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Examining the Choices We Make (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
August 13, 2021 8:00 am

Examining the Choices We Make (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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August 13, 2021 8:00 am

Understanding the power of volition; the importance of making sound choices (based on Gen. 4:1-7)

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In God's Kingdom, there's hope and help available to those who are willing to confess their mistakes, their sins, their shortcomings.

In the Kingdom of God, failure doesn't have to be final. Hello and welcome to this Friday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Wherever you are, however you may be listening, thanks for making this part of your day. Coming up next, Pastor Paul takes us once again to the Garden of Eden and to a series of choices that were made by Cain and his brother Abel. Along the way, he'll share some practical advice about the power of confession and the amazing grace of the God we serve. Today's message is straight ahead, so stay with us. But remember, you can always subscribe to the podcast and listen on demand.

Find us at your favorite podcast platform, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Right now, let's join Pastor Paul for today's Destined for Victory message, examining the choices we make. Cain made a poor choice. Good that he gave, but he didn't give in the proper way. That's why God didn't respect it. It had nothing to do. Sometimes theologians say, oh, well, you know, Abel's was livestock and that foreshadowed the system of sacrifice, and that's why God accepted it. I respectfully disagree with every pastor and theologian who believes that. I know you believe that, God bless you, but you had a right to be wrong. That was not why it was rejected. It was rejected because of the language in the text.

It was the style in which Cain gave. In fact, look at how God said to him, if you do well, yours would be accepted. And it didn't mean he, who was a man who tilled the ground, needed to go over and figure out how to give an animal sacrifice. That is not what God said at all.

And the writer to the Hebrews in the New Testament also confirms what I just said, but anyway, we can argue some other time. Fact of the matter is, when you make a poor choice, you should own that fact. Cain is angry, but the question is, angry at who?

Who are you angry with? You were the one who gave. You were the one who had the opportunity to give in a worshipful manner, just like your younger brother did.

You chose to give in an irreverent and in a casual manner, and God didn't respect it. And so we need to understand this as we consider our choices when you make a poor choice. Now wait, how many of you all, I can't see you, but just for your own benefit, just acknowledge in any way you want on the chat, however, yes, I have made at least one poor choice at some point in my life. And I know some of you all are willing to say, yeah, I made at least two or three poor choices in my life. Some of you all would say I made dozens. Some of you all would say I made hundreds.

Some of you all would say I stopped counting a long time ago. How many dumb decisions and poor choices I made. And if you want to perpetrate a fraud, you go right on, but you know in your heart that you made some poor choices. Here's something I need you to understand, though, while I'm on this second point about poor choices that you need to acknowledge. In God's kingdom, there is hope and help for those willing to confess their mistakes, sins, and shortcomings. In God's kingdom, there is hope and help available to those who are willing to confess their mistakes, their sins, their shortcomings. In the kingdom of God, failure doesn't have to be final.

You need to understand that because all of us not only have made some poor choices in the past, some are still making some poor choices right now. Say amen whenever you can, and the fact of the matter is God is not a God who throws people away because they made poor choices. If the Lord were through with people who made poor choices, do you know how many people would be at the destiny service today?

And if there were some to be here, it wouldn't matter because there wouldn't be any pastor to preach to them. Fact of the matter is we know what it is as people to make poor choices, and God didn't throw us away. Talk about grace.

Talk about amazing grace. That's the God we serve. And so you need to know there's hope and there's help for those willing to confess their mistakes, their sins, their shortcomings. In the kingdom, failure doesn't have to be final. Let me give you some scriptural references. In Proverbs 28, 13, one of my favorite scriptures, he who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

If you cover them, you won't prosper. You say, oh, my sin, I messed up. Everybody has sinned and come short of the glory of God, but look at what the writer Solomon says. He says if you cover your sins, that's the problem. In other words, sin doesn't have to be fatal, but a refusal to acknowledge and confess and forsake it, that's where your problem is. Sin is always wrong. Sin is always bad. Sin always has its consequences. But sin doesn't have to be fatal. That's why Jesus came. And you got to understand that the problem isn't the sin as much as it is the secret. Secrets are what kill because if it stays secret, it's covered.

And Proverbs said you won't prosper that way. But if you open it up to confess and you open it up to forsake, then you can experience the mercy of God. And the apostle John put it this way in 1 John 1 and 9. He said, and you know this very well, if we confess our sins, he is what?

Faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So what's wrong with being wrong? As long as you're willing to confess it, God will give you mercy. Have you ever met people who have never admitted they were wrong? Have you ever known anybody, any time in your life, who you've never heard say I was wrong, I'm sorry, I messed up, I blew it, whatever. If they never said anything like that, that's the problem because they're unwilling to acknowledge, to confess. And when you're unwilling to confess, then you cannot receive mercy.

