This is the presentation I shared at the Ziglar Monday Morning Devotion on January 14th, 2013. Look for the audio available soon on Spreaker.com.
Can I be completely transparent?
Can I share the kind of things that hurt people and embarrass people?
Can I trust you with my pain?
I have been a relentless pursuer of the faith just little more than half of my life at this point. The first half, I was nothing short of a wretch. In all honesty, I was everything the accuser says of us all. I was a liar, a leach, overcome by lust, overwhelmed by pain in my life, much of it caused by the filth in my own heart and as a result I saw many great relationships, or encounters that could have been relationships pass me by in shame and with them went many opportunities to be blessed.
I have been hurt in the forms of physical and verbal abuse, sexual assault, and the feelings of abandonment after my Dad and step Dad left my life before I was 11. My Mom worked hard and did all she could to be Mom and Dad, but in the end, the lack of a strong male role model and the absence of spiritual leadership in my life left me all to myself, free to do as I pleased. My own wicked heart and behavior led me down a path of destruction. And in the wake, I left a path of emotional and relational destruction a mile wide and easily as deep.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (2 Peter 2:19 KJV)
There was a season in my life when I hated me! I couldn’t believe that anyone would or could love me. There were enemies crying out for my destruction, but they all lived inside of me…
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. (Psalms 55:1-7 KJV)
By the acts of my own sin: anger, lust, manipulation, and lack of self control I caused irreversible pain in the lives of people who loved and trusted me.
Please tell me I am the only one who has hurt so many people!
I wish it was true. I know it is not. We have all surrendered to the flesh, given in to the sin in our heart and allowed our mistakes to damage others. Have we not?
Since the beginning of my walk with Christ I have been overwhelmed, overcome and passed by even still. Haven’t you?
In the past I was easily overwhelmed by fear, by pain and by shame. Way too often I was overcome with sin and more likely to be passed by, than to get a second glance from those whose attention I craved.
But now I am overwhelmed with Mercy, overcome by Grace and it is the Holy Spirit who often passes by brushing my heart and mind with the knowledge that I am loved deeply and sought after by a relentlessly loving Father.
I have two gorgeous daughters who still sit in my lap and ask me to hold them. I have two strong young men, my sons who are both manly and vulnerable. They are real boys, one minute wise, bold, courageous gentlemen rushing to the aid of a stranger and the next mischievous little boys dumping pepper sauce in each others drink. But they expect, no demand, my attention – part provider, part wrestling dummy – always Dad. And grace upon grace my wife of more than 18 years who has stood by me in 15 moves, 20 different jobs, repossessions, foreclosures, addictions and more. I have learned to love and be loved – by her.
I am overwhelmed that God chose me, even a wretch like me, to be the man of this household. I am overcome with emotion when I reckon with myself the chances that my life could be so blessed after all I have done so horribly wrong. And each day that has passed by is proof again that He is a wise and loving God, whose ways I may never understand, who always has my back when no one else is at my side.
Knowing this demands of me an Insuperable Faith: a faith that cannot be overwhelmed, overcome or passed by.
Here are three things we all must know in the depths of our very soul to possess an INSUPERABLE FAITH:
1. INSUPERABLE FAITH will NOT be OVERWHELMED in the face of great trouble.
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Blessed be the Lord , who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord , who made heaven and earth. (Psalms 124:1-4, 6-8 KJV)
When we understand that we cannot even ask or imagine, in fact, it has never entered the mind of man what The Father has in store for those who are found faithful!
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:7-10 KJV)
2. INSUPERABLE FAITH will NOT be OVERCOME by the ways of the world or the weight of our sin.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 KJV)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:33 AMP)
We will OVERCOME the Evil One by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14 KJV)
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10, 11 KJV)
3. INSUPERABLE FAITH will not be PASSED BY with faces in the cleft of the rock to behold His Glory only as it leaves. While no man can see the “face of God and live” the Kingdom of God is among us, within us!
Moses said, “Please. Let me see your Glory.” God said, “I will make my Goodness pass right in front of you; I’ll call out the name, God , right before you. I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I’ll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.” God continued, “But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.” God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.” (Exodus 33:18-23 MSG)
When we seek His Face He will find us in the darkest places. He will pursue us even to the Gates of Hell. He will take us back again and again, because His Son once walked this way on our behalf.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:26, 27 KJV)
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me. (Colossians 1:26-29 MSG)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God ‘s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”— God ‘s Decree—”bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (Jeremiah 29:12-14 MSG)
My friends our resolve will be tested. Our love will be challenged. Our wisdom will be questioned. Our hope will be mocked. Our faith will be tried.
But we will choose to seek!
We will choose to fight the good fight!
We will not be overwhelmed by this world, overcome by sin, or passed by when He comes into His Kingdom… Because His Kingdom has already COME INTO US!
Let your faith arise and your enemies be scattered. Get an attitude of INSUPERABLE FAITH!
“I will not be overwhelmed, overcome or passed by.”