Date: January 29, 2019 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Eight
How is your life going? Are you really learning to trust the Lord more than you ever have? That is what He wants for you. You are so special to God. He paid such a price to get you. He paid the ultimate price. He gave Jesus to get you. Then He got you both back. I hope your life is growing in the Lord and that your Christian walk is such a pleasant, wonderful experience that is bringing you deeper and deeper into relationship with the Lord. It does not matter if your life is difficult. We all have bad things happen in our lives. No one has the perfect life where everything is great because they are a Christian. Life is just not like that. It has very, very hard things. I have learned that when you are going through those hardest ones, it is all you can do to hang onto your faith and onto the fact that God loves you and He is with you in this. Do not ever think God did this to punish you or because He hates you. That is not true. Just life being life is hard. But God says, “I will go through it with you,” and that makes all of the difference.
Today we are talking about what to do when you cannot wait for God to give you an answer. In today’s world there are a lot of people giving answers. You have Dear Abby, Dear Ann Landers, internet people giving advice, and you have people who do not walk with God giving you advice. You need to be really careful of that because they are not led by God and will lead you astray. You have to learn how to have your spiritual antennae saying, “Not God, avoid it.” I am sure you know there are a lot of people that consult psychics and mediums, go to seances and consult witchcraft. I imagine a lot of you think witchcraft is of the devil. In Galatians 5, the Bible says witchcraft is a sin of the flesh. I was shocked when I read it. Why would witchcraft be a sin of the flesh? People want power and to be in control. They certainly do not want to let God be in control. They think, “I have it made. I am in control.” God says, “I hate it all. Don’t have anything to do with any of it. It will ruin you in the end.” Anything that draws you away from God is going to ruin you in the end and you do not want it.
There has always been witchcraft and mediums. There have always been things that sound like they are supernatural, and maybe they are, but they are not of God. I have been going to Africa for the last two years. They have witch doctors over there. I thought, “I wonder if they are for real or not.” I went to a missionary and said, “Are witch doctors for real.” He said, “Some of them are. Some of them are just in it for the money.” That sounds like a lot of things that we see here in America, just in it for the money. They put fear in people and make people think, “If you don’t listen to me, you are not going to succeed.”
(This is by the power of the Lord that I am saying this. Right now there is a woman watching this show and you are allowing another woman to have the kind of influence over you that you have fear if you do not listen to her and do what she says that you are not going to make it. That is witchcraft. It might not have that name but that is what it is, exercising control and power over people to make them feel like to have to listen to you.)
In I Samuel, there is an interesting story about the witch of Endor. This occurred in the time when Saul was king. What do you know about King Saul? He is the king before King David. King David replaced him. Why? Saul was anointed to be king and Saul started out a really good guy. He was extremely tall. In fact, it says, “He stood head and shoulders above anyone around him.” Saul had a self esteem or self image problem. If you read about it, he always felt like he had to please people. Any time in life when you think, “If I don’t please them, they won’t like me. If I don’t please them, they won’t include me. If I don’t please them, I won’t fit in. If I don’t please them, they won’t do what I say,” then you have a problem. Saul had it. He was the king and he still had the problem. Yet, he was anointed to be the king. He messed up so much. Samuel, the prophet, was his adviser. Samuel was a really good man. All of his life he was a good man and he spoke the truth. He would say, “Saul, do this. This is what the Lord says. Saul, don’t do this.” Saul would listen to him.
As Samuel got older, Saul saw David coming on the scene. He was jealous of David. He wanted to get rid of David. There was a lot of fear coming in Saul’s life. He had his enemies coming around him and did not know what to do. Saul had really disobeyed the Lord and done something that Samuel had said, “Wait until I get there before you act.” The Bible says, “Saul was so afraid of his men and what they would say that he deliberately disobeyed Samuel.” Samuel came to him later and said, “God is taking the kingdom from you and giving it to another.” This was a man who had a lot of fear. If you are tempted to go to a psychic or fortune teller, you have a lot of fear. Some of you go just because you have heard about it and you think, “I think I will try that and see what that is all about. There isn’t anything to that.” I tell you God says, “I hate it and don’t do it.” That should be enough for you. If God says He hates it, you need to avoid it. It doesn’t matter if you think it is just a little game and just a little fun.
I had an experience with a psychic once. I am a makeup artist besides preaching, and I have done that for many, many years. I went to work for an agency. I act in commercials sometimes; I have been a model; and I began to do production makeup. That is harder. That is what you do to people like me that are on television right now. I got the job in 1998 of working for Oprah Winfrey. Oprah Winfrey was sued by a man in Texas over a beef issue and the trial was held in my town, Amarillo, Texas. My agent got me the job along with a couple of other ladies, but mainly one other lady. Our job was to do the makeup on all of the movie stars and all of the people who had things going on in their life that were big enough that they got on the Oprah show.
One night a man was assigned to me to get him ready for the show. I had seen this man on the Larry King Show on television a couple of months before, and he was a psychic. I had watched him on Larry King just long enough to figure out “That man is a psychic. Turn it off.” You have to learn how to change channels when it is what God says not to watch. The next thing I know I get my list of the people on whom I was going to do makeup that night. I saw the name and thought, “That guy is a psychic. I know he is. What am I going to do?” I thought, “I have to pray and I have to get people praying. This guy is going to be on national television and he is going to do this psychic stuff and fool all of these people. God, help. Tell me what to do.” I went to the two people that I knew that were working on the show that were Christians. I went to the lighting guy and said, “You are a Christian, aren’t you?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Do you know how to do spiritual warfare?” He said, “Yes.” I asked, “Are you really committed?” He said, “Yes. I can do that.” I said, “You better get busy praying. We have a psychic on this show tonight and he is going to deceive a lot of people.” He said, “Okay. I am praying.” I went to another person on the show and said, “You have to pray, it is really serious.” She said, “Okay, I am praying.” The man came into my room for me to do his makeup. It does not matter who a person is, you have to treat them with respect. I began to put his makeup on him. I was polite and smiling, just doing his makeup. In my head I was saying, “In the name of Jesus I bind you. You will not deceive people. You will not be allowed to do what you do. The Lord is against this. God, get hold of this man and get him. Save him. This man is in deception himself.” He never knew I am doing any of it because I am smiling and being respectful to him. I am binding that spirit because I know God says, “I hate it.” We had the show. The man came out on stage and I was watching from back stage to see what happens. I noticed that the show is going very, very fast. I said to the director, “What is going on?” He said, “Oprah doesn’t want anything to do with this guy.” God answered those prayers. That is the God we serve. He does not want you involved in this stuff. Do not be deceived. Do not let them deceive you. It is wrong.
It is not enough for me to say it. Where does it say it in the Word? In Leviticus 19:236, it says, “Do not have anything to do with it. I hate it.” Isaiah 8:19 says, “Consult God.” In the Living Bible, it says “You believe in luck and fate. I will abandon you to luck and fate.” There is no such thing as luck and fate to a Christian. I do not know if there is to anyone, but there certainly not if you are a Christian. God is in control of your life. God wants to run your life. He does not want this other stuff running your life. In fact, God says in Deuteronomy 18:9-14, “It is an abomination to me.” What is an abomination? Everyone says “All sin is the same to God.” It is because it is sin and God hates sin. But, there are things in the Bible that God says, “This is an abomination to Me.” What is an abomination? You know what one is. What is it that you just hate? That is how God feels about this stuff. That is why He is saying, "Do not have anything to do with it."
Who practiced this kind of thing? I told you about Saul. He had a witch call up Samuel from the dead. I do not understand all of that. I just know what the Bible says. It says, “Saul had banned all witches and mediums from the land but somehow one of them was in hiding. She lived in the placed called Endor.” She was practicing her craft there. Saul became panic stricken because he began to realize God was not with him anymore. He prayed and God did not answer and Saul knew it was because he was sinning. He really started panicking then because he thought, “I am going to get killed. What am I going to do?” He told his aides, “You go and find a medium who will tell me what to do. You ask what I should do.” Saul disguised himself so that she would not know who he was. He went to her house at night with two of his men. When you get into this deception, you start dragging other people into it and messing up their lives. He dragged two of his men with him and says, “I have to talk to a dead man. Would you bring his spirit up?” She said, “Are you trying to get me killed? You know Saul has banned all of this. You are spying on me.”
Saul took a solemn oath that he would not betray her. What a serious thing, to take an oath to get something done that God says do not do. How serious is that? The woman asked, “Who do you want me to bring up?” Saul said, “Bring me Samuel.” The Bible says when she saw Samuel she screamed, “You deceived me. You are Saul.” Saul said, “Don’t be frightened. What do you see?” He is so panic stricken and afraid that he does not want to wait for God and he does not want to repeat and get God back on his side. He says, “What does he look like?” “An old man wrapped in a robe,” she said. Saul realized it was Samuel and Samuel said, “Why have you brought me up?” Saul said, “I am in deep trouble. The Philistines are at war with us and God has left me. He won’t reply by prophets and He won’t reply by dreams, so I called for you to ask you what do I do?” Samuel said to him. “Why ask me if the Lord has left you and become your enemy? He has done just what He said He would do. He has taken the kingdom from you and given it to your servant, David. All of this has come on you because you did not obey the Lord’s instructions when he was so angry with Amalek. What’s more, the entire Israeli army will be routed and destroyed by the Philistines tomorrow and you and your sons will be here with me.” Saul fell with fright on the ground. He was faint with hunger because he had not eaten anything. He was after something in a way he should not have been after it. It was ruining his life.
That goes on today. It is not any different in Africa. There is witchcraft there. There are people involved in serious Satan worship. They will do anything to have power and answers, anything to keep from having to serve God and bow their knee to God. Look where it leads them – to psychic hotlines. I had a woman living with me that said she was a Christian. I asked her, “What kind of stuff have you done?” She said, “I have worked for the psychic hotline.” I told her “You know God says don’t do that.” She said, “I don’t mean anything by it. They just give you these tarot cards and you just make up stuff anyway. You just tell people what they want to hear.” I said, “God says do not do it.” She did it anyway. She did not listen to anyone. God says to you, “Who really controls your future – Me or the devil?” You know the answer to that. The answer is God controls your future. The next question to you is “Then why do you trust in what I tell you not to do to get your answers? Why aren’t you trusting Me?” Then He says, “Why would you seek for the truth from the fathers of lies?” Think about it. It is not the way to go.
What are the rewards of trusting God for your future? Some of the things that make it hard to trust God are questions we ask ourselves. “What if He doesn’t answer? How long will I have to wait? What if it isn’t what I want to hear?” Things might be very serious and you might think, “It might cost me my life if I trust God.” If you are a Christian, you are going to a great place that we all want to get to. It is more than that though. What are the rewards of trusting God for your future? You come to know God, the creator of the universe. He says, “I want you to know Me.” Another one is God becomes your source. You begin to learn God is your source, not anyone else. He might use people to help you but God is your source and He wants you to know that. He is the creator of the universe. He can do it better than you ever thought about doing it.
Do you realize how powerful God is? Have you ever seen God’s power at work in your life? Have you ever seen Him answer a big prayer for you? He wants to. He wants you to see how powerful He is. He is able to do more than you would ever think of, dream of, ask for, or hope for. Read Ephesians 3:20 and believe it. It is not enough to read the Bible. You have to believe it for it to work. How about getting the opportunity to see the world of the Holy Spirit? We live in the days that are very exciting. The Bible even says, “The Godly man’s life is exciting and the backsliders life is boring.” Is your Christian life exciting? Get on the side of trusting God for everything and going to Him for your answers. It will get exciting. You will see miracles.
Another thing that comes from trusting God is that you learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Most people today say, “If I see it, I believe it.” Christians even say, “If I believe it, I will see it.” That is what walking by faith is all about. Another thing is it puts you in greater fellowship and dependency on other Christians. You need a group of people that challenge you. You need someone above you that knows more than you do that you can listen to and think, “I want to be just like that.” You need people that are on the same level you are right now. They are your running buddies. You can get together and say, “Look what I learned. Here is what I read in the Bible. This is what God taught me.” They say, “That is great.” You also need people below you who are just coming along. You can say, “Let me tell you how to trust God.” They say, “I don’t know. Can you trust God? Can I trust God for my finances?” You tell them, “Yes, it is wonderful.” With that you are learning how to trust what God can do for you.
When you trust in God, it puts you in dependency on God and not in dependency on yourself. Too many people go through life and say, “I am doing it my way and I don’t want anyone telling me any different.” That might sound good and you might even say, “I am a self-made man. No one has ever helped me.” That is crazy. You do not know what God has done for you that you never gave Him the credit. We are going to die and some day we will see all of the accidents God kept from happening to us and all of the problems He kept away from us. There is no such thing as a self made man or woman. You do not want to get into saying “I don’t need God.” When you say things like that, you need God more than ever. You are probably the one that needs Him the most.
Have you been doing these things? If you have, I want to give you an opportunity right now to repent. Repenting is so great. Repenting is like this. You are going as fast as you can doing one thing and God says, “Its wrong.” You say, “Okay, God, I am not doing it anymore.” Then you go real fast in the opposite direction. That is what repenting is. Maybe you are watching this show today and you have been involved in horoscopes, Ouija boards, seances, witchcraft, Satan worship. These things are all wrong. Maybe you have been involved with white magic and you say, “It is just white magic not black magic.” God says avoid it all. Here is your chance today to say, “Lord, I have been doing that. I have been depending on that because I was afraid to trust you. I didn’t know how to trust you.” Some of you who are listening today have never ever been taught about God. You may be in a country where you do not even know about Jesus and you do not know anything about Him, and you are listening to me saying He is the answer. You are thinking, “I don’t even know what you are talking about.” I am telling you the living God wants to come and help you. He will even help you repent. If you do not want to, but you know you should, you can say, “Lord I don’t even want to. Work in my heart, please, until I want to.” He will do that.
I am going to give you a chance right now. Close your eyes. Just bow before God and say this, “Lord, I am so sorry. I really have been involved in some things. It is wrong, God, and now I really understand it. It is an abomination to You. You hate it. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. Please get my life in order. Please heal my mind of anything that has been damaged. Touch me God. Give me a heart that wants to follow you with everything that is in me, and I will bless you Lord. I will bless you forever. I will bless your name.”
I want to give you a chance to ask Jesus into your heart. It is not enough to say, “I know about God and Jesus. I know He is the Savior. I have even been in church. I have even gone to Bible studies.” But, you do not really know Him. You can say, “I know who the president of the United States is. I know all about him. I know what he does; I saw his picture in the newspaper. I saw him on television.” Do you know him? Of course not. Very few of us do. The ones that do know him know what we do not know. You can know Jesus. You can know Him as your Lord. You can know Him as your Savior. Ask Him into your heart now.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. Who is the main person in this lesson?
2. Briefly describe what they did for God.
3. What scripture about this person is meaningful to you and why?
4. In what ways do you find yourself relating to this person or their experience?
5. How does this lesson influence your thoughts about God or the way you walk out your beliefs?
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Topics: People of the Bible Speak