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It's a Wonderful Life, Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2020 7:00 am

It's a Wonderful Life, Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 17, 2020 7:00 am

Practical lessons and insights drawn from Luke chapter 1.

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It's not easy being patient, but according to 1 Corinthians 13, that's the first thing love should be. Coming your way next, Pastor Paul Shepherd's Destined for Victory message. It's a wonderful life.

But first, he joins me from his studio in California. Well, Pastor, this Christmas season is a busy time for all of us, but you have to remember it's an important time for Destined for Victory, a time when we ask people to stand with us financially. Well, Pastor, why is it so important we hear from listeners this month?

Well, it's because practical Bible teaching has always been important in the life of the church universal. But here in the 21st century, it is more critical than ever that we hear clear, sound, engaging biblical truth. Today, there are seven generations alive in America, and they range all the way from the greatest generation, which are those persons born in 1927 or earlier, all the way to the current and still developing generation. Social scientists have named it Generation Alpha. These are the kids being born from 2016 to the present.

My first grandchild was born just in May of 2020, and so he's an Alpha. And every one of the seven generations alive today need the gospel preached plainly, preached soundly, and preached in a way that helps us engage with the issues of today. I want to keep doing that, and I can only do it because of the faithful and generous gifts of our listeners.

I'm so grateful for those that do it. We need many more to join us, because like never before, we need to let these generations know that we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is singularly the power of God unto salvation. You know, it takes a lot of prayer and financial support to share the gospel with every nation on earth.

It always has. Even in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to finance the advancement of the gospel. We're so grateful for you, our listeners, for all you're doing to share the good news through the Destined for Victory broadcast. And your help is especially critical now as we continue to walk through a season of uncertainty, a time when many people are looking for answers that only God can give. As our way of saying thanks for your very best gift this month, we'll send you Pastor Paul's DVD message, Refocus. He put this sermon together to help you work through the challenges that have been born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you follow along, he'll give you three practical steps as to how you need to address the events of this year and move ahead into 2021 with your faith intact, knowing that God is moving you ever closer to your destiny in Christ. Again, this DVD message is called Refocus, and it's our gift to you by request for your most generous gift to Destined for Victory in December. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone, or mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538.

You can also make a safe and secure donation from our website, PastorPaul.net. Music But never say God is late, because when God shows up, he's always on time. It's late to you because you don't have the schedule. It's late to you because you were asking and you were expecting the prayer to be answered way back then.

How many know, like the old song says, he may not come when you want him, but he's always on time when he shows up. You may already be familiar with the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth. For years, they prayed to have a child, but it was decades later before an angel of the Lord showed up to tell them the good news.

Their story continues next. Here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, It's a Wonderful Life. Music Go with me to Luke chapter 1, Luke's gospel chapter 1, as I continue the message I began a couple of weeks ago.

Now, by way of brief review, I made a couple of points. The first was that living right is important, but it doesn't guarantee you an idyllic life. And it's important for us to understand as we walk with the Lord that you have not been guaranteed an idyllic life here on earth. There's some really bad preaching in some circles in the church these days. And I, as a teacher and pastor, am committed to rightly dividing the word of truth and helping people understand how to live according to it.

And your mind needs to be renewed by the word. And there are some folks out here preaching candy store theology and making you feel like if you get saved, everything's going to go wonderful and life is going to be marvelous all the time. That is not true. It's just not true. You can have a wonderful life.

I believe in Christ. There is a wonderful life for all of us once we understand how to walk with God. But a wonderful life and an idyllic life are two different things. Life on earth will never be ideal. You want an ideal world?

You know, you got to move to another one. It's called heaven. That's where no more crying, no more dying, no more sickness, no more problems, no more enemies, all of that. That's why I'm looking forward to heaven because it's going to be wonderful. But in this world, you can have a wonderful life, but don't think it'll be ideal.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will bring you through them if you walk with him. And so I need you to understand that even in the movie, one of my favorite holiday movies, Christmas movies, of course, is It's a Wonderful Life. Great movie, but never mix up your movie-ology and your theology.

They're two different things. In the movie, for instance, God in answer to George Bailey's prayer. You remember the character George Bailey? In his prayer, he's going through a tough time, they lost money, and he's about to go to jail and all that stuff, and he's had a tough run of it. And on a bridge contemplating two suicides, he prays, and the Lord in the movie sends him a guardian angel. And the guardian angel helps him to see through a series of events in the movie that he really did have a wonderful life. And I love that.

But don't get your movie-ology mixed up. Clarence the angel used to be a human being on earth. That's not biblical.

Amen. There are angels, and we do have angel visitations in this world sometimes. The Bible says be careful how you entertain strangers because you may be entertaining an angel and not be aware of it.

Did you know that? That's in your Bible. So don't just treat folk any old kind of way because you don't want him flying back to heaven talking about she was tripping. But the fact of the matter is while the Bible tells us there are definitely ministering angels is what the Bible refers to them, not guardian angels as in the movie, but ministering angels, and they minister to our needs sometimes, but they never been here before as humans. And when somebody dies, they'll say, nah, they're an angel.

