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Clinging to the Promises of God

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2022 7:00 am

Clinging to the Promises of God

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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March 9, 2022 7:00 am

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Dr. Michael Yusef. I want to tell you most assuredly that whenever you bring your effort into an alignment with God's purpose for your life, you will be blessed. Whenever you fulfill the condition of the promise, I want to tell you, you can safely claim that promise and God will give it to you. Thank you for joining Dr. Michael Yusef for Leading the Way Audio. Up next, peer into the life of Elijah, see how he trusted God, and be challenged to cling to God's promises, to experience victory in whatever life brings you today. Now if you'd like to know more about Leading the Way and how to stand with Dr. Yusef, perhaps even becoming one of his frontline mission partners, give us a call.

866-626-4356 or visit ltw.org. More later, right now though, Dr. Michael Yusef with a message he's called, Clinging to the Promises of God. Will you open please the Word of God to 1 Kings chapter 18 beginning at verse 41. And here we're going to see Elijah clinging to the promises of God. Some of God's promises are conditional promises. By that I mean, the fulfillment of these promises depend on something that I have to do, you have to do. But then there are other promises that are unconditional promises. Secondly, I want you to remember this. Some of God's promises are personal promises.

They are limited to one person at a given time. But then there are other promises that for all believers all the time. Now have you found 1 Kings 18? And here immediately following that magnificent event, that incredible supernatural event, incredible intervention of God by a fire falling from heaven supernaturally that licked everything in sight, stones and woods and sacrifice and water. Right after that, there on Mount Carmel, Elijah tells King Ahab verse 41, he said get home quickly because the rain is in the forecast. If I would translate it literally, it might not make sense, but here's how it sounds.

I hear the feet of rain approaching. Has he seen it by faith? He heard it by faith or he heard it literally.

It doesn't really matter. Ahab goes down to eat and drink. Where does the man of God go? He goes up to Mount Carmel in order to kneel on the promises that God has given him. He went up to pray. Listen carefully please. The promises of God plus prayer equal the fulfillment of the promises of God.

Let me put it another way. Keeping the condition of the conditional promises of God plus trusting that God will fulfill them equal the intervention and the fulfillment of God's promises. The promises of God are always certain, always certain, but they may not mature in 90 days. I have often said that when God makes a promise, faith has to believe it, hope anticipates it, and then patience awaits it. I'm going to make a confession.

I know the Bible said confess to one another, and I'm going to confess to you publicly. When it comes to God's promises, I'm okay with that. Or even when it comes to believing it, well I'm okay with that too. And even when it comes to hope anticipates it. It's a little harder, but I can go along with that. But I have the hardest time with the last one. Patience quietly awaits it.

I want to tell you, I literally have calluses on my hands for pounding on the doors of heaven. I'm going to get back to that, not because I want to, but I want to be faithful to the text, so I have to deal with it. What kind of a promise did God make to Elijah?

It's a very new text. Can you find it? God made him a conditional promise.

Where is it? What's the conditional promise? He was there in Zarephath with that widow, and God said to him, go down, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send the rain. That is a conditional promise. God is saying, Elijah, if you do that, I will send the rain.

Remember, it hasn't rained for three and a half years. But Elijah's obedience was the condition of the fulfillment of God's promise. You know, there are so many promises in the scripture that are conditional promises. I find myself frustrated when I see Christians are confused about this issue.

Running around claiming the promises of God, listening to those naming it and claiming it, blabbing it and grabbing it, top preachers, and when it doesn't happen, they get devastated and say, what is happening? What is happening is that you have not understood the biblical principle here. You have not understood how God works. Most Christians today love to claim the promises of God, but they want to escape the conditions. But God must be true to his word.

God set those things in motion, and he is not going to change them. The Bible said, you sow and you reap. And what you sow is what you reap in kind. Now the Bible said, give and it will be given unto you. Now, of course there's a period of waiting between the time you sow and the time you reap. I've never seen a farmer going out there and digging the seed to see how it's doing.

