over the next couple of weeks I'd like to be sharing with you some principles regarding a serious subject title may actually surprise you a little bit when Christians believe the devil I would seem like that would be a contradiction Christians or Christians because they don't believe the devil well there are many who want to be Christians that sometimes bling believe the wrong source I don't know if you ever heard about nefarious character by the name of grigori rasputin sometimes known as the mad monk he was a started as a Russian Orthodox believer but he kind of went on a spiritualistic pilgrimage and became sort of a self-proclaimed holy man by the time he got to st. Petersburg and Moscow on some of the Russian capitals he was embraced and during that time in this high society he somehow came in contact with the the King in his family Tsar Nicholas ii they the Romanov family had been ruling in Russia for 300 years that dynasty well they have a son named Alexei that struggled with hemophilia and rescue ttan claimed to be able to heal him and it seemed like that when he did his incantations or hypnosis are not exactly sure what happened the boy improved whenever he was having some episode struggling with bleeding and/or he was anemic and the parents were very anxious then to keep this holy man around well he enjoyed the attention the prestige he was in the press quite a bit and everyone was fawning over him and over a period of months and years it became where he invaded the family began to manipulate the family and control the affairs of the state and many believe that it was because of his evil influence a Tsar Nicholas was making bad military decisions during World War one eventually the communists overthrew the Czar in his empire and a lot of it can be traced back to the bad counsel they had from Rasputin Rasputin was assassinated the Communists arrested the Romanov family and eventually they were all executed no Anastasia did not survive contrary to what Disney has told you they believe the wrong source and it destroyed an empire not to mention a family now I think it's appropriate that I should talk about not believing the devil because any of the problems that you have in your life today it can be connected with somebody who started out believing the devil you can go back to Eve Eve was a believer in Christ and so was Adam well they believed in God but they had to make a decision God said one thing the devil said something else you know the story the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made and he said to the woman has God indeed said you shall not eat from every tree in the garden first question in the Bible is the devil questioning planting questions about the Word of God when people begin to doubt the Word of God it can lead to all sorts of mischief so we need to guard against believing the wrong sources remember the devil is a wolf who dresses up in sheep's clothing to deceive sheep and his tactics have been very successful we know it happened there at the beginning the Bible warns us it will happen as we approach the end of time Matthew chapter 7 jesus said many will say to me in that day Lord Lord have we not prophesied in your name and cast out devils in your name and done many wonderful works in your name and I will declare to them I never knew you depart from me you who practice iniquity here are believers who thought they were listening to the Lord but they were listening to the wrong voice go to the end of time look in Revelation 12 that Great Dragon who's that it's the devil Satan was cast out who deceives the whole world there are so many who believe the enemy revelation 19 verse 20 the beast was captured and with him the false prophet and Jesus warns us there'll be many false prophets in the last days who worked signs in his presence by which he deceived those who receive the mark of the beast and those who worship the image now so much of the warnings that we read about in the Bible are warning Christians against believing the enemy because he is he's a deceiver sometimes I know this might be hard to swallow but sometimes the devil will deceive us through those that are close to us he might do it for your friends now if if you're a friend and you think who has he used me don't take it too personal the devil probably has he used the Apostle Peter to try to discourage Jesus Matthew 16 verse 23 Jesus explained that he was going to go to the cross and Peter said oh no that's not God's plan for you far be it from You Lord I've got better things for you Jesus turned to Peter and said get behind me Satan no wait a second does that mean that Peter wasn't Jesus friend said get behind me Satan you're an offense to me Jesus knew that the devil was speaking through his friend and you've heard of the friends of Jobe which leads me to another point sometimes he'll do it through family it was job's wife his wife loved him he loved his wife but the devil said through Jobs wife curse God and die now that's obviously not God's plan you're never gonna have Jesus or the Angels say just curse God and die she was a believer he was a believer and the devil tried to dispersion Jesus own brothers he had problems with them and says even his own brothers didn't believe him and they gave him bad counsel but Jesus and I'm not gonna listen to your counsel for my time has not come to code I'm condensing things because I've got so much to share with you on this subject that's why I thought that it would be bleeding over at least till next week now the story I'd like to use as a template for the points I want to make today is found in the Book of Numbers so if you have your Bibles you might join me by going to numbers 13 and I'll be setting the stage for you here numbers chapter 13 here the children