No, they're not. To be absent from the bodies and be present with the Lord, but you're not present with the Lord as an angelic being. Angels were created angels.

Amen. Got to get your biblical understanding where it needs to be. They were created to minister in the presence of God through their worship and through their praise. But there are those that will assist human beings and they will help you live the wonderful life that we have in Christ, although not the idealic life.

So I talked about that. And then the second point I made was that prayer invites God to invade our lives in supernatural ways. That's one of the reasons that makes it wonderful to live for the Lord because I have the tool and the power of prayer.

And let me tell you something, prayer changes things. God hears the prayers of the righteous. God hears the prayers of his people. His ear is open to our cry, the Bible says. And it makes a difference when we call upon the Lord in the name of Jesus.

It makes a difference. And so you need to know that it is wonderful because when you need him, you can go to God in prayer. And God will intervene and God will move on your behalf as a result of your praying in faith. And so we must learn to be people who walk by faith, who live in faith.

And I want to pick it up and talk more about that in this part of the series. So I want you to skip down to verse 18 of Luke 1. Here's what you'll see. And this will help me introduce the third point I want to make. Verse 18, and Zacharias said to the angel, how shall I know this, for I am an old man and my wife is well advanced in years. NIV puts his question this way, how can I be sure of this? Now, this brings me to a place where I need to make a third point and help you understand a key principle. Point three, faith calls us to focus on what God says, not on how things seem. Now, go back to the context of the passage. Here Zacharias the priest and his wife Elizabeth, we know that they're righteous, they've walked before the Lord, but they are barren. And in that day, it's a disgrace for a married woman to be barren, to be unable to give her husband a child, especially a son was their desire, because the son would take the family name and the family enterprise into the next generation. And so here they are barren and they're old, well advanced in years, but the angel has come and said, the Lord sent me to tell you that you're going to have a child. He's going to answer your prayer. Now the fact is they haven't prayed this prayer for decades.

When they were a younger couple, obviously, they asked the Lord for a child and she didn't get pregnant in those years. Now they're old and here comes the angel all late. In our minds, we think it's late, but never say God is late, because when God shows up, he's always on time.

It's late to you because you don't have the schedule. It's late to you because you were asking and you were expecting the prayer to be answered way back then. How many know, like the old song says, he may not come when you want him, but he's always on time when he shows up. And so they prayed that prayer years, decades ago. Now here comes the answer, and when the answer comes, we just read it, Zacharias says, how can I know this?

How can I be sure that this is going to happen? Now please understand that faith is something by which we focus on what God says rather than on how it seems. And if you're going to walk by faith, what is faith? Hebrews 11, 1 tells you, faith is being sure of what you hope for, certain of what you cannot see. Or here's the way old King James puts it, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith then is substance and evidence. Faith is not, a lot of folks say, faith is a leap in the dark. No, God never called you to leap in the dark. Faith is a walk in the light, but the light is what he said.

The light is not what you think or how you feel or how you can perceive things are going to happen. Faith says, I believe it because God said it. You know, some folks say, God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Well, correct that. God said it, that settles it.

Whether you believe it is up to you. 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. If you love listening to this program, we know you'll love watching Pastor Paul on his YouTube channel.

Be sure to subscribe to watch some of his best video clips. And for links to all of Pastor Paul's social media, be sure to visit pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net, where you can listen on demand to recent messages or find a variety of resources in our online store. Now, here is Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message, It's a Wonderful Life. If you don't believe God, you won't see some things come to pass, not because it wasn't available to you, but because you didn't grab it in faith. That's why Hebrews 11, 6 says, without faith it's impossible to please God. Then it says, he that comes to God must first believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

And if you will seek God, my brothers, my sisters, you will experience God moving in a wonderful way. So faith calls us to focus on what God says, not on how things seem. One of the biggest problems we have is when we put our thimble full of brains in God's supernatural business.

When you start saying, well, see, I don't understand, there's your problem. If you limit your life's experience to what you can understand, you will never live a supernatural life because you can't understand the supernatural. You can't discern how things can go against logic, against what is normal and experience breakthroughs because you need it to line up in a way that you can comprehend it.

Here's the way it's put in Ephesians 3.20. God is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above what? All that we can ask or think or imagine. So when you get through with your imagination, God hasn't even begun to show you who he is. I don't know about you, I have a great imagination.

Oh, I can think up some things. And the Bible says God is able to go far beyond what I can even imagine. So then the faith is the currency by which we experience the supernatural. Just like money is important in this world, faith is important in the supernatural world. And faith is not based on leaping in the dark. Faith is based on taking God at his word. If God said it, that settles it. I unite my faith to that promise and I wait to see God bring it to pass.

Now look at this. Here is a priest. Here's a man of God. He'd been serving the Lord. The Bible says he's righteous. But when he gets this word that's hard to perceive, he asks the question, how can I know this?

