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Checking Your Spiritual Vital Signs (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2021 8:00 am

Checking Your Spiritual Vital Signs (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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May 25, 2021 8:00 am

An examination of the message God gave John for the church at Sardis. (Included in the 7-part series You’ve Got Mail.)

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Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Thanks for making this part of your day. Coming your way next, Pastor Paul returns to the story of Jonah in his message, Checking Your Spiritual Vital Signs.

But first, he joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, earlier this month you reminded us of the importance of honoring our mothers by sharing a special two-part series called In Praise of Godly Women. Tell us why those messages might be more important in our culture today than ever before. Well, first of all, we need to discover the value of honoring and affirming moms and mother figures. You know, the Proverbs says, who can find a virtuous woman? Well, these days I kind of think the better question is who can find a kid or a dad who has sense enough to praise the mom? And we've really got to understand that she plays an invaluable role. Even people who had challenging relationships with their moms or mother figures need to realize God used them in a significant way.

To get you to the place, even if you think you're living so much better and you have so much higher set of values or whatever, you'd have never had the chance to show that if they hadn't gotten you to the place where you could be better. So we need to honor moms. I'm hoping that people will really get that and they take advantage of this month's resource. Well, if you missed those messages or if you'd like to hear them again, visit to listen on demand. In Praise of Godly Women aired from May 3rd to May 6th.

That's Speaking of mothers and mother figures who had a positive influence in our lives, Pastor Paul mentioned a special resource we have for you this month. Yours is our thank you for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. It's a booklet called Traits of a Virtuous Woman. Based on Proverbs 31, the booklet was written to honor mothers in particular and godly women in general. It's a penetrating look into some of the most important traits all women should embody and a great companion guide to Pastor Paul's messages earlier this month. That's Traits of a Virtuous Woman, our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call us at 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again the address is Destined for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. You know something is wrong when the pagans in your family, on your job, in your circle of friends, when people who don't even know Jesus are telling you, you know what, you need to get back right with God. You need to go pray or do something, read that Bible you got. Sometimes even pagans will question our faith and it might be just what we need to get us back on track. Today on Destined for Victory, Pastor Paul takes us once again to the story of Jonah, a man called by God to preach to the people of Nineveh but who chose to run away from that calling.

Here once again is Pastor Paul Shepherd to share his message, checking your spiritual vital signs. There are some people who are so pseudo intellectual until when they read a verse like this that God prepared a fish and it swallowed Jonah whole, they say no, then that means this could not have been a historical event. This had to be an allegory because this had to simply represent because the fact of the matter is there is no fish in the ocean that can swallow a man whole and keep him alive for 72 hours. Thank you so much for sharing.

We're so glad we're relieved now we have heard from you. Now that you're through talking, let's understand something. The same God who created the heavens and the earth and the sea with the mere word let there be and there was is a God who if he's trying to run down his rebellious servant, he is able to take any old big fish in the water he wants. People speculate, I've seen on Discovery Channel, what have you, them speculating as to what kind of fish could have possibly swallowed a man whole. And I watched a whole special folk trying to figure out was it a whale? One said there's some way in the ocean there's some giant grouper that conceivably had a big enough mouth and all of that, and they did a whole hour on it. I could have saved them all their production money.

They had hired me as a consultant. I would have saved them all their production money by taking them to the text and said look here, it says God prepared a fish. So, whatever it was, it was a supernatural thing. God took some fish he had created large enough to swallow the man whole and he built air conditioning into it. He put air conditioning in so that the man could stay alive. He put an oxygen system inside of the fish.

If God made it, he can renovate it. He did a little renovation, put a little air system in there, a little AC in there, and the thing swallowed him up and he remained alive and he stayed in there for three days. In fact, God made sure he stayed for three days because later on he wanted to give us a type of what was to come later on. And so centuries later, Jesus is standing on earth and he opens his mouth and declares, just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the belly of the earth for three days. So Jonah, for all of his trouble and all his rebellion, he ended up getting caught up in a little bit of messianic prophecy. God put him on a 72-hour lockdown.

