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Sermon18-4Feb07-2of2 StretchingMyImagination(RW50DaysOfFaithPart2)

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STRETCHING MY IMAGINATION

from ‘50 Days of Faith’

Part 2 of 2

February 4, 2007

 

 

2.  LOOK FOR ____________________________________________________________

“I promised Moses I would give you this land, so I will give you every place you go in the land.”  Josh. 1:3 (NCV)

“Now my time has come to die.  Every one of you knows... that God has given you all the good things that He promised.  Every promise He made has been kept; not one has failed.”  Josh. 23:14 (GN)

                                                        3 Promises to Those Who Live for God

1.                                                                                      Josh. 1:5

2.                                                                                      Josh. 1:7

3.                                                                                      Josh. 1:9

“Always remember what is written in this Book...  Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there.  If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.”  Josh.  1:8 (NCV)

 

 

 

3.  LEAN ON ____________________________________________________________

 

“No one will be able to defeat you all your life.  Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forget you.  “  Josh. 1:5 (NCV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him.  And He will make your paths straight.”  Prov. 3:5-6 (NAS)

 

4.  LAUNCH OUT ____________________________________________________________

 

“Then Joshua issued instructions to the leaders to tell the people to get ready to cross the Jordan River.”  Josh. 1:10-11 (LB)

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!”  Eccl. 11:4 (LB)

“God can do anything, you know –far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”  Eph. 3:20 (Mes


                               

STRETCHING MY IMAGINATION

50 Days of Faith

Part 2 of 2

February 4, 2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             1923 words

Last week we began to stretch our imagination by considering how God could use you in ways you’ve never thought of and I suggested that by looking at the life of Joshua from the HB, if you follow the four steps he took, you can expect God’s blessing on your life. The first step we looked at last week was: YOU MUST LET GO OF DOUBT, why? -because doubt causes you to miss out on God’s dream for your life. The second secret of being used by God is:

2.  LOOK FOR A PROMISE

Look for a promise of God.  The word “promise” is a very important word in the life of Joshua and it’s a key to his success.  Thirteen times in the book of Joshua, the word “promise” is used.  If you were to summarize the life of Joshua it would be “Capture the Promised Land.”  God had promised it to him.  And at the very beginning as they were standing on the edge of the Jordan River getting ready to go into this major campaign, God says, “Let’s just remind ourselves of the promise that I made.”  In Joshua 1:3 God says, “I promised Moses that I would give you this land.  So I will give you every place you go in the land.” 

 

If God makes a promise to you He keeps it.  If He says He is going to use you, He will use you.  If He says He is going to bless you, He will bless you.  If He says I will protect you, He will protect you.  Because God cannot lie.

At the end of Joshua’s life many, many years later when he was very old and he was about to die he looks back over his life and sees that they have conquered all of Palestine.  At the end of Joshua 23 he says this, “Now my time has come to die and every one of you knows that God has given you all the good things that He promised.  Every promise He has made has been kept.  Not one has failed.  “

The Bible is a book of God's promises, so if you’re wise and want to be used by God you’ll need to take it seriously.  I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, there are over 7,000 promises in this book.  If you’re going to grow in faith, you’ve got to build it on the promises of God. 

What does God promise us if we say, “I want to be used.  I want You to use me for the purpose You put me on earth for.”  What does God promise?  He promises you three things.  Those three things are all found in Joshua 1.

            First He promises strength.  Verse 5 “No one will be able to stand against you.”  In other words, what God asks you to do He’ll give you the power to do.  He’ll give you the strength to do.  Where He guides, He provides.

            Two, God promises to give you success.  In verse He says, “You will be successful.”  God wants you to succeed in serving Him.  He doesn’t want you to be a failure.  He wants you to succeed.  Twice in this chapter He says, “You will be a success.”  You can count on it.

Now He’s not promising to make you a success at what you want to do. If you’re not succeeding you need to change course and get in on what God plans for you to do. 

Three, God promises to give you support. In verse 9 He says, “I will be with you wherever you go.”  God's word done God's way will not lack God's support. 

God has many, many promises for you in this book but you’ve got to discover them. This weeks’ promise to memorise is Joshua 1 verse 8 “Do not let this 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 hope you will memorize this verse this week because you need to get some promises of God under your belt, in your

mind so that when you start to doubt, when you start to feel discouraged, when you start to feel depressed God can bring that to your memory.  That’s quite a promise!  There’s three key areas in that verse which result in success if you follow them – “remember”, “study”, “obey”.  Notice that God's promise of success is not based on your ability.  It’s based on your commitment to His word.  Notice He said you do three things: remember the word, study the word and obey the word. 

Joshua’s life was one battle after another and yet he never gave up.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like your life is one battle after another?  Just when you get one problem solved another one pops up.  Just when things are calm all of a sudden there’s another battle to fight.  How do you keep on keeping on when you’re having one battle after another?  You do the third secret of being used by God.

