Recently, I shared a word on Overcoming Discouragement. The age-old question always is… Why do bad things happen to good people? And yet, as Believers we often experience hardships in our lives, even after prayers have been prayed and decrees have been made. In situations like these, we have two choices, we can choose to curse God, or we can look to Him for answers.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”—Romans 8:28
If you love God, there must be trust involved. When disasters strike, we ask the Lord, “Lord, what are you doing?” or “Why are you allowing this to happen?”
Whatever His response, we must walk in obedience to what He prescribes. As an act of love towards Him, despite what we see with our natural eye, we must determine that we will engage our time, tasks, and activities to answer the call that He has given us for our own personal purpose and destiny.
The first thing that needs to happen in a new Believer’s life, one who has been baptized and filled with the Spirit, is that they must choose to seek God with their mind, will, and soul in order to discover their specific purpose here on this earth. Then, once they understand their calling, they can go forward with the prosperity that God has destined for them.
If we want real joy we will become that which the Creator has made us for!
You see, I became a Believer in my mid-thirties. I experienced such a season of acceleration in my personal life at that time that it made me very aware of the fact that if I had found the Lord at an earlier age, I could have done so much more for the Kingdom. That experience of regret lasted for several years until the Father revealed His truth about that situation. He explained to me, that even during that wasted time, He intended to use that experience to help me better understand those who I would be ministering to in the future. That even those weaknesses would become my strengths in the future, and that is exactly what has happened. Once I could receive that revelation it changed everything.
We must come to a place where we are at peace with the circumstances that are out of our control, understanding that God’s ways are perfect. Then, and only then, can we move forward with our lives, walking in the spirit with the Lord. It is important that when we are struggling with understanding why something happened, that we can ask God to reveal it to us.
We can confess that we are over something, but if there is not true closure then it’s difficult to move forward. This is exactly why He says that all things work together for good to those who love Him… That means that we are not only making a quality decision to walk with Him as our Savior, but ALSO as Adonai, our sovereign Lord.
Prior to this sermon our congregation prayed, asking the Lord for what had been weeks of rain to stop—only to receive another deluge of thunderstorms the following day. Many people called me asking what had happened? Why hadn’t our prayers been answered?
But because I had learned this valuable lesson as a new Believer, I knew that it was important to go right to our source and speak to Him about this issue… He responded with 1 Peter 1:6-9:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
Sometimes God will test our hearts regarding the things that we value most. He will ask us to check our hearts to see if we are valuing people, places, or things over Him. He is looking for a proper response, a proper heart-posture toward Him despite the circumstances.
Would you like to know what the proper response is? When we are discouraged and don’t understand what the Lord is doing? The best and most suitable response is praise. Your praise releases honor to the Lord, which in turn releases Glory.
We must be focused on the end, the eternal, not on the temporary here and now. It is laying up your mental treasures in Heaven and not your mental treasures on earth. So, when we get oppressed and depressed over things on earth that can be replaced, it is because we have a soul tie with the physical, which has replaced, or will replace, our heavenly perspective.
This is why the storm was allowed to bring destruction to our lives. God was testing our hearts to see if we were really ready to receive the outpouring we’ve been prophesying in the area of financial wealth and spiritual awakening…
I know for Christie and I personally, we had to do a lot of work on our property following the storm—we were incredibly busy, with a “To Do” list a mile long… And, as I was standing in my yard, the Lord reminded me of when I was in Israel many years ago during a horrific terrorist attack at a Passover Seder in Tel Aviv. I will never forget it. Jewish Rabbis took credit cards out of their wallets and scooped up the blood of those who had been murdered, because in their culture a Jew never leaves Jewish blood behind.
There I was, humbled, standing knee-deep in the damage of the storm, when the Lord reminded me that because I too was a Jewish man—my culture understands that the land is always going to be under attack. What this means is that anyone who is willing to poses the land, must also be willing to fight for it. If it is not worth fighting for, it is not worth having.
As a Jewish man, I was reminded that when an attack comes, the best way to deal with it is to immediately clean up and move on. This is how they deal with it in Israel. They say, “Let’s clean it up, and let’s move on.” Why do they do this? They are making a statement that they are not allowing a tragedy to take authority over their destiny. At the same time, in Israel, if we don’t like what’s happening, then where else can we go? Despite the odds, Israel is the only safe place to call home.
