Sunday I challenged many of you to prepare to shout this
morning. Do you remember? I promised you that we would shout
in church today. The reason we are going to shout in church
is because last week we talked about Joshua walking around
the walls of Jericho. Day one, he walked around the walls
and they blew their horns. Day two they did the same thing.
Day three, day four, day five, six, and day seven they walked
around seven times, blew the horns and they shouted and
the walls came down. We didn't shout last week and the reason
is this week I challenged you instead to tackle the walls
in your life that you want to come down and apply the principles
every day for the next seven days and then today we would
shout and tear down these walls and receive the nourishment
and the direction of God.
right now I am going to ask you to stand up and we are going
to shout. This is a shout that means we are dedicated to
God. We believe in His power and we know He is going to
knock down the walls that keep us from being everything
He's called us to be. Now the other thing I know is that
people love to shout. The reason I know that is I went to
a USC game a couple weeks ago. They happened to win that
game and people shouted anyway. They have won a lot of games.
The point is that we are winners, too. So, are you ready
to shout and declare your faithfulness and your goodness
to God? Let's just shout! One, two, three, shout! One, two,
three, shout! There we go and the walls came tumbling down!
it begins. It's not the end in and of itself, it is the
beginning. The beginning of us continuing to live our lives
in such a way that God can direct and move and have influence
in our lives. Now how do we move in the way that God wants
us to move? We can start with either one: follow His ways
or choose Him. We read in the book of Joshua, "Obey
all of the laws, my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn
from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful
wherever you go." Do you like that idea? Being successful
wherever you go? "Do not let the book of the law depart
from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you
may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you
will be prosperous and successful." I like that idea.
Do you ever wonder why you don't feel prosperous and successful?
if we turn to the end of Joshua and we read these words:
"Now respect the Lord and serve Him
with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers
worshipped beyond the river and in Egypt and serve the Lord.
Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve. But as
for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua
serve the Lord and we follow His laws. In that process,
what happens? We find that God directs and guides, it's
not always easy but He does. As we allow His presence to
direct and guide we find success and we find our prosperity.
received a letter this past week from a very wonderful young
lady. I want to share it with you because she understands
the laws of God. One of the laws she understands and follows
is the law of tithing. God tells us throughout the Bible,
"to bring your tithes to the storehouse and put me
to the test and see. See if I will not bring out such a
blessing upon you that your storehouses won't be able to
contain it." Here is her letter. She's from the Netherlands.
She says, "I've been ill for more than seven years
now and since I was seventeen, I'm 25 right now, I couldn't
go to school, couldn't work anymore, for I had to fight
against the illness which caused me almost to die. I hadn't
been able to work or save money, for I was and still am
completely dependent upon the good will of my parents. So
I have no income at all. Although sometimes I get small
amounts of money from people, and I wasn't able to go to
church, and I wasn't able to get involved, so I decided
to save my tithing. I've done this for years and I always
said and prayed to God that He would tell me when and where
to give my gift of my saving 10%. I made a special place
where I kept my money for God and when I got money for my
birthday that was my income. I gave my 10% to God and set
it aside knowing that God would make it clear to me when
and to whom I had to donate it. Sitting in the Crystal Cathedral
last Sunday, in the front row, you spoke about the walls
to tear down and I had to tear down so many walls during
my time of illness and still have to." She continues,
"I know I can never out give God for what He did, for
me and for what He will do but hearing you speak about the
financial challenges on that Sunday, God reminded me of
my 10% saving box which nobody knows about; just God and
me. And I knew this was the time to give my gift to God
where it was needed." She handed it to me this week.
Two hundred and fifty dollars. Thank you Paula.
know, when God calls, we listen. When God calls, we go.
For faith is not believing in spite of evidence, it's obeying
in spite of the consequences. We know the laws of God. We
instinctively know what is good and what is wrong. That
is what the Bible tells us. St. Peter in his letter to the
Galatians tells us the sinful nature is obvious; everyone
knows what it is.
the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control and
against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
So we don't live under the law but we live
under the spirit of the law. Let me explain it another way.
