Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Have You Heard?


Mark 5
25  Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years,
26  and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.
27  When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.
28  For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well."
29  Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
30  And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?"
31  But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ’Who touched Me?’"
32  And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.
33  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
34  And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."

This is one of my most favorite passages in the Bible. This poor infirmed woman teaches us not to give up, not to give in and not to give out. Her persistent participation in finding an answer to her problem led her to the One who has power over all problems. Today we are going to let this woman’s testimony serve to teach us a few things. The first lesson we learn from her is: 

1.  What we hear makes a difference
a.   For Good and Bad

v.27 – When she heard about Jesus …
         * don’t you know she was tired of trying remedy after remedy
         * but something about this must have been different …
         * and on top of that – what did she really have to lose?

b.   What we hear can either impress us or depress us

The Children heard a bad report from the 10 fear-filled spies of Numbers 13 & 14 … they got depressed … so depressed that they wouldn’t hear anything else. They got deceived …

What we hear makes a difference – why?

c.   Because what we hear can affect what we believe and the world is doing its best to keep you hearing the wrong thing.

Proverbs 18:17  The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

The world always tries to turn in the first report and if that doesn’t work, they will just get louder. But let me testify – the winner is not always the one who gets there first or the one who crows the loudest … just remember that! The Bible plainly teaches that “it ain’t over till it’s over!”

This brings us to the next lesson this morning:

2.   What we believe makes a difference
a.   We think what we think, feel what we feel and want what we want because we believe what we believe.
b.   What we believe makes a difference because it affects what we think, what we feel, what we want and ultimately what we do.
3.   What we do makes a difference.

The Children of Israel heard the evil report, believed it and based on the lie they believed, refused to trust God and every one of them ended up dying in the wilderness without ever entering their promise land.

The man given a talent who buried it because he believed the master was unjust and too hard to please … he ended up losing everything because he deceived. He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong and it cost him. (Matthew 25)

But on the contrary this poor woman heard about Jesus, trusted in His power and acted on her faith. She was healed of her affliction.

The Bible is filled with accounts of two types of people: Those who hear about God and trust Him and those who hear and refuse to participate.

From Zacchaeus to the young rich ruler; from the citizens of Nineveh to the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah; from frightened Simon Peter before the crucifixion to bold and empowered Apostle Peter after the resurrection – people hear things, believe things and act according to what they believe.

This started way back in the Garden of Eden when Eve. When we listen to the wrong voice we make the wrong choice. Tell me … what have you heard?

1.  What have you heard about yourself?
·       Like the woman in Mark 5 … have you heard that your condition is incurable or your problem can never be solved?
·       Or that you were so important and loved by the Creator of heaven and earth that He sacrificed His only son to provide a way for you.
2.  What have you heard about Jesus?
·       Have you heard that He is critical, condemning, legalistic, only waiting on you to make a mistake so He can sentence your soul to hell?
·       Or that He loves you, cares about you, willingly sacrificed Himself for you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
3.  What have you heard about the Bible?
·       That it’s an archaic book out of touch with reality, hard to understand and without significance in this modern world?
·       Or that it is the source of life, light and love; filled with the wisdom of the ages, relevant and powerful, alive and everlasting.
4.  What have you heard about the Church?
·       That it is a dead entity, a symbol of all that is wrong with organized religion, filled with hypocrites and unable to connect with this generation, out of date and powerless?
·       Or that it is the very Body of Christ, the eternal Bride of our risen Lord, the City set on a Hill built foursquare, New Jerusalem, the family of God in Heaven and Earth, the Congregation on the sides of the North, Mount Zion, the Tabernacle of our God built with Lively Stones upon a Rock so that the gates of hell can never prevail.
5.  What have you heard about the future?
·       That everything is going to be ok? That all roads lead to a blissful eternity? That there is no God? That if there is a God He certainly would not send anybody to hell and if He would, then you don’t want to have anything to do with Him? That you’ll figure it out when you get there or that everybody is in the same boat?
·       Or that all have sinned and deserve death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Which report are you going to believe? You see …

What we hear can affect what we believe and what we believe can affect what we do and what we do makes a difference.

Stop listening to the devil, this world or well meaning friends who may be sincere but are sincerely wrong.

How can you tell if someone is wrong? If they have a different report than the report of the Bible – they are wrong!

Don’t be deceived … don’t listen to the wrong voice and risk making the wrong choice.

Trust Jesus – hear His Word and put your hope in Him.