That's why the Bible says pride comes before fall. People who are too proud to admit they made a mistake, something is so wrong with you. Everybody who knows you know you messed up all kinds of ways and you're the only one who acted like you've never made a mistake. You're the only one who's acting like you never did anything for which you were sorry.

You got the spirit of Cain on you and you need to go before the Lord and beg for mercy and ask for God to give you a clean heart that you may serve him. So I need you to understand, when you make poor choices, you should acknowledge the same because failure doesn't have to be final. All right, let me help you understand. People who drive past their problem instead of stopping and acknowledging it, they'll never arrive at the solution.

You know why? Because they won't even acknowledge there's a problem. Just picture your life as a vehicle and we all have problems that we encounter in our lives. We all have problems that are the result of our poor choices, our wrong decisions, our failures. Think of the stuff you've done that was so wrong somewhere in your life, attitudes, actions, things you should have done that you didn't do, whatever. Just think back for a little while, some of the stupidest things, some of the greatest errors, the greatest sins, the greatest misstates, the greatest misdeeds. Think about those just for a moment.

I'm not trying to drag you down into condemnation. I just want you to think about them to make a simple point. Since they exist, what should happen? When you make poor choices, what should happen?

Well, what shouldn't happen is what Cain does, which is to get angry and to be downcast and not even acknowledge what the problem truly is. Your life is like a vehicle. The problem's right there. Everybody who's in the vehicle can see there's the problem.

You created it. You drive right past it. If you drive right past the problem, you know where you will never land, where you will never arrive at the solution.

Why? Because you didn't even acknowledge there was a problem that had to be solved. And so I need you to understand as you move through the rest of your life, your choices are more important than you think they are. The decisions you make have consequences. And when you make poor ones, when you make wrong ones, that's not fatal until and unless you ignore them, you pretend they don't exist, or you play them down, or you deflect. That's what Cain is doing.

He's deflecting. You know, anger, usually anger isn't sin in and of itself. The Bible says, in fact, Paul said to the church at Ephesus, be angry, but don't sin.

Don't let the sun go down while you're angry and give no place to the devil. So anger isn't necessarily sin, but here's the problem. Some people have misguided anger. They are angry at something or someone that has nothing to do with it. You need to identify if you're watching me right now and you're in this service and you are angry, I need to ask you a question.

Let's find out what you're angry at versus what you're supposed to be angry at. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Listen to the broadcasts on demand at

That's and there you'll find a host of great resources in our online store. We'll be right back with more of today's message, so stay with us. But first let's join him for the second half of today's message, examining the choices we make. If you want to be angry, be angry with yourself. Oh man, why did I do that? Why did I say that? Why didn't I do what I should have done? Why didn't I acknowledge that that was true?

Why did I pretend? If you want to be angry, now you don't have to be angry with yourself. You can be disappointed. Anger often is better placed when the anger is about an outside issue because anger is often when we realize that we have not gotten the right thing to happen for us. The fact of the matter is if you're angry by something outside, the Bible says be angry but don't sin and don't let the sun go. Deal with it, in other words, deal with it properly. If you're angry with a person, they did you wrong, they misspoke, they mistreated you, whatever. Go and show, the Bible says.

Go and do it. You can be angry, just deal with it properly. But if you are the wrongdoer, you can be angry with yourself but what you need to do is find a solution. Now look at what Cain did. Cain didn't acknowledge that the problem was of his own making and that leads me to the third point. Number three, when you're wrong, God wants to help you get right.

I want you to know that. We serve a God who is solution oriented. He is not mad and angry. If God were still mad and angry with you, you wouldn't be here because your sins would have wiped you out a long time ago. We don't serve an angry God. We don't serve a mad God.

He took out all his wrath on Calvary. Jesus took the brunt of our sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

So you need to understand this third point. When you're wrong, God wants to help you get right. God's not mad at you. If something's telling you, oh God is through with you, God is sick of you, God wants nothing else to do with you, that's the enemy speaking to you. Look at verse six of this passage here, Genesis four. So the Lord said to Cain, why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? Look at verse seven.

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. Its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. Do you see the heart of God? God didn't clobber him because of his bad offering. God said, why are you angry? Why are you downcast?

Do you see the fatherly nature of God? He explains to him, you could have done better. You could have made a different choice. I wanted you to make a different choice. I wanted to bless you.

