I Want to (want to)

My Song Lyrics

I don’t seem to spend the time
Like I know I should
Just learning who You are
I don’t feel I live this life
Like I know I could
Connected to Your heart
So I’m crying out
Lord, to You now

I want to want to
Oh, like I used to do
I want to need You
God, won’t You pull me through
I want to be in love like I was before
‘Cause I don’t feel it anymore
Lord, but I want to

I can’t manage to want it
Near enough to try
Have I drifted too far
‘Cause I can’t manage to put
Discipline in my life
It always seems too hard
But I’m crying out
God, hear me now

I want to want to
Oh, like I used to do
I want to need You
God, won’t You pull me through
I want to be in love like I was before
‘Cause I don’t feel it anymore
Lord, but I want to

I don’t feel the passion
That once burned in my soul
And deep inside I know
That this is taking it’s toll
Oh, God, I wonder what’s wrong with me
What is it I’m not willing to see

I want to want to
Oh, like I used to do
I want to need You
God, won’t You pull me through
I want to be in love like I was before
‘Cause I don’t feel it anymore
Lord, but I want to

Desperate for You

My Song Lyrics

God, I’ve found You’re the only One
Who can satisfy my heart and my soul
God, I’ve seen You’re the only One
Who can take these pieces and make me whole
Now and forever You are all I need
Here and now light this fire in me

Make me desperate for You
And I will cry out for You
Lord, let nothing but Your presence satisfy me
Make me thirsty for You
And I will draw close to You
Lord, help me know You more for all eternity
Help me love You unreservedly

God, I know I was made for You
Just to love You and be loved by You
God, I know I was made by You
Just to know You, to be always with You
Now and forever Your love sets me free
Here and now, Lord, I give You all of me

Make me desperate for You
And I will cry out for You
Lord, let nothing but Your presence satisfy me
Make me thirsty for You
And I will draw close to You
Lord, help me know You more for all eternity
Help me love You unreservedly

May my heart burn for You
May my soul yearn for You
God, You are every breath I breathe
May You always be everything to me

Make me desperate for You
And I will cry out for You
Lord, let nothing but Your presence satisfy me
Make me thirsty for You
And I will draw close to You
Lord, help me know You more for all eternity
Help me love You unreservedly

Thirst for God

Mini Sermon

Psalm 42:1-2 – “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with Him?” & Psalm 63:1 – “O God, You are my God, earnestly I search for You. My soul thirsts for You as in a dry and weary land without water.”
How many of us can truly echo these words with complete sincerity? Perhaps every now and then, but shouldn’t this be the constant cry of our hearts? God has made us for Himself and created in us a place that can only be filled with Him. He is the living water (John 4:10) and He is the bread of life (John 6:35) so why aren’t we truly thirsty? Why aren’t we more hungry? Perhaps, like the rest of the world, we are filling up on other things. These other things don’t really satisfy us and they can never sustain us. It’s more like eating junk food all day and ruining your appetite for dinner. The junk food doesn’t necessarily fill you up and it certainly won’t sustain your body for long – that’s why it’s called “junk food”. But what it does do is take the edge off of your hunger so that when the time comes to eat a real meal, you don’t eat as much as you should of true nourishment. If you were to continue with this pattern and constantly fill up yourself with only (or mostly) junk food, soon enough you’re going to start feeling sick and weak.

We are all smart enough to know this (perhaps by experience) and we are able to exert enough self-control to not be eating junk food all the time. Yet how often do we do this in our spiritual lives? We fill our days with junk – some of it more truly junk than others but none of it what we really need – and then we wonder why we don’t thirst for God like we should, or why we have so little strength spiritually (like weak faith and self-control) and then we fall under pressure and temptation. The reason we are weak is that we haven’t been giving our spirit what it needs.

