We need guts to do the Lord’s work in these last days, as there are perilous times ahead. God’s word proclaims His, ‘righteous are as bold as a lion’ (Pro 28:1). A lion (or lioness) is emblematic of courage and ferocity. This courage was demonstrated by the first century apostles, in the face of much adversity and hardship. This same measure of bravery will soon be required of us, as we approach Christ’s return. Carl shares scriptural examples of the boldness God expects from His people. It’s time to man (or woman) up and be prepared for what’s to come. Let’ join Carl now…
Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…(below)
The title of my message today is, “Have the courage to step out when God tells you to!” Friend, we need to be bold, daring, and resilient in these last days, we should not shrink back but boldly complete the task God has set before us. Quite often we use the terms gun-shy, snake bit or once bitten twice, shy etc. These terms perhaps describe our reluctance because of failure, shame, or even humiliation causing us to hold back instead of pressing forward with God. We’ve all experienced times like this friend, I know I have. But it’s so important that if we experience these failures temporarily, it does not stop us from completing the calling God has placed on our life. We must have courage friend, we need temerity, gumption, hubris, gallantry, fortitude, grit, guts or whatever you call it in your parts, yes friend I swallowed a thesaurus there but you get my point. But where does courage come from if we’re to be successful for God?
Adrian Rogers, the late great minister from Tennessee, tells the story of a man who bragged that he’d cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone else had already done that.” Often times we exaggerate our stories to make out we were more courageous than we really were and we’ll be talking more about Lions later on in the message today. Friend, History repeats itself as time marches on. A study of history shows that great civilizations of the world have averaged about 200 years. The people of the world have followed this timetable. The people go: “From slavery to faith, From faith to courage From courage to liberty, From liberty to abundance, From abundance to selfishness, From selfishness to apathy, From apathy to dependence, From dependence back to slavery”
Friend, let me ask you this, where is America in this cycle? Are we on the verge of going from selfishness to apathy and perhaps into dependence? But dependence on what exactly? Right now, there are 46 million citizens on food stamps and 96 million people are not currently employed in the workforce. This nation is becoming increasingly reliant upon government and we need to change that in this generation and the ones to come. It will take courage to do this. Friend, think of the immense courage it took to fight in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war and the tremendous price paid by our courageous veterans to defend the freedoms of our nation. What would that generation think of this selfie generation obsessed with social media and lacking moral decency? I think I could guess.
On the topic of courage, the late Earl J. Fleming, an Alaska state biologist, was perhaps the only man to objectively investigate the bear’s reputation for attacking humans. When Fleming encountered a bear, he neither ran nor shot. At the end of his unique study, he had encountered 81 brown bears, and although several staged mock charges, not one actually attacked. Perhaps we can be braver than we think, if we only standstill in the face of our adversaries but perhaps the statistics would be different for Grizzly bears, right?…Perhaps.
Have the courage friend to stand up to the bullying bear who confronts you in this life. Have the courage to stand and above all stand. Do not flee, if that bear is sickness, poverty, cancer, or job loss, stand and have courage because God is for you, not against you. The bears, point I’m trying to get across, is we often overestimate our opponent and underestimate ourselves. As the saying goes, “it’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog”, that really counts. Friend, if there’s one takeaway from today’s message, that is I don’t want you to underestimate yourself, why? Because God dwells within you and the Kingdom of God is within you. Remember it was commented in Jn 7:26 of Jesus boldness in speech. When addressing the elders of Israel in Acts 4:13, Peter and John demonstrated boldness. Let me read the passage for you, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”and later on in this chapter it says,”And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Friend if you’re full of the Holy Ghost, spend time in the word and pray, your boldness will rise. Our boldness comes from our relationship with our heavenly father, it does not originate within ourselves otherwise this is presumptive on our part.
Friend have you been with Jesus recently? If so, what evidence do you have? Spending time in His word will make you bolder because you will see yourself as He does instead of looking at your perceived flaws and shortcomings. The same cannot be said for the wicked however. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no man pursues: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” The wicked flee because their consciences condemn them and they consequently they have no confidence. To top that, paranoia sets in because if you’re guilty of some misdemeanor or crime, you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. My point is, there is confidence that comes with a clean conscience and boldness in righteous living but not everyone in Christ is living out this reality.
