This morning we heard a word about an enemy who has a plan to engage us in a battle. It’s a battle of entanglement to dishearten us from our weapons and the authority that is ours. However, we heard a word about God as our maintainer and our provider. He does not deal in confusion, but in the position of truth. His provision comes as the living word of truth which he watches over to perform wonders. We heard a word that says God is all sufficient and he works at the place of our surrender. We heard a word that says our God in Christ left us a pattern that we should follow, so that at the pattern of the cross we posture ourselves for success not failure. It is a posture of humility by which he will perform wonders before our very eyes. Today he would say, do not be afraid, and do not listen to the voice of the adversary who would discourage your Faith in Christ alone! When you speak those words “In Christ Alone” you make a bold declaration of surrender about who you’re going to trust. By assuming this posture, you will be speaking forth a prayer of great release. Today, let him release you from the fear, let him release you from the things that keep you from realizing what only He is able to produce! I was impressed this week with something someone had given me to read. It revealed a long forgotten story of a man in New York City, who in 1857 called a meeting to gather people with him to pray. In that prayer meeting only six people showed up. Rather than be discouraged by what may have seemed to some as a failed attempt, they would continue to meet weekly for the purpose of prayer. It would be that within the next year, the Spirit of God would move on upwards of 10,000 people to meet daily in churches all over the city to pray. As a result of a little prayer meeting, it is estimated that 1 million people came to faith in Christ during the course of the next year. There are greater things to be had when we pray in agreement with the Spirit of God. Today, find the authority that belongs to you in Christ and never underestimate the power when His saints pray in faith.
Often we find ourselves in a fog, wondering where God is in our circumstances. We may feel as though we made a decision to follow the Lord way back when, but the enemy would have us convinced that all those decisions for what we believed was right and honorable have left us in the middle of the desert. You think, after all these years life should be more comfortable, but instead you feel like your life is in a wilderness and everything you believed is being tested. You are not alone though you may think you are. How you handle the wilderness will be the defining moment in your Christianity. You said you wanted to serve God and be his disciple, but what you may fail to realize is; there is no effective ministry without a wilderness. Matthew 4:1, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. This wilderness is for His glory. This wilderness is defining your call. Many a young person may think it well to serve God without fully removing the harmful effects of sin, pride, or rebellion, but without a wilderness you will serve God by what is born out of ‘pop culture’ pursuing what is popular and not what is holy. Remember Moses? It was the wilderness that led him to a place of holy ground. The wilderness defines my call by leading me to holy ground to meet a holy God not given to the popular, but to the pure. The wilderness defines my identity as being in Christ and in Him alone because there is nothing else to cling to. It is here the enemy comes to question your sonship saying, ‘If you’re a son, then do this or do that for instant comfort’ but in the wilderness you must discover it is Christ alone your hope of glory. It is a place of understanding my identity as the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….” You may feel you have spent your whole life serving people and even family, only to be kicked in the teeth. You may have worked so hard to accomplish some purpose only to be disappointed in some way, yet is it the wilderness that defines my God. He uses the wilderness to prove the true object of my affection. Was my service just my gratification or was it for His glory? You see, the wilderness makes the object of our affection very clear; will my god prove to be self as I bemoan the circumstance, or will I recognize the greatness of our God by completely trusting Him as I offer Him my praise. Often we have come to make worship about the “lights, camera and the action”. In the wilderness, He proves there is no power but His, and He wants to be the main attraction. While He makes us to sing, it’s not the music, it is the message. Jesus said in the wilderness, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God”. The good news is, this wilderness will define your victory by advancing the kingdom for God’s glory. Just remember this fact from the life of Christ; wilderness advances the kingdom (Matt.4:17;19). As you are hidden in Christ and His life is yours, you will advance His cause bringing many sons to glory. The wilderness God is using produces glory every time. After the wilderness, Moses saw God liberate a nation in just a few days. After the wilderness, Jesus moved with might and power. And this wilderness you may find yourself in at this present hour is for His glory to give you a future and hope that through your tried and proven testimony He lives, He moves, He saves, He redeems, and He alone is able to rescue and recover when no one else can. God is using your wilderness to define your Christian faith so embrace it, embrace Him and glory will follow.
Times like these are days marked by uncertainty. There are pressing fears without and fears within. For the believer, there remains only one constant; it will be the insight you draw from the Word of God that keeps you; it will be this truth that gives you a bearing. When Jesus fed the multitude with one small boy’s offering, He makes a point giving insight into times like these. That day, there was not enough money to feed such a crowd, yet the favor of God at Jesus’ blessing was all that was necessary to transform small things into great. The point is we are living in times when your resources will fail, and it will be more important than ever to understand His ability to take the small things and make great impact, not only in your life, but the lives of many others. In times like these, in the coming days ahead, who are you going to trust? Jesus offers the favor and blessing of God that can unlock the wealth of His kingdom. Like that small boy, He desires to use you and that small gift you possess. What will you do? Times like these require decisive action. What about your gift? It’s greater only in His hand producing the blessing of God–in times like these.
Where is Jesus? You look in scripture and still find it hard to hear His voice. You ask, but don’t seem to find His answers to your questions. But make no mistake, His voice always comes to His disciples from the shoreline on their sea of trouble to test their faith and give them hope and a greater harvest. John 21 tells us Jesus told His disciples to ‘let down their nets’. It was in the middle of trying times where their faith was being tested. There was great fear, discouragement, and a great wondering about ‘tommorrow’ because Jesus had left them, but then comes His voice skipping off the water, saying, ‘trust me, do as I say and reap the harvest of my blessing and abundance’. I believe He would say that to you, if know Him, ‘Child, let down your net’. You have sought comfort in things of this world and found nothing that lasts. You have, to quote John’s gospel, “no fish”, and there is nothing to show from the labor of your own strength; so why not try His? Come, ‘let down your nets’. I believe He would say, ‘come to the place of surrender; it’s a place marked by My suffering because of the cross.’ It is instant provision in exchange for your strength. Today, He sits at the right hand of God’s redeeming power to display abundant life to those who will hear Him speaking from the shoreline of their weariness to say, ‘let down those nets and take up your cross and I will lead you, and my voice will surely speak saying, come follow me and know the love I have for you.’