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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1052

Basic Traininge
Part One

December 2, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1052 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise the Lord! I’ve had some thoughts that are very much, I believe, in harmony with what we’ve been singing about, and what I believe the desire is that the Lord has imparted to many of us…that we are in a place where God is actually doing monumental changes. And they’re not always the ones that we can see on the outside, but they’re real changes that are at the heart level. And that’s necessary.

You know, the other day I just happened on an article online in which a brother was talking about a lot of Christians believing and feeling like they’re in a place in the wilderness. And, there’s a lot of truth in that. It’s a scriptural principle, isn’t it? We’re not exactly in the world, but we sure aren’t in Canaan.

And, that comes in two different flavors. You had the Israelites who, in the first place, were called out of Egypt into the wilderness to go to Canaan. But later on you had a captivity, didn’t you? They wound up in Babylon. And you read the Psalms about how can we…we hung our harps in the willow trees, and how can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

I think a lot of folks…there’s a lot of believers in the world that feel like they’re in a strange land, and they’re wanting, they’re desiring, they’re seeing that God has something more, and they’re reaching in that direction, but they sort of feel like, I’m out here in no-man’s land here. What’s going on?

But I’ll tell you, I believe, with all my heart, that that is what’s going on and that’s what God is doing and it’s deliberate, and it’s with reason that He does what He does. We’ve talked many times about the lessons of the wilderness and why God took His people there. Certainly one of the biggest reasons has to do with something that we’ve talked about before, and that’s this individualism that we are cursed with, especially in western culture. We are little ‘islands unto ourselves’ of individual self-will. It’s me and my rights and my independent ‘I can do as I please’ kind of spirit.

And, you know, there’s an awful lot of that in the Israelites when He brought them out, wasn’t there? And, in fact, there were several places in their history and in God’s dealings with them, where the Lord had to say, we’re not going to do like we’ve been doing…and how had they been doing? Every man, whatsoever was right…

( congregational response ).

…In his own eyes. There was an independence. And, we’ve sort of talked about this in terms of ‘restaurant religion’ being a characteristic of what is called the Christian church in America. But another way to put it is ‘filling station’ religion. A lot of people think of their lives with God as a very private thing, very individual, very separate…it’s just me and Jesus on the Jericho Road, and church to me is just a place to go get tanked up. And whoever has got the best special at any given time, or place I get used to going, or 1,001 things…there’s no real connection. The church is just a place to go get a little bit of fuel for the road, but basically it’s just me and my thing.

I’ll tell you, God had something and has something a whole lot more in mind for His people than that kind of a picture. You look at, as I say, the Israelites, when they came out of Egypt, they were a rag-tag bunch. They had their little gardens and all, but they were slaves. There was a great deal of Egypt in them. They just had so much that made them really unfit to inherit what God had promised them. God had a lot of work to do and they didn’t realize it. They thought, well, we’re coming out. God’s gonna give us a wonderful land. Look at the wonderful deliverance at the Red Sea. Boy, this is gonna be great!

And, of course, God began to lead them through a terrible wilderness for a reason, to do something, to make changes in their lives. But you look at the picture…jump ahead to Joshua — and I realize it’s kind of an imperfect picture because they were very imperfect people and continued to have their troubles — but you look at them and you discover a people that after the wilderness experience, were able to actually operate as an army. They could take orders. Scary!

They actually had commanders who…and God gave the battle plan! They didn’t have to say, well, I think we ought to do it this way…no, I think…I’m gonna take a band, I’m gonna go here…no! There was no independent action. God gave a plan that was one of the strangest battle plans in all the history of warfare. March around the city.

Well, they had enough knowledge of God and enough discipline that God had worked in their spirits that they were able to actually submit and march around that city for seven days, and then seven times the last day, and then shout! And I’ll tell you, they found out they had a God who was fighting for them…they won a great victory! And God simply tore down all the defenses. And He’d already gone ahead and worked in the hearts of the people to make them afraid.

You know, what a difference there was in the people that actually marched into the land and those who’d come out of Egypt. Well, that’s kind of what God is doing in us. There is a lot of the world in us. There’s a lot of religion in us. We have come from all kinds of backgrounds. And God is absolutely building an army. And…you’ll notice when they came out of Egypt, one of the things it says was that God did not lead them, I believe it was, by the way of the Philistines…anyway, over on the coastal road, the short-cut to the Promised Land…didn’t lead them that way! Who remembers why?

