Scriptures: Joshua 7:2-13, Joshua 8:30-35
Life is a series of mistakes, but you can organize victories out of mistakes! We can live in defeat or we can learn from it. Failure can be the back door to success when we seek forgiveness, and get back on track.
Remember that God does not permanently withdraw His blessings: God does not forsake His children! He uses our mistakes to help us grow.
To move ahead we must decide not to repeat the same mistakes: listen to God and obey fully. Allow God to speak and then follow His direction. Humans have a tendency to overestimate themselves and underestimate their enemy!
Recovering lost ground is painful and costly. Thirty-six men lost their lives in the defeat at Ai; Israel had walked outside the will of God. God can turn a blunder into a blessing. Build an altar: as the law was being read to Israel, Joshua was having an altar built. Sin was identified and dealt with. Let God turn your blunders into blessings.
Scriptures: Colossians 2:13-15
There are signs that a person is alive: breathing, moving and even hurting. To be a spiritually alive a person is more than just present naturally but also spiritually.
There are signs that a person is alive in Christ, we will study five today:
1) A person alive in Christ lives a lifestyle of forgiveness- It's living in betterness: having a higher quality of life. Letting go of bitterness and embracing joy. Righteousness is overcoming resentment; its: calm verses anger, a generous spirit versus a prideful spirit and love versus hatred. Its living a life of giving and receiving forgiveness.
2) A person alive in Christ has their record cancelled: sin leaves a record, but when we are alive in Christ our sin record has been cancelled! God forgives the past so that we can move on into a vibrant future: we need to be thankful and full of gratitude for a clean record!
3) A person alive in Christ has a positive outlook on the future- A person alive in Christ knows what the cross has done for them, they remember that they are on their way to heaven! They accept the power of Calvary and know that God directs the future.
4) A person alive in Christ lives for God outside the church doors- their entire life shows and displays their faith and dedication to the Kingdom. They allow God to disarm them and remove the carnal behaviors. The Bible tells us that: "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." We know that we are alive in Christ when we do not go to our old weapons, or old ways to deal with situations! God has forgotten the "old" versions of us, we need too as well!
5) A person alive in Christ expects a victory- It's living life preparing for good: living as a happy and blessed Christian! It's having a living, breathing, moving and challenging prayer life.
Scriptures: Exodus 4:1-5
What is available for you to use? For Moses it was a rod or a walking stick, what made it special was that it already belonged to Moses. God did not ask Moses to offer something he did not have, plus God did not give Moses something else to use. He used what Moses already had in his hands!
What can seem insignificant in our eyes can be the very thing God wants to use! What you have, when God gets in it, becomes more than enough. It can even surprise you, Moses fled from the serpent, but when God gets into something it's not the same! Only God can make a donkey speak, a rock give water, an axe head float and a little pot of oil multiply.
The rod symbolizes something weak compared to the task God assigned Moses. From a human view there was no life in the road, but once Moses released his rod the power of God came into it. What are you holding onto that God can use? The rod became a symbol of God's authority.
Are you underestimating God? The world's favorite saying is: "here is how it works," but with God things do not work the way world claims! In the Bible the disciples brought five loaves and two fishes to Jesus, and assumed that the hungry people would not be fed. But Jesus took that little boy's lunch and fed 5,000 people! Jesus spoke of mountain moving power. Our minds cannot comprehend this because we cannot accomplish this through our own strength and knowledge. We have to let go of what we have been told, taught, experienced and expect: only faith activates the power to move mountains. What belongs to you that God wants to use? What is in your hands?
Scriptures: 2 Kings 2:1-11
In these verses we read that Elijah had asked Elisha three times to stay a certain place as he traveled on his journey. But it seems that Elisha was clinging to Elijah, could it be that Elisha was having a hard time letting go? Maybe he was fearful of what life would be like without Elijah? The chariot of fire parted them both asunder.
Elisha had to accept the reality of the moment. Life is full of changes! It was time for Elijah to be taken up, it was Elisha's time! It was Elisha's time to lead, to confront, to do miracles and to proclaim the will of God.
Elisha had to let go and move forward. To move forward God may have to separate us from what we cling to! God may put us in a place where others are watching from distance. Elisha would have Elijah's cloak, the symbol of anointing, but not Elijah. Elisha had to let go of the man to gain his anointing! It was now Elisha's time to demonstrate that God's power lives on in his people's lives.
Elisha had to choose to move forward. He had to choose what would determine his future. Would he concentrate on what he lost? Or would he choose what he was gaining? Elisha went back to the same river where Elijah had just experienced a miracle of God, but not he had gone looking for God instead of Elijah! "He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over."
So how does it apply to us? Because it is your time! Life is changing. It's the church's time to stand strong, to lead, to confront sin, to do exploits and proclaim the will of the Lord. It is your time to demonstrate that God's power lives in you. It is time to determine your future, will you live each day with regrets or will you go looking for God?