Sunday, July 1, 2018

Praying Circles Around Your Walls – 19

Praying Circles Around Your Walls – 19
Subject – The Conclusion of the Matter
by Rick Welborne

Joshua 6:1-2, 15-20 (NLT)
1  Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in.
2  But the LORD said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.
15  On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times.
16  The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the town!
17  Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.
18  “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel.
19  Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the LORD and must be brought into his treasury.”
20  When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. 

--Obviously this has been the longest series I have ever preached in the 27 years that I have been a lead pastor. My hope and prayer has been that you have been encouraged to trust God until walls fall…the miracle comes.

--I believe all of us would agree that discipleship is very important in the church and in our own lives. Have you ever asked yourself, who disciples our pastors?

--Many pastors have favorite preachers who encourage them and speak into their lives. They listen to cds or Podcasts and they are challenged to grow and stretch.

--Your pastor has chosen the venue of reading to keep stretching me and challenging me to be more for God. I markup horribly the books I read making notes on almost every page. Very slow and messy.

--Because I am not insecure, I have always tried to give credit to the authors of the books I read and use their material. Some choose to not reveal the source because they want people to think they are that smart.

--Can you imagine preaching at the same church and to the same congregation for 29 plus years and coming up with new and fresh material without reading or studying…I love to study and prepare sermons. 4350 sermons. 

Tommy Barnett (School of Ministry) – Please feel free to use any of the material I give you in my books and feel free to use anything you hear me preach because everything I share I have stolen from someone else. Make copies of my material and give it away because it is all about expanding the Kingdom of God. 

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (NKJV)
9  That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
10  Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. 

--Very few authors have impacted me like Mark Batterson and very few books have impacted me like the “The Circle Maker”. The whole essence of the book is to keep praying until the miracle comes. Until the walls fall.

--I just guess God must have known where I would be at this time in my life and ministry…He knew I would need to be praying circles around my family, my church, my health, my community.

--Going to General Council in 2017 and hearing many of the ministers I honor and respect was such a privilege for me. God filled me with such vision and dreams during that time. It was amazing.

--Coming down the elevator of our hotel and bowing my head and praying a simple prayer…Jesus, I would really like to meet Mark Batterson in person. Thanks, Lord!

--I get off the elevator and walk out the front of the hotel and who is standing just a few feet away, Mark Batterson. I extend a hand and he graciously accepts. I thank him for his impact on my oldest son.

--I tell him I pastor in Florida…He suddenly stops me and I think I have taken too much of his time…He tells me to wait a second and he goes and gets his wife and son.

--He comes quickly back and introduces them to me…This is pastor Rick from Florida…they extend the same grace he had shared. Their kindness and humility told me what I found in his books was real. AG Leadership!

--Don’t you like people who are real…what you see is exactly what you get…people with no ulterior motives. They just want to love God and love people…is that what you want? Is that what you do? Are you real?

--In The Circle Maker Batterson used the example of Honi the circle maker as a springboard to write his book. Honi was a real person who lived in history, he was a Jew, a son of Abraham, a man of faith.

--Honi prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the last time I checked, that is exactly who we pray to. He was not in the Bible but he was a man who had faith in God and God used him to save a generation.

--Charles Greenaway, David and Beth Grant, Hulda Buntain, Hudson Taylor, and other saints are not mentioned in the Bible but all of them could be used as examples of faith. Harriet Browne is right up there with them.

--Honi was just an example of someone who dared to believe God to send rain…He drew a circle around himself and said God I will not leave here until you answer my prayer. We used this parallel verse:

Joshua 6:5 (NKJV)
5  It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him." 

--The children of Israel circled the walls seven times…We have heard so many testimonies of those who made a decision to start circling their walls in prayer until they fell…Shawna Cortez. 

“Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable, anything is possible!” Casting Crowns couldn’t have said it any better. This song came on as I was leaving the courthouse parking lot and it couldn’t have been better timing. In November of 2016 I was faced with the impossible. As a single parent with a young daughter whom I adored, I received devastating news. At the time I had no clue what to do so I prayed. I prayed circles around this situation, every chance I could. I never prayed for what happened today to happen. My prayer was simple, just for the big man upstairs to take control of this situation and his will to be done. In April I received a text message that would forever change my life. Vic and I had only been married for a few months and he was faced with a huge decision. Needless to say there was no hesitation on his behalf, he stepped up the plate and did what any father would. I’m super excited to announce that Kelsie is now a Cortes! Our prayers were answered and surpassed all expectations. Happy Adoption Day KELSIE CORTES!