of Israel are on the borders of the Jordan River and you know originally God's plan was saved them from Egypt he miraculously fed them on their way to the Mount Sinai there at Mount Sinai they got the Ten Commandments he gave them instructions on building a sanctuary they built the sanctuary better understood the plan of salvation and then go on into the Promised Land that was God's plan but there were some distractions along the way something went wrong as they got to the borders right there at the threshold of the Promised Land the Jordan River they can look across the river and see the Promised Land there right there it's white right within their reach and don't forget the reason it's called the Promised Land is because God promised to give it to them but they began to doubt the promise and so they said to Moses some you know nobody's been there a long time I mean you think about it who were the last Jews that were in the Promised Land at this point when Jacob and his family came out over two hundred years earlier there's no record of any of the Jewish people going back from Egypt to visit or vacation in the Promised Land they had not seen it in over two centuries and so they said you know we're gonna take this land but we don't nobody here has lived nobody in this two million people that have came out of Egypt know anything about it we need to send some spies over and take a look at it so Lord gave them permission now when you read it here in numbers 13 it sounds like it's God's idea but you read in Deuteronomy chapter 1 and it says the people came and said let's have some spies they started having second thoughts so the Lord spoke to Moses I mean verse 13 one saying send men to spy out the land of Canaan that I am giving to the children of Israel from each tribe of their fathers you'll send a man every one of them a leader among them and so they've picked out who they thought were the most qualified I think they used the democratic process so Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel now these were their names now I'm not gonna waste a lot of time reading their names most of the names have disappeared into obscurity and if it wasn't for you having this chapter open in your Bible right now you could only name two of them isn't that right what are the two that you would remember Caleb and Joshua now some of you said Joshua and Caleb either would be correct but nobody else remembers in the other ten spies even though they were part of that original group and so after their chosen they're given instructions and those who sent them to spy the land of Canaan and said to them go this way into the south and go up into the mountains and see what the land is like whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak few or many whether the land they dwell in is good or bad whether the cities they inhabit or like cancer strongholds meaning fortified whether the land is rich or poor fertile or barren whether there are forests or not as it trees meadows be of good courage which is what he later said to Joshua in Chapter 1 of Joshua don't be afraid don't be discouraged don't forget God's promise to give this to you be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes a little amazing fact I'll share with you at this point that this story had a profound impact on American history back in 1803 Napoleon was running out of money for his wars in Europe and in an effort to try to get some money he realized that the French had sort of laid claim to the land the US was divided really in three parts at that point they had the the 13 states along the eastern seaboard they had a big swath of country through the middle where the Mississippi and the Missouri ran that the French laid claim to they called it the Louisiana territory that's why Cajuns today still speak funny she goes back to the French having New Orleans that's why st. Louis was named after Louis in France and anyway and then the Spanish kind of laid claim to the West Texas in California and so Napoleon needing some money he began a very slow dialogue with Thomas Jefferson because it took forever for mail to get across the Atlantic and said look we will sell you the Louisiana territory and finally Jefferson persuaded Congress to buy this piece of land they'd never even looked at they knew very little about it because nobody had really gone west of st. Louis so they bought it I forget it was like a few million dollars nothing today yeah we could have bought that whole territory for what we're paying for our church he's thought about that there was the biggest land purchase in history and but they bought it and they weren't exactly sure what they bought and so remembering that now Jefferson was something of a deist but he did believe the Bible he did believe the history in the Bible and he remembered this story and he thought we need to do what Moses and the Israelites did and we need to send a team to do reconnaissance and spy out the land and so they had what they called the Corps of Discovery and they got Lewis and Clark there's about 40 44 men some men came back early with reports that went all the way from st. Louis they traveled 8,000 miles they went all the way to the Pacific Ocean they thought that the Missouri was going to take them right to the Pacific they didn't know about the Rocky Mountains it's an amazing story and they came all the way back again they brought examples and he said bring some of the samples tell us what the people are like bring a report brings some of the fruit of the land and they actually sent back animals and is an interesting story hearing how you had 40 men trying to catch one prairie dog so just if they brought it back to life I think it's in the Smithsonian today but he's dead he stuffed but anyway so I should