This poor, afflicted and worn down woman of Mark 5 who had done absolutely everything she could to get help finally found the answer:

When she heard about Jesus she came …

Won’t you come to Jesus this morning … come to Jesus with all your heart … come to Jesus even if you know you have disappointed Him … come to Jesus if only in your prayers today … He is waiting and He has the power you need. Hear this good report from God’s Word and come!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life Shape Prayer & Discipleship - Module 2: New Creation Realities: Block 5 – Dominion


Why be born again? Why get saved? What changes … what are the benefits? These are reasonable questions asked by many who are sincere but lack the knowledge of the scriptures. What are the benefits of being a “Born Again” Christian instead of just calling yourself a Christian because you go to Church, don’t lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit adultery or take the Lord’s name in vain? What really happens when a person recognizes their need for a Savior, repents of their sins and personally receives Christ as Lord?

The person who believes in and calls upon the name of Jesus steps into Christ and therein becomes a New Creature in Christ. Although it cannot be observed with the natural eye, nonetheless an eternal change takes place: Old things pass away and all things become new in that person’s life. Suddenly, to the joyful resound of heaven’s choir, reality changes.

Along with salvation and eternal forgiveness of sins and acceptance into heaven come other New Creation realities designed to benefit the Born Again Believer in this life. One such reality is the element of Dominion.

Key Scripture: Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

God created man like Himself and gave them Dominion. Dominion is the God-given right and power to govern and control the works of God’s hand upon the earth. It is simply the position of being in charge. Man was not designed to be equal with the animals, subject to sin, or controlled by the elements of this world. Life is not meant to unfold in unpredictable, unmanageable or uncontrolled chaos. God created Adam like Himself and gave him the right and power to accomplish the five original commandments of Genesis 1:28.

Genesis 1
27  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

The Original 5 Commandments
1.   Be Fruitful
2.   Multiply
3.   Fill the Earth
4.   Subdue the Earth
5.   Have Dominion

Psalms 8 records King David putting forth the age old question of “Why am I here?”, then answers that question with all certainty:

Psalms 8
6  You have made man to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.

Dominion reflects the positional authority delegated to mankind by God. This authority, like any other, is meaningless unless acted upon. God expects His children to “take charge” and make concerted efforts to influence and positively affect our surroundings and the course of this world. Taking charge immediately began in the Garden of Eden even in the seemingly little things like Adam naming the animals. It was clearly his responsibility because he was put in charge. He even named Eve, because it was his responsibility to make things happen.

In many instances we are either letting things happen or making things happen. God has fully equipped His children with the tools necessary to exercise the dominion given them.
·       Voice of Prayer
·       Voice of Confession
·       Voice of Command

Jesus plainly declared that all authority was given unto Him and therefore He commissioned us to go in His name and heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper; freely we have received, and freely we are to give.

Luke 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.”

Matthew 16
19  "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Important Points
1.   Man was originally created to have dominion
2.   Man is born again to a New Creation position of authority
3.   God expects His children to be in charge and influential
4.   Believers exercise dominion through prayer, confession and command.

Some notable changes occurred when men first began to believe Jesus really was the promised Messiah, Son of God and therefore Savior of the world. One such evidenced change took place in the lives of men whom Jesus commissioned and sent out to minister in His name. (Matthew 10; Luke 10). To these men Jesus gave both instruction and authority. They were told to go proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and wherever they went they were to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out devils. In other words, exercise dominion … be in charge.
Following their faithful obedience these men began to experience miracles in their ministry. After completing their journey they returned with much joy excited to report that even the demons were subject unto them when they invoked the name of Jesus.
This was a brief glimpse of but one New Creation Reality we receive when we are Born Again and come into Christ. Believers in Christ experience the reality of dominion – the right and power to govern and control. Dominion is a God-ordained position from which the Believer exercises spiritual authority and demonstrates spiritual abilities.

God has not left His children in subjection to demons or disorders of this world. Sin, sickness, poverty, worry, frustration, anger, lusts, fear, disease, oppression, depression, possession and pride all must bow their knee to the authority we have in that name above every name, Jesus. We exercise our dominion through prayer, confession and command.
Birds were made to fly; fish were made to swim; man was created to have dominion. Refuse to be controlled by the lesser elements of creation. Instead of being out of control, embrace your God ordained position and begin to exercise dominion through your faithful obedience and faith-filled proclamations of the Gospel of Christ. This is a Kingdom Reality!  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Power of the Gospel


1 Corinthians 15
1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.
3  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
5  and that He was seen … by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6  After that He was seen … by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7  After that He was seen … by James, then by all the apostles.
8  Then last of all He was seen … by me also, as by one born out of due time.
*(Note: Last of all denotes the last up until that time, not the last of all forever.)

