TV Transcripts

“Getting Ready” Part One
Broadcast #1457
September 6, 2020

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1457 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, praise God! This seems to be one of those occasions when the Lord is actually wanting me to walk in what I preach. Can you imagine that?

( congregational response ).

But I believe the Lord is so merciful and so faithful. I thank God for all the things that He’s already enabled us to sing about this morning. These are not just happy songs, they are real. They reflect reality. I appreciate the Lord’s presence. He’s the One we need. And so, I’m just gonna trust Him with thoughts that I’ve had. He’s gonna have to put them together, but that’s the way it always should be, isn’t it?

You know, I found it interesting, considering the things that I’ve been thinking of the last few days that…right as we were about to break from prayer meeting last night, Kenny led out on a song, “Only to Know Him.” And, I guess that is central to what I’ve been thinking about. And, many times I’ll start to think about something and then I really won’t be that conscious about how it ties in with what’s been going on. But I believe the Lord is tying things together from week to week.

( congregational response ).

And, you know, last week we talked about the simple fact that we have not because we ask not, and how that’s a missing piece, many times, in our walk with the Lord. There are things that we need, there are places in our journey where we are in need, but we’re struggling in ourselves and not realizing, not laying hold of the thing that Christ paid such an incredible price to provide for us.

But you know, as I got to thinking about the connection, with my thoughts, and last week, I realized this…that we could almost reduce our Christian life to treating the Kingdom of God like it’s the great Amazon in the sky. That is, we have a need and we send off, hey, I need some grace, so send down grace overnight, please, I’m on Prime.

( laughter ).

And, you know, send me some strength. I need some help, I need…and all this stuff we need. And it’s almost like it becomes things. He’s up there and I need some ‘thing.’ And the reality is, we don’t need things, we need Him.

( congregational response ).

And that’s what the Lord is seeking to do. We are…and it’s not only in a general, generic sense. We’re living what we call the Christian life, which is the time that extends from when we are truly born again and sealed by His Spirit until He sees fit to remove us from this earth. In between, there’s this challenge, this amazing thing that we seem to not get so much of, we struggle with, we muddle through, and God seeks to teach us and work in our hearts.

There are things He’s seeking to accomplish. There’s…we’re digging in our heels with all we’ve got, without intending to. But I’ll tell you, God is so merciful and so faithful. But the reality is, it comes down to something more than just stuff.

But again, I was thinking in terms of the context and the time in history when we live. We are not simply living in an ordinary time. I don’t know if there ever has been one, truly. But, we are living in the end of the age. We do not know the schedule, and I’m certainly not here to try to tell you. But we do know that the world is going to end, as far as the world is concerned, in a state of darkness and deception, demonic control of the world system. And, this is the world we’ve been called to walk in.

As I’ve said many, many times, our brothers and sisters know what this is all about right now. This is daily stuff for some of them. If it becomes known in some countries that you’re a Christian, that is an instant death sentence. Now suppose it was that way here? But yet, I believe God has called us to live in a certain time and that He has promised to be with us to the end of the age, has He not?

And so, what He is doing in our lives has everything to do with the path He has chosen for us to walk as a people, and as individuals. He knows the way that we take, and He knows the way that we ‘will’ take, to extend what Job said. He knows exactly what is coming and what it takes for us to stand in the day that’s coming.

And where we would love comfort and ease, that’s not what it’s gonna take to get us there. God knows exactly what it takes for His people to be ready, not just to huddle in a corner or in a cave, and hang on ‘til Jesus comes, but to actually be able to function in His Kingdom in the midst of that kind of darkness.

I don’t have what it takes. And nobody here does. Humanly speaking, this is way beyond our capabilities. I mean, the Christian life itself is impossible. But you plant that Christian life in the midst of this kind of a world that’s coming, we need God! We need Him in ways that we have never experienced. And so, I think that’s where my thoughts have started, and I’m just going to refer to scriptures.

I don’t even know if I’m gonna read much. But, the scripture we’ve used many times, in Daniel 11, is Daniel looking forward. He was captured, along with a group of, a bunch of young men who seemed to have promise to serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire. He was captured and taken away in the first wave of captivity. And so, they were trained and God blessed them and used them and enabled Daniel to achieve a high place in the kingdom.

And he was there through a couple of emperors, and then the Medes and the Persians came in and they conquered. And he continued to have a high and mighty place. And God revealed many things.

But even Daniel looked forward to things that God revealed were coming. And he talked in great detail about what we know from history as the great conquest of Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world of his day, and then died at a young age, handed off his kingdom to four different generals who split it up and went to war with each other over time. And so, the history of the Middle East where Israel lived was one of being stuck between a kingdom of the Seleucids on the north and Ptolemies in Egypt on the south, and they were constantly fighting with each other…all kinds of intrigue, heathen emperors.

And so, they didn’t have a lot of freedom. They were under the thumb of somebody about all the time. And there rose one particular ruler that Daniel talked about in specific terms, as a guy who hated the Holy Covenant. Now what did that mean? He hated the God of Israel. He hated everything about their religion, as he saw it. And so, he just had it…it stuck in his craw that there was such a people.