say it's a great story but that all Springs from this original story where they sent the spies to explore the land learn about the people learn about the geography learn about the plants bring some of the fruit of the land and so this is what their request was and all the people waited there anxiously at the Jordan you know the after Lewis and Clark were sent off they had no radios they had no internet back then there no telephone they didn't know they thought they died it took him two years to get back they had no idea they totally miscalculated how long it was to the Pacific Ocean and they didn't know there was an enormous mountain range in the way but finally when they came back it was like they've come from the moon because they didn't even know if they were alive that was two years this journey was only 40 days that the spies took so they went up and they spied out the land I'm in verse 21 numbers chapter 13 from the wilderness of zin as far as rhihub to the entrance of he-man and they went through the south and they came to Hebron a Hayama she and I in Talmud the descendants of Enoch were there now Enoch was this a giant king I think he had a bed that was 13 feet long I keep that in mind glass only nine and a half feet so he was the giant of the Giants now Hebron was built seven years before his own in Egypt then they came to the valley of Eshcol and they cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes and they carried it between two of them on a pole now that either means there were thousands of grapes on one cluster or the grapes were so big can you imagine every grape as big as your fist just enormous grapes great quantity so much so that you need a buddy say come on help me go pick up some grapes I mean it's just it was a land flowing with milk and honey you know that's really literal any of you ever read the story where Jonathan is I mean he's actually chasing after the Philistines in a battle in the woods and he's hungry and the honey was dripping from the trees and he dips his stick in the pole into the honey and he he eats some and there was so much flowers and vegetation that the bees couldn't even handle all is dripping out of the hives and and and the goats and the cattle eat so much grass that their utters squirted when they walked I don't know that but it does happen I did have goats once and if he didn't milk him on time that could happen so it wasn't land flowing with milk and honey and so they bring back these grapes it wasn't probably just the grapes you know they they bring back other things it says they brought some of the pomegranates and the figs and the place where they cut down the grapes was ish gall because the cluster that the men cut down and that means cluster and they returned from spying out the land after 40 days now I'm gonna stop here and just let you know that there was soon discovered a different attitude between two of the spies and ten of the spies and it unfolded something like this after they crossed over the Jordan River in the first big city they saw there was Jericho Joshua and Caleb said look at all the palm trees look at the size of the dates look at the spring later known as the spring of Elijah and Karen and I and some of us here were there this year and they saw all the waters and they saw this is like the Garden of Eden it's beautiful but ten of the spies said you guys out of your mind look at the walls how could we ever conquer a city with walls that are that thick and that high and that will fortified look at the thickness of the gates how are we ever gonna conquer fortress like this and to him listen I don't know that's God's problem you'll work it out I mean look what he just did for us he brought us out of Egypt have you forgotten all the miracles a year hadn't gone by since the ten plagues fell on Egypt they had overcome the greatest empire in the world so Josh when Caleb said I don't know how God's gonna do it but hey he's God he'll do it believe the Lord he said it's the prom and he made a promise let's believe his promise ten of them said ah there's no way they go up to the area of hem Ron is the place called the where the Anakim lived the Giants and from the bushes they looked and they saw the Giants coming in and out of the gates bumping their heads every time because they're so tall and they said man and we're like grasshoppers in their sight and Kaleb he said Wow he's sticking his hands in the soil and pulled up this rich human soil he said you can grow anything here this is great look at the spring it's a southern exposure look at the size of these olive trees look and Caleb and Joshua are thinking what a beautiful country and and the other guys said you guys out of your mind how can we ever conquer a nation of giants said nobody like this in Egypt they said well I don't know but it's God's problem and it just kept happening like that as they went from place to place over 40 days 10 of them kept looking at the obstacles two of them kept looking at the promises and two of them refused to be discouraged by the pessimism of the majority now keep in mind they were all Church members two of them believed all things are possible with God 10 of them did not believe that 10 of them were believing the devil who was whispering doubt and fear to their minds all the time now this is just an old story it would have nothing to do with us today right so after 40 days says they returned this is verse 25 from spying out the land verse 26 and they departed they came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation you know congregation is there looking through their binoculars they ain't have binoculars so they would do this with their eyes they're looking down the road and they keep waiting for these spies to return and finally they see