--Because Victor and Shawna prayed circles around the situation with their daughter…God made the walls fall and they received their miracle! They got custody and were able to adopt! Praise God!

--Today we will wrap up this series and look at what is the conclusion of the matter. 

1. When we face our Jericho or the walls that seem unwilling to fall, we must trust God!

--It is impossible to stay in one place as long as I have been here and not see person after person or family after family face oppositions and trials that seemed to be insurmountable.

--There have always been, and I guess will always be, people who face these trials, these tests with faith and trust, and others who face them with anger and doubt.

--Listen to me my brothers and sisters, you may think you know how someone will react when they face these things but you really do not know…you do not know what is in an orange until it is squeezed. 

--This is why it is so imperative that we have certain godly patterns in our lives like Daniel. Three times a day he would make it to his upper room, open his windows toward Jerusalem, and pray!

--Are you building such a relationship with God that even if your world seems to be crumbling beneath your feet…you are going to trust Him no matter what.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (NKJV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7  Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8  It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. 

--This does not mean you trust God when everything is going well, when there is money in the bank, and everyone is healthy in your house.

--It means that we trust the Lord with all our hearts even when everything is turned upside down…it means we don’t have to have everything figured out…we don’t lean on our own understanding and knowledge.

--In all your ways acknowledge Him…In all your ways get to know Him…allow adversity to push you into a deeper intimacy with Him. If this latest trial seems to be the one that takes you under:

Job 13:15-16 (NKJV)
15  Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
16  He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)
17  Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls--
18  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19  The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. 

2. We circle the walls of Jericho and pray for the right motivation.

--We pray and circle the walls desiring to see God glorified, not for our own selfishness. God gave specific instructions about what was to be done when the walls come down.

Joshua 6:18 (NLT)
18  “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel.

Joshua 7:11 (NLT)
11  Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.

--Achan made the mistake that so many make today about why God does certain things, he thought the miracle of the walls falling was about what he could get, not what he could give. 

--God wanted the glory and Achan thought he could take from God what belonged to Him only! Achan and his entire family perished because of his selfishness and disobedience.

--Motivation – why do you want walls to fall? Oh, Pastor, I want healing, I want finances, I want family reconciliation, I want… Shouldn’t the reason we want walls to fall is so God will be glorified?

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)
31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

3. Keep on praying.

--What do I do if God doesn’t answer my prayers on my time line? Oh, excuse me, I thought He was the Master and you are the bond slave. You keep seeking His face, not His hand! He is the prize!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NKJV)
16  Rejoice always,
17  pray without ceasing,
18  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19  Do not quench the Spirit.

--When you have done all you know to do…pray without ceasing…pray without stopping and give Him constant thanks. Don’t quench the Spirit but be filled with Holy Spirit and pray in the Holy Spirit. 

--Summary – Keep on trusting God no matter what, keep on asking with the right motives, and keep praying!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My Sheep Know My Voice - 6

My Sheep Know My Voice - 6
Subject: Determining When God Is at Work 
by Rick Welborne

--Do we ever give Satan permission to take us bondage or does God ever grant Satan permission to take us bondage?  Do we ever give Satan an open door into our lives or does God ever give Satan an open door into our lives?

–Think of the OT.  Children of Israel would sin...God would allow the enemy to take them into captivity ...Bondage...verse in Isaiah 29...I know the plans...going into bondage.

–Satan is a thief...always looking for ways to get in... looking for access!

Ephesians 4:27 (NKJV) 
27 nor give place to the devil. 

–Number one open door is pride. Many people are proud they don’t have pride. Definitions of pride according to Robert Morris:

1. Pride is trusting in your own strength.

Luke 22:3132 (NKJV) 
31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." 

–The word “asked” in the Greek has more than one meaning- Greek lexicon - to ask for something and to receive; to ask for with success; Peter, Satan asked for and received permission to sift you as wheat.

Luke 22:31 (NASB) 
31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 

–In other words Satan has a right into Simon’s life and what would that open door be?

–We believe that the open door in Peter’s life was because he was trusting in his own strength and was filled with pride...listen to the conversation before these verses.

Mark 14:2731 (NKJV) 
27 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.' 
28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." 
29 Peter said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be." 
30 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." 
31 But he spoke more vehemently, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all said likewise. 

–Jesus said to Peter - what part of all do you not understand...not me...these sissies! Scripture in OT that says you will...Peter said, “not me the Scriptures are wrong.”

Matthew 16:2123 (NKJV) 
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" 
23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." 

–What kind of pride and arrogance does it take to take Jesus aside and to rebuke Him?