We pray, “Oh, mighty God, our God – our strength, our life – thank You for Your Word. For through Your word we come to know You. Through Your Word we are encouraged. Through Your Word we are convicted. Your Word shows us the right path and Your Spirit helps us to walk in it. Help us now, O Lord, to begin to truly thirst for You. Stir in us a desperate desire for You. Show us the junk we should cut out of our lives – whether permanently or temporarily – and help us to focus on You instead. Remind us how important it is to have time alone with You. We thank You that You hear us and You will answer us. Amen.”

Radiance

My Song Lyrics

You are brighter than the light of the sun
Your radiance shames the stars
Though the light of Your face would leave me blind
Your radiance fills my heart
It’s Your light that changes me
In You light, Lord, I am free

Let the light of life shine
You destroy the darkness
Just by being who You are
Let Your light become mine
Destroy all the darkness
You ever find in my heart
And forever more let my life
Just reflect Your radiance

You are higher than the heavens above
Your radiance fills the skies
Though I don’t see You with every moment
Your radiance fills my eyes
It’s love’s light that changes me
In You light, Lord, I can see

Let the light of life shine
You destroy the darkness
Just by being who You are
Let Your light become mine
Destroy all the darkness
You ever find in my heart
And forever more let my life
Just reflect Your radiance

How did the light of the world
Become flesh and blood and bone
How did my God take my sin
To give righteousness not my own
Oh, let me live only for You
Oh, let these words of mine ring true

Let the light of life shine
You destroy the darkness
Just by being who You are
Let Your light become mine
Destroy all the darkness
You ever find in my heart
And forever more let my life
Just reflect Your radiance

1st John 1:5 ~ “…God is light and there is no darkness
in Him at all.”

Habakkuk 3:4 ~ “He is as radiant as the sunrise…”

Hebrews 1:3 ~ “the Son radiates God’s own glory and
expresses the very character of God…”

Radiance – Hebrews 1:3

Mini Sermon

Hebrews 1:3 – “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven.”

God’s Glory Revealed

“God is spirit. (John 4:24)”. From our earthly perspective, God is invisible, intangible, and unknowable. The spiritual is not something that most of us would ever claim to understand or even think about it too much. It is other-worldly to us and seemingly distant. These things would be true of God also if it were not for Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. The gospel of John says, “no one has ever seen God. The only Son who is the same as God, He has made Him known (John 1:18)”. And again Scripture says, “Only God is eternal! He lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honored, and his power will last forever. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16)”. When Moses asked to see God’s glory he was, told, “…No one may see me and live (Exodus 33:20)”. When ever someone talked to God face to face (and this does not include visions, that’s something else altogether), it was either Jesus (pre-incarnate or otherwise) or “an angel of the Lord”. Neither one was a particularly common occurrence. Thus, for us to know anything about God and His will, He had to reveal Himself to us and in a way we could understand and embrace. This He did first through His Word. Scripture is more than something written by men but, “all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)” and “…prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)”. In the Bible we can see who God is, discern His character, and know His will. This is an amazing thing and is not to be taken for granted! Too many people are trying to know God apart from His revelation in Scripture and that can be dangerous. Our experiences are subjective and should always be in submission to the authority of the Scriptures. Therefore, know God’s Word!

Though all Scripture reveals God and His will to us, in the New Testament we get to know the One who is the ultimate revelation of God and it is to Him that all Scripture points – that is Jesus Christ. More than “a good man”, more than “a revered teacher”, more than a “shining example”; He is the Word made human (John 1:14), He is God made flesh (Hebrews 2:14), He is God with us – Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Everything He did, everything He said during His ministry, were the very words and actions of God. Jesus said, “the Son does nothing of Himself. He does only what He sees His Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. (John 5:19)”, and “the words I say to you do not come from Me but Father who remains in Me does His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. If not, then believe Me because of the things that I do. (John 14:10-11)”. There is no tension between Jesus the Son and God the Father, no differences of opinion or separation of heart, but as Jesus said, “the Father and I are one (John 10:30)”. We all know that Jesus came to die for our sins, but what about the three years of His public ministry? He went about healing the hurting (Matthew 4:23-24), raising the dead (Lazarus and others see: John 11:1-44, Matthew 9:18-24), performing wonders (wedding in Cana see; John 2:1-11), teaching the people (Matthew 9:35), and demonstrating mercy (adulterous woman see: John 8:3-11). More than dieing for us, He came to give us the fullest and clearest picture of who God is. This is why Scripture says, “The Son is… the exact representation of (God’s) being (Hebrews 1:3)”. Do you want to know who God is? Then look to the Son. He is, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3)”.