But in the meantime, he said, I’ve got business to attend to. I’m gonna go down to Egypt and I’m gonna conquer, and I’m gonna go to war with them and gain some advantage. And so, he set out to do that, and things didn’t go so well. And so, he comes back all angry, and he said, boy, I know I’m gonna take it out…it’s their fault, I’m gonna take it out on the God of Israel.

And so, he comes into Jerusalem, and he, not only takes over, but he desecrates the Temple. He goes in and sacrifices a hog on the altar and dedicates it to a heathen deity, and begins to oppress the people. He’s cruel, he’s everything you don’t want in a ruler. And so, obviously, in that kind of a situation, you’ve got all kinds of people, and they will have different reactions.

And the thing is, when something like that happens, you can’t just say, okay, it’s happened now, let’s…the time to prepare, the time to be ready, and I think “Being Ready” is probably one title that I thought about. I don’t know if that’s a good one, or not.

But anyway, being ready for a situation like that was not something you could just simply wake up one morning and say, oh my God, there’s somebody here, I better do something. There’s a preparation time. There’s a time when God was getting a people ready to react to that and not to be paralyzed, because the reality is, you get in that situation…and we see it in parts of the world today, where evil suddenly takes over. What is the most prominent thing that happens? Compromise, collapse, a falling away from the faith, supposedly.

What you have really going on, is God showing up, and proving that most people don’t have real faith. They just have a religion. They have something they go through. They profess a kind of a faith in God. They believe the traditions they’ve been told, but they don’t really know God. They don’t really know Him. It’s just kind of a hand-me-down situation.

And you have other people that probably do know God, but they are so paralyzed by fear. They’ve never faced anything like this before and all they can do is just hunker down, and…oh my God, what am I gonna do?

But Daniel…the Lord, through Daniel, predicts that there is going to be a people, who are different from that. It says, “…But the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” (NIV). I think we’ve talked about this before. The Hebrew, kind of is just open-ended…they will “do.” In other words, there will be people who will not be paralyzed, but they will be able to act. They will be able to do whatever is appropriate in God’s plan and God’s purpose for that particular time.

But how did they come to that place? How did these people get to that place? That’s the question. Do you think, like I say, they woke up that morning and said, oh, yeah, I know about God. Let’s go to town, here. Or were these just people who were naturally, optimistic, naturally courageous…I mean, did they rely on natural ability in a situation like that? No! They don’t!

See, that puts every one of us on the same level. None of this has to do with natural stuff. In fact, God uses the weak, doesn’t He? Those who think they’re strong in themselves…I bet you, they were some of the very ones who said, oh boy, we’ve got a new regime in town and we better, I better just get along with them. Let’s just sort of find out what they want, and let’s see what I could do to get on their good side. That’s exactly what happened with so many of them.

But there were a people who are described in such simple terms…the people who knew their God. And like I say, we’re not dealing with the Amazon in the sky. We are dealing with a God who wants to have a living, active relationship with us.

You know, we could say, in one sense…we understand God’s purpose is to make us like Him. All right, tell me how I can be like Him? How does He act? What would Jesus do? And you get into all this kind of distant, kind of, me here and Him there, sort of relationship.

And Paul, of all people, understood the purpose of God. Yes, He wants to make me like Him, but how does that happen? I mean, the song that we sang is based upon the scripture we’ve used so many times in Philippians 3. What was it that Paul prayed? He said, oh, that I might be like You? No, that isn’t what he prayed. “That I may know him…” (KJV). That I may know Him.

And you know, when we’re talking about the Christian life, we’re not just talking about some vague, emotional connection that we have with the Lord. There’s something more than that. He’s called us to live here. He’s called us to function. He’s called us to live out His life in a broken world that hates Him. So, for me to know Him, means that I need to learn how to know Him in all kinds of circumstances.

Now you think about the people in the scriptures that God actually used. Now we don’t have the details about these people that Daniel was talking about. But how many people in the Bible that God greatly used, got there by floating from mountaintop to mountaintop? God was gonna prepare Joseph…is a prime example. God was preparing Joseph to be ruler in Egypt. So, did He send him to a great corporation? Did He send him to seminars to train him in business management and all those kinds of things? No! The course of action that he needed, because he wasn’t simply doing this as a human administrator, he was doing this as an agent of the living God.

( congregational response ).

He was doing this a someone who knew God intimately, and in order to know God in a way that would enable him to do the job that God had called him to do, he needed to experience God in all kinds of other ways.

You know, I’m conscious many times as we sing, how many wonderful things that we sing, and I wonder how much of it we actually experience, or have experienced? You know, a lot of times songs will arise when God is moving in a people. Certainly, we know that from our own history. There were songs that arose because people experienced God in fresh and real ways in their lives! And God enabled them to write a song that expressed what they had learned about God. They didn’t just hear about Him. They experienced Him! And so, they wrote a song and it became one of our songs.

And here we are a generation or two later…we still sing the song, but do we have what goes behind it? You see that’s what God is seeking to bring us to. It’s not enough to have hand-me-down religion.