And there he is in the belly of the fish. By now, the Bible says he cried to the Lord. See, if some of us would talk to God now, we wouldn't have to get into the mess that's coming. And so he cried to the Lord, oh Lord, I'm so sorry. I know I should have just obeyed you the first time you said, oh Lord, I'm so sorry.

I shouldn't have been like this. Three days of repentance and remorse. And finally, on the third day, the Lord lets the fish spit him up onto the shore. Now, when God first told Jonah, go to Nineveh, Jonah was clean, had on nice suit, looked all good. He could have gone to Nineveh being a sharp man of God, like I try to be. Sharp, looking right. They don't want the folk ashamed of their past to look at him all pitiful, need to go somewhere and buy some decent clothes.

Jonah was straight, looking good. Sisters in Nineveh could have seen this prophet come and say, oh, praise the Lord, hallelujah. Let's see what the Lord has to say to us. Instead, now my man, they've got to go to Nineveh. Now he going seaweed, hanging all off of him. Doesn't smell too good.

People don't want to come too close. You just tell us the word of God from over there. How about that? I came to tell somebody you can do this the clean way or the seaweed way, but you're going to do the will of God. It's up to you how much hell you go through before you wake up. The first spiritual vital sign I want you to check is how responsive you are. The second is how relentless you are. After telling them to wake up, he says, strengthen what remains and is about to die. Now, I get the relentless concept from this. Anything that is very, very weak and has to be strengthened means it is going to have to go through a regimen.

It is going to have to go through a systematic process of strengthening. You do not go from weak to strong instantly. I know we grew up, those of you who are my age or something like that, we grew up watching Popeye. And Popeye was, when he got into a certain fix, and he needed to go into super strength mode, all he had to do was get himself a can of spinach. You all remember, look at these folks old like me, you all remember, a can of spinach. And I tell you what, whatever the devil had put him in, if he could just get his hands on that can of spinach and pop it open, the spinach would fly up and fly into his mouth.

The music would change and his muscles would get strengthened and Brutus and all of the devil's forces were about to be in trouble. Listen, that was wonderful for a cartoon we all grew up on. I enjoyed it. If I'm channel surfing and I see Popeye, I'll stop right now.

It takes me back to my days gone by. But let me tell you something, that was just their way of trying to get kids to eat vegetables. Now that I look back on it, that's all that was. They were trying to get us to understand that you get strong if you eat spinach. Fact of the matter is there is no one thing you can do once that will take you from weak to strong. You're going to have to be relentless about doing the right things over and over and over and over again so that weakness becomes strength. It means you're going to have to become relentless. When God speaks to you about some area of your life, you've got to obey over and over and over and over again. There's got to be a strengthening process.

Look at it this way. God is calling us to be people who practice spiritual strength training. Now any of you who practice, who have done strength training in your pursuit of physical fitness, you know that the very concept of strength training is that you isolate a particular muscle or muscle group. And what you do, you have to do repeatedly. In fact, trainers will call it reps. You ever heard that term?

I need you to do 12 reps on this. I mean, don't just do it once and say done. They want you to do it over and over and over and over and over again. Reps is what will get it repeated focus, trying to bring that muscle to fatigue. You are calling on that muscle to do more than it is used to doing.

And you're forcing it to respond. You're telling the muscle you are pitiful now, but I'm going to change that. And so you begin to do it over and over and over and over again.

And over time, this is no quick fix. This is strength training. Over time, that muscle gets strong enough where working that particular muscle at that particular weight is not the trouble it used to be. Guess what reward you get for that muscle finally responding to the level of pressure you were putting against it. Your trainer will say, oh, you're doing well.