Many of you know that we talk about living a positive life.
We talk about being positive and not negative. We talk about
believing in what you can be instead of looking at what
you can't be.
if we apply this to the negative areas in our life and we
want to create life changing things in our life, we have
to apply this in a positive way. For instance, an alcoholic
who wakes up in the morning and says I'm going to quit drinking
and I'm not going to drink today, and throughout the day,
he says I'm not going to drink, I'm not going to drink,
consistently gives himself a negative message. The negative
message is the word not. Through psychology we understand
that our brain cannot decipher between the negative and
a positive. It does not hear a negative. As a result of
that, what his brain actually hears and he tells himself
what not to do, is do this, do this, do this, do this, and
do this. The common analogy is the pitcher who faces a slugger
who loves them high and outside so the coach comes out and
says don't throw it high and outside. Guess where the ball
goes. High and outside. Take another situation. We have
eating disorders and we want to lose weight, so what do
we do? We say, "I'm not going to eat this and I'm not
going to eat that." What happens the first time you
see the candy bowl? Your brain says, "Enjoy."
Those are the negative messages we put in our mind. Instead
of thinking negative thoughts, we have to think positive
do we think positive thoughts? Don't tell yourself what
you're not going to do, tell yourself what you are going
to do. Say, "I'm going to do this; I'm going to do
that." If you look at the scriptures what are we told
to do? We are told to live by the spirit and the spirit
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness,
faithfulness and self control. These are the things we focus
on, these are the things we live by and therefore we spend
our time praying, doing good, loving others and trusting
God's laws, follow God's ways, and you will be prosperous,
you will succeed and from time to time you will still fail.
It is impossible to go through life without making mistakes.
When you do make mistakes, what do you do? You get up, you
brush yourself off and you just start again and you re-do
it. The best story I know for getting up and re-doing it,
is the farmer who paints his barn. The farmer goes and gets
his paint and comes home and he starts painting the barn.
He's painting it bright red. He gets about halfway done
and he realizes he is going to run out of paint so what
does he do? He thinks it's too far to go back into town
to get more paint, so he thins the paint a little bit and
he thinks he will have enough to get by. So he thins the
paint down and he keeps painting. He realizes he still does
not have enough paint to finish, so he thins it some more.
The farmer continues to thin the paint several more times.
Finally he is finished and stands back and looks at what
he has done, saying, "Now what am I going to do?"
The barn was red on one side and pink on the other! Suddenly,
a cloud appeared over his head and it got thicker and darker
and black and a lightening bolt cracked out of that cloud
and the voice of God was heard saying, "Repaint and
thin no more!"
we fail and we know we will, the voice of God comes forth
and simply says repaint and thin no more. He tells us to
try it again, keep going. Make a decision, a positive decision.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, said Joshua.
Things don't always go as we plan them. They don't always
go the way we want them to go but somehow, someway God is
in the process of taking things and molding them and shaping
them into ways to be able to give us the ability to see
His hand in our lives. He tears down the walls, He looks
at our faithfulness in our heart and He continues to move
in dramatic and powerful ways.
I want you to realize that God is in the process of calling
His people. He is calling you to come to Him. He is calling
you to take the steps today, tomorrow and for the rest of
your life because success is not a destination, it's a journey.
Being prosperous doesn't mean having a certain amount of
money in the bank. It means being successful in following
the walk of God. It doesn't mean we do it for a week or
a day or a year. Life is not a sprint; it's a marathon!
We start today, and live to the best of our ability following
God's guidance, today, tomorrow and forever. That means
until we come face to face with Jesus Christ when we look
into His eyes and He embraces us and He welcomes us into
His eternal glory.
today and tomorrow and forever, just remember that God is
with us, God is before us and God is our destination.
Heavenly Father we thank You for Your son Jesus Christ who
came to abolish the law that we might live through Him,
that He might fulfill the law through us. So we thank You
Lord for fulfilling that law in our lives through Your grace,
by dying on the cross and saving our lives. So we thank
You this very moment for eternal life with You. We love
You Lord, Amen.