“WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?”
I was blessed as I listened to the tape of Ms. Helen’s message to you from earlier this year. She encouraged you to “Stand still while you’re waiting on God”, to wait on and upon the Lord. To reflect. To gather your bearings and to listen to the instructions of the Lord. Then, I was present to receive from Evangelist DeEtta West, as she shared a time of trial in her life and in the life of her daughter. She reminded us of how Great our God is, and how he can and will deliver His children from the grasp of the enemy. But she had to be still long enough to wait on the instructions from the Lord.
With just those two messages behind you, now that you have learned to be still, to wait on the Lord, to seek His guidance, and how to call on Him in the time of troubles, there is a word from heaven tonight, and it comes in the form of a question.
Some of you have been around God’s table for a long time. Some of you were just born into the family a short time ago. Some of you have learned to take big strides along the path of life, but many others are still crawling or just beginning to stand freestyle. Some of you have
become good at trusting in the Lord, and still others are looking before they leap. You see, that’s what the world teaches and what many of us have taught our children over the years, to “look before you leap.” However, with God’s program, if you look too much it just shows a lack of faith in Him. It shows that you are trying to look up the answer or the observable assurances yourself, before you give it to Him.
Whether you are new to the family of God or you’ve lived in the house for a long time. Whether you are gumming down your food or eating chunks of meat, still sucking on chicken bones, or still digesting pablum. Whether you know who you are, or if you are not sure who you are or who you know. Whether you are a foot soldier, marching into war, or a frightened soldier, retreating at the first sign of resistance. Whether you’re up today and down tomorrow, or down today with no expectation for tomorrow. If you think you’re doing everything right, or you know that you’re doing everything wrong. If you’re experiencing God, or trying to make God experience you. If you’re high profile, or still in your gopher’s hole. Whether you’ve got it going on, or it just keeps on going . Whether you’re all of that, or you’re hoping that that isn’t all. If you are in the family of God, at this time and in this place, I have a question for you. I want to know if you know, “WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?”
Often, we get caught down in a rut. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in many ruts in my life. You know. You just realize one day that every day seems like a replay of the day before. If memory serves me well, it’s like having your spouse to make love to you while the most enjoyment for you is trying to watch T.V. over his shoulders. I mean a rut, ladies. Something is wrong. When it’s definitely time to make some changes. A time when getting out of bed holds no great expectations. A time when even the word “routine”, has lost its meaning. A time when you move, not instinctively, but habitually. You get the idea, don’t you? A rut. A boring, unproductive, unfulfilled, less than satisfying time in life.
I’ve experienced those kinds of times in my life. In my physical, day to day life as Barbara. Of course, there were times when life was even worse, but those were unique times. I am not talking about unique times in you life. I mean times when the meaning, expectation, striving, longing, experiences, and distinctiveness of a day are lost. I’ve had those kinds of times in my life. In my physical life.
There have been times when going to work became just a means to an end. A time, when taking care of my family was a chore. Necessary, but without fulfillment. A time when going to church was just part of the routine. I don’t mean a depression. I mean a rut. It’s just like the soap operas. The reason that I stopped watching the soaps many years ago was that for a time, about six months, I was unable to watch them due to a new job. When I did have opportunity to tune in one day, they were still dealing with the same issues as the last time I had watched. They were in a rut. They are always in a rut and they’ll keep you in a rut, too.
Well, sometimes, just like our physical lives get into ruts, we can get into Spiritual ruts. Sometimes, we come to places in our Spiritual lives where we seem just to move along from habit. We do all of the things that we are supposed to do. You support the Pastor. You do don’t you? You make all of the so-called, right meetings. You participate and interact with the other women. You give your money. You join and sign up to participate in special functions. You listen to the right music. You talk the right talk at church, at home and at work. You involve your children, in an effort to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. You attend the special days and listen attentively to the speakers. In short, you just go along with the same tenacity and spunkiness in your spiritual lives, day after day.
Some of you are in self-proclaimed ruts. You are not going to do anything more because you believe that you are blessed just to be a member of God’s family. Some of you are so hung up on your pasts that you have identified your self-rated physical worth with your spiritual worth. Some of you think that you have no skills to offer to God’s work. Some of you have allowed yourselves to be intimidated by the stature of others. Then some of you just haven’t realized that there is more to the Spiritual life. Such as knowing the difference between living the life of a Christian and living the Christian life.
If any of these things resemble you, you are in a spiritual rut. I have come to remind you that it’s time to take a breath and to get your second wind. It’ time to decide “Where you go from here” and it’s time to chart your way. It’s time to begin living the Christian life.
