As presented at Life Church of Mobile, Alabama
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Do not give up!
That is easy to say but not so easy to do.
But I want to encourage you, DO NOT GIVE UP!
To quit means to give up or admit defeat.
It can become so easy to just give up and to quit on things.
Sometimes there are some valid reasons for role changes in our life, but we should not use a positive role change to give up. We have change in life and promotion, but these things are not quitting, they are not giving up, these are moving on.
Too many people give up on things God does not want you to give up on.
I was reading some statistics this week and this is what I found.
Pastors and Churches. The average pastor will stay at a church for three years. Sometimes that is because the pastor gave up and sometimes it is because the church gave up on the pastor and they were asked to give up.
Diets and exercise. People usually do not make it through the end of January.
Church Plants. Only one out of five will survive. That is an 80% failure rate.
Just because there is a struggle does not mean you are supposed to give up.
The key to success in whatever you are facing is to stay in the struggle.
The Apostle Paul was a strong man, he was tough. He had to deal with things physically that most of us would have been horrified at, if we had to struggle with like Paul did.
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
Paul, the spiritual man that he was, the man of revelation that he was, is saying that it got so bad that he had to deal the with temptation of giving up on life.
Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.
Paul is telling the church at Corinth that he is not coming right now because I'm tired, I'm weary, I'm worn out; and if I came and started talking to you right now, you would not like it. He is telling them I am not coming, we will deal with this by writing a letter. As Paul was writing the letter to Corinth, he was also preaching to himself.
We all have pressure in life and no one has more pressure than the other, but one Sunday afternoon I was feeling the pressure and I just had enough. If you had heard the editorial that my wife and youngest son heard me say, you would have been so horrified at your preacher. I repented later. Don't look at me like you have never been there. How would you like your conversation up on this screen? How about us putting up some of the points in your life up here for everyone to see?
Paul was man enough to say, "Where I am right now it may not be real good, but I am not coming and you would not want to be around me, but I do have a word for you from the Lord." Then as he released the word to them, he is admitting that he is preaching to himself as well.
But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me? And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.
Paul was having to deal with people who were leaving the faith; they were Judaizing. They were going back into the Jewish faith and that way of life. These were people he had poured himself into and they were turning their backs on him. He was dealing with all that hurt and pain.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
Paul was telling them he was hurting because he was dealing with losing people and betrayal, and he was dealing with the pressure.
When we are under pressure in life, we must do as Paul and not quit, not give up, and stay in the struggle. A lot of heroes in the Bible overcame because they stayed in the struggle.
Things that Tempt Us to Quit
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do [to me], and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."
Jezebel sent a message to Elijah that by this time tomorrow you are a dead man.
3. And when he saw [that], he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!" 5. Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."
1. We are tempted to quite: When They Say.
It is not in the Bible but this is a truth. . .People will talk.
When we want to quit it is because somebody has said you are too "this" and you are too "that".
"This is not going to happen because of this or that".
"God can't use you because of this."
"God can't use that in your life because of this."
"This is never going to happen because of this."
When "They Say" it is stuff that is verbalized about you or against you.
A couple of years ago I was having a normal day when someone who was concerned said to me, "Are you doing alright?" I said, "Yes, I'm doing fine, thank you for asking." They said, "I was just asking because you don't look too good." I went and looked in the mirror and I started wondering if there was something going on with me. If you are not careful you could get captured by these kinds of statements. They meant well in their concern but then, you can get to wondering what is wrong when there really is nothing wrong. It can cause you to think things that are not there and you start thinking you need a checkup or you might be really sick.
Things people say about you can become very serious if you allow what they say to affect you. People have been known to become suicidal over things posted on social media. Social Media can be a great blessing but it can also be a curse.
Elijah was an amazing man but he almost quit because of something someone said.
The truth is people quit when people talk.
How many are old enough to remember the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"?
That saying is a lie, because they do hurt us. Words are powerful!
There was another man who allowed the negative statement of his mother to beat him down so much he was never able to overcome the stigma it released over him. So much so, he married a woman just like her. These two women beat him down with their words so much the only way he felt he could have anyone notice him was to take a rifle, go to a public book distributor building, sit in the window and use that rifle to shoot and kill John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald never overcame the things people in his life said about him.
