Sermon notes: Northlands Church / Rob Rufus / 2012
"8God is never disillusioned with you because He never had any illusions.
God is infallible. He cannot make a mistake & He never has - not with you, not with His plans. We are condemned to success and victims of victory. It’s all about what He has done.
Courage and strength are already yours. They are written into the fiber of your being…
We are not meant to live in a mixture of unbelief and faith, in a religious schizophrenia. The serpent comes after the apathetic. RESIST THE DEVIL. Confront that which is standing in the way of your faith. Stand firm.Focus can be the most powerful thing in your life. Fix your eyes on Him. Abide.
The devil uses self-pity, disappointment, and disillusionment to tear you down.
You may be disillusioned, but the Lord is not & He does not intend to leave you in a place of confusion, doubt, disappointment, or shame. Those feelings are not from Him. It is a trap to keep you down in the dirt. He has already overcome. We are not fighting for the victory because that has already been achieved. We fight from this victorious position and prepare to make a stand.”
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33
The loudest praises that come out of our lives are born from difficulties, finding Him in the desert place.
Your attitude and faith make a massive impact on the atmosphere around you; keep a heart posture of faith and trust. Don’t be embarrassed about areas of barrenness – it has nothing to do with sin or where you’ve gone wrong. That was taken care of on the cross.
Sarah and Abraham were given a promise and then held on to their faith, waiting for its fulfillment.
The dreams that God has put in your life in those times of light, He will bring to pass.
Never doubt in the dark what God has revealed to you in the light. Don’t let yourself be defined by the darkness facing you. Be defined by faith in what God told you in the light. Do not become cynical or unbelieving. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
The definition and power of the vision come out of darkness when you resist & overcome the enemy. Fruits are formed out of the darkness as you cling to Him. His vision for you was born before you were. He planted it in your heart before He formed you in the womb.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
We are accountable in the dark to what we hear in the light. We walk by faith. Be an ambassador of Christ, even in the dark.
Do not build a theology around the facts but around the Truth. Acknowledge the facts, but remember that they surrender to the Truth. His Word wins over whatever “facts” are evident in your life.
Barrenness is His greatest weapon for producing fruitfulness in us. He would prefer to use our barrenness than that area in which we are naturally gifted/capable.
You are a seed of Abraham – the fruit of the barren woman (Sarah) whose child was produced by the supernatural power of God, rather than by human effort (Hagar & Ishmael). God sometimes holds back fruitfulness until we give up on human effort and in our darkness cry out, “God, give me fruit!” Do not surrender to barrenness; cry out to Him.
The darkness/barrenness reveals the mystery of God, who still works in us in those times when we feel nothing, to produce fruit that only His Spirit can.
His glorious agenda is to use human barrenness to produce fruit for His glory.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please… What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Isaiah 46:10-11
I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him & he will succeed in his mission. Isaiah 48:15
Memories that make me smile.
// He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. //
- Micah 6:8
Let us seek to let go of all the other burdens we pick up and simply walk humbly with our Father today.
"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times." - Martin Luther
A living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
grace // an undeserved favor or gift; the undeserved forgiveness, kindness and mercy that God gives us
mercy // kindness and forgiveness, especially when given to a person who doesn’t deserve it
The Lord showed me a new perspective today on what it means to walk by faith - the freedom of self-forgetfulness. Its so counter to the world we live in which teaches us to insulate ourselves and seek security. God invites us to let go of the worry of caring for ourselves and simply follow His leading. Faith is a living, daring confidence in His sufficiency, His provision, His follow-through.
So when God calls us to give generously, we can do that based on His promise, not our circumstance. When He calls us to walk on water, we can do that despite our inability to do so apart from Him.
Walking in faith turns out to be dancing in freedom, while for so long I thought it meant “be okay with insecurity.”
The truth is any security apart from our Father is an illusion.
The truth is when Christ is in you, you’re a new creation.
Christ in you is life in the truest sense of the word. He is working to move you from glory to glory, to transform you into His image, to rid you of the fear of insecurity that enslaves so many. His perfect love is driving out fear.
Our Shepherd promises to provide what we need; therefore we can follow Him without hesitation. We need not fall prey to the fear of insecurity that drives us to self-protect; to insulate ourselves at the cost of mercy and compassion; to be a little less like Jesus in our reliance on the Father because what if He just isn’t enough?
Jesus said the truth will set you free.
The truth is when we put to death the earthly nature, our self-focus, heaven gains ground. The kingdom grows.
Colossians 3 tells us how to live as those made alive in Christ:
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived… (but) you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
We put to death the insecurity that says “protect yourself, just in case”, and we trust our Father wholeheartedly.
We trust Him with such assurance that we could stake our life on it a thousand times.
We clothe ourselves with compassion, which gives without regard to cost to itself. And we give everything we have, fearlessly and joyfully, because we know our true possession is our inheritance in heaven, which can never be shaken.
Jesus did only what he saw his Father doing.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:19)
When I come to the end of knowing, I’m pushed to the very place where I should begin - sitting at my Father’s feet, seeking. Listening.
When I come to the end of myself and give up the struggle to figure it out on my own, He quiets me with His love. He speaks to my spirit that’s now calm enough to hear.
"My child", He says, "do you remember Solomon?"
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant… you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:5-9)
Solomon asked God for discernment in administering justice, and God gave it. He gave Solomon “a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore”.
These days, I relate to Solomon’s question.
"Lord, thank you for calling me to your work… But wait, I’m only a child, I have no idea what to do. These people you have given me are too numerous to count. This position, it’s an honor, but who is able?"
We are not in the wrong place when we realize we don’t know what we’re doing or can’t do it ourselves. Admitting that is the beginning of seeking His guidance and operating from His strength.
We have no need to be overwhelmed.
Solomon acknowledged his insufficiency, but didn’t stop there. He knew the Lord could give discernment and wisdom to carry forth the work He began in appointing Solomon as king. He knew the Lord not only could - He would.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Your Father will lead you. You’re not supposed to know everything; in fact you can resolve to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. All you need to learn is to follow. Do what you see Him doing. We have no power apart from Him, no wisdom or discernment apart from Him.
Be strong and take heart.
You, Lord, never forsake those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)
For all who identify as a little child and do not know how to carry out the thing He has called you to, remember Solomon. Appointed as king, chosen to lead the people of Israel, he still sought God as a child. Son to Father, he asked for wisdom. He knew he couldn’t proceed apart from the Lord’s power. So he asked and was given.
You have the same positioning to Him, whether prince or pauper, saint or sinner, infant or mature, literate or mute.
Let the little children come to me, He says.
Ask your Father to lead you, I can assure you He will.
"Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance plus the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be defeated, that the things He stood for – love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men – will not win out in the end. Then the call to spiritual tenacity comes, not to hang on and do nothing, but to [work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be defeated.]
If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means they are being purified. One of the greatest strains of life is the strain of waiting on God.”
- Oswald Chambers
"His Love is the only satisfaction for weary, purpose-desperate hearts…"