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Stay Positive! Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2021 8:00 am

Stay Positive! Part 2

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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August 9, 2021 8:00 am

How Paul maintained a positive attitude despite the opposition and abuse he experienced in Corinth; the importance of responding to God’s promises with positivity and faith; based on Acts 18:1-11. (Included in the 6-part series Making Your Vision a Reality.)

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I came to tell somebody stay positive. You may have humiliated yourself.

You may have messed yourself up. Stay positive because God doesn't think like we think. His ways are not our ways.

Even when he rebukes you, it is redemptive. Hello and welcome to this Monday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Thanks for making this part of your day. Well, he spent his last dime on a harlot and a bottle of booze. He brought shame and humiliation to himself and his family.

But when he finally went home, his reception was the last thing he'd ever expected. On today's broadcast, a familiar story and a beautiful reminder, whatever you've done, whoever you are, nothing can separate you from the love of your Heavenly Father. Stay with us here or download the podcast on demand at pastorpaul.net, at Spotify, or wherever you enjoy your podcasts.

Now, with this message, stay positive. Here's Pastor Paul Shepherd. The church loves our status. God loves us. I found out one day that the Lord loved me more than he loved my reputation. And he was willing to sacrifice my reputation. When I surrendered, when I repented and surrendered fully to him, and I laid myself bare before him, and I went to the place where the Bible says humble yourself under the almighty hand of God.

And in due season, he'll lift you up. The Lord made me surrender my reputation, he said, because you didn't give it to you in the first place. Yes, I blessed you and I blessed you with gifts that caused you to have a great reputation among men, he said, but now that you're in a season where you don't feel like you have anything that you can offer. He said, I'm the God who knows if I gave it to you the first time, I can give you another one. He said, but right now what I want to see, I want to see you humble yourself.

And I'm glad I learned under people, one of the elders in my church growing up, when he first saw the anointing on my life and my ministry began to take off, I was still an associate pastor in my home church. And he said, son, I want to tell you something. He said, I see God's hand on you, and he said, can I give you a piece of advice?

This is just one of the older ministers in our church. I said, yes. He said, son, stay low. And here's what he said. He said, because when you stay low, you won't have that far to fall.

I promise you, that's what he told me. He said, if you stay low, the trip down won't kill you. He said, it's these high folk who get full of themselves and think that a fourth person in the Godhead because they're flying high in human reputation. He said, those are the people.

It's hard for them to recover. He said, but if you stay low, you won't have that far to fall. And I found out, if you humble yourself, you don't have to worry about whether God can restore you. That story shows you that while that boy's walking home thinking, well, I'm already demoted, there's no chance of me staying a son, but I think I can be a servant.

He's walking home rehearsing this little lame speech. Father, I've sinned against heaven and against you. I'm no longer worthy. Now, it's good he had a humble heart. You're not going to be exalted until you're humble. Don't listen to these people who say, well, if you're truly humble, you won't even know you're humble. I hear some people say that.

I'm like, are you crazy? The Bible says, humble yourself. Of course, you know when you're humble. It means you stop fighting. It means you stop being defensive. It means you stop blaming other people and you say, it's me, Lord.

I've been wrong in this area of my life. I repent. I ask you to forgive me. You humble yourself.

My daddy used to priest. Don't ask God to humble you. He might have to put you in a casket. Don't ask God to humble you.

Humble yourself under the almighty hand of God. And in due season, he'll exalt you. Prodigal son found out while he's walking home, his daddy was looking for him all along. And when his daddy sees him walking home, the daddy runs toward him. He's walking home, but his daddy spots him and his daddy runs. Now, we 20th century kids, we can't relate to that because if you got to come home after you had spent millions, the look you would see on the porch where he looking at you wouldn't be him running, arms wide, ready to hug you and kiss you and put robe on and a ring on and shoes on. You'd have seen somebody standing there saying, no, he ain't bringing himself back up.

Y'all know that's the way it would have gone. But God said, look at who I am. He covered this boy's sin so perfectly.

He refused to let the boy think he was anything less than his son. He covered him. He restored his dignity.