some some figures on the horizon coming in that they say they're coming and they bow the trumpet all the congregation comes together they want to hear this report they've been waiting over a month to find out you know we've come out of Egypt for this moment to go into the Promised Land we don't know what it looks like this is the closest thing we're gonna get to video or you know newspaper of what's there and so they come back and all the people gather but evidently I think that two of them outran 10 of them because it seems like the report changes so they came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel and they brought back word and they showed them the fruit of the land see I think Joshua and Caleb were the ones says the grapes were carried between two of them 10 of them thought why bother we're never gonna eat these grapes will never have this land but Caleb and Josh's you know we got to show this to the people and knowing how negative their friends were I think that they outran them even though they're probably surrounded by fruit flies because they've got grapes and it says figs and it probably got Polo's and pomegranates and sticky dates in their pockets and and Joshua and Caleb they're just thinking about the fruit of the land they've come and they bring the report and they come and here's verse 27 this is Caleb and Joshua then they told them they said we went to the land where you sent us and truly it flows with milk and honey and this is the fruit and you can just hear it all the congregation is going whoo you know the plucking off these grapes and they're tossing that's it incoming and they toss it grape to each other here's another one there's another one they're all eating these grape I went to Australia you know when I read this story I was thinking about I was doing some meetings about seven eight years ago in Australia and someone there brought me some grapes and I'm not kidding each grape was like that big it was like a plum it was just yeah it was it was an amalgamation I don't know what they did to get a grape that big they're probably some kind of genetic engineering but they were huge they're good too actually so when I hear about one cluster that takes two men to carry I believe it and wait until you get to heaven I'll say you want to come on over and have a grape let's just you just give you a spoon you step inside the grape they're gonna be really big then so they're tossing the fruit to everybody and everyone's going yes they're rejoicing the things are really positive until the other ten came dragging up and here's where you have the majority report you got to decide today if you want to believe the minority report or the majority report the majority report was nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong and the cities are fortified and very large moreover we saw the descendants of a Mac they're the Giants and the Amalekites dwell in the land to the south and the Hittites and the jebusites and the amorite sand the termites they dwell in the mountains and the Canaanites dwell by the sea along the banks of the Jordan and the next verse says Caleb quieted the people the why did Caleb need to quiet the people what do you think was happening when the ten finally caught up and they began to say Oh a they the the people are so big and there's so many and their cities are fortified and they're trained and ready for war and they can defend it and and the Giants lived there and they had nothing good to say did you notice that the second part of the port nothing good to say and so Caleb saw that the opinion was changing and the people were becoming discouraged and he quieted them now this is this is the crux of the whole story this is really really important you catch this next passage verse 30 numbers 13 verse 30 then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and he said let us go up at once he said not only can we take it we could take it today and he had just gone 40 days he said let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it based on what how could he say that based on what had already happened over the last year God had provided everything for him he had given them victory over the most of these are the the people who built the pyramids there's nothing that was in the promised land like what you find in Egypt God had overcome the Egyptians there's nothing for God we're well able he had faith based on past evidence now does God want us to have faith does he want us to have blind faith all real faith I believe is based on evidence why did David think he could kill Goliath did he tell Saul he said when I was a boy a bear came and I went out after the bear and i smote it and killed it and then a lion came and I went out after the lion and i smote it and I killed it I believe Goliath would be like the bear and the lion God's shown me that he can use me to kill animals that are bigger and stronger than I am I think I can kill the giant with God's help so he had evidence has God ever given you evidence to believe has he ever given you any victories have you had any answered prayers upon which to base your faith Caleb said we're able he wasn't just having some kind of irrational warm feeling that made him think it he said I believe based on the evidence of all God has provided for us on all the deliverance we've received in the victories we've received the Amalekites had attacked them in the wilderness they got victory with Joshua when Moses held up his hands that was behind them now they had that evidence too said I believe that God will give his victory but the other 10 spies said we are not able now here you have it friends we are able or we are not able which is it do you know you have the same decision to grapple with today now don't miss these