Did you know friend that a Lions roar can be heard up to 5 miles away? A lion’s roar is so powerful it’s been documented to cause sudden heart attacks in its prey, literally stopping them dead in their tracks. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah but Satan is an imposter, posing as a roaring lion but he’s nothing more than a toothless pussy cat. Remember what it says in 1st Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Notice the figure of speech is simile here, he is as a roaring lion, not an actual lion. The only way he can operate in our lives is if we give him place with legal grounds of hate, malice, unforgiveness, lust or whatever fleshly manifestation we care to grant him. He cannot simply devour us without just cause.
You know it’s funny I remember the first time the Lord told me to go pray for someone in hospital, I came in with the expectation of seeing this lady healed, but she died. I went home feeling sorry for myself as I didn’t have enough faith to see her raised from her deathbed, but the Lord reminded me that I obeyed Him when he asked me to go, and this woman is in heaven because of my obedience. I had an expectation to see her raised up but I believe the Lord sent me there to usher her into the Kingdom of God instead. I am however, proud of the fact that I went. Friend, if we have the Holy Spirit, the word, the blood, and whole bunch of angels on our side then what excuse do we have to be so timid in this life? Especially when it comes to sharing our faith with friends, colleagues, relatives or even strangers. But for some reason we remain tentative, fearing what others might think about us if we do. Friend, God is looking for someone to go into the enemy’s camp. I’m going to read a passage to you from 2nd Kings 7:3-7 in the New Living Translation that gives an example of this:
“Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. 4 “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.” So, at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! 6 For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians* to attack us!” they cried to one another. 7 So they panicked and ran into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, as they fled for their lives.”
Friend, these men had a death sentence, they had leprosy but friend, everyone dies. Statistics show that 1 out of 1 people die. You’re on the clock too, so it’s time to make what you do in this world count for something. It’s time to go back toward the enemy’s camp. Lay aside; addiction, pornography, alcoholism, poor self image, fear, doubt, hate or whatever else is killing you friend. Lay aside these sins that so easily beset you today, rise up and head in the direction God has called you to. Did you notice friend in this historical account, as soon as these lepers moved God’s direction, He cause their movements to sound like that of a mighty army. But friend, you too are surrounded by an army of hosts in the unseen realm. I like what Joyce Meyer once said, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Friend, fear is not an excuse but something that may arise occasionally in our lives but it must be dealt with immediately, otherwise it will fester and even grow. I’ve also heard the cute acronym of FEAR down the years, that it means, False, Evidence, Appearing, Real and I believe there is some truth to that, because how we perceive thing often determines our eventual reality. Now, it says in the book of Hebrews 10:38, “38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man drawback, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Friend these are the words of our Lord. Clearly the Lord takes no pleasure when we shrink back from what He’s called us to do.
Friend let me ask you this, what’s holding you back in life? Are you still replaying the same mistakes or failures over and over again? I guarantee you that it’s the enemy who desires you to replay these events over and over in your mind, stopping you from moving on with God. Friend these things that have happened to you are giants in your land. Instead of remaining a grasshopper in their site you need to delve into the word and realize just how big your God is. Friend, it’s time to get on the offense instead of having a defensive mindset as the lepers did in our passage today. Based on Ephesians 6, the only two offensive weapons we have are prayer and the word of God. It’s time friend to turn the tables on your enemy and shoot some arrows in his direction. Remember Jesus words in, Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Friend we are the violent in this passage, lol, and few realize this.
Friend, if you still feel ashamed for something you’ve done years ago and can’t shake it off, go to the father today, he took your shame on the cross. God is a God of second chances friend, he’s a God of 3rd, 4th and fifth chances and so on. Remember, Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Friend God hasn’t forgotten what He called you to do on this earth, even if you have. The gifts and anointing to complete your calling are still available today friend. Please don’t waste any more time licking your wounds, it’s time to rise up, dust yourself off and enter in to what God has for you. There is a quick poem I stumbled across by Louisa Tarkington who was the wife of a famous playwright. It is really about regret. Let me read it to you, it’s called “a Wonderful Place”:
I wish there were some wonderful place
called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all of our past mistakes and heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief,
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.
Oh friend, if I could only go back in time and tell Louisa there is a wonderful place and it’s called the blood of Jesus. His blood is so vast it fills the sea of forgetfulness. Why not dive right in today friend and start over again. Hang up the old coat and put on the robe of righteousness. Only the devil and other people will remember your sins in this life but God won’t. The good news is when you die and go to heaven, you won’t have to give an account to other people but God only and He’s the only one you need to be thinking about today friend.
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