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If You Want to Make God Laugh… (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2021 8:00 am

If You Want to Make God Laugh… (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 19, 2021 8:00 am

The arrogance of taking the future for granted; the importance of coming to terms with the brevity and uncertainty of one's life; based on James 4:13-17.

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Do you want to experience the abundant, joyful Christian life Jesus died to give you? Pastor Paul Shepherd shares some of the keys to living that kind of life next, as he shares his message, If You Want to Make God Laugh.

But before he gets started, he joins me now from his studio in California. Because I know that you feel that Get Your Hopes Up is a message that everyone needs to see and hear. Absolutely. I'm eager too to share this encouraging word with our listeners. We all know that hope is a premium commodity these days.

You can't find it easily at all. We look around and we see all sorts of challenges, both in the world at large and also in our personal lives. And I hear from listeners even as they share their praise reports and prayer concerns. And it's just a challenging world. And the bottom line is, I thought this is a time for me to remind people that we've got to get our hopes up and we've got to keep them up. Because pain, heartache, reality is just among us.

And we are going to deal with these challenges. But I believe God has given us everything that we need. He's given us every reason to get our hopes up and to keep them up. Because He is Lord of all, not just the good stuff. He's Lord of everything that's going on. And even when chaos surrounds us, His plan and purpose will prevail.

I constantly remind myself of what we say daily on this broadcast. He who began a good work in us is going to bring it to completion. In this message, people are going to hear me share, and I'm going to use case studies from the scripture, how people who faced real life challenges, such as we're all going through, but how they saw the Lord's hand in the midst of it, how God brought them out of it and gave them hope and help even in difficult times. And I hope that people are going to be blessed as they receive this video message.

The title of the DVD is Get Your Hopes Up, and it's our gift to you this month. By request is our way of saying thanks for your generous gift to Destin for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, the address is Destin for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. I hope you understand you can be a child of God and never experience anything but wilderness living if you're not careful. You'll go to heaven when you die, but life is not going to go well because you aren't walking in faith and obedience and trust in the Lord. That's what happened with Old Testament Israel.

Well, it happened in the days of Moses and it can happen today. Just as many of the Israelites were never allowed to enter into the Promised Land, we too can miss out on the abundant Christian life God wants His children to enjoy. So today on Destin for Victory, Pastor Paul Shepherd explains how we can have eternal life in the hereafter and a joyful life in the here and now. It all comes your way next with this message if you want to make God laugh.

Once again, here's Pastor Paul. As you listen to this message, you ought to have plans that you believe will glorify God. You ought to be praying about not only current things but looking forward. You ought to have vision. Vision always speaks of that which is yet to come.

All of that's good. None of that is against what James is telling us. But you ought to have a vision that can easily outlive you so that if you don't get to fulfill it, you can believe God to raise up some other people to take that baton and carry it on. I know pastors who were building great buildings, seemingly healthy and died unexpectedly. A pastor friend died in a car accident. He and his wife killed instantly on the road and they were in the midst of a great building campaign.

Listen, the fact that you have plans, the fact that you're anointed, the fact that God is with you, none of that gives you a guarantee. I first found this out in my late 40s. I was heading toward 50 and I found out as pastor friends, three of them in a span of about a year and a half died. And all of them were like me, not yet 50 years old or one of them slightly over 50. And that was a big shock. I said, you mean the anointing won't keep you alive?

I was well into my 40s when that first dawned on me. And it dawned on me not by reading James, I should have got it from James, but I got it from going to funerals of friends, none of whom were seemingly life-threatening ill. I'm standing there in their funerals rejoicing and thanking God for their life and their ministry, but also confused. You mean the anointing won't keep you alive?

Oh man, that was a shock to me. I thought the anointing would surely shield us. I know I got 80 years. I'm anointing. You will take your anointing to the grave in the prime of your life. Things go that way. You can't take it for granted.

So live knowing it won't be long, soon we'll be leaving here. Moses tried to tell us that before we ever got to the New Testament dispensation. Moses told us that back in the old dispensation in Psalm 90. I hope you who are new to your Bible, not all the Psalms were written by David.

Just understand that. Most of them were Psalms of David. But there are other Psalmists that you'll find. They're divinely inspired Psalms in that book of your Old Testament. And one of the Psalmists was Moses. Moses wrote Psalm 90. The context was it was during the years that Israel was in the wilderness.

Those 40 years that they got out of Egypt. But it wasn't Moses' fault. The people didn't have the faith to go to Canaan.

They were scared of the giants in the walled cities. And because they murmured and complained and disobeyed God, it offended God. And God said, I'll tell you what, Moses, tell them they can live and die in this wilderness. Because I'm not taking them over with that attitude. I hope you understand you can be a child of God and never experience anything but wilderness living if you're not careful. You'll go to heaven when you die, but life is not going to go well.

Because you aren't walking in faith and obedience and trust in the Lord. That's what happened with Old Testament Israel. And so they spent 40 years. And God had told them, I'm going to let all this first generation die in this wilderness. I'm going to raise their children up.