are all church leaders isn't that right now what is the giant are we at war against the Amalekites the Hittites the Jebusites the Canaanites the Amma writes the Anakim no it's the devil right in his mini forms and some believe that Christians are just forgiven that we can't overcome and others believe no we are able to overcome and Jesus said in Revelation chapter two and three to him that overcomes to him that overcomes to him he says it seven times why would Jesus say to him that overcomes all these promises if it wasn't possible for you to overcome the question is do you believe Jesus or do you believe the devil I'll submit to you that you'd be shocked how many Christians profess Christians nominal Christians really believe the devil instead of believing God the Bible says all things are possible to him that believes without faith is impossible to please God but if you come to God you must believe that he is and he's a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him so we all have to decide which report we're gonna believe Caleb says we are able the other spies said we're not able of course Caleb and Joshua said we were able now Jude 24 in the last verse of that book now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy Jude commends his book with a benediction saying you can surrender yourself to the one who is able to keep you from falling how did the children of Israel ultimately take the promised land one day at a time and you know it didn't happen in one day or one week or in one month it was over a year was several years but they did take it how are we able to be victorious in our battles with the devil the same way one day at a time sometimes it's one little temptation at a time moment by moment you are able now was it true that the Canaanites were better armed yes were their cities better fortified yes we're the people there bigger and stronger yes were the people more numerous yes did that matter when you're fighting with God no because the Bible says one of you will chase a thousand this is why Joshua I'm sorry why Jonathan could be victorious when he and his armor-bearer went against the Philistines he said there's no restraint with the Lord whether to save by few or many so the two of them went against 20 and they won you one person with faith in God is a majority whatever the problem happens to be so we've got to decide do we believe or not the just shall live by faith faith in God faith is not faith if you see the obvious faith becomes important when it doesn't look like you're gonna win but you believe in an outside power that's greater George Mueller put it this way faith does not operate in the realm of the possible there's no glory for God in that which is humanly possible faith begins where man's power ends Caleb and Joshua what we're believing that God could do something for them that was beyond human power FB Meyerson unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God faith puts God between us and our circumstances when you got faith in God you might see a mountain and you go I don't know how we're gonna get over that mountain well don't look at the mountain put God between you and the mountain and that might be a mountain of temptation or sin or whatever the problems are in your life that's what makes a Christian a Christian a weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them Victor Frankel said someone else wrote faith sees the invisible believes the incredible receives the impossible all things are possible to them that believe so here they are they've come and they've come to the altar and they got to make a decision now you go with me to go to numbers 14 so you got one group says we can do it the other group says we can't do it I want to go to verse 30 two of chapter 13 just finished this chapter out and they the ten spies gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land that they spied out saying the land through which we've gone as spies as a land that devours the inhabitants of way isn't it isn't it amazing how two groups can look at the same thing and see something so different there they're looking at the same thing one group is saying it truly flows with milk and honey and it's sweet and here's the produce of it and the other one says it eats up the inhabitants well which is it have you ever heard the little quip that says two men looked out of prison bars one saw mud and one saw stars depends on where you're looking even in the church you've got some negative people there are some believers that don't believe they're always looking at what's wrong they're always focusing on their weakness and all of us have a little bit in that of that in us I do too so I'm talking to myself but you've just got to decide that you will choose not to focus on the negative pray for the Holy Spirit to remind you to focus on the answer Jesus and not the problem whether it's sin or the devil whatever it is but we can discourage ourselves in in no time at all by focusing on the problem that's what 10 of those spies did they looked at the Giants and looked at the walls they looked at the numbers of the enemy they said oh me oh my what am I gonna do and they were discouraged they could never win a battle like that you know flying over the Northern California countryside on any given day you've got a couple of different birds you've got one that is called a hummingbird now Karen tonight just a few months ago we took up feeding hummingbirds in our backyards and so we got to cook up there you know a little nicked or we put a bad night I I cannot walk by our back window without looking at it's instinctive always looking and when I see one of those little iridescent things hovering in midair it just it's to me it's a marvel and they're always looking for something sweet so the way you get the hummingbirds is you put something sweet out there they're always looking for flowers on the same day in the same country you will find other birds that are looking for something dead they're called vultures you never have anyone saying oh look at the vultures they really are good pilots you ever watch them fly and hover it's amazing what they can do but same country it might be the same day one of them is flying around looking for flowers the other ones looking for something that stinks you've got both in the church
