027: Untempered

Untempered

Today, you can’t just throw a building together and call it done. First, a building permit must be obtained. Then there are strict building codes and standards that must be met which usually means hiring an architect. Preparing and laying a solid foundation are crucial. After the construction phase, ultimately, the building must be deemed safe and useable by an inspector.

When all these things are in place, when blueprints and codes are followed, if inferior building materials are used to cut costs, the structure might be compromised. Even the best building is not without its flaws, and a storm will reveal any imperfections in the structure that need to be repaired.

The same can be said for our lives. We are a building in the making, and God is the chief architect. He has a plan for what He wants our life to be. If we will just submit, God knows exactly what needs to be done to make us useable to Him.

Maybe you feel like God has been working overtime on your building and you’re not sure how much more pressure you can take. But God is a master builder! He knows where all your flaws and weaknesses are.  Stay tuned to this podcast episode and be encouraged. Just trust the builder and submit to His plan.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave your thoughts in the comments. If you subscribe, you will receive new material as it is published.

* indicates required


2 Camels, 1 Needle

2 Camels 1 Needle

They are filthy rich! It’s obvious from the clothes they wear to the car they drive to the mansion they live in. This person is well off! Of course, nowadays you can’t be too sure. When so many people are trying to live in luxury, way beyond their means, it can be hard to distinguish between who’s wealthy and who’s just drowning in debt.

Are you rich? Or are you trying really hard to be rich? Be careful! Jesus warns…

For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:25

Whew! I’m safe! I’m not even close to being rich so I won’t have any trouble going through the eye of that needle.

Rich is a relative term. How do you determine who’s rich and who’s not? Rich in one part of the world might be considered poor in another. How do we know what Jesus meant? How do we apply this verse?

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus elaborated …

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:23-24

Jesus not only cautions those having riches, but he extends the warning to those that trust in riches. Maybe the question at hand is not necessarily about what you have, but more about what has you.

In Luke 18-19, the scripture gives the stories of two wealthy men who each have an encounter with Jesus. When these two men meet Jesus, they are faced with the greatest decision they will ever have to make. The first man is an unnamed young ruler. The second is a tax collector by the name of Zacchaeus. Both men are very rich, yet it’s interesting how their encounters with Jesus turn out totally different.

The First Camel

In Luke 18, a rich young ruler has been doing some thinking. Life has been so good to him. He’s a ruler…He enjoys his status. People respect him. In fact, he gets special treatment wherever he goes. This young ruler enjoys his wealth too, but he’s smart enough to know these pleasures won’t last forever. So he approaches Jesus with a question…

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

When it’s all over, what am I going to get out of all this? How can I guarantee I will inherit eternal life?

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

Undoubtedly, he was very religious, for the rich young ruler had been careful to keep all these commandments. Yet there was still a void that neither riches nor religion had filled.

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

That’s not exactly what the rich young ruler wanted to hear. He had a lot at stake! His wealth, his position, all the pleasures and luxuries he had gotten used to.

Could he really trust this Jesus? Why should he have to give up all that was rightfully his? He was a ruler, not a follower. How could he be expected to blindly submit and follow someone who fellowshipped with the unclean and the sinners?

It just didn’t seem fair! The rich young ruler had carefully followed the law…he faithfully attended all the church services. He did everything right in the eyes of the religious. Yet Jesus said it wasn’t enough!

23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

There’s no way I’m going to give up all this to follow Jesus into poverty.

24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The rich young ruler was just like a camel looking into the eye of a needle. This is impossible! There’s no way I can go through with this! I can’t give up all of my treasures and all of my power. Life as I know it will be no more. Where will I live? What will become of me? I will surely lose everything. I won’t have a life worth living!

26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27 And [Jesus] said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

The rich young ruler could’ve cried out to Jesus. Lord, this is impossible! But…if you help me, then I will try. Instead, he walked away sorrowful. He turned his back on Jesus to put his faith and trust in what his riches could do for him.

The Second Camel

In Luke 19, we find Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector, despised by everyone. He is a thief and a scoundrel, getting rich at the expense of his own people.

