#282 (22/04/07)
Finding Happiness from the Inside Out Part II

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Kristin Armstrong
Kristin Armstrong who was married for five years to Lance Armstrong, the great bicyclist. And that marriage went into a divorce and during it she kept amazing private diary and it’s got some of the most powerful Bible verses you can imagine. “Happily Ever After” is the book and in the forward and in the book she calls it a thank you to God for helping her to get through it positively.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.."
" Trusting Jesus "
" Rise Up, O Church of God "
"His Eye is on the Sparrow"

" Refuge and Strength "
" Lord, You Have Been our Dwelling Place "

DOROTHY BENHAM - "His Eye is on the Sparrow"

The Message

How many of us need deliverance from an illness, negative thoughts or from family turmoil? How many of us need deliverance? I know that many of us do, because I pray with people consistently and regularly. In fact we have a website, a prayer community where if you need prayer today, you can go to our website you can log in there for prayer. Our website is http://www.hourofpower.org. You can register, become part of a community and if you do so, you can ask for me to pray for you, you can tell me what your prayer request is and I will pray for you. I pray for hundreds of people just in that fashion and I will personally pray for you and I'll send you a little note saying so. It is part of what we do here at this ministry.

Yesterday, I visited three different families. I visited one family, actually his name is Wally, and the first time I met him was about a year ago in a golf outing and we golfed together. He is a great golfer. Yesterday I went and visited him and his wife, Ruth and prayed for him but he never got out of his chair while we were there. He didn't get out of his chair because he just doesn't have the strength to get out of his chair. He has stomach cancer and as a result of that he can't eat very much or take many liquids. He goes to the doctors or the hospital a couple of times a week so that he can get hydrated, so that he doesn't die of dehydration. I visited with him and had a prayer with him. I prayed for another family yesterday, I went to their house and their son just enrolled in an alcohol treatment center. So it is a prayer and concern, praise and concern for their son. They are concerned about what is going to happen when he gets out of the treatment center. Is he going to be able to do what he needs to do so he can maintain his sobriety?

Then I had one other person I prayed with yesterday and I was at his home and he walked me out to the driveway after we talked for a while. He said, "You know I have to sell this house. I have lived here for ten years, working on this house and making it what it is. It's a beautiful home!" He said, "You know I'm getting a divorce." I told him, "I'll pray for you." People are going through lots of different challenges in their lives.

I suspect there are many people reading this who need deliverance from negative thoughts, negative feelings, negative behavior, and negative health. The beauty is the promises of God are here. The promise is this, "What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Do you hear those words? Do you hear that promise? If you do I want you to embrace it and take it upon yourself. This is how you do it, you simply speak it. Something happens when we speak, I'm not sure exactly what it is; it's a spiritual thing.

The bible says that God spoke and the heavens above were separated from the heavens below. He spoke and everything we know came into existence so we know there is power in speaking. If you want deliverance today in your life, I want to invite you to recite with me these words, "What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." One more time, "What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Are you beginning to believe it?

Let's take a look at history. I believe history is important for us. If you look at the hand of God and how He has directed his people throughout history, He has never ever failed us. He saved his people from famine through the life of Joseph. As a result of Joseph going to Egypt he became the premier of the entire land when the famine swept his family and he fed them. They prospered in Egypt and they were enslaved in Egypt and God sent Moses to Egypt and he delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh and brought them to the Promised Land. He delivered them from the Philistines. David faced Goliath and delivered the people from this giant! As long as we have been faithful to God, God has been faithful to us. God has always been there to deliver us from the challenges we face. Shadrack, Mishack and Abendigo were thrown in a fiery furnace and He delivered them from the fires. Daniel was thrown into a lions den, and he came out without a scratch. Job was tested by Satan, and he lost everything, absolutely everything! Job did not curse God, but blessed God saying, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away! Blessed be the name of the Lord. What has happened to me is for my deliverance." We have to hold onto those words, grasp those words and take them personally.

I look at my own life and I want to ask all of you to do this today. When you go home make a list of the ways God has delivered you. I promise you that you can find at least five, probably ten to fifteen to twenty ways that God has delivered you. He delivered me from a serious reading disability. I graduated from high school without knowing how to read! He delivered me from the fear of speaking in front of people. I'm talking about tremendous fear of being in front of just a few people, let alone a cathedral full of people. He delivered me from sinus infections. I could hardly breath I was constantly living with sinus infections and He delivered me from them. Today I take no antibiotics for sinus infections whatsoever, and I can breathe. He delivered me from gallstones and I still have my gallbladder! He delivered me from the most difficult time in my life, when I went through my divorce, my children were two years old and five years old. The thing that hurt me the most was looking in their beds realizing I wouldn't be saying prayers with them at night anymore, or at least not very often. I thought to myself, "What is going to happen to my kids with this separation. How are they going to turn out?" My oldest daughter now is twenty-eight years old and she is a Pastor in a church in Dallas, Texas. My son is a Pastor here at the Crystal Cathedral! I think they turned out okay! I can go on and on and on talking about the way God continues to deliver us.