you know you talked to some people they can never say anything positive and you're almost afraid to ask them how they're doing because you're just wanting to be friendly they think you really want to know about all their problems and they'll share them all I heard about this guy that worked with a Christian lady and she was just always so positive he was negative he was an atheist and she was a Christian and she was a believer and she says oh he's so positive no matter what happened she'd always turn it around and say something positive and he used to irritate him he tried to get her to join him in his in his bad news and complaining about the government and the job and everything else and that they could commiserate together but she'd always turn around make him feel bad because she was always positive and he thought I got her she's a Christian so he went to her one day he said what do you think of that old devil she said well he certainly is busy isn't he always say something positive no matter what so these tennety spies they couldn't think of anything nice to say and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight before the children of a neck you know the devil make you feel so puny so the congregation chapter 14 verse 1 all the congregation lift up their voices and they cried and the people wept all night and all the children of Israel complained against Moses they took it out on the leaders they complained against Aaron and they said if only we had died in the land of Egypt be careful what you pray about or if only we had died in this wilderness why is the Lord brought us out to destroy us and our children by the sword that we should be victims would it not be better for us to return to Egypt the so they said let's select a different leader and return to Egypt they said let's find a leader in the believes like us they didn't want one that would tell them the truth they said let's find one that tell us what we want to hear and Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Assembly the congregation of the children of Israel but Joshua the son of nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh who were among those who had spied out the land they tore their clothes and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel saying the land through which we passed the spy out is an exceedingly good land if it's a nick not just a good land he said it's an exceedingly good land if the Lord delights someone says it's a land that devours the inhabitants well if they devour Xion happened and said how did all their enemies seem to be thriving it's an exceedingly good land if the Lord delights in us he'll bring us into this land and give it to us a land that flows in milk and honey only do not rebel against the Lord or fear the people of the land for they're our bread we'll eat them up their protection is departed from them and the Lord is with us this is why Caleb and Joshua they can look right out there here they are complaining God's never going to bring us into the Promised Land are you aware that right there within sight they could see the Shekinah glory above the tent and they still were neglecting the evidence of God's presence you know I'm convinced that all you got to do is listen to the devil for five minutes you might have 50 years of miracles you will forget those 50 years of miracles in five minutes of listening to the devil just like Eve there in the Garden of Eden surrounded by evidence of God's love and his creation our very existence and the devil says to the serpent can you really trust him it didn't take very long before they were talked out of their faith notice what happens next all the congregation said to stone them with stones not only do they disagree with Caleb and Joshua who give the minority report if you're positive it'll make negative people angry and they wanted to kill them now right about this time when they're about to pick new leaders into stone Joshua and Caleb the glory of the Lord appeared the tabernacle they begin to flash and everyone suddenly their attentions read averted to God's presence among them and they stopped their murderous plans and the Lord said how long will these people reject me well III don't have time to go into all the details that was written here in chapter 14 I hope you read it here's the bottom line they had come to the threshold of inheriting the promised land and they lost it because they lost faith it was in reach they could see it they ended up needing the wander God said for every day the spies went through the land and they saw the blessings of the land because you did not believe I'm gonna make you suffer a day for a year that's one of the places you find a day for a year and so I said for the forty days you're now gonna wander for 40 years until this whole generation that didn't believe they died off with the exception of two every one twenty years old and older died in the next forty years except Joshua and Caleb which is interesting that means that when they finally did enter into the Promised Land there was nobody over six years of age you with me is my mass right other than Joshua and Caleb and the man who said you will never make it to the promised land did not make it to the