1And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

Zacchaeus was chief among the publicans. Like the rich young ruler, he indulged in all the pleasures money could buy, but Zacchaeus was not happy with his life. He was searching for something that money couldn’t buy. Unlike the rich young ruler who was only after his eternal inheritance, Zacchaeus had no other ulterior motive except he wanted to see Jesus.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

Zacchaeus didn’t just want to lay eyes on Jesus he wanted to “…see Jesus who he was.” He had heard the stories about the miracles, how Jesus touched lives everywhere he went. I believe Zacchaeus seriously wanted a life change. He was so desperate that he was willing to do anything…

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

When Zacchaeus saw Jesus, he also caught a glimpse of his own wretchedness. Zacchaeus realized he was a lowly sinner in need of a savior. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus’ hungry heart, the Savior reached out in love and compassion. The instant Jesus spoke to this little man, Zacchaeus surrendered and sold out all he had and received Jesus joyfully and took Him into his home.

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

Yes, Zacchaeus was a sinner, but now he had a Savior. Unlike the rich young ruler, Zacchaeus never asked Jesus for anything. He never once questioned what he could gain. Instead, Zacchaeus offered up all that he had.

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Zacchaeus was so sorry for his sin that he was willing to give half of all his goods to the poor, as well as pay back four times the amount to all those he had cheated.

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

Zacchaeus traded all his riches for salvation, something worth more than all the treasures in the earth.

Two Camels, One Needle

Two very rich men stood before Jesus. The first camel wandered around the needle saying it’s impossible. The rich young ruler could have asked Jesus to help him. He could have asked Jesus to change his heart. The rich young ruler could have said I’m willing to be made willing. I’ll go through the eye of that needle no matter what it takes. Instead the rich young ruler walked away and forfeited eternal treasures for his earthly riches that would soon fade away.

The second camel faced the same impossibility as the first camel. The eye of the needle didn’t change…it was still just as tiny and narrow. It wasn’t any easier for Zacchaeus than it was for the young ruler. Zacchaeus found himself staring into the eye of the same needle and had to decide. Is Jesus worth it? Should I give up all my riches and my position? Do I take a chance and trust this Jesus to be my everything?

Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler both met Jesus, under the same conditions. But only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own weakness. Only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own inadequacy. Only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own sinfulness. Only Zacchaeus longed for forgiveness.

Zacchaeus believed on Jesus and trusted Him to be his personal savior. He made Jesus Lord of his life. When you really see Jesus for who He is, then you also see yourself for who you are. It becomes crystal clear: you owe Jesus everything! Selling out is not the ticket to salvation, but the fruit of salvation.

Zacchaeus chose to trust Jesus. His heart was changed! His sins were gone! And Zacchaeus had the promise of treasure in heaven!

 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Matthew 19:21

What about you? Maybe you’re not wealthy by society’s standards, but you don’t have to be rich to trust in riches. Some spend a lifetime spending money they don’t have pursuing riches and pleasures that will all burn up one day.

Maybe that’s not you. Maybe you live a simple life…never needed a lot of money.

So money is not your pursuit…but you have a wealth of other things you haven’t fully surrendered to Christ. Are you willing to sell out all you have? Your thoughts, your ideas, and opinions? Your hopes and dreams? Your plans? Your passions? Will you give it all up to follow Jesus?

The rich young ruler wanted insurance of eternal life, but wasn’t willing to sacrifice anything in this life to get it. He was so caught up in the here and now…

What are you trusting in today? What are you pursuing? What has a hold on you?

Do you know Jesus as savior and Lord? Or are you putting on a religious front, going through all the Sunday morning motions? Like the rich young ruler, maybe you do all the right things. You have the church crowd convinced, and you don’t feel quite as guilty, but deep down you know something is missing.

Jesus wants all of you! He’s not interested in your bank account. He’s not interested in your possessions. Jesus wants you to sell out everything so He can become your everything.

What does it mean to be sold out to Jesus?

It’s not about money, but goes much deeper than that. When all the stuff this world has to offer…relationships, pleasures, positions, pursuits. When you reach the place the world no longer satisfies you, then you will know exactly what it means to sell out to Jesus Christ.

If you’ve reached this point and you are ready to make Jesus Lord of your life, all it takes is a simple prayer of surrender. Jesus, I am a sinner in desperate need of a savior. I’ve been disappointed one too many times by what this world has to offer. I need something real that won’t ever let me down.

Jesus, I surrender everything I have. Now You are all I have! Jesus, be my everything today and forever!

If you’ve enjoyed this message take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also subscribe to receive new content as soon as it is published.