To be sure, there is a time. And sometimes there are setbacks, but I want to tell you they are as true as God's own word. That if you sow, you will reap the kind of things that you sow, you will reap. And if you sow cotton, I've never seen a farmer who sowed cotton and reaped wheat or corn. If he sows wheat, he gets wheat.

If he sows cotton, he gets cotton. There's picking and choosing. Well, I'll believe this and I'll believe this, but I'm not going to believe this.

I'm really going to ignore this because somehow if I ignore it, it's going to go away. And it's a cafeteria of Christians and I'm going to pick and choose. I'm just going to go along the cafeteria. I'm going to pick this. Yeah, I like this. No, I don't like this. No, I don't like this. I like this passage. I don't like this passage.

God's word is one word. I was thinking about this and thought of these three sisters who went to a wedding for the first time. They've never been to a wedding before. And when they came home from the wedding, they decided to play a wedding game. One was going to be the bride and the other one was going to be the groom and the other one was going to be the minister. And as the bride and the groom were all playing here, standing next to each other, the minister wasn't playing the role of the minister. She said to the bride, would you take this man for richer or for poorer?

And the little girl said for richer. Oh, how like adults that we pick and choose. And we want to believe that part, but we don't want to believe that part. Proverbs 3, 5 and 6 is a conditional promise. The Bible said that if you commit your ways to the Lord, He will bring you to pass. And if you want to pilot your own ship, your own way, and then when you get into trouble you cry out to the Lord, Lord, why aren't you not blessing my plan? When I have violated the condition of the promise, I should not expect a fulfillment of it. 1 John 1.9 is often rattled by carnal Christians, almost like just dialing 911.

You know, you get into trouble, just dial 1-9. Oh, since I didn't realize that. 1 John 1-9, I just noticed it now. The carnal Christians don't live any which way they want to live and then it just gets worse. 1 John 1-9 is if you confess your sins. Sure, it's a conditional promise. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You say, but I confess all the time.

No, you don't. Live confessions without determination to change is a cheap repentance that does not obligate God to forgive you. Confession must include a decision to forsake. Some of God's promises are not only conditional but they are personal promises. There are personal promises and there are universal promises. This promise here for Elijah was a personal promise made for a specific person for a specific period of time.

You will make a mistake, you get into trouble when you try to make a personal promise to be a universal promise. Now, you understand the principle. You see how God works and you say, well now Lord, I want you to speak to me in this way.

You can learn from that and that's what we do in this whole series. See, understanding how God works. We often think that we somehow have to spend hours in prayer convincing God that He should bless what we're trying to accomplish instead of spending hours in prayer trying to discern what is God's will in my life. I want to tell you most assuredly that whenever you bring your effort into an alignment with God's purpose for your life, you will be blessed. You have God's word on it. Elijah understood that whenever prayer aligned with obedience together with the promises of God, he was going to see an answer to his prayer. Whenever you fulfill the condition of the promise, I want to tell you this is the true naming it and claiming it. Whenever you fulfill the condition of the promise, you can safely claim that promise and God will give it to you. God cannot lie.

He cannot deny himself. Now, if you're spending many a night on the side of your bed instead of sleeping in it, I want to tell you, listen to me, I'm going to tell you from the heart of experience, instead of sitting on the side of your bed asking God for what you want, save the time, save the energy, and begin to ask him what does he want. I have went down to eat and drink but Elijah went up to kneel on the promises of God. Both men saw the hand of God working mightily. Both men saw the power of God manifested together with the thousands upon thousands of people. Both men experienced the greatest supernatural intervention since Exodus. One went down in a brutish and animalistic way to eat and drink and the other went up in humility before God clinging to the promises of God. You know, I hear people say, oh, if we just see more miracles in our day, people would believe.

I tell you they will not. I submit to you that there are miracles happening all around us every day but the spiritually blind will not believe and will not see it even if it is done in the most magnificent way. You remember Jesus telling the story of Lazarus and the rich man? That is not a parable.