Dr. Andrew Newberg and Dr. Mark Robert Waldman wrote the book, Words Can Change Your Brain. They said in the book, "A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate your physical and emotional stress." Though this is a quote out of their book, this is straight out of the Word of God.
When you allow Facebook, Twitter, and text messages to get into your heart, you will end up under a juniper tree and thinking about quitting.
My life cannot be dictated by
everybody's opinion on Facebook, Twitter, or some text message.
everybody's opinion on the news.
what everyone wants me to do.
If a man like Elijah can crawl up under a tree and want to quit, we must guard our hearts so we don't do the same.
The enemy knows that is you listen to what "they say", he will give "they say" so much to say, you will never do what God says.
Stop allowing people who do not know your destiny, your assignment, and your purpose to tell you what they think you should be doing! Instead you should be going after everything God has for you and not hear the words of "they say."
Jesus Validated Your Worth
Your self-worth is not validated by how many people like you, or how many likes you get on Facebook. Jesus validated your worth by dying on the cross. His act says you were worth it! So say to yourself, "Jesus said I am worth it! Thank you Jesus for dying for me!" Now spend some time praising him for what he has done to validated your worth!
When you see the cross you must realize Jesus has stretched out his arms and took those nails in his hands and feet, and the crown of thorns on his head because you were worth it. And he validated your worth because he loves you.
When Paul was dealing with these things he received this revelation about it:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. [NIV]
2. We are tempted to quit when we lose long term vision.
King Ahab begins to fill Jezebel's ears with the gossip about what Elijah had done (1Kings 19:1).
We are living in a time where the spirit of Jezebel has been released in the earth.
This spirit is one of illegitimate authority and control. Laws being passed when those passing these laws do not have legitimate authority to make those laws. We are facing an election in November that will not deal with the problems in our nation. It will take more than a presidential election to take care of a spirit. This illegitimate spirit of Jezebel has been released and the world is being influenced by it. But you must know this spirit will not win. We are aware it is here and we are going to attack it and send it back from where it came.
Elijah was facing his terrible attack; dealing with this weak man, the king; when Ahab tells his wife Jezebel, "Elijah has killed all of your servants." She tells the king, "You get word to him today he is a dead man." Without a trial, she takes control and passes a decree she had no authority to make.
I remember back in the late 1990's, we were going through the fire here in our church? The struggle was trying to hold because we were not able to meet our financial obligations. It got so bad that one day the courts in Texas, sent a banker to come and sit down with us. He met with us and he said, "This is where we are. Don't take anything out of the buildings." He told Tim Skelton the Head Master of Faith Academy, "You need to write a letter to the families telling them to find another school to put their kids in because we will not let you finish the school year. We are going to padlock the buildings and complex, we are going to take it all." It was going to be done by a certain date.
It is one thing to be under a threat, but it is another thing when they give you a date.
As I left that meeting I felt like I was in a fog, in another reality.
It is one thing to be in trouble, but it is another thing entirely when there is a timeline placed on the impeding trouble. You can get deeper in trouble when you allow life to be dictated by someone else's date.
It took a few days, but by the grace of the Almighty God, we began to regroup.
We decided this banker's word is not the final word!
Nothing changed between that time and the following Sunday but we came in here and started praising God and singing, "Though the fig tree will not blossom, though there be no fruit in the vine, though the measure of the olive failed,
YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION, GOD THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!!!
We said to ourselves, "With all due respect Mr. Banker, you do not set the dates for what is going to happen in my Life!!! God who created the universe and who is my Lord and Savior sets the dates, and not you!"
Life is not dependent upon someone else's opinion.
Guard yourself from somebody else's time table or opinion.
You cannot believe for victory and plan for defeat.
We are tempted to quit when we put a date on something that God did not give us or He did not say. We could have looked at our situation and thought the long term was over, we are done.
You lose vision, you lose focus, and you lose faith when you allow someone else to say what is going to happen and when.
Elijah allowed someone else's opinion to determine his destiny in the words, "I am going to kill you."
The moment we allow somebody else to tell us our limitations, destiny is killed and vision is quenched. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, the people perish for the lack of vision. You must not allow a Jezebel spirit to order your steps and defeat your vision. This spirit is not in control of your end life and your productivity.