Paul said that he had declared and preached the Gospel so that those who believed the Gospel might have something on which to stand.
·        We who have received the Gospel have not believed in vain.
·        We must hold fast to the Gospel of Christ Jesus
·        What is this Gospel? The Gospel
1.   Christ died for our sins
2.   He was buried with our sins
3.   He rose from the dead on the third day victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.
4.   He is coming again to grant us incorruptible immortality.

This is the Gospel – the “Glad Tidings” and the “Good News” spoken of throughout the scriptures. The promise and fulfillment of the Gospel makes power available to every believer in Jesus as Messiah.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

This morning I want to encourage you to stand in the power of the Gospel, especially concerning the coming of the Lord. It is a fact that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. However, those facts are history … powerful history … but nonetheless past events which occurred according to the Holy Scriptures.

As Believers we have been instructed to look forward to the one event of the Gospel which is yet to happen, that is His coming again. The second coming of Christ is “Good News”, and we are admonished to publish these “Glad Tidings” throughout the world. This coming of the Lord at the end of this age is the only Gospel event left on God’s calendar yet to be seen.

Jesus taught us from:
Matthew 24
36  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39  and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
44  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Life is more, much more, than just having a good time. Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, all of these are a normal part of life. While God expects us to carry on with normal life and enjoy the benefits of our labor on earth, He also expects for us to hold fast to the truths of the Gospel which reach far beyond what this world has to offer.

So many of the dilemmas of life cannot be solved by following the collective wisdom of worldly counsel. Individuals, families, Churches, communities and nations all encounter problems which can only be solved by God. There is no substitute for being filled with the Holy Spirit.

I am not talking about having had some single spiritual experience which, although powerful and valid for the Believer, cannot take the place of being continually full of the divine leadership and grace of God. Without respect as to how good or how bad your present situation is, you have a need to be continually full of the Holy Spirit, ever pressing into Christ with a mind to please Him above all else in life.

The world walks in darkness unaware of the Gospel and the eminent return of Christ. My dear saints of God, we ought not blindly walk alongside them as though we had no hope or expectation of that glorious day.

Death will put our problems in perspective … just like it did in Noah’s day.

The only difference between Noah and the rest of the world is that Noah and his family were saved from death. Why walk according to the counsel of this world when they cannot deliver from death. Only Jesus has the power over death and the Good News is that He has made provision for us.

As Jesus continued to teach His followers concerning the day of His coming He said:

Matthew 28
1  “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6  And at midnight a cry was heard: ’Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
7  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8  And the foolish said to the wise, ’Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9  But the wise answered, saying, ’No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ’Lord, Lord, open to us!’
12  But he answered and said, ’Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

The Gospel is a “Watch and Pray” Gospel. And, as we watch and pray, we must also be prepared!

It’s a mindset; It’s a certain faith in believing that God has a bigger plan than just what kind of car I drive, where I work or if I get my way or not.

Life is not always all about us.

God has a much bigger plan and our challenge is to keep our life in perspective to His plan. We must have faith in Him and see each day as opportunity to fill ourselves with His Spirit. We do not know when something extraordinary may be required of us but we do know that if we are full of the Spirit of God, we can handle anything that comes our way.

What can we do in these times? Without respect as to whether things in life are going great or are the pits, we need to be continually full of the Spirit of God. We must keep in mind that the next event on God’s calendar is the coming of the Lord and the rapture of the Church. (Now that’s gonna stop some parties and change some plans …) We are admonished to keep in mind that the Lord is coming … and even pray that He would hurry.

We need to spiritually, mentally, and emotionally accept and embrace the facts that neither our life nor this world is going to last forever and begin preparing oil for our eternal lamps. This oil is an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me ask:
·        Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?
·        Or are you too focused on your current, temporary situations?
·        Embrace the Gospel and let it change your perspective.
·        Determine those things which are most important and do them now.
·        The Lord will come suddenly, as a thief in the night, in a day we do not expect.
·        I pray you have oil in your lamp.
·        Be filled with the Spirit of God.
·        It is the Gospel of Christ and therefore the power of God.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life Shape Prayer & Discipleship - Module 2: New Creation Realities: Block 4 – Transformation


Key Scripture: Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.


To conform means to pattern oneself after some other influence, model, or mindset. The “World” has a mindset, a set way of thinking. We continually hear about “World Opinion”. People are often influenced by world opinion but world opinion does not reflect God’s opinion.

The world is at war with God. The world tries to overwhelm, discount and destroy God’s influence, all the while … God is right and the world is wrong. Nonetheless the world seems tireless in its efforts to capture the mind and control opinion. The world is not your friend. The world is crazy.

