— Brother Phil Enlow: I know that there are people right here that struggle with fear in a special way. But I’ll tell you, God wants you to lift up your eyes, He did not give you that. He may allow it, but He wants you to rise up and recognize where it’s coming from! God did not send that to you because it represents His heart toward you!
How many times in the scriptures do we see somebody with some kind of a divine encounter, it’s an angel, or they see Jesus, or they see something, and all of a sudden you see heaven’s glory and you know, oh my God! This is real. This is supernatural. This is power beyond anything I’ve ever known. And what’s the natural human reaction? Fear, terror.
You know, somebody read recently, I think Steve read recently about how John saw Jesus in this vision. And his reaction was to fall over like a dead man. But do you notice, every time there’s some servant of the Lord who was literally overcome with fear because of the presence of a heavenly being…what is His reaction to that? Don’t be afraid!
God does not give us the spirit of fear. He gives us His spirit of power. Isn’t that what He says? Have courage! Be strong! Does that not mean I can go to God and based upon His heart and His provision and His promise, I can partake of strength that I don’t have? Strength is available!
Do I feel weak? Is that all I’m left with, my own resources? No. I have the right to go to God. I don’t have to earn His favor. He did all the earning that’s ever necessary! Jesus went to the cross in my place. He took my sins. He took me with Him into that grave, to set me free so that I could share with Him forever and ever.
Don’t be terrified, don’t be discouraged…dismayed is the word the King James uses. Discouraged…that’s when you look at the circumstance, and you start measuring what you’re up against, against your own capabilities, your own expectations, your own experience, your track record, whatever it is. And basically, your conclusion is, it’s hopeless!
Now I imagine, if somebody put one of us in a wrestling ring, with somebody who was 7’4” and 400 pounds and said, go for it, I think we would have reason to feel dismayed. But you know, the reality was, when Joshua was leading the people into the land, there’s a lot to look at! There was a lot to take in and to realize what they were up against.
They were up against bigger armies, walled cities, and among the people were some giants! They weren’t all giants but there were some. And they weren’t about to just walk away and give up their homes. They were gonna dig in and fight with everything they had! And so, if they had simply gone by what they could see, how do you think they would have felt about it?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah. They would have said, okay, I’m supposed to fight. How many of us fight spiritual battles that way? Well, I’m supposed to fight, but I ain’t expecting anything. Nothing’s gonna change. I’ve been down this road before, been up this mountain before. I know how this turns out. You know, where is our faith? What we having a faith in? We’re having more faith in the problem and the insurmountability of whatever it is we’re facing, than we are in the promise of God!
( congregational amens ).
And God’s saying, wake up! Look to me! Let’s not just sit here and sing about and rejoice and affirm in all that Christ has given us, I want you to experience more of Me in your everyday life. I want real life to be able to lay hold of some of those things and get out of our stuck position.
Am I the only one that’s feeling some of these things? Am I the only one where you get geared up and your mind is sort of engaged in some of these things and all of a sudden, the Devil knows exactly what button to push, and the next thing you know…
( blowing ).
( congregational response ).
Yeah. We need to learn to recognize how the Devil works, and where this opposition is coming from. And don’t ever take opposition as a sign that God is not with you and doesn’t want to give you everything that Jesus bought…paid for! It is simply how the Christian life works! Those who enter into the Kingdom of God will enter through much tribulation. There is going to be opposition.
But I’ll tell you, it’s worth everything to put our hope in the promise and simply learn to look past everything, including the stuff that’s in here. This is the greatest obstacle…it’s what’s in here. But God is gonna bring us to the place where the promise outweighs everything else.
And this is what they faced. And so, you know, we see kind of a mixed bag as they did go in. But every single time, every single time, when they looked to God, got their instructions from Him, and then did what He said, even when it didn’t make a lot of sense naturally…think of Jericho, God came on the scene!
And the reality is that the people of Jericho are the ones that had no chance, because they weren’t just up against a bunch of people. It didn’t matter what their resources were. I mean, you know, the stories we refer to over and over again…Gideon, and how God delivered the whole nation from a huge army with 300, using only 300 men. But 300 men plus God…they didn’t have a chance! They just didn’t know it…until the time came.
Folks, you know, this is one thing I sense. Why do you think when we begin to get geared up, sometimes it’s just emotional, but when we begin to get geared up and say, God, I know there’s more, God, I want to experience it, I want to lay hold of it, and the Devil begins to oppose that by every means possible, why do you think he’s doing that? He is scared to death!
( congregational response ).
He is scared to death that there will be a people who will actually believe what’s in this book! And not just relegate it to some other part of the world, some other time in history, some special person way back there. But will say, wait a minute, this is written to me—this is written to me. I have every right because I don’t come based upon my own righteousness. I come based upon His promise.