He killed the fatted calf and said it's time to party. That's the God you serve. I came to tell somebody, stay positive. You may have humiliated yourself.

You may have messed yourself up. Stay positive because God doesn't think like we think. His ways are not our ways.

Even when he rebukes you, it is redemptive. Don't believe me? Ask Peter. Peter bragged on the night Jesus was betrayed. He said, I don't care who you say is going to leave you. I will never forsake you. I'm the one thing, Jesus, that you can count on.

Jesus said, what you talking about? Before tomorrow morning, you're going to deny me three times. And in essence, Peter said, you're crazy.

But guess what? Peter denied him three times. Have you ever had a power failure just when you thought you were the man for real or the woman?

You're riding high, feeling good about yourself. When Peter said he wasn't going to forsake him, he meant it at the time. He just didn't know what the pressure was going to be like. When he saw them arrest Jesus and then they started looking for other followers and he figured he didn't know what was going to happen and they said, that's one of them. He said, no, I'm not. I don't even know who you're talking about. A little later on, somebody said, no, no, that's one of them.

I'm not. And the third time, the Gospel of Mark makes it real clear what happened. The third time, Peter said, I think they're onto me. I better prove to them I don't know Jesus. He said, I told you blankety-blank people that I don't blankety-blank know who no Jesus is.

Y'all better get the blank out of my face. Right in your mouth. That's not in the Bible.

Read what Mark said. He swore and cursed. I mean, he said, I bet they believe I'm not a follower of Jesus now.

They got him up off of him real quick. They said, oh, I guess he don't know Jesus. People that walk with Jesus don't talk like that. Man looks on the outward appearance.

Man will talk about you cussing for the next 20 years. God looks at the heart. God saw him weep bitterly. See, it's not a question of whether we sin. We've all sinned and come short. The question is, what do you do after you're confronted with yourself? When God sent Nathan to David and told him this story, David got mad at the story because he didn't know it applied to him.

Y'all remember that? And when Nathan looked at him and said, you're the man, God convicted him. You got to have a heart that can be convicted. The people I'm scared of are not the people who mess up.

I'm scared of the people who when they mess up, they won't own it. That shows your heart condition. That's why Saul got rejected and David maintained his status before God even after he sinned. Do you know the Bible calls him a man after God's own heart, not only before but after Bathsheba?

Why? Because God looked at the heart and his heart was broken and he said, I've sinned. Psalm 51 is David dealing with his sin. God can work with you when you stop defending and blaming and sidestepping. And you say in this area of my life, whatever it is, I've been out of God's will, but I'm going to lean on his grace and let him do a transforming work. And when Peter wept bitterly, he was showing, oh man, I had a power failure at the worst time.

But look at God. When Jesus rises and people begin to run into him post-resurrection, he sent word, go tell my disciples and Peter to meet me in Galilee. Why and Peter?

That covers a couple of bases. It could be because the other disciples were going to disown him. You do know how the other saints can be. Don't let them get something on you. Don't let them find out that you came short.

Some folk, that's it. That's the snapshot of you that they're going to have for the rest of their lives. You can repent all you want. You can get in sync with God all you want.

They're going to say as soon as they see you trying to get happy, they're going to whip out the snapshot. I remember. I see you all all impressed, but I know. So the and Peter covers him in case the saints are trying to disown him.

And the other possibility is Peter could have disqualified himself. That's why I'm preaching it to you. You've got to stay positive despite humiliation, because sometimes you try to disqualify yourself. You say, well, I've blown it too much. There's no way. You're like the prodigal son.

There's no way I can possibly have my original standing. So Jesus said, I'm going to show him who I am. Tell him to meet me. Not only did he meet him in Galilee, but seven weeks later, seven weeks in a day, 50 days, Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falls on all the disciples, including Peter. They speak in tongues, spill out into the from the upper room into the streets of Jerusalem, proclaiming the wondrous works of God in languages they've never learned. But God said, now I've got to use somebody to preach in the language of this town.

Who am I going to pick? Read Acts chapter two. He passed by all the folk who said, I never did this. I never did that. The greatest harm I've ever done. I did it to myself.

Can't nobody spot my life. He passed by all them folk. And he said, oh, Peter, I'm anoint Peter to preach today.