Radiance

Let’s take a closer look at that word “radiance”. It means: issuance, emanation, manifestation. Think of the star at the center of our solar system which we call the sun. Now the sun, like any star, is essentially a ball of burning gas. In general, gas is invisible, un-smellable, and intangible. The only reason that we can see the sun is that it burns, therefore radiating light and heat. We aren’t really seeing the sun itself, but rather the light that radiates out as it burns. This light travels through space, is filtered by our atmosphere, and illuminates our world. For good reason Jesus said of Himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness. (John 8:12)”. Like the radiant light of the sun as it reaches earth, so is the life of Jesus when He walked on this earth. He is all the glory of God veiled in flesh, that we might be illuminated and not destroyed. The Son is the out-raying, the visible manifestation, of all the glory of the person of God and is so exactly like Him in character and essence that Jesus also said, “If you really knew Me you would know My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him… He who has seen Me has seen the Father. Why then do you say, ‘show us the Father’? (John 14:7&9)”. The gospels describe to us the character and teachings of Jesus more than the rest of the Bible. There we see who God is: full of sacrificial love, mercy, grace, and unbending truth. He knows the hearts and thoughts of men (Matthew 9:4, Mark 2:8, Luke 5:22). He confronts the self-righteous and the hypocrite (Matthew 7:5&15:7&16:3, ). He feeds the hungry (John 6:1-15) and mends the broken. Do not make the mistake of thinking that God is different between the old and new testament. It is not possible, for God does not change (James 1:17). He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)”. He has always been and will always be righteous and holy, abounding in mercy, grace, and faithful love (Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18). Hallelujah!!
Point to Ponder

Do you believe that Jesus is more than a good man or moral teacher, but rather the Son of God and God in the flesh? If so, how is this evidenced in your life? Those who belong to God are to become like Jesus. Your life should radiate with God’s glory just like the life of Christ. For He not only called Himself the light of the world, but He has said to His people, “you are the light of the world…( Matthew 5:14)”. Are you shining with His light?

Let’s pray, “Lord Jesus, thank You for coming down to us – to take away our sins and make us righteous, and to show us the very character and nature of the Father. May we never take for granted the revelation of You in the holy Scriptures that You have given to us and in Your own person. Lord, may we shine with Your light as You shone the light of the Father. May we shine so constant and so bright that people would look at us and see You. May our light so shine before men that they would see our lives and glorify the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Let Your light fill every part of our lives, our hearts, and dispel any darkness that tries to hide in us. May we always live for Your glory alone. Amen.”

Over Me

My Song Lyrics

I don’t understand how much You love me, Lord
Though I know about the price that You paid
And I don’t understand what You see in me, Lord
Though I know that for You I was made
I know that You love me like no one else can
‘Cause every time when You take my hand

You sing over me
With a song of love and joy
Echoed in Your voice
You smile over me
With a light like the sunrise
Shining from Your eyes
Who am I that You would die for me
And rejoice over me

I don’t always feel Your love for me, Lord
But I can see it in Your nail scarred hands
And I don’t always see what You do in me, Lord
For Your ways are too high to understand
Deep in my soul, I hear You call to my heart
And then when You lift me in Your arms

You sing over me
With a song of love and joy
Echoed in Your voice
You smile over me
With a light like the sunrise
Shining from Your eyes
Who am I that You would die for me
And rejoice over me

All of heaven watches
And I am filled with wonder
In awe that You would delight in me
All creation listens
I hear a sound like thunder
Loud enough to make the heavens ring

You sing over me
With a song of love and joy
Echoed in Your voice
You smile over me
With a light like the sunrise
Shining from Your eyes
Who am I that You would die for me
And rejoice over me

