Don’t give up on your pattern before you receive your harvest. Don’t allow what you feel to get you to stop on the sixth lap around Jericho. Keep going until the walls come down.
Same produces new. The same flow creates beauty into your life’s landscape. The pattern in your life produces the result. Don’t like what your results are? Figure out your pattern!
Today I want to talk to you about turning trash into treasure. In 1970 a French engineer purchased a chest for $160 to hold his television. What he did not know was that he had purchased the big brother of 2 chests made by Japanese royalty craftsman Mazarin that was gifted to English royalty in the 18th century. The chest had been wrongly labeled in an auction at the turn of the 20th century as a Chinese chest, and made its way to this engineer. In 2013, after this engineer passed, an estate appraiser recognized it, relabeled it as an authentic Mazarin chest, and it sold to a museum in America for over 9 million dollars.
God is in the business of upgrading, finding and revealing great value. He is using the foolish things to confound the wise. He finds Saul, He finds Matthew. The Israelites were enslaved, but plundered Egypt without raising a sword. What man thought was trash, God may find as treasure. Here’s the problem, we get lots of trash in our lives, piles and piles of crud sometimes, and if we aren’t careful we will miss out on the treasure that is in that trash. We may throw away the things God brought us, quit early, walk away from the greatest gift because we got tired, or persecuted, misunderstood or offended. What Satan has meant for evil God can turn to good!
We “amen” God’s promises, but do we “amen” God’s process? Do we “amen” God’s principles? In Genesis 15:6 NKJV “Abraham believed in the Lord, and the Lord accounted it to him as righteousness.” The word used here in the Hebrew is “amen.” I found that interesting. For me it spoke differently. Abraham “amen’ed” in the Lord, he “amen’ed” the promise. Abraham had no children, but it was his deepest desire to have a son. God took him outside and said “Look at the stars, if you could count the stars, that’s how many descendants you will have.” Think bigger. See the vision clearer. Abraham “amen’ed” the promise.
Then, in Genesis 17:10-11, God visits and tells him to circumcise all the men in the house. Wait, what? Sometimes God is going to ask you to do things that might be tough. Love your enemy. Lay down your life. Pick up your cross if you want to follow Christ. Circumcision – Abraham could have said, “How is that going to get me to the promise?” I have found that far too many are picking which principals of God they like, and then we wonder why we aren’t arriving at God’s promises. Sometimes the Lord gives you a process, your orders came in, Jesus says, “Here’s eternal life,” we say, “woohoo,” then he says, anyone who comes after me must deny himself, take up his cross, offer yourselves as a sacrifice to the Lord. Wait, what? We “amen” the promise, do we “amen” the process? Remember the Israelites who died in the wilderness?
The Bible says they did not go in to the land that I swore to them because they did not “amen” me. Are we “amen’ing” God?
Psalm 91, the protection chapter, says “He that dwells in the secret place…” And then it follows with a slew of protections. The idea of a secret place for protection – in the 50’s we had missile fallout shelters, today the FBI has safe houses for witnesses, or the president goes to an undisclosed location.
Psychologists today talk about the noise of society, that we are over-stimulated, over-busy, and that people need a quiet place. We are too stressed out, too worried, far too in a rush. People have different places they go in worry, fear, where do you go? God has a secret place for you, and it is the perfect place to go when you feel unsettled. The secret place… you can dwell there. And here’s the problem, it says “he that dwells.”
Being a Christian does not mean you have to dwell here. There are many who do not dwell. Make your abode so that you can abide in the shadow. Do we know where the secret place is? Or how do we go in there? Is everyone going in?
The Lord wants you to know that He is your safe place. When God visited Abraham in Genesis 15, He said, “Fear not Abraham, for I am your shield.” God needed Abraham to trust Him for protection. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of a man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Intangible fear can bring real problems. So God wants us to stay in faith, faith that He is our protector. So He says, “Abraham, I’m your shield.”
To the Israelites He was a canopy, a cloud by day and fire by night. He is a refuge, a sanctuary, God is your covering, He is your secret place, you take refuge under His wing, in His shadow. Faith in God is like Captain Kirk calling shields up, not just a shield in the front, but all around you. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.” Here His name is described as a place, a location, a destination. Here is the problem, people don’t feel safe. There’s terrorism, a nuclear North Korea, and my son Matthew will be driving soon. You need to feel safe in your marriage, or feel safe at your job, or even feel safe at your home.
There is an enemy; he’s a roaring lion seeking out whom he might devour. He’s a serpent trying to mess you up. He comes in like a flood. But when you know you are in the Strong Tower, there is nothing to fear. I talk to Christians, Pastor, we are under attack right now, it seems like the enemy is coming at us from every side. But the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. It’s not a position of weakness, but it is a position of strength. It says you are “safe” here means you are inaccessibly high. Today we learn about the strong tower, canopy, the force field, the sanctuary, the refuge, the bubble of God’s protection, the shield… We want you to live a life free of fear, resting in the safety of our God. He is a mighty shield around you. I want you inaccessibly high, completely out of range.
In Psalms 123:1 David writes, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?” God wants us to lift our eyes. He says “Hey, look up here.” Abraham, lift up your eyes and see the stars… Get your mind on bigger, better, higher. God cares where we look, He knows the impact it has. Lifting your eyes means you are looking to the heavenly things, the spiritual things, the unseen answers that are in the mind’s eye, the promises of God that will come to you by faith.
Lifting up your eyes tells us to look at the good stuff. Keep your eyes off the dirt, mud, junk. In this life we are either looking at the good or bad, looking up, or looking down. We see the good in our spouse or the bad, the solutions in our job, or the problems, the joy in our life, or the pain, the things we have, or the things someone else has. When we look at our pain it just attracts more pain. When we look at the negative we crawl deeper into the negative world. But when we lift up our eyes we see the things of God, we get into hope, we climb back out of the pit of despair, and it’s all hidden in a simple glance.
The problem is, looking at the negative stuff is fun at first. It is addictive. Watching how bad the world is getting, and then almost taking pride in talking about it. What’s wrong with the boss, or the company, our bills, our health, our spouse, the president or the pastor, or attacking a 20-year-old-girl for not handling the National Anthem correctly. We have a problem, maybe more now than I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. People are scouring the earth for what is bad, and then making it sound worse, then showing the world for all to see, and then spewing hate. If ever there was a need for Christians to lift their eyes out of the hate and muck, it is now.