* indicates required


026: Preparing for a Feast

Preparing For A Feast - Sun Mar 6

Has this world left you feeling a little empty? Okay, maybe more like starving! You used to be so excited about what the future held, but then the disappointments came…one right after another. Now it seems like you’re always scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking desperately for something to fill the void. Sound Familiar?

Have you been blindsided by circumstances beyond your control? Or are you just reaping a harvest of bad choices and sinful living?

No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you don’t have to live in need. God wants to bring you to a place of abundance, a place of blessing. Right now you may feel poor and destitute, but do you realize it’s God’s will for you to eat at the King’s table?

No matter how great the need, God “…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

If you are facing the impossible, tune in to this podcast episode and prepare yourself for a feast. Your impossibility may be the very invitation that brings Christ in abundance into your situation.

Please take the time to share your thoughts about this message in the comments section below. If you subscribe you will receive new content as it is published as well as a free E-Book. I look forward to hearing from you!

* indicates required



The Engrafted Word

Engrafted Word - Sun April 17a.m.

In this age of information, the Bible has never been more accessible than it is now. But for some, the Bible is nothing more than a piece of literature, a collection of stories to convey life’s lessons. Others see it as a mere historical document, or just another text book for the academia.

Yes, the Bible is full of mystery and intrigue, and has been the inspiration of many Hollywood productions. However, the Word of God is no fairy tale! Every word of the Bible is true and even secular scholars consider it to be one of the most historically accurate documents in existence.

Yet to the Christian the Bible is so much more than just words on a page, or at least it should be. The Bible is the divinely inspired written Word of God with the power to change lives.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword! Wow! That sounds dangerous! So why do we handle it so carelessly? I’m afraid even Christians have become way too casual with something so precious and powerful.

What is God’s Word to you? Do you realize the Word has the power to direct and change lives for eternity? Or has it just become part of your Sunday morning routine, something you grab once a week on the way out the door to church?

Maybe you’ve been in church all of your life. You know the Bible and can even quote scripture with the best of them. But have you really let the Word of God change you? Can you say you are more like Jesus today than you were yesterday, a month ago, or a year ago?

Okay, I get it. I’ve got to take the Word and apply it to my life.

HOW TO BECOME A DOER!

Yes, you need to be a doer of the Word, but how do you go from hearing the Word to effectively doing the Word?

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 1:21-22

Before you can be a doer of the Word, you must receive the Word! You must receive the engrafted Word of God! Hearing the Word won’t change you, but the engrafted Word…now that is able to save your soul!

Engrafted comes from the root word graft. What does it mean to graft something?

Farmers and the horticulture industry depend on every tree in their orchards to maximize production of the best fruit possible. That’s where grafting comes into play.

Growers use various grafting techniques to alter the fruit produced by their trees. They know which tree yields the lushest, fullest fruit. They will take a cutting from this “father” tree and use it to alter the growing characteristics of other inferior trees.

An incision is made into an inferior tree to make an opening where a cutting from the “father” tree can be inserted. The inferior tree, if left alone, will continue to produce fruit of its own poor nature; but when you graft in a cutting from the good tree, the poor tree will start growing branches and take on the new nature of the “father” tree. Once the grafting takes place, the poor tree will begin to produce good fruit just like that of the “father” tree.

In the same way, when God’s Word is engrafted into your heart, a change takes place. You begin to take on a new nature. The things you used to do in the flesh nature are past. With the engrafted Word of God, you begin producing a holy fruit that only comes from the nature of the Heavenly Father.

However, until the Word is engrafted in you, it won’t have the power to change you. A graft can’t just be laid on the surface; it must be placed in the deepest part of your being. There’s no way around it! You must be cut by the Word!

WOUNDED BY THE WORD!

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the Word of God…

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:37

They were pricked in their heart.

It’s not enough to just hear it or read it. The Word must prick your heart!

How many anointed sermons have you heard, straight from the Throne of God, yet you still remain unchanged? Maybe at the time, you were challenged and convicted in your spirit. Like the crowd on the day of Pentecost, you may have even asked “…what shall [I] do?” But you never followed through to allow the Word to be engrafted into your heart.

Why is it that our flesh resists the Word of God so?

They were pricked in their heart when they heard the Word (Acts 2:37). The word prick means to strike through violently. To be pricked is not just a little stick, but a violent stabbing to make a deep open wound.