3.  LEAN ON THE LORD

 

You let go of doubt, you look for a promise and you lean on the Lord.  Leaning is more than just believing.  It means depending on Him.  What do you do when you lean on something?  When you lean on something you are trusting it to hold you up.  That’s what it means to lean – trusting something to hold you up.  When you lean on God it means more than just “I believe in God.”  It means, “I am trusting Him to hold me up.”

Joshua 1:5.  God says, “No one will be able to defeat you all your life.  Just as I was with Moses so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forget you.”  And God says that to you too.  He says you can lean on Me.  And as long as Joshua leaned on God, he was undefeatable.  He was victorious in every single battle as long as he depended on the Lord.  Joshua accomplished the impossible at incredible odds because he was leaning on the Lord.  Four times God said in this passage “Be confident...  Don’t doubt ... Be strong...  Be determined...” because you lose your fear when God is near.  And He says, “I’m never going to leave you.  You can lean on Me.” 

Very important question: Who or what are you leaning on for strength?  What is your source of strength?  Somebody else?  Are you leaning on the approval of other people for your strength?  That is a very shaky foundation.  People are going to let you down. You can’t depend on other people for all your strength and you can’t depend on yourself for all your strength.  What do you do?

Proverbs 3.  You “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Leaning on the Lord is scary.  It’s uncomfortable sometimes.  “Is God going to come through?  Is He going to hold me up?”  But that’s what leaning in faith is all about.  You discover He will hold you up. 

The fourth secret of being used by God

4.  LAUNCH OUT IN FAITH.

There comes a point in life where you have to stop discussing it, talking about it, thinking about it, praying about it.  You must step out in spite of your feelings.  In spite of your fears, your doubts.  There comes a point where you do something about it.  It doesn’t have to be big but you do something that shows faith in your life.

Joshua 1:10 “Then Joshua issued instructions to the leaders to tell the people to get ready to cross the Jordan River.”  This was the moment of truth.  They had to go for it.  They had to take the plunge.  Literally.  Because they’re going to cross a river here. 

The Jordan River, once they crossed they were going to begin this battle to take over the nations.  The Jordan River is not a very big river.  It’s only about a hundred feet wide and twenty feet deep.  Except in flood season.  In the spring when all the snow melts off the mountain it comes down into the Jordan River and becomes a giant, rushing, torrential, very dangerous river at that time.  They happened to be right there during flood season.  That’s typical of God to put them right there during flood season when everything is looking like it’s overwhelming.

Despite their doubts God performed a miracle but they had to take the first step, because it was a test of faith.  So the spiritual leaders began to walk into the water. And the waters receded and the people crossed over.

Question:  What is your Jordan River?  What is that barrier in your life that looks like you’re never getting around?  It is in the way.  I can never be used by God because of this.  I can never have God's blessing in my life because of this.  What is it that is in the way? 

You need to realize that the first step is always the hardest.  Getting into that river and watching God do a miracle.  What do you do when you know something is God's will, you know it’s the right thing to do but you’re scared to death to do it?  What do you do?

You do it anyway!  If you know it’s the right thing to do you do it in spite of your fear.  You move against your fear.  You do the very thing you fear the most.  You fight the fear.  That is courage.  Courage isn’t the absence of fear.  It’s moving ahead in spite of the fear.  Faith comes once you make that step.  The miracle comes once you make that step.  God doesn’t do the miracle first.  No.  He wants you to step out, to launch out in faith.

Some of you are saying, “I’m getting a little too old for this launching out stuff.”  Joshua was 80!  So you don’t have any excuse.  You’re never too old to make the rest of your life the best of your life, to launch out in faith.  To say, “God, however many years I have left I’m going to use it for what You put me on earth for.  I want to be used by You.”  

You can start small but start!  Face your fears.  Ecclesiastes 11:4  If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” 

 

 

“God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”  You cannot imagine what God could do with your life if it was totally, completely, irrevocably in His hands.  Because you were made by God to be used by Him. 

If you are not being used by God, what in the world are you doing with your life?  Sadly, most people never ever feel the thrill of being used by God, even though that’s what they were made for.  Why?  They won’t let go of doubt, they won’t look for a promise, they won’t lean on the Lord, and they won’t launch out in faith.  I urge you - don’t make that mistake! 

Let’s Pray:  

Father one day we will all stand before you to give an account of our life and when we tell you of our doubts or preoccupations that we put before you and stopped us from trusting you it’s going to look pretty weak. 

We admit that we often have doubts about our abilities, about You, about Your desire to use us.  Forgive us for all the excuses we’ve used to cover up our lack of faith.  We’ve said that we’re too busy.  Forgive us when other things get in the way.  Help us to stay in Your word, the Bible – to read it, to study it, to memorize it – so we can know and claim Your promises. In Your name we pray.  Amen.

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