( congregational response ).

That’s exactly it! They knew that if they went that way, there was gonna be a fight. And they weren’t ready for that. They had enough trouble when the Amalekites attacked them when they were near Sinai there. They had that one battle. But for the most part they were alone in the wilderness with God. And the thing is, God was first dealing with them. They weren’t ready for a battle until God got them ready, and then you see the focus turn outward. God’s got a hold of me now. Now I can be an instrument for what God wants to do. And so now, give me a sword and let me go.

You know, I had this illustration come to my mind and I’m probably the least of people here to be using this because I was never in the military. So R.J. is free to correct me and some of you others that have been in the military. But, before you stick a gun in somebody’s hand, you have something you have called basic training. There’s a lot more to it than that, but let’s just over-simplify it. And you know, those of us who haven’t been in the military, it’s not at all like Gomer Pyle…

( laughter ).

…Or Private Benjamin–whatever, some of these other silly things. But I think we’ve heard enough and seen enough to get the general idea of what that’s all about. Suppose they were recruiting people for the army and they went in and signed their name on the dotted line, and raised their hand, whatever they do…they swore to defend the…whatever it is they do, they’re in now. And suppose they just said, all right, here’s a gun, we’ve got a little skirmish going on in Afghanistan. Now I want you to go take care of it.

Picture the chaos of everybody…you have certain groups get together and say, well, let’s get together…we’re gonna band together. You’ve got others that call their travel agent and ‘how do I get to Afghanistan?’ You know, it would just be total confusion.

But I don’t know, there’s a lot of religion like that. We’re not ready to take on some of the things that God has for us. And, until we realize where we’re truly at, we’re gonna sit here in the wilderness. But I believe God has more for us, don’t you? But you know what the problem was that the Lord revealed in various places in the Word…He says, the Israelites saw My acts, but Moses knew My ways. But the other scripture I was thinking of is in Hebrews 3 where it talks about, they have never learned my ways. Well, what were they going by then, if they didn’t learn the Lord’s ways?

( congregational response ).

Their own way! Now how many of us have really, really, really learned God’s ways? Do you suppose that some of the things that He is bringing, He’s engineering in our lives has something to do with getting rid of our ways? He has to put us in some drastic circumstances sometimes. Every one of us, in one way or another, we are addicted to our own way of thinking! I mean, you think about the whole principle of God having to transform us, how?

( congregational response ).

Renewing of what?

( congregational response ).

Our mind! Our mind has to do with how we think, and how we see things, and how we look at things. Every one of us has a point of view, and to us it’s right! You know, someone mentioned this morning in the men’s meeting about how we all approach life with glasses. Well, those glasses are a filter!

Now some of you remember the silly illustration in that…when I was talking about Genesis down in Florida about the blue sunglasses. And I put them on, and it was obvious everything was blue! I mean, there’s no argument here. There it is! It’s blue! Well why was it blue? Because I had a set of glasses on.

But every one of us here has a set of glasses. We have been programmed by family, by environment, by constitution, by 1,001 things in the experiences of our lives to see life through a certain lens. And God has to absolutely break down our wills and our point of view so that we learn to see things through God’s point of view. How many know what I’m talking about?

( congregational amens ).

You’ve run up onto issues and you’ve suddenly realized, hey, I’m not really looking at this like God sees it. It might be somebody that you’ve got some strong feelings about, and then suddenly you realize, hey, God loves them just as much as He loves me. You see? I mean, it’s such a simple thing as that. But our lives are full of those things, and until we get off our high horse and say, God, I don’t know anything as I ought to know it, you know, we’re not really candidates to be part of the Lord’s army. God has got to get us in there and do something.

And you know, in basic training, again I’m looking at it as an outsider, but they literally rip you out of your background and isolate you. For a long period of time, you don’t get to go off base and have a big time and do your thing. You are there, you do things their way, or you’re gonna have a tough time. Is that about right?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! You know, there’s the right way, and the ‘army way,’ is the joke, I guess. But you’re gonna learn things the army way, or you’re gonna really, really have a hard time. And they’re gonna come down on you until you knuckle under and submit your stinking, little prideful self-will! You’re gonna wear your hair the way they say. You’re going to make your bed the way they say, and by God, you’d better bounce a quarter off of it. You know, you better shine your shoes exactly right.