That sounds painful!

The Word of God can’t be engrafted in you until it has wounded you. Naturally your flesh is going to rise up and resist any kind of discomfort or pain. Your flesh will hinder what the Word wants to accomplish in you, which is to completely change you into the image of Jesus Christ.

The cross of Calvary was very painful! It was no nursery rhyme experience and can’t be depicted as anything less than violent and gruesome. Jesus shed His blood and suffered a cruel torturous death for you and me! I’m sure His flesh cried out and resisted, but Jesus surrendered His will to the His Father’s will.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached and the people were pricked in their heart. The razor sharp Word cut and convicted them to ask “…what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Acts 2:38-39

It’s not easy to come face to face with your sin. However, once you hear the Word, you have a choice to make. You can either commit and be a doer of the Word, or you can walk away and remain unchanged.

Nobody wants to admit their guilt and wretchedness. Dealing with your own sin and shame is painful, but once you do you will be forever changed from glory to glory.

After hearing Peter preach the Word, the people were truly sorry for their sin and repented.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:41-42

They gladly received the Word and continued steadfastly. This means they were committed! They were in for the long haul, no stopping or getting off. The people weren’t content to just attend church: they were the church! The New Testament church wasn’t stagnant but growing and maturing to produce fruit…fruit from a heavenly source. Continuing means to go onto perfection to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every time you respond to God’s Word, God is cutting away the flesh and conforming you to the image of Jesus so that He can use you for His Honor and Glory! That sounds like a privileged opportunity to me…to be used by Almighty God.

Have you been cut to the heart lately? Even Jesus was pierced… But why did the soldiers have to pierce His side? Jesus was already dead! Wasn’t that enough?

33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

John 19:33-34

Recall Jesus is the second Adam. Where the first Adam failed and forfeited his position, the second Adam triumphed. In Genesis, God put a deep sleep on Adam, opened his side and pulled a rib from Adam in order to make him a bride.

Similarly, Jesus had to be pierced in His side so that God could make His Son a bride. If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, then that’s you! You and I are the bride of Christ: the Church. Every time we are cut by the Word, God is grafting us with the blood and flesh from the very side where Jesus was pierced.

I want to be a part of this church! I know Jesus, but don’t know that I will ever be worthy enough to be His bride. He has done so much for me, but I have absolutely nothing to offer Him!

Your right! We have nothing to offer God. But all He wants is you: surrendered, willing and obedient.

None of us can accomplish anything apart from Jesus Christ!

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

But if you and I, the branches, are grafted and abide in the vine, then we will bring forth fruit, not from our own flesh, but from Jesus Christ.

Is the Word engrafted in your heart? Just reading the Bible or listening to a sermon won’t change you. This may touch you and convict you, but that alone will not transform you into what God wants you to be.

You have to be willing to let the Word of God cut you! No matter how painful, let it pierce deep enough to search out your innermost being. Your flesh will resist, but receive the engrafted Word and release the power to change you into the image of Jesus Christ!

Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

SUBSCRIBE HERE
* indicates required



The dragon and The Lamb

Dragon and the Lamb - Sun May 1am

As gentle as a lamb…A lamb is a weak and defenseless creature. Yet throughout the Bible, Jesus is referred to as a lamb. It’s easy to understand this depiction when we think of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins…the Lamb for sinners slain!

But what about in the book of Revelation? Most of us know the book of Revelation is the end…the culmination of events when Jesus puts an end to the devil once and for all…the same devil who has done everything in his power to intimidate, tear down, and deceive as many Christians as he can.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…

Revelation 12:9

How is a defenseless little lamb going to be a match for a fire breathing dragon?

Stay tuned to this podcast episode to learn more about why you should cling to this little Lamb. Even though the circumstances and trials you are facing are bigger than you, you can rest in this Lamb of God! You don’t have to be smarter or more cunning than the devil! You don’t have to be bigger or stronger than the devil! You don’t have to rise equal with the devil because even when the devil brings his best, God only needs a little Lamb to defeat this dragon once and for all.

Digging Ditches

Digging Ditches

I just don’t understand! I’ve done everything I know to do, but nothing is working! How desperate are you? Are you willing to surrender all control and do things God’s way for a change? Will you follow the Lord, even if His way doesn’t seem to make any sense?