Let's add some more weight. And the thanks you get is that you get more to go through so that the muscle has to respond now to a greater challenge than it's used to responding to. And you do that systematically. And that is what takes us from weak to strong. Guess what, as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. God says, strengthen what remains and is about to die. And the only way you can do that is you've got to become spiritually relentless in doing the will of God.

Don't go away. We're only about halfway through today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Be sure to subscribe to Pastor Paul on YouTube to watch some of his best video clips. For more details, be sure to visit

That's where you can listen on demand to recent messages or find a variety of resources in our online store. You can't build a strong body overnight. Building spiritual muscle works the same way. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, checking your spiritual vital signs. You're going to have to obey God as a matter of lifestyle and the process of strength training is going to demand that you have to respond to a challenge you're not used to responding to. So when God is working on different areas of your life, he will send you into training in that area and he will begin to work that muscle. Some of us have had God work our giving muscle and he'll tell you how much of your income he wants you to give to his work and he will tell you to do it over and over again, even in a recession or an economic downturn. And you're hoping God will say, well, you know, because of the economy, because of where the Dow is right now, I'm not going to bother you right now.

Not a chance. He'll take money that you are getting ready to pay something else with and he'll say, give that to that brother or sister. So that into that work, give that as an extra offering over and above your tie to your church because you know what they're trying to do for God.

And you said, but Lord, I have plans for this. He said, no, I'm working that muscle because I got to get you strong enough where I can tell you to do anything. And he always goes after our money because Jesus said, where your treasure is there, your heart is also money is always a barometer of where you are with God.

Jesus said, so he said, I can tell where your heart is by where your money's going and how you feel about it. So he'll work your giving muscle. Anybody ever had God work your patience muscle?

I see that hit. He'll work your patience muscle. Guess how God works your patience muscle. He sends people. He sends people, all kinds of people, special people, high maintenance people, arrogant people, obnoxious people, strange people. Where in the world did you come from? People. Does your mama even love you people? He sends people and he sends them into your life to work your patience muscle.

And right now it's weak. You're used to telling folk off, getting them straight. And then God starts telling you, treat them right. Treat them with dignity, even though they're not treating you with dignity, be kind to them, even though they're being unkind to you, be sensitive to their needs, even though they're completely insensitive to yours. And he will send them.

And I tell you what you can flunk all you want. You can tell folk off when God's trying to tell you to be patient with them. You can tell this batch off. There's another batch waiting off the stage of your life. Whole another batch of folk, they're lined up and God see that you tell these folk off and cuss them out and flip them off. And he said, no, I got to get some reps going. Next three, would you come in please? And he'll just send the next bunch in there and work your last nerve and you keep doing it until your patience muscle gets strong and you learn to start regularly treating people like Jesus wants you to treat them.

And that's what God does. So the question is, how responsive are you? How relentless are you?

Number three, how receptive are you? He says, remember, therefore, what you have received and heard. How receptive are you when God sends a word to you? What is your attitude about it? This message itself?

What is your attitude about it? If there's a sense of resistance in you, then God hasn't completed his work in you. Because when God speaks, we are to be the good ground that the seed of the word falls on. See, when you read the parable of the sower, it's clear the word's never going to change. The sower sows the word. God's word is never going to change. You can't wait God out and hope he'll change his mind. Well, I wanted y'all to live a certain way, but since all y'all doing something else, I just forget it.

It'll never happen. God's word remains the same. The sower sows the word.

The word comes forth just like it is in the book. And that's why I'm glad you're sitting under Bible teaching ministry. I don't take that for granted. I praise God for you sitting under Bible teaching. Paul said in 2 Timothy when he was writing his last letter to his spiritual son Timothy, he said, there's coming a time when people will not want to endure sound doctrine. There's coming a time when people will rather go somewhere and sit and listen to what they want to hear. But I'm so glad some of us have learned that won't get you to heaven.