There’s reasons for that…those things that sound silly to us from the outside world. What do you mean? There’s all kinds of ways to shine shoes. What’s the big deal. But I’ll tell you, there’s a reason for every bit of that. If they’re gonna have a fighting force that’s actually gonna be effective to do what they’ve been called to do, if you will, you can’t have this little individualism where I do things my way and you do things your way, and everybody’s cool. Everybody’s got to do it together.

And so, if God is…if you’re having a hard time in your life right now, and you’re frustrated and you want to change this, and you can’t…maybe God’s trying to talk to you! You know, how many times have we said recently the simple fact that God is the ‘Arranger’ of our circumstances? God is! And until we see Him as deliberately, consciously arranging our lives, not to harm us, but to do us good, we’re gonna be like Paul, bucking against the pricks!

That’s what the Lord said when He confronted Paul. And you almost get the feeling that maybe the Lord had been trying to talk to Paul. You know, he was there holding the coats of the people who stoned Stephen? And he heard Stephen praying for those who were stoning him. That had to be a witness to him! But Paul…oh his religion and his religious convictions were so strong that he just closed his ears to that, went on, and became a raging force against the believers!

But when the Lord came to him and finally revealed Himself on the road to Damascus, was it? Paul, it’s hard for you to kick against the pricks. He said, I’ve arranged things and you’re just constantly…you’re hurting yourself. All this self-will, you’re striving against me—you’re fighting against me.

How many of us today are fighting against God? And we need to back off and say, Lord, help me. You know, Chip read that scripture the other night about…what is God’s will? How many of you want God’s will? Well, I’ll recall the scripture that he read. I’ll have to read it, I guess. Don’t get old.

( laughter ).

1st Thessalonians 5, verse 16. “Be joyful always…” (NIV). Well, now how many of you obey that one? A little three word scripture—we can’t even handle a three word scripture, we’re in…you know, what kind of Christians are we? “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Do you want to know what God’s will is? That’s a good place to start. Recognizing God’s loving hand, regardless of how it comes, and it usually comes…the things that make real changes in our lives, don’t come easy. They have to confront the things that are wrong with us, just like the fellows in basic training. That Sergeant has got to break that individualism that absolutely stands in the way of his being an effective soldier.

Well, God has got the same things to do in us. And the very best way we can help ourselves and not kick against the pricks is to say, thank You, Lord. That’s a starting point. Lord, I don’t get this. I don’t understand it. I don’t know how long it’s gonna go on. I don’t know how You’re working all this out, but I do recognize one thing! Your hand is in this. You have done it! You’ve done it because You love me, not because You hate me. And so I thank You—thank You.

You know, I had a letter that was a blessing…more than one, but one in particular that I’m thinking about from a prisoner who was struggling with his own circumstances. He was trying to serve the Lord and be faithful. And he wound up in a prison that was just a pain in the neck. It was the last place he wanted to be. It was just strife and drama all the time. And he just was complaining and fussing…God, get me out of this. This is not right.

( groaning in frustration ).

Just like we do. You don’t have to be in prison to experience those things. We all have our little prisons wherever we’re at. But anyway, this is the circumstance he was in, and I felt like the Lord laid it on my heart in the last issue before this one that’s just coming out to publish the message “How Long, Oh Lord?” And we had the transcript, so it was pretty easy to go ahead and turn that into an article.

And he said, that hit the spot. He got a hold of that and he realized how he’d been praying. He said, Lord, here’s the solution. How long? Come on, get with it here. I’m getting impatient with this…until he learned to say, okay Lord, not my will, but Yours. I just surrender this whole thing. It doesn’t matter. If you want me to stay here, praise Your name, I’m just giving it all over into Your hands.

And of course, as soon as he did that, what happened? Peace settled in his heart. He was at rest, and he really almost kind of forgot about it. He just kind of put it on the shelf, and all of a sudden, one day…hey, are you so-and-so? Come with me. Get your stuff. Where are we going? Anyway…to make a long story short, he wound up in a much better situation where the security was much less, not that he was trying to escape. But you understand, there was a lot less difficult circumstances. He actually was able to work on a job and he was just rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness. But none of that came until he was willing just to submit his will.