And I'm going to take them to Canaan. Moses wrote during those years where he's watching these two million people he let out of Egypt die off. And he writes a glorious Psalm. Read Psalm 90 when you get a chance. But for my purposes here, let me just drop you down to verse 10. He says, the length of our days is 70 years or 80 if we have the strength.

Yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away. See, he's saying the same thing that James told us in the New Testament. You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. He's not guaranteeing you 70, 80 years. He's saying that seems probable, likely, all things being equal.

But that's not a hard, fast rule. You can't say if you live right, God guarantees you 80 years. I know a woman in New York who was mildly used to God in the ministry of healing. And she one day got the word that she had stage four cancer. And we prayed and fasted. Everybody who loved her prayed for her and I believed God to raise her up.

Especially somebody who had been so mildly used to get other people healed. We thought surely God's going to do for her what He did through her. And instead she got worse and worse. And at a certain point she told everybody who was praying for her stop praying. She said I'm convinced the Lord is ready to take me home to be with Him. And a lot of us rejected that.

A lot of people said no, no, no, we got to just hold on in faith. She said no, no, the Lord's not going to do it for me. And she refused to be bitter. And the night she died in the hospital, the night shift nurse said it was the most amazing thing. Said as I was sitting at the nurses station, not far from her room, she said I heard Deanna talking.

And you know typically the patients at night aren't talking. She said so I kind of tuned my ear. And she said I heard her speaking such loving things.

And she said I knew no man had come in there. And she said so I listened even more intently and she said she was praying and worshiping God. And she said she was telling him how much she loved Him, how much He meant to her, how much He was so grateful for all He had done for her.

That when she was in her sins He kept her. The nurse said it sounded like she was making love to somebody. And she said then her voice fell silent. The nurse said I thought okay, Deanna went to sleep. She said when I went in later to do rounds and went to her room, she was gone.

She worshiped her way right into God's presence. It's not about quantity. It's about quality. And Moses said you know a lot of us are probably going to make 70 maybe 80 years. He said but even those years are full of trouble and sorrow. And they quickly pass and we fly away.

So what did he say? Look at verse 12 of Psalm 90. He said so teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Help us to live knowing that we don't have any guarantees so the thing you want us to do is to maximize our now. Brothers and sisters here's what you need to do. Maximize today.

Maximize today. If you need to do it, get it done. And Moses said teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom. In other words, we're imperfect beings. None of us are going to get it all right all the time. Many of us have made some really dumb decisions and mistakes and all of that in our lives to this point. Is there anybody besides me who has done some really stupid things?

I'm so glad to have this company. We've done some things we're not proud of. We've made wrong choices. We've done all kind of stuff.

Moses is saying Lord teach us that for the time we have left that we won't make the same ones and that we'll learn a level of wisdom that can get us to another level of living. Doing stupid things occasionally is human. We shouldn't want to.

We shouldn't plan to. But doing something stupid is human. But Moses really could have said but Lord help us to not be stuck on stupid. As a crude way I'm sorry to offend you. Help us to not be stuck there Lord.

All right you got it wrong. Really wrong in some cases. But if you're going to be imperfect manifest your imperfection some new ways now. Don't repeat the old ones.

Anybody feeling me on that? If you're going to make some mistakes find you some new ones to make. Find a way to get better as you get older. There's no fool like an old fool. So he's saying help us to gain a heart of wisdom. I'm not upset with folk who are ignorant. I'm upset with folk who choose to stay ignorant.

You get it? If you see this isn't working let's turn the page. And you got a Bible full of wisdom for how to turn the page. 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. Subscribe to Pastor Paul on YouTube to watch some of his best video clips. For more details be sure to visit Again the website is and there you can listen on demand to recent messages or find a variety of resources in our online store.

Now let's rejoin Pastor Paul for the second half of today's message, If You Want to Make God Laugh. You ever met somebody who's just stuck on what is not working? They're having anniversaries of what does not work. Today they're celebrating their 27th anniversary of what never worked in the first place. My wife and I were talking about this that we're noticing some folks aren't stopping to realize that the common denominator in all the drama in their life.

Y'all finishing my message for me. At a certain point you say what's the common denominator in all these scenarios and the answer is you. So it can't keep being them. Well see that last friend I had they were crazy. At a certain point when you have four episodes of crazy it could be that they're not the one crazy.

I'm just saying I'm just saying cray cray could be living at your house. Teach us that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Lord help us to number our days to realize we don't have forever. Help us to realize that we have a time sensitive opportunity and we can't afford to blow it. Help us to gain some wisdom.

Here's the third and final point I'll let you go. Doing God's will is the only thing that matters. Look at verses 15 through 17 instead James says instead of saying what you're going to do for the next year. He said instead you ought to say if it's the Lord's will we will live and do this or that.

As it is you boast and brag all such boasting is evil. Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it sins. You know what sins means? It means to miss the mark. It's actually an archery term.

