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Taking Away Our Excuses

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2020 8:00 am

Taking Away Our Excuses

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 9, 2020 8:00 am

How God views and uses our weaknesses and the things about us that are unremarkable; what it means to "wait" on the Lord; based on the life of Gideon. (Included in the 8-part series "From Worrier to Warrior".)

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Music playing Your life in Christ is a journey. That's PastorPaul.net.

You can also listen to or subscribe to the Destined for Victory Podcast at TuneIn or wherever you go to get your podcasts. Now, let's join Pastor Paul for today's Destined for Victory message, Taking Away Our Excuses. I want us to continue to examine the story of the judge of Israel named Gideon. And we're examining his life story using it as a case study because the Bible is clear that things written before time are written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. And what that means is this story is there not just so we'll understand what happened in Gideon's life and time, it's there so that we can know how to apply God's truth, his eternal truth to our own lives.

We're looking at what it means to go, in Gideon's case, from worrier to warrior. And for all of us, God is taking us from where we are to somewhere he has destined for us to be. God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. You are called in Christ. You are called to be conformed to the image of God's Son.

God is up to something in your life. He wants to work in you, for you, through you to make a difference. And therefore, we are people who are called according to God's purpose. So we've got to learn how to live that life, the called life, the set apart life, the life that has God's hand upon it. And the first thing we saw in the opening installment in this series is that if you are going to journey from where you are to where God wants you to be, it requires taking to heart your calling.

We saw in the last message that the Lord called Gideon a warrior long before he was acting like a warrior. And God has called you and I some things. You can find out who you are. You can find out what your calling is when you get into the word of God. When you see the word of God, describe those of us who are the people of the Lord.

It's talking about you. And you will notice there are some things the Bible calls you that you might not yet be acting like. And all that means is you have a journey to take because God's not going to take back his calling on your life. And God refuses to call us what we act like. If the angel was going to call him what he act like, the angel would have showed up and said, the Lord is with you, you pitiful wimp. The Lord is with you, you sad excuse for a man of God. Look at you standing here in a wine press trying to thresh wheat.

You can't thresh wheat in a wine press. Notice none of that is in your Bible. The angel shows up and said, the Lord is with you mighty warrior.

What's he talking about? He's talking about a calling. God calls us first, then he transforms us into the calling.

So you've got to become familiar with your calling so you know where God's taking you. You've got to come to understand you might be acting like a worrier, but God's not going to leave you like a worrier. He's called you to be a warrior.

You might be acting like you're afraid, but God is going to make you fearless and teach you how to trust him. You might be acting like a victim, but God is going to call you a victor. In fact, he called you in the word. He said, you are victorious through Christ. In fact, he described you as more than a conqueror. So you may be acting like you're defeated.

You may feel defeated. You may have all the lifestyle, all of the disposition of one who lives a defeatist kind of life, but please know that God will not allow you to stay there. He has called you a conqueror, and when God gets through, you're going to be a conqueror.

So we have to take to heart our calling. And in fact, we saw that when Gideon complained to the Lord and said, if I'm a mighty warrior, if we are victorious people, why is all of this happening to us? If the Lord is with me, why is all of this happening to us?

He had a complaint to the angel, but notice he brought a complaint and he left with a job. He said, if the Lord is with us, why is all this happening? And where are all the miracles that I heard about? Our forefathers talked about the Red Sea parting and all this wonderful stuff.

I've never seen a miracle. And the angel responded by saying, that's because you're going to work one. Go in the strength you have and deliver God's people out of Gideon's hand. That all has to do with his calling, and we've got to take to heart our calling.

We've got to get serious about seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Don't accept your calling as being anything that comes from anyone other than God. If people try to tell you who you are, reject it out of hand. If the people close to you try to tell you who you are, reject it out of hand.

Whether they have good intentions or not is not the issue. The fact is no one has a right to define who you are but God. Because, you know, if you take your calling from people, people can be funny. People can be fickle. People can call you something wonderful one day. But all you got to do is work that wrong nerve.

And they'll call you something completely different the next day. So you and I have to learn the calling of God on our life is the only one that matters. You don't get to define me because you didn't make me. You didn't save me. You didn't forgive my sins.

You didn't set me on the course of destiny. You don't get to define me. If you call me something other than what God calls me, I'm going to say burnt, wrong answer. I am who God says I am. I can do what God says I can do. That's the way we've got to take seriously our calling. Take it to heart because God is up to something in your life. Now I want to move on and look at a second feature of the life that is in transition from where it is to where God wants it to be. First, it requires taking to heart our calling. But secondly, it requires taking away our excuses.

Taking away our excuses. I'm after some excuses in this message. I'm after some folk who got reasons why they're not going anywhere, not doing very much with their lives. I'm after some people who think God is going to listen to your sad story and say, okay, I won't bother with you.

