Date: January 29, 2019 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Eight
I am so glad you watch this show. A lot of you write me, e-mail or call me, and tell me how much this is meaning to you. If you could see it from my point of view, you would know how that thrills me. I pray so much about these shows before I do them. The people that help me produce them, the camera men and the director, all help me and we all pray together. We really want to touch lives. We want this to be a show that makes a real difference in people’s lives. A lot of people that are programmers on this station, and even around the world, are very knowledgeable in Hebrew studies and deep studies of the Bible. When they teach, they are so interesting. That is not what God has called me to do. What God has called me to do is to teach practical Christianity. That is where you learn how to read the Bible every day, let God talk to you out of it, and then you live your life based on the Word you have read or things you have learned about God. You live your everyday life in the Word of God. It is so wonderful. There is nothing like it. Have you ever thanked God for His precious Word? You might think I am crazy but I want to tell you something. I kiss my Bible. I have done it a lot. I will be reading it and it will be God speaking to me or it will give me an answer for my problem. I am so grateful I have this Bible because it changes my life to read it. It will change yours, too. I am trying to teach you how to read the Bible and apply it to what is going on in your life.
Today we are talking about something that happens to most people, whether you are a Christian or not. What do you do when your family does not support your dream? Are you a big dreamer? Have you allowed yourself to be a big dreamer? Have you ever let God tell you “This is what I want you to do” and then been thrilled with it. I am doing my dream and it is so wonderful. I can tell you it is a hundred times better than anything I could have done on my own. It is the same way for you. You have to understand something about your family. First, they know you really well. They know your weaknesses. My children tell me stuff I am doing wrong and they do not hesitate. They are not rude but they certainly tell me. I like it that way. God had given me dreams and it is really hard sometimes to communicate to people what has been put in your heart. You know it is there. You want to do it. Yet, when you try to tell people, they are too busy or maybe some of them do not walk with God. When you try to say, “I think this is what God wants me to do.” They might look at you and say, “God? Get a life. That doesn’t happen.”
Think about Joseph in the Bible. He had a dream when he was a teenager. Many, many times God speaks your life’s purpose, your life’s destiny when you are a small child, maybe at 10 or 11, or maybe when you are a teenager. I know He did to me. I did not realize it was God because I did not know how to walk with God like I know now. He began to put in my heart a desire to travel. I can remember having a pen pal from India when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I wrote that girl all of the time. That was God putting the desire for other countries in me. What is your dream from God? What is the problem and what is the deal with the family when they do not understand it? Families are really important to God, maybe the most important. With Adam and Eve, they started having children and those children started having children.
God loves people and He loves families. He wants families to be united. It is so sad when a family is not united. It is really sad when half are Christians and half are not. It is even sadder when you are the only Christian and they are not. God has a plan for marriages. In Malachi 3 God says, “What do I want from a marriage? I want Godly children.” Yet, in our families as children grow up, there is sibling rivalry, there are illnesses, there can be problems in the family, there can be separation or divorce. So much happens in the world today and it is not what God wanted. Do not ever say, “Why did God do this to me? Why did God let my parents get a divorce?” God did not do it. It was not God. If God were a human and He did everything people blame Him for, He would be in prison. He does not kill people like that. He does not cause divorce. We all do a lot of stuff on our own. Then there is the devil that is very happy to try to make his plan take place.
As we talk about this family, I want you to think about your life and maybe other people you know that you could share this with. What is going on? You have a dream that fits in with your personality. It fits in with the way you are made and maybe it is a long time in coming. Maybe you do not handle it right. You try to tell your parents or your family “This is what I am going to do.” They think, “Who are you?” This is the way Joseph was. He got the big dream from God. He got it early. He did not use wisdom when he told it. In his family, he was the youngest one and his big brothers responded, “You are a runt, you are a kid. What do you mean God did this and told you we are going to serve you?” It made them jealous and angry. It made them want to get back at him. You have to be very careful when and where you share your dream. Even in the best of families there can be conflict. The Bible is full of all of these families that do not get along, and it is full of families that do get along. One of the things that blesses me the most is to look at a family and see someone have a dream in that family and everyone in the family jumps on the bandwagon to help them. When our son was real little, he was a wrestler. He always had to make weight. If you have ever wrestled yourself or had a child that has, you know what goes into making weight. You cannot be one ounce over. He had to sleep in garbage bags to sweat it out. He had to chew gum and spit. He could not eat like he needed to eat. All of this was just so he could make weight and wrestle in a lower category. We all had to jump on the bandwagon and help him do that. He could not do that by himself. I know that God puts us in families that can help us do our dream. What do you do when they do not?
