Greetings once again from Pastor Bob and The Encouraging Word!
I trust you are blessed and highly favored of the LORD. Or should I say I hope you all know that you are blessed and highly favored of the LORD because if you have put your trust in Him you are most blessed indeed.
I have been looking forward to writing this preamble ramble for a while now. THe message was written a couple of days ago and there has been so much more taken place since then. First let me go ahead and tell you the title or theme of today's encouragement: It is about how much you really do make a difference. The title is "What Difference Does it Make?..... A Monumental Difference!!!" I am talking about how much difference your faith does or should make in your daily lives. I really think that if you have the faith as small as a grain of mustard seed... you can and are even now changing the world. The monumental part is about our trip this past week into Washington D.C. Your life is a living monument. What you do today determines the legacy you leave tomorrow.
And Talking about monumental things. Today is a monumental day in my sister Maleia's life. She turns 50 today and the great thing is that it is not a black balloon day for her it is a day of new beginnings. She is going back to college, getting in shape, looking a life with a whole new positive, inspired, on fire, determination... You go girl!!!! Happy birthday Maleia, I love you very much!!!!
That should be an inspiration to all of us, no matter how young or old you arc, let today me a monumental day where you decide to go for you dreams. Dream big. And like my friend Nickalo the Juggler always says.... "If you shoot for the moon and miss you are still amongst the stars!!!"
Wow! After a preamble ramble like that how can the message top it? Oh I know because it contains God's Word in it. His Word is eternal and true. We all could use a little bit more of His word in our lives. There is so much that I would love to talk to you about but I know how important your time is so I will not take it up with stories of my life. But I do have to tell you about Stone Mountain Georgia. TALK ABOUT MONUMENTAL! Stone Mountain is the worlds largest granite mountain. It is huge and on the side of it is carves a monument of the confederacy. It is a sculpture of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. All three riding on horse back. And at night they show the world largest lazer light show on the mountain...... All I can say is Wow.... If you ever get the chance to go to the Atlanta area, don't miss Stone Mountain.... For my monumental occasion I climbed the MOuntain.... But let me save that story for another time..... Maybe that will be next weeks encouragement.... "I have been to the mountain!" lol...
Ok, That is enough, if not too much ramble in this preamble...... What does that mean anyway?
Let's just get into the word and be blessed... Join me for a moment in prayer and enjoy today's Encouraging Word!
Heavenly Father, LORD God, We come before your throne seeking your mercy and grace. Each of us... I am a sinner in need of a savior and I thank you for providing a way were there did not seem to be a way. Father search my heart and cleanse me. Touch me and heal me. Let your Spirit dwell richly within me and fill me to the overflowing with the fullness our love. Reveal to those who do not know you the power of your resurrection and the strength of your never ending love. Bless this message today and anoint it to my reading. Change my heart and use me for your glory. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Let's get into the Word.
What Difference Does It Make?
A Monumental Difference!!!!
(Joshua 4:5-7 KJV) And he said to them, Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of Jordan, and let every one of you take up a stone on his back, one for every tribe of the children of Israel: So that this may be a sign among you; when your children say to you in time to come, What is the reason for these stones? Then you will say to them, Because the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the Lord's agreement; when it went over Jordan the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones will be a sign for the children of Israel, keeping it in their memory for ever.
As you know last week my family and I had the opportunity to go on vacation. We first went to my sister-In-Law’s wedding in Pennsylvania. Then we spent a couple o days in our Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C. It was a great experience. I have been there a couple of times before but I do not think I took as much notice of the monuments as I did this time. We visited the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument, and then went through the Viet Nam War Monument and the Korean War Monument.
The emotions that these monuments stirred up with in me were rather unexpected. You know how sometimes you think you have grown more callus then you really have and the pain of thousands of years of history slaps you in the face and you realize that you are here for something more than to take up time and space. Each of us need to pick up a rock from the Jordan River of our lives and build a memorial that other’s passing through life’s stormy sea will see and know that they too can not only make it through but make a difference.
My initial question was what difference does it make? I want us all to think about our faith and ask ourselves what difference it makes in our daily lives. I know that a lot of people reading this over the Internet are not Christians but no matter what you are, even if you are agnostic that is your faith. So, today whether you are Jew or Christian or Buddhist, or Moslem, or Agnostic or Atheist, or whatever, look at what you believe and think about what real difference it makes in your life. Then even more so, what type of monument are you leaving behind?
(And for those of you who have not found the truth I challenge you to seek it. Truth will hold up under all inquiry. What I am trying to tell you is that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Him. ..... Seek the truth and it will find you!)
As I was reading the above scripture I could not help notice one very important fact that took place before the crossing of the Jordan River. I want us to look at this and use it as a template of how we can go forward in our own lives.