You put yourself in this position. I love it when God asks questions in the scripture. He says here, why are you angry? Look, when God asks a question anywhere in the Bible, he's never asking because he doesn't know the answer. When God asks a question, he asks questions because he wants us to know the right answer, to get in touch with the right answer.

I love some of the questions in the scripture. Even before this, when you talk about Adam and Eve, first question in your Bible was this, Adam, where are you? He didn't ask that because God said, Lord, where in this garden is Adam? Can't find him anywhere.

No, no, no. When God asks where are you, he's looking right at him. He wants Adam to ask Adam, where are you? What have you done?

What's the matter with you, dude? God is a God who confronts us to redeem us, but first we must be confronted with the truth about ourselves. I love some of the questions in the scripture. Remember, later in Genesis, Hagar, God finds Hagar when she's run away from Abraham and Sarah's house and he finds her and he says, Hagar, where have you come from and where are you going?

I love that. God said, girl, where you come from and where are you going? Again, it's not because he doesn't know what's in her mind and heart. He wants her to confront herself. He asked Moses, what's that in your hand? Moses is feeling like, oh my Lord, how in the world are we going to get through this? He said, well, what's in your hand?

He knows what's in his hand. He wants Moses to know that that staff in your hand is a rod of deliverance if you'll speak my word over your circumstance. God said to Elijah one day when he's running from a girl named Jezebel, he said, what are you doing here? He's on the mountain, the mount of God, they called it in that day. He's on the mountain and he said, Elijah, what are you doing here?

Why? Elijah needed to confront himself. Why'd you come here? Everywhere else you went, beginning from 1 Kings 17, everywhere else you see Elijah go, the Lord sent him. Sent him to Ahab, sent him to the brook, sent him to Zarephath. Now he's somewhere God didn't send him. And the Lord said, where are you?

What are you doing here? Just one more of the many questions God asked that I love in the scripture. Jonah, Jonah was mad because God didn't get the folks in Nineveh. And he said, Jonah, is it right for you to be angry?

Is that a good idea? I sent you to proclaim that I'm coming for the people. If they don't get to act together, they got to act together and you're mad, they got to act together.

What's up with that? I love how God confronts us. Not only does God ask Cain in this case to examine the real problem, he also assures him it's not too late to make a better choice.

He said, you can do well. Meaning, okay, so I didn't respect this offering, but if you'll stop and repent right now and say, God, you're right, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. Please allow me. Let me go get a much better offering.

Had he done that, do you know God would have respected the second offering? God is saying, you can do well, it's not too late. I came to tell you, it's not too late. Yeah, you made some messes, capital M. You have done some stuff that you had no business doing, but God is saying, it's not too late. If you do well, I can still bless you. Things are different because of some choices you made, but I can still bless you. At the end of the day, you ought to want to be blessed more than be 100% right all the time. It'd be great to be 100% all the time. I just happen to not know any folks who fit that bill.

If you're one of them, write me and let me know. Oh, pastor, I'm the one that you were talking about who never did anything wrong. Write me this week and let me know so I can know to pray for you. Fact of the matter is, all of us have been in a position that came in right now. We blew it in some way, but God said, but you can still do right.

You can't change what you did, but what you do from here can be accepted. And I want you to know that God is in the reconciliation, the restoration, the redemption business. God is a rebuilder. God is a restorer.

Now, the sad thing is this passage ends on such a sad note, but it's written here for our learning. Instead of repenting, look at what Cain does. Instead of listening to God who said, okay, you didn't do right.

That's why I couldn't accept your offering, but you still have the opportunity to get right. Now, when God says that to you, get right. What does Cain do? Look at the next verse, verse eight. Do you see why God had said to him just a few sentences before, sin is lying at your door. It's up to you to now make sure sin doesn't have its way. God said, there's something in your heart right now that you better take control of.

Because if you don't take control of it, it's going to lead you much farther down the wrong road than you are right now. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, examining the choices we make. Always glad to have you with us. Now, as promised, here's Pastor Paul Shepherd joining me from his 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 that'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 the book and what we'll 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. I know we say it all the time 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. We have a great resource to help. It's called You're in God's Army Now, and it's our gift to you this month by request in return for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Again, that's You're in God's Army Now, a booklet from Pastor Paul and our gift to you this month when you make a donation. Call 855-339-5500 or visit 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.

And I'll give that once again, the address is Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. Well, if you've gone through some tough times in the past, challenges that cause you to stay away from church, or even stay away from God, you'll want to join us Monday when Pastor Paul shares his message, choose to reengage. 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 / 2023-09-15 22:21:02 / 2023-09-15 22:30:12 / 9

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