That is a true story. Jesus Christ who pre-existed with the Father before the foundation of the world telling us a true happening. This man referred to as a rich man was a man who self-centered. He did not have a thought of God. He did not have a thought of God's kingdom. He thought only of himself, his successes, his comfort, and Jesus said there was a man by the name of Lazarus who trusted God. He did not have a thing in the world but he believed God. He put his trust in God and both died.

One went to heaven and one went to hell. And after a few moments in hell, I want to tell you something, the rich man turned out to be a great evangelist. After a few moments of torment, he yelled out to Father Abraham. He said, Father Abraham.

You see, he thought that his ethnicity, he thought that his Jewishness was going to get him to heaven. So he called out to Abraham, the father of the Jewish night. He said, Father Abraham. And when he finally realized that it's too late, he then, please send Lazarus, let him rise from the dead so that my family would believe and not come to this place of torment. You remember what Jesus said Abraham told him? He said, if they don't believe the Bible, even if somebody would rise from the dead, they will not believe. They were miracles right before Ahab, but it did not scratch his heart. The spiritual blindness was there. Miracle made no difference. But there's something else here that I want to tell you about Elijah's prayer. When Elijah went up to pray in Mount Carmel, he prayed specifically.

Right? Can you find it? There is no prayer recorded here. It's not recorded in this passage. But listen, the Holy Spirit who's the author of the Bible from beginning to end does not record it in 1 Kings 18, but he records it in James chapter 5 verse 17.

Listen to it. Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. And again he prayed, and heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

That's where you'll find it. What do you think Elijah was praying? Oh, God bless everybody everywhere.

Go to sleep. That's what most Christians do. I am convinced in my heart he was praying, oh, Lord, you promised me that if I stood before Ahab, you will send the rain. I know you're going to keep your promise, Lord. Do you know why prayer is such a burden to so many Christians?

I want to tell you why. Because of the ambiguity of our prayer. There are so many Christians who look upon prayer as a task. Oh, the hard work of prayer.

We feel the task is too heavy. We end up praying that prayer. God bless everyone everywhere.

Amen. I know there are some Christians out of false sense of reverence. You know, they are unafraid to be specific with God.

I hope I put an end to this fallacy. Because when Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 verse 30 that the hairs on your head are counted, it does not mean that he simply knows how many. He knows that. But when he said there are numbered, meaning that he knows which hair that fell in the brush when you brushed your hair this morning.

That he has chronological records over every one of your hairs. And if God is that specific and details with you, you need to be that specific and detailed with him. As much as I'm not big on details, I want to tell you when it comes to prayer, you better find a different Michael.

Because I pray specifically and in details. Elijah prayed specifically, but he also prayed obediently. He also prayed clinging to the promises of God. And then he prayed persistently. Here's that part.

That's the challenge for me. Jesus taught that it is not the length of prayer. It is not the language of prayer.

It's not the posture of prayer, whether you're kneeling or standing on your head or whatever. But it is the persistence in prayer that he taught again and again in the scripture. I confess to you, I don't understand everything about persistence in prayer, but I know that it is the word of God.

And I told you I'm going to get back to the subject of my greatest challenge. Patience, perseverance, persistence is always too convicting for me. But I seldom bring you a message before God has already penetrated deep into the well of my soul.

And this is no exception today. And Jesus said in Luke chapter 18, when he told about the woman who persisted with the unjust judge, because that woman was beating on his door and beating on his door, finally said, well, I might not be a godly person, but I will answer her because of her persistence. Jesus himself in Gethsemane, he persisted in prayer regarding the will of the Father. This Saraphanesian woman who came to the Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of her daughter, she persisted in prayer until Jesus answered her. Do I know everything about persistence in prayer?

I really don't. But everywhere in the scripture where you encounter biblical teaching about persistence in prayer, it is there something I see in the scripture somehow that persistence and prayer and the promises of God belong together. I'm not talking about personal desires or wants. I'm talking about God's promises. Well, how did Elijah persist in prayer? Look at it there and mark it in your Bible verse 43.

Put persistence next to that verse. He sent his servants to look for a cloud and he didn't send them once. He didn't send them twice. He didn't send them three times. He didn't send them four times.