James 4:4 … do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

God does not want us to pattern ourselves after the influence, the model, or the mindset of this world. The world’s method of thought and practice is an enemy of God and runs contrary to the Kingdom. Therefore, whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God.

World opinion does not reflect the mind of Christ. Do not be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed.

Transformation refers to a metamorphosis of the mind - The picture of a caterpillar when it is transformed from an earthbound worm to a beautiful butterfly who rides upon the winds of heaven. Transformation occurs as a result of our participation with God in the process of renewing our mind. Only a changed mind will change a life forever.

Transformation is available to every Believer in Christ chooses to believe God’s Word instead of allowing the influence and mindset of this world to shape their thoughts, beliefs, morals, and goals. God’s Word is truth and as we continue to fill our thoughts with the Word of God, the Word captures and cleanses our thoughts and renews our mind. Those who are “In Christ” should begin to think more like Christ and less like their old carnal, worldly self. It is a process which demands participation on your part.

Romans 8
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

When we are born again as a “New Creation In Christ”, we are made free from the law of sin and death. From that point God expects us to fill our minds with His Word and “Set” our minds on spiritual things so that we will begin thinking like He thinks.

5  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Transformation is not without a struggle. The world is an enemy of God and fights to dominate opinion. God expects us to challenge our thoughts and not to let them run wild or come under the influence of this world’s opinion. God has given us spiritual weapons to use against this enemy of our soul. Godliness begins with a mindset.

2 Corinthians 10
4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for the pulling down of 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 to Christ.

The battle is in the mind and the battle is for the mind. To begin the process of transformation we must know God’s Word and accept God’s Word as Truth. Believers must embrace God’s opinion as their very own.

When a Believer changes their mind to line up with God’s Word, it will transform their life and challenge the lives of all they influence for eternity. We are transformed by the Word so that we might prove the Will of God. We must seek God’s Word to know God’s Word; We must know God’s Word to embrace God’s Word; We must embrace God’s Word to reflect God’s Word. In other words:

If we desire to be more like Christ, we must be willing to challenge thoughts and change our mind.

Important Points
1.  World opinion is opposed to God.
2.  Godliness begins with a mindset.
3.  Only a changed mind will change a life.
4.  Transformation is a New Creation Reality.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Power of The Rut


Being raised in the country and living on a farm I grew up with a common necessity to drive anything and everything. It’s not that I’m a good driver, but I can say I have had a whole lot of experience for a man my age.

Some of my earliest memories involve me sitting on my daddy’s knee helping him drive. Now don’t try this today … remember I was raised in a day when seat belts were an option you could get on special order fancy cars and there was no such thing as a car seat or air bag.

All of our cars had 4/60 air conditioner with wing glass directional assist. That’s 4 windows rolled down at 60 miles an hour. Unless it was a pickup and they came equipped with a 2/60 plus wing glass and a floor vent that blew dirt from the floorboard up into your eyes as an added driver challenge.

When I was 10 or 11 years old my dad brought home a Cushman scooter. It had a push down kick start and I was not heavy enough to crank it very easily. I would push it up to the front porch and prop it up on the bottom step and get it primed good by pouring a little gas in the carburetor then jump off the porch onto the peddle in front of the seat and just hope it popped off. If it did, I could drive it to school and if not, I’d have to take the tractor.

Looking back on it now it seems odd but at that time it was perfectly normal that neither the tractor nor the scooter had any brakes … I mean not a lick of brakes … nothing that even resembled slowing down. We lived on a dirt road and I could usually find a rut or some sand to swerve back and forth in to slow myself down and then there was always the ditch or a small pine sapling. I learned to calculate things pretty good after a while and found several creative ways to get myself out of the jam I had just gotten myself into. Ya know, once you get in a rut, it ain’t always pretty.

I can tell that my upbringing warped me a little because a few years ago I didn’t think twice about trading for an old John Deere which had no brakes … sounded like a good deal to me. Well, after church on a Wednesday night Brenda and I drove up to our ranch in northeast Texas and got settled in our bunk house around 2am. She woke early and decided to quietly climb down the ladder go out and start mowing a 50 acre pasture before it got too hot. Instead of choosing her tractor, she got on that John Deere because it had a smaller shredder attached to it. A little after daylight she decided she needed a break and so she headed back down the hill, along the creek towards the bunkhouse. It had been uphill on the way out to work but on the way back she quickly realized that she was going to need some brakes. Well, she didn’t have any.

There I was, enjoying my snooze up in the loft … the rooster hadn’t even crowed enough times to wake me up yet and all of the sudden, ka-wham! The whole house shook and almost moved off the blocks … she done found something to stop herself … the wall right beside the toilet which was in the bathroom just underneath the loft in which I was no longer snoozing.

