Can you Trust God to Know What's Best?

Can you trust God to know what’s best for you?  Do you believe that God is always a good God?  I’ve heard people say, “I’m losing faith in God because He’s not giving me what I’m praying for.”  Prayer isn’t a way of getting what we want, but the way to become what God wants us to be.

Do you really want the best that God has for you?  I sometimes think we say that we want all that God has for us, but then we short-circuit God’s plans for us, by demanding that God give us what we want.

We have to be able to trust that God really has our best interest at heart; that He has plans for us and that those plans are the best thing for us.

One thing that I see happening is that people are getting angry at God when they don’t get what they want, but God isn’t a genie in a bottle that’s bound to give us our wishes.  God gives according to HIS wishes.  It’s a misconception to think that God exists to serve us.  God created us to worship Him.  We exist to serve God.  God is gracious.  God is loving.  God gives us the things that are best for us.  We don’t always know what’s best for us, but God does, because God CAN see the future.  He does know how things interconnect.  He can see cause and effect.

So, let’s go back to our text for another moment.  Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego tell Nebuchadnezzar something that’s a really important lesson for us in verse 18 of our text:

Daniel 3:18 (AMP)
3:18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!

Basically, what they’re saying is, “We believe that God will give us what we ask, but if He doesn’t we’re going to serve God anyway.”  Even if God chooses not to deliver them they’re going to serve God anyway.

It’s so discouraging to see people fall out of the will of God and out of the blessing of serving God, because God was doing something different than they wanted God to do.  I’ve seen it happen so often recently.  People are allowing Satan to lie to them, and He’s ripping them off.  The devil’s a liar.

So, we pray in faith believing that we’ll receive.  We pray with the expectation that God will move.  We take the action of our faith, to see it happen, but when it doesn’t, does it mean that God doesn’t care?  It may mean that God cares enough not to give you everything you ask.  I don’t give my kids everything they ask for because I know that some of those things aren’t good for them.  God is the same way, so another part of faith is having the faith to trust that God is doing what’s best for you in His answer to your prayer.

When we’re praying it’s best to remember which one of us is God.

Believe it or not – You are NOT God.