Why? Because when Peter preaches under the anointing, all them folk, same town who heard him cuss. When they see that, they're going to say, hmm, that had to be God. That's what God's getting ready to give some of y'all a testimony.

Once you humble yourself and let God do the work he needs to do in you, he's going to give you a testimony. He's going to use you in ways that when other folk see you, they say, now, now, now that's God. I love Luke. He writes acts. Luke gives us the gist of the message. That's why Luke said, with many other words, did he speak? You ever read that Acts chapter two? Luke said, I ain't writing all this down. Y'all must be crazy. He don't know how to stop preaching.

He ain't looking at the countdown clock. I came to tell somebody, you've humiliated yourself and some of you have been humiliated by other people. That's the other way to experience humiliation. Sometimes other people have beat you down and humiliated you. Some of you have been battered physically, emotionally, psychologically by a spouse, by a loved one, by somebody you trusted. Or you've been battered in church. There is church abuse.

There is spiritual abuse. Some of you have been humiliated. People have called you out of your name. People have said you'll never be anything. Look at where you come from. Look at your physical appearance. Look at your culture. You'll never be anything. And many of you came in here feeling awfully humiliated.

I came to tell you, stay positive. Because if God be for you, I said if God be for you, doesn't matter who's against you. Let them run their mouths.

Let them talk. They might walk around with the snapshot making you feel like your culture will never amount to anything. Or your family or your pedigree or whatever it is. They'll walk around with what they want you to be. But God doesn't take snapshots.

He runs movies. And all of us have some time in our life. Some of y'all got right now, you have a picture somewhere in your house of you looking as jacked up as possible. All of y'all got a picture somewhere. You don't want anybody to see it. And some of y'all threw yours away.

Because you were tore up from the floor up. God doesn't take snapshots. He runs movies. Movie can have an awfully bad chapter. But the movie's not over. Just keep on watching. Keep watching what God does. Keep watching how he'll make us rebound. Keep watching how he'll bring life out of what seems to be dead.

Speaking of that, let me give you the last point and I'm done. Stay positive despite hopelessness. Sometimes you put yourself in a situation where it looks virtually hopeless. You ever been there? If you haven't been there, my grandmama said keep on living. Some of you are going to put yourself in a position where it looks completely hopeless.

The dream, the vision, what you believed God was going to do in your life. It looks like it's sunk. But remember John 11. Lazarus is laying sick. He's the earthly best friend of Jesus.

His sisters Mary and Martha say, oh, no problem. Our best friend is a healer. You know, when you're the best friend of Jesus and your brother gets sick, you don't even get upset. His best friend's a healer.

That's what he does. Go tell Jesus the one he loves is sick. You ever had a sick situation?

Now, next question. You ever had a sick situation that when God looked at it, he said, yeah, it's sick, but it's not sick enough for what I want. You ever been sick but God said not sick enough? In fact, it just needs to go on and die. You ever been through something that it was sick but it still looked possible and then it went to dead?

Here's why this happens. This is why it's recorded in John 11, because God knew the girls knew him as a healer. They didn't know him as the resurrection. And the only way they were going to get to know him as the resurrection is something had to die. So sometimes you go through something that's sick and God looked at it, said it's sick, but it's not sick enough. I'm going to take it to dead.

He took it to dead. So by the time Jesus got word about Lazarus, Lazarus was already dead. Then Jesus gets the word, tells the messenger thank you very much, and the Bible says he stays where he is. Have you ever run into the Jesus who doesn't answer you right away? Can you imagine the girls when the messenger come back? I don't know whether he said these words that he said to his disciples in the presence of the messenger. Remember the words? He said this sickness is not unto death.

It's for God's glory. Now, if he said that in the presence of the messenger, imagine when the messenger gets back, the girls are already disillusioned that their brother's dead. And then they say, where's Jesus?

They say, he just stayed where he was. And if one of them asks, did he say anything? If he said it in the messenger's presence, we don't know.

But let's look at both scenarios. If he didn't say it in his presence, did he say anything? No. Wait, wait, you told Jesus who was dead, right? Yeah, yeah, I told him it was Lazarus. What did he say? Nothing. Can you imagine how that would have made him feel?