Sometimes God’s way doesn’t seem the most logical at the time. Naturally, we like to understand things and sometimes we get too smart for our own good. It’s hard to surrender to God when you are constantly trying to figure things out for yourself.

At some point, you have to trust God and stop leaning on your own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust God’s leading even when it doesn’t make sense!

In chapter 3 of II Kings, Jehoram and Jehoshaphat find themselves in a dry, barren wasteland facing a mighty enemy. One of the kings knows he can’t afford to lean on his own understanding. Even when God’s way doesn’t make sense to him he dares to trust God anyway.

The story begins when the king of Moab rises up and rebels against Jehoram, the king of Israel…

But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

Jehoram was a wicked king and “…wrought evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 3:2).

Although Jehoram was ungodly and leading Israel away from the things of God, he didn’t mind enlisting the help of a God fearing man.

Jehoram makes a plea to Jehoshaphat, the good king of Judah.

Will you help me fight the king of Moab? I don’t need your God, except when I’m in trouble. Aren’t we guilty of the same? We like to do things our way, follow our own plans, do our own thing until we are facing tragic circumstances. Then we are quick to call on the prayer warriors.

Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, and for whatever reason agreed to join forces with Jehoram to fight their common enemy, the Moabites. Maybe Jehoshaphat longed for the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah to be united once again.

I can almost picture Jehoram, frantic because his gods were failing him. He’s about to lose part of his kingdom and all the tribute from the king of Moab. The power and wealth that he put so much faith in, along with all the pleasures that it afforded him were fading away. He was distressed!

Jehoram must have relied on the calm, steady nature of Jehoshaphat for his faith was in a God that wouldn’t fail him.

And [Jehoram] said, Which way shall we go up? And [Jehoshaphat] answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

Jehoram, desperate to save himself, followed Jehoshaphat’s plan and went by way of Edom where they joined forces with the king of Edom.

Edom was a desert, barren land. Sadly, the Edomites were cursed to live in this unfertile land all because they were the descendants of Esau. It all started when Esau forfeited his birthright and blessing for a measly bowl of beans just to satisfy his own flesh (Genesis 25).

So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.

Talk about gloom and doom! These three kings were facing the mighty Moabite army, but now even more vulnerable, they were stranded in a barren wasteland with no water supply.

What do you do when all hope is gone and there’s nothing left to do? Most of us would say cry out to God for help. But Jehoram was wicked. Rather than humble himself and turn to God and repent, he mocks and blames God for their predicament…

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

However, Jehoshaphat trusted the One True God for everything, especially when there was no hope in sight. Jehoshaphat was committed to God not just in the best of times, but in the worst of times as well. He knew he had to seek the Lord for help and guidance, else all would be lost.

While Jehoram ranted and raved about their plight…

Jehoshaphat trusted the Lord! Let’s see what my God has to say!

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

So Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom went to the prophet Elisha to seek God’s will.

Can you imagine what Elisha must have thought when wicked Jehoram sought the advice from a prophet of the very God he had blatantly disregarded and disobeyed?

13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

You can feel the hostile sarcasm of Elisha when he asks Jehoram, “…What have I to do with thee?” Why don’t you go to the prophets of your mother and father? You know the ones you chose to serve instead of the Lord God Almighty. If the idols and false gods that satisfied your flesh were good enough before, why aren’t they good enough now?

Of course, Jehoram smugly replies, your God is no better, “…for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha agreed to seek God’s will, but made it perfectly clear it was not for the evil King Jehoram. Essentially, if it wasn’t for the godly King Jehoshaphat, Elisha “… would not look toward thee, nor see thee.” Thankfully, there are still people today like Jehoshaphat who have a testimony of living right to please God.

Elisha prayed for an answer and the Lord revealed His will…

16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.

Dig a ditch in the middle of a desert! Not just one ditch, but cover the whole valley full of ditches!

I can hear Jehoram…Really Elisha? That’s all you’ve got! You want us to dig ditches when we should be wielding a sword! How’s that going to defeat the enemy?

Like Jehoshaphat, are you willing to trust the Lord when it just doesn’t make sense?

17 For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

I’m sure they all had their doubts. We are facing an army! We have absolutely no water for the troops or our animals. There’s no clouds in the sky, no sign of rain whatsoever… so where’s the water going to come from?

