VIDEO How to Start All Over Again

Feb 3, 2014

Pastor Greg gives a message titled “How to Start All Over Again” from the Saturday night 2013 SoCal Harvest.

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Streams in the Desert

He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. Deuteronomy 32:10

Earlier this year, a television crew from Animal Planet was filming a scene on a deserted island in the South Pacific. Suddenly the crew spotted a man yelling and waving his arms. He was a genuine castaway, a stranded fisherman, suffering dehydration and sunstroke. The man had given up hope, said his prayers, and was prepared to die. The crew rescued him—and made a television program about the adventure.

None of us like to be cast into a desert place in life, but the Lord knows how to rescue us. He finds us where we are. He encircles us. He instructs us, and He keeps us as the apple of His eye.

If you’re in a desert place, don’t give up your hope. Desert places can become places of deliverance, and God can even turn spiritual deserts into times of refreshment. Isaiah 35 says, “…the desert shall rejoice and blossom… for waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (verses 1, 6).

Jesus often meets us in the desert places of life.

If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Mrs. Lettie B. Cowman

The Value of Obedience

John 14:23

Despite his years of fishing experience, Peter returned from a night’s work with nothing to show for it. The Lord’s request to let the nets down one more time perhaps struck him as unreasonable—after all, Peter and his partners were the professionals. Nevertheless, he complied, and his obedience blessed many.

Scripture demonstrates that divine plans often defy human logic. For instance, who would design a battle strategy that involved only marching and shouting? God told Joshua to conquer Jericho that way, and doing so proved successful (Josh. 6:1-5).

Moses is another example. When he felt unsure about his leadership potential, the Lord gave reassurance in an unusual way—by telling him to throw down his walking stick. When Moses obeyed, God powerfully confirmed His choice of a leader (Ex. 4:1-3).

Our Father may ask us to do something that seems illogical—perhaps to accept more responsibility when we were hoping to reduce our workload, to leave a position that He provided just recently, or to take on an assignment for which we feel ill-equipped. His plan might feel unrealistic in view of our age, stage of life, or health concerns. We must press forward in obedience, regardless of how impractical the request may appear.

To grasp the importance of obeying, think about children receiving instructions from parents or teachers. Careful listening is needed for the task to be done safely and properly. Some steps may seem pointless, but the rationale often becomes clear later. Always make obeying God your priority.

Knowing Christ

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

When Paul speaks of knowing the Lord Jesus, he stresses the process involved in reaching the desired level of knowledge. These particular points of awareness (knowing the resurrection power, the fellowship of sufferings, and being conformed to His death) are not mere academic achievements, but part of the process of experiencing life and personal study of God’s Word that produces confident knowledge.

John’s letter gives several key signs on how to “know” the Savior, one of which is keeping God’s commandments (1 John 2:3-5). The lifestyle of obedience (process of godliness) provides the experience that produces the knowledge.

Paul’s reference to the power of the resurrection is reflected in the wonderful promise of Ephesians 1:17-21. There, Paul says we can know the “exceeding greatness of his power” which was demonstrated in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus—that very power being beyond anything that can be observed in this or any age to come.

The fellowship that we now share in Christ’s sufferings is merely the process by which we are “being made conformable unto his death” (today’s verse). Paul noted that we were “crucified with Christ” but are still alive since Christ “liveth in [us]” (Galatians 2:20). Our bodies are to be “living [sacrifices]” so that we can prove the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” having been transformed by our renewed minds (Romans 12:1-2).

These many life processes are what our gracious God has decreed for our ultimate eternal possession—being “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). HMM III

Worshipful Resignation

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. —1 Samuel 3:18

This idea was once expressed better by a simple-hearted man who was asked how he managed to live in such a state of constant tranquility even though surrounded by circumstances anything but pleasant. His answer was as profound as it was simple: “I have learned,” he said, “to cooperate with the inevitable.”…

Though we cannot control the universe, we can determine our attitude toward it. We can accept God’s will wherever it is expressed and take toward it an attitude of worshipful resignation. If my will is to do God’s will, then there will be no controversy with anything that comes in the course of my daily walk. Inclement weather, unpleasant neighbors, physical handicaps, adverse political conditions—all these will be accepted as God’s will for the time and surrendered to provisionally, subject to such alterations as God may see fit to make, either by His own sovereign providence or in answer to believing prayer.

Lord, I determine to cooperate with the inevitable today and to accept Your will for my life, whatever that might entail. “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good” (1 Samuel 3:18). Amen.

What Shall We Be

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:29)

We must take a high view of what God has done for us in consummating the plan of salvation for a lost race!

The supreme work of Christ in redemption is not just to save us from hell, but to restore us to God-likeness again. Paul has confirmed this in Romans 8:29, “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

While perfect restoration to the divine image awaits the day of Christ’s appearing, the work of restoration is going on now. There is a slow but steady transmutation of the base metal of human nature into the gold of God-likeness effected by the faith-filled gaze of the soul at the glory of God—the face of Jesus Christ!

We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we shall be. To become like God is and must be the supreme goal of all moral creatures!

Our God’s tender love for his servants

Our God’s tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus, that no one should come into the king’s court dressed in mourning; this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice.