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Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 4

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2021 7:00 am

Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 4

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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February 9, 2021 7:00 am

An insightful series of messages on practical ways to build a faith-driven life; learning from key Old Testament patriarchs what it means to live by faith; based on Hebrews 11.

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Hello and welcome to this Tuesday edition of Destined for Victory.

Thanks so much for stopping by. In just a few moments, Pastor Paul Shepherd will share his message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. But first, he and I have something else to tell you about. You know, every day here on Destined for Victory, we ask people to stand with us financially. That's because we're a listener-supported ministry.

Let me underscore that for just a moment. And in 2021, our prayers that you might consider, if you haven't done so already, becoming a Destined for Victory partner. Partners are a special group of people that give a monthly gift of at least $20.

If you can make that commitment today, we have some special gifts that I'll tell you about in just a moment. But Pastor Paul joins me right now. And Pastor, take a moment and tell us why partners are so important to this ministry.

Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up, Wayne. Partners are really the lifeline of this ministry. Without those people committed to giving regularly, we literally could not continue doing what we're doing.

I guess people hear that a lot, but it is really true. Without partners, we simply can't get the gospel out to the world. The gospel is free, but the plumbing costs an awful lot of money, and we want to continue preaching. As I've said in times past, we've got generations to reach that have never heard the gospel, and they misunderstand when they hear people talk about things like serving the Lord.

And we need to make it plain to them. The only way I can do it is with my partners helping us reach them through their generous gifts. I'm so grateful for every single partner, and I'm praying in 2021 that God will give us thousands more. There are many more outlets and many more opportunities we could take advantage of in our ministry, but the only thing that holds us back is lack of income. So I'm praying that God's going to touch the heart of many more people to realize that with just your gift of $20 or more, you can help us remain strong on the stations and outlets we're on and reach many more with the gospel of Jesus Christ. All right, thanks, Pastor. That's what it's all about, reaching more people with the gospel. If you make that commitment by pledging $20 or more per month to help us do that, we'll send you, with our thanks, a couple of great gifts, including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs, The Best of Let My People Smile. It's a compilation of some of Pastor's most humorous illustrations and stories, something that will be sure to make you laugh and learn at the same time. Call 855-339-5500 or mail your gift, letting us know you wish to become a partner.

The address is Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. You can also sign up by clicking Become a Partner right at the top of the homepage at And if you're already a partner, Pastor Paul and I want to say heartfelt thank you and challenge you to consider becoming a legacy partner.

These are special ministry friends that are able to support us with gifts of $2,500 or more each year. The details are available at the website or by calling 855-339-5500. Anybody ever experienced that syndrome of there's something I believe that God had for me, but looking at where I am now, it seems like I am no longer eligible for God's promise to come to pass in my life.

If you've ever been there, this message is for you. If you've ever thought it was too late for God to use you the way you always thought he would, you want to stick around for today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd. The God who knows the end from the beginning has always known the exact day, the exact second that you would respond to his calling and he knew in advance the mistakes you would make along the way. This is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament and one of the best reminders that it's never too late for God to be right on time. Here's Pastor Paul Shepherd for his message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. Hebrews 11 verses 11 and 12. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren, was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

And so from this one man and he as good as dead came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. Now we've been looking at the characters mentioned here in Hebrews chapter 11, knowing that there are lessons each of them can teach us about the faith lifestyle. And we're currently looking at Abraham and I want to resume making the previous point and that point is developing a lifestyle of faith means seeing our problems through the lens of God's promise. Now I want you to look at verse 11 and I want you to notice that the writer to the Hebrews is clear in mentioning that Abraham had received a promise that he would have many descendants but the writer says that he was past age. What do you do when you have a future promise but you feel like and every indication is you are past the point when that promise could be fulfilled? Anybody ever experienced that syndrome of there's something I believe that God had for me but looking at where I am now, it seems like I am no longer eligible for God's promise to come to pass in my life. If you've ever been there, this message is for you because I need you to understand something that this difficult situation where Abraham found himself is exactly where God wanted him to be. Let me unpack that concept for you.

Here's a takeaway point. Jot these two sentences down. Sometimes God creates our difficult situations for his glory.

Jot that down. Sometimes God creates our difficult situations for his glory. And then the next sentence I want you to put at other times he uses the difficult situations we create.

Now, let's look at those two sentences for a while. The first is sometimes God intentionally, to use the context here of Abraham, God intentionally waits until you are past the age, past the point where you would feel like God could bring the promise to pass in your life. Hebrews writer says he is past age.

What does that mean? That means if you are a man and you're going to father your first child, he didn't have a child in his 30s, he didn't father a child in his 40s, he didn't father a child in his 50s or his 60s or his 70s. When God first spoke to him, he was in his mid 80s. He was 86. Now, that's not impossible for an 86-year-old man to father a child, but it is a difficult situation.