And that is the hope that…that’s the thing that levels the playing field. You can’t look at somebody and say, well, it’s just not for me, it’s for the special one over there. We are everyone on the same level. We have the same need. Yes, there are personal differences. But I’ll tell you, salvation isn’t based upon personal differences. It’s based upon what Jesus did, 100 percent!
And how many times, we’ve referred to the stories in the scriptures…David, obviously, the example. But think about what David had going for him…David, when he came to face Goliath. Now here’s the problem. All the people there of this army, were looking at this how? Were they looking at it spiritually or through the eyes of the promises of God, and who God was? All they could see was somebody that they had no chance to beat. This guy was a whole lot bigger than 7’ 4”. And there he was, mocking their God, and they weren’t ready.
Folks, I believe God wants to get us ready for earth’s darkest hour. I believe He is getting us ready! I believe He’s faithful! I believe He’s going to bring us through, one way or the other. But I believe He longs for a people who will, like a harvest, they will ripen in the midst of this darkness, that He will become real! Folks, it’s not about who we are, and what we are. It’s about Jesus!
( congregational amens ).
And the more Jesus has of us, the better things are gonna be! It’s not our movement, our church, our doctrines, our ways of doing stuff, it’s the presence of Jesus in His body.
( congregational amens ).
And how much of that is expressed, depends on how much of our lives He has. And so, here’s David…he comes on the scene and looks out there, and basically, what’s the problem? And everybody else is going crazy. But see, David had already cultivated a relationship with the Lord, hadn’t he? He knew something about his God. Isn’t that what the Lord is seeking to bring us to?
What about the scripture in Daniel! Those who, “…know their God…be strong and do exploits,” will be the ones that’re able…those people will be the ones who will be able to take action in the face of what the Devil is gonna throw at the Church. (KJV). And he’s gonna throw everything he can possibly throw at the Church.
Of course, the Lord said, I’ll be with you ‘til the end of the age. There’s no one that can pluck any one of His out of the Lord’s hand. Praise God! Whether we go by way of the bullet or the sword, or by whatever means, or by the upper-taker...under-taker or the upper taker. The end result is gonna be glory!
But you know, the Lord wants us to experience more of it here. You go on in Peter and you’ll see what Peter’s getting at, is I want you to be able to arrive on the other end…I want you to have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom. I don’t want you just to sort of sneak in…and say, well, I got here, I didn’t avail myself of very much that was provided but I got here.
Peter says, you lay hold, you take hold of the promises in every situation, you grow. When you struggle with brotherly love, you lay hold of my promise regarding that, and I will love through you. I will be your strength and your help! Grow in these things! I’ve provided for you! I want you to grow up, and when you get there, you’re gonna able to get there with abundance.
But here’s David, and there he is, and he recognized the nature of the battle. It’s not flesh and blood here we’re dealing with. It’s somebody who’s challenging the very promise of God. And the one who doesn’t have a prayer is that giant over there. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He doesn’t know what’s about to hit him! And so, in the strength of a simple faith in God’s power and God’s promise, David went out there and killed the giant.
I’ll tell you, there are giants in our pathway. Every single one of us has got a giant. It looks just as scary as old Goliath. What do you think the Lord desires out of all of this? Do you think He wants us just to experience the fear and to give up under it? Or do you think He longs to say, I’ve got the answer to this! I have allowed this so that you can grow. Look to Me! Believe My promises!
You think about Jehoshaphat, and certainly an obvious example that we use many times. They were minding their own business and all of sudden about a million-man army comes marching in to take, to lay waste to the land and take it over. What did they do? They did the right thing, didn’t they? They called together everybody to pray and seek the Lord, to fast, and to just call upon God.
But…read it sometime, about how they called upon God. They didn’t just say, pretty please God, we’re in trouble here, help us out. They went right to the covenant. He absolutely recited back to the Lord, God, this is what You said, this is what You promised, this is why we are looking to You. Do you think just maybe that God would be pleased if we would do that sometimes? All the time!
But when we’re facing an issue that we cannot defeat, which is kind of like all the time, that we learn to say, God, you said. And we spend time with the Lord and we look to Him and we ask Him for understanding, we ask Him to breathe life into the words. And we determine to take hold of them because they’re for us, they’re the only thing standing between us and defeat!
Do you not know that’s what the Christian life is about? It’s God putting us in places where there is nothing standing between us and defeat except what He promised, which is kind of like enough!
( congregational amens ).
That’s more than enough! When a God who doesn’t lie and can do everything, gives us His promise. This is the way by which we take hold of what we need in that hour of need. It’s to say, God, I’m praying back to you what You said. I’m coming to you, not on the basis of self-will, wanting things my way, I’m coming to You on the basis of Your promise to me in Your word and I’m gonna stand on that until You answer.