Most of the examples that I have given to you describe a person living the life of a Christian, and anyone can do that. Yes, I mean anyone. There are many persons in church every Sunday, in prayer meeting every Wednesday, and at a Bible class during the week that have learned to live the life of a Christian. People who can deliver eloquent words, quote much scripture, and sing Zion songs. People who can deliver such spiritual sounding prayers that you just know that Jesus is all ears. People that are going to go straight to hell. That should be no surprise, for Jesus told us in the Word that there would be wheat and tares growing together, and that He would separate them in His time. I once heard a minister say that he could put a child of God to work the day of his birth, for that person could testify about his salvation to other lost people, or work on the usher board, or join and sing in the choir. That always bothered me, a little, but I never knew why until lately. New born saints could possibly do all of those things, and they could call those things works. It’s easy to learn to imitate the Life of a Christian. Listen, last November I wanted to sing with the Women’s Day choir as I had each year since I’ve been at Friendship. I am in school on Mondays, which was the day of choir rehearsals. Because I am in an accelerated program, I can miss no more that one session a term. Needless to say, I missed most of the rehearsals. I had to get the tapes. I missed rehearsal when the march was taught. On Sunday morning, I lined up with the choir and a couple of sisters in front of me overheard me say that I had not learned the march. They kindly turned around in the line and demonstrated the march to me and explained when I was to do what. At the end of the demonstration, one of the sisters told me not to worry, to just watch her. Just as easy as it was for me to imitate her movements in that march, many people imitate the movements, the words, the actions of people in the church. But it’s not how you look on the outside that’s going to get you in.
I can stand here and boldly say to you that one cannot imitate the Christian life. You are not born living the Christian life. You are reborn a Christian and the Christian life flows from the elements that God has placed in each of His children to develop the Christian life that He has planned for each individual child. The Christian life comes from within. Each child of God has a different Christian life or experience to live.
Each of you is unique, in every aspect. God said in Jeremiah 1 that before He formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew you. Do you understand that? First, God lets us know that we are no-accident. Praise God! I don’t care if your parents shared a one night stand, rumbled in the back seat of a car, or got you by just being neglagent. God says that you are no accident. It was He that formed you. Even before He took the time to form you into a physical being in your mother’s womb, He knew you. He knew you inside and out, up side down, backwards, sideways, and all ways. Farther, in Jer. 29, He continues to say, not only did He know you, but that he made plans for you. Plans for you to prosper, to have a future with a hope. I’m glad to tell you. You’re somebody, ladies.
I believe that is why, when I asked of the Lord what to say to you this evening he said, . . . ”ask them, Where do you go from here?”
I believe God is saying tonight, “It’s not enough just to sit idly by, trying to look pretty and proper. It’ not enough to watch what others are doing. It’s not enough to offer your unsolicited opinions after someone else has done all of the work. It’s not enough just to respond in kind when the preacher asks if you trust God. It’s not enough to give your less than honest tithes and your inconsistent offerings. It’s not enough, ladies, to cook big meals and decorate the halls for special days. It’s not enough to try to tell someone else about God, whom you profess to be your Father, and whom you haven’t spoken to in days. It’s not enough.
All of my life, I’ve heard preachers and teachers say that the time is short, winding down. That Jesus is coming back soon. Even in the Bible we are told that we are in the last days. So, I wondered if it was the last days then, and it is the last days now, somebody must have their information wrong. How can the last days be so long? Jesus has been gone for more than 2000 years. Then I learned about the 70 weeks prophesy in Daniel. Without going into detail, will you trust me until you read Daniel 9 for yourself that the 70 weeks equal 490 total years. Well, 69 of those weeks have been fulfilled. They ended with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. After His death and resurrection, we entered a kind of time out. You see, it’s just like a basketball game. The professional games last 48 minutes. It is possible, however unlikely, that the teams can play all the way through without a time out for 47 minutes, and then just before the start of the last minute begins to tick, one side calls a timeout.
Well, with a little modification, that’s what has happened with these 70 weeks. Just after Christ’s resurrection, God called a time out. He then began the Church. So we are in the age of the Church, the times of the Gentiles. He is giving all humankind time to come to Him, by His grace, and through His mercy. Nobody knows just when, but one day, He is going to say, time, and restart the clock. When he does, He will have raptured the church from the earth, and the 70th week will begin. That 70th week will be the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
So, you see people, we are in the last days. That is why now is the time to work while it is day, for night cometh when no man can work. That’s why our status quo attitudes and habitual Christian lives are not enough. We must begin to leap into our duties with full faith propelling us. It’s time to put all doubts behind us. It’s time to be about our Father’s business. There seems to be some sort of an attack on women today. Especially, Christian women. Attacks on our health, our well-being. Attacks on our families and all things that are dear to us. Attacks on our motives and our actions. Attacks at work and at home. Women are leaving this world at a much higher percentage than our male counterparts. It’s time to move ladies. It’s time to move into a “Somehow, phase of belief.” There is no better place to be in your faith journey than to be in the somehow phase of belief. Let me illustrate the somehow phase of belief.
You see, Enoch so pleased God that he was spared from death and just taken away by God ---- Somehow.
Noah made an ark for rain and flood waters that had never been seen or known of before, and God saved him and his family --- Somehow.
Abraham obeyed God and left his home, not knowing where he was going, but God took care of him --- Somehow.
Sarah finally believed God to be faithful in His promise and God caused a 90-year-old woman to bare a child --- Somehow.