Now I thank God that He has given us the Word of God. We have got a basis, something to go to, and we ought to, to absolutely know what is true and how God means for us to learn and to grow in Him. That’s wonderful that we have the scriptures.

Then again, we have somebody else that has gone through something. They have been in a difficult place and experience God in a definite way. And so, we have their testimony and that’s wonderful! That helps us.

But there is no substitute, for experiencing and knowing God for ourselves. This is what I see God doing for me. Boy, I can tell you this morning, just getting up here…the Lord means for me to learn something this morning, because if I went by my feelings, I probably wouldn’t have even been here this morning. I mean, we have to be honest sometimes and say, if I just went by how I felt, if I went by…you know, somebody says, how are you doing? Well, I have to honestly say, okay for an old guy.

( laughter ).

You know, we joke around, but the truth is, every one of us is experiencing something, and it’s real! And our emotions get pretty real many times. You know, we had a service Wednesday night when it was obvious everybody was…either they stayed home because they weren’t feeling good, or they came anyway. And it became very evident that everybody was…

( yawning ).

( laughter ).

So, I felt moved to stand up and say, you know, this is an opportunity…something like, this is an opportunity where we need to exercise faith here, and stop looking at how we feel, because we all feel tired. I certainly did. And start learning how to thank God in that circumstance.

( congregational response ).

I mean, that’s just one minor example. But do you see what God is seeking to do? It’s wonderful to have a service where we’re just challenged and lifted up to the heights of what God wants to do, and oh boy, this is wonderful!

But how does that happen? Is there any way that you can avoid having to go through the valley, and to go through the place where your flesh is crossed, your nature is crossed, and you have to start making a choice? Am I gonna let Jesus live in me? Am I gonna…I mean, I know that He’s there? I felt Him! That was wonderful! But where is He now?

I mean, you think Joseph maybe went through some of that? We’re talking about…we have a summary almost of years and years of going through hell, where God had promised him, and just pictured it in dreams…I guess they were dreams, that he was going to rise to a place of prominence, even over his own family. Of course, they loved him for that.

( laughter ).

And all those brothers…but God had a purpose for this young man’s life. But how did He prepare him for that? Well he…did he have to learn management? Yeah, he had to learn it. How did he learn it? Well, in the first place, he learned it as a slave. And he learned it, having to deal with the emotions that came with the fact that his own brothers had sold him into this slavery!

And there he was in a foreign land being forced by a bunch of heathens…among a bunch of heathens. And, there he is…how am I gonna handle this? Is he gonna live with bitterness and anger and strife? Or is he gonna learn how to trust God in a difficult circumstance, and learn something about the faithfulness of God, who in fact, when he continued to honor God, blessed him in the middle of a man’s household? And he wound up being in charge of the household.

Well the Devil couldn’t get to him that way, but the Lord had more for him, didn’t He? There was a whole lot that had to happen before he could occupy the place for which God had prepared him. He didn’t just experience God in the dream. He didn’t just experience God in Potiphar’s household. He experienced God in a prison…unjustly thrown into prison, falsely accused!

And there he is. And boy, if you were of a mind to go by how you felt physically, what your earthly circumstances were, that was the time to get bitter and just throw it all overboard and say, God couldn’t possibly care about me! There wasn’t anything to that dream or that vision! Where’s God? I’m gonna stop believing.

But there he was…somehow, God gave that young man the grace, not only to humble himself to his circumstances and to his God, but to continue to be so faithful, that the prison…the management of the prison was effectively turned over to him! The guy who was in charge of it didn’t worry about it. He said, Joseph’s in charge, I’m good.

I mean, you talk about a course in business management. How would you like that one? They hurt his feet with fetters. They did all kinds of mistreatment, and there he is, learning.

And I’ll tell you, a man who can experience God in that kind of circumstance, he knows something that other people do not know. He knew things that his brothers didn’t know. He learned to know God. He learned that God could be faithful in every earthly circumstance!

And God was doing something in him to shape him for a destiny that could not happen any other way. How many of you believe that God knows best? We all know to say, yes, of course. But how many of us like it when He does things His way?

( congregational response ).

No, we don’t much like that a lot of times. But I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who is merciful.

( congregational response ).

And what He is longing for me, and I feel it in so many areas of my life, is to come to a place where I’m willing to let Him do things His way, His time, because see, this didn’t happen with Joseph overnight. He didn’t say, all right, Lord, I’ve been here a month, I’ve got it now. It was years!

And then about the time he thought he was ready, he tried to engineer his own deliverance and it didn’t work…until the exact time, when God said, all right, now. Here is a man who knows Me enough to trust Me.

Isn’t that the issue? You look at every one of the men that God dealt with so deeply in the scriptures, and the issue comes down to one of trust. Do you trust Me, even though things are as they are? Do you still trust Me? Do you still love Me? Do you still believe in Me? You can’t feel me now, but do you still believe?

And somehow, Joseph found the grace to say, yes! Yes, Lord, You’re still real! Your promises are still real. I’m gonna stand…I’m gonna do what’s right, and let You worry about the rest. Oh, God, help us to do the things that we know to do and to learn to trust God.

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