Sometimes it takes time. Daniel prayed for what, 21 days, that one particular time. And he just continually went to the Lord and said, Lord, you said…and the answer came exactly at the right time. Of course, the right time for us is, ‘now!’ But God knows exactly what He’s doing. Thank God! He knows exactly what He’s doing.
So, here’s Jehoshaphat just lifting his heart to the Lord and calling out to God, and God gave the answer, didn’t have to even lift a sword that particular day…send the choir out, we all know the story.
I’ll tell you, ‘that’ God is our God. That was a time when an actual people and a king, and a literal kingdom were facing an army they had no hope of defeating. Every single one of us is facing something in our pathway today, that we have no hope of defeating unless we get help from on High.
And God is looking for a people, not who are gonna try to get emotionally worked up, and do something in the strength of that, but who are going to come to Him and say, Lord…the future will take care of itself. Excuse me while I stutter a bit! The future will take care of itself. But right now, this is where I’m at, and I need help. And I need You to breathe life into Your promises. Lord, I need You to speak to me.
Do you believe we can wait on God and God can quicken something that is…do you know what quicken means? It means to breathe life into it. It means to bring the words off the page and speak them to our hearts. We have the right to this covenant! We never earned it but He earned it for us! But this is how we take hold of what He has given to us.
But I guess it comes back to what started me down this road, is that there are times in our lives when we get geared up. Do we know what I’m talking about? You get geared up, ok, I’m gonna do it this time! And then, all of a sudden, before you know it, you’re right back where you started, and nothing has changed.
And God wants to get us off of dead center, and show us that there is a road that we can walk. Stop looking for the feeling. Stop looking for the experience. Stop looking for anything except the raw promise of God. Isn’t that all Abraham had to go on? He’s the very example, the Father of Faith, the example of how God deals with humanity. It’s on the basis of believing Him, that He takes care of everything else.
And so here we are, living in the time that we live in, and the Devil is loose as he has never been before. And we’re gonna see that power increase. God wants to build a people that He can express Himself through. It will happen as we believe His Word and it’s gonna be a day-by-day-by-day-by-day thing.
And a lot of times, there ain’t gonna be no feelings. It’s not even gonna make sense. But God wants people who will take hold of His word, not just get geared up and say, I’m gonna do it this time! If you’re trying to do it that way, you won’t. I never have. I don’t think I’m any different than you are. But there is a God who will honor faith.
And he says in verse 6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV). That’s what it comes down to. God is gonna reward a people who look to him and come to him on the basis of what He has promised, what Jesus purposed, and purchased for us. We could never earn, could never deserve it.
But, I mean, we sing about what we own and how rich we are in Christ and we live like paupers. And so has the church down through the ages except for these individuals that suddenly seemed to be able to tap into this, but it’s not just for the special ones. It’s for you, and it’s for me. God wants to take us deeper and higher. And I believe with all my heart He’s doing it. I believe He’s going to do it!
But He wants us…He would say the same thing to us that He said to Joshua, “…be strong and courageous….” Don’t be afraid. I forget the exact words, but don’t be dismayed, don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged. Don’t give into that side of it. Take hold of what God has said, and trust Him for the strength to even be strong. I mean, it all comes from Him.
Don’t ever fall into the trap and say, I’ve got to. If by ‘I’ve got to’ you mean somehow, it’s got to be in me. I mean, the resources have got to come from me. They always are gonna come from Him. See, if you’re one that thinks it’s got to come from you, the first thing God’s got to do for you is to show you that ain’t so.
That’s what He did for Paul. God, I love you! I’m gonna keep Your law. I can do this now! And he ran smack into his own nature, that was stronger than he was, until he realized that God’s plan is not for me to keep the law and earn my way, it’s to let His spirit come and live in me, and give me what I don’t have so that I can live, I can produce the righteousness of the law by His indwelling presence.
Boy, that’s why we need Him, isn’t it? This is Christianity 101, folks. But I sense God wanting to alert us to the reality. Don’t be surprised when you…that there’s a part of you that begins to reach out and want more, that it gets tough. Don’t be surprised! Why should that surprise us? That’s the Devil’s business.
But I’ll tell you, God is gonna give us victories over that, and in the winning of those victories we’re gonna grow stronger, our faith is gonna get more, we’re gonna see this gradual growth into being more and more mature sons and daughters of the Living God. God’s gonna have a people in this hour.
I want to be one of those people. I don’t have it in me to be that, not in myself. But we have everything in Him. His promises, by His promises, we can lay hold of the divine nature and that which is ‘up there’ in a sense, can be in here, and actually begin to make a difference. Do you believe that?
( congregational response ).
Do we really believe it? See, that’s where the Lord has us right now. And I want to be one of those that really believes it! When everything else says, no, I’m gonna say, this is what You’ve said, Lord, and I’m trusting in You. Praise God!