Psalms 37:23 "The steps of a righteous man or ordered by the Lord."
The Bible says the number of my days he will fulfill (Psm 39:4).
Not a spirit of Jezebel,
Not the devil,
Not the diagnosis,
Not that date that somebody else put on your life.
We have people in this auditorium this morning who have lived years past the diagnosis date.
It is God who opens doors that no man can open and he shuts doors that no man can close.
3. We are tempted to quit when we are afraid.
When you get controlled by fear, you will do exactly what Elijah did. . .run (1Kings 19:3).
It is a natural reaction to run when fear is in control. If you have ever woke up in the night and heard a noise, your body chemically responds to the need to run.
Fear takes away your focus and puts it on the wrong thing.
Fear always focuses on the worst possible outcome. You can have a pain in your body and if you let fear take over you will be thinking you are in such pain, it causes you to have severe pain.
If you focus on fear in a bad economy, you will quit tithing, and if you continue there you will quite giving to the church altogether.
Instead we should be focusing on speaking blessings and we will be a blessing.
If you focus on bringing increase to others, you will have increase.
If you will focus on the Word. . ."prove me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Fear is not going to determine my decisions in life!
Fear is not going to make me do something out of the result of the world thinking I better do this or I better watch out for that.
Fear focuses on the world not the greatness of God.
Fear will always focus on the worst possible outcome.
If you focus on fear you will quit, you will stop living in the possibilities of God.
Fear has an incredible way of gripping you, BUT faith has an incredible way of releasing you!
Perfect love cast out all fear (1John 4:18; 2Timohy 1:7).
When we focus on fear it is a result of excluding God's supernatural involvement when we are working out the problem.
Nine dollars will buy more than ten dollars does; this does not make sense.
But God said when I give one dollar to his kingdom, nine dollars will buy more than ten dollars.
Because that one is going to bring forth an abundant harvest of increase.
This is peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
4. We are tempted to quit when we feel alone.
Elijah told his servant, "I have had enough, you stay here. I am going on by myself," 1Kings 19:4, 10.
Isolation is crippling. You can be alone while sitting in a crowd.
It's not just about making connections, it is about making relationships.
The enemy gets into your head and tells you that nobody cares about what you are going through.
God has never wanted anyone to be isolated. In Genesis 2:18 he said, "It is not good that man should be alone. . ."
Stay in a church long enough to build yourself some relationships with people who will be there for you when you feel alone and when you need them to pray for you. Then you can do the same for them. These are relationships that are real and solid. These are people that will be there for you to celebrate when things are good and go into battle for you when things are hard.
Jesus had to deal with this too. When he got to the Garden of Gethsemane the pressure was on. Jesus said, "Guys come on, walk with me through this. I need you to walk with me through this." He goes and prays saying, "Father, let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless not my will be done, but yours be done." He comes back to the disciples and they are all out, asleep. Jesus said to them, "Couldn't you just last one hour? Don't you understand what I am going through?"
People will not always understand what you are going through, but God will raise up people in your life to stand with you. This is why you must stay in a church long enough to grow some relationships so you do not have to walk through things alone.
5. We are tempted to quit when we are down.
Elijah crawled under a tree and he sat down. He said, "I am going to lay down under this tree, I am done," 1Kings 19:4-5.
Never make long term decisions in times of discouragement because most of the time you will make the wrong decision.
Understand that when you are feeling like quitting and you are wanting to give up, God is still working.
When Elijah thought there was nothing left to do God was already working things out (1Kings 19:5-6).
He had dispatched an angel.
"Surely he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all of your ways" (Psalm 91:11).
"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them" (Ps 34:7).
There are beings that God releases into your life when you are in times of need that are sent to guard you and help you. If you do not believe that you do not believe the Bible.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward [man] is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [are] temporary, but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. [NKJV]
God is about to show up!
He will send an actual angel at times; and at other times he might make you the angelic being sent to help someone. God will not abandon the righteous. He will not abandon you!
We do not look at the thing we can only see, we look at the things we can't see.
God is coming to help you out and nothing can separate you from his love.
Don't Quit! He is coming and Angels are on assignment on your behalf!