How can I be sure of this? I love the answer. Look at verse 19. The angel said, I'm Gabriel.

I love that, man. Now, maybe Gabriel didn't say it with attitude, but when I read it, I build the attitude in. Because if I had been Gabriel, that's what I'd have done.

I'd have probably had my hands up like this. I say, I'm Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. That's my job. I'm standing in God's presence waiting for him to tell me what to do next.

That's my job. And he sent me to speak to you and to bring you glad tidings. I just came from his presence.

I flew down here. I love the Bible, man. I'm here because he sent me to tell you you're going to have a child and you're standing here talking about how can you be sure. Gabriel had me, man, these people, boy. I'm going back to heaven where folk just believe what God said. Down here, they got to think it up. So I want you to understand your faith can't be focused on what things seem like to you.

It has to be focused on what God said. I've told you before. One of the things I love to do is fly with my friends who fly. I have a couple of friends who have planes and they fly. Pastor John Jenkins is one of them. At least once a year, I am in his plane with him flying somewhere.

It really never matters to me where we're going. Often it's one of his speaking engagements. Some months ago, he and I both had to speak at the same conference. So instead of flying to the city where the conference was, I flew to Baltimore, Washington International Airport and his plane is in a hangar. And we got in his plane and flew together to the city where the conference was and we both ministered. And I love it because I've learned so much about living by faith just flying in the plane with him. Now let me explain that. It's because truth runs parallel.

When you see a truth in one arena, there's a parallel truth in other arenas that will help you understand it. So when you see a truth like faith that is based on what God says, not on what you see, I have had that confirmed flying with him because he doesn't just have a pilot's license. He has a second level of a license that if you're going to be a pilot, don't just get a pilot's license. When you get a pilot's license, that means you are approved to fly in the daytime when there are no clouds that you'll have to fly through and you can fly at night, but only when there are no clouds you have to fly through so that you have a clear sense of the terrain below you. That's the only way a regular licensed pilot can fly. No clouds, nothing obscuring view. You can fly, but everything's got to be right. How many know everything's not always going to be right in the world?

You're always going to have cloudy circumstances. And so I learned this principle of faith flying with him because he has the second level. The second level is what they call the instrument rating. You know what that means? That means you not only can fly the plane when it's clear weather, you can fly the plane anytime, anywhere because you've learned how to fly purely based on the instruments in the cockpit. The instruments tell you everything you need to know from takeoff to landing.

Isn't that something? And I was amazed when I learned that principle. One time we were flying and we're descending into the airport and it was one of those heavily overcast days. I was looking out the cockpit window and we couldn't see a thing. And yet we're descending. He's talking to the tower and I have my headset on and he's telling us, descend to this altitude and now make this turn a certain number of degrees. He's just turning and we're descending but we're not seeing.

And he's turning and descending, I'm looking. And we don't see anything and I'm hearing the guy. And Jenkins is talking just as comfortable to him and repeating what is to make sure they're communicating well.

And Jenkins not upset, not worried at all, doesn't see a thing. But he's just doing what he's being told to do, looking at the instrument and listening to the tower. You getting the spiritual revelation out of this? The Word is your instrument and the tower is the Holy Spirit. And you've got to learn to listen to the Spirit and watch the instruments.

And so he's doing that, talking and we're going and what have you. At a certain point I dropped out of the kind of talking we do during the flight where we're just being boys and hanging out. I didn't want a fellowship at that moment. It's not fellowship time. We need to land this plane and I don't see anything.

He was not worried one bit. We're just going down and what have you. And I looked at one of the instruments and there was a line and he said that's the runway we're going to land on. And all it was was a line. And then they had this icon representing the plane and I saw where we were turning around and the lines up there and the tower tell him to make another certain degrees of turn and then finally we were lined up.

He said the runway is right straight ahead. I said well I would love to see it. It'd be wonderful if I could see it. And we're going down.

I can feel us going. I'm looking at an instrument that tells us the altitude and we're down under 8,000 feet. Don't see anything. 7,000 feet. Don't see anything.

6,000 feet. Don't see anything. And I'm wondering should I start praying interceding? You know why I didn't have to worry about it? Because everything was right the way it was supposed to be.

And I don't remember at what altitude but it was a fairly low altitude when we finally broke through that cloud cover and there was the runway right in front of us. And he said you see it now? I said thank you Jesus.

Are you going through a challenge today? Learn to focus on what God says, not on how things seem. Every promise he makes is a promise he keeps. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, It's a Wonderful Life. For more information about Destined for Victory or how you can request a special DVD message from Pastor Paul, be sure to visit our website, pastorpaul.net.

That's pastorpaul.net. I'm poised to be the heir apparent. If my dad decides to retire, they want me to be the pastor in Philly. Everything is good in Philly. Now I'm going to California.

I didn't know what I was getting myself into. But God had said go west young man, go west. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, It's a Wonderful Life. 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 / 2024-01-14 09:03:01 / 2024-01-14 09:12:15 / 9

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