We need to write that list down. It will help us remember all the ways God has delivered us in the past. Then, when we face the challenges we can state them, "God the way you delivered me from this and the way you delivered me from this and the way you delivered me from this; please, Lord I need you to deliver me today!" God, in his power and wisdom and strength and ability will fulfill his promises to you today. What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

The book of Philippians is the letter that St. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi. When he was in Philippi, the first time when he was establishing the church there, he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and they arrested him and they threw him in jail. Do you know why? Because there was a demon possessed women there whom he had released from that demon and as a result of that she no longer was a fortuneteller. As a result of that her owner couldn't make his money anymore. So the owner reported Paul to the magistrate and the magistrate put Paul in jail. He was in jail in Philippi. It was in that jail that Paul continued to rejoice and praise the Lord. In fact let me read you the scripture. He is bound up in chains and the scripture says, "About midnight Paul and Silas, they always went out in twos, were praying and singing hymns to God, while they were chained up in prison. The other prisoners were listening to them sing. Suddenly, there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken, at once all the prison doors flew open and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up and when he saw the prison doors open he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself we're all here!' The jailer called for lights, rushed in, fell trembling before Paul and Silas, he then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs what must I do to be saved?'"  What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Remember, preceding those words are these, "For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." How does God come and take what has happened to us and turn it into good and great deliverance for us? It's through prayer. God wants us to pray, he wants us to communicate with Him. He wants us to talk with Him. He wants us to hear His voice. He wants us to receive the direction. He wants to help us. He wants to deliver you.

I am going to share with you some easy steps to remember to pray. Hold up your hand. What finger is closest to you when you lift up your hand? Your thumb is the finger that is closest to you. So we are going to use the fingers on our hand to remind us of prayer.

First with your thumb, since it is the closest to you, pray for the people who are closest to you. I do that every night by praying through the alphabet. The way I pray through the alphabet is I think of "A" - Angie and Anthony, two of my children. "B" íV Bobby and Hannah. "C" is for Christina. "D" is for Donna, my wife. Dad and Mom also come under "D." Then I continue through the alphabet praying for the people who are closest to me.

Then we have our pointer finger. The pointer is to remind us to pray for those people who give us direction in our lives. So pray for your teachers, for your pastors, please pray for me. I covet your prayers. We need your prayers for the kingdom of God to progress and be everywhere that God has called us to take this ministry. So please pray for me. Pray for your mentors. Pray for people who give you direction in life.

Then you have your middle finger. I think most people will recognize that their middle finger is the longest of all of their fingers. There are probably some exceptions, but we want to pray for all of our leaders, people who stand out in our society. People who make a difference and an impact in society just by being where they are and doing what they do.  We want to pray for our President; if you are in another country you want to pray for your royalty and your prime ministers. You want to pray for your senators, your congressmen, your governors, your city councilmen. Pray for our leaders, people who make a difference.

Then we have our ring finger, it's also our weakest finger and as our weakest finger, we need to pray for those who are in trouble today. Those who live in parts of the country where they have a very difficult time just existing. We need to pray for those who are sick and going through some real difficult times. We need to pray for as Jesus said, "the least of these."

We have one finger left, our pinkie. With our pinkie we pray for ourselves.  One whole finger dedicated just for you! Pray for yourself, for your needs, for your health, for your family, for things that are important to you, for your emotions, for your health, for your joy, for your goodness, for your laughter. So, I encourage you to pray.

That is the reality of God coming into our lives to intervene and make a positive difference. What has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Finding happiness from the inside out. It happens when we come to the realization there are five rules to happiness.

The five simple rules of happiness are:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being our God, a God who continues to shine in our lives and be an important part in making us and creating and shaping us into the people you want us to be. Give us the faith oh Lord, to come to you in prayer. To pray with our hands high understanding that you are a God who comes for our deliverance. Everything that happens to us is for our benefit and for your glory. We thank you, Lord, for what you are doing in our lives right now and give us the faith to believe that You truly are shaping and molding and moving within our lives to give us deliverance. We love you, Lord. Amen.

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