The tractor engine stopped and I immediately knew what had happened. I quickly climbed down out of the loft and tried to lay myself out on the living room floor in a mangled display. She came running up on the porch and busted through the door and saw me laying there acting all addled like she had knocked me clean out of bed and downstairs. Then she started laughing through her tears – she said, “I was afraid you might be using the bathroom and I’d killed you!” Thank the Lord nobody was hurt but it did take me near all day to replace the broken 2x4’s in that wall.

Let me get back to my message. When you work a farm or live on a dirt road and it rains, you quickly learn about the power of a rut. You know what a rut is? A rut is a wallowed out path, a deep groove made from driving in the same place over and over and over again … the more you follow the rut, the deeper it gets.

Oh let me tell you, a rut can take over … it’s like a surprise autopilot … once you’re in rut it’s like your vehicle is possessed … the rut is going to do it’s best to take you right back to the same place you went last time – good or bad … it don’t care … you are in the power of the rut.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped off into a rut only to end up in the ditch. Why? Because that’s where the rut went and once in the rut, you go where it goes. Speeding up don’t help, slowing down don’t help, turning the wheel won’t always end up like you imagined … It can be a real fight to get out of a rut.

Habits can be ruts. Doing the same thing over and over again can create a rut. Doing the same thing  over and over again expecting different results is insanity … why? Because a rut just leads back to the same old end.

Some folks live in a rut all of their lives. Perhaps it’s a rut they made or a rut that somebody else made and they just fell off into it.

Some folks are in a rut and don’t even know it. Just as happy as if they had good sense.  Oblivious to the ditch that awaits them just down the road – the same ditch they ran into last time – and they can’t figure out why?

It’s like going in circles … at some point you might look up and say … “Haven’t I seen this before!”

Well, the Children of Israel found themselves in a rut recorded in Deuteronomy, chapter 2. Some scholars believe they had been in this rut for more than 38 years. Let’s read:

Deuteronomy 2 NKJV
1  Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the LORD spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days.
2  And the LORD spoke to me, saying:
3  “You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward.”

Deuteronomy 2 - The Message
2  Then GOD said,
3  “You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go north.”

The Children of Israel had been in a rut ever since they disobeyed God and began wandering in the Wilderness. They had been going around and around and around this same mountain for perhaps 38 years. They were definitely in a rut.

A rut is nothing but a grave with both ends open.

What can be done about ruts of life? How do you overcome the power of the rut?

1.  Recognize the rut
a.   Don’t just go happily along in life experiencing failure after failure, drama after drama, dead end after dead end …
b.   Ask yourself: Have I been here before?
c.   Are you rebellious?
d.   Are you out of control?
e.   Recognize the rut!
2.  Realize that God has a better plan for your life

God told the Children of Israel to go north. Why? Because that where the promise land was. God wanted to reposition them in the plains of Moab across from Jericho and getting them out of the rut and down the road was going to be a fight.

The reason why it took 38 years to get them out of the rut they were in is because God was waiting for all of their rebellion to die. (vs. 14-18)

You can’t always take the old ways into your new days.

Sometimes we have to completely let go of one thing before we can fully get hold of another.

Only God can tell you what and when!

What you are going through may not be punishment for your past but rather positioning for your future.

If your life is just going in circles, unproductive, unhappy, rebellious, usually angry, recurring drama, frequently out of control … you may be in a rut. Recognize it … and Realize that God has a better plan … then -

3.  Act, Don’t React
a.   Don’t over-correct
b.   Make small adjustments/corrections

Just one small step … one small correction … one small change

The small change could be as simple as committing to daily prayer, scripture reading, asking for forgiveness, saying I’m sorry, letting go of a past hurt, or turning over some new leaf in life.

Once you take that step – once you make that adjustment – you are committed … then:

c.   Hold the new course firm
d.   Straightening yourself out at the earliest opportunity

You will feel it when you are out of the rut … now straighten up and stay on the high ground.

One step out of the rut will put you on a new road and can change your life forever.

Perhaps the one step you can take today is to turn your life over to Christ. Or maybe you have been saved but you are holding out on Jesus and reserving one area of your life over which you have not yet made Him Lord.

Today you can begin a new course. Haven’t you been skirting this mountain long enough? How many times are you going to go around and around this mountain before you recognize that you are in a rut going nowhere?

God has a better plan for your life. He knows where your milk and honey is and He will help you in your struggle to get there.

What you need to do right now is “Take the first step!” Just a small step … out of the rut and onto a new way of life … What is your step today?