–Jesus looked right at Peter (a man) and addressed Satan...whatever your theology is...Jesus addressed Satan in him, on him, around him, behind him...he addressed Satan.

–Right before this Jesus has changed Peter’s name from Simon to Peter (You are the Christ, the Son of the living God) and now He is calling him Satan because of the pride in Peter...Peter...I like my other name better.

–When they came to arrest Jesus one of the disciples cut off one of the soldiers ears - Guess which one - Peter.

–The reason he cut off his ear is because he missed his head...what kind of pride and arrogance to think you could take on a whole garrison of soldiers...he was trusting in his own strength.

–Satan has a right to you because you have opened a door of access to him...trusting in his own strength.

–Right after this Peter goes against his strong declarations and denies the Lord to a teenage waitress and even curses...denies the Lord three times.

Robert Morris: Many mature believers who have served the Lord for a long time fall into this trap because they begin to trust in their own strength instead of trusting in the Lord.

–Is it possible this is why King David fell because he had been such a strong follower of the Lord?  Absolutely.  In a time when kings went out to war...He stayed home. Bathsheba.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV) 
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 

2. Pride is trusting in your own righteousness.

Job 1:612 (NKJV) 
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." 
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 
9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 
10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 
11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 
12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. 

–Wouldn’t you say that was God granting Satan permission to go after Job?  Hard to understand until you read the next 31 chapters of Job...three friends show up...not good friends for sure.

–Though they were not on target...they in essence were speaking to Job trying to help him understand that he could have potentially left an open door in his life. He could not see it! He would not see it!

–Job denies everything that they are accusing him of...I did not do these things and I did do these things. Job 32 Elihu...I have held it as long as I can...I have waited for you old guys to get it right but you are not doing it.

Job 32:12 (NKJV) 
1 So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 
2 Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. 

–Answer to the whole book...Job was righteous in his own eyes and he justified himself rather than God.

Job 33:89 (NKJV)   Elihu
8 "Surely you have spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the sound of your words, saying, 
9 'I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. 

–Job would have had to be Jesus for that to be true.  Elihu said:

Job 36:3 (NKJV) 
3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 

–Here is the open door in Job’s life...He was righteous because of what he did not because of Who he knew...the Lord! Job argued and was saying because I did this and did not do this...I am righteous.

–Mature believers fall into this sin...when we first get saved we know it had to be the righteousness of Jesus that saved us...could not do it ourselves.

–10 years, 20, 30 years later we don’t do the things we used to do and we now do so many good things and we start thinking that is what makes us righteous...lady in office. We are not righteous by what we do...Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 

–When you begin to trust in your own righteousness...that is pride. Pharisee praying in church...God I am glad that I am not like this tax collector:  What Job does for 31 me to anyone and you will see.

–Job’s problem...all of a sudden God shows up and says, OK you want to do some comparisons? Compare yourself to Me!

Job 38:16, 12,22,24,34-35 (NKJV) 
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 
2 "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? 
3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 
4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 
5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 
6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 
12 "Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, 
22 "Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail, 
24 By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth? 
34 "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you? 
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, 'Here we are!'? 

Job 39:2627 (NKJV) 
26 "Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south? 
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high? 

–God sums it up like this:

Job 40:78 (NKJV) 
7 "Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: 
8 "Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? 

–Can you imagine God asking you that question? Of course Job’s response to God’s questioning was to many mature believers fall into the trap of trusting in their own righteousness.

Job 42:16 (NIV) 
1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 
2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 
3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 
4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' 
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." 

–Many are living righteous lifestyles (they think)...we believe in living a righteous un-righteously opens us up to the enemy...only the blood of Jesus makes us righteous.  

3. Pride is trusting in your own wisdom.

–Ahab had 400 prophet who were yes men.

–Jehosaphat good king.
1 Kings 22:78 (NKJV) 
7 And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?" 
8 So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say such things!" 

–God gives permission to the demon to have a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets. Ahab did not want the truth. God is in control.

James 3:1416 (NKJV) 
14 But if you have bitter envy and selfseeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 
15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 
16 For where envy and selfseeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 

–Pride opens the door for his destruction. Would God ever grant permission...yes. Why would God grant permission to the enemy? Take the warning of this message about pride. I repented while I did it.

Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) 
18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. 

–Good news is that Job and Peter and repented. Ahab - thought he had more wisdom than God...dressed like a regular soldier. Certain man draws a bow...hits Ahab... Jehoshaphat is saved.  God’s grace toward him.

–Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and the wise fall into many times. Guard your heart and ask Holy Spirit to reveal any open doors to pride. 

Psalm 69:5 (NKJV)
5  O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You.