It's not over yet!

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It’s not over yet!

Jacob was an old man when his son Joseph was taken to Egypt. His boy Joseph had been his dream. Now it looked like Jacob’s dream was dead. But in Genesis 45, we see that his spirit was revived. Joseph was still alive! The old man got his dream back in his old age.

You’re never too old, and it is never too late for God to use you. Moses was eighty years old when he got his assignment, and Caleb was 85 when God gave him his mountain.

If anybody could have retired comfortably, it would have been Abraham. He was wealthy, with vast herds of cattle and sheep. According to some commentaries, he had at least a thousand servants. But then God came knocking. In Genesis 12 we find God telling him to pack up, leave everything behind, and take off on a journey – to somewhere.

I’m sure his wife wondered about his sanity. “Honey, this place represents your life’s work. What do you mean we’re going to start living in tents? Where are we going? What do you mean you ‘don’t know’?

Why would an old guy like Abraham pack up and leave for the wilderness? Let’s look at a few dynamics that are at work here – there is something to learn even if you’re not old.

He had the ability to hear God

He had the ability to believe what God said

The ability to denounce security for the sake of God

The ability to stay focused on the mission

The ability to accomplish the mission

Hearing God – chase Him until you recognize His voice.

Believing GodHebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, now knowing where he was going”.

Trusting God -  There will come a time when you too will have to remove yourself from the safe, predictable place, the place that you know is a sure thing, where you could keep on happily doing the same thing for the rest of your life.  In Matthew 14, we see Peter taking advantage of the opportunity and stepping out of the boat. Sure, within a few minutes of starting to walk on the water, Peter began to sink. The same thing happens often when we step out on faith. That’s not always a bad thing, because it teaches us to really depend on God, step after step. Regardless of the sinking times, I’d rather be a wet water walker than a dry boat talker!

Focus – Abram didn’t change his mind when the answers to his original questions just brought up more questions.

Ability to accomplish – these other factors loosed the most important ability of all – the ability to see the work accomplished. If all the questions have to be answered before you step out and obey God, you’ll never do anything. At some point we just have to jump off!

You heard about the mule who fell down a well. When the farmer who owned the mule saw what had happened, he thought to himself, “I can’t get him out. It’s impossible.” So, he decided to bury him. He took a shovel, and he started throwing dirt in on that poor mule.

At first the mule was hysterical. “Oh, help, God! He’s going to buy me alive!” But then the mule had a fantastic thought. The mule said to himself, “ I’m just going to shake it off and step on it.” After many hours, while the farmer kept shoveling the dirt in there, that donkey stepped out the top of it, triumphant.

Life will either bury you or bless you. It depends on what you do. Will you persevere? When you get dirt thrown on you, will you turn it into fertilizer and keep growing? When the dirt starts to rain down on you, shake it off, step on it, and go to higher ground.

 

When Elijah was about to be taken to heaven, Elisha asked for a double portion of his master’s spirit, and he got it. Elisha went on to do many exploits, and when he was in the last chapter of his life he spoke into the life of the king of Israel about one of his missions.

II Kings 13:14-19 –

Real victory is not won on the battlefield; it’s won behind the scenes. Real victory is won in your private life, in your “bed chamber”, if you will. Real victory is won in your inner man first, and then you will see evidence on the battlefield.

Elisha had King Joash with him in the bedroom, and he told him to take a bow and arrows. Just like we take up our weapons of prayer every morning in private. Our public success or failure reflects what happens in our private life. The two always coordinate with each other; the public manifests the private.

Elisha had the king pick up his weapon, even though he was just in Elisha’s private room and not out on the battlefield fighting the enemy. In the same way, God will have us pick up our weapons in our private prayer times. There’s nobody watching. It’s just you and God. That’s where the real business gets transacted. That’s where you really pick up your weapons, because there’s no point in faking it anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’re not much of a warrior.

Joash was the old king, and he was losing on the battlefield. Elisha was an old prophet; he’d never been a warrior. But they could both obey the word of the Lord!

The king picked up his bow and arrow, and he shot once out the window, as Elisha said. So far, so good. The devil would have preferred to have him shrug it off as foolishness and stay inside, feeling hopeless and helpless. But Joash had done what Elisha told him to do – he opened up his eyes and focused them outside the open window, and then he shot an arrow out there.

It’s the same with us, except our “arrows” are our words. Our arrows are our confession, and our worship and our prayers. We need to let them fly out of us. We need to send our words out in the direction we want them to go. In other words, we need to start talking victory when we’re staring at defeat. We need to start talking healing when we are feeling sick. We need to start talking blessing and prosperity when we don’t have anything. We need to talk about living when we feel like dying. We need to speak about marching when we feel like quitting. That’s how we shoot our word arrows.

Sometimes you just have to say, “I’m going to shoot my way out!” Nobody can do it for you! Elisha didn’t shoot the arrows for the king. He told him what to do, but the king had to do it himself.

