Through the Valley: "Ready To Listen...?"
“Before I formed you in the wombI knew you, Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -God
Are you ready to listen...?
Believe it or not... How you answer the simple question, "Are you ready to listen", Could effect a blessing from the Lord. Confused...?
How do you expect to receive something from someone if you are already closed to what it is being given?
So... are you ready to listen...? Because if you are not,
It would probably be best if you get back to what you where doing
Because honestly...? Even if you do not wish to listen... The Lord will still speak
Do you just want to feel God...? Are you broken...?
Are you ready to listen? ...more specifically...
Are we ready to listen?
“...Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening..." - 1 Samuel 3:9
I don't know about you, But for me I have to be honest, Sometimes, I simply do not pay attention...
It could be something as innocent as not hearing an alarm clock All the way to something as serious as not realizing that a turn light cut off before making a turn... however you want to put it, no matter how I word it, regardless of the excuses I make, nothing can take away the truth...
...In these situations, I was not paying attention
Now let's think of the familiar situation....
Have you ever:
-Felt distant from God? -Felt like God was not answering prayers? -Felt too far gone? -Felt as if you don't need God? Felt as if there was no God...?
Because honestly...? You have always heard it said that,
"Everything will be okay with Jesus"
But inside you ask... ...Why is it that it doesn't seem that things are getting better? Deep inside you think... ...Why was it easier when I didn't know Jesus?
Well let's try to figure it out...
In order for me to get inside your mind... I must first put you into my mind,
This was my life before Christ:
Periods of happiness: -with a cost- Loosing the pillers that held me up
I won't lie, Before giving my life to Christ...? Life was WAY easier! Loads of friends, loads of popularity, loads of fun, less concern for others, more focus on myself...
I believe that one of the biggest lies that Satan spreads to Christ's followers and one of the biggest lies that we all one time or another fall for is: -----> When we give our lives to the Lord, we loose all pleasures of this life <-----
Before we discuss this,
May I introduce someone to you?
If I could choose anyone to spend a day with besides our Lord?
This person would be my choice,
This person is someone who I can relate to
I want you to read what this follower of God writes, I love the way he put this into words. Maybe you can relate to what he is talking about
All of the quote bellow is his words, NOT mine...
"At one time I lived without understanding of the law. But, for instance, when I learned the command not to covet, the power of sin came to life,and I died.
So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead.
Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is.
It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good.
The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.
I don’t really understand MYSELF, for I WANT to do what is right, but I don’t do it! Instead, I do what I HATE! But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I KNOW that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway!But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
I love God’s law with all my heart! But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind! This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"
I'm sure you are like me, Everything that he said I completely understand! It's like he put our feelings into simplified words!
His name is Paul.
...He lived THOUSANDS of years ago... But why is it that his words seem so relevant to today!?
I found those words in the Bible,
and some say that the Bible isn't relevant to current time...?
You might have heard about him, You might know him, or actually, You might not know who this is But let me tell you a little about this man...
Paul was born around the time that our Lord Jesus was here on Earth, Paul actually was not born with this name, his name was originally Saul.
Saul was a Jew, Not just any Jew, he was an active Jew in the church.
However, Most Jews of the time (and currently) deny that Jesus was the son of God. Saul was one of these Jews.
The Christian church around this time was beginning to grow and with the help of many of Jesus' disciples, the church grew rapidly. The bible states, "Those who accepted [the] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." -Acts 2:41
So as the church grew, Saul and many others in the church became afraid and convinced many to testify that one of the men in the movement, named Stephen, was speaking blasphemy against Moses and God.
Stephen was a man (as the bible states) "full of God's grace and power" -Acts 6:7 So as Stephen stood before the high priests, he held nothing back (Acts 7: 1-53).
Upon hearing this, the priests took him out to be stoned and to die... Saul approved it all
After stoning Stephen Saul became so angry, that he spend all the days to come actually killing, arresting, and hunting Christians all over the Land.
As Saul was on the way to a city to arrest Christians (with threats in his hands) his life forever changed...
"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything." -Acts 9:3-9
Saul soon after changed his name to Paul and the Lord used HIM, a murderer of God's people, to spread the truth and message of the Lord to not only the Jews... But to everyone
Now let's go back
Do you feel like life has become harder now that you are a Christian? Well guess what... THIS LIFE HAS BECOME HARDER AND IT WILL CONTINUE! Think of Paul, who spent the rest of his LIFE running from death threats, insults, anger, and trials and eventually LOOSING HIS LIFE ALL BECAUSE HE MADE A STAND FOR GOD!
Why would Paul give his life for something UNLESS it was true? Because honestly...? It would have been easier to simply deny Jesus when he called to him...
So here we are... 2012... Things honestly aren't any different,
What is your story...?
Are you feeling like you are missing out on the pleasures of the world? Tired of getting the worst hand of the deal by doing what is right while others "get away" with not doing the right thing? Getting ridiculed? Loosing friends? Loosing the ones you love? Feel like you are getting nowhere? Feel like God doesn't care? Feel like God isn't there?
Tonight I have your attention, actually I do not have your attention
...God has your attention right now...
I believe that God is using me to speak to you. I have a message for you from God...
I'm sorry you are hurting, I'm sorry that you are in pain, It was never my intention for you to cry, I love you so much and NOTHING can take that away, Nothing that you have done, Nothing that you have thought, Nothing that you have said, NOTHING you have OR will do COULD EVER TAKE AWAY MY LOVE FOR YOU! But right now you are low, I understand completely, I have been there, I have been hurt, I have been laughed at, I have been spit on, I have been beat by this SAME WORLD that is beating you. I WANT TO HELP YOU, But you must allow me too, I am not your enemy, I love you more than you will ever know, But you are drifting away from me, All I want to do is help! But you MUST TRUST ME! You must have faith! You WILL lose this world This I promise, But what I can give is so much better! I will protect you. I will give you true life. I love you... But you must be ready to listen Are you ready to listen...?
I pray that you are open to the Lord right now, As we begin this new series I pray it challenges you, and challenges me... It's okay to have questions! But be prepared for answers.
I promise that he is there waiting for you to open to him, It took me over 16 years to realize this. Our Lord is as powerful today as he was 2000 years ago He loves you, He wants to help you through the valley ...Go to him, Let him in...
Are you ready to listen to him...?
----- "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord..." -Romans 7:25