promised land they were right there within reach because they did not believe I read an amazing story this last week in India a groom and a bride came to the altar to get married and in in India weddings are a big affair sometimes they last days and well it's the most expensive event sometimes in their lives these weddings a lot of preparation a lot of costing a lot of fanfare people come in there all the relatives are there well as the bride and groom are about to go to the altar the groom fell down and went into an epileptic fit the bride is infuriated that he did not tell her that he had epilepsy neither did her family tell her and she had a tirade right there at the wedding her name was Indira like the former Prime Minister and she had a tirade right there she says I am NOT gonna marry this man but here this incredible expense and all the guests here and when she said well I will get married today but not him and she looks around and they had some bachelors sitting together no relation to me and she points the one of them says I'll marry him what everyone looks at him they're thinking he stands up sees her family he doesn't want to say oh I'm not gonna marry her I said sure I'll be happy to marry Indira today so they go to the altar together they get married and before they leave the church the jilted groom he's recovered he's fine and they later discover he faked the whole thing you know I made that part up but I had my suspicions I thought she seemed like she could have been difficult maybe he just pretended to have a fit there at the altar because he didn't know any other way to get out of that can you imagine that right there at the altar have you heard of runaway brides God brings his bride to the borders the promise and they say you don't really love us you don't really want to bring us in there you don't have good plans for us we're really not the chosen people how would I must have broken his heart and so they have to turn back and they prayed a prayer they wish they never prayed would God we had died in this wilderness and they did now this is the most important thing is that the ones who believe that God could save them were saved the ones who believed they would make it at the promised land made it to the promised land it doesn't say that Joshua and Caleb were smarter than everyone else it doesn't say they had bigger muscles than everyone else they had more self-control than everybody else they had more faith than the others their faith their trust was that God could do it for them and God did it because they believed do you associate with positive people he that walks with wise men will be wise he that walks with complainers will complain you know I think it's important for Christians and we all have friends that might want to you know bend our ear with a problem and you can pray with them and we want to encourage each other but you know I think we ought to search out we ought to try to be people of faith and encouragement people who believe in victory that God can give us victory not just always talk about grace and defeat I believe that God forgives sin I thank God for His grace but if we're always focusing on Jesus on the cross and we don't focus on Jesus risen that he can live a new life in us then it's always about just being forgiven and it's not about victory in Christ wants his people to be a people who believe and old things are passed away all things are made new I am a new creature I am born again it's the new birth this is the power of the gospel amen but you know sometimes people just focus on only the negative I heard a story I may have shared this with you before I probably shared everything with you if you've been coming for a while but this family had twins but they were not identical not only were they not identical they were more different than Jacob and Esau one of the twins was always cheerful easygoing positive the other one had colic from a baby complained we'll saw the dark side of everything and it was almost entertaining to the parents to see how the same twins would respond to different circumstances one was always positive one was always negative matter of fact they showed some friends that they invited over for Christmas they said we want to show you something you just not gonna believe it these kids are so different and Christmas morning they had some family and friends with them they said watch this the one- kid they gave him a brand new train set that any kid would enjoy and he opens it up and he looks at it he goes I'm gonna have to put this together this is gonna take forever does it use batteries the batteries always run down he started complaining about it I don't even open the box yet the other one they pulled the blanket off a wheelbarrow full of manure and the kid goes oh oh boy what the family is going how could they possibly be excited about a wheelbarrow full of manure and the kid is going with all this there's got to be a pony somewhere we have that kind of the church no matter what I heard about this old German farmer sorry I shouldn't said German that's there was a net he was always complaining he had a bumper crop of potatoes and his neighbor went over and said hey that's quite you've had quite a crop this year Edgar that's wonderful but I don't have anything to feed my pigs I feed them the rotten ones that now I have no rotten potatoes no matter what I always think about the negative side of things so how is it with you are you looking for what's positive you know your faith in your attitude will impact your health that is a fact positive people actually live longer living on several studies that show that people who they would quantify as people who are optimistic about life and they're positive about life have less disease and you might surpass