Scenario two, possibility two. If he spoke those words in the presence of the messenger, well, what did Jesus say? Jesus said this sickness won't end in death.

Are you feeling this? Either way, it makes no sense. Four days later, Jesus says, take me to where you laid him. Four days later, Lazarus had been dead for four days. He said, I know Lazarus is dead, but he's not dead enough. I need him days dead so that it looks hopeless.

You ever been in a situation where your sickness went to death and your death went to days dead? Then Jesus said, okay, time, let's take me to where you laid him. And they took him to where they laid him. They took him to where they gave up. They took him to where they said it's no hope. They took him to where they said his body is in behind that stone stinking. And Jesus said, roll the stone away. And they said, that's not a good idea.

By now, this is a smelly situation. But somebody in faith after Jesus said, didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? And somebody had enough faith. They didn't know what that meant, but they rolled the stone away. And then Jesus looked up and said, Lazarus, come forth. Why did he call his name? Because he's at the cemetery. When you are the resurrection and the life, you can't walk up to a cemetery, come back, come forth. Every spook in the place. What a come out of there. They'd be like, did y'all hear something? Yeah, here's something.

Come on, let's go see what. Jesus said, Lazarus, all the rest of y'all stay where you are. This is not a general resurrection.

I come get you later. And Lazarus, who was wrapped from head to foot, we know that cause later after he comes out, Jesus said, loose him and let him go. He's wrapped.

He can't even walk. But when he heard the resurrection call him from death to life, he started. That's what some of y'all going to do. God, you think God's done, you think your situation is dead, but God getting ready to call you out and you just go out. It's not hopeless till God says it's hopeless.

And even if he decides he's not going to resurrect something, it's only cause he's going to open up a new avenue. God is always for you. Repent when you're wrong, get right. Humble yourself and watch what God will do in your life.

Have you made a few mistakes lately? Remember, some of the greatest leaders in the Bible stumbled and fell. Moses, Peter, King David.

And yet when they humbled themselves and repented before God, he restored them to a place of blessing and favor. Now, as promised, Pastor Paul Shepherd joins me from a studio in California. Pastor, there's a song much older than me, of course, You're in the Army Now. I don't know if anyone listening remembers that song, but we have a resource. It's entitled You're in God's Army Now, a special resource we'll send to our listeners for a generous gift this month.

Tell us about this book and what we can learn from it. Well, you know, as I was ministering the Word of God, I came across the fact that we are going to have to help people understand. Talk about we-ness. We're not just a family. We're not just a flock.

We're not just a group of people who happen to get together. But the Bible itself calls us an army. Paul said we're soldiers and that we've got to be strong in the army of the Lord. I am a guy who's never been in the armed forces. I just never was led in that direction, and I wasn't born in wartime where I would have been drafted. So I've not been in the armed forces. But I've had the privilege of pastoring a lot of men and women over the years who are service men and women, either past or present service. And I've talked to them about their experience, and not a one of them was grabbed from civilian quarters and thrust into the front line of some battle. They all had to go through some form of what I heard them describe as boot camp.

And so what I did was took some time and made sure that this little booklet just reminds people we're soldiers. We're going to go through some processes that God uses to help us get ready to deal with spiritual warfare. The Bible is real clear. We're not wrestling against flesh and blood. We are wrestling against principalities and powers, against rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in high places. So since we're soldiers, we might as well learn how to battle well and enjoy the victory that we have in Christ. We say it all the time here on the broadcast, in Christ you are destined for victory.

But along the way, there will be battles to fight. That's why perseverance is one of the keys to being a good Christian soldier. And this month, we have a great resource for you called You're in God's Army Now. It's our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Again, that's You're in God's Army Now, a booklet from Pastor Paul. Call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538.

Once again, our address is Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. When it comes to fulfilling the vision that God's put in your heart, you've got to learn to look at things from God's point of view. You can't afford to look at it through your natural eyes because you will miss what God is going to do. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Perspective is Everything. 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 / 2023-09-16 21:07:17 / 2023-09-16 21:16:44 / 9

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