My point is this… wherever God has placed us in this life, we need to take a fair appraisal of our roles and responsibilities and move forward in that location. In this world we will have troubles, and the grass will always seem greener somewhere else, but if God has placed you in one place do not think that by running from problems that it will eventually lead to success… no, not in my personal experience. What I’ve found is that when we bail out in the hard times, those same problems will haunt us for the rest of our lives until we choose to deal with them, and by then it may be too late. It is time to get serious about taking the God-given authority that we have been given and see change right here and right now. We must bloom where we have been planted.
Understand that as you do this, the enemy will increase the game, and we must be on guard to increase ours by committing to study the Word and to use weapons of spiritual warfare like prayer and praise at a whole new level.
The storm, for me personally and those in our congregation, was a wake-up call. Many prophetic voices have been prophesying that the camels are coming, that there is going to be a great transfer of wealth to the righteous. Not only that, but also many of these Godly men and women have stated that Oklahoma will play an even greater role as a food provider in these last days. And yet, this storm just proved to us that our authority has been challenged. God allowed this storm in our lives to show us our weak points, in order that we might be better prepared for the future. If we prophesy that this will be the breadbasket, why is it that we are not putting our wealth into building more silos and storage areas for these coming harvests? We are prophesying, but we are not preparing.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”—Psalm 34:19
What does this have to do with our authority? You see, only the day before this major storm cell moved in we were found making decrees and declarations regarding the protection of our land, but the next thing we know a storm of major proportions is on its way and the authority we carry did not hold it at bay.
I have titled this message, “Overcoming Discouragement”—a message meant to encourage you not to be discouraged. We must see that when God is testing weak areas in our lives that this is not rejection. No, it is a preparation for future things to come, we must be preparing our lives as if they are going to happen, because THEY ARE going to happen.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”—Psalm 34:17-19
In conclusion, this is the lesson we can learn from this 100-year record rainfall that came directly after we prayed and decreed: We must repent and say, “Father God, we are not ready for the increase which you are preparing to send! The abundance of Your Glory, provision, souls, and everything that You are preparing to do in this region, we are not ready, and that is why you have slowed us down for a time.”
With a contrite spirit we can say, “Lord, we’re not ready, but we want to be ready. Allow us this day to be able to correct our course so that we might get ready, particularly for the many souls that are coming.”
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”—Galatians 6:9
We must determine that when setbacks come, and they will, that we will not lose heart. We must choose to keep walking in hope, faith and praise—in fact, these are the very responses that need to come when difficult circumstances arise, when we were expecting breakthrough.
We must always be learning. We may not be as ready as we originally thought…
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”—1 Corinthians 9:24
We must make a statement about our lives. For example: I have made the statement that I will never miss an opportunity to speak on the Lord’s behalf because of sickness. If I’m sick, I am determined to be carried in on a gurney in order that I can minister. There must be some areas in our lives that we state there are certain things that are just not optional.
WE ARE GOING TO FINISH… AND FINISH WELL! We must have that attitude, and understand that we cannot make excuses. The storm was a wake-up call.
“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”—Isaiah 42:16
When the Lord gave me this scripture, He said that in the midst of the storm we thought that we could see and that we knew exactly what He was doing. We do not see the abundance or the enormity in what God is calling us to do…
We must choose to trust the Lord in the expansion. We must trust Him to crush our dream of abundance in order to give us an even greater dream. He is taking us into some dark places, but in those places we are bringing the light. He is sending us into areas that He has never sent Believers before. He is after a harvest… that none should perish and all should come to everlasting life (see 1 Peter 1:6-9).
It is interesting that since Passover it seems like there has been one trial after another. Why? It’s 70 years since all the paperwork was signed for Israel to become a nation. It is their 50th year of jubilee and the first foreign ministry trip of our President was recently to Israel. The entire world is shifting. God is preparing Jerusalem to be properly aligned for the salvation of the Jewish people and the return of Messiah. Our ministry is right in the middle of it. We’re not ready, Israel’s not ready. No one is ready but God.
We cannot allow discouragement to gain a foothold, but MUST put our faith in God. Even when unexpected circumstances come. Do not ever NOT trust your God. He sees you. He is responsible for you. He loves you and He will never fail you. If you want to put the enemy of discouragement under your feet, take some time today and praise the Lord… let Him know that we are with Him. Ask Him to forgive you for questioning Him during this time.
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