I'll just let you sit there and pout and pack your bags by the door of your life and wait till I come get you and take you to heaven. I want to let you know God is interested in doing much more in our lives than that and therefore he is serious about us taking away our excuses. Now let's look at how this happened in Gideon's life. Gideon had this conversation. He asked the angel, but sir, if the Lord's with us, why has all this happened to us? And then down in verse 15 after the angel said, well, you're to go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Now verse 15 he says, but Lord, how can I save Israel?

My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family. Before I look at that particular excuse with you, I want you to notice Gideon's disposition, his propensity. It is always toward saying something other than what God says. So he was called a mighty warrior and he said, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Now he hears, go in the strength you have, save Israel out of Midian's hand, and what does he say? He says, but Lord, can I say to you that God wants you to get your butt out of the way? Now before you say I'm writing him an email soon as I get to my computer, soon as I get there, because I don't appreciate running into that kind of language when I go to church. I expect it out there, but then when I come to the house of the Lord, I don't expect anybody telling me to get my butt out of the way. Well, the problem is you're thinking about a butt other than the one I'm thinking about.

If you will notice, I pointed out to you two butts in the passage that are spelled B-U-T. You're thinking about one that has an extra T on it. So I suggest you deal with your issue. Don't put it on me.

You deal with your stuff. If that's pushing your button, that's probably something God wants to work through with you. So don't bother sending me an email.

I'm not reading it. You got to get your excuses out of the way. When God makes a statement, don't answer him with a question and don't answer him with a reason why what he said is not legitimate. Let God be true if it makes a liar out of all of us. That's the way to grow. That's the way to become the person God wants us to be. That's the way to get from here to where God has destined us to be.

And you've got to take the responsibility to not only take to heart your calling, but to take away your excuses. Stay with us. We're only about halfway through today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd. We want to thank all of you whose prayers and financial support helped Pastor Paul share the gospel all over the world. And as we find ourselves living in this period of uncertainty, your support is even more critical today because in times of crisis, people are looking for a reason to have hope.

Well, Jesus is that hope. So please prayerfully consider making a gift at Destined for Victory today. Give online safely and securely from our website, pastorpaul.net. Or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, our number is 855-339-5500. When you give, we have a gift of our own to share with you. I'll tell you all about it after today's message. Now let's go to Pastor Paul again for the rest of the message, Taking Away Our Excuses. Look at this excuse he gives when he is told he has given an assignment. He is told you are to save Israel out of Midian's hand. And he says, but Lord, how can I possibly do that?

And look at his excuse. He says, after all, I'm from Manasseh, which is not a particularly strong tribe in this time in terms of its numbers, not particularly strong in number. And then he says, I am in the worst clan, the weakest clan in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

Now understand what he's talking about. Of course, you know there were the 12 tribes of Israel. Tribes were divided into clans, which are clusters of extended families, clans of people.

And then there were families within that made up the clans. He is saying, I'm in Manasseh, not particularly strong in number. I am in the weakest clan in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. He's saying, I'm in a not so great tribe.

I am in the worst clan in the not so great tribe, and I am the least in my family in the clan that's in the not so great tribe. He is saying, I'm in the worst division in the league. I'm on the last place team in the worst division in the league, and I ride the bench on the last place team in the worst division in the league. He said, I'm not in a great division to begin with. My team's in the last place, and I don't even get to play for them. You know, you're pretty bad when you can't even play for a bad team.

He said, I'm on the bench. Now I'm the guy waving the towel. That's how I make my money.

I'm waving the towel, and when they come in for time out, I'm giving them the water and the Gatorade and the towel and patting them and saying, good job, while they lose. That's who Gideon sees himself as. Now do you know I'm not preaching this because of Gideon? I'm preaching this because you and I have got to look and say, Lord, where am I in this story? What excuses do I have? What am I giving you as a reason why I cannot live a better life than I'm living? What am I giving you as the reasons why I'm in the state of mind, I'm in the state of heart, I'm in the state of lifestyle, why I'm in the wrong relationship, why I'm in the wrong mindset, why I don't think anything good is going to come out of my bad situation?

Why am I where I am? This is for self-examination, not for Gideon examination. We've got to look at ourselves and say, what are the excuses that I keep handing God and I'm wondering why he won't accept them? Why won't God sign off when I come to the door and try to hand him the package of my excuses and I'm expecting him to sign because he can't take the package without signing and he refuses to take it?

This story is here to let you know that what happened with Gideon is also going to happen in your life and in mine. He says, I can't do it because I am in a weak tribe, I'm in the weakest clan in the tribe, I'm the least in my family. In other words, he is saying, I am unqualified. I can't do what you're asking me to do. What he doesn't realize is that the very thing that he thinks makes him unqualified is in fact what makes him qualified in the sight of God.