Have you ever wondered how God would work all the mess out in your life? Are you facing decisions right now that you just aren’t prepared to make? Nothing catches God off guard!

18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

It’s nothing for the Lord, a light thing!

God will conquer the Moabites His way, and not by man’s devices. Put your swords down, pick up your shovel, and start digging!

God said dig a ditch, and He will fill it! If you do your part and obey, God will do the rest.

The Bible doesn’t tell us…but I wonder if Jehoram even picked up a shovel. Or was that just too humiliating…digging ditches in a desert? Really? Was Jehoram content to rest in his tent while Jehoshaphat did all the hard work?

I’m sure it wasn’t easy and Jehoshaphat may have struggled with feelings of resentment towards Jehoram. But Jehoshaphat knew he wasn’t digging ditches for Jehoram or himself. Jehoshaphat dug those ditches because God told him to! This work was for something greater than defeating the Moabites. This work was about the whole nation of Israel, bringing a divided kingdom together to witness the glory of God.

What are you willing to do to be in God’s will? Will you humbly dig a ditch when you’ve planned to wield a sword? God wants to use you to build His Kingdom, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. But it’s got to be His way…

Dig a ditch, and God will fill it!

20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

The water God promised came from Edom. Wait a minute! A miracle came from the barren, cursed wasteland of Edom. Never underestimate what God can do! He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Sometimes your hopeless situation, might turn out to be your next miracle.

God will provide! It may not be how you would have imagined. Trust God anyhow! He is in complete control of every situation you might be facing today and He is faithful to those that are committed to Him!

Okay, it all sounds good! I want to commit myself to God, but I am no king Jehoshaphat. If anything, I’ve been like wretched Jehoram. I don’t deserve a miracle! I’m in this mess because of my own rotten self. I chose this path and it’s only right that I suffer the consequences.

God will take your wretchedness, your mistakes, your faults, and turn all of it into a vessel of honor for Him, if you are willing.

None of us deserve God’s mercy, but He extends it anyway. Without Jesus Christ we all deserve an eternity in hell separated from God.

God wants to work miracles in and through your life, but the greatest miracle starts with knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, not because you deserve it, but because He loves you! God is full of mercy and compassion and wants to work everything out in your life for your good, and for His honor and glory.

The Moabite army assembled, put on their armor, and waited at their border for the battle to begin.

22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:

Miraculously, God angled the sun’s rays just right so that the water reflected red. The Moabites thought the ditches were full of the blood of the three kings and their armies.

23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.

The Moabites reasoned, surely everyone’s dead. The spoils are ours for the taking and we don’t even have to fight for it. And they proceeded down into the camp …

24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.

The Moabites were defeated! Not by man’s way! But God’s way, with a valley full of ditches!

What about your life? Are you facing enemies right now wondering how you are going to make it through? Sickness, cancer, depression, … relationship problems, financial struggles, and the list goes on and on…You worry and wonder how it’s all going to work out.

Do you want to see God move? Then provide the vessel… Dig a ditch to hold the outpouring and God will fill it up to overflowing.

If you need a miracle, God needs a ditch to fill! If you need salvation… He’s the Savior! If you want to be filled… He’s the Baptizer! If you are sick… He’s the healer.

Whatever you have need of, God is willing and able to meet your need. But if you never dig the ditch, how can you expect God to fill it?

Commit yourself to God! Set time aside for prayer! Turn the TV off and read God’s word! Fast a meal or two! Walk in the Spirit! Live a life to please God!

God said to make the valley full of ditches, not just a little hole in front of your tent. But cover the entire community with ditches. The work of God is not just about you… Miracles don’t just happen so my circumstances change. The power of God is demonstrated to point souls to Jesus Christ! An outpouring of God’s Spirit is about building God’s Kingdom and bringing glory to God.

We want an outpouring of God, but are we willing to pick up a shovel and dig some ditches to receive it? When you’re desperate for God, you will dig…But you don’t have to wait for a tragedy to seek the Lord.

Break out that shovel that you used a long time ago when you first got saved. Recall that moment when you first cried out to Jesus. Remember when you were desperate for something this world couldn’t offer.

Pick up that shovel and start digging ditches. Be committed and faithful to God’s work. Don’t question His way. Just dig, and dig, until the miraculous outpouring of God comes.

If you’ve enjoyed this message take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also subscribe to receive new content as soon as it is published.

* indicates required