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Be Strong and Courageous Pt. 4

Mini Sermon

Trust in Him

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)”. We must “stir up” or “fan into flame” (2 Timothy 1:6) ourselves and the gifts that God has given us daily so that we don’t lose passion, lose heart, and give up. It is all too easy to get distracted by the world, worn out with useless busyness, and become stagnant with the every day and mundane. We must be vigilant in our personal and spiritual lives if we are to do all that God has for us to do, all the “good things that He planed long ago for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)”. Trust in God and not yourself. As Scripture says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7)”. For Jesus says, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)”

Depend on Him

When we are seeking to follow God’s will for our lives, we must completely depend on Him. Scripture says to, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Depend on LORD; trust in Him and He will take care of you. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act… (Psalm 37:4-7)” and that we must, “Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)” for “the LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)”.

Obey Him

The godly are those who walk in obedience to God – who strive to follow Him in everything and have committed themselves to Him. All of God’s blessings are for those who seek to obey Him with all their heart. Scripture says, “The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. (Deuteronomy 28:12-13)”.

Press On

Unfortunately, in this life we have never truly “arrived” and if we are not moving forward then we are moving backward. This is why we must always press on. As Paul said, “My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I press on… (Philippians 3:13-14)”. We must remember that, “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2)”. If we will press on we can, “eagerly expect and hope that (we) will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)”. Then we will be able to, “know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)”.

Stand Firm on the Rock

We must let nothing keep us from obeying God and seeking to always follow His will and plan for us. Don’t fear men but fear God for Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him (Luke 12:4-5)”. Therefore, stand firm on the truth of God’s Word for it is your only sure foundation. Remember the parable Jesus told, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash (Matthew 7:24-27)”. Therefore, hear and do God’s Word.

Point to Ponder: Have you allowed opposition, waiting, narrowed vision, or compromise to steal the strength and courage that you need so that you can do what you know God has called you to do or to hold on in faith to the things that you know God has promised you? Do not let the world and the devil keep you from walking in God’s perfect plan for your life. Don’t allow the troubles of this life to rule your life or you will regret it for the rest of your life. Jesus promised abundant life (John 10:10) and He meant it. You must fight for it, but don’t let anything keep you from living it. Therefore, be strong and courageous and never give up! Your miracle could be right around the corner. You could end up changing countless lives!
Let’s pray, “Father, thank You for Your Son who lived and died and rose again to give us new and abundant life (John 10:10). Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who enables us to live that life and to walk in Your ways and according to Your will and Word. Father, we commit ourselves to You and through the blood of Your Son we receive life – real life, abundant life. According to Your promise we receive the indwelling and empowering presence of Your Holy Spirit. Awaken in our hearts the desire to fulfill Your plan for our lives and help us to keep our passion stirred up within us. May we determine to believe and cling to Your promises. May we be determined to walk in faith and to live out all that You have planned for us. May we not turn to the right or to the left (Joshua 1:7-9) but may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2) that so that we won’t allow the enemy to discourage us but let us hold tightly to the faith and hope we profess for we know that You are faithful to Your promises (Hebrews 10:23) no matter what we see, think, or feel. We know that You will give us all the grace that we need for this life as we depend on You. May we rely only on You and see You manifest Your glory in the lives of each of us. Amen!”

Be Strong and Courageous Pt. 3 – Four Things to Remember

Mini Sermon

Now that we know what robs us of the strength and courage God says we are to have, there are four things for us to remember that will restore it to us. They are:

1. The Lord Sees – God knows and sees everything we are going through as we strive to follow Him. Scripture says, “The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them… and now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:7-10)”. Nothing escapes His notice. Scripture also says,

“O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.”
– Psalm 139:1-4

Because we can know that God sees everything and knows everything that goes on in the world and our lives, we can follow Him in confidence. Scripture says, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19)”.