All right, are we all there? That's a difficult situation. It's not impossible, even in today. It's not impossible, but it is not easy.

It is difficult. Now, you might think, well, if God wanted to make him the father of many nations as he ended up promising him, then why in the world would God wait until the man was in his mid 80s to even say anything about it? What's up with that God? Well, God likes doing stuff like that because he wants us and he wants the world we ought to proclaim him to, to know that he is the God who is more than enough, who is more than able, who is more than powerful, who is more than capable of doing whatever he and his sovereignty chooses to do. God wants the world to know that he is an exceptional God. So, he likes to use us to make the point to the world and the way he often uses us is he will put us not in an easy, comfortable situation, he will put us in a difficult situation.

Anybody ever had God put you in a difficult situation? You felt like, Lord, I was serving you. You could have made me the father of these nations when I was in my 30s. I was serving you then. He said, I know you were serving me, but no, that was too easy. I was ready to go in my 40s.

Yeah, but that's too easy. So, here you are in your 80s and God says, oh, by the way, I want you to go outside and look up at the sky. It was a starry night and he said, count the stars and he said, that's how many descendants I'm going to give you, Abraham.

And he's talking to a man in his mid-80s. He likes that. He likes making it difficult. He likes telling the Gideon, I'm going to make you the captain of an army even though you don't have any leadership training. No leadership training at all. Never went to ROTC. Never read a John Maxwell book. He is not qualified to lead anything.

His family doesn't even think he has leadership potential. His own testimony was, I'm the least in my family. And yet, God said, oh, good, you're the guy I'm going to use. He takes a difficult situation, an unqualified man, makes him a leader, and then when he finally goes through all the other changes, you know the story, and finally it's time now to fight the enemy. And the enemy are down there and the Bible says that it's over 140,000 of them.

Said they covered, when they looked down and saw them, you couldn't even see anything but people, just a sea of people. And he said, I'm going to use you to defeat them, although you feel unqualified. All right, go get an army. Gideon said, fine, I'm going to get an army. And he goes out and he recruits 32,000 people.

Now, that's impressive when you've never taken any leadership training. You go out and round up 32,000. That's good. Now, there's still, at 32,000, they're more than four to one outnumbered.

But at least he got his 32,000. I'm impressed. He brings them back to God and says, all right, Lord, tell me what to do with them.

Let's go. God said, send them home. See, I told you he's the God of a difficult situation.

Four to one odds are bad odds, but it's not impossible. And God said, I can't work with that. Because if I use these people, especially those folk you got, they are so clueless, they will actually think they did it.

So I can't use them. He said, tell all of them who really aren't feeling this, who really don't want to be here, tell them, I said, today is honorable discharge day. They can go on home. Long story short, Gideon stuck with 10,000.

They're now outnumbered more than 14 to one. And Gideon is starting to get depressed. And God said, don't bother getting depressed yet, because I still have one more thing to tell you. You got too many people.

You know the story. When God got through dividing, Gideon is stuck with 300 people, H-U-N-I-D, 300 of them. When Gideon was getting depressed saying, God, you play too much, God was smiling, because he knew that he had personally created this difficult situation for his glory. And God does that in our lives sometimes. God does that in our lives sometimes. He'll create a difficult situation so that when he supernaturally brings us through, as we learn to walk by faith, and that's what this series is all about, learning what it is to develop a lifestyle of faith, what you will discover is your difficult situations, you have no business frowning and being depressed about them. You have to learn how to start smiling saying, God is up to something here. This is so bad that this has to be a God setup. Things are going so wrong that God must have some plan to get a whole lot of glory out of this.

And the second sentence, at other times, he uses the difficult situations we create. That's what I love about God. I love that God knows who you and I are before he ever calls us.

And he knows that one of our special gifts is creating difficult situations for ourselves. 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 hearing Pastor Paul in this program, we know you'll enjoy seeing his best video clips on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe today.

You can visit for more details and links to all of his social media sites. Well, with apologies to the late Flip Wilson, the devil didn't make you do it. The good news is you are loved beyond your failures and you are loved beyond your past.

Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, developing a lifestyle of faith. Are there any folk in here who are honest enough with God, with yourself and with me in this moment to say, yes, I know exactly what you're talking about, because I have always done what I was supposed to do. I haven't always made smart decisions.

I haven't always thought clearly. I haven't always said yes to the Lord. I haven't always put myself in a position to be blessed. There have been times when I have worked overtime to make God scratch his head if he could and look at me and say, what is the matter with you?

Must be on crack or something. There are times there's no need to blame it on God. In fact, there's no need to blame it on the devil because he can't make you do anything.

He can tempt you and suggest and entice, but you and I have to say, you know what, devil, you got a point there. There are some things you can't blame on God, you can't blame on the devil. You try, but you can't blame it on other people. I said you can't blame it on other people because at the end of the day, they don't control your destiny.