You're not going to make the city listening to what you want to hear. Listen to some preacher tell you, you can live any old raggedy way you want and God will bless you anyhow. Not so you got to sit under the word that will lay it line upon line, precept upon precept until God has built a strong foundation of faith and obedience in our lives. And I'm glad you're exposing yourself to Bible teaching. It's not always fun. There are some messages, the word of God builds us up and strengthens us, encourages us.

Thank God. I wouldn't go somewhere where they beat you up every week either. But the fact of the matter is you can know you're under sound Bible teaching because sometimes you're going to be built up and strengthened and encouraged and it's going to be that word that will help you get through the next week. But there are going to be other times when you leave there messed up, convicted. You leave there because God has really spoken directly into the areas of your life. There are times you leave church, you don't have a whole lot to say in the car going home because you're still processing what God is saying to you about your life.

I wouldn't sit somewhere where somebody tells me I'm wonderful every week and I know I'm not. And so the sower sows the word. But the question is, what kind of ground are you in the parable of the sower? There are four types of ground. Only one is characterized by Jesus as good ground. Good ground are people who have tilled the soil of their lives Monday through Friday and on the weekend they are open to God. Lord, when I get together with your people and I hear your word, I want to be open.

And not only when they hear it when they gather in worship, but every day as they open their Bible in private devotion, they're saying, speak to me, Lord. Speak to me about what I need. You know where I am and I want to hear your voice. See some folks, when they listen to the word or read the word, they have a shovel. What you ought to have is a rake. When you hear from God, you ought to have a rake. You ought to say, Lord, if that's for me, thank you for that word. And you rake it in.

Some of y'all have a shovel. You hear a message and as soon as you hear a point, you say, ooh, that is a good message for her. Oh, you know you do. You sit and you hear a point and you think about the folks you know and you wonder if they, I hope they're in this service.

Because he might not have said it the same way in the last service. I hope she's here right now because she needs that. Some of y'all listen for your spouse. I know you're listening for your spouse by the way you say amen and the points you say amen on. Oh, signifying amen. Amen. How receptive we are.

Finally, finally, how resolved we are. He said, not only remember therefore what you received and heard, but then he said, obey it and repent. Obedience takes resolve. You obey God because you make up your mind to do his will. You don't obey because you feel like it. There are times you don't like what God's calling you to do, but it's his will and you resolve to obey. And let me tell you something, that's going to be true the rest of your spiritual journey.

The key to living the blessed life is to say yes to God whether you feel like saying yes or not. It's to obey God as a matter of decision making rather than a matter of impulse and feeling. When the three Hebrew boys were in Babylon, they were representing the God of Israel even though they're living in exile. They know they live in the presence of that God.

And when they are told to bow down and worship an image, they know they can't do it. And while everybody else around them bows, they stand firm with integrity because they serve God. Now, when the king calls them in, he said, I like you guys. And I really don't want to kill you, but I'm not going to have you define me.

He said, so I'm not used to giving people a second chance, but because I like you, I'm giving you a second chance. They said, King, we're not slow to answer you in this matter. The God we serve is able to deliver us out of your hand and he will deliver us. They said, but if not, if God chooses to not deliver us, if God chooses to make us martyrs for his glory, we will not bow. That's what God is calling for from us.

A heart resolved to do his will. You want to check your spiritual vital signs? Check how responsive you are. Check how relentless you are.

Check how receptive you are. Check how resolved you are. Let us allow God to take what is about to die and strengthen it that we might be the people he's calling for in these last days. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, checking your spiritual vital signs. To find out more about Destined for Victory, or even to contact us for prayer, be sure to stop by our website,

Again, that's I want to let somebody know that you may be feeling insignificant because you're comparing yourself with other people. It's not a good idea to look around at other folk and compare yourself with them for a number of reasons.

Number one, because God made you who you were. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Enjoying the Favor of God. Until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-14 12:55:27 / 2023-11-14 13:04:49 / 9

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