Saturday, November 14, 2015

Journey to Victory


Paris Attack – Friday, November 13, 2015
  As of the writing of these notes:
·        129 dead
·        near 350 wounded; of those 99 are in critical condition and another 177 in serious condition --- today there is a new reality in Europe
·        Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, claimed responsibility
·        Perpetrated in the wake of the downing of the Russian passenger plane last week in the Sinai claimed by ISIS killing more than 200 men, women and children in a senseless attack on innocent lives
·        At the very best, these events are only the beginning of sorrows

Our hearts go out to these families and friends of the victims and our prayers go up to our Heavenly Father Who alone is the answer.

You see: There are some things only God can do … our God deals in the impossible. What things are impossible with man are yet possible with God.
·        The Christian’s part is to pray; and to rest in the finished work of God; while all along getting ready to take their next step with God.
·        God’s part is to do what only He can do …

(Added Note of Personal Testimony: A little over 20 years ago Brenda and I were visiting the Old City of Jerusalem and found ourselves in the middle of what seemed to be an angry mob of thousands of people crowding through the narrow city streets in the Arab Quarter, all shouting and pushing towards the Temple Mount and past the erected barricades. We were shoulder to shoulder, front to back, crammed together as a mass of moving people being carried along without knowing which way to turn or how to remove ourselves from the mix. People were pouring in from every inlet and we could feel the momentum building. I had a tight grip on Brenda’s wrist and held her close to me without which we would have been separated and perhaps trampled several times. Looking like American tourists we certainly stuck out in this crowd.

Through all the noise and shoving she called to me and asked what we were going to do. I told her to pray and not to worry; everything was going to be ok. I was speaking in faith. I prayed too – a simple and earnest prayer, “God, help us.” At that moment I saw a tall gray haired man about 40 to 50 feet up ahead turn and look me in the eyes with a calm smile and he lifted his hand and said, “Follow me”. I can still remember what he looked like enough that if I saw him today I believe I would know him. He started off and I pulled Brenda through the crowd and followed him. This testimony does not tell as impacting as it was - but it still tells great. He continued walking about 40 to 50 feet ahead and turned down one side street and then another and it seemed as if we weren’t hindered at all in following him even though I continued to keep a tight grip on Brenda as we weaved ourselves through the still moving crowd.

I saw this man with the kind confidence make the last turn and when we went around that corner we were immediately out in the open just outside of the Damascus Gate in that large open area you have seen on TV with steps leading up to the street. No more crowd, no more concern. There were a few people mingling about and I could easily see for 100 feet in every direction but the man we had followed was nowhere in sight.

Suddenly we had been delivered from that mob and the dangers it presented in an instant miracle response to prayer. We both felt the relief and knew that God had sent an angel on assignment to meet our need. By the way, that wasn’t the first nor the last time we have seen the hand of God deliver us by angelic intervention. Yesterday after I had finished my studies Brenda told me that she often thinks about that day in streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. So, I took another look at this my sermon notes, which were already written and inserted this story without changing anything else. I think it is a fitting testimony on this morning’s journey to victory.)

Acts 12 NKJV
5  Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
6  And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
7  Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands.
8  Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me."
9  So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
10  When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11  And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people."

It is always best in every situation to:
1.  Pray
a.   Both Peter and the Church received miracles that night
b.   Prayer for yourself and for others makes the difference
c.   Prayer turns things over to God
2.  Rest in the Finished Work of God
a.   When it is out of your hands, it is out of your hands
b.   Turning it over to God does not equal giving up
c.   We are told to be anxious for nothing - Philippians 4:6
d.   We are encouraged to trust in the Lord – Proverbs 3:5
e.   There is a peace that passes all understanding - Philippians 4:7
f.    Colossians 3:15 tells us to let the peace of God rule in our heart
g.   He who has entered into God’s rest has ceased from his own works – Hebrews 4:10
3.  Get Ready to Take Your Next Step with God

Peter woke up and found that he was already in the middle of a miracle but it was a miracle which would demand his participation … he needed to get ready to step into his miracle. Get up, get fully and properly dressed, put his coat on, (it was early spring and cool outside at nighttime … prepared for what he was going to encounter), and follow the angel.

God demands that we participate in our miracle …

The leadership of the Lord can come through a dream, a vision, an angel on assignment, a word of encouragement, an inspired moment or simply an open door. We need to be ready to take that step …

There is a difference between what we can do about any situation and what God can do about that situation.

There is a difference between us trying to handle our problems with the skills and knowledge and experience we have and turning our problems over to God. The difference is success!

The Born Again Christian has an advantage that no other person on the planet has … we have the help and the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is our choice to participate …

John 14  NKJV
15  "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
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.
18  "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19  "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
20  "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
21  "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
26  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27  "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The Holy Spirit will teach us and guide us into all truth.
·        We must give God the opportunity to lead us
o   Even though God is involved in our lives on a daily basis
o   God gets more actively and more acutely involved by way of personal invitation
o   God is not afraid of your problem
o   Pray!
·        We must give God time to work
o   While we are giving God time we may as well be at peace
o   There are some things we can do and some things we cannot do … but we can always find our peace in Jesus
·        We must give God credit for knowing what He is doing – that’s called “Trust”

God knows exactly what to do for you, your family, the situations you face at work and your future. Give God a chance to do what only He can do … Involve God through by praying and turning your life and these situations over to Him. Then … give Him time to work while you trust Him and His eternal plan. Then get yourself mentally and spiritually ready to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit on your Journey to Victory.