That’s what God is working in every one of us. Will we truly submit our wills? We say, Lord, use me, like we sang a while ago. But, we’d be a lot like those raw recruits who were handed a gun and told to find their way to Afghanistan and fight. It wouldn’t do any good! God has got to make us…got to bring us under discipline. And He’s got to break that stubborn, independent self-will that we are every one cursed with. It’s just part of our condition. Until we’re willing to be honest and say, my circumstances are not the problem. I’m the problem. It’s not what’s happening around me!

There’s always gonna be something! If you’ve got…you’d be spoiled if you had everything just like you like it. But if weren’t this, it would be something else, because God is not gonna give up making the changes in you that He needs to make…and me. And when He does make those changes in us, we’re gonna come to a place where we understand and appreciate Him.

My God, our own way. Isn’t that the essence of sin? “…We have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (KJV). Praise God! You know, it’s not that we have to go one…we don’t have to wallow in guilt about all this. We’ve got the cross always—always, we’ve got a way that we can be one with God! But I’ll tell you, if we’re gonna be one with Him in a functional sense, we’re gonna have to learn to submit and humble ourselves starting right where we’re at and just say, Lord, I am Yours. You ‘are’ the Potter and I ‘am’ the clay, and by Your grace, I’m gonna be the clay.

And I’m not gonna be the clay…with a glum, aggravated look on my face. I’m gonna say, thank You, Lord. What a privilege it is! I could never make myself into anything, and it would all come to nothing in the end, but I have the privilege of having the God of the universe take a personal interest in me, and make me something that’s unique and special, and yet part of something larger than myself. Praise God!

And so the humbling and the breaking of doing things our way is certainly a major, major, major part of basic training. And you know, you could look at it and say, well, this is really crazy. We’re all different individuals and here we’re all forced to do things…we’re forced together with people we don’t like! We’re forced together to do things in sometimes a silly way, you know, the ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ syndrome that you hear about. There’s 1,001 things that don’t make sense, but yet if you submit to it, it accomplishes something that nothing else would accomplish.

I don’t know this from any kind of experience, as I say, but I suspect that a lot of the things that are done and the way they’re done are not done because they make sense. They’re done for a reason. Would that be a fair statement? They’re done to produce discipline. Well, we don’t have discipline! That doesn’t come naturally. Self-will comes naturally. We are reactive creatures. We are a bundle of desires and those desires are contrary to God—contrary to His ways! And if God doesn’t do something to intervene, we will simply become slaves! We will live our lives as slaves to those desires! Well, that’s Egypt! God’s got to get us out of there! But oh, how easy it is when something comes along, to look back and suddenly Egypt sounds pretty good. Isn’t that what happened?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. They got out there and they got tired of the way that God was feeding them. Forget the miracle of His mercy in feeding them. Oh I…remember how good those onions tasted? Yeah, I know it was rough back there, but we had a garden. You know, when they left Egypt they had to leave their gardens, didn’t they? They had to leave their homes. They had to leave everything. They had to be willing to live in tents!

And you know, they didn’t even get to put the tent where they wanted. How many of you remember that? I mean, they…when God established the order in the nation of Israel, He had them build a tabernacle. Now He didn’t say, okay now y’all build me a tabernacle. Let’s see what you can come up with. There were very specific instructions. You do things My way. It’s just to be so long. You sew this to this. You decorate this with this…everything was exactly…see that you build it according to the pattern.

You know, do you believe God has those kinds of truths for us today? Do you think they have some relevance for us? We are a collection of individuals from every kind of background just about, that you can think of. We’ve got folks that are educated and folks that know better. They don’t have a lot of natural education. And God puts us all together and he loves every one of us just the same! We’ve got folks from the north, and the south, and the west, and who knows where.

But you know, when we come to Christ, God takes all of that diversity and He builds us into something that is wonderful and real. And the glorious thing, even though we have to surrender all that independent self-will, we don’t wind up as just a bunch of digits! God knows how to break the independence without destroying the individuality!

That’s mirrored pretty well in the army! I mean, not all soldiers are the same, are they? You’ve got people that are technical. You’ve got people that are good with equipment, with communications. Some are spies. I guess they’re all kinds of things. Some are good cooks. But you need all of it. If you’re gonna have an army, you’d better have every function. But they all better be working together, too. Now as imperfect as the army is, you still see some of these principles that play out.

And God is going to put us together in such a way that all this other stuff from the world, and from religion, and from Babylon, from Egypt, God is going to keep us in a place to get that out of us. And when He is done, we are going to be something…we’re gonna be a people He can use.