God is in control of your destiny, so you can't even blame it on other folk. You cannot be like that man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus walks up to him, says, you want to get well?

And instead of saying, oh, yes, he said, well, see what had happened? Every time I try to get in the pool, these people know I've been here 38 years. I've got seniority at this pool. Ain't nobody been here long as I've been here.

And every time I try to get into the pool, somebody beats me. That wasn't even the question. The question required a yes or no answer, but you and I have a way of turning a yes and no question into fill in the blanks. And sometimes we create our own situations. In fact, Abraham and Sarah, who the writer's talking about in this portion of Hebrews 11, both sentences apply to them in the same situation. God put them in the difficulty of not speaking about their child until he was in his 80s and Sarah was in her 70s. And then they created their own difficult situations because they responded to what God said incorrectly. God said, I'm going to give you descendants, and when Abraham told Sarah, she said, well, he must not be talking about me.

He can't be talking about me, so I tell you what, so that you and God can get this thing done that you said he said to you. I'm going to give you Hagar as your wife for the purpose of bearing children in those days and polygamy and all that stuff that was not God's perfect will. Their culture saw that if you had a servant in your home and you made her a wife for the purpose of bearing children when you were barren, that you would actually take the credit for the child. She was, for all practical purposes, a surrogate for you.

That's the mindset. She's a surrogate, but it's really my child. It's my descendant. I go down on record as she having birthed a child for me from my household. So Sarah thinks she's got it all figured out. And in doing that, they created their own difficult situation.

Why? Because that was not the child God had promised. God allowed the child to come, but he hadn't promised that.

You and I have a bunch of Ishmaels in our lives, things that we did. It wasn't God's will. It wasn't God's purpose, but we did it anyhow. And what made this difficult is, so now they got this boy that they're raising in their home, but it's not the child God promised them. And what did God do? God let them just raise him for 13 years before he said anything else. The problem with you and I making Ishmaels is not that God doesn't love you, God doesn't love your Ishmael, God doesn't forgive you and restore you.

It's not that problem. The problem with making Ishmaels is you have to raise them. Meaning you have to live with the consequences of your choices and your decisions, even when they were ill-advised or not lined up with the will of God. So God just gave them a little time to raise the boy. And for 13 years, God said nothing. Ishmaels born when Abraham is 86.

Now, next thing you see, God speaks up when Abraham is 99. I came to tell somebody who thinks your past time or you made too many mistakes that God's promise is still sitting there waiting to be claimed. He never made you a promise.

And he said, well, you know, you were supposed to do that by 1997. And so I'm sorry, but the promise expired. The promises of God never expire. God doesn't live in time. God is not subject to time.

God doesn't care what time it is. When he gives you a promise, you can take it to the bank. And I suggest you get to the bank sooner rather than later because if you mess around, you'll be 99 years old, haven't yet claimed your promise. So he speaks up later on, and he says to them, now, if you're ready, we're going to have this baby. By this time, Sarah's laughing.

Read Genesis when you get a chance. The angel came and restated the promise from 13 years ago, and the angel standing outside with Abraham, Sarah was at the door listening, and she laughed. And the angel said, why is she laughing?

Sarah got scared because Sarah said, I ain't laughing. And the angel said, yes, you did. You laughed, but God's going to make it happen anyhow. I came to tell somebody, God's getting ready to make you laugh because you think you've passed the time and you think you made too many mistakes, but this isn't about time and this isn't about perfection. This is about God's glory, and God said, I took all that into account in eternity past, and none of that is going to negate my promise to you.

If I said it, I'm going to bring it to pass. God creates some difficulties, and he knows we're going to create some difficulties, but at the end of the day, he makes sure that he's the one who walks away with the glory. So you've got to understand that developing a lifestyle of faith means you have to learn to stop focusing so much on your problem and focus on the promise. So quit trying to figure out how God's going to be supernatural. You'll never figure that out. Well, this is impossible. That's what supernatural means. It's not subject to possibilities as we define them. God can do whatever he wants to do. You're living on a planet that God created by a spoken word. Let there be, and there was. And everything God wants to do, he has the capability. God has never been subject to Webster's dictionary.

So you might as well quit defining what impossible is because it doesn't matter to God. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message. Developing a lifestyle of faith.

That's all the time we have today. But remember, when you make a generous donation to Destined for Victory today, we'll be glad to send you, by request, Pastor Paul's booklet, Lessons from the Cocoon. You can get more details and give right now at Once again, that's Make yourself comfortable for the years you're going to be here, but don't make yourself so comfortable that you don't do God's will and learn how to walk and develop a lifestyle of faith. Because at the end of the day, it is about his will, and soon we're all going home. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. 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 / 2023-12-26 11:25:49 / 2023-12-26 11:34:38 / 9

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