Now think this through with me. He feels completely unqualified. I'm not much. I come from a long line of not much people. There's no one remarkable in my family, in my clan. My tribe isn't that great right now. We don't have a whole lot of strong fighting men and warriors. I don't come from a long line of successful warriors and so I don't understand how you could possibly say, I am supposed to save Israel out of Midian's hand. You need to go find yourself someone strong, someone capable, someone who has experience and weaponry and somebody who can get this job done.

I'm not your guy. What he doesn't realize is the fact that he knows what he can't do, the fact that he is in touch with his incapabilities, the fact that he is aware of his weakness is exactly why God wants to use him. And as it is with him, so it is with you and I. It is when we are most aware of our incapabilities, when we are most aware of our weaknesses, when we are most aware of our propensities to do wrong and to not measure up and all of that, that is when we are in the position for God to do a mighty work in us, for us, and through us. What he is about to learn is a principle that I want to call the power of weakness. We've got to understand that in the economy of God, there is great power in our weakness because it is when we become aware of weakness that we can finally tap in to divine strength. It is the person who thinks he or she can get the job done, can make their life the way it ought to be. It is the person who is completely satisfied with who they are and what they do and how they live.

That is a person who God cannot use in significant ways and who cannot grow in the ways God has ordained because until you get you out of the way, you can never bring the power of God into your situation. And some of us, the biggest problem we have is what we see in the mirror. We still think, some of us still don't get it. Some of us still aren't in touch with what we are not capable of doing.

We're still not in touch with our weakness. We're still not in touch with the fact that we cannot accomplish the will of God in the power of who we are. And Gideon is going to learn in this story that what he thinks disqualifies him and what he's trying to use as an excuse is really God's opportunity to use him in a mighty way.

The principle is the power of weakness. If you want to see that principle in the New Testament, you need only go to 2 Corinthians chapter 12 where the apostle Paul is talking about something that's going on in his life. And he says in 2 Corinthians 12 verse 7, To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me.

Now Paul's right there. What he's talking about to make sure we're all on the same page is Paul is saying, in fact he said earlier in 2 Corinthians 12, he talked about the wonderful things God was doing in his life. He said the Lord gave me some wonderful revelations, so fantastic that it's not even lawful for me to share with you what God revealed to me. He said the Lord caught me away into the third heaven.

I left my body, I left this earth realm and the Lord showed me some things and gave me some revelation and I can't even explain it to you. He said God did some thrilling things, gave me some surpassingly great revelation, but he said in order to keep me from becoming conceited, God has allowed my life to be balanced out by what he describes as a thorn in the flesh. And he identifies it as a messenger of Satan to buffet him and whereas normally he would have wanted God to deliver him and to set him free from whatever this tormenting spirit was able to do, to buffet him and to always be on his trail and always bothering his life, he said I sought the Lord that he would take it from me, that he would deliver me from this influence in and around my life. And he says, verse 9, But the Lord said to me, My grace is sufficient for you.

Now here's what I want you to see. For my power is made perfect in weakness. The Lord said to him, Because I gave you the revelation I gave you, I have suffered it so that this tormenting spirit that is constantly buffeting you, I will not dismiss it from your life. Instead, I'm going to give you a grace that is sufficient so that, why? Because grace will always remind him that his help is coming from the Lord.

You know, God has plans for you that you can't get done alone. They are achieved only in tandem with him and in partnership with other believers in Christ. Now there's no better time than now to help lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in times of chaos when people are often more willing to embrace the cross. And as we walk together through a season of uncertainty, let us be a safe place for the lost to land.

Let's choose to love them into the kingdom the way God has loved us. One of the best ways you can do that is by becoming one of our Destined for Victory partners, a group of people who give at least $20 a month to keep these radio and internet messages airing the whole year through. As our way of saying thanks for your partnership, we'll send you a few thank you gifts, including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs, The Best of Let My People Smile. So call 855-339-5500 to find out more about how to become a Destined for Victory partner. Or mail your gift letting us know you wish to become a partner.

The address is Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. You can also become our partner from our website, pastorpaul.net. But if you can't become a Destined for Victory partner but would like to make a generous donation today, we'd love to send you Pastor Paul Shepherd's booklet, Little is Much When God is in It, a great resource that reminds all of us that God can do great things in our lives and through our lives despite what we lack.

Again, the booklet is called Little is Much When God is in It, and it's our gift to you by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. They that wait upon the Lord are those who have finally come to figure out I can't make it without Him. That that's not just some little cute sounding statement, that is the reality of my life. That I need Him desperately. That I need Him every day. That I need Him every moment of every day. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Taking Away Our Excuses. 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 / 2024-02-05 15:38:23 / 2024-02-05 15:47:17 / 9

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