Abraham offered his son Isaac, and he was prepared and ready to kill his son as a sacrifice to God, following God’s command, but God provided a ram in the bush --- Somehow.
Moses was hidden three months as a baby and, as a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, so God caused him and Israel to pass through the Red Sea on dry ground --- Somehow.
When the Egyptians tried to go through the same Red Sea, God caused the walls of water to close and to drown them --- Somehow.
After Joshua circled the walls of Jericho 7 times and blew a trumpet, God caused them to fall down --- Somehow.
When Rahab the prostitute, received the spies into her home and covered for them, God caused her not to perish with unbelievers --- Somehow.
When the king put the three Hebrew boys into the furnace, God caused the old king to see four men in the furnace, walking around without any burns --- Somehow.
When the king put Daniel into the Lion’s den, God caused the lion’s bellies to be full, their mouths to stay shut, and Daniel to rise to a top position in that same king’s administration --- Somehow.
While David was a forgotten lad in the fields, tending his father’s sheep and his brothers were busy trying to be chosen to be king, God caused David to be sent for and chosen by Saul --- Somehow.
When the disciples were afraid in the boat because the winds and the water grew so boisterous, Jesus caused the wind to be at peace and the waters to remain still, and Peter to walk upon them --- Somehow.
When five thousand men and who knows how many women and children, became hungry after hearing Jesus speak, He caused them to be fed from five loaves of bread and two fish --- Somehow.
When you lost your job, and had no income coming in, God caused you not to sleep under the dew, to eat good food, and to be clothed every day --- Somehow.
When your body was sick, and the doctor’s medicine was not totally effective, God caused you to be healed --- Somehow.
When you thought that you were at the end of your rope, that all hope was gone, that you had called in all of your markers, God caused you to see another day with sunshine and new hope --- Somehow.(Rest)
When you decide in your hearts, that you will seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He will cause all things that you need to fulfill your mission to come to you --- Somehow. Where do you go from here? I submit that it’s time to enter the somehow phase of belief.
It’s time to become a vessel that God can really use and depend on. It’s time to put the ball of doubt, lack, laziness, ignorance, stubbornness, stiff necked, blindness, and unchangeable attitudes into God’s court.
Your responsibility is to seek Him first and His righteousness. It then becomes His responsibility to provide for you.
Entering into the somehow phase of belief will lead you to experience a new kind of life. Have you ever been a kept woman? I’m a kept woman. I can tell you that without a doubt, there’s nothing like being kept by Jesus.
Psalm 121:5 says “The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand”. Ladies, I can tell you of a truth that you’ve never been kept till you’ve been kept by Jesus. You see, when I was living in ignorance as His child, He kept me. When I was living in rebellion, He kept me. When I was disobedient, He kept me. When I was good, He kept me. When I was bad, He kept me. When I didn’t know how to straighten things out, He kept me. When I doubted, He kept me. When I trusted Him, He kept me. When I fell, He kept me. When I didn’t feel like talking, He kept me. When I pouted, He kept me. When I was sick, He kept me. After He healed me, He kept me. When bills were due, He kept me. When food was scarce, He kept me. When clothes were worn, He kept me. When the car ran down, He kept me. Now, I’ve learned to seek Him first and His righteousness, and still, He keeps me. Oh, to be kept by Jesus. You know how He did it? Somehow! In our ignorance and disobedience, He keeps us by His grace. He keeps our souls in His right hand. But now, He is calling for us to show our love for Him by letting Him keep us as we will to obey Him. Won’t you trust Him, today? All of the outward work that we do is only a beginning. Ladies, it’s time to give Jesus full control of you. Every area of you. Let Him guide your steps. Just fall upon His shoulders and see how light His burdens are.
I believe that is where we need to go from here. We need to go farther into Jesus. The farther off from Him that you seem, the faster you should run into His arms. He is faithful. He will be there. Let Him mold you today into that planned shape He has had for you before the world began. Oh, He’s an awesome artist. When He starts to shape you, as you yield to His plans, I guarantee that people will begin to say, “Girl, you got it going on. You’re all of that and then some.” And you know what? It’ll be true. Go farther into Jesus by Seeking Him first, and some things will begin to change. You have to sell out to Him. I invite you to become a kept woman. Let Jesus keep you. And know that Jesus is not just a God of things. I know how things can seem all right. It looks as though everything is going along smoothly. Don’t fall into that false security. You need to be moving all the time. Get farther into Jesus. Watch situations from your home to this very Women’s ministry change in ways thought impossible.
Where ever you are right now in life, you can move farther into Jesus. If your home is blessed, and you have a Godly mate, then move together into Jesus. If you are a single parent, you’re trying the best you can. You believe that you are trusting Jesus and still things are not as they should be, move farther into Jesus. If you are single, and you get tired some times of having to look out for yourself, move farther into Jesus. If you’ve been with Jesus a long time and you don’t know of any more you can do, move farther into Jesus. The next time someone asks you where you are going, tell them, I’m on my way to becoming a kept woman.
Oh, to be kept by Jesus
He will never leave you alone.
Turn on your heels and follow
He will lead you safely home.