Have you ever thought about what it was like to grow up as the younger brothers and sisters of Jesus, the perfect one? Think about that. He never did anything wrong. He was good and kind, he grew in wisdom and stature. He grew in knowledge of God. God was speaking to Him from the beginning. They did not know about the angel coming and talking to their mother. They did not know about Jesus being born from the seed of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary. They did not know any of that. They just lived with this older brother who did everything right. He was the perfect son and big brother. How hard was that, especially when they were not and how they needed to grow? Do you ever think about the brothers of Jesus and what happened to them? He had four brothers. Their names were James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. Evidently Judas was a common name then. He also had some sisters because the Bible says, “The sisters of Jesus still live here.” That has to be at least two. That means there had to be at least seven children in that family. He was the oldest, doing everything right. Maybe they looked at Him and thought “I could never be like Him.” Then He begins to get these strange ideas as an adult. He has gone into the family trade as a carpenter. He is living His life like everyone else, and they do not know what God has been saying to Him. They do not know what has been going on in His heart. His dream has been growing and growing.
The day came when He stepped out and began to act on His dream. He began to call men to come and help Him. Women began to come and help Him. He began to go from town to town, so he just quit doing His job. Do you think they thought, “We have our mother to support.” Most people believe Joseph was older and died. There is no proof of that. He is not ever mentioned again after the time when Jesus was two or three years old. They must have thought, “Now what are you teaching? You are not teaching the way the Rabbis speak. You are not teaching in the rabbinical method. You are out there on your own, out in fields, trying to get people to listen to you. Who are you? Who do you think you are?”
What did Jesus have to do during that same time when the pressure from His family was on Him? He had to make sure He knew what God wanted Him to do. That required spending a lot of time alone with God, listening and just being with God. God puts it in your heart. Sometimes He puts it in your heart through dreams, sometimes through visions. Most of the time, it is through just a deep desire in your heart to do something, you want to do it. You would like your family to help you. You really need to be in a place where you do not expect help from them unless they just flat out say “We are going to help you do it. We are all going to chip in and we are all going to help you.” If they do not, what could happen to you? You could get bitter and angry, you could get frustrated and feel defeated. Do you feel like that? You do not have to. When God gives you a dream, it is going to happen if you cooperate. Nothing is going to stop it. The only thing that can stop the dream God has given you from happening is you. The devil cannot stop you. I do not care what he has done. I do not care what has happened. I do not care how far off the path you got from your original thing that God told you to do. It does not matter. As long as you say, “God, I am going to do it. Just tell me what to do and I will do it,” it is going to happen.
Sometimes your dream from God is not in a Christian area. It could be in technology, internet or the movies. You could be an artist or a mechanic. You could be anything because God needs people in all walks of life so that they can touch the people he has already set up. Your deeds are already ordained from the foundation of the earth. You are not going to miss doing them. You need to expect to be misunderstood by your family. Maybe you do not need to expect help from them. Then when they do help you, you are so grateful and appreciative. Just know that they have not heard what you have heard so clearly. Even when you try to communicate it, they are living in their own world and what you are saying to them is not a part of their world. They have a hard time getting it. They do not know what you and God have talked about. They do need to understand from you, “I believe that this is what God wants me to do and I am going to do it.” They need to hear that because that is taking a stand for God anyway.
(Look at this picture of a family arguing. That is so sad.) It goes on everywhere. I hate arguing. Do you hate it? In this first Scripture, Luke 12:52-53, Jesus said “Did you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you I have come to separate people. From now on there will be five members in a family, each one against the other. There will be three against two, two against three. They will be separated, father will turn against son, son against father. Mother will turn against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law will turn against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” I thought I just said that in Malachi God said he wanted a godly marriage with godly children. He does. But the real call that Jesus has for following Him can involve choices that you want to make, and they do not want you to make them. As an example, when you are a part of a denominational church and you think this is not enough. This is not what is happening in the Bible. Then you get in a spirit-filled church and you think, “To me this is more like what I see happening in the Bible. This is like the book of Acts and I want to be a part of that.” Maybe they do not understand why you do not want to stay where you have always been. Maybe they think “It is fine. Why don’t you like it?” You try to explain to them, “I want to do everything the Bible says. I want to live the Bible. I want to do it.” They just cannot understand and it can cause conflict. I think that is what Jesus is talking about.
Put yourself back in the first century when Jesus was stepping out. Think how hard it would have been to go against what your family thought. First, the only religious training they had was through the synagogue with the rabbis and they did what the rabbis told them. You remember about the pharisees and the scribes and how Jesus condemned a bunch of them. They were making it harder on the people than they were on themselves, even though there were many good scribes and pharisees, and they chose to follow Jesus. Jesus said very controversial things. When these people came home and they were eating their evening meal, they said “You know what He said?” Someone else might have said, “Is that right? I don’t think that is right. What are you doing being involved with that Jesus?” It began to divide families. People came to crossroads.
You may live in a country that is a totally different religion that does not even believe in Christianity, or even allow Christianity, yet you believe. Can you see the division I am talking about. You ask, “God, what do I do?” The first thing is to stand strong and surround yourself with people who embrace your dream and encourage you. My best friend’s son came up with an idea for something to do on web pages on the internet. No one had ever done it. He is just now 30 years old and has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations doing something no one had ever done before. He did it and I am sure people thought, “You are doing what?”