After the king shot one arrow, Elisha told him to take the rest of the arrows and start striking the ground with them. This didn’t make any more sense than shooting an arrow out a window, but King Joash did it. He hit the ground with the arrows hard three times. There! That ought to show those Syrians.

Elisha was furious. If the king would have kept hitting the ground even a couple more times, he would have been assured of complete victory over his enemies. But he stopped short of that. Now he would win some battles, but he wouldn’t win the war.

How do we do things? Sometimes we stop short of God’s best. We think that three times is good enough. It doesn’t seem like anything is happening, so we quit. Nothing seems to improve, so you slack off. Don’t! You need to keep doing what God told you to do. With INTENSITY! Sometimes when you are on the verge of a breakthrough, it’s even more important to keep going. Too many people give up when they are right on the edge of another level.

Instead of turning back, you need to say to yourself, “I’m too close to back up now. Realize how the enemy works against you. It’s like the devil called a board meeting and asked all his chief demons, “What is our greatest weapon against this person?” Some demons suggested lust or greed or the usual vices. And then one of them said, “Our greatest weapon against the believer is discouragement. That’s what he uses to make you quit, especially right before you’re about to run through the finish line.

Next time you’re discouraged, don’t quit. All it means is that the devil is so desperate to stop you that he has sent his most powerful weapon against you. Stand up and start praising God for the discouragement.

The devil doesn’t know what to do with a child of God who talks like that. You just took hold of the very thing he tried to mess you up with, and you turned it around. You just got encouraged about your discouragement!

It ain’t over just because it looks like it is!   You have to throw away your measuring stick! Don’t put limits on what God can do! He is infinite, and so are the possibilities for the dreams that He gives people. The trouble is, we have a very strong tendency to put limits on Him. God Himself doesn’t want you to keep measuring yourself or your circumstances against your idea of reality. How do I know that? Because He put what He thinks about “measuring” in the Bible: Zechariah 2:1,3 – “I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand . . . And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him.

Get the picture. There was a young man who took a measuring line because he was going to try to measure what God was doing in the city of Jerusalem. GOD WAS DISTURBED BY THAT. He was disturbed enough to dispatch and angel from heaven on the spot to stop him. When the angel asked the young man what he was doing, the angel told him to put the measuring line away – because anything that God is involved in is unmeasurable.

God didn’t want anybody to put limits on what He could or would do. God knew that as soon as people started measuring the city, they would define the boundaries. They would tend to set boundaries, and they would box God in.

Our response should be like Mary’s – she was startled when told she would give birth to the Son of God, but she didn’t object. Luke 1:34, 38 – Be it unto me according to thy Word.

The Pharisee spirit of measuring has us throw out the Word of God without even considering it –

No – he’s not eligible, learning disorder, not interested in God. Oh, it’s not markings in inches, but we measure just the same.

When the Lord approached Gideon in Judges 6:12 and called him a mighty man of valor,  – Gideon had his measuring line ready – “I’m the least in my father’s house – So how is that relevant?

When God calls you, he doesn’t need to consult with your family first.

 

We see the tape-measure mentality in action when Jesus fed the 5,000 in John 6:9 – “What are they among so many?”  Get rid of your measuring tape!

In Psalms 78 we find the children of Israel measuring themselves out of a miracle.

Just because there wasn’t any fast food restaurants or convenience stores in sight – didn’t mean that they should conclude that God was too limited to help them Psalm 78:19 – “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?”

Matthew 13:54-58 – the townspeople looked at the evidence, and then talked themselves out of the miracles they needed without half trying.  Everywhere ELSE Jesus went, He healed them all.  Matthew 4:24; 12:15; Luke 4:40; 6:19. The people’s measuring lines cut their faith down to the point that it was not big enough anymore.

Ezekiel 40:1-3; 47:3-5  As long as they kept measuring, they could only get ankle deep, knee deep, and waist deep. After they waded in up to their waists, it got too deep to walk in; it was a river that they couldn’t measure. That river was unlimited, full of life and blessing. Put away your measuring lines and rods and just let the Son of God show you where He wants you go – you will soon forget about boundaries and limits.

I know the odds look stacked against you       And it seems there is no way out

I know the issue seems unchangeable             And there’s no reason to shout

But the impossible is God’s chance                 To work a miracle, a miracle

So just know, that it ain’t over Until God says it’s over, It ain’t over ‘til God says it is done

Don’t care what nobody says, It ain’t over until God says its over

Keep fighting until your victory is won.

He never said it would be easy, But you’re a winner in the end

Jesus defeated all your enemies, way before the fight began

But the impossible is God’s chance to work a miracle – a miracle

So just know that it ain’t over – until God says its over

It ain’t over until God says it’s done

It ain’t over until God says its over – and your victory is won.

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