2. The Lord Hears – Not only does God see us, but He listens to the voice of His people who love and follow Him. Scripture says, “The Lord is not too weak to save or his ear too deaf to hear. (Isaiah 59:1)”. He says, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD… (Jeremiah 29:12-14)”. God hears us when we cry out to Him. Scripture says, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:17-18)”. God responds according to the good plans He has for us and will provide all that we need to live a life to His glory (2 Peter 1:3-4). Scripture says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us —whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)”.

3. The Lord Helps – God has given us talents and abilities that are to be used for His glory (see Matthew 25:14-28, Luke19:11-27). More than this, He has given to His people spiritual gifts so that we can use them in the building of His kingdom (see Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 1 Peter 4:10-11 for various lists of the spiritual gifts). No matter what gifts He has given us or what God may call us to do, we can be sure that He will enable us to do it so that we can say with Paul, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)”. We don’t have to be afraid no matter what comes our way – whether opposition or circumstances, trials or tests, for “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)” When we ask Him for help in doing His will we can be certain that He will give us all we need. Scripture says,

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.”
– Psalm 34:4-7

And though He does not promise to always deliver us out of everything, He does promise to bring us through anything. He says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9)”

4. The Lord Rewards – Sometimes it’s not enough to know that God sees, hears, and helps us, because sometimes we wonder why we even bother. This is especially true when we don’t see that what we’re doing is making any kind of difference – in our own life or for others. No matter what we are doing, there are always times when we wonder if it’s making that much difference. In those moments, passion fails us and determination is all we’ve got. This is when we must remember that, “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which He promised to His people. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)”. Jesus says to us, “Yes, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:12-13)”. And though we may wonder if it’s worth all the effort, Paul assures us that, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. (Romans 8:18-19)”. What is this glory he refers to? Or the reward we can expect? James says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)” We can be sure that this is only the beginning of it for, “as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9)”.

Be Strong and Courageous Pt. 2 – Courage Stealers #2-4

Mini Sermon

Joshua 1:5-9 – “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you… Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is My command – be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

2. Extended Waiting – We all know how tired we can feel by simply having to wait – especially for our dreams and the promises we are clinging to. Solomon observed that, “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12)”. Yet, waiting is always an essential part of the process. This then is how we should wait, “but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:25)”. This has become so hard to do in a culture of “get it now and pay later”. We are not used to waiting and grumble when we have to wait in line more than five minutes! Just waiting is not enough (it’s not like you probably even have an option) but we must learn to wait patiently. How do we do that? By trusting, resting, and hoping in God. Scripture says,

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope (or; wait on and trust) in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
– Isaiah 40:28-31

Then, when the waiting is just feeling too long and we wonder if change is coming we must remember that, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)”, and so, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, (in the meantime)as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:9-10)”.

3. Narrowed Vision – Even those who start out with big ideas and dreams, firm in their faith and confident in God may find their vision narrowed by the opposition and waiting already mentioned. People and the enemy begin to tell us that we’re not good enough (not smart enough, brave enough, mature enough) to accomplish or receive what God has placed in our hearts. We begin to focus on our own limitations and the limits of our circumstances. We cannot see how things will turn out because we begin to limit God according to our own understanding and imagining. This is when we must constantly remind ourselves that, “God is able to do abundantly above all we can ask or imagine according to His power which is at work in us (Ephesians 3:20)”. Notice those last two words “in us”. Yes, “all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27)”, and He can and does intervene directly in our lives and circumstances. Most of the time, however, God does His work in and through us. There are definitely some things that only God can do that must be done without us, but there are also many things that God would prefer to do in and through us, but we must be available to that – we must have the faith for it. We must stop limiting God with what we think He can do or will do for us. Be bold enough to ask that the sun stand still for you (see Joshua 10:12-13).