The people had come through a lot and just as they now get to the River Jordan their leader dies and someone new steps up and tells them to do the impossible. Have you ever faced an impossible situation. Maybe you are facing one now. The first thing you have to know is that turning back is not an option. Time and time again the Israelites complained about their situation in the wilderness and wanted to rather go back into slavery then to go on.
Do not turn back! Do not give in! do not give up on the promise land before you. You may not even be able to see the promise, some of you may not even know that the promise is yours. I am here to remind you, to tell you that there is great things in store for you right across the river.
(Joshua 3:13 KJV) And when the feet of the priests who take up the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters of Jordan will be cut off, all the waters flowing down from higher up, and will come together in a mass.
What did the children of Israel have to do. They had to step out in faith. The waters did not part until they put their feet in the river. I heard a great song on the radio while we were driving this past week. It said something about how you can’t walk on water unless you get out of the boat.
But what difference does it make. What difference did the faith of these Israelites crossing the river make? Well, it made all the difference in the world. Every time you step out on faith you are changing the world.
Last week I talked about the difference between truth and faith. Today I want to talk about the importance of faith. Because without faith we would do nothing. Without faith you could not trust the ground you walk upon or the chair you sit in. You put faith in the car starting in the morning. You put faith in the light turning on when you flick the switch. You put faith in a lot of things that not only do you not know how they work but you really don’t have any control over.
What is the Spirit of the Lord saying to us today? Is God asking you to step out on faith and trust him? Is God trying to let you know that He has great plans for your life? Is the Spirit of the LORD telling us that we can make a difference and leave behind us a better world for our children and our children’s children to live in? Yes, all of that and a whole lot more.
The problem is our lack of faith. We spend more time on cutting down faith then we spend putting faith in anything. We cut down other peoples faith. We cut down peoples dreams. We cut down people’s hopes and desire in the name of reality. We look at the world and see a very scary and deadly place full of hate and fear. We see war and murder, we see rape and killing and theft and dishonesty. All of that is our reality. Yet we never look across the river and see the promise land. We forget about how good life really is. We pay no attention to the love that we have in our own family. We neglect the blessings that we so abundantly hold already.
Looking at the monuments in Washington this past week I was first awakened by all the death and war and pain. It wasn't’t until days later that I began to realize the bigger picture. Life is good! That is what the tour guide said. He was talking to a group of students at the monument for the nurses in the Viet Nam War. He told the students to remember this one thing…….. “That Life is Good.”
That is why all these people fought and died. They gave their lives so that we could enjoy this wonderful gift of life. I remember the inscription on the Korean War Monument:
"OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET"
Life is worth fighting for. And a better tomorrow is worth working hard for today. One small note that I happened to notice as I walked along the Viet Nam War Monument touched me the most. As you know the monument is a wall engraved with the names of the soldiers killed in the war. People usually come and get an impression of their loved one’s name off the wall. Some leave flowers some leave small American flags. The day I walked by there was a card that simply read. “Happy Father’s Day Dad, Thank You!”
Wow! When you stop to think what some men and women have given so we can enjoy life. Not only should it make us want to give our best also it should encourage us to enjoy the life so many paid their all to give us.
So now let’s get back to those rocks in the river Jordan.
(Joshua 4:20-24 BBE) And the twelve stones which they took out of Jordan, Joshua put up in Gilgal. And he said to the children of Israel, When your children say to their fathers in time to come, What is the reason for these stones? Then give your children the story, and say, Israel came over this river Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God made the waters of Jordan dry before you till you had gone across, as he did to the Red Sea, drying it up before us till we had gone across: So that all the peoples of the earth may see that the hand of the Lord is strong; and that they may go in fear of the Lord your God for ever.
The monument set up by Joshua was to teach the children of the goodness of God. The stones built up were to show the world that God is able to do the impossible. And if He did it once, He can do it again. If He did it for them, He will do it for you!
So what am I telling you today. I am telling you first that God is able. He is able to give you the promise land. He is able to part the flood waters. He is able to see you through. I am also telling you that by stepping out in faith not only will you discover the goodness of God but your life will become a living monument. You are even right now living stones being built up. You are making a difference.
(1Peter 2:5) You, as living stones, are being made into a house of the spirit, a holy order of priests, making those offerings of the spirit which are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.
The last monument we walked through was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s. It was a beautiful monument to a man who did a lot for this country. Some would say that he brought in big government ,while others will say he brought us out of the great depression. It does not matter what you thought of the man or his work what matters is where we are today and where we are going tomorrow. In this monument there were many of his great saying, like “All we have to fear is fear itself.” And the one about the New deal, but the one that struck me the most and the one I will end with today is this.
"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith."
You think about that!!!!! Amen