It means to fire toward the target but you don't hit it. And James is saying anyone who knows at this point in your life given your successes and failures. Given the years you've lived. Given the experiences you've had. Given the things you've done right. The things you've done wrong. Given what you're learning from the word. Given why God is speaking to you from his word. Given all of that he is saying it is important that you fire and hit the target for anybody who knows what to do at this point in your life. No need of making the same mistakes.

You know where that's going to get you by now. Anybody who knows what to do now. You say well pastor but that's the problem I still don't know what to do. Well there's wisdom available.

James said earlier we studied it in the first chapter of the study. If you lack wisdom do what? Ask it of God.

Lord what shall I do here? He's raised up people around you. That doesn't put us in a church because he thinks that's a good place to go on Sundays. You're in a church because it's a family. A full time family of believers. We're all going to heaven and God called us to go together.

It's people who are moving in the same direction. That's what congregations are. It is God's will.

I say it from time to time because it has to be said in days where people are commitment phobic. Well I love God but I don't go to church. You can't ignore his family and claim to love him. He gave you the family.

He put you in the family. You were baptized by one spirit Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12. By one spirit into the body of Christ. Look at the early church. What happened after Pentecost? After Pentecost they immediately began to form themselves into congregations.

The only reason you have a New Testament that's inspired of the Holy Spirit is because there were New Testament congregations to write to. To the church at Rome. To the church at Galatia. To the church at Ephesus. To the church at Philippi. To the church at Colossae.

You see what I'm saying? The church formed itself into congregations where God gave them anointed leaders. Pastors and apostles and prophets and teachers to minister to them. To teach them how to live effectively. It's God's will for you to finally stop thinking you're doing well by being unaccountable.

It's not working. You need accountability. You need a pastor. You need brothers and sisters who walk with you in love and in faith and in accountability. We got to have it. We got to honor the body of Christ because we're all on the same journey.

Different temperaments, different personalities, different cultures. I'm glad our church is multicultural. I want it to become more and more so because we want everybody to go to heaven. Not just some folk.

And I want that to be more and more the case where we become more and more United Nations under the banner of Jesus Christ. This is the family of God. You know how a family is. You pick your friends, you're stuck with your relatives. Family, you're in because you were born. Born into the family. You don't get to vote.

There's no voting in a family. You heard me tell the story of my younger brother who is almost 15 years my junior. I'm 14 years old when my parents sat us down. We sat around a dining room table in 1970, early 1972. I was 14. Older brother, 17. Older sister, 16.

We all there. My parents, my dad sat at this end, one end of the table. My mother sat at the other end. My mother looked dejected, bewildered, confused.

My father sitting up here looked proud. My mother said, well, we need to let you all know that you're going to have a brother or sister in several months. We looked at them. We said, what? And we felt, what's the matter with you people? Can't you get anything right at all? You all know you're too old to be trying.

My father sitting there like, that's right, still got it. Mess with me, I'll show you something, boy. Here's my point. It wasn't a voting meeting. It was an informational meeting only.

It didn't matter what we thought about this newcomer. He was on his way. In October 1972, I'm less than two months from being 15, Kenny showed up. My mother brought him home. Here's your brother.

When he pees, when he does other stuff, change it. He was introduced as my brother. I didn't get to vote on him. Now, it worked out well, we happen to like him.

But you understand what I'm saying? Whether we liked him or not, he was as in as we were in. In fact, if you ask him to this day, he will tell you I am much more in than all the rest of them. He got up at my daddy's funeral and said, let's clear it up. I am the favorite child. And I sat there mad, but he was right.

We knew he was. It was clear as a parent. You know, don't fool with your parents.

As they get older, they care less. You know what I'm saying? My mama, the stuff we would never think about getting away.

Are you feeling me? The things we would never think about getting away with in her house. We watched this little dude. And you know, we would say things like, mom, you would have never let us do that. She said, well, times change. So James said, instead of living in arrogant presumption, realize that the most important thing is to do God's will. Get into a church where they can walk with you as you do God's will. Get under a pastor who can teach you what the Word says about doing his will. Get your life in order.

Get some accountability. Surround yourself finally with some people who love you enough to tell you the truth, please. Some of y'all got fans, not friends. Your fans can't help you. At this point, it's more and more critical for you to get life right.

So give people the chance to go from fan to friend. Take them deeper. Tell them to hold you accountable. Tell them to help watch for your soul.

Do what it takes to get your life in order. Stop trying to adjust and rationalize for sin. He says if you know to do it and you don't do it, he said that's sin. And so make sure that you are doing the will of God because it's the only thing that matters. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, If You Want to Make God Laugh. If you'd like more information about the Destined for Victory ministry or the DVD we're offering as our thank you for your generous gift this month, be sure to stop by our website, I want you to understand that what you do on earth matters to God in heaven.

It matters. If it's good, God takes note of it. If it is evil, God takes note of it. Nothing escapes God's notice and the Bible also tells us in no uncertain terms that we will all answer for our actions done in this body. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, A Word to the Wealthy. 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 / 2023-08-07 12:02:38 / 2023-08-07 12:11:45 / 9

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