4. Compromise – Mostly this has to do with obvious moral compromise. God warned Joshua, “…Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:7-8)”. God’s promises are always for those who obey wholeheartedly and honestly (Isaiah 1:19) not halfheartedly or halfway. Any willful and continual sin will forfeit the blessings of God on your life; God makes this clear through all of Scripture. Even Moses did not get to enter the promised land because he did not obey God completely in one instance (See Numbers 20:2-13). You can believe and wait for a financial breakthrough all you want but if you are misusing what you have (like not tithing and giving) then you cannot reasonably expect to get what you are asking for. The other way that we compromise is by trying to get it our own way. Taking matters into your own hands doesn’t usually turn out well, but that’s a whole other sermon altogether! (Read Genesis chapter 12-18&21.) God’s ways (and yes, His timing too) are always better even if we never understand the reasons why He does things the way that He does for He says, “My ways are higher than you ways and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9)”.

Be Strong and Courageous Pt. 1 – Courage Stealers #1

Mini Sermon

Joshua 1:5-9 – “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you… Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is My command – be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Don’t be Discouraged

We are sometimes too easily discouraged and too quick to give up. Things don’t immediately go the way we think they should and we begin to lose heart and lose hope. Sometimes we feel defeated before we’ve really begun and start to wonder if perhaps God has abandoned us. But He will not abandon us and He cannot fail us. With all the things He has promised us, we have every reason to be “strong and courageous” – to be bold, firm, steadfast, (and yes) patient. Why then are so many people, even believers, abandoning God-given dreams and not receiving God-breathed promises? Let’s take a look at four major factors:
What Steals Your Strength and Courage?
1. Difficulty and Opposition

a. Human Opposition – Perhaps there are people in your life who have turned their backs on you or have even turned against you. Jesus Himself had to suffer through this during His years of ministry. Scripture says, “even His brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:5)” and when His teaching got “too hard” for many people they, “turned back and would not go with Him any more (John 6:60&66)”.

Besides all of this, of course, there were the Pharisees who tried to kill Him (Luke 19:47, Mark 14:1, John 7:1 – and did in the end. See: Mark 14:55-65, 15:1-25) and there was Judas who betrayed Him (Mark 14:42-46). He was no stranger to human opposition and He Himself said, “if they persecuted Me they will persecute you too (John 15:20)”.

Opposition and abandonment are to be expected but God has promised us so many wonderful things. He says, “no one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you… I will not fail you or abandon you (Joshua 1:5)”, “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6)”, and “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)”

b. Difficult Circumstances – Maybe the problem is not with other people but difficult circumstances beyond our control. This can be even harder to deal with – human opposition can be confronted or ignored, but we can’t always do anything about what happens to us. It’s when we feel powerless in the face of opposing circumstances that we can quickly become discouraged and lose heart.

When this is happening, the first thing we must do is remember that Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” Then we must “cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)”. We must determine to, “Not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. (Philippians 4:6)”

Then, we must remind ourselves every day if we have to that, “through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive the salvation ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise, glory, and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:5-7)” because, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)”, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)”

c. Spiritual Oppression – Besides human opposition and difficult circumstances, there is a very real enemy out there who does not want you to accomplish God’s will for your life and will do everything he can to oppress you and cause you to give up too soon. He is “the father of lies (John 8:44)” and will tell you plenty of them – through your own thoughts and the lips of others. He has come to “steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10)” in any way he can.

It’s more than a battle for your soul – it’s a war for your joy, your heart, your destiny, and purpose in life. The enemy will do his best to steal your joy, kill your heart, and destroy your destiny. Yet God not only has a plan for your life (see again Jeremiah 29:11 above), but God has a purpose to use each one of us in His Great Plan and the enemy will do all he can to keep us all from taking our place and playing our part.

Thank God for His Holy Spirit! Because of Him Scripture says, “you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God’s Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)”, “because everyone who is a child of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world – our faith. So the one who conquers the world is the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)”. Because of our faith in Jesus we have His promise that, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)”, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity and fear, but the Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)”.

Therefore God says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-8)”, “For God is at work in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him. (Philippians 2:13)”.

Because we have the Holy Spirit we can wage spiritual warfare for, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)” Thus we can (in our own life and helping others to do the same) throw down all the lies of the enemy and break off the chains of oppression for, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17)”!