it what am I going to do I because I'm do you know they even found that people that think of themselves as younger than their actual age may be interviewed all these people in England they did a study with 6,000 people those that saw themselves as younger than their actually they said I don't feel my age I think I'm actually younger they live longer those who complained about aging died sooner you know Jesus said be it unto you according to your faith so pastor Doug what do I do if I kind of you know because my parents are my environment where I just kind of grow up negative I don't want to be well all things are possible with God can God give you a new heart when God gives you the Holy Spirit you'll catch yourself starting to think pessimistic negative things and the Spirit will say don't go there don't go there don't listen to the devil don't believe him listen to the Lord believe those things what whatsoever things are good and just and Noble and pure think on these things so how do we get more faith well there's a few things you can do the Bible says for one faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God Romans 10:17 would you like to increase faith in God spend more time in the word that's what I'm talking about today hopefully it's strengthening your faith if you don't believe and you know you have trouble believing pray you remember the story of a man that came to Jesus his son was sick he had a fit and harassed by devils and the disciples tried to cast him out they could not and he said Lord if you can do anything and Jesus said don't don't say if to me that's like a dirty 2 letter dirty word to Jesus you know one of the thieves on the cross that if to Jesus Jesus said I can't help you one said Lord remember me he says I can help you father said Lord if you can do anything Jesus said if you believe all things are possible he said Lord he prayed I believe help my unbelief so you can pray read his word pray that he'll change your heart and then exercise your faith when you encounter problems and obstacles instead of focusing on the problem turn your attention to God and say Lord there's a problem here but you're bigger than any problem I've got whether it's a problem in your life a practical problem a health problem financial problem problems with sin and temptation whatever your problems are you just bring them so what put God between you and your problems exercise your faith and then when he answers your prayers and he works things out your faith grows and it gets stronger in the process all things are possible to them that believe you know I'd like to close with a story that I thought was just fascinating during World War two there was a bomber crew flying across the Pacific Ocean they had a chaplain with them and they had got lost for a little while so they miscalculated their fuel and finally they realized they weren't gonna make it back to the base and they were gonna have to ditch problem was the only place that they could land was a dirt strip on the south part of a japanese-held island so they were sputtering out of fuel when the plane came in it made a safe landing but they were land landed at the south end the island they know they knew that you know 10 or 15 miles to the north the Japanese had spotted them coming in they weren't occupying the South yet but it was just gonna be you know one day they'd be down there they had nowhere to go they'd be captured maybe killed maybe put in a POWs camp so there they were by a stranded plane on an island they'll boat or anything to get away and they figured they were doomed but the chaplain said well let's pray and some of the soldiers said that's absurd it's ridiculous let's just admit our fate and try and make the best of it and some of the Christians in the group listened oh well let's pray maybe the pastor's right that there might be something that God could do though they couldn't see any way out chaplain led them in prayer and some of them actually went to sleep that night the next morning one of the soldiers woke up early while it was still dawn he decided to take a walk on the beach wondered if the Japanese were making their way down the coast because they'd heard the plane come in and they're washing up on the beach was a hundred and fifty gallon container of aviation fuel he couldn't believe it at first because there was nothing else on the beach but coconuts and the very thing they had prayed for he woke up his buddies with a shout they came they rolled the tank up they found a way to pump and siphon the fuel from the drum into the airplane they went down the run they took off from the air they could see where the Japanese were not far from getting to where they could have arrested them and then the rest of the story comes they later learned the drum had been part of a cargo of fuel that had been jettisoned from a barge following the Japanese attack all the other drums had been lost at sea this one drum had managed to not only survive the attack it floated 1,000 miles and all the drums had a serial number on it so they could track what the history was it floated a thousand miles past 25 other islands to wash up on at the very feet of the men who so desperately needed the gasoline to save their lives right when they prayed so does prayer work and you and I could go on all day talking about stories like that but we forget and we still forget to pray and we focus on the problems we need to ask ourselves if we want to believe the devil or believe God who we're gonna listen to hey men and I'm praying that as we talk about these important issues that our faith will grow and we'll be a people who believe that he is able to keep us from falling is that your desire we're gonna sing
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