He sent him seven times. After the first time, he could have given up. After the second time, he could have said well God is not going to answer me.

After the third time, he could have said well you know I had enough victory for one day. After the fourth time, he could have said oh I must have misunderstood God's promises. After the fifth time, he could have began to doubt God.

After the sixth time, he could have become angry with God as so many of you are. But he was persistent in prayer even to the seventh time. So he prayed specifically. He prayed obediently. He prayed clinging to the promises of God. He prayed persistently and then he also prayed expectantly. He believed with all of his heart that God is going to keep his word. And that's why he kept sending his servant seven times.

He really did. He believed that God is going to do it and he would have been shocked if God didn't. And you know why he was expectant? You can tell because as soon as the servant came back and he said well there's a piece of cloud in the sky as big as a man's hand and literally it can also mean as the heel of the foot of a man, it's the same thing.

It's a tiny cloud. You know what Elijah was doing? That's expectant prayer.

He was handing out umbrellas. And you know if you look at this passage real closely you're going to notice that Elijah would have been absolutely surprised to his wits if God didn't answer his prayer. Many of us would pray and pray and pray and when God answered prayer we were just so surprised. Not Elijah. And that is why we are reading about Elijah.

Why? Because he persisted in prayer. Because he was not surprised when God answered his prayer.

Finally I want you to notice one thing here. When God fulfilled his promise Elijah stayed humble before God. I have seen it in the Christian community. There's some Christians who don't know how to handle victory. They can handle a crisis but somehow they can't handle victory. They can't handle blessings. I've seen others when victory and blessing come they begin to take credit for it. Well it was my hard work. It was so and so and it was this and it was that. And I've seen others who after victory and a blessing come we put natural face on it. It would have happened anyway.

Please listen carefully. You do not need to be a great theologian to know that this kind of attitude does not honor God. Elijah after the victory he tucked his cloak and he ran before King Ahab. Now you might have missed it because you've got to understand this is an act of humility.

It's an act of submission. In the Middle East when you run before the king is a form of subordinating yourself to the king as a servant. Hey listen Elijah could have said I got Ahab exactly what I wanted him.

I got him on the run. He didn't do that. He could have said listen Ahab you're out and I'm in. But he didn't do that. You know why?

Because Elijah was adamant that everybody must know that this great act is God's act not Elijah's. Let me ask you this. What are you doing with the conditional promises of God? Are you refusing to keep your end of the bargain rationalizing why? Are you refusing to keep the condition of the promise? Or have you simply just given up? You're listening to Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Yousaf.

Have things in your life gone a bit sideways? Have you walked away from God and his promises? Maybe you'd like to talk with someone about your spiritual journey. Just reach out and begin that conversation with one of the Leading the Way pastors.

Fill out a contact form at ltw.org slash Jesus. As we close out today's Leading the Way we want to take just a moment with Dr. Yousaf right here and ask him about his new book. It's called Never Give Up. Dr. Yousaf how will this book encourage people who may feel weary and discouraged or even burned out? How will it help them in their spiritual walk? This book Never Give Up. It doesn't matter where you are on the spectrum, whether you are encouraged or discouraged, whether you are experiencing victory and dominion or you are not. This book is going to give you the foundational, biblical foundational that will anchor your life, your decision making and your thoughts and even your ministry.

It will anchor it. The forward of the book written by one of the great Christian leaders in my judgment in America, Dr. O.S. Hawkins, and he said that few times in all of the years of his ministry that he has seen books that can really impact an individual like this book impacted him and that's why he wrote the forward.

And so it will encourage you regardless of where you are on the faith spectrum. Get your copy of Never Give Up wherever books are sold. Or you can call Leading the Way at 866-626-4356. That's 866-626-4356. And of course, you can order securely at ltw.org. Leading the Way is listener supported, relying on your prayers and your financial support to passionately proclaim the uncompromising truth of God's word right there in your neighborhood and in neighborhoods like it all around the world. Join Dr. Yusef, again, next time for another edition of Leading the Way.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 12:38:48 / 2023-05-25 12:47:46 / 9

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