Go ahead and step out in your dream expecting God to send you encouragement, expecting Him to send you people who will help you figure out what you need to do next. Get a lot of advice. Even if you do it, and you know God told you to do it, you are still going to have problems with it. You can make mistakes. You can jump ahead of God. You can hold back too much. You can have problems. There are going to be people in your family that say, “See, I told you that you should not be doing that. You should have listened to me.” What does that do to you? It gets you confused inside. You begin to have self doubt. Always go right back to God. Get alone and go right back to God and say, “God I need you to encourage me. I need you to confirm again that I really am supposed to be doing this.” I have had to do that a lot. God is so faithful. Your family can be offended and the people in your town can be offended. If you come from a small town, it is even harder because they all know you. Gossip shoots through a small town quicker than you can image. You hear something in the morning and by noon everyone in the town knows it. I have lived in a small town so I know what it is like.
Look now at Matthew 13:57 where it is talking about the people who heard Jesus preach. He preached this strong message. He was following that dream. It says, “And they were deeply offended and they refused to believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” That is your town and your family not accepting you. Jesus said that. Let’s say you are one of those who have been actively involved in “pro life” or something involving immigration, just something that people do not get. They do not understand and do not stand by it. These people do not honor you. They do not support you. When you get out of the town and when you get out among other people, they all praise your name. They believe you and support you. You find yourself getting alone and thinking, “I want my family to do it. I love my family. I want them to jump in and support me.” Your call may not be like anyone else in your family or in your town has ever done.
When you are a woman in ministry and God has called you to do things that women do not typically do, which is my case, it gets hard. In America, women preachers are applauded by some people, while other people say, “I don’t think you should be doing that. I don’t think women are supposed to be teaching or preaching.” You think, “What am I supposed to do with this call from God? I know He has called me.” As women, step out all over the world. I am speaking to you women in other countries personally, God is releasing women all over the world, in your county and my county. God said “In the last days, I am going to pour out My spirit on men and women alike.”
You are not crazy when you think you are hearing God tell you to do something and everyone in your family thinks you are crazy. All you need to do is make sure it is God. God is very happy to confirm it to you in different ways. Once I was going to Belarus. I was on the airplane and I said, “Lord I know you have told me I am going to go all over the world speaking but it does not ever happen. All I do is just keep going to Belarus. Lord, I hate to ask you this again, but if I am really going to do it, could you have someone in Belarus that I do not even know confirm it. They don’t even know what you have said to me.” I got there and was at a conference and the Holy Spirit took off like wildfire in this conference. We felt “The Holy Spirit is moving. We have to keep up.” In the middle of all of that, a woman that had been ministered to walked up to me and said, “This is what the Lord God says. ‘I am going to take you all over the world. I am going to use you. I have tried you and you have been found faithful. I am going to use you all over the world.’” She had no idea what I had said to God. No one knew but God. I had said it to God, I had asked Him and He confirmed it. So pray about it a lot. As you go along the way pray for direction. Get your support from God. Jesus did.
The apostle Paul was in trouble constantly. There are not too many people in the world that went through what Paul went through. He was always in trouble and yet he did not give up. He would not give up. They nearly beat him to death, and he got up and went back in the village and tried to preach again, even when he was tired and weary. He had his down times, too. In Acts 18:9-10, the Bible says “One night in a vision God spoke to him and said ‘Do not be afraid. Speak out. Don’t be silent for I am with you and no one will attack and harm you for many people in this city belong to me.” He was attacked and harmed in other cities but God was saying right here do this. Paul did it. Your dream is not always easy and it does not always have some good stuff with it. It can have some really hard stuff with it and you still have to do it, and you want to do it. When they make fun of you and scoff at your, what is your response supposed to be? I know what your first response is. You want to yell and scream at them, say something tacky back to them. That is your flesh and humanness. God says “Don’t let your flesh rule your life, let your spirit man rule your life.” What do you do? I know what I do. I have to get alone and say, “God you better help me. I am going to do some damage here. You better help me. God, fill me with Your Spirit right now. Help me to be kind and yet firm in a polite way and not back down to what I know you called me to do.”
In Luke it talks about how His family thought He was crazy, even His mother. I think Mary was influenced by the other children. I think they started saying, “Mother, do you see what He is doing? He is making a fool of Himself. We have to go get Him out of those meetings.” Instead, Jesus said, “Who is my family? My family are the people that do the will of God.” Sometimes the people that do the will of God are closer to you than your own family. Jesus said in Hebrews 2:11, “I am not ashamed to call you My brothers and sisters.” He knew what family shame felt like. When He was at the cross, they were nowhere to be seen.
Let’s look at John 7:2-4. “When it was time for the festivals, the brothers said to Him ‘Go on up there to Judea for the celebration. Go where Your followers can see Your miracles. You can’t become a public figure if you hide like this. If You do such wonderful things, prove it to the world.” At the end in the book of Acts, where were they? Acts